Alhamdulillah we have learnt about the virtues and blessings of knowledge, but like with every blessing, knowledge also brings in responsibilities.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The two feet of the servant will not cease (from standing before Allah) on the Day of Judgment until he is asked about four things: on his life and how he spent it; on his knowledge and what he did with it; on his wealth and where he earned it and how he spent it; and on his body and in what way he utilized it.” [Saheeh, reported by At-Tirmidhi]
Physical action is an essential part of faith, without which faith is not valid, and a lack of physical action is indicative of a lack of faith in the heart, because they are strongly interconnected. Whoever thinks that there could be strong and sound faith without that leading to physical action (righteous deeds), even though he knows about his religious duties and is able to do them, is thinking that something impossible is possible, and is denying the connection between physical action and what is in the heart
This can be perfectly understood from Surah Al Asr, where Allah connected, faith (which comes with knowledge and action and also preaching.
“By Al-‘Asr (the time). Verily! Man is in loss, except those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth and recommend one another to patience.” (Surah Al Asr)
Ash-Shafiee – may Allaah be pleased with him – said: ‘If all the people reflected over this Soorah it would be sufficient for them.’
The explanation of this is that this Soorah has four levels, and by completing these, a person can achieve the highest goal in being complete.
Acting upon one’s knowledge is one of the most significant ways by which knowledge can become firmly rooted in a person. Rather, this is the primary objective for seeking knowledge. It has been reported on the Salaf that they used to say: “Knowledge summons actions, so if it does not respond, it departs.”
Wakee’ said: “We would seek assistance for memorizing hadeeth, by acting upon them.”
It has also been stated: “Knowledge is a parent and action is its offspring.”
Knowledge is joined to action, and action is the fruit of knowledge, so knowledge without action is like a tree without fruit, there is no benefit in it, and knowledge was sent down to bring about action. Just as action without knowledge will be an affliction and misguidance for its person
So do not feel satisfied with knowledge so long as you fall short of producing actions not feel satisfied with actions so long as you are lacking in knowledge. Rather, combine them both, even if your share of the two is small.
Verses of the Qur’an Regarding the Rewards of Actions
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in the Qur’an:
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala makes clear the destination of all created beings. Their different ascending and descending ranks will only be in accordance with their actions. Thus man will either be in a state of happiness or misery as a result of his righteous or evil deeds.
The best deed to perform
The greatest type of worship is to perform that which Allah makes obligatory on His servants and to refrain from all that He forbids. Abu Hurayrah narrated that Prophet ﷺ said: “Allah says: ‘The most beloved deeds with which my slave comes nearer to me are what I have enjoined on him.’” (Al-Bukhari).
Also in another hadeeth Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: I asked, “O Messenger of Allah ﷺ, which deed is best?” The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Prayer in its proper time….” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 2630, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 85)
Ibn Al-Qayyim said:
“Since the righteous predecessors lived their whole life in worship, it is then necessary for us to know with which type of worship they started, and which one have they given priority.” He then answered: “The best acts of worship are the most pleasing to Allah in that particular time. The best act of worship during the presence of a guest is to take care of him and not to be distracted from that by other recommended acts of worship. This is also in performing one’s duties towards one’s wife and family. The best act of worship in the night is to be occupied with prayer, reciting the Quran, supplication and Dhikr. The best thing during the time of the Athaan (i.e. the call for prayer) is to leave whatever worship one is doing and answer the Mu`aththin (i.e. the one calling the Athaan) by repeating what he says. The best thing during the time of the five obligatory prayers is to exert one’s efforts in their prompt performance. The best thing when the poor is in dire need of assistance is to assist him and give that preference over supererogatory Dhikr. The best thing to do when your brother is sick or dead is to visit him, attend his funeral, and give that priority over your supererogatory Dhikr. And the best thing to do when you are afflicted and suffer people’s harm is to be patient and not to run away from them.” [End of quote]
SubhaanAllah a beautiful advice by the sheikh, this is something we generally miss out on, as one of the tricks of Shaitaan to steal from one who is busy with Ibaadah is to get us busy in something that is least beneficial.
The Salaf concerning Knowledge & Action
Below is a compilation of a few beneficial pieces of advice from the Salaf, may Allah have mercy on them.
Abu Abdillah Ar-Rudhabaari,
Whoever goes out towards knowledge, intending (just to obtain) the knowledge, knowledge does not benefit him. And whoever goes out towards knowledge, intending to act upon the knowledge, knowledge benefits him – even if it’s a little.
Habeeb ibn Ubayd ar-Rahbi,
Acquire knowledge, comprehend it and use it. And do not acquire it in order to adorn yourselves with it, for indeed, it is imminent – should your life-spans be prolonged for you – that knowledge will be used as a means for adorning oneself, just as a man adorns himself with his garment.
Abdullah ibn Al-Mu’taz,
The knowledge of a hypocrite is in his speech, while the knowledge of a believer is in his actions.
Yahya ibn Ma’een would recite the verse of poetry,
If you are lacking provisions, you will not find any provision quite like that of righteous actions.
So when a person is sincere with knowledge and acts upon it, his aspiration is for the Hereafter and he walks upon the earth in humility.
Ibraaheem bin Adham
“Whoever seeks knowledge with true sincerity, in order to benefit the servants of Allaah with it and benefit himself, being unknown will be more beloved to him than being arrogant. This is what will cause him to increase in humility with regard to himself, exertion with regard to worship, fear from Allaah, longing for Him, and humbleness in front of the people – not caring for what goes on in the day and night of this worldly life.”
I ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to grant us the ability to act upon it, and to make it sincere and acceptable to Him, to eliminate darkness, illuminate the way and cause the ummah to benefit from it. He indeed is the All Hearer of invocation.