Ramadan 2012 Prep Tip #1: Seek Knowledge… – Part 7
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
What should knowledge do for us?
I spoke about the importance of applying one’s knowledge in the previous parts so in this part, I’d just like to summarise what this knowledge should do for us:
-It should increase us in our knowledge of Allah i.e. His Names and His Attributes.
- It should improve us as people – both from the perspective of ibaadah (worship) and good manners.
- It should soften our hearts.
Yes soften, NOT harden because sadly, some people let their hearts get hard even though the knowledge has come to them.
- It should make us aware of our deficiencies and ignorance.
- It should make us humble, not arrogant. Basically it needs to break us and pour into our pores (if you will).
The following two ahadeeth should clarify the above points:
إن المؤمن يرى ذنوبه كأنه قاعد تحت جبل يخاف أن يقع عليه ، وإن الفاجر يرى ذنوبه كذباب مر على أنفه ، فقال به هكذا . قال أبو شهاب بيده فوق أنفه
أن عبد الرحمن بن عوف رضي الله عنه أتي بطعام ، وكان صائما ، فقال : قتل مصعب بن عمير ، وهو خير مني ، كفن في بردة : إن غطي رأسه بدت رجلاه ، وإن غطي رجلاه بدا رأسه . وأراه قال : وقتل حمزة ، وهو خير مني ، ثم بسط لنا من الدنيا ما بسط ، أو قال : أعطينا من الدنيا ما أعطينا ، وقد خشينا أن تكون حسناتنا عجلت لنا ، ثم جعل يبكي حتى ترك الطعام
Narrated Ibrahim: Once a meal was brought to Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf (radiallahu anhu) and he was fasting. He said, “Musab ibnUmair was martyred and he was better than I and was shrouded in his Burd (a black square narrow dress) and when his head was covered with it, his legs became bare, and when his legs were covered his head got uncovered. Hamza was martyred and was better than I. Now the worldly wealth have been bestowed upon us (or said a similar thing). No doubt, I fear that the rewards of my deeds might have been given earlier in this world.” Then he started weeping and left his food. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 2, Hadeeth No. 365]
Abdur Rahman ibn Awf (radiallahu anhu) was one of the greatest companions and he was one of those who was granted Paradise in his lifetime. Subhan Allah, look at how much he feared Allah!
Some examples of how knowledge benefits us in our daily lives
[Please note: Due to time constraints, I'll just be mentioning the points without mentioning the related proofs. If anybody wants any of the proofs, please say so. I have linked to some of the required fatwas though.]
So how does all this knowledge help us in our daily activities, one asks?
There are many different ways, so I’ll just mention a handful of examples:
1) We were created to worship Allah so this knowledge shows us the proper way of worshipping Him. It also helps us to know how we can worship Allah better at a given time.
[Sadly, the people who don't realise this fact are the same ones who keep bleating on about there being "more important things to focus on" whenever the issues of tawheed (worshipping Allah alone), seeking knowledge, dawah (calling to Islam), etc are mentioned in their presence.]
Let me give you an example pertaining to the current day: 15th of Shaban.
Every year, the same questions are asked: Is this is a special day or not? As I mentioned in this post, there is no established proof of its specialness, and even if it was special (some of the scholars did authenticate some of the ahadeeth which mention its virtues although the others weakened these ahadeeth), there is no proof that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) did more ibaadah (worship) on this day.
Unfortunately, many people miss the point.
What’s the point, you ask?
The point is that we know days which have special virtues and in which the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) did more ibaadah like the last ten nights of Ramadan (including Laylatul Qadr), the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah (including the Day of Arafah), the Day of Aashoorah, etc.
Many people spend so much effort on 15th of Shaban, either doing extra ibaadah or researching this issue. However, many of these same people do not increase their ibaadah on the days which are established to be virtuous!!
So, if they had sought knowledge, they would have known that these were the best days to increase in His worship and that there was no doubt with regards to that, unlike in the case of the 15th of Shaban.
2) The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was sent with all the good things. He taught us the best way to worship Allah, to live, to eat, to sleep, to interact with people, etc. So the person who follows the Sunnah (his way) will live life in the best possible way. They will also know the best way to deal with any situation or occasion.
However, in order to follow his Sunnah, we need to have the knowledge of it first.
What’s really amazing is that many people aim to guess at what Islam says, apply that and then gain the knowledge!
Or else they wait until a situation occurs, becomes worse and then they try to find the solutions for it, whereas they should have studied its rulings before this situation came up.
Let me give you a few examples:
- When a person starts practicing medicine (i.e. he starts working as a doctor), has he studied before that?
What about when a person is hired as a driver? Would he need to have a driver’s license?
What about when a person wants to bake a cake? If she doesn’t know, won’t she try to ask someone or google the recipe before baking the cake?
What am I trying to say? Well, I’m trying to point out that logically speaking, a person needs to have knowledge of something before the situation arises, even in “worldly” terms.
However, when it comes to the Islamic side, we do it the wrong way round.
Let me give you some examples:
- When a Muslim women is pregnant, what does she do? Well, most women rush to get their copy of “What to expect when expecting”.
However, how many women actually sit and research the rulings regarding pregnancy, childbirth, raising children, etc? The answer is: not many.
Sadly, many of the women wait until the last minute to learn about these things, if at all.
So, you have a mother who wakes up one day to find that her teenage son is straying away from Islam and she has no idea what to do. [Of course, in many cases, the mothers have tried their best but it didn't work. I'm talking about those cases where they were negligent.]
[Here's a VERY useful website for parents who are struggling with trying to get their kiddies to practice Islam:
They also launched a Muslim Parenting Academy recently. Here's the link.]
Sadly, many brothers and sisters are unaware that raising children starts from the time a potential spouse is chosen and it continues from there. Had they only learnt about the Islamic rulings on these issues, they would have had fewer problems down the line.
- Another example would be when two people are getting married.
Tell me, what do most brides and grooms focus on these days?
Well, to summarise it would be: 1) shopping 2) shopping and shopping.
A sister pointed out that these days, many brides focus on getting their hair done in the parlour. She stated that marriage was an ibaadah (an act of worship) and not just a normal worldly activity, so what brides and grooms should have focused on is learning the fiqh (jurisprudence) of marriage.
Subhan Allah, most people get married only once in a lifetime so one would think that they would really try to do it the way of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).
Sadly, many people don’t know the rules of the wedding banquet, the wedding night, the rights of the husband and the rights of the wife.
They also have no idea what the rules of divorce are.
Why do they need to know these, you ask? Well, because marriage is a contract and divorce is that which nullifies this contract. So if you sign any contract, you always have to know what its conditions and nullifiers are.
[To all the unmarried people out there: If you want the barakah (blessings) in your marriage, follow the Sunnah with regards to your wedding and don't let anyone stop you. Do you really want to anger Allah with a wedding party that contains things displeasing to Him and start your marriage of on the wrong foot?]
It’s because many people have not learnt the Islamic rules related to marriage that this beautiful thing (i.e. marriage) seems to have – in quite a large number of cases – turned into “The Battle of the Two Big Babies” where both the husband and wife try to one up each other and focus on what the other is doing wrong instead of fearing Allah and focusing on themselves, and fulfilling their duties – because THAT is what they will be asked about, not whether they received their rights from their spouses.
[Note: Yes, I know that the above is going to infuriate a lot of people. Please understand that I forced myself to type that out of concern. So don't jump to reply rather give yourself a chance to think about what I've said.]
3) Some people think that it isn’t important to study aqeedah (creed) and mistakenly believe that it has no relation to our lives.
Okay, let’s take one example of what we learn in aqeedah: knowing the Names and Attributes of Allah.
One of the things that this increases us in is fear of Allah.
Suppose a person truly feared Allah the way He deserves to be feared. Do you think that he would:
- Cheat anybody?
- Abuse his wife?
- Scream obscenities?
- Put his parents in an old age home?
- Make his neighbours miserable?
Short answer: No, he wouldn’t.
And this is what people don’t understand. What we really need, in this day and age, just like in the past, is the knowledge of the Rights of Allah and His Names and Attributes.
These are the things that when they enter one’s heart, cause a person to improve and become a better person, at home and outside of it.
That’s why the Companions of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) changed so much. They loved Allah with a true love, feared Him with a true fear and hoped in his Mercy with a true hope, all because they learnt His Rights over them, and His Names and Attributes and they actualised this knowledge.
And they turned out to be the greatest generation.
Let’s take another example. Suppose you have a teenage girl.
Her classmates aren’t Muslims and they do all sorts of things. She struggles to practice her religion due to peer pressure.
What if she studied aqeedah? Well then:
- She would realise that needs to fear Allah, not her classmates.
- She would supplicate to Him for help so that they don’t oppress her or make fun of her.
- She would supplicate to Him for steadfastness on Islam.
- She would also improve the quality of her prayers, knowing that this would cause her to strengthen her relationship with Her Lord.
- She would realise that this life is temporary so there is no point in wanting to be like them. Their actions won’t seem attractive to her, rather they will appear repulsive.
- She would realise that the women that she needs to imitate are Maryam, Fatimah, Khadijah, Asiyah, Aishah, etc (radiallahu anhunn) and not Brittany Spears and that Hannah Montana female. [Sorry, I have no clue who she is. I just heard that teenage girls were starting to speak like her!]
- She wouldn’t feel so depressed when she gets laughed at for practicing Islam, because she knows that she will be the one laughing at the end. After all, in Paradise, she will be ultra beautiful, have a very handsome spouse, and also get to relax all day long. Totally awesome.
4) Some people also think that we don’t need to study the “nitty gritty” details of Islam because it doesn’t have any effect on our daily lives. That’s why you’ll find them dead set against any kind of dawah because according to them “there are more important things to focus on”. [Sorry, have I mentioned that before?]
Let me give you a few examples:
- A person wants to go to a Chinese restaurant and have some frog leg soup because he heard that it was delicious.
He does so not realising that it is forbidden to eat frogs.
Had he learnt the Islamic rules regarding food, he wouldn’t made have this error.
- A man wants to try out kombucha tea because he heard that it was nice. [Note: Just don't ask how they make it. Please.]
However, everyone tells him that it is “haram” because it has a teensie-weensie percentage of alcohol.
Well then, he could show them this fatwa and then go buy the tea (without asking how they make it).
- A man wants to buy a cat for his daughter.
No harm, right?
Well……there is sort of a difference of opinion on this: it’s either forbidden or at the very least disliked.
Note: The issue is about BUYING the cat, not about keeping one (there’s no issue with this). It’s okay if one truly believes that it is allowed but if one is not sure, then it’s better to leave it.
“Hey, this is really nitty gritty. Why do we have to go so deep?”
Because if we truly love Allah, we will try to obey in ALL our matters, no matter how “nitty gritty” they are, so that we can please Him and be amongst His loved ones.
- A man is told that he suffers from a chronic illness and that there is no known cure for it at this time.
So, he gives up trying to look for a cure and just lives with his illness.
However, if he had known about the following hadeeth, he wouldn’t have given up:
لكل داء دواء . فإذا أصيب دواء الداء برأ بإذن الله عز وجل
Jabir (radialalhu anhu( reported Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as saying: “For every disease, there is a remedy, and when the remedy is applied to the disease it is cured with the permission of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 5466]
So, he would first do dua (supplication) to Allah to cure him. Then he would try using Prophetic medicine (like zam-zam water, black seed oil, honey, cupping, etc) and see if they worked.
He would also try different types of medicine (e.g. Chinese, Greek, Homeopathic, etc) to see if one of them had a cure for his issue.
And of course, if he had studied aqeedah, he would be patient and would also be pleased with the decree of Allah, no matter what the outcome turned out to be.
To be continued…
PS. Sigh, this series isn’t over yet. Still one more part to go, insha-Allah.
PPS. Has anyone actually read all the parts in this series?