~ Extinguishing the Flame of Ignorance ~ Knowledge and Wisdom ~ The following article focuses on knowledge and the discipline for gaining it. Before you begin reading, set an intention. Intention is power and it is all we have. If your intention is pure, Allah will help you with the action and the blessing of the action that you had intended to make. And this is what we need because this is what we mean. Therefore we have to keep in mind that we need the intention, we need the Iqhlas (sincerity) of intention and it has to be purely for Allah. Wise Sayings Ibn Al-Mubarak (RA) (one of the pious predecessors & a great Muslim scholar) once remarked that we are more in need of manner than we are in need knowledge. Another great person said:, Knowledge without manner is like a fire without wood and manner without knowledge is like a soul without a body." Umar (RA) once said: "Seek knowledge and learn to be humble & possess humility towards knowledge and learn to have humbleness & humility towards whomever you seek knowledge from. Do not be an aggressor against knowledgeable people or else knowledge will not benefit you." I.e. to say, the more you seek knowledge the more you should gain humbleness, humility and manner with everyone you are in touch with. Another person said: "The best Emaan is the one that is decorated with knowledge. The best knowledge is the one that is decorated with actions and good deeds. The best action is the one decorated with humbleness & humility. To be decorated with all of the above one has to have patience coupled with manners (manners of your knowledge)." Whoever seeks knowledge for Allah (SWT), Allah will elevate him and he will gain the happiness of this life and the hereafter. On the other hand, whoever does not seek knowledge for Allah (SWT), he loses Duniya (this world) and Akhirah (the hereafter). Whoever seeks knowledge for Allah (SWT), but wants to benefit his Duniya with it, he will not enter Jannah (Paradise). Someone asked…Who is a King? It is said by the people of knowledge that, the King of the end of time will be the one who casts Duniya away from his life. As reported by the companion Muadh Ibn Jabal (RA), the Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: "A human being, will not move forward (in other words, he'll just be fixed standing – and will not be able to move forward) on the Day of Judgment, with their Lord, unless and until they're asked about 4 things. ~About his age and how he spent it. ~About his health and how he used it. ~About his wealth, where he got it from and how he spent it. ~About his knowledge and what he did with it." It is said by the scholars and wise men: "Seek knowledge in whatever way you can but Allah [swt] will not let you benefit from it until you work for it." Sufyaan Ath Thawri (One of the pious predecessors) said: "If I act according to my knowledge, I am the most knowledgeable person on earth, and if I do the contrary then I am the most ignorant man on earth." Abu Darda (RA), one of the famous companions of the Prophet, said: "Whoever seeks knowledge acts and applies 1/10th of this knowledge then Allah [swt] will give him knowledge of what he does not know." Isaa (AS) said: "Whoever seeks knowledge and acts upon his knowledge and tries to teach this knowledge, he becomes a great person in the eyes of Allah [swt] and in the kingdom of Allah [swt]." Al Khidr (AS) gives Moosa (AS) advice: "O the seeker of knowledge; be careful of making your listeners becoming bored of your speech. Do not make people who sit in front of you become bored of you. You have to know that your heart is like a cup so beware of what you fill it up with. Leave Duniya behind, as it is not your residence. You are not going to stay here permanently. Duniya is like a slipper for the worshipper, he gains from it for the hereafter. O Moosa (AS), train your nafs to be silent, you will gain wisdom. Fill your heart with piety and you will gain knowledge. Train your nafs to be patient and you will stay away from a lot of sins. O Moosa (AS), if you seek knowledge, give it your prime time because knowledge is for those who value it. Do not laugh too much, but balance the way you talk. Do not argue with the ignorant. Be patient with those who give you a hard time, this is the action of the wise and the decoration of the learned people. If somebody argues with you, be silent and do not try to answer them, otherwise you will promote his ignorance against yourself. Do not ever feel arrogant over your knowledge and feel that 'you know' because what you have is not even a drop in the ocean. O Moosa (AS), do not open a door which you do not know how to close, and do not close a door for which you do not have the keys to open. O Moosa (AS), do not try to be hungry for Duniya; instead be an Abd (a Worshipper) to Allah. Be careful against feeling discontent, or to feel you do not have too much, for at this time you will become a kaafir (one who denies) of the bounties of Allah [SWT], you will not be thankful and will not be a believer in the Qadr of Allah. Seek knowledge to benefit yourself and do not seek knowledge to talk about it. O Moosa (AS), make Zuhd (staying away from Duniya) and Taqwa (Piety) your clothing. Make knowledge & remembrance of Allah your talking and increase your good deeds. Verily soon, you may become prone to committing sins. Shake your heart with the fear of Allah [SWT] and Allah will love you. And if you seek wisdom then make it beneficial to you first." Ali Ibn Abi Talib (AS) said; O the seeker of knowledge, knowledge is very high. The head of knowledge is humbleness & humility. The eyes of knowledge are to not look upon others, meaning, to not have envy & jealousy. The ear of knowledge is to comprehend with a tongue that speaks the truth (to save it is to remain silent). The heart of knowledge is pure intention. The brain of knowledge is to seek understanding. The hand of knowledge is to be full of Rahmah (Mercy). The feet of knowledge is to visit the learned and sick people. The will of knowledge is pure niyyah and the wisdom of knowledge is accepting the little. And most importantly; always talk softly and always look for the right companion and ask Allah to give you Tawfeeq (ability). Question and Answer Question: In our daily life, how can we distinguish between following our desires and following Allah and His Prophet (SAW)? Answer: The Day when man shall remember (all) that he strove for, And Hell-Fire shall be placed in full view for (all) to see,-Then, for such as had transgressed all bounds, And had preferred the life of this world, The Abode will be Hell-Fire; And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord's (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower desires, Their abode will be the Garden. [Quran, Surah Naziat, Verses: 35-41] Desire is the mother of all evils. A Mo’min seeks only Allah’s pleasure. When you look into Islam, the pleasure of Allah [SWT] is always against human pleasure. Someone might ask, “What about food, shelter, husband, wife and kids?” This leads us to the understanding of Duniya. If our goal is to eat and to gain strength to help us to worship our Lord, then this eating and this meal will become a part of our worship. But, if we seek luxury and expensive food, just to fulfill certain desires, this meal will now become against us. Thus we should restrain ourselves from seeking certain food at certain times because of our desires. Instead we should seek a balanced diet and seek what is good for our health, without spending too much. You might say… "So and so always invites us for good food." Now this is kindness and generosity is from Allah [SWT], you did not ask for it! As a result, in life if you will be patient against your desires then Allah [SWT] will fulfill your needs in different ways. Similarly, when we walk on the street and look at different men and women we like, we are in the act of committing sins and if this is the case we will go nowhere. Similarly, when you look at the houses of other people, their style of living, clothing etc, at this time you are looking at Duniya and you are looking for the pleasure of this Duniya. Therefore if we fulfill our needs without excessive expenses and without looking at what others have and we try to be honest in the way we spend and we have time and ability for Sabeelillah (the sake of Allah), then it is allowed and Allah will put Barakah (blessings) in it… meaning this act will please Allah [SWT]. If we wake up with a desire for a certain meal, though it is expensive and we work 3-4 hours for this meal, then we are doing it for our desire and not out of necessity. Muslims should have a simple way of cooking especially during Ramadan. If you look at us today, Ramadan has become the month of eating rather than being the month of lesser eating. The month of worship should not be the prime time for eating. If we truly follow Prophet [SAW], then WE WILL BE HAVING SIMPLE FOOD IN RAMADAN. For example: In India and the majority of the Muslim nations, Iftar has become a fancy. Oily foods which are bad for health and causes stomach burns day and night that lead to weight gain and laziness are fancied. Fried food is a strict no-no for our body. Men come to mosque smelling bad after eating the above mentioned food. In Ramadan, we should have a simple recipe, easy to digest, easy to sleep, easy to wake up & less money consuming. However, we follow our desire and disregard the amount of time & energy spent in cooking & other expenses. Now this time will become against us. The difference between seeking the pleasure of Allah and seeking the pleasure and desires of our nafs Prophet Muhammad [SAW] said that you will never be a believer unless you desire according to what I came with!!! For example; A wife should be supporting her husband in worshipping Allah and in generating the Muslim Ummah (nation). A husband should support his wife to become a good Muslim wife. However, if relationship becomes like "I am fulfilling your desires so you fulfill mine", we will disregard the fact that we are Muslims and this will result to having loyalty to other than Allah. This means, lack of Emaan & straying in our heart. To explain further; if we are looking at the beauty of our wives or husbands, the style of food, the style of clothing, houses, cars, and easy life - then we are living to fulfill our desires. But if we make money and we try to live a simple life to save money so that we can use this money for sabeelillah (the sake of Allah) and we think about the poor & needy people - then we are trying to fulfill our duty towards Allah [SWT]… there is a huge difference between the two. Now we should always ask ourselves one question: "Is what I'm doing fulfilling my desire or is it taking care of others." "Do I mostly take care about my necessities or my desires and which one will gain pleasure of Allah?" If you came to a conclusion you will understand. However, all this discussion requires a concern, awareness and a certain wakefulness of our duty and purpose on earth, meaning are we living as a Muslims and as a Mu'min. Question: I am reading a book called 'Book Of The End' about what happens to the body in the grave and what happens to the body on the day of Resurrection. After all this knowledge, how should I seek my future? Answer: Reported by Ibn Abbas [RA]: - Prophet Muhammad [SAW] said, "Gain five before five : ~Your youth before your old age. ~Your health before you get sick. ~Your wealth before you become poor. ~Your time before you get busy. ~Your life before your death. In consequence we can see that our Prophet Muhammad [SAW] advices us to gain & grab whatever we can from every aspect because today we have a chance, tomorrow we don’t. When we neglect this advice, then we lose time and money, many lost years and a lot goodness that could have been done. If we die in this state, we would wish that we were never born. Example: If we are believers now and we think about our Lord who is going to hold us accountable, we will have to report our slavery to Him. To summarize; if we are in a state of Emaan, then we will do the maximum that we can to benefit ourselves in this life & the hereafter. Therefore, the awareness of Emaan will help us to be strong against our desires, weaknesses & surroundings and enable us to purify our intentions purely for Allah [SWT] and according to the Sunnah (traditions) of the Prophet Muhammad [SAW]. In addition, when we do so, it will help us to engage in the actions and deeds that will be a witness for us and not against us on the day of resurrection. The main commitment is to be a slave to Allah, and when we lose the meaning of slavery to Allah, we become a slave to others and Duniya accordingly. Hence, any topic we talk about is due to the lack of Emaan versus the love of Duniya and La Ilaha Illa Allah versus slavery to our desires. Our effort towards the Akhirah (hereafter) is minimal and the amount of steps we take towards it is very few. The remembrance of Akhirah is very little and the majority of mankind is running after Duniya. If you do not believe me then read ‘Men Around The Messenger’ read about Abu Darda (ra) & Abu Bakr As-Siddique (RA). Read about what they have to say and their understanding about life and what they have gained. Today as Muslims we cannot make time for Allah [SWT], it has become heavy, and our prime time goes after Duniya and what is left of it is devoted to the hereafter. We are so weak that we cannot even revert back. All I can say is that may Allah [SWT] help us. Read 'The Book of End', 'Journey of the Soul' and read about The Day of Judgment and see what Allah says. Loyalty will be according to the relationship between you and Allah. Those who you are serving besides Him [SWT] will destroy you in this life and the Hereafter. And most of all, read how many verses in the Quran warn us about Duniya and the meaning of Duniya. This is the Book of Allah [SWT], the one we read and we are supposed to live by it. Read how many Hadith of the Prophet of Allah [SWT] has warned us about Duniya. Now it is time to ask: Where am I???