PART 4 – THE MUSLIM AND THE VALUE OF KNOWLEDGE
Today, many of us have lost the appreciation of zikrullah. The intoxication of dunia and its short term priorities have caused us to devalue jannah and jahannam. We have been influenced and guided by our base desires, shayateen and the environment to the extent that we have lost our bearings and priorities. We have allowed our hearts to become cheapened and our minds to be anchored by materialistic pursuits, and we now pay the price for it with the deviation from our Islamic paths.
Surah As-Zukhruf, verse 36 says:
And whosoever turns away blindly from the remembrance of the Most Gracious (Allah) (i.e. this Qur’an and worship of Allah), We will appoint for him Shaitan (Satan devil) to be a Qarin (an intimate companion) to him.
This verse emphasises the dangers of turning away from the remembrance of Allah. If this happens, we are like putty in the hands of Shaitan. How can one be accompanied by Shaitan and acquire the qualities of a Muhsin, Mu’min or Muslim? Shaitan will beautify a person’s mistakes and actions, rendering him blind to his flaws, persuading him to love himself and his deeds, and increasing his arrogance. These decorations will intensify until he will sin without the awareness of what he is doing. From this, he will not even be able to repent because he is unable to realize his wrong doing.
In verse 168 of Surah Al Baqarah, we are warned against following the footsteps of Shaitan for he is our clear enemy. To guard ourselves, we should habitually engage in the remembrance of Allah. This can take many forms – saying tasbeeh, reading the Qur’an, learning about Islam, attending Islamic study circles and similar activities.
If we are in a habitual state of zikrullah, it is easier for us to get back on track if we temporarily lapse from remembering Allah. However, if we constantly neglect the remembrance of Allah, Shaitan will lead us through a maze of diversions. Before long, we will submit to the wishes of Shaitan, and view issues through his eyes. We will adopt his arrogant attitude, demand for others to defer to us, refuse to back down from confrontations, and create unnecessary upheavals with our spouses and others with our arrogance and stubbornness.
Where do we stand in this spectrum? How do we act and react? What are our hearts and tongues occupied by for most of the time? How many people can we actually reach out to and have a meaningful conversation with? In most social interactions, what do we give and what do we take away with us?
The useful knowledge
It is said that a person who understands Islam is more esteemed in the eyes of Allah than a hundred worshippers. Yet knowledge itself is only of value if translated into action. That action, in turn has to be premised on pleasing Allah alone. A good deed which is not underpinned by the correct intention is wasted on the doer.
In Surah Al Kahf 104 – 105, the biggest losers are:
“[They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work. Those are the ones who disbelieve in the verses of their Lord and in [their] meeting Him, so their deeds have become worthless; and We will not assign to them on the Day of Resurrection any importance.”
This verse is directed at non-Muslims, but many Muslims are also guilty of this. We know of many Muslims busy doing beautiful good deeds, but not for the sake of Allah. They possess goodness in their character and manner, but on many fronts, they do not live their lives according to Muslim teachings because they do not take the meeting with their Lord seriously. When they perform a good deed, it is more for self gratification rather than to please Allah. What a waste!
Most hadith books begin with this beautiful hadith, which summarizes where our actions will take us:
‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him), reported: Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “The deeds are considered by the intentions, and a person will get the reward according to his intention. So whoever emigrated for Allah and His Messenger, his emigration will be for Allah and His Messenger; and whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration would be for what he emigrated for”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Hence, whatever we do, let’s do it with the intention of bringing us towards the fold of Allah’s mercy, protection and pleasure.
The right knowledge makes one develop his faith, get closer to Allah, and makes him self-aware of his actions, and elevates the iman to develop awareness and attentiveness.
Ali ibn Talib RA said:
“Knowledge is better than wealth. Knowledge guards you while you have to guard wealth. Wealth decreases by spending while knowledge increases by spending, and the results of wealth die as wealth decay. With it a man acquires obedience during his lifetime and a good name after his death. Knowledge is a ruler while wealth is ruled upon.”
True knowledge is the type that lends us humbleness and humility, and which increases our remembrance of Allah.
Imam Al Samarqandi, who passed away over a thousand years ago, said that a knowledgeable man is the one who knows that his life on earth is not his residence, and prepares for the Hereafter. Let’s strive to be real Muslims and Mu’min, not just in tongue and ritual, but in practicality and action. This is the real knowledge, which is to implement it, and not just talk or pass links about it.