Islamic Studies

Pursuit Of Knowledge – Putting it into Perspective

‘Don’t overfill your buckets’

In The Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

Sometimes, I look upon my bookshelf, and see the books, audio lectures, and Qur’an, and question myself.. where has all this knowledge got me? How much have I implanted in me of the knowledge I’ve sought?

The fact of the matter is, the benefit we have drawn from knowledge shows at the time where we are tested. We learn about The Seerah, The Sunnah, The Akhira, and we take many great lessons from The Qur’an. When times become easy and we have contentment in our hearts, practising the deen becomes easy, and we feel we are untouchable, we predict that nothing can lead us astray because of our conviction in Islam. Yet, when we are tried and tested, the knowledge there then is truly applied. If we are tempted, do we give in or turn away? When life seems like its crumbling around us, do we take the example of Prophet Muhammad (saw), and carry on labouring hard in Allah’s way, or do we sit in a corner and lose focus on our purpose?

Somebody once said to me (May Allah preserve him), that its the ‘last five minutes that count’. For instance, we can work hard for a person all our life, and give them everything, but all in all, anything that person does to illustrate any unappreciation, can cancel it all out. The same applies with our deen, and the knowledge we gain.

The beauty of Islam is that, there’s always an addiction for knowledge. Once we start seeking it, we can never get enough. We want more and more, this is especially felt in those who convert, or those who are born Muslims and make repentance at first. The Zeal for knowledge grows, because we are learning about our reality, and a different approach and perspective of life which is mind blowing. Yet, this can be a ready trap from shaytaan, and a danger for us.

The seeking of knowledge, is always a beautiful pursuit. Although sometimes, we need to be careful not to overload our buckets. We can often attend talks, with our full stomach of knowledge, and expect to digest more. The way we can empty the full bucket, is by following knowledge through with action, and spreading it. Otherwise, our efforts to seek knowledge would have gone to waste and it can be held against us.

Imam Ghazzali (May Allah have mercy on him), mentions in his Letter to a Disciple;

“O Disciple, be neither destitute of good deeds nor devoid of spiritual states, for you can be sure that mere knowledge will not help. It is as though a man in the desert had ten Indian swords, and other weapons besides – the man being brave and a warrior- and a huge terrifying lion attacked him. What is your opinion? Will the weapons repel this danger of hid from him without being used and being weilded? It is obvious that it will not repel it unless drawn and wielded!..

… Even if you studied for a 100 years, and collected a 1000 books, you will not be eligible for the mercy of God the Exalted except through action.”

I remember telling somebody once, ‘Picture it like this, your carrying with you a long rod on your shoulders, and on both ends are two buckets. Everytime you seek knowledge, you fill up each bucket, until it gets heavy. Whenever you act upon the knowledge, your pouring the bucket out, and you can carry onto get some more. Yet everytime, you gain more knowledge, and dont act upon it, you begin to add more weight, and your journey to the well becomes heavier, and slows down your progress. The knowledge then becomes a burden, and any extra knowledge is whats falling out of the bucket as would water, has gone to waste, aswell as your efforts’.
The heart will begin to repulse the extra knowledge.

Shaytaan is always ready to make us fall, not only through the bad things, but even through what may seem good to us.

InshAllah this Ramadhan, it maybe that we need to sit back and think, although there will be some, who will want to open their abandoned books, there maybe also some of us, who may need to close them, and act on what we already know.

May Allah give us all the ability, and make our knowledge a means for us to earn Allah’s pleasure.


About the author

Aysha Khanom

Aysha Khanom

Aysha is from the United Kingdom. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology in 2009 and is currently working as a teacher. She is working on establishing a Muslim women’s organization in the United Kingdom to facilitate efforts to gain knowledge, parenting, and other areas of need. She has contributed to writing for Al-Ameen Newspaper in Canada, Sama Ghazal Poetry Collection Book, and other magazines based in the UK. Her dream is to see justice in the world again, not only between nations, but also between individuals.

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  • Mashallah may allah reward you with best in this life and hereafter. I enjoyed reading this magnificent reminder.

  • Assalamu alaykum,

    Someone once told me that people who gain knowledge but dont act upon it are like donkeys carrying books. I just thought that fit in with your article.

    Assalamu alaykum,


  • i think the analogy of donkeys carrying books comes from the qur’an…perhaps someone could correct me on this.

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