The Faulty Candle


A poet once said, "Knowledge without action is like a wick, it gives light to others yet itself dies out burning."

It was during the first few days of Dhul Hijja that I learnt that Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah had travelled from Saudi Arabia all the way to Toronto, a journey that took him over 30 hours, in order to convey sacred knowledge to the attendees of an Islamic conference. I imagine the journey must have been especially arduous given that he is elderly. But the most astonishing aspect of his decision is that despite the general difficulties of travel, he had every intention to perform Hajj (the greater pilgrimage) which would of course have required him to travel right back to Saudi Arabia within a few days of arriving in Toronto.

Another wonderful speaker at the conference, whose words this year touched my heart and provided me with the fruits which I sought, was Dr. Tariq Ramadan. In one of his lectures, he mentioned that there is a recent sickness in the ummah which takes the form of seeking knowledge for the sake of knowledge itself. We do this to such an extent that we actually worship knowledge instead of using it as the means to improve our relationship with our Creator.

As I reflected on the example of Shaykh Abdullah and the words of Dr. Tariq Ramadan, it immediately hit me how easily I belittle the worth of knowledge, beneficial knowledge at that.

My other guilt lies in books. I love books. In fact, for the last few years my most precious books were in boxes while I was playing the nomad between three homes. Now that I've settled myself again, I've taken out all my books, and just looking at them makes me smile. At least they used to... until now. Now I realize that I've transformed a thing of beauty, books, into a potent poison. The ironic part of this sad story is that for the longest time I have attempted to exercise caution in an effort to prevent myself from taking anything at face value including books, classes, and any chance that I get to learn. The story of Imam Ghazali and the robbers was enough to teach me this, yet I have still stumbled.

This all becomes especially problematic as I am now presented with a slight opportunity to convey some of my passions and thoughts to young and impressionable minds. I can only try to teach them what my mind acknowledges as haqq (truth) but that which my nafs has unfortunately made a mockery of.

I don't deserve anything that I have, not even for a second. But, I have it. It's right here. How can I change you, O stubborn soul? Let's change, please. Let's not go to the grave as a loser.

Ya Rabb, forgive me. Guide me, my family, my loved ones, and the ummah of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Preserve our beloved teachers, and cause us to benefit from the knowledge that they convey to us. Guide us, cause us to draw nearer to You each day, and save us from leading self-destructive lives. Ameen.


AD(ha)NAN said...

and thanks for the link to Imam Ghazali's (Radhi Allah-o-ta'alah Anhum) story.

Farzeen said...


No problem. I'm glad you enjoyed it as well.

Just so you know, where you said "anhum," it should be "anhu" because hum is the affixed (connected) pronoun meaning "they" (masculine), but hu means "him." I don't know Arabic, except for some very basics, but I thought perhaps if you came to see these comments again, you would appreciate the difference in pronouns. I'm trying to befriend Arabic grammar, so forgive me if you would have preferred that I didn't point it out. :-S

Sketched Soul said...

As-salaamu'alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuhu my dear Farzeen,


Beautiful post.

"Now I realize..." AlhumduliLlah! You can only fix what you are aware of. May Allah Most Hight make it easy for you. Ameen.


Farzeen said...

Wa 'alaykum assalaam wa rahmatu Allahi wa barakaatu

Ameen. :)

Adnan said...

Wa alaikum As-Salam,


Actually I knew about it. But the other day I was reading tafsir and It was written in it: "... Hadhrat Ibn-e-Abbas Radhi Allah o anhum ..."

I thought that I knew it wrong that's why I used anhum. But, uh, you're right. Jazak Allah for correction.

"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]



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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]