Review Subject: Iqtiḍā’ al-ʿĪlm al-ʿAmal / اقتضاء العلم العمل
Author: al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī رحمه الله
Muḥaqqiq: Shaykh Abī ʿAbdullāh ad-Dānī az-Zahwī حفظه الله
Era: 5th Century AH, 11th Century CE
Genre: Ḥadīth, Athār, Ṭalab al-ʿĪlm
Pages: 168 (201 Narrations)
Print: Dār al-Lu’lu’ah, 2020
One of the most important & crucial works of al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī is his work Iqtiḍā’ al-ʿĪlm al-ʿAmal which focuses on the relationship between knowledge & action, how they compliment each other, & the importance of combining one another. It begins with the weighty Ḥadīth narrated by Abū Barzah رضي الله عنه in which The Prophet ﷺ said:
A slave will not move on the Day of Resurrection until he is asked four things: his life and how he consumed it, his knowledge and what he did with it, his wealth and how did he earn it and how did he spend it, and about his body and how he wore it out.Narration #1 – Also can be found in: Jāmiʿ at-Tirmidhī #2417, Sunan ad-Dārimī #554, Musnad Abī Yaʿlā #7434, Akhlāq al-ʿUlamā #50, Silsilah al-Aḥādīth aṣ-Ṣaḥīḥah #946, al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr #111, Tārīkh Baghdād 11/441, al-Jāmiʿ li-Akhlāq ar-Rāwī #28, al-Madkhal ila ʿĪlm as-Sunan #439, Shuʿab al-ʾĪmān #1785, Kitāb az-Zuhd #10, Muṣannaf ibn Abī Shaybah #37421, Kitāb al-ʿĪlm #89, Musnad al-Bazzār #2641, Jāmiʿ Bayān al-ʿĪlm wa al-Faḍlihi #1208, Iqtiḍā’ al-ʿĪlm al-ʿAmal #1, Riyāḍ aṣ-Ṣāliḥīn #407, Ḥilyah al-Awliyā’ 10/232 | Ṣaḥīḥ to Shaykh al-Albānī — Ḥasan Ṣaḥīḥ to Imām at-Tirmidhī, Ḥasan to Shaykh Ḥusayn ad-Dārānī and Shaykh Aḥmad ibn Abī al-ʿĪnayn
Takhrīj: Shaykh al-Albānī said regarding this Ḥadīth, “This Ḥadīth here is Mawqūf, and within it’s chain of narration is Layth ibn Abī Salīm, who is weak. Others have reported it from ʿAdīyy ibn ʿAdīyy, raising it to a saying of The Prophet ﷺ. ibn ʿAsākir reported it, as well as al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī. It also has a supporting witness in a report from Abū Barzah, raised to The Prophet ﷺ. at-Tirmidhī reported it and authenticated it, ad-Dārimī also reported it, and Abī Yaʿlā reported it in his Musnad with an authentic chain of narration.” See Taʾliqāt ʿalá Kitāb al-ʿĪlm #89
This work simultaneously serves the reader as both an admoniton and a motivational factor; as some narrations may serve as a reprimandation towards those who seek knowledge but leave off acting upon it which may lead the reader to pondering upon their condition & rectifying their affairs, whilst also shedding light upon the nobility & characteristics of those who act upon their knowledge which may inspire the reader to follow them in their footsteps. No doubt, anyone who has read enough of al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī’s works knows how well he is able to compile narrations that attracts the reader’s attention.
From the examples of this work’s focus is as such:
Abū Hurayrah رضي الله عنه said:
Knowledge not acted upon is like treasure not spent in the way of Allāh.Narration #17 – Also can be found in: Jāmiʿ Bayān al-ʿĪlm wa al-Faḍlihi #1082, Raised to Marfu in Musnad Aḥmad #10476, Sunan ad-Dārimī #575, Musnad al-Bazzār #9818, Itḥāf al-Khayr #390, al-Mu’jam al-Awsaṭ #693, Kitāb al-ʿĪlm #162, al-Kāmil fī Ḍuʿafā‘ ar-Rijāl, #6718 | Ḥasan to Imām al-Būṣayrī, Shaykh al-Albānī, and others
Takhrīj: Shaykh al-Albānī said regarding this Athar, “This is a Ḥasan Ḥadīth. Even though ibn Lahīʾah and Darrāj are both weak, the Ḥadīth has another part of narration connected to Abū Hurayrah as well as a supporting evidence from the narration of ibn ʿUmar in Marfūʾ form, and another one from the narration of Salmān in Mawqūf form.” See Taʾliqāt ʿalá Kitāb al-ʿĪlm #162
Abū ad-Dardāʾ رضي الله عنه said:
I fear that the first thing my Rabb will ask me about is my knowledge and say, “Did you not act upon what you knew?”Narration #53 – Also can be found in: Muṣannaf ʿAbd ar-Razzāq aṣ–Ṣanʿānī #20467, Kitāb az-Zuhd #39, aṭ-Ṭabaqāt al-Kabīr 2/357, Muṣannaf ibn Abī Shaybah #34598, Akhlāq al-ʿUlamā #53, Sunan ad-Dārimī #270, Jāmiʿ Bayān al-ʿĪlm wa al-Faḍlihi #1201 | Ṣaḥīḥ Isnād to Shaykh Ḥusayn ad-Dārānī
Sufyān ibn ʿUyaynah رحمه الله said:
Knowledge that does not benefit you harms you.Narration #84 – Also can be found in: Ḥilyah al-Awliyā’ 7/277
al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī رحمه الله commented upon this statement & said:
Meaning, it does not benefit him in his actions, and it harms him by being a proof against him (on the Day of Judgement).
A small chapter within this book that really caught my attention is the chapter simply entitled ذم التسويف (Condemnation of procrastination), and some of it’s narrations are as follows:
Abū al-Jawzā’ said regarding the ʾĀyah of Allāh:
وَكَانَ أَمۡرُهُۥ فُرُطٗا
And whose affair is ever [in] neglect.
– Sūrah al-Kahf, ʾĀyah 28
It is procrastination.Narration #197 – Also can be found in: Qiṣar al-Amal #204
Abū Isḥāq said:
It was said to a man from (the tribe of) ʿAbd al-Qays:
“Beware of procrastination.”Narration #198 – Also can be found in: Qiṣar al-Amal #206
These narrations indicate that knowledge must be accompanied with action, and action must be accompanied with haste, as knowledge without action is of no benefit and action not hastened towards is a waste of one’s time which they will surely be questioned about on the Day of Judgement.
Anyone who thoroughly goes through this work and contemplates upon what it entails, will ʾIn shāʾ Allāh, be from those who will be raised on the Day of Resurrection with their actions being a proof for them rather than against them, and I ask Allāh to make us from them. This book serves as a great reminder of the necessity of actions & an admonition for those who may need it most.
- Short read, consisting of only 168 pages
- Small size, won’t take up much shelf space
- Emphasises accompanying knowledge with action & how it contributes to one’s afterlife
- Sufficient Taḥqīq, good amount of narrations are heavily referenced & may come with gradings
- Translated & published into English by al-Ibānah Publications, entitled: Knowledge Mandates Action
May Allāh have mercy upon al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī & accept this work from him.
All praise is due to Allāh, may His peace & blessings be upon our final Prophet Muḥammad, his family, his companions, & all those who follow him in guidance.
Ṣafīullāh Labīb ibn Salīm ʿAbd al-Malik
14th of Rabīʿ ath-Thānī 1444