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Spiritual Meditations ( 2 Oct 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Knowledge and Worship Are Means of Salvation

By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam

01 October 2018

Acquiring knowledge is one of the needs of those who desire salvation and a life of worship and devotion. Knowledge and worship are precious gems which enlighten mankind. It is these reasons for which the Holy Scriptures were sent down and for which Almighty God sent down His Prophets [Ambiya, pl. of Nabi] and Messengers [Rasul] to all communities. In fact it is these reasons for which God Almighty ordered creation of All That Is, the Universe. The following two verses of the Quran can be taken into consideration for this matter;

“It is Allah who has created seven heavens and of the earth, the like of them. [His] command descends among them so you may know that Allah is over all things competent and that Allah has encompassed all things in knowledge.” (65:15)

This verse is enough to prove excellence and virtues of knowledge, particularly the knowledge of the oneness of Almighty God.

At another place God Almighty said,

 “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me” (51:56)

This verse clearly describes the purpose of life and is thus enough to encourage the mankind to worship. It is therefore essential for a man to devote his life to acquiring knowledge and worshiping God Almighty with all sincerity, preferring to all other useless activities.

It is worth mentioning that knowledge is superior to worship. It was for this reason the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “An Alim [learned man] has more excellence than a worshipper [‘Abid], just as I am superior to you”.

However this does not mean that worship is less important. This in fact refers to that knowledge which helps a worshipper worship God Almighty in a perfect way. To understand it we can say that knowledge is a tree and worship is like its fruit and a tree without fruit loses its significance.

Both knowledge and worship are essential and the man should attain excellence in both these fields. Hazrat Hasan Basri, a great Sufi, once said, “Acquire knowledge without causing any loss to worship. Similarly, devote yourself to worship without causing any loss to the acquisition of knowledge”.

Both knowledge and worship are important but knowledge should be given a preference, as it is a guiding factor. It was for this reason that holy Prophet said, “knowledge is the guiding factor of action and action is subordinate to knowledge.” It is reasonable that worshipping Almighty God is not possible without learning the method of praying, without differentiating between right and wrong, between essential obligations and prohibitions.

Knowledge is essential to learn right forms of worship such as purity of the body, right manner of Prayer [Salat], fasting and Zakat, along with their various injunctions and stipulations. It is certain that a man in ignorance may perform during his worship something which may violate the rulings of worship. So for this reason, knowing the problems and religious rulings is therefore essential duty.

It is by knowledge that the man gains spiritual values and various forms of worship of the heart, such as Trust in Allah [Tawakkul], entrusting all matters to Allah [Tafweedh], contentment with Allah’s decrees [Ridha], patience [Sabr], repentance [Tawbah], and sincerity [Ikhlas].  

It is by knowledge that one learns what God Almighty has taught in the Quran such as,

“Put your trust in Allah if you are believers” (5:23), “...and render thanks to Allah if you worship only Him” (2:23), “endure patiently (o dear Prophet) your endurance is only by [the help of] Allah” (16:27), “endure patiently, for Allah is with those who are patient” (8:46) and “devote to Him [God] with complete devotion” (73:8).

 Those who do not acquire knowledge, their inner or outer actions may not be sound and acceptable. Their endeavours without knowledge may result into trouble and toil. For such people, it is mentioned in the Quran “He loses both the world and the Hereafter; that is indeed an evident loss” (22:11).

The holy Prophet also said,

“It is the fortunate and pious who are granted learning and the unfortunate are deprived of it”.

It is by knowledge that one can learn how to refrain from inner vices such as anger, ostentation [Riyakari], arrogance [Kibr], jealousy [Hasad], and backbiting [Ghibat]. 

It is by knowledge that the man learns the consequences of arrogance. He learns that it was arrogance that caused Iblis to disobey Allah’s command, thereby leading to his expulsion from Heaven [Jannat]. The Quran and Sunnah have strictly condemned arrogance and haughtiness.

Allah Almighty says,

“I will turn away from My signs those who are arrogant upon the earth without right…” (7:146),

“Those who dispute regarding the signs of Allah without any proof having come to them; how very disgusting this is, in the sight of Allah and in the sight of the believers! This is how Allah seals the entire heart of every haughty, rebellious person.” (40:35),

“And you will see on the Day of Resurrection the fabricators of lies against Allah, with their faces blackened; is not the destination of the haughty in hell?” (39:60), “It will be said, ‘Enter the gates of hell to remain in it forever’; so what a wretched destination for the haughty!” (39:72),

“Verily, Allah does not love those who are proud and boastful.” (4:36,

“Those who turn away from My service out of pride will soon enter Hell being disgraced.” (40:60).

 It is reported that the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“No one who has the weight of a seed of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” Someone asked if that person was proud who likes that his clothes and shoes to be neat and smart. The Prophet said, “Verily, Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty (This statement means that good clothing and shoes do not denote pride”. Thereafter the beloved Prophet added saying, “pride means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.” (Sahih Muslim)

It is by knowledge that one learns that backbiting is a bad deed. As Allah says in the Quran,

“O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.” (49:12)

It is by knowledge that one learns about the evil of envy. Allah Almighty says in the Quran,

“Say, "I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak. From the evil of that which He created.  And from the evil of darkness when it settles. And from the evil of the blowers in knots. And from the evil of an envier when he envies.”

The implication of all discussion is that without knowledge one cannot refrain from inner vices nor can his worship be perfect. That is why according preference to knowledge to worship is essential. Another reason is that it is by knowledge one truly understands the meaning of fearing of Allah. The holy Quran says,

“It is the learned ones [Ulama] among His servants who fear Allah” (35:28).

The word ‘Ulama’ mentioned in this verse denotes ‘the learned men’ which implies that a man who does not acquire knowledge cannot do full justice to worshipping and fearing God Almighty.    


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