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Acting upon the Knowledge is Obligatory

While proceeding in knowledge, one should always be aware of busying himself with the means [(i.e. gathering knowledge) for knowledge is the tool of action] at the expense of goals [worship of Allah], so much that the intend behind it become oblivious. Acting in accordance with the knowledge should not be neglected. Before assembling more knowledge one should first turn to the knowledge which has already been collected. One should spend time doing things that, which has been made obligatory, before anything else. For the fear that this might fall under the saying of Allah:

“The mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly things diverts you.” [Soorah at-Takaathur (102): 1]

And the fact that the virtues and Merits of Knowledge vary depending upon the adherence to it. So if the action is less then the knowledge, the scholar’s knowledge is a burden upon him. Just as wealth has no benefit unless it is spent, knowledge does not benefit except one acts upon it and observes its obligations.

Abu Hurairah (radhi allahu anhu) said: “ The example of knowledge not acted upon is like the treasure, none of which, is spent in the way of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic. “

Whoever speaks good things yet does not act righteously; Allah does not accept his good speech. Whereas he who speaks good things and works righteous acts, his speech is raised by his good deeds. That is because Allah said: “To Him ascends the goodly word, and the righteous actions raises it.” [Soorah al-Faatir (35): 10]

Ibn Mas`ood, (radhi allahu anhu) said: "True knowledge is not measured in relationship to how much you memorize and then narrate, but rather, true knowledge is an expression of piety [protecting oneself from what Allah prohibited and acting upon what He mandated]."Also, "Study and act upon what you learn." [Related by Abu Na`eem]

Verses of the Qur’aan regarding the Rewards of Actions

Allah says in the Qur’aan: “Eat and drink with happiness because of what you used to do.” [Soorah at-Toor (52): 19]

And it will be cried out to them: “This is the Paradise you have inherited for what you have inherited for what you used to do!” [Soorah al-A’raaf (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 your Paradise because of that which you used to do.” [Soorah an-Nahl: (16): 32]

The Punishment of not acting upon one’s knowledge.

Narrated Ibn al-Khattab (radhi allahu anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Islam will dominate so that traders frequent the seas and horses enter into the path of Allah. Then there will appear a people who will recite the Qur’aan saying: “Who amongst us has memorized the most Qur’aan? Who is most knowledgeable of us? Which one of us has the most understanding? Then he asked the companions: “Is there any good in them?” They replied, “Allah and His Messenger know best,” He said, “They are from you and from this Ummah and they are from the fuel of the Fire.” [Reported by At-Tabaranee in Al-Awsat and al-Bazaar, Saheeh at-Targeeh wa-Tarheeh # 131.]

Allah makes clear the destination of all created beings. Their different ascending and descending ranks will only be in accordance to their actions:"O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not do," [Soorah As-Saff (61): 2-3]

Hindrances in Action

On the authority of Aboo Bakr Ibn Abdullah ibn Qays from his father who, said that he heard his father say whilst he was facing the enemy “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Surely, the gates of Paradise are under the shadows of the swords. A man in a shabby condition got up and said: “Abu Musa, did you hear the Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) of Allah (peace be upon him) say this? He said: ‘Yes. (The narrator said): He returned to his friends and said: ‘I greet you (a farewell greeting). Then he broke the sheath of his sword, threw it away, advanced with his (naked) sword towards the enemy and fought (them) with it until he was killed“ [Sahih Muslim no 468]

On the authority of Jabir (radhi allahu anhu) who said: ‘A man said: “O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) where will I be if I am killed?” He replied: “In Paradise” So he threw the dates he had in his hands then went and fought until he was killed.” [Muslim Eng. Vol.3, page 1052, # 4681.]

“A man in a shabby condition got up and said: ‘Abu Musa, did you hear the Messenger of Allah say this?”

So the first thing we must race towards is to remove all that is unauthentic attributes to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam)

“Then he broke the sheath of his sword, threw it away, advanced with his (naked) sword towards the enemy and fought (them) with it until he was killed.”

Then, after removing the important barrier, he (man in a shabby condition) broke the sheath of his sword not even thinking about returning.

Similarly, the Companion (radhi allahu anhu) who asked the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) about his place if he was killed, as soon as he heard about Paradise, he threw away the dates that were in his hand only because he believed that these dates would delay him and hinder him from entering Paradise.

So Secondly, as a result one should hasten to do good deeds and righteous actions as ones ability, and refrain from delaying and being lazy, keeping the saying of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam): “There is hesitation I everything except in the actions of the Hereafter.” [Aboo Dawood # 4792, [Shaykh Al-Albanee’s Silsilatul Ahadeeth as-Saheehah # 1794]

Islam consists of acting and abstaining, so it becomes important for us to build the levels of knowledge and actions upon a firm foundation, as the Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “From a man’s perfecting his religion is his leaving alone that does not concern him.” [Musnad Ahmed, at-Tirmidhee, Ibn Majah and others. Sharah Aqeedah at-Tahawiyyah # 268]

It is understood from this narration that from a man’s deficiency in his religion is his indulging in that, which does not concern him. This includes everything of secondary importance, whichever form it may take. What should concern a believer is all that relates to the essentials of his lively-hood, he should be concerned with all that relates to his salvation in the Hereafter, that being Islam, Eeman, Ihsan.

Whereas striving to accomplish other than that is loss of irreplaceable valuable time. In this way knowledge, speech and studies are purified, every attribute denounced in the Book of Allah and the Sunnah is removed and what remains are the beneficial and worthy actions. This is the way a Muslim arranges and plans his affairs with generosity whether it be intention, speech or actions. As mentioned in a hadeeth:

“Verily Allah the All Mighty and Majestic is Generous, He loves generosity and noble character and hates the despicable character.” [As-Silsilah As-Saheehah #1378]

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