Lecture by Iman Abdullah Hasan | Transcribed by Zara T.
[The following is the video and transcript of Imam Abdullah Hasan’s lecture “Seeking Knowledge & Recognising Allah’s Blessings.” The transcript includes slight modifications for the sake of readability and clarity.]
The lecture can be viewed here.
As a preamble I want to make three points as a reminder for myself and a reminder for you, brothers and sisters, inshaAllah. Allah says in the Quran “And remind, verily the believers will be benefited from the reminder” inshaAllah. The first thing obviously is intention. I’m sure all of you brothers and sisters have attended classes on intention, the hadith on intention and so on and so forth. We’re always reminded about the intention, and this is very important. Some of the scholars of the past have mentioned that we should check our intention every morning and every evening. Why we are doing what we’re doing, before we exit our house, whether we’re going for our work, university, college, mosque, wherever we’re going, whatever we’re doing during the day, we have to ask ourselves the objective of my action, the reason why I’m doing what I’m doing, and if the thing that I’m going to do or accomplish during the day, if it’s not done purely for the sake of Allah , then that action will not be accepted by Allah . Only the righteous deeds ascend to Allah . Those deeds which were not done purely for the sake of Allah will not be accepted by Allah , will not ascend to Allah . So we have to really check our intention all the time. Sometimes a brother or sister can be very active in the field of Dawah, very active in seeking knowledge, very active in memorizing Quran and hadith and so on and so forth. But if the intention is not correct, then all those things that we’ve been memorizing, verses and ahadith and books and writing and giving Dawah and so on and so forth, will not benefit us on the Day of Judgment. The only thing that will benefit us on the Day of Judgment are those things that were done for the sake of Allah . All the scholars remind us that we always have to check our intention: why we are doing what we do. And the second thing, obviously, as a correlation to that, our actions need to be according to the Sunnah of the Prophet
A second point that I want to remind myself is that obviously this is a great gathering. Whenever we remember Allah , remember knowledge, or learn knowledge, the angels descend. This is part of our aqeedah, part of our creed, that the angels descend at these gatherings whether it be in the mosques or other places, when people gather to remember Allah and to learn the ahadith of the Prophet Muhammad as the hadith in Bukhari and Muslim narrated by Abu Hurairah [ra] in which the Prophet said, Allah has angels in addition to the angels who write their records. They go around, they roam around the pathways, the streets, and the houses and the different places. Their only purpose, their job description given by Allah is: they seek out the people of remembrance. They seek out those people who are learning the ahadith, learning the deen of Allah . And when they find a people remembering Allah , (can also include learning about the religion, learning about the hadith, Tafsir, and so on and so forth) they call to each other and they say ‘Hasten to that which you see. Hasten to that which you were created for.’ And this is a long hadith in Bukhari and Muslim. Obviously it’s an authentic hadith. You go back to the chapter of Dhikr, you’ll find it there inshaAllah. It’s a hadith Qudsi. And then Allah mentions, the angels, they go up and Allah asks them “How have you left my servants?” They respond “I left your servant remembering you, asking for Your forgiveness, asking for your Jannah, and so on and so forth.” At the end, the hadith ends by saying, the angels say there was a person who came for a need, he didn’t come to seek knowledge. He saw his friend coming towards a place of learning, he saw a friend and said, let’s go. His original intention was not to seek knowledge. Allah says whoever sits among them, whoever sits among those people who are continuously, everyday, week in week out, learning the deen of Allah whoever joins them haphazardly in an ad hoc manner, that person will not be damned . These are blessings of seeking knowledge. These are blessings of coming to a place of learning. And Alhamdulilah, we’re living in East London. In walking distances we have so many different masaajid, so many different institutions. Alhamdulilah Ebrahim college here is offering free classes. This is a blessing from Allah , And those of us who do not take the opportunity to learn from people who have studied, then they will be questioned on the day of judgment. They will not have any answer to Allah . They cannot say “Allah, there were no free classes.” “Oh Allah, there were no mosques around me.” because I know there are many places in the world, they do not have mosque in their locality. They have to travel miles, one hour, two hours, to go to a local mosque. Some places like America, even in the UK. So we are blessed to be part of this community, blessed to have centers like Ebrahim college and other centers that facilitate the dissemination of sacred knowledge. So we have to take that opportunity inshaAllah. Why is that? Because if you look at our scholars of the past, subhanAllah, read the seerah by Imam Al-Dhahabi and other books like that, how the scholars of the past sacrificed to convey the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). They would walk for thousands of miles to convey, to learn a hadith, and then to teach it to their students.
A predecessor of Ahmed ibn Hanbal [ra], a scholar named Zaid, look at the sacrifice that they made. Zaid ibn Hubab was a predecessor of Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal. He was a muhadith. He was a scholar in his local community. His student narrates that when we came to our teacher to seek hadith, our teacher could not come out of his house. He did not come out of his house to teach us hadith. Why is that? He began to teach hadith from behind his door, and the students would be outside sitting in the pavement, in the streets, and him behind the door, and he would narrate hadith and he would do sharh of the hadith. Why is that? And they say that “he did not have clothing that was appropriate for him to wear so that he can come out and teach us hadith.” Can you imagine this? He did not have the right appropriate clothes. He did not have a garment or clothes that was appropriate, suitable for narrating or coming out in front of the people. He made the door a hijab, a barrier between him and the students and he began to teach the students. This is the sacrifice that they made for us. And this is why we have the knowledge that we have now…the scholars of the past. Most of us are from the Indian Subcontinent. People like Shah Jalal and his companions, when they came from Yemen to Bangladesh, India, and so on and so forth, how much sacrifice did they make? They left their family, they left their homeland, they left their businesses and so on and so forth, to disseminate and convey the message of Allah . Unfortunately, this zeal and passion, we have lost among some knowledgeable people and students of knowledge. How many Muslims perhaps live in Tower Hamlets probably sixty to seventy, eighty thousand Muslims, if not more Muslims live in Tower Hamlets. There are many mosque providing Islamic circles and Tafsir, Aqeedah classes, Hadith classes. Unfortunately, many of these circles are empty. And then the youth, they complain, “Our mosques are not doing enough.” It’s that you’re not taking the opportunity to go and learn…obviously there are weaknesses, there are shortcomings from certain institutions and mosques. But there are opportunities for everyone to avail themselves of the knowledge of Allah ,the Deen of Allah . So we must really understand this point. Have the right intention, and also sacrifice. In order for you to learn knowledge, you have to make sacrifices. Whether you live in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Syria, Jordan, Saudi, wherever, in the Middle East, even here you have to make sacrifices. And if a student does not go, a real student, a true Talib al ‘Ilm, does not go through certain tribulation and hardship, if it becomes so easy for him, that means that person has not tasted the real taste of knowledge. All scholars, all people of knowledge go through certain trials and tribulations. It is not enough that we open our Facebook pages or YouTube channels and we listen to a lecture and that is it, I’ve become a scholar, I’ve become a student of knowledge. A student of knowledge, he comes and sits near people of knowledge. He takes and he writes. He takes notes, he takes from the people of knowledge. These are students of knowledge. So we have to bear in mind that sacrifice is very very important. And when we receive that knowledge, the actual word for knowledge in the Arabic language is what? ‘Ilm. The word ‘Ilm in the Arabic language is translated as knowledge. What we say knowledge in the secular tradition is completely different from the Islamic tradition, and that’s a different topic. To basically summarize it, knowledge in the western secular tradition is basically collecting or gathering mere data information. Knowledge in the Islamic tradition, in the tradition of the scholars of the past and present is not just mere information but also coupled with divine knowledge and also action. The Arabic language is so powerful, it’s so rich. If the root word of ‘Ilm, it comes from aieen laam meem. ‘Alam. And the word ‘Alam in the Arabic language has various meanings. The two most prominent meanings is: a sign or an indicator or a symbol. ‘Alam also means a flag of a country. What is the purpose of a flag? Indicates that country. Indicates the nationality of that country. So ‘Ilm, knowledge in the Islamic tradition is an indicator. It’s a sign. It’s a symbol of your obedience, your obedience to Allah . And when a person is obedient to Allah , the consequence is that his actions show it. That’s why if you reverse the word ‘Ilm in the Arabic language, and scholars allow that in the Arabic language…you have the word aieen meem laam, which is ‘Amal. It’s not a coincidence, Arabic language is divine. If you go back to the history of the Arabic language, it’s divine; it’s not man-made. Allah directly revealed the Quran in the Arabic tongue. So it’s not a coincidence. ‘Ilm is an indicator, it’s a sign. A sign of obedience to Allah . The consequence is action. So we have the twins of faith, both information and action. This is what true knowledge is. And when a person acquires that knowledge, it can elevate him, it can free him…the first word in the Quran to be revealed is what word? “Iqra”. The word “Iqra” means not only to read, but to recite, but to also learn, to convey, and so on and so forth. To establish an environment of learning and so on and so forth. Again if you use some of the words in that particular imperative, the word “raqqa” means what? Enslavement. “Fa tahreeru raqabah”. The scholars, in a nutshell say that when a person begins to read and gain knowledge, he is free from the bondage of ignorance. When a person is ignorant, he’s a slave to his own desires. When a person is ignorant, he’s a tool of the Shaythan. When a person is ignorant, Shaythan tells him to go that way or that way. But when he has knowledge, when she has knowledge of the divine, the Quran and sunnah of the prophet Muhammad , that person has a purpose. That person knows himself. That’s why scholars mention “Whoever knows himself knows Allah .” Because he has a purpose in life. He has an objective, his Maqsad is Allah . And result of that is Tarbiyah or Tazkiyah and Tahdeeb. What is Tahdeeb? The consequence of knowledge. If a person after getting knowledge is not elevating himself to the obedience of Allah , then that person’s knowledge is not benefiting him and we know the hadith of the prophet Muhammad . We know a person, when he begins to attain knowledge, it will elevate him in this dunya and the hereafter; as Allah mentions in the Quran. But a person can also be debased. He can become arrogant. That’s why the Prophet Muhammad said in an authentic hadith that “the most hated amongst you to me and the most distanced on the Day of Judgment to me amongst you is the one who is Mutafayyaqoon.” Mutafayyiq is from the word “fahaq”. It’s the same root of “fiqh”. Fiqh is understanding or intellect or knowledge. The opposite is Fahaq. Fahaq means the one who is pompous, one who is proud, one who is arrogant. He pontificates. He basically gets rid of people whenever he speaks because he thinks he knows everything. He thinks he’s all it, as the street language goes. He thinks he’s the don. He thinks he’s the king and the queen of the street. He’s become pomp and he becomes proud. And, in fact, the word Fahaq is a disease in the Arabic language. A disease that a camel has on the face. Now when that disease overtakes him, the face swells up until the actual animal dies, bursts. So when a person becomes knowledgeable, if the right intention is not there, he becomes arrogant, he becomes stubborn. If he’s not guided by the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad , he becomes arrogant and stubborn and he bursts, and the people are distant from him. And the Prophet Muhammad said, that person will be far away from me on the Day of Judgment. And the word Tahzheeb in the Arabic language means to discipline. The purpose of knowledge… it’s an indicator, is a sign of obedience to Allah . And the purpose of that is Tahzeeb or Tarbiya or Tazkiya which is education, or refinement, or discipline.
The word Tahzeeb in the Arabic language, also if you look at the root of the word, it comes from the word zaa haa baa. Zahab-gold. So what the scholars mention is that when a person does Tahzeeb and also Tarbiyah, although they’re synonymous to education and so and so, but they’re distinct in the Arabic language. When a person does Tahzeeb…because the purpose of knowledge is what? Tahzeeb. Is to discipline your inner self. To discipline your inner character, discipline your behavior, is to make you obedient to Allah . And the purpose of that is educating yourself. The more a person does Tahzeeb, the more a person acquires knowledge, the more golden that person becomes. And the more golden that person becomes, the more stronger that person becomes because the Prophet Muhammad said that people are like metal, and gold is some sort of a metal isn’t it? So when a person acquires more knowledge, the more knowledge that he or she has, the more gold that person has and the more strong that person becomes. No affliction, no tribulation, no Shaythan, no Shaythan from the jinn kind and the human kind can take that person away from the right path. This is the essence of knowledge. And if that is not done, if a person is attaining knowledge and there is no Tahzeeb, there’s no Adab, there’s no manners, no etiquette, they can memorize the Quran, you can memorize the Bukhari and Sahih Muslim and so and so..it will not matter. It will not matter. Because the weightiest thing on the scale on the Day of Judgment is Husnul Khuluq, as the Prophet Muhammad said in Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi. The most weightiest thing on the day of judgment on the scale is Husnul Khuluq, good character. If a person attains knowledge.. you see a lot of brothers and sisters, for ten years, they’re attending classes of knowledge, attending hadith classes, Tafsir classes, Aqeedah classes, Arabic and so on and so forth. But you see their behavior after ten years, it’ll still be the same as when you first met them before ten years. So what these people are getting is mere information which you can really obtain by yourself. You open up your computer, your iPad, whatever, iPhone even, and you just go to the different channels and books, you can obtain information. But the purpose of knowledge is to do Tahzeeb, to make you golden, to make you an obedient servant of Allah and to make you a servant of the community. That’s what the Prophet Muhammad said. This hadith is authentic, narrated by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his Musnad. The pinnacle of intellect after a person obtains Iman is you basically behave well with people. You are in the service of your community. And when a person obtains knowledge, it’s not for yourself. Yes firstly and primarily it’s for yourself, but you have to give back to the community. You have to teach, you have to disseminate.
Just to finish up what I was mentioning before we departed for Maghrib, we said that knowledge is an indicator of obedience to Allah , or we said it propels someone to obedience of Allah and the purpose behind that is to do tahzeeb, or tarbiya, to discipline the soul, discipline the nafs, discipline the character or the deen of the Muslim and then he should or she should be in service to his or her community. And the Prophet Muhammad said, The best Muslim is the one who is beneficial to the people, beneficial to his or her community. For this knowledge is gold, it’s a treasure that must be shared with other people. That’s why concealing knowledge is one of the kabaair as Imam Al- Dhahabi mentions in his book “Kitaab ul Kabaair,” concealing and hiding knowledge is among the major sins in the sight of Allah . So whatever we have, we have to disseminate, propagate, convey to our family members, our friends, our close compatriots and also our community. This is something that obviously many people have been neglecting in the past. Now there is a resurgence, Alhamdulilah in east London, in the UK, in the world really. There is a awakening among the youth, there is a resurgence among the Muslims that we have to focus on knowledge. A lot of activism took place, but knowledge was not given much importance although we had many Islamic seminaries all over the world. But in terms of the true comprehensive knowledge, it was not given importance. When you have knowledge, when you acquaint yourself with the Kitab Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad you have to be active in your community. Sometimes we have activism without knowledge and knowledge without activism. So we had people who were activists but they made a lot of mistakes in the path of Dawah, in the path of being active, because they didn’t have the required knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah. And then you had knowledge without activism. Even in our community, we have many people who graduate from Islamic seminaries, but how many of those people are really contributing positively to the betterment of the Muslim community in the UK?
We cannot do everything. Ebrahim College is focusing on knowledge. Ebrahim College cannot be a political party. The main focus of Ebrahim College, the main focus of Islamic education, is to disseminate, to impart on the students knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah so that they can go out and lift the veil of ignorance from the people. But if you have your hand in everything, you are jack of all trades, then you will not succeed. So if you’re students, full time students, then you’ll learn all the discipline but at the end of the day you’ll focus, you’ll specialize in one field: Either Islamic sciences that you prefer, whether it be hadith or Tafsir, or Aqeedah or Arabic language, and so on and so forth. You will become a master, you’ll become an expert in that.
For example, if you had a group of people and if you had a truck, if you had a car or a truck, and twenty people wanted to move the car or the truck in one direction, to the right. But one person who is sitting on the driver’s seat, he has control of the wheel. 50 or 100 people will want to push the truck to the right hand side. But that one person, he has control of the what? The wheel. And he is directing the truck to the left. Who will succeed? The driver will succeed because he has his hands on the right object. He’s focusing his energy on the right area. Even if you have a thousand people, they will not be able to steer the truck in the direction they desire. The truck will always go to the direction that the driver desires. If you focus on a particular thing, then you have to give your best, not go this way or that way. And this is the reason our community has not been successful. Our focus is on the wrong place. Our focus is sometimes on some people, too much activism. Although I don’t deny that, it’s very important. But what is more important is acquiring knowledge. The reason why our community is like this is because we don’t have the correct knowledge. We don’t have the correct understanding of the Quran and Sunnah of the prophet Muhammad . And that’s why the prophet Muhammad , the first thing he did was give the Sahabah the right knowledge. Tazkiya. He was sent to purify them and to teach them the book and the commentary of the book, as some scholars mention, the Sunnah of the prophet Muhammad .
I want to go through with you a hadith of the prophet Muhammad , recorded by Imam Bukhari in his Sahih in which Ibn Abbas [ra] said that the Prophet Muhammad said, There are two blessings from Allah which many people are deprived of, many people are deluded by. They are good health and free time. This is an amazing hadith. Very short hadith, but if you really ponder over this hadith, understand this hadith properly and try to apply it in your day to day lives, then InshaAllah your days, your day to day life will be more productive.
We know that Allah , He created us for a purpose. And that purpose is to worship Allah . In Surah Mulk, Allah mentions He has created this life and death to “test who among you is ahsanu ‘amala”. He didn’t say aktharu ‘amala. As I mentioned in the beginning, you can do a lot of actions, but if there is no quality, then it doesn’t really matter. We shouldn’t look for quantity. We should look for quality. The deeds that we’re doing, are they in accordance to the Shariah of Allah
That’s why Ishan, what is Ihsan? This is what Ihsan, excellence is. To be productive. Not just in worshiping Allah , following certain formulas, movements, but really having excellence in your worship.
Allah placed us for a purpose in this Dunya: to worship Allah and to know Allah . Imagine all of the human beings, all of the creation, the whole universe, imagine all of the creation of Allah in a big examination hall. Imagine this. This is the Dunya. This is a similitude of the Dunya. We are taking an exam. We are in a big examination hall and there are invigilators. The angels are watching over us. The human being does not utter a single word except a recorder records everything. A recorder records every single thing that we say, every single movement that we do. Everything will be witnessing for us or against us on the Day of Judgment. The duration of this exam is from when a person becomes mature till death. The differences between this exam and the other exam is: the other exam, we know how long it will be…1 hour, 2 hours. But this exam, we don’t know how long it is. For some of us it may be 30 years, or 20 years, or 50 years or 60 years. Imagine if your teacher, he said, you have got a one hour exam. And then after 10, 20 minutes, he says no you have got 10 minutes left, and you have so many questions that you want to answer. What would you do, relax and chill? No, anything that comes in your mind, you will write. Similarly as a Muslim, the reason why Allah created us is to worship. And if we do not know our time or the length of our life in this Dunya, and we know that Malakul Mawt is always watching over us, always trying to take our soul, if we know that then we should always exert effort in the obedience to Allah the same way the student, when he knows that he’s got 10 minutes or 5 minutes left will exert all effort to finish the questions. Similarly, we should be in that state of mind.
Now there are certain questions that Allah wants us to ask ourselves and Allah asks us to answer. And the first and the most important one is the obligations and commandments. Are we fulfilling the obligations and commandments set by Allah ? That is number one. Second question that we have to ask ourselves and answer, the question by Allah is, the prohibitions set by Allah , are we avoiding those prohibitions? Are we avoiding those things that Allah has made unlawful for us? Thirdly, the blessings that Allah has given us, are we giving thanks to Allah? This is the topic we’re going to discuss slightly. The blessings that we have, the different kinds of blessings, health or wealth or knowledge, whatever blessings that we have, are we giving thanks to Allah ? And the trials and tribulations…because as Muslims, as believers, we will face trials and tribulations; Allah mentions many times in the Quran. “We will indeed test you as we tested the people before you to see who among you are truthful and who among you are not truthful”. So the trials and tribulations will always be there, and we have to prepare for that mentally, psychologically…and this hadith is reminding us of the blessings given to us by Allah and the greatest blessing after obviously iman, is good health. Good health is the most amazing ni’mah that anyone can be given by Allah . If you ask anyone who’s been healthy and then suddenly they become ill or they’re in the hospital, they would do anything just to go back to the good health. And also free time, that’s why the prophet Muhammad mentions that these are the two blessings that many people are deluded by, many people are deprived of. And those people who have good health and free time, they’re the lucky ones. They’re the fortunate ones. And those who do not spend their time in the way of Allah , when they are young, when they are healthy, if they do not spend it in the obedience to Allah , and they do not spend their free time in the obedience to Allah then obviously we know from the other hadith they will be questioned on the day of judgment. You may ask: what kind of blessing? Whatever blessing that we have. When I say blessing, it doesn’t mean if someone has a million pounds in his bank account, he is blessed. No. we are blessed just because Allah has given us life. This is enough, this is the greatest blessing, that Allah chose to place us in this Dunya. And on top of that, Allah chose us to become His servants, to become part of the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad . This is the greatest blessing, Iman. Iman is the greatest blessing, you cannot repay that. That’s why some of the scholars of the past, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and others said that if the kings knew what we have, what we possess, they would raise their swords against us to fight us for it. Not for treasure, but for iman. They would raise their swords to fight us for it. So any kind of blessing-free time, good health, good education, good family, good society. Any kind of blessing that we can think of is from Allah .
A man came and complained to a scholar. He said: Allah has not blessed me with any blessings. And the scholar looked at him and said: Will you sell your eyesight for, for example 100,000 pounds? He said no. Will you sell your ears for 100,000 pounds? He said no. Will you sell your hands for 100,000 pounds? No. Will you sell your legs for 100,000 pounds? He said no. And the scholar said: you complain yet you possess millions and billions of pounds. You would not sell your bodily parts to anyone and these are the greatest of Ni’im given by Allah: good health and your bodily functions. You possess these blessings and yet you complain to Allah . Second thing we can take from this hadith is that these blessings that we have, Allah did not give these to honor us, necessarily. Sometimes Allah gives us these blessings to test us. Many people believe that Allah tests us only by giving afflictions and trials and tribulations. No. Allah also gives blessings, Allah gives money, Allah gives good health, Allah gives knowledge, Allah gives long life, to test us. If this was the case, then the prophets and the messengers would be billionaires, because if you only think Allah tests us through afflictions and tribulations, and by that Allah honors us and makes us rich, elevates us in this Dunya and the Akhirah, then the prophets and messengers would be the most richest of people. Allah also tests us, gives us trials and tribulations through the blessing.
When Allah blesses the human beings, blesses the Insaan different kinds of blessings, he says My Lord is generous with me. And then Allah says, but when Allah takes away some Rizq, takes away some blessings, then he complains. He complains to Allah : Allah debased me. No. Allah takes away sometimes the blessings from the human being to awaken his soul, awaken his heart, to test him. Imagine if a teacher, you’re in a class, there are 10, 20 students in a class. If a teacher gives one person a massive book, 1000 page book and the second person, he gives a 500 page book. Second person will say well why have you given him such a big book and given me a book that is smaller? Gives the third person a book that is only 300 pages. To the fourth person he gives a book that is only 200 pages, and so on and so forth. And the people who’s books are smaller, they are complaining. They say look, why did our colleague, why did he get a massive book? 100,000 book. That means he’s favored by the teacher. And imagine in that situation, the teacher says the book that you received today from me you have an exam in two hours. So study the book. What would happen? Those who were given the pamphlet will say “yay”, I’ve got 2 hours to read 10 pages..I’ve got 2 hours to read 15 pages. Easy. But a person who will receive a book of 1,000 pages, 2,000 pages will say SubhanAllah. It’s not a blessing. This is a great burden. Similarly this is the way Allah tests us. Sometimes He gives more of a blessing to test us. And when He deprives us of something it doesn’t mean Allah doesn’t love us, doesn’t mean that Allah does not care for us. He cares for us even though He may have deprived some of the blessings that other people have. And the criteria of Taqwa, of righteousness is not how much wealth we have. The criteria of Taqwa is: the most noble among you in the sight of Allah is the one who has the most Taqwa, is aware of Allah
How can we succeed in the examination? There are three ways the scholars mention:
The first is: we have to give thanks to Allah with our heart. Any of the blessings that we have, free time, good health, good job, good education, and so on and so forth, place yourself with the people of Palestine or Afghanistan or Syria at the moment. We’re blessed, we’re like kings compared to what’s happening over there. So any blessing that we have, we have to internalize that these blessings are from Allah . Whatever blessing we have is from Allah . If you attribute the blessing that you have to yourself or to other human beings, this is Shirk. If you say the blessing that I have is from my own handy work, it’s not from Allah ..this is shirk. And this is obviously haram. This is the trap Qarun fell into. He became arrogant, he became from the Muttafayyiqoon. He became pompous, proud. He said these blessings I’ve got, it’s from my own knowledge, my own handy work. Not from Allah . What happened? Allah debased him and destroyed him. So whatever blessing we have: knowledge, health, or free time, we attribute that to Allah .
Then, we show gratitude to Allah with our tongue: do d
Dhikr, say Alhamdulilah. As for the bounty of your Lord, you speak of it. Obviously not showing off. You don’t memorize a hadith and announce to people, “I’ve memorized a hadith.” Some people do that, isn’t it? They’ve memorized a surah..they go on Facebook: “I’ve memorized Surah Mulk today, Alhamdulilah.” No. you praise Allah , you thank Allah . If your intention is to encourage others, that’s something else. That is allowed. If you have some blessing, you have to speak of it. Some people, I’ve come across, they’re well off. They’ve got their Dunya. They’ve got businesses, they’ve got houses, they’ve got good clothes and so on and so forth yet you see them complaining, “I have nothing.” “If only Allah gave me more.” And these people, it’s obviously a disease. When a person does that, then Allah will take the Ni’mah away from that person.
A man came to the prophet Muhammad . Authentic narration recorded by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his Musnad. A man came to him, he was well off. He had a lot of goats and cows and sheep and so on and so forth. But he was wearing ragged clothes. And the prophet Muhammad said to him, “does this person have any money?”(Why is he wearing torn and ragged clothes?) and he said to him: are you poor? Do you have any money? He said Alhamdulilah, Allah has blessed me. Allah has blessed me with a great fortune. He said why aren’t you wearing decent clothes, appropriate clothes, when you go out? And the prophet said, “If Allah bestows upon you wealth, then let it be shown on you.” If a person has some wealth, you don’t show that you’re poor, you don’t show that you’re wearing bad clothes and so on and so forth. This is riyaa . Some people do this. They try to be obedient to Allah but in essence, they’re showing off. If Allah has given some wealth, any kind of blessing, then let it be shown on you. Obviously you have to be careful you’re not showing off, not to be boastful. And part of Ash Shukr bil Qalb is we increase in our Dhikr, increase in our recitation of the Quran, increase in our learning of the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad , we enjoin the good and forbid the evil. But there is no point in learning the hadith, there is no point in coming to classes if you do not enjoin the good and forbid the evil. Enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is the result of taking knowledge. Why are you acquiring knowledge? To propagate and convey to the people. Why? To get rid of the munkar in the community. Some people, they learn all their lives but when it comes to action, when it comes to disseminating that, conveying that knowledge and getting rid of the munkar in the community, they’re behind the scenes.
The companions of the prophet Muhammad , Hamzah [ra] or Khalid ibn Waleed, how many surahs did they know? Khalid ibn Waleed, Hamzah, they narrated that they only knew a handful of surahs, short surahs. But you can see, they had the basics, they had the fundamentals. But they went out and they conquered lands, they went out and enjoined the good, forbid the evil. The action has to be there. There has to be a balance. There are people in the field of Dawah, but without knowledge. There has to be a balance.
The third is that we have to show gratitude to Allah with our actions. When we have knowledge, when we have the blessings, we have to show it in our actions. For example if a person has knowledge, as I mentioned, he has to go and teach, or she has to go and teach it to other people. If a person has maal, wealth, that person needs to give in the way of Allah . If a person has a good body, a physical and able body, he needs to support his weak brothers and sisters, wherever they are. Whatever skill you have is a blessing from Allah and you have to utilize it in the way of Allah . When a person does that, when a person shows gratitude, the result is what? “If you are grateful to Me, I will increase in your bounties. But if you are ungrateful then My punishment is very very severe.” Showing gratitude to Allah , that’s why it’s a circle. When a person attains knowledge, he knows or she knows it’s a blessing from Allah . And he knows or she knows that he or she needs to give thanks to Allah , then he or she will need to go out and disseminate that. If a person is sitting behind his laptop and becoming a Facebook Mujahid or Twitter Mujahid, there is no point in going to hadith lesson and so on and so forth. You have to go in the community. You have to equip yourself .you don’t go blind, otherwise Shaythan will take you this way and take you that way, propel you this way and propel you that way. You have to equip yourself and then go. Some people also have the tendency, “I’m not a scholar, I’m not knowledgeable. So, I can’t give Dawah.” We should not think like that. Dawah is obligatory but the responsibility of a scholar will be different from the responsibility of a student of knowledge. And his responsibility will be different from the responsibility given to a politician. And his responsibility will be different from a mother. And her responsibility will be different from a daughter and son and so on and so forth. Everyone needs to do their part. Everyone has a role to play in this Dunya.
We have to see. That’s why I began by saying, “the one who knows himself knows Allah .” So we have to know who we are, what is my purpose in this Dunya? What is my purpose in learning knowledge? What is my purpose in learning Arabic? What is my purpose in learning hadith? Some people have this attitude that I want to become a student of knowledge, become a scholar, I will do a 5-6 year degree in Islamic studies, so I can go in the speakers circle, go around and give lectures, go to universities and mosques and give lectures. That should not be our intention. If this is our intention, then we should stop and pause and rectify the intention. The main intention is that we rectify ourselves and rectify the community. Not to become super stars, not to become Youtube warriors and Youtube muftis and Mufti Wiki and Mufti Google and so on and so forth. No, it’s to rectify oneself and rectify their community.