Adorn Knowledge with Action


Knowledge without appropriate action is only a proof against ourselves.

Say: Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? It is only those with understanding that pay heed (to Allah’s Message). [39:9]

All of us try to seek as much knowledge about our religion as possible. We may  be guilty of just acquiring knowledge from every means available at sometime or another; be it through online lectures, attending study circles, or reading books. We may have been filling our bookshelves and computers with whatever Islamic knowledge that we come across. But the question is how much of it are we really implementing? And I ask this question to myself before anybody else.

The requirement to take action upon knowledge prevails in every person’s heart, whether consciously or subconsciously. But for the mean time, it feels safe to just know things and act upon them later, right? Even I used to think that. Until I met someone who completely changed my misconceptions.

I attend evening Islamic classes at one of the Masaajid in my city. I had noticed a girl in our class with a super long hijab and a loose abaya, with an expression of serious concentration always on her face especially while listening to the teacher. I looked at her and thought to myself, man, I better keep my humor to myself around her. She seems a very serious kind of person.

One night I went to the class with one of my friends who is a social butterfly, and knows many people in the class and loves to get introduced to new sisters. So my friend and I were searching for sisters who might live close to our area for a ride, and my friend kept checking with everyone for their locations, despite my protests of making use of the cab facility instead and not needing to bother anyone with our requests.

Just then, the sister who I promised myself not to joke with, came up to us and asked us where we lived, and actually volunteered to drop us back. On the way back, I was in the passenger seat and my friend was sitting behind us. The two kept chatting like they had known each other forever, while I remained silent  thinking that it was best not to talk too much. Then, all of a sudden, the sister started cracking  jokes and laughing; I was pleasantly surprised. The more I got to know her, even during our short ride,  the more I started enjoying her company.

She could have dropped my friend and I somewhere near our houses but she preferred to drop us exactly at our doorsteps. We first dropped my friend and then moved towards my house.  As we drove on I noticed an “Emirates” airline sticker on her windshield and so I enquired about it and asked if she worked  there. She then told me that she works as an Arabic teacher, and proceeded to tell me the most beautiful story I have ever heard, regarding her previous occupation.

She said that she used to be part of the cabin crew for the Emirates a few months earlier, but then she started to attend Islamic classes regularly; and she realized that if she did not act upon the knowledge she was learning, then it would be a mere waste of time and it would be like carrying an unnecessary burden upon herself. She also encountered problems at work, like being unable to pray on long flights and she was also not allowed to wear hijab -the one thing that she really wanted to do.

So one fine day she actually submitted her resignation for the job, knowing that Allah alone is Ar-Razzaq, the One who provides, and to actually do something with the knowledge she was acquiring. She continued to say that she had never experienced the type of job satisfaction she has now, while teaching Arabic to young kids.

I was shocked after she finished her story; I couldn’t say anything. I had tears in my eyes and I hugged her before leaving (yes I hugged her, which came as a shock to me too!) But she had become an inspiration for me, even in such a short while.

So what about us? What are we doing with our knowledge? Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does not expect us to take life-altering steps suddenly, but we do need to start with baby steps; and once we do that, we should put our entire Tawakkul (trust) in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala . Then for sure He will help us, from ways we may never even have imagined!

Abu Hurairah (radiAllahu ‘anh) said : “The example of knowledge which is not acted upon is like wealth from which nothing is spent in the way of Allah ‘Azza wa Jall”

Sahl Ibn ‘Abdullah al-Fustaani said :  “The world is foolishness and barren except for knowledge; and all of knowledge is a proof against him except what is acted upon; and all action is useless except with sincerity, and sincerity is in great danger except sealed by it (the action).”

May Allah allow us to sincerely act upon the knowledge we learn, Ameen.