Al-Usool Ath-Thalaathah – Lesson 4

الثَّانِيَةُ: العَمَلُ بِهِ

The second: Acting upon this knowledge

Word-for-Word Translation

the second الثَّانِيَةُ
to act upon it العَمَلُ بِهِ

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Acting Upon Knowledge

The second: Acting upon this knowledge – The second issue that is a must upon us to know is the fact that we have to act upon the knowledge we learn. Actions are the fruits of knowledge and the cause for knowledge to become firm and deeply rooted within a person. Some of the pious predecessors  (salaf) said “we use to seek help in memorising the hadith by acting upon it”, also some of the scholars of Hadith used to say “act upon the hadith you learn even if it is onetime for you will be the people of Hadith”.

Whoever acts upon what he has learnt, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) preserves for him what he has learnt and rewards him with more knowledge. Acting upon knowledge is also from the causes for the increase in eemaan as Allah (suhbhanahu wa ta’ala) has said in the Quran “and those who became guided, Allah increased them in guidance and gave them their righteousness”. Imam Shawkani (rahimahullah) said when explaining this ayah “Allah increased them in eeman, knowledge and baseerah in the deen”. The happy person is the one who has learnt knowledge and practices what he has learnt. Imam an-Nawawi (rahimahullah) said “wisdom is the knowledge that includes knowing Allah along with having acute discernment and the refinement of the soul. It is also to verify the truth from falsehood so that you will act upon it and stay away from its opposite. The wise person is the one who has achieved these characteristics”.

If the person acts upon his knowledge by establishing the obligations of Allah, sticking to the nawaafil like the rawaatib prayers and the witr prayer, reading the Quran, asking Allah (azza wa jal) for forgiveness at the time before fajr, and makes it binding upon himself for a period of time to sit in the Masjid in order to do dhikr (the best time for this dhikr being after the fajr prayer up until the sunrise), and stays away from the sittings of laghw (unnecessary vain talk) and ghaflah (negligence heedlessness) and sittings of the people of gheebah (backbiting) and lowly speech, and protects his tongue from that which does not concern him, then this person has made for himself the atmosphere to practice the knowledge he has learnt. The one who does not act upon what he has learnt, then he is deprived from the sweet taste of the enjoyment of knowledge and khashyah (fearing Allah) and Allah is about to take away from him what he has learnt and he will be counted among the ignorant ones. Fudayl ibn iyaad said “the scholar will continue to be ignorant up until he acts upon his knowledge, if he acts upon what he has learnt then he becomes a scholar”.

Whoever does not act upon his knowledge, his knowledge will be a source of sorrow and regret for him on the day of judgement. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa salam) said “the two feet of the servant will not move until he is questioned about how he spent his lifetime, what he did with his knowledge, how he earned and spent his money and and in what did he wear out his body” – reported by Tirmidhi.

The one who has knowledge, yet does not practice it, is worse than the ignorant one. He is one of the three by which the fire will be kindled with on the day of judgement. In this regard, Ibn Raslan (rahimahullah) said “a knowledgeable person who did not act upon the knowledge he has, is punished before the worshipers of the idols”.

The one who knows one point from the issues of knowledge, then the proof is established against  that person in that issue, even if he is not from the scholars, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa salam) said “the Quran is either a hujja (proof) for you or against you” – reported by Muslim. The one who acts but without knowledge resembles the Christians. The one who learnt knowledge but did not act upon the knowledge resembles the Jews.

The scholar is the one who acts upon his knowledge even if his knowledge is little. The objective of the Islamic legislation (shari’ah) in achieving knowledge is to apply it and act upon it, in a way that which will bring the khashyah (fear coupled with knowledge) of Allah and bring you close to Allah (azza wa jal).

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series The Three Fundamental Principles