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19 May 2019 CE | 15 Ramadhan 1440 AH
Explanation below

Hadith Explanation

The Use of Knowledge

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radi Allahu anhu) that Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The most severely tortured on the Day of Judgment shall be the scholar who did not benefit from his knowledge.”

The knowledge that the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) is talking about in this hadith is religious knowledge. A scholar is one who knows what he needs to know to save himself from the Fire of Hell. If he does not use his knowledge for this purpose, rather, uses it only to beautify his worldly life with it, then it will be a source of punishment for him.

The greatest purpose of any kind of knowledge is to acquire Allah’s forgiveness and Jannah through it and to save oneself from the Fire of Hell with it. We spend decades acquiring the education that we think will help provide us with a certain standard of living. We worry about being deprived of the luxuries the world has to offer. But this world is a drop compared to the Hereafter which is the ocean. So, looking at the bigger picture, any knowledge that does not help us with the ocean is useless.

The story goes that there was once a man who owned some livestock. When he heard that a certain prophet knew the language of animals, he prevailed upon him to teach him. Armed with this knowledge he listened to what his animals said. The cock told the dog that the horse was going to die soon, and the man understood. So he sold the horse before he incurred any loss.

Some time later, again using his knowledge, he overheard the cock telling the dog that the mule would die before long, and so he was able to sell him, too, to avoid any loss.

The cock next said that the man’s slave was about to die. The man gleefully sold the slave, in order to save himself money. He was very pleased with himself, and imagined that this was the value of knowledge, to help man in his day-to-day affairs.

Now, however, the man heard the cock telling the dog that he, the man, was about to die. He ran in panic to see the prophet seeking his advice as to what to do. The prophet said, “You can go and sell yourself now.”

What the man had bothered to learn did not benefit him. True knowledge, worthy of being called “knowledge,” is only knowledge of Allah, our Maker, the way to His Pleasure, and the Hereafter.

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