An extremely beneficial method of inculcating the habit of practicing upon knowledge is to accompany people who do so themselves. One advantage of formerly acquiring knowledge from a suitable teacher is that together with knowledge one is also able to visualise how the teacher applies it in his life.
Ibn Sirin (rahimahullah) said: “They –the senior Tabi’un- would study how to practice (‘amal) just as they would study knowledge (‘ilm).”
(Adabul ikhtilaf, pg.73)
In fact, Imam Yahya Al-Laythi (rahimahullah) the famous student of Imam Malik (rahimahullah) remained with his teacher; Imam Malik for an additional year after completing his study under him. The only purpose for spending an extra year was to discover how to implement knowledge in his practical life.
In addition to the above, excessive du’a should be made that Allah Ta’ala grants us the tawfiq (ability) to implement the knowledge we have acquired into our practical lives.
The following du’as have appeared in the Hadith:
1. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) would commence each day with the following du’a:
اَللهُمَّ إِنّي أَسْئَلُكَ عِلْماً نَافعا، ورزقَا طيبًا، وعملًا متقبلًا
“Allahumma inni as-aluka ‘ilman nafi’a, wa rizqan tayyiba, wa ‘amalan mutaqabbala”
“O Allah! I ask You for beneficial knowledge, pure livelihood and accepted deeds”
(Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah, Hadith: 29875)
2. Several Sahabah (radiyallahu’anhum) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) would recite the following du’a regularly:
اَللهُمَّ انْفَعْني بما عَلَّمْتَني، وَعَلِّمْنِي ما يَنْفَعُني، وزِدْنِي عِلْما
“Allahumman fa’ni bi ma ‘allamtani wa ‘allimni ma yanfa’uni wa zidni ‘ilma”
“O Allah! Allow me to benefit from the knowledge that You have bestowed me, bless me with the knowledge of what will benefit me and keep increasing me in knowledge”
(Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 3599, Mustadrak Hakim, vol.1, pg.510. This narration is declared acceptable by Imams Tirmidhi and Hakim)
The above du’as teach us to beg Allah Ta’ala for “beneficial” knowledge.
“Information” that does not pertain to ‘amal (practice) is not termed: “beneficial”. Beneficial knowledge is that which one practices upon.
Failing to practice upon what we know will result in that knowledge confronting us in the court of Allah.
Sayyidatuna ‘Aaishah (radiyallahu’anha) once admonished a youngster who lacked in practicing upon his knowledge with the following:
“O my son! Why do you amass so much of proof for Allah to use against you!”
(Iqtida-ul ‘ilm, pg.60)
3. Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhuma) would make the following du’a:
اَللهُمَّ ارْزُقْنِي عِلْمًا يَنْفَعُنِي وعَمَلًا يَرْفَعُني
“Allahummar zuqni ‘ilmay yanfa’uni wa ‘amalay yarfa’uni”
“O Allah! Bless me with knowledge that will benefit me and practice (‘amal) that will raise my status (by You).”
(Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah, narration: 4406, also see Ma’alim irshadiyyah, pg.16)
The Scholars say:
“If one truly acquires knowledge for Allah’s pleasure, it will automatically lead him to practice.”
(Ma’alim irshadiyyah, pg.19)
A personal note:
The first time I met my beloved Teacher, Al-Muhaddith Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah (may Allah protect him) was on 19 Ramadan 1420 A.H. (30 December 1999). At the end of the sitting he made the following du’a:
أَسأَلُ اللهَ أن يجعلنا مِنَ العلماء العاملين، المُخْلِصين المخْلَصين
“I ask Allah to include us among the chosen, sincere, practicing ‘Ulama.”