Signs of Beneficial Knowledge

One of the biggest blessings of Allah on a person is that He opens his heart for the understanding of religion… So you become like a thirsty person who wants to fill his heart and soul with the rain of knowledge… but the purpose of this knowledge is not just to satisfy our soul, or to fill the emptiness of the heart… rather it should be the force to bring a positive change in our thoughts and actions.

But the difference is that water will be absorbed in our body automatically… just like food becomes digested without any effort from us… we just have to eat and drink and that’s all… after that our bodies know what to do and they do it naturally…

But when we attain knowledge then we have to consciously make it a part of our character… we have to work hard to implement it in our lives… and in doing so we have to strive against our laziness, against our desires, against distractions, against all the things that stand between us and our success and happiness…

Knowledge is like a gift… but we have to use it to get its real benefit. Just like the most expensive car… if it is just standing in your driveway… looks beautiful and impressive… and people might appreciate it and feel envious too… but unless you know how to drive it… and until you have a clear destination in your mind… it will do you no good except for making you arrogant that you have it… and you look down on others who don’t have it…

That is why we have been taught this dua by our Prophet (s.a.w):

Allahumma inni as’aluka ilman nafi’an

Wa rizqan tayyiban

Wa amalan mutaqabbala

Ya Allah I ask you for knowledge that is beneficial

And provisions that are pure and good

And actions that are accepted

When we think of beneficial knowledge… then we have to consider two things… firstly the knowledge should be pure and authentic… secondly we should check whether it is benefitting us or not? So here are a few signs of beneficial knowledge…

  • It should move our heart towards the recognition and awe of Allah… so that doing good deeds becomes easy and satisfying, and following ignorant practices becomes difficult and painful. In the words of a scholar… Beneficial knowledge is that constant voice in your heart that forces you to remain alert and conscious… it never leaves you alone… like a loyal friend and advisor… it manages your actions and your re-actions… knocking sense in your head… the moment you start going in the wrong direction, knowledge screams at you… what are you doing? Don’t you fear Allah? Where is your haya?

  • The second sign is that beneficial knowledge moves you towards immediate application… like you get news of a great sale, you waste no time in going to the mall… or you learn a new recipe and you immediately want to try it… That is how knowledge that moves the heart, makes you do something about it at once… because that is the very purpose of knowledge… to improve your life… to save yourself from loss and regret. As Hasan Basri (r.a.) said…

“when in the past any person used to seek knowledge, not any time would go by but you would see the effects of that knowledge in his eyes… in his speech… in his actions… upon his salah… upon his attitude… upon his minimalism and distance from worldly desires.”

Another quote in this regard is from Sufiyan ibn Uyainah… He said:

“If I was to spend my daylight hours acting like a foolish person;

And if I spend my night hours acting like an ignorant person;

Then what is the purpose of the knowledge that I am collecting?”

So we must ensure it before and during our journey of knowledge that it becomes beneficial to us and to those around us…

Otherwise our hearts can become even harder… our attitudes arrogant and painful… and our desires overwhelm us from all sides… and nobody will listen to us if we call them towards the right path…

That is why we must also make this dua:

Allahumma inni a’uzubika min ilmin la yanfa’u

Wa min qalbin la yakhsha’u

Wa min nafsin la tashba’u

Wa min da’watin la yustajabu laha

Ya Allah I seek your protection from knowledge that does not benefit me

And From a heart that does not fear you

And from a desire that never fills

And from duas that are not answered

May Allah protect us from ignorance and arrogance… may He make us truly knowledgeable… and beneficial for ourselves and for the whole world… Ameen

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