Posted by: Dawud Israel | October 1, 2007

Islam-o-Geeks: Knowledge vs. Action

I’ve been trying to figure out the perfect balance between knowledge and action. Much of this is due out of frustration from my Ilm-seeking brothers. Perhaps its part of Allah’s plan in our progress in the West that they are so obsessed with ilm. You have the brothers who will constantly say over and over again that we need to seek knowledge in Islam. This is good and great–but not all on its own.

You go out and seek knowledge what then? You see theres a difference between the brother ho memorizes Qur’an, learns Arabic and reads classical works for his own pleasure and the brother who knows half a Juz of Qur’an and spends his days doing street dawah or volunteering. We have created Islam-o-geeks who will talk the talk–playing the jukebox saying the same things other people have said yet rarely come up with something of their own. Where is the creative Muslim? The leaders?

The Muslim Activist goes to his halaqah and remains active with some sort of Islamic work (making Islamic websites, planning for a new project or feeding the streets) on a consistent basis whereas the Islam-o-Geek is on the forums quoting hadith, growing his beard and avoiding social contact.

There are plenty of brothers who go overseas to learn Arabic and when you ask them what field they want to specialize in studying the deen they say “None…I just want to read books.” Another brother asked a shaykh, “Why should we seek knowledge?” and the shaykh replied, “To teach.” That really offset the brother–to teach? That’s it? There is another brother who attended Madinah and the advice he gave a brother who wanted to study the deen was to simply go and learn for your own sake…do not worry about others and how you can help. Thats what you call backwards thinking…and thats here in Canada.

The issue is not personality or what your style is–the issue is knowledge vs. action. What is the ratio? In the past you had masjids where knowledge was taught but you also had people come out of those institutions with their own creative works, it was where the medical profession, algebra etc. were born out of. The Sufis would have a tariqa they followed but would go out and beg on the street and then give what they got to the poor and the needy. They had a balance of 50:50 on knowledge:action.

The Muslims of today are either 0:0, 100:0 or 75:25 in that ratio…very few of us are at 50:50. And that’s what makes me wonder if endeavors such as AlMaghrib and other Islamic teaching institutes will fail.

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdik ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk. Ameen.


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