20. Words of Wisdom from the Book Iqtidaa' ul-'Ilm il-'Amal (1) by al-Khateeb al Baghdadee (ra) (2)
* "Knowledge is like a father and action is like a child. Knowledge goes with action as narrating goes with understanding."
* "Do not feel satisfied with action, while being desolate of knowledge and do not feel satisfied with knowledge, whilst being heedless of actions. Rather, combine the two, even if your share of either may be meagre. A little of this, with a little of that is safer in the outcome, If Allah bestows His Mercy, and completes His favour upon His slave..."
* "Knowledge leads to action, just as action leads to salvation. So if the action is less than the knowledge, the scholar's knowledge is a burden upon him". (3)
* "Just as wealth has no benefit unless it is spent, knowledge does not benefit except one who acts upon it and observes its obligations".
* Knowledge is one of the pleasures of the world, yet if it is acted upon, it becomes for the Hereafter".
* "There are two tyrannies in the world: the tyranny of knowledge and the tyranny of wealth. What saves you from the tyranny of knowledge is worship, and what saves you from tyranny of wealth is renouncing it".
* "Whenever you intend to be honoured with knowledge, be attributed to it, and be of its people, before giving knowledge its full rights upon you, otherwise its light will be concealed from you and all that will remain on you is its outward illumination. That knowledge is against you, not for you because knowledge directs towards its application, so if it is not applied appropriately, its blessings are removed."
* "The best knowledge is that which benefits, and Allah only causes knowledge to benefit a person when he acts upon it once having learnt it and he does not cause it to benefit the person that leaves it after having learnt it".
* Knowledge without action is like a tree without fruit".
* "You are now in the preliminary world, in front of you are two places of abode, out of which you must live in one of. You have not been given assurance of protection, causing you to feel safe. Nor have you been granted acquittal, causing you to slacken".
* "If I were to know with full certainty
that all of my life was but an hour,
Why should I not renounce it
and dedicate it to righteousness and obedience".
* "You are submerged in careless hope,
the time of death you do not know of.
Do not be fooled by good health.
for it is from the most painful of illnesses
Every soul is by its day.
In the morning all hope will be removed.
So act with good deeds and work hard
Before you are prevented from acting"
* Ibn Mas'ud (ra) said, "Learn, learn, and once you have learnt, act". (hasan isnad , no.13)
* Abu Hurayrah (ra) said, "The example of knowledge not acted upon is that of a treasure none of which is spent in the way of Allah the Mighty and Majestic".
* az-Zuhri said, "The people will never be pleased with the statement of a scholar who does not act, nor of a person who acts but has no knowledge". (hasan isnad, no.12)
* "Whoever sought knowledge, intending the knowledge alone (ie without action), would not benefit by it. Yet whoever sought knowledge intending to act upon it, would benefit, even by a little knowledge".
* "Knowledge rests upon action, action rests upon sincerity, and sincerity to Allah brings about understanding of Allah the Mighty and Majestic".
* "Whoever seeks knowledge in order to act upon it will be humbled by his knowledge but whoever seeks it for other than that, will be increased by it in arrogance".
* "The time will soon come, if you live long, that knowledge will become a source of beautification, just as a person beautifies himself with a garment".
* "If Allah grants you knowledge, in return worship Him and do not make your goal merely narrating to the people".
* "The scholar remains ignorant with regard to what he has learnt until he acts according to it, and only then does he become a true scholar".
* "The knowledge of the hypocrite is in his speech, yet the knowledge of the believer is in his actions".
* "Act upon your knowledge, O man, and you will profit, for knowledge does not benefit unless one is proficient in action. Knowledge is a beauty, the taqwa of Allah being its ornation, and the pious are busy with the knowledge they possess/ Learn, and then act, as much as you are able to, and do not let amusement nor arguing distract you. Teach the people and always intend to benefit them, and beware! Beware of weariness befalling you."
* "Whoever speaks good things yet acts unrighteously, 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 swt says:
"To Him ascend the goodly word, and the righteous action raises it". (35:10)
* "Knowledge is the tool of action. So if a person spends his whole life gaining knowledge, when will he act?!"
* "Regardless of what knowledge passes you, do not let acting upon what you already know pass you".
* "Whoever does not look into Allah's right upon him with regards to his knowledge, that knowledge is a proof against you and its result is evil".
* "If knowledge is not acted upon it becomes a proof against you and you are not granted an excuse for the knowledge you possess, So if you have realised this fact, also realise,
That the proof of a man's speech is in his actions."
* One scholar said, "O how I wish I could gain salvation from my knowledge, it neither being for me nor against me".
* "If knowledge does not benefit you, it will harm you"
* "There is no good in seeking to gain more knowledge, without having acted upon what you have already learnt, for the example of this person is that of one who gathers firewood and then ties them ready to carry. Yet once finding himself unable to do so, adds another to the bundle".
* "For how long will I continue seeking knowledge,
affectionately gathering with every eagerness,
seeking to learn every type of it and every field
yet not acting upon a thing of it.
If the seeker of knowledge does not act upon what he knows,
he is a wretched servant.
Indeed knowledge is only of benefit for he
who acts upon it and is pious".
* "I certainly regard that a person forgets what he used to know because of a sin he commits".
* "Indeed if the scholar does not act, his admonitions fail to affect the hearts, just like the rain slides off a smooth rock".
* "The example of an evil scholar is that of a large rock which blocks a canal. Neither does it drink from the water, nor does it allow the water to pass, giving life to the trees. So if only the evil scholars advised the servants of Allah saying, "O worshippers of Allah! Listen to what we tell you of your Prophet (saw), and your righteous predecessors, and act upon that. Do not look at these poor actions of ours, as we are a people in trial". They would have, by this, advised the people correctly. Yet they want to call the people towards their bad actions, causing them to act similarly."
* "A corrupt reciter (of the Qur'an) is more feared by me than a corrupt man who is open with his corruption, as the latter is the less deceiving of the two".
* One scholar said: " Indeed the Qur'an was revealed to be acted upon, but the people took its reciting as a vocation. At that it was asked, "What is acting upon it? " So he replied, "Accepting as halal what is mentioned in it as halal, and as haraam what is mentioned as haram. To act upon its orders, abstain from all it prohibits and to ponder over its wonders".
* It has been said with regard to saying of Allah the Most High
"(they) recite it as it should be recited". (2:121)
"They follow it as it should be followed, acting upon it". (3)
* If Allah intends good for a servant he opens for him the door of action and closes for him the door of argumentation. Whereas if Allah intends for a servant evil (4), He opens for him the door of argumentation, and closes for him the door of action".
* "We used to seek aid in memorising the hadeeths by acting upon them".
* "You may meet a man not finding one mistake in his speech yet his actions may be completely at fault."
* We have not ben given ignorance but we
Hide the face of knowledge through ignorance
We detest making mistakes in our speech
Yet we do not care about making mistakes in our actions.
* And you will not possess on the Day of Resurrection
Other than what you ascertained before death
If you do not sow the seeds and the harvest approaches you
You will regret not having done so when the time was right.
* When you find yourself in need of provisions
You will not find provisions the like of righteous actions
* One of the scholars saw his neighbours wandering aimlessly, so he asked them, "What is the amtter with you?" They replied, "We have finished our duties of the day." So he said, "And is this what the one with no duties has been ordered with?"
* "The people who will be most accountable on the Day of Resurrection will be the healthy ones who had free time".
* "Take advantage of your spare time by engaging in prayers
For maybe your death will come suddenly
So many a healthy person you may have seen
His life snatched away from him unexpectedly."
* Some people invited a man to eat with them who in turn said, "I am fasting". They said to him, "Break your fast today and instead fast tomorrow". So he said, "And who will guarantee my living tomorrow?".
* It was said to a scholar, "Advise us". So he said, "Beware of saying "soon"."
* Beware of procrastination overcoming you and taking over your heart for verily it is the cause of fatigue and wastefulness. Due to it, aspirations are severed and amidst it, death is met.
This is all that Allah swt granted me the ability to write. I hope that it will be a source of guidance to its writer as well as its reader. As I hope that it will be an incentive for them towards action and sincerity in accordance to the Prophetic Way and correct knowledge. Verily He, the Most High, is the All Hearer, the All Answerer. Our final supplication is that all praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.
(1) tr. "The Need Knowledge has of Action".
(2) I have removed the names that the sayings were attributed to fearing inauthenticity in the original attribution, except where the authenticity is established. Soem statements have also been slightly abridged.
(3) Ibn Kathir mentions in his Tafsir, "If the reciter reaches mention of paradise, he beseeches Allah the Most High to grant him Paradise. If he reaches mention of the Fire, he seeks refuge with Allah the Most High from it." He also mentions, "Abu al 'Aliyah said, Ibn Mas'ud (ra) said, "By Him, in Who's Hand is my soul, reciting it as it should be recited is to consider its halal as halal and its haram as haram. To recite it as Allah revealed it without distorting its words, not falsely explaining its intended meanings."
(4) Once the servant has decided to follow such a path, Allah the Most High, allows him to take such a path.