Useless knowledge..


كَانَ مِنْ دُعَاءِ النَّبِيِّ ‏ ‏صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ‏ ‏اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عِلْمٍ لَا يَنْفَعُ وَمِنْ دُعَاءٍ لَا يُسْمَعُ وَمِنْ قَلْبٍ لَا يَخْشَعُ وَمِنْ نَفْسٍ لَا تَشْبَعُ

O Allah, I seek refuge in Thee from the knowledge which does not benefit, from the heart that does not entertain the fear (of Allah), from the soul that does not feel contented and the supplication that is not responded.”(Sahih Muslim Hadith 6568).

Much of the below has been extracted from Shaykh Umar S.Ashqar’s book; Al-Aqeedah fi Allah. The English being: Belief in Allah in the light of the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Under the discussion of the scholars approach to ilm al-kalam (for information on what ilm al-kalam is: http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/88184),


Shaykh Umar divided their approach into two categories; the first category consisting of those who generally prohibited studying it. The second being, those who engrossed themselves in the study of it only to later regret it. Amongst the first category was Imam Ahmad and Imam Shafi, May Allah have mercy on both of them and many others from the salaf. Quotes by the salaf for the general prohibition of ilm al-Kalam are numerous, here I shall only mention one from Imam Shafi and Imam Ahmad Ra:

Imâm Al-Shâfi’î said:

People didn’t become ignorant and didn’t differ amongst themselves except because they left Arabic and leaned towards the language of Aristotle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle).

Quoted by Al-Suyûtî in Sawn Al-Mantiq p15.


Imam Ahmad stated:“Whoever is given to Kalâm will not succeed, and whoever is given to Kalâm will not be free from becoming Jahmite
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jahm_bin_Safwan.)”

[Source: al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala 11:291 and others]

Rather, the category that we shall focus on will be the second;

Among this group (the second group) was Muhammad ibn ‘Umar ar-Raazi who said in his book Aqsaam al-Ladhaat.

“The most reason can achieve is a dead end, and the ultimate result of people’s striving is misguidance. Our souls are alienated in our bodies, and all that we get from this world is harm and annoyance. We have not gained anything from our lifelong search apart from a collection of what the philosophers said. How often have we seen men and nations, but they have all vanished quickly and disappeared. How many mountains have men climbed, but the men have gone and the mountains remain.”

Ibn Qayyim, As-Sawaa’iq al-Mursalah, P. 7; Ar-Raazi, I’tiqaadaat firaq al-Muslimeen, P.23

Ar-Raazi said:

“I examined the various kalaami and philosophical schools of thought, and I realized that they have nothing to offer to one who is sick, and they cannot quench a man’s thirst (for knowledge).”

He came back to the Qur’anic methodology, and gave an example of the Qur’anic methodology concerning the Divine attributes, “I saw that the best way is the way of the Qur’an. Read where it confirms the attributes of Allah, he then mentioned some ayaat from the Qur’an.

After mentioning several ayaat he then said: “Whoever goes through the same experience as I have will know what I know.”

Ibn Taymiyah, Al-Fatwa al-Hamawiyyah al-Kubra

Ash-Shahrastaani said the same thing, noting  after spending a long time studying the philosophers and scholars of ‘ilm al-kalam, he found nothing but the confusion and regret, as he says,

“All my life, I went around the schools of philosophy, studying all of those schools. And I never saw anything but people resting their chins on their hands or gnashing their teeth in regret.”

Ash-Shahrastaani, Nihaayat al-Iqdaam fi ‘Ilm al-Kalaam, p.3

Al-Juwayni, one of the most prominent students of the Islamic Philosophy, warned against studying this: “O my friends, do not study ‘ilm al-kalaam. Had I known what ‘Ilm al-Kalaam would do to me, I would have not studied it.”

Majmoo’ al-Fataawa Ibn Taymiyah and also Al-Fatwa al-Hamawiyyah, p.7

When he was dying, he said in regret and sorrow: “I threw myself into a vast ocean, and forsook the people of Islam and their knowledge. I endulged in that which they had warned me against, and now if Allah does not shower me with His mercy, then wot to Ibn al-Juwayni. Here I am, dying on the ‘aqeedah of my mother”, or he said, ” on the aqeedah of old women (i.e. simple aqeedah.)”

I feel here it is important to include a relevant quotation by ibn Qayyim on the matter of useless knowledge:

*Note: The reader may falsely perceive the below hadeeth is advocating that all poetry is useless, for further insight on the matter, refer to:

http://www.askimam.org/fatwa/fatwa.php?askid=bee50230d38f27e1cd78702cdcfd09fb

Ibn al-Qayyim commented on the hadith;

لأن يمتليء جوف أحدكم قيحا خير له من أن يمتليء شعرا

“That your belly should be filled with pus is better than that it should be filled with poetry” (Sahih al-Bukhari)


[In this hadith, the messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)] explained that the stomach (jauf) can be filled with poetry. Similarly then it could possibly be filled with misconceptions, doubts, imagination and assumptions for which there is no reality, knowledge that is not beneficial, stories, jokes and the like. {The true harm is that] if the jauf is filled with things of that nature, then when the realities of the Quran and knowledge come to it, and these are what perfect it and bring it happiness, they find no free space therein and no acceptance. Hence, they are repelled and forced out to some other place. Similarly, if sincere advice is given to a heart that is filled with its opposite, there is nothing therein to execute it, for it neither accepts it or not does the advice penetrate it.”
Purification of the soul; concept, process and means by Jamaal ad-Din M.Zarabozo

And finally I shall end with a quote by the great muhaddith ibn hajar al-Asqalaani May Allah have mercy on his soul:

Imam Ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalaani (rahimahullah):

“Their sayings with regards to censuring the people of Kalaam (philosophical speech and theology) are well known. The reason for such censure was that the people of ‘Kalam’ spoke about those matters which both the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘ alayhi wasallam) and his Companions (radhiyallaahu ‘ anhum) remained quiet about.


It is established from Imam Maalik that there did not exist at the time of the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) nor that of Abu Bakr (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) or ‘Umar (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu), anything from these desires – meaning: the innovation of the Khawaarij, the Raafidah and the Qadariyah. Indeed, those who came after the first three excellent generations expanded upon matters which the Imaams of the Taabi’oon and those who followed them, rejected.


The people of Kalam did not content themselves, until they filled the Deen with issues and the sayings of the philosophers. They made this philosophy the basis and the fundamental principle to which everything was referred back to, and all that which opposed it from the narrations of the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘ alayhi wasallam), his Companions (radhiyallaahu ‘ anhum) and the Salaf who followed them ; then ta’weel (false interpretation) was made of them, even if they were averse to the result. Nor did they content themselves with just this.


They claimed that what they had compiled was the noblest branch of knowledge and the most deserving to be acquired; and that those who did not use what they had laid down, then they were from the laymen and the ignorant ones. So delight is for the one who clings to what the Salaf were upon, and distances himself from the innovations that the khalaf (the latecomers who opposed the ‘aqeedah and manhaj of the Salaf) introduced. However, if one cannot keep away from it, then let him take only that which he needs and let the way of the Salaf be his intended goal.”
(Fath al Baaree 13/253)

For more detail on the matter, one can refer to:

http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/88184

http://www.ahlalhdeeth.com/vbe/showthread.php?t=9453&highlight=aristotle

And Allah knows best.

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