The Disapproval of Acquiring Knowledge for other than the Sake of Worship – Imaam Abu Bakr Al-Baghdaadee

AUTHOR: Imaam Abu Bakr Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdaadee
SOURCE: Iqtida-ul-‘Ilm-ul-‘Amal (pg. 77-79)

A selected chapter from the classic treatise Iqtidaa-ul-‘Ilm-ul-‘Amal (Knowledge Mandates Action) by Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdaadee (D. 463H), may Allaah have mercy on him:

[119] Abu Sa’eed Muhammad bin Moosaa bin Al-Fadl bin Shaadhaan As-Sayrafee informed us in Naisapur: Abul-‘Abbaas Muhammad bin Ya’qoob Al-Asam narrated to us: Al-‘Abbaas bin Al-Waleed bin Mazeed Al-Bayrootee informed us, saying: My father informed me: Al-Awzaa’ee narrated to us, saying:

“I have been informed that it used to be said: ‘Woe to those who acquire (religious) knowledge for other than the sake of worship and to those who permit the unlawful due to doubtful arguments.”

[120] Al-Hasan bin ‘Alee Al-Jawharee informed us: Muhammad bin Al-‘Abbaas Al-Kharraaz narrated to us: Yahyaa bin Muhammad bin Saa’id narrated to us: Al-Husayn bin Al-Hasan Al-Marwazee narrated to us, saying: Ibn Al-Mubaarak informed us, saying: Bakaar bin ‘Abdillaah informed us, saying: I heard Wahb bin Munabbih say:

“Allaah, the Most High, said in His censure of the Rabbis (scholars) from amongst the Children of Israa’eel (i.e. Jews): ‘Will you learn for other than the sake of the Religion, and acquire knowledge for other than the sake of acting on it? Will you purchase the worldly life using deeds (meant) for the Hereafter? You wear the skins of sheep yet conceal (within yourselves) the souls of wolves. You quickly clean the filth that falls into your drinks yet you readily swallow the equivalent of mountains from the unlawful. You make the Religion burdensome upon the people like the weight of mountains, and you don’t assist them by even lifting up your pinky fingers. You prolong the prayer and whiten the garments. You illegally seize the wealth of the orphan and the widow. By My might, I swear that I will indeed strike you with a calamity in which the opinion of every opinionative person and the wisdom of every wise person (amongst you) will be led astray.’”

[121] Al-Hasan bin Abee Bakr informed us, saying: ‘Uthmaan bin Ahmad Ad-Daqaaq informed us: Al-Hasan bin Salaam narrated to us: Abu Nu’aim narrated to us: Abul-Jaabiyah narrated to us: Al-Farraa’ narrated to us, saying: Ash-Sha’abee said:

“Verily, we are not Fuqahaa (men of understanding). We merely listen to the Hadeeth and then narrate it (to others). Rather, the Fuqahaa are those who when they know something, act upon it.”

[122] Al-Hasan bin Muhammad Al-Khallaal narrated to us: ‘Umar bin Ahmad, the Admonisher, narrated to us: ‘Abdullaah bin Muhammad bin Ziyaad narrated to us: Al-‘Abbaas bin Al-Waleed bin Mazeed narrated to us, saying: My father narrated to us, saying: I heard Al-Awzaa’ee say:

“When Allaah desires evil for a people, He opens the door of argumentation for them and prevents them from (doing good) deeds.”

[123] Abu ‘Abdillaah Al-Husayn bin Ja’far As-Salmaasee informed us, saying: Ahmad bin Ibraheem bin Shaadhaan informed us: Ahmad bin Muhammad bin ‘Abdil-Kareem Al-Wasaawasee narrated to us: ‘Abdullaah bin Khubaiq narrated to us, saying: I heard Ibraaheem Al-Bakaa say: I heard Ma’roof bin Fayrooz Al-Kurkhee say:

“When Allaah intends good for a servant, He opens for him the door of actions and closes for him the door of argumentation. And when Allaah intends evil for a servant, He opens for him the door of argumentation and closes for him the door of actions.”

[124] Abul-Qaasim ‘Ubaydullaah bin ‘Umar bin Ahmad, the Admonisher, informed us, saying: My father narrated to me, saying: ‘Alee bin Muhammad Al-Misree narrated to us: Muhammad bin Zayd narrated to us that Ibn Suwayd said: Abu Nu’aim Al-Fadl bin Dukain narrated to us, saying: I entered into the presence of Zafar when he was at the point of death, so he raised his head up to me and said to me:

“O Abu Nu’aim, I wished that what we were upon (from seeking hadeeth) was instead tasbeeh(glorification of Allaah).”

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