Faith Without Knowledge is Dangerous

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Allâh says,

(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at www.islamia.tv.)

And Allâh says,

  “…it is only those who have knowledge (ilm) among his slaves that fear
Allâh …” 35:28.

And,

  He [Allâh ] grants wisdom to whom He pleases; and he to whom wisdom is granted
indeed receives a benefit overflowing. But none will grasp the Message except
men of understanding. 2:269

And

  …Allâh will raise up to (suitable) ranks (and degrees) those of you who
believe and who have been granted knowledge. 58:11

My brothers and sisters in Al Islâm, I often say, “Faith without knowledge is
dangerous.”
Please cry out to your Lord in the day and the night, “O my
Sustainer! Increase my knowledge.”
20:114. Do not let yourself be mislead
like those of old nor let yourself fall into the traps of the unscrupulous
amongst us who are working so hard to destroy our great religion.

Most of you already know the story of how I came to Islâm. But I will put the
highlights here for those who do not know. I was a part of a group of
Christians who wanted to destroy Al Islâm. I was learning Qur’ân and sunnah
in an effort to twist them so that I might mislead those who cared about
their dîn even a little to make them believe that what I was proposing was
Islamically correct.

You can see the results of people like me when you look to the misguided
Muslims today who say that the woman’s khymar need not cover the hair, only
drape over the bosom. You can also see it in ploys like George Bush’s when
he quoted out of context, “…And if they incline to peace, incline thou also
to it, and trust in Allâh …”
8:61. Of course, Bush never bothered to mention
that this verse was cradled in a lesson about inclining to peace if you have
the power to maintain the peace. Why should he? He succeed in misleading the
ignorant Muslims who followed his lead and were thrilled that he was even
able to quote from the Qur’ân . It served its purpose.

Thus, we can see that faith without knowledge is dangerous. It opens the door
for misguidance and straying from the dîn of Allâh . So what is a Muslim to
do? The first step is to make a clear intention. We must want to seek
knowledge for the sake of Allâh . We must recognize that Allâh has made it
obligatory on us to have the basic knowledge of our religion, and then we
must seek to acquire that knowledge for His sake and His sake only. This is
of extreme importance. Remember the lesson about the first three who will be
dragged into the hellfire.

Narrated Abu Hurayrah: It has been narrated on the authority of Sulayman ibn
Yâsar who said: People dispersed from around Abu Hurayrah, and Natil, who was
from the Syrians, said to him: “O Shaykh, relate (to us) a tradition you have
heard from the Messenger of Allâh (peace_be_upon_him)”.
He said: Yes. I heard
the Messenger of Allâh (peace_be_upon_him) say
:

  Say: Travel through the earth and see how Allâh originated creation; so will
Allâh produce the second creation (of the Afterlife): for Allâh has power
over all things. 29:20
 “ “The first man (whose case)
will be decided on the Day of Judgment, will be a man who died as a martyr.
He shall be brought (before the Judgment Seat). Allâh will make him recount
His blessings (i.e. the blessings which He had bestowed upon him) and he will
recount them (and admit having enjoyed them in his life). (Then) will Allâh
say: What did you do (to requite these blessings)? He will say: I fought for
Thee until I died as a martyr. Allâh will say: You have told a lie. You
fought so that you might be called a “brave warrior”. And you were called so.
(Then) orders will be passed against him and he will be dragged with his face
downward and cast into Hell.

Then there will be brought forward a man who acquired knowledge and imparted
it (to others) and recited the Qur’ân. He will be brought, Allâh will make
him recount His blessings and he will recount them (and admit having enjoyed
them in his lifetime). Then will Allâh ask: What did you do (to requite these
blessings)? He will say: I acquired knowledge and disseminated it and recited
the Qur’ân , seeking Thy pleasure. Allâh will say: You have told a lie. You
acquired knowledge so that you might be called “a scholar”, and you recited
the Qur’ân so that it might be said: “He is a Qâri” and such has been said.
Then orders will be passed against him and he shall be dragged with his face
downward and cast into the Fire.

Then will be brought a man whom Allâh had made abundantly rich and had
granted every kind of wealth. He will be brought, Allâh will make him recount
His blessings and he will recount them and (admit having enjoyed them in his
lifetime). Allâh will (then) ask: What have you done (to requite these
blessings)? He will say: I spent money in every cause in which Thou wished
that it should be spent. Allâh will say: You are lying. You did (so) that it
might be said about (you): “He is a generous fellow”, and so it was said.
Then will Allâh pass orders and he will be dragged with his face downward and
thrown into Hell.” Sahîh Muslim: Book 19, Number 4688

Second, we must recognize that there exists a lot of wrong information in our
nation. Those who have transferred knowledge without foundation and those who
have deliberately tried to destroy our dîn have been very busy over the
centuries, and now, the search for the truth is a bit more complex, so we
must learn the basics from scratch. Do not assume that because your parents
were Muslims that everything you learned is correct. You must investigate for
yourself. Once you reach an age where you can research it, you need to go
back and verify from the original sources. Are you making salâh or wudû the
way the Prophet did? Or are you making it according to the way your parents,
your culture, your imam etc. did? One of the signs of the last day is that
religious knowledge will be taken away and that we will be taught by those
who have no knowledge.

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al’ Âs: I heard Allâh ‘s Apostle saying,

 “ “Allâh does not take away the knowledge, by taking it away from (the hearts
of) the people, but takes it away by the death of the religious learned men
till when none of the (religious learned men) remains, people will take as
their leaders ignorant persons who when consulted will give their verdict
without knowledge. So they will go astray and will lead the people astray.”
Sahîh Bukhari: Volume 1, Book 3, Number 100

This is a very real danger! We can already see this in our masjids and our
homes. People find it so easy to say what they think is correct when they
have never researched it for themselves. Most can not even tell you where
they learned something or where you can find the dalîl (evidence) but they
will fight you about its correctness, even when they are presented the Qur’ân
and sunnah that proves the opposite. Allâh Preserve us!

I was once in a masjid when a sister who seemed to have good intentions said
to the other sisters that regardless of what they choose to do on the
outside, that when they make salâh, they need to be sure that they are
properly covered. They need to make sure their headpiece is big enough and
not see-through. They need to be covered with a loose dress of skirt that
covers all the legs and the feet; they need to make sure their clothes is
neither see-through or tight. This is so that their salâh will be accepted by
Allâh . They must meet the minimum requirements.

The reaction was that a group of sisters got upset with her, and said to her,
“Who are you to teach us our religion?” They claimed the religion of their
fathers. They had come from the best Muslim countries and they knew right
from wrong, and they did not have to go to these extremes. The sister was
taken aback by this, but kept her calm long enough to show bring them the
Qur’ân and a few of the hadîths that spoke of the minimum cover for women.
The women literally waved the books away and said, “ Don’t give us this, what
do the scholars say?”
She tried to tell them the opinions of the four
schools, and they rejected these. At this point, from all the insults that
were coming from these women, the woman gave up, and went to a room to cry.
She had been humiliated and insulted for bring forth the clear teachings of
Allâh and His messenger. This is the state our nation has fallen to. Allâh
guide us!

Brothers and sisters, Alhamdulillah, we still have the basic knowledge
preserved. We have scholars who know the true Islâm and who teach it, and we
need to take advantage of them while we still can. So many of our great
scholars are aging. We need to seek out their knowledge and preserve it
against a day when knowledge will be taken from us. A day that does not seem
too far away. When we look around us, we can see this phenomenon of people
taking “…as their leaders ignorant persons who when consulted will give
their verdict without knowledge. So they will go astray and will lead the
people astray.” This is already a reality! We have forgotten the basics.
Allâh says,

Third, we need to be sure that we are all educated, men and women. Seeking
knowledge has its great blessings;

Narrated AbuHurayrah: Allâh ‘s Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said,

  …Say: Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? It is
those who are endowed with understanding that remember (Allâh ‘s Message).
39:9
 “ “…He who
treads the path in search of knowledge, Allâh will make that path easy,
leading to Paradise for him and those persons who assemble in one of the
houses of Allâh (mosques), recite the Book of Allâh and learn and teach the
Qur’ân (among themselves). There will descend upon them tranquillity, mercy
will cover them, the angels will surround them and Allâh will mention them in
the presence of those near Him. He who is slow-paced in doing good deeds, his
(long) descent does not make him go ahead.” Sahîh Muslim: Book 34, Number
6518

But once we have learned, we can not allow it to remain stagnant. We must
pass on this knowledge to our brothers and sisters.

Narrated AbuHurayrah: Allâh ‘s Messenger (peace_be_upon_him) said:

 “ “When a man
dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring charity, or knowledge (by
which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased).”
Sahîh Muslim: Book 12, Number 4005

When we teach the correct knowledge to our husbands, wives, children, family,
friends etc…, we will receive a continuing blessing. Imagine the blessing
of teaching Fâtiha to a child or a new Muslim. Every time he/she says it in
salâh, it is a blessing on your scale. Every time he/she teaches it to
someone else, it is a blessing. This one small deed, done sincerely, can be
for us a mountain of blessings on the day of Judgement while we know it not.
But in teaching, we need to be very careful. We can not teach what we do not
know. The scholars agree that half of knowledge is knowing when to say, “I
don’t know.” We need to remain silent when we can not bring the dalîl. We
must not teach that we can not verify. Instead, we lead the person to one of
knowledge. We can not give fatwa unless we are trained to do so. Nor should
we seek fatwa from one who is not trained. You would not go to a nurse and
ask her to operate on you. You would go to a doctor. The nurse can help you
with a limited service, but she is not trained for surgery. In the same way,
you may ask a man or woman of limited knowledge for some basics which he/she
can verify but you can not ask them for fatwa . And if you know you have
limited knowledge, you must never give fatwa.

We must strive to be from the knowledgeable. They are among the two who we
can actually envy for this purpose:

Narrated Ibn Masud: I heard the Prophet saying,

 “ “There is no envy except in
two: a person whom Allâh has given wealth and he spends it in the right way,
and a person whom Allâh has given wisdom (i.e. religious knowledge) and he
gives his decisions accordingly and teaches it to the others.” Sahîh Bukhari:
Volume 2, Book 24, Number 490

But, we must recognize our limitations. Islamic knowledge is not something
you can acquire in a few days, months or years. It is a lifetime of study.
Most scholars are not even experts in all, they specialize: Usûl al Qur’ân
(Qur’ân ic Sciences), Usul al Hadîth (Hadîth Sciences), Islamic History,
General principles of Islâm etc… It is not an easy matter. And remember,
the sin for the insincere seeker of knowledge is so great because the
responsibility is so large as is the reward.

Last but not least, I want you to notice that when it came to talking about
the people of knowledge, I did not limit it to men. Some of our greatest
scholars have been women. Women not only have the right to study and teach,
it is their responsibility. We can not keep the woman from learning unless we
want to kill our dîn. The woman is the primary teacher for the children. She
spends the most time with them and is their first school. But her knowledge
need not be limited to the basic knowledge she will pass on to her children.
She is another source for teaching society. Throughout Islamic history,
starting with Umm al Muminîn, Aisha, our women have been teachers and
scholars for men and women. Most of our great scholars had at least one woman
teacher – if not more. Read this small excerpt from a Khutbah by: Sheikh
Abdullah Hakim Quick in Canada:

  “The first shahîd, the first martyr in Islâm, Sumaiyyah, radiAllâh u ‘anha, a
WOMAN! The first person to give his life of this religion — before the men
— the shahîd. Aiesha, radiAllâh u ‘anha, reported the second most hadîth
over 2,210 hadîths, authentic traditions. When you are reading hadîth you are
mostly reading Abu Hurairah, or Aiesha, may Allâh be pleased with them. So a
woman is not supposed to be educated??? A woman is not supposed to know
“isnâd” (the chain of hadîth) ??? Not supposed to know tafseer??? When men
used to come to her to learn about the tafseer. Shalaby reports that
Nafîsah, who was a descendent of Ali, radiAllâh u anhu,karramAllâh u wajhu,
was such a great authority of the hadîth traditions that Imam Ash-Shafi’ie,
rahimahu Allâh , learned from her when he was in Al-Fustât, which is the
original Cairo. Shalaby also reports that Kaîmah bint Ahmed Al Marwazi, may
Allâh be pleased with her, was a transmitter and interpreter of Sahîh
Al-Bukhari. Muhammed Al-Abrashi wrote that Ibn Asaakir, a famous hadîth
transmitter, had over 80 women (“thamanîna mar’ah) among his highest regard
of the ‘ulema. 80 women who he regarded at the highest level of scholarship.

It is also reported that for As-Sûyûti, rahimahu Allâh and Ibn Hazm,
rahimahu Allâh some of their teachers were women. It is also reported: Fatima
bint Mâlik Ibn Anas was a famous student of “Al Muwwata”. And so we can go
on and on speaking about women and education; the seeking of knowledge
(tâlibul ilm) is farîda ala kulli Muslim — all Muslims are supposed to seek
knowledge male or female. If the woman in your house does not know halâl from
harâm and you are out fi sabîlillah and you come home to eat food, the food
that you eat may be harâm. If she doesn’t know Qur’ân , if she doesn’t know
Sunnah and you are away, how will your children learn? Much of their time is
spent with their MOTHER. And so an educated woman is a positive thing for
Islâm; and it is ignorance, it is “jâhil” when the man is stopping her from
Islamic education.”

We must all learn the religion, and there is no proof (actually the contrary
is proven) that a woman has a lesser ability to act as a teacher. As long as
all Islamic etiquette is in place, it is both allowed and from the sunnah of
our great companions who took Um al Muminîn, Aisha as their teacher.

Finally, I leave you all with this: Knowledge is incumbent upon us all. If we
allow ourselves to remain ignorant or to follow whatever so-called scholar
the wind blows in, we are a doomed nation. We must be able to differentiate
between true knowledge and hogwash. A few hints: When your scholar starts
saying, “I think…” or “I feel…” without giving Qur’ân and authentic
hadîths, start worrying. When your scholar starts to teach you something that
directly contradicts the words of Allâh or the sunnah of the prophet, get
very worried. And when your scholar starts to have vision, run!!!!

May Allâh guide us all to the straight path. May He give us knowledge and
faith and protect us in that faith till we die. And may we all die as Muslims
loving, fearing and worshipping Allâh as He commanded us to do and taught us
to do through our beloved prophet’s teachings and examples. Amîn

(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at www.islamia.tv.)



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