Knowledge Which Has No Benefit - Thought Of The Week 1

A'udhu billahi min al-Shaytan al-rajim, Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim. Assalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. The Hadith, which we want to look at this week and is a thought of the week of reflection from the teachings of the Prophet and his noble family, may God's peace and blessings be upon them, concerns the importance of knowledge.

Now, obviously, we know in the world that we live in today that knowledge is key for a good education. You need to have that good education for a good career to establish yourself, to build your family, to build your community, to build your society. And this is something which Islam has stressed upon in many, many ways. Within the verses of the Qur'an we see many references to seeking knowledge, to going forth to get a better understanding of not only the religion of Islam, but also of the world around us and also within the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad and his noble family, may God's peace and blessings be upon them.

We also see the importance on gaining knowledge - again, both religiously and also of the secular world so to speak. So let us look at the tradition that we want to reflect upon today, which comes to us from the noble Prophet Muhammad, may God's peace and blessings be upon him and his family, in which he says the following. "We seek refuge in Allah from knowledge which offers no benefit - and this is knowledge which runs contradictory to the performance of actions with true sincerity. Realize that certainly a small amount of knowledge requires a great deal of action, as the attainment of knowledge in a short period of time necessitates the one who has acquired it to act according to it, for his entire life."

So the Prophet mentions two or three very important points within this very brief tradition. He first makes a supplication to Allah in which he seeks refuge from knowledge which offers no benefit. And this is something which is also repeated in the supplication, which the believers recite after the Asr prayers, where we seek again protection in Allah from knowledge which offers us no benefit.

And that itself has multiple definitions. One of the understandings could be knowledge of things of religion which does not affect us or impact us. Whether we know it or we do not know it, it does not really affect our standing with Allah it won't affect our outcome on the day of resurrection. But also, as the Prophet shows us within this hadith that we are looking at today from this tradition, that he talks about knowledge which has no benefit as being that knowledge which runs contradictory to actions of sincerity.

And so he is asking us to ask Allah for protection from that sort of knowledge, which we may gain, but which is not for the sake of Allah. It is not to get closer to Allah, it is not to earn Allah's pleasure.

The second part of the Hadith is also as impactful as the first portion in which the Prophet reminds us that yes, to seek knowledge and to gain knowledge, again especially of religious affairs, it may take a person a very short amount of time, maybe a few weeks, a few months, maybe a few years.

But he shows us that seeking of that knowledge in a short period of time puts a great burden on the individual, meaning that now that I know something of religion, now that I know one of the obligations that I have to follow, now I need to implement that for my entire life. So as he says that a small amount of knowledge gained in a short period of time necessitates that the individual now act upon that knowledge for the entire life that he leads.

And now that should not scare us, that we should not seek knowledge because we will also be held accountable for that, but rather that when we do gain some knowledge on Islam, when we learn something about the religion of Allah, that we do our best to implement it within our lives and that we put that teaching into practice, whether it be a verse of the Qur'an that we learn, whether it be a tradition of the Prophet or one of the infallibles, whether this be in relation to worship or social rights or economic rights, whatever the case may be.Generally speaking, we see that small amount of knowledge will necessitate us to work and to implement it within our lives until the day that we are no longer alive.

We ask Allah as we close to give us the ability to gain that knowledge which will be beneficial to us that we can act with sincerity with; and we also ask Allah that we are able to attain the knowledge of Islam and to implement it and practice it within our lives on a day to day basis. Wa assalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
 

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