18th Feb2015

Adorning Knowledge With Actions

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By Shaykh Husayn al-Awaa’ishah

The Article discusses the following points:

  • Verses of the Qur’an Regarding the Rewards of Actions.
  • What Now?
  • Some Texts Regarding the Removing of Hindrances.
  • Obligatory Actions Before the Supererogatory and Recommended Actions.
  • Who Should I Give Priority to In Inviting First?
  • From A Man’s Perfecting His Religion is Leaving Alone That Which Does Not Concern Him.
  • What is the Effect of Giving Advice and Admonition.
  • Contemplating the Texts is the First Action.
  • Invocation: The Fruit of Action.
  • The Prophet (sallallahu ‘Alehe Wassalam) Seeking Refuge From Knowledge That Does Not Benefit.
  • The Punishment for Not Acting Upon One’s Knowledge.
  • Trials Take Place When Knowledge Is Sought for Other Than Actions.
  • The Indications of Beneficial Knowledge.
  • A Call to Scholars and Students of Knowledge.
  • A Call to the Du’aat and the Imaams of the Masajid.
  • A Call to Authors and Book Publishers.
  • A Call to Businessmen.
  • Words of Wisdom from the Book Iqtidaa’ ul-‘Ilm il-‘Amal.

Author’s Introduction:

All praise is for Allah. We praise Him, seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evils of ourselves and the evils of our actions. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is His slave and Messenger.

O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except in a state of Islam with complete submission to Allah.

(3:102)

O Mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person and from him He created many men and women and fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual rights and the wombs of kinship. Surely Allah is Ever an All Watcher over you.

(4:1)

O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and always speak the truth, He will direct you to do righteous deeds and will forgive you your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has indeed achieved a great achievement.

(33:70-1) 

Verily the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). The most evil of matters are those which are newly invented, every novelty is an innovation and every innovation is in the Fire. To proceed:

Following up this series, I felt I should hasten in bringing forward the hadith:

The two feet of the son of Aadam will not move from near his Lord on the Day of Judgement until he is asked about five (matters):- 1) about his life – how he spent it; 2) about his youth – how he took care of it; 3) about his wealth – how he earned it; 4) and where he spent it; 5) and about that which he acted upon from the knowledge that he acquired.

As an aid towards purification of the soul and preparation for death. The advice being firstly to myself, secondly to the du’aat (inviters to Allah’s path) and thirdly to all my Muslim brothers and sisters in every part of the world – hoping that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will cause benefit through that which I have written and allow the fruits of that to be reaped, both now and in the future. In this treatise I restricted myself to one part of the hadith and that is “..and about that which he acted upon from the knowledge that he acquired”.

The hadith that I chose is the key to goodness and the way towards paradise – by the permission of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. It is the cause of salvation and gain:

The day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, except him who brings to Allah a clean heart.

(26:88-9)

Indeed it is quite possible that many people erred and strayed off the path due to ignorance or pretending to be ignorant of the correct order in prioritising knowledge, acting and calling to Allah. So this topic, by the will of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala is in order to prevent myself and my brothers and sisters from ruin, misguidance and confusion.

I ask Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala to grant me the ability to act upon it, and to make it sincere and acceptable to Him, to eliminate darkness, illuminate the way and cause the Ummah to benefit from it. He indeed is the All Hearer of invocation.

Verses of the Qur’an Regarding the Rewards of Actions

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in the Qur’an:

Eat and drink with happiness because of what you used to.” (52:19)
“And it will be cried out to them: This is the Paradise you have inherited for what you used to do!

(7:43)

Thus Allah rewards the pious, those whose lives the Angels take while they are in a pious state saying: “Peace be upon you, enter you Paradise because of that which you used to do.”

(16:32)

(It will be said in the Hereafter): “O you disbelievers! Make no excuses this Day! You are being requited only for what you used to do.”

(66:7) 

And whoever brings an evil deed they will be cast down on their faces in the Fire (and it will be said to them): “Are you being recompensed for anything except for what you used to do? “

(27:90)

On the Day when the torment shall cover them from above them and from underneath their feet and it will be said: “Taste what you used to do.”

(29:55) 

This day none will be wronged in anything nor will you be requited in anything except that which you used to do.

(36:54) 

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala makes clear the destination of all created beings. Their different ascending and descending ranks will only be in accordance with their actions. Thus man will either be in a state of happiness or misery as a result of his righteous or evil deeds.

On the authority of Ibn Mas’ud radiallaahu ‘anhu who said that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

The two feet of the son of Adam will not move from near his Lord on the day of Judgement until he is asked about five (matters) about his life – how he spent it; about his youth – how he took care of it; about his wealth – how he earned it; and where he spent it and about that which he acted upon from the knowledge he acquired.

(at Tirmidhi, and others, see Saheeh Sunan at-Tirmidhi, no. 1969, and as Silsilah as Saheehah no.946). 

So there is no escaping for the servant from being questioned about certain things: About his life – how he spent it; was it in righteousness and piety or in sin and transgression? About his youth – how he spent it, was it in acts of obedience or acts of sin? About his wealth – how he acquired it, was it from that which is halaal or from that which is haraam?

These things, very sadly, are seldom asked about, nor is any weight given to them. Rather, the greatest concern is to gather wealth, whether it is halaal, haraam or doubtful. Just as soon as a person looking for work hears of a position in a usurious bank, he hurries to take it, or of that in a cigarette factory, he strives to obtain it. He rushes without hesitance for any type of work which brings in money; and as for the legal verdicts allowing that, one could go on mentioning them!

I would like to take this opportunity to remind with this hadeeth, every person that took a wage for work that he did or for a post that he was commissioned to, that his feet won’t move on the Day of Resurrection until he is asked about his wealth and how he earned it.

You will see the most surprising things in official agencies and establishments around the world. Maybe you will see that tea, coffee and newspapers are the main aspects of work so that a worker will delay visitors without any consideration or concern. He dislikes the sight of them because they trouble his comfort and cause him disturbance. He searches for procedures that cause complexity and means of obstruction, so that he may say to a visitor: “We’re short of such and such a thing, come back tomorrow”.

They announce that all dealings stop one hour or more before the end of their work time. Maybe some of them wake up late by two hours or more for work, because of which people get set back from their jobs. Perhaps some workers fail to execute transactions willingly, or they stall them in order to receive bribes. So we should all fear Allah as regards to our work and duties – starting work on time and leaving at the right time, dealing with people with politeness and ease, being patient upon hardships of work, seeking by that the reward from Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala.

Then, you are answerable, O servant of Allah, about the way you spent your wealth – in obedience or sinfulness and about the knowledge that you possess and how much of it you acted upon. So this being the case, it is essential that knowledge is converted into actions and (correct) conduct.

Maybe a question springs to mind here: Would the absence of seeking knowledge be a cause for salvation, as little knowledge requires little action? To this, I say:

* FIRSTLY: Verily Islam elevated the people of knowledge over others. The texts pertaining to this are numerous, among them are the Sayings of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala:

Say, are they alike those who have knowledge and those who don’t have knowledge?

(39:9)

Allah will exalt in degree those of you who believe and those who have been granted knowledge.

(58:11) 

Also the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

Whoever treads a path seeking knowledge, Allah will make easy for him the path to Paradise.

(part of a sahih hadith reported by Ibn Majah and others, fulfilling the conditions of Imam al Bukhari and Imam Muslim) 

* SECONDLY: Deliberately intending not to seek knowledge is haram and everyone is accountable for seeking knowledge according to his capacity and capability.

* THIRDLY: There are some Islamic fields of knowledge which the learning and teaching of are obligatory upon every individual and some which are obligatory upon certain individuals only, so this should be taken into consideration, and every person is accountable according to his ability.

* FOURTHLY: A person may fall into a violation of the Shari’ah (Islamic Law) whilst he is seeking knowledge, due to his lack of knowledge of a particular ruling, in this case it is hope that Allah would forgive him. As for deliberately intending to remain ignorant, this contradicts the saying of the Most High:

So ask the people of knowledge if you know not.

(16:43) 

When a group of the Companions passed a ruling, without knowledge, to the wounded man that he should have a full bath – which eventually lead to his death, the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) supplicated against them saying:

They killed him, may Allah kill them, should they not have asked if they didnt know?! Verily the cure of all ignorance is to question! It would have been enough for him had he performed tayammum.”

[The author is pointing here to the hadith of Jabir radiallaahu ‘anhu who said:

We set out for a journey and along the way a man from amongst us injured himself on a rock and split his head, after which he had a wet dream and required a bath so he asked his companions, “Do you find any concession for me in that I make tayammum? They replied, “We do not find any concession for you as you are able to use water.” So he bathed and died as a result. This was mentioned to the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then replied as is mentioned above.

(Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 1 p.59, hadith no.336)] 

Removing the Hindrances:

Due to the fact that there are things that are a hindrance to knowledge and actions, they must be studied in order to be removed; and one should begin by assiduously examining one’s livelihood.

One should not forget one’s goal in this worldly life, and that is to single out Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in worship and uniqueness and fulfilling that which pleases Him for man was not created for any reason other than to worship Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala [Worship (al Ibaadah) is a comprehensive word, encompassing everything that Allah loves and is pleased with, whether it be of speech or of actions – inward or outward. An example of speech is reciting the Qur’an, engaging in the remembrance of allah, ordering good and forbidding evil and rectifying differences. Examples of internal actions are hope, fear, turning to Allah in repentance, love and reliance. Outward actions are such as prayer, zakah, pilgrimage, giving charity, joining ties of relationship and visiting one another. All of these things must be directed by the servant to Allah alone. In the book al ‘Uboodiyah by Shaykh ul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (which will, insh’Allah be serialised on this list soon also) is elaborate detail of that.]. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said:

I did not create the jinns and men except they should worship Me (Alone).

(51:56)

So it is befitting that the Muslim looks into his own and his family’s necessities as regards to wealth, and work accordingly, [I say this not forgetting that the Muslim is rewarded for working and for the difficulties and hardships which he faces due to that – as long as his work in itself is not haram or doubtful – but he should use it as a means to fulfill a goal, which is the worship of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.], because spending hours working for the sake of acquiring extra wealth will only be at the cost of knowledge or actions or inviting to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. So beware of this matter, then do as you please.

Also, it is not befitting, that a Muslim lolls out his tongue after extra work, while he is lacking knowledge in many aspects of his religion such as creed, fiqh, points regarding Islamic manners and other important pillars and compulsory actions. Yet it is astonishing to find such people justifying their actions to those that censure them, with the general texts encouraging righteous actions, saying: “Islam is a religion of action”.

Yet I don’t know what the consequence of this action is. Does it benefit by purifying and cleansing the soul? Or bring about some goodness for the Muslim Ummah? So, I say in replying to this:

Having sexual relations with one’s wife, with the intention of keeping chaste and pure, is considered worship [The proof for this is in the hadith of Abu Dharr wherein the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,

“…and enjoining the good is charity, forbidding the evil is charity and in a man’s sexual intercourse (with his wife) is charity.” They (the companions) asked, “O Messenger of Allah! Is there reward for him who fulfils his sexual desires amongst us?” He (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied, “Tell me, if he were to fulfill that in something forbidden would he not bear the burden of that (in sin)? Similarly if he were to fulfill that in something permissible he would be rewarded.”

(Sahih Muslim, Eng. trans. vol. 2, p. 482).]

but this does not mean that a person remains persistent upon this matter, neglecting Friday prayers, praying in congregation and other obligatory duties !

Likewise, eating with the intention of keeping strength for the sake of fulfilling acts of obedience to Allah, is a form of worship, but does it mean that eating becomes a major aspect of our lives?

Similarly, striving to find a lawful job, seeking pure earnings and refraining from begging, is all worship, but does it mean that we constantly engage ourselves in this, so much so that it hinders us from Congregational prayers, joining ties of relationship, learning about Islam and inviting to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala)?

So look into this matter, may Allah have Mercy upon you, and if one job is enough for you, there is no need for a second; if one shift suffices your needs, don’t take on another in overtime, and if you are able to cut the number of hours you work, don’t hesitate [This is intended for the self employed and their likes, it is not meant by this that people should evade their duties at work, as this is Islamically impermissable.]. Furthermore if you are from amongst those whom Allah has increased in provision and wealth, disengage yourself and whomsoever you are able to from your children and family, for the sake of worship, knowledge and inviting to Allah. Let us remember together his saying sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

Verily Allah says: O son of Adam, free yourself for my worship, I will (in turn) fill your chest with satisfaction and remove your poverty, and if you don’t I will fill your hands with distraction and will not remove your poverty.

(Ahmad, no. 8681, at Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah no.4107, Ibn Hibban and others).

In another narration:

I will fill your chest with distraction.

(Sahih Ibn Majah no. 3315) 

The explanation of this in Fayd ul Qadeer [Fayd al Qadeer by al Manaawee is a scholarly piece of work explaining al-Jaami’ as-Saghir by al-Haafidh as-Suyuti.] is:

Free yourself of your interests in order to worship Me and do not busy yourself in earning that which exceeds your needs and the needs of those under your care.

This is the way a person should be, busying himself in obedience to Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala so that when he earns enough to fulfill his needs, the needs of those he is responsible for and whatever else is necessary, he does not busy himself in acquiring beyond that because in this way he will be establishing his worldly life but destroying his Hereafter.

Yet it is surprising to find people who have thousands and thousands of dollars or pounds, still running madly after the world and by so doing placing upon themselves difficulties and hardships, embarking upon business ventures, one after the other, which they could possibly do without.

What Now?

Maybe now one will strive to listen to more audio tapes on beneficial knowledge and attend talks and exhortations or read more beneficial books. Ponder upon the saying of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam):

“..and what he acted upon from the knowledge he acquired.”

and know, that you are accountable in front of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala for everything that you knew.

Check yourself before you try to seek increase through reading and listening to lectures and convert the knowledge that you already have into actions that accompany you as you live.

Knowledge reaches you of the impermissibility of usury, ask yourself, “Have I fulfilled acting upon this knowledge,and left off all dealings with interest?” You are required now to act by leaving off dealings with it, before anything else.

One reads the texts obligating the lowering of the gaze – so are you amongst those who lower their gaze from that which Allah the Glorified has made haram? If the answer is no then there is no need to inquire about lectures that they may deal with topics already materialised in you, for what you need most at this stage is to be lowering your gaze and studying all that would contribute towards implementing this matter, by reading, listening and generally learning. Study these hindrances that you may remove yourself from them, and search in books and audio tapes in order to make this goal easy.

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