So as I promised, I will now tell you about the other important lesson I learnt from our meeting with the Moulana I mentioned in my previous post.
This lesson is about knowledge. The Moulana related a story to us. He said that Imam Shafi (rahmatullah) went to Imam Malik (rahmatullah) for some advice. Imam Malik told Imam Shafi that knowledge (ilm) should be like salt and Practise (‘Amal) should be like the dough. What this means is that there’s no point of having tons of knowledge if you’re not going to put any of it into practice.
I really agreed with what the Moulana was saying. He went on to say that these days it seems that people have bags and bags of salt but no dough. He explained this to us further to make a point (you know Moulana’s like using analogies) so he said, imagine you’re having a wedding, and the first thing you go out and do is buy ten packets of salt. Before you even get the rice to cook the food, you go and buy the salt. What if you don’t find rice when you want to cook the food? What will you do with the salt then? Would there be any point in having the salt? He then asked us to consider how much salt is needed when making dough. When looking at the proportion between 'dough' and 'salt', it was clear how much more we should be focused on putting things into practise.
Shoo, these questions were so simple, yet so thought provoking, so profound, and so, so relevant. I thought about all the books I have and whether I’ve managed to actually put into practise the things that I’ve read from these books. I couldn’t help but wonder if my quest to gain knowledge would lead to me practising what I have learnt or if it would be of little use. It also made me think about something else...
It’s true that people in today’s times have a lot of knowledge, about many different things. It’s never being so easy to acquire knowledge, and yet I had to agree with the Moulana that not much of this knowledge is being put into practise. When I thought about this more deeply I realised that this is because knowledge in today’s times is very closely connected to ego. Many people feel good about themselves when they have knowledge. It’s become a status symbol to have knowledge. If you have the Masters degree or PhD then suddenly you’re respected and your word means something because after all you are “knowledgeable” and the Degree behind your name testifies to this. So yes, most definitely there is an abundance of knowledge, but how much of this knowledge is beneficial is another story.
I have always being someone who values knowledge. I just like learning new things, and I’ve always enjoyed reading and researching different things. My only wish is that this does not become a form of pride and egotism. I know now that if I have ten packets of salt, but no dough, then the salt I have becomes totally useless. I pray that I can be someone who can put what I have learnt into practise. Insha’Allah!
I’m sure that this has made you think about knowledge in a different light, I know that I, for one, have begun to think about it differently, and since I’ve heard Moulana speak about this, I just can’t help noticing how many bags of salt there is and how little dough.
Would't be great if we all (myself included here) began to use the salt we have to make some more dough!
May Allah (SWT) give us all beneficial knowledge, which will be a means for us to gain His Pleasure, and may Allah Almighty give us all the ability to share and practise the knowledge that we have.
Let us remember that the best way to share is through our example!
Image taken from: http://imechanica.org/node/2319