Knowledge Without Application Is Destructive for Muslims

This is a page from my tajwīd book:

It discusses the relative ease of pronouncing a single letter when it is separate and stand-alone, versus the relative difficulty of pronouncing letters when they are combined together in a word. It’s easy to pronounce any letter when it’s isolated from the influence of other neighboring letters; in this case, it’s easy to give that letter its full rights and all its attributes of lightness or heaviness or weakness or strength.

But the real test of proficiency with tajwīd comes when pronouncing multiple letters strung together into a word, especially when they differ drastically in their attributes. One letter that is heavy may be followed by a light letter that is then given undue heaviness. Or a letter that is weak might be inappropriately overshadowed by a stronger letter following it. When different letters are thrown together, if you are not careful and diligent, things can get messy.

This passage continues by noting that the science of tajwīd is not meant to be solely academic, or divorced from actual application:

“Know that the rules and principles of tajwīd were not laid down for you to learn and memorize in isolation from application during recitation of the Noble Qur’ān. Rather, learning the rules and principles of tajwīd is a vehicle to be used and applied directly when you recite. For a person who does not practically apply the rules whenever he recites, there is no meaning to [such] ‘ilm (knowledge) of the rules of tajwīd, nor in being successful in answering correctly every [tajwīd-related] question posed to him by an examiner.”

This concept of applying what you know is not only true for tajwīd, but all ‘ilm related to the dīn, and to knowledge of Islam in general.

Related Link: Knowledge vs. The Appearance of Knowledge: Know the Difference!

What good is a person’s knowledge of fiqh or `aqīdah or Qur’ān or ḥadith if this knowledge isn’t applied to real-life situations?

If we know that certain sexual practices are ḥarām, what good is that knowledge if we “affirm and advocate the right” of people to engage in such ḥarām sexual practices?

If we know that شرك (shirk) is ḥarām, what good is that knowledge if we celebrate holidays like Christmas or offer congratulations to those who do?

If we know that Islam is the only dīn acceptable before Allah, what good is that knowledge if we accept this feel-good perennialism and humanism that is so popular nowadays?

If we know that zinā is a grave major sin, what good is that knowledge if we collectively make marriage so difficult, and throw up barriers so insurmountable, that it is nearly impossible for people to get married?

There is no meaning to having `ilm of the rules of Islam, or being able to answer Islamic questions correctly during a test, for a person who does not practically apply such rules and principles to daily life and actual situations.

The real test of īmān is not simply knowing these rules theoretically in a solely abstract sense isolated from reality; the real test comes when we have to apply these rules in real life with all its various confounding variables, and in the midst of people who think and act differently.

Faced with real-life issues and actual application of the rules, will we (as Muslims) cave to external pressure and “go along to get along,” or will we grow a backbone and pronounce the full truth without bending the rules?

RELATED: Pro-LGBT Muslims? Yaqeen and Brown Promote LGBT Affirmation & Advocacy

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Maaz Ahmad Khan

Alhamdulillah for Islam