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Knowledge for Knowledge

From Jaabir (radiyallaahu 'anhu) who said that Allaah's Messenger (salallaahu 'aliahi wa'sallam) said:

Do not acquire knowledge in order to compete with the scholars, nor to argue with the ignorant, nor to gain mastery over the gatherings. Since whoever does that, then: The Fire! The Fire!

Consider, May Allaah have mercy on you, the admonition and the lesson contained in what Ibn Abee Haatim ar-Raazee narrates, he said: I entered into Damascus upon the students of hadeeth and I passed by the circle of Qaasim al-Joo'ee. I found a group sitting around him and he was speaking. Their appearance amazed me and I heard him saying: 'Seize the benefit of five things from the people of your time: when you are present you are not known; when you are absent you are not missed; when you are seen your advice is not sought; when you say something your saying is not accepted; and when you have some knowledge you are not given anything for it. I also advise you with five things: when you are treated unjustly then do not behave unjustly; when you are praised then do not become happy; when you are criticised do not be upset; when you are not believed then do not become angry; and if they act deceitfully towards you do not act deceitfully towards them.' Ibn Abee Haatim said: So I took that as my benefit from Damascus.

So consider, May Allaah protect us and you from the evils of the soul, how sincere desire for knowledge and benefit led him to listen to one who certainly possessed less knowledge than himself in order to benefit his understanding and to acquire some knowledge. Another matter that must be mentioned here is that:

Prerequisites of the Declaration of Faith {Part 7}

The SIXTH condition is SINCERITY (or al-ikhlaas). That is, when we make the shahadah, we must do so solely for the sake of Allaah. We must not do it for any other reason. And we must not do it for anyone else's sake. In this manner, the meaning of sincerity is opposite of Shirk or ascribing partners with Allaah. We became and remain Muslims solely for Allaah's sake. Allaah says in the Quraan, "Worship Allaah, making religion pure for him" (al-Zumar : 2). And Allaah also says, "And they are ordained not else than to serve Allaah, keeping religion pure for Him, as men by nature upright and to establish worship and to pay the poor-due. That is true religion" (al-Bayyinah : 5). And the Prophet (peace be upon him) added, "Allaah has forbidden for the Hell-fire anyone who says, 'There is no one worthy of worship except Allaah,' and say so desiring the face [and pleasure] of Allaah." (Recorded by Muslim). This is something that we should all think about, especially those of us who grew up in Muslim families and were born Muslim. We should make it very clear to ourselves that we are Muslims only for the sake of Allaah. We are not Muslims for the sake of our parents, friends, family or community. It must be clear in our minds that we are Muslims for the sake of Allaah first, last and only. One of the signs that we are Muslims for the sake of Allaah is that we do whatever Allaah asks of us, regardless of what anybody else desires or wants from us. That is, in the same way that we are Muslims solely for the sake of Allaah, all of our actions are done for the sake of Allaah. However, sometimes one begins to wonder whether this condition is met by some people. Some people from the Muslim world practice Islaam to the extent that it is pleasing to their families. If there is anything in Islaam that their families do not like- although their families are Muslim and therefore they actually should like all of Islaam- then they do not practice that aspect of Islaam. One common example of that nature is mixing between men and women. Sometimes a brother, here in the U.S., will not mix with women and his wife will remain separate from the men. Yet, when they return to their homes, because this is not pleasing to their families who want to mix between men and women, they easily, simply and happily compromise their religion for the sake of their parents. These people must sincerely ask themselves why they are Muslims. Are they Muslims for the sake of their parents and therefore whatever their parents like they will do and whatever their parents do not like they won't do? Or are they Muslims for the sake of Allaah and therefore whatever Allaah dislikes they will not do and whatever Allaah is pleased with they do?

The Muslim's Piety and Self Restraint

The Muslim's Piety and Self Restraint From an-Nu'maan ibn Basheer (radiyallaahu 'anhu) who said that I heard Allaah's Messenger (salallaahu 'alaihi wa'sallam) say:

That which is lawful is clear, and that which is forbidden is clear, and between them are doubtful matters about which many of the people have no knowledge. So whoever avoids doubtful matters saves his Religion and his honour, and whoever falls into doubtful matters falls into what is forbidden. Just like a shepherd who grazes (his sheep) near to a private pasture (of another), he will soon stray on to it. Indeed for every king there is a private preserve. Indeed the preserve of Allaah are those things which He has forbidden. Indeed there is a piece of flesh in the body which if it is good, then the whole body is good, but if it is corrupt then the whole body is corrupt. Indeed it is the heart. 25]

So the Muslim with regard to whatever situation arises in his life will have to face each of them with one of the following three stances:

Completely refraining from it: That is with regards to that which is doubtful Accepting without constraint: That is with regard to which is clearly permissible

To abstain from it: This is with regards to things which are not clearly permissible nor clearly forbidden. If the last stance indicates something it is an indication of a Muslim's piety and fear of falling into that which is forbidden and of entering into something evil.

The Muslim therefore abstains from it, and distances himself from it in order to please Allaah and to ensure that His commands are followed. It is not to be said, as some people say: 'That is not forbidden, so do it.' No, since it is not permissible to do everything other than which has been forbidden. So those things which are doubtful matters are closer to that which is forbidden, as occurs in the hadeeth itself: 'Whoever falls into the doubtful matters falls into what is forbidden....' So this fear and piety confirms that:

The Muslim is Honest and Truthful in All His Affairs

25.Reported by al-Bukharee (Eng. Trans. 1/44/no.49) and Muslim (Eng. Trans. 3/840/no.3882)

Prerequisites of the Declaration of Faith {Part 4}

The THIRD condition of the shahadah is ACCEPTANCE (al-qabool). If a person has knowledge of and certainty in the shahadah, this must followed by acceptance, with the tongue and heart, of whatever that shahadah implies. Whoever refuses to accept the shahadah and its implications, even if he knows that it is true and certain about its truth, than he is a disbeliever. This refusal to accept is sometimes due to pride, envy or other reasons. In any case, the shahadah is not a true shahadah without its unconditional acceptance.

The scholars all talk about this condition as a general condition in the way that I have just stated. However, there is also a more detailed aspect that we must all be aware of. The believer accepts whatever the implications of the shahadah are. This also means that he believes in whatever is stated in the Quraan or stated by the Prophet (peace be upon him), without any right to choose what he wants to believe and what he wants to reject. Allaah says in the Quraan, "Do you believe in part of the book and reject part of it? And what is the reward of those who do so save ignominy in the life of the world, and on the Day of Resurrection they will be consigned to the most grievous doom" (al-Baqara : 85).

This is one aspect that the Muslims must be aware of. Although it is not the same as the complete refusal to accept the truth, by rejecting part of the truth that has come from Allaah, one also negates his testimony of faith. Unfortunately, many Muslims are doing this nowadays in various ways. Although not all of these forms may necessarily be considered apostasy, they are still very dangerous. For example, if they do not like what is stated in a verse in the Quraan, they simply reinterpret the verse according to their liking. If they do not like what is stated in a hadeeth, they simply state that the hadeeth must not be authentic although they are not scholars in that field. This kind of behaviour is the antithesis of the behaviour of the true Muslims. Whatever comes from Allaah and His Messenger (peace be upon him), the true Muslim believes in as the truth. This goes hand in hand with their testimony of faith.

Prerequisites of the Declaration of Faith {Part 3}

The SECOND condition of the shahadah is CERTAINTY (or al-yaqeen). This is the opposite of doubt and uncertainty. In Islaam, in fact, any kind of doubt is equivalent to Kufr or disbelief. We must, in our hearts, be absolutely certain of the truth of the shahadah. Our hearts must not be wavering in any way when we testify to the truth of, "There is none worthy of worship except Allaah."

Allaah describes the believers in the Quraan as those who have belief in Allaah and then their hearts waver not. Allaah says, "the (true) believers are those only who believe in Allaah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allaah. Such are the sincere" (al-Hujuraat : 15).

Similarly, the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said, "No one meets Allaah with the testimony that there is none worthy of worship but Allaah and I am the Messenger of Allaah, and he has no doubt about hat statement, except that he will enter Paradise." (Recorded by Muslim.)

Indeed, Allaah describes the hypocrites as those people whose hearts are wavering. For example, Allaah says, "They alone seek leave of thee (not to participate in jihad) who believe not in Allaah and the Last Day and whose hearts feel doubt, so in their doubt they waver" (al-Tawbah : 45).

Many scholars have stated that the diseases of the heart, or the doubt and suspicions that one allows into one's heart, are more dangerous for a person's faith than lusts and desires. This is because lusts and desires may be satisfied at some time yet the person still knows them to be wrong and he may control himself and repent and give up that evil deed. On the other hand, the doubts and suspicions may linger in the heart, with no cure, until the person finally leaves Islaam entirely or continues to practice Islaam while, in fact, in his heart he does not have the true faith. The greatest cure for these doubts is seeking knowledge. It is through sound knowledge of the Quraan and the sunnah that most of these doubts will be removed. By study and understanding, one will attain certainty. And as one studies and learns more, his certainty will be made firmer and firmer.

I will give you just one example on this point; this is related to all of the doubts, suspicions and misconceptions that are circulating about the authenticity of the hadeeth literature. For example, some Muslims even claim that hadeeth were not recorded until at least 200 years after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Indeed, there are Muslims who seem to have a great deal of doubt about hadeeth and very quick to reject hadeeth on that basis. But, in fact, if one actually takes the time to study the history and preservation of hadeeth, one will immediately recognise that all those claims and charges against the hadeeth are not based on anything scientific whatsoever. They are nothing but false claims that come from Satan and which Muslims with poor understanding and knowledge have allowed to creep into their hearts. Let me make one last point about this condition of certainty. As I alluded to earlier, doubts and misconceptions are very dangerous for a person's faith. Doubt and wavering are tantamount to apostasy in Islaam, as I mentioned earlier. Hence, every Muslim should do best to safeguard himself from such doubts and remain away from the sources of doubts- especially if they are not well grounded in the Islaamic sciences and do not have the knowledge to refute such doubts and misconceptions. Hence if a person has an associate or friend, even if he be a Muslim friend, who is always making him doubt Allaah or the religion, then he should remain away from that person in order to safeguard his own religion.

Many Muslims nowadays study courses on Islaam taught by Orientalists and because of their weak backgrounds in Islaamic studies, they are influenced by the nonsense that some of these Orientalists are teaching in the name of "science". Similarly, many brothers and sisters nowadays are spending hours at a time with the computer news groups and bulletin boards. A lot of nonsense and falsehood are posted on those news groups and bulletin boards. Again, the one who is not very knowledgeable of his religion may easily be influenced and affected by the misconceptions and false arguments that he reads in those bulletin boards. He should remain away from those things and get a deeper knowledge of Islaam through the authentic sources of the religion. Again, the greatest counterforce that can defeat doubts and misconceptions, after the bounty and guidance of Allaah, is sound knowledge and understanding of the religion. When a person has that, he will not be affected by the weak arguments put out by the enemies of Islaam and he will be, Allaah willing, from among those described in the Quraan, " It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allaah" (Faatir : 28)

The Believer is a Mirror for His Brother

Prerequisites of the Declaration of Faith {Part 8}

The SEVENTH condition is LOVE (or al-mahabbah). That is, the believer loves this shahadah, he loves in accordance with the shahadah, he loves the implications and requirements of the shahadah and he loves those who act and strive for the sake of this shahadah. This is a necessary condition of the shahadah. If a person makes the shahadah but does not love the shahadah and what it stands for, then, in fact, his faith is not complete. It is not the faith of a true believer. And if he loves something more that this shahadah or if he loves something more than Allaah, then he has negated his shahadah. The true believer, the one meeting the conditions of the shahadah puts no one whatsoever as an equal to Allaah in his love. Allaah says in the Quraan, "Yet of mankind are some who take unto themselves (objects of worship which they set as) rivals to Allaah, loving them with a love like (that which is due to) Allaah only. However, those who believe are stauncher in their love of Allaah" (al-Baqara : 165). And elsewhere Allaah says "Say: If your fathers, or your sons, or your brethren, or your wives, or your tribe, or the wealth you have acquired, or merchandise for which you fear that there will be no sale, or dwellings you desire are dearer to you than Allaah and His Messenger and striving in His way: then wait till Allaah brings His command to pass. Allaah guides not wrongdoing folk" (al-Tauba : 24). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Whoever has three characteristics has tasted the sweetness of faith. [The first of these] is that he loves Allaah and His Messenger more than he loves anyone else..." (Recorded by al-Bukharee and Muslim.). This is one of the most important aspects of Islaam yet, for some reason, it is missing from the lives of many Muslims. They act in Islaam as if Islaam were a chore instead of doing things out of the love of Allaah. When Allaah orders us to do something, like bear witness to the faith, to pray or to fast, we should realise that that thing is pleasing to Allaah and, therefore, out of our love for Allaah, we should be very pleased to do the acts that are pleasing to Allaah. But, as I said, this feeling is missing from many, many Muslims today.