Is it better for the seeker of knowledge to wear the iqaal or not?
Wearing the iqaal is permissible, as you say, and it is better for a person to follow the customs of his country so that he will not stand out among them because of his odd dress or appearance.
If the tradition is for the people of knowledge – judges, khateebs and imams of mosques – not to wear the iqaal, and you are one of them, then it may be said that it is better not to wear it, but if someone wears it, it does not matter.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: What is the ruling on wearing the iqaal, as I see that the imams and muezzins do not wear it.
He replied: There is nothing wrong with wearing the iqaal, because the basic principle with regard to clothing is that it is permissible so long as there is no evidence that it is haraam. Allaah denounced those who regarded kinds of clothing or food as haraam with no shar’i evidence. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): Who has forbidden the adornment with clothes given by Allaah, which He has produced for His slaves, and At-Tayyibaat [all kinds of Halaal (lawful) things] of food?”
But if there is evidence which indicates that this clothing is haraam in and of itself, such as silk for men and that which contains images for men and women, or it is haraam because of its type, such as if this clothing is clothing of the kuffaar and is worn only by them, then it is haraam, otherwise the basic principle is that it is permissible. End quote from Fataawa Islamiyyah (4/246).
And Allaah knows best.