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‘Ilm (Knowledge) Necessitates ‘Amal (Action)

Feb 27, 2011 by     6 Comments    Posted under: Articles, Miscellenous

Knowledge is one of the greatest affairs that one can envelope himself in. Imam Al-Mardawi said, advising the students of knowledge, “Be bored not of knowledge, and adapt your vigil for its sake! If you whole heartedly do such, you will thank your efforts [when you see your reward,] on that day.” This most certainly is amongst the greatest of quests. For it is a quest the candidates of which are of divine selection. Allah says in the Quran, “Allah knows best with whom to place his message.” The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said in an ever so famous tradition, “If Allah wishes good for someone, he grants him the understanding of the deen.”

Note: The contrary is true for one that hasn’t been granted the understanding of his religion. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “If Allah wishes to humiliate someone he leads him to abstain from seeking knowledge.”

However, the point of this knowledge is not encompassed in merely seeking it; rather the greater goal behind this quest is a practical change. The Prophet (SAW) was cited to have said, “Knowledge [may] result into evil consequences for the one acquiring it, except for the one who acts upon the knowledge he sought.” This is merely one amongst innumerable texts that establish this meaning. The following are some of the texts that shed light on the subject:

1 – Allah says in the Quran, “The likeness of those who were entrusted with the [obligation of the] Torah (i.e. to obey its commandments and to practice its laws), but who subsequently failed in those [obligations], is as the likeness of a donkey which carries huge burdens of books [but understands nothing from it].”

2 – The Prophet (SAW) was cited to have said, “The most intense of punishments on the day of judgement is the one that has been designated for the ‘Aalim whose ‘ilm didn’t benefit him.” [Abu Nu’aim]

3 – Mansoor Bin Zazaan said, “I have been informed that amongst those who will be thrown into the hellfire is one who has such a strong odour that even the people of hellfire will find it offensive. It will be said to him, “Woe on to you! Had you not done something that could’ve relieved us instead of putting us through an even greater test because of your stench?!” He will reply saying, “I was an ‘Aalim that didn’t benefit from his knowledge.” [Ahmad/Bayhaqi]

4 – Al-Fudail Bin Iyaad said, “Allah forgives seventy laymen before forgiving one ‘Aalim (i.e. an ‘Aalim who doesn’t act upon his knowledge.)”

The following are selections from As-Saffareeni’s Ghezaaul-Lubaab which detail the four types of people in relation to this subject matter:

“The first type is the one who has been granted knowledge and has been assisted, because of his strong will, upon acting in accordance to his knowledge. These people are the chosen amongst the creation, and they are the ones being referred to in the following verse, ‘And those that believe and do righteous deeds.’ [Al-Baqarah]

The second type is the one who has been deprived of both. This category of people is the worst of creation in the sight of Allah! They are deaf, dumb, and they understand not! They exhaust space in vain! They are the cause of inflation! They seem to believe that they know, but they know not except the outside appearance of the life of the world (i.e. the matters of their livelihood like irrigating, sowing, or reaping, etc.) and they are heedless of the Hereafter…”

“The third type is the one who has been blessed with knowledge yet the doors of acting upon this knowledge have been closed for him. This type of an individual is like the ignorant; rather he is worse than the ignorant. Abu Nu’aim relates the following raised tradition [i.e. to the Prophet SAW,] which was cited earlier: “The most intense of punishments on the day of judgement is the one that has been designated for the ‘Aalim whose ‘ilm didn’t benefit him.” Ignorance and knowledge of such a man are equal. Rather his ignorance is most probably less harmful to him, for knowledge would only increase his torment…”

“The forth type is the one who has been granted the guidance to act and is blessed with strong will, however, his share of knowledge is extremely deficient. If this type of a person is blessed with the opportunity to follow a steadfast caller to Allah, he would become from the people about whom Allah says, ‘And whosoever obeys Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), then they will be in the company of those one upon whom Allah has bestowed His Grace.’ [An-Nisaa] It is often said, ‘If an ‘Aalim becomes corrupt, the entire ‘Aalam (universe) becomes corrupt because of his corruption.’ On the…”

I ask Allah to grant his the Tawfeeq to be amongst the ranks of the first category.

Abdul Wahab Saleem
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Saturday, February 26th, 2011

6 Comments + Add Comment

  • Mashallah Jazakallahu Khayran…great article bro. Keep ’em comming….inshallah…

  • Ameen! InshaAllah! Don’t forget to subscribe :P.

  • amazing quotes! needed that!
    i just have oen suggestion since mashAllah you have the i’lm research and language already..
    if you could make your items more practical would dramatically increase your readership..

    like if after you wrote this you told us ways to start acting and signs that we’re inacting.. like a self help resource.

    example is this:
    http://www.pluginid.com/start-acting/

    fee amanillah shaykh :]

  • Exciting comments! I will definitely take that into consideration! May Allah reward on your insightful comments! Oh, and dont forget to subscribe 😀

  • Funny you quoted Al-Fudail Bin Iyaad, heres another one of his statements.

    Imam Al Bukhari (May allah have mercy on him) mentions in his book “Khalqu al-‘Afaalu al-‘Ibaad” the statement of one of the Salaf al-Fudhail (187 after hijri) who said when the Jahmi said “I don’t believe in a Lord who can move from his place, al-Fudhail then said “I believe in a lord who can do whatever he wants”.

    So how can we act upon this knowledge O’ Sheikh? Does it mean Allah is in a place? Or that he Moves? or that he can do what he wants? Or that he is above the ‘Arsh? Please I need help.

  • Well, if you are uncertain about whether Allah can do what he wants or not, I would suggest you rush immediately to the closest Imam and have that sorted out. May Allah increase in your goodwill, help you resolve you issue, and take you to Jenna! May Allah protect you and preserve you from any evils!

    For next times sake, I would suggest that you should propose relevant comments and questions. If you have an irrelevant suggestion, comment, or question (like this one). Email me. I usually delete irrelevant comments, but because of the delicacy of the situation (eeman & kufr) and the fact that I have no way to get in touch with you I decided reply. If you have any further questions, feel free to email them!

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