Saturday, May 08, 2010

How is your heart?

In Islam knowledge is not an end in itself. It is essential, but it is not enough. Its value lies in being an aid to achieving the ultimate goal of man's life. The goal is to be - to attain a state of being that is pleasing to his Creator and Master. Thus Knowledge must go beyond itself to help us become what we need to be.

In our earthly existence each human being is constantly engaged in shaping his evolving identity and giving it its final mould. This final shape may be pleasing to Allah or may not be. We ourselves may or may not be aware that we are engaged in this activity, but there is no escape from it. Islam teaches us to always remain aware of this truth and to be on our guard, for this is a serious matter - nothing can be more serious. Our safety and success with our Lord depends on this

The substance of our identity is a compound of our thoughts, feelings and actions. Knowledge can color and influence all these. The effect, beneficial or harmful, which knowledge has on our thoughts, feelings and actions depends entirely on the kind of heart we bring to knowledge.

The heart may be sound or sick, or as Allah calls it 'blind'. In Surah Al- Hajj, verse 46, Allah gives this dire warning: "It is not the eyes that are blind, but their hearts which are in their breasts." If the heart is sick or blind, knowledge can produce disastrous results. The blind or sick heart distorts and dislocates knowledge. In order to benefit from knowledge we need a humble, sober, unselfish, attentive and grateful heart.

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There are people in the world who know a lot, but their knowledge does not do any good either to themselves or to anyone else. In many cases their knowledge does positive damage to themselves and to others. The damage does not remain confined to this world; it stretches to the Hereafter, and so is incalculable. Such people are a miserable lot.

Let every Muslim beware. Let every believer pay attention to the heart and carefully watch its movements. Let everyone of us concentrate on the proper education of our heart.

From a thought provoking article on Knowledge and Heart by A K M Mohiuddin in IslamiCity.
To read the full article click here. 

A. K. M. Mohiuddin is a retired university professor of English literature living in Bangladesh. He can be reached at this address: akmm45 [at] yahoo [dot] com

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