Stricking The Balance
The student of knowledge (t?lib al-‘Ilm) is always trying to walk on the middle ground of D?n and dunya. Unless understood correctly this supposed “contradiction” can create a complex mind the mind of the t?lib.
Fortunately the ‘Ulema of the past worked tirelessly to provide us the answers and understanding we need. Perhaps one of the more encouraging books for the seeker of knowledge is that which is written by al-‘?lim Ibn Rajab al-Hanbal?, al Warathatu’l-Anbiy?’ (The Heirs of the Prophets ‘alayhim as-sal?tu wa-sal?m). Below is a quotation from part of what Ibn Rajab wrote:
“The knowledge that scholars possess is better than the supererogatory ritual acts of worship of the devout-acts of worship that some scholars may lack. Heightened knowledge of that which All?h has revealed to His Messenger (sallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) creates an increase in experiential knowledge of All?h and of faith. Experiential knowledge of All?h and true faith are better than the acts of the limbs. However, the uniformed person extols the importance of such worship over knowledge because he cannot conceptualize the essence of worship. He thus has the motivation to exert himself entirely in [his] devotions.
So you find many who lack knowledge preferring complete detachment from the world over engagement in the religious sciences and learning. As we just stated, such people cannot conceptualize the essence of knowledge and spiritual experience. For one who fails to conceptualize something, its significance will never become rooted in the heart. In fact, an ignorant person conceptualizes the nature of the world and magnifies it in his heart. Therefore, he magnifies the virtue of one who leaves it. Muhammad ibn W?si’ (rahimull?h) once saw youth to whom it was said, “They are the otherworldly people.” [Muhammad ibn W?si'] asked, “What possible significance does the world have that merits praise for one who shuns it?”…”
When we think about this it reminds us of how the muhsin combines between the spiritual aspects of existence and the daily grind of life, this is a balance that everyone is trying to achieve. The statement of Muhammad ibn W?si’ (rahimull?h) shows that leaving the dunya and taking up an artificial life is not the real success, the real success is to be who you are and to live amongst people and maintain your D?n and share it with others.