An Advice Regarding Sickness & Difficulty, Especially in Relation to Magic
Part Two: Knowledge & Action
Know – may Allāh have mercy on you – that knowledge comes before action. Allāh The Exalted said:
"So know, [O Muhammad], that there is no god except Allāh and ask forgiveness for your sin".
In this passage, Allāh put knowledge before action. This interpretation is supported by Imām Al- Bukhari in his Saheeh when he wrote: "Chapter: Knowledge comes before action", then he mentioned the previous āyah. Having said that, knowledge without action leads to the Hellfire – may Allāh save you and I from it. This is because knowledge is either a witness for you or against you. The punishment of the person who knows something is wrong and then does it is not equal to the punishment of the person who is ignorant of something he should know, even if they both deserve to be punished. One of the first three to be thrown in to the hellfire on the Day of Judgment will be a scholar who did not act upon what he knew, as is authentically reported from the Messenger of Allāh – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him. Yet, as Muslims, we have been ordered to seek knowledge. Allāh The Exalted said:
"Say, ‘Are those who know equal to those who do not know?’ Only they will remember [who are] people of understanding."
Furthermore, there are many narrations from the Prophet – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – praising the one who seeks knowledge and the great rewards. From these narrations is that, "everything in the heavens and the earth seeks forgiveness for the scholar (in one narration: for the student of knowledge), even the fish in the sea".
Know – may Allāh guide you to obey Him – that the best of knowledge is knowing Allāh’s Perfect Names and Attributes. There is no doubt that this leads the Muslim to worshipping Allāh as He deserves to be worshipped. Allāh said:
"It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allāh."
When a person knows Allāh’s infinite power and Allāh’s severe punishment, they fear Allāh more. When a person knows Allāh’s mercy, which has encompassed every single thing, even the animals, they increase in their hope in Him. Sufyān ath-Thawree – one of the great imāms of hadith – said that if he had a choice on the Day of Judgement between Allāh deciding his fate or his father, he would choose Allāh. This statement shows the Imām’s knowledge of Allāh’s Perfect Attributes; would someone’s father ever choose the hellfire for them? And yet Allāh’s mercy is greater than the mercy of a mother to her baby, as the Messenger of Allāh told us – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him.
When a person knows that Allāh hears and sees everything, it makes them stand firm upon the religion. ‘Ā’ishah – may Allāh be pleased with her – said, "Glory be to the one who’s hearing reaches every sound!" She was sitting in her tiny room when a woman came to the Prophet regarding her husband and yet ‘Ā’ishah couldn’t hear everything the woman said to him. Then Allāh sent down His statement, "Certainly has Allāh heard the speech of the one who argues with you, [O Muhammad], concerning her husband and directs her complaint to Allāh . And Allāh hears your dialogue; indeed, Allāh is Hearing and Seeing."
When a person knows that Allāh accepts the repentance of everyone who turns back to Him, it makes him sincere and eager to turn back to Allāh in repentance. The Messenger of Allāh – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – said:
"Verily, Allāh is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than a person who has lost his camel carrying his food and drink in a waterless desert. He, having lost all hope, lies down in shade and with no hope of finding his camel again; when all of a sudden he finds that camel standing before him. He takes hold of its reins and then out of boundless joy blurts out: 'O Allāh, You are my slave and I am Your lord'. He makes this mistake out of extreme joy."
When a person knows that "Allāh is Shy when His servant raises his hands to Him to return them empty", he never ceases to call upon His Lord, "even for a shoelace," as the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessing of Allāh be upon him) said. And he continues like this until his relationship with His Lord means more to him than Allāh giving him what he wants. The Messenger of Allāh – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – said:
"Du’ā is [the essence of] worship".
One of the reasons for this is that du’ā joins between so many different types of worship; love, hope, reliance, and patience, to name a few, and it makes the servant realise the greatness of Allāh, and the servant's need of Him.
When a person knows that "if Allāh touches you with harm, none can remove it but He, and if He touches you with good, then He is Able to do all things", their heart becomes free of relying upon anyone except Allāh. When they are in need they turn to him alone, and when they are in touched by hardship they know that nobody can remove their hardship except Him. One of our scholars – may Allāh preserve him – said that whenever he got in a difficult situation he used to read this āyah, and he never read it except that Allāh made a way out for him from his difficulty. And there is no doubt that all of this depends on a person knowing his or her Lord.