Sincerity, Knowledge, and Time


Lately, I’ve been contemplating the relationship between sincerity, knowledge, and time. The most regular complaint I hear from people, and even myself is that we don’t have enough time to do this or that and as a result, we’re not accomplishing what we want to. But SubhanAllah, when we look at the lives of the Sahaba, scholars, and most of all, Rasulullah (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), it’s hard to bypass their life experiences without reflecting on how they were able to do so much in the same amount of time we now struggle with each day.

Look at how the scholars who sought and wrote knowledge sincerely for Allah’s sake were granted blessings upon blessings and how their works continue to be authentic sources till today. Sahih al-Bukhari is a beautiful example. Countless books have been authored by people from all sorts of disciplines but what is their work compared to that of Imam Bukhari? What’s the difference? SubhanAllah, it is said that he would not write a single hadith unless he made wudhu and prayed two rak’aat and made istikhara. With such sincerity, ‘ibadah, zuhd, look at what he was able to accomplish and the ranks he attained with Allah ‘azzawajal. Allah blessed him, rahimahullah, in his time, his deeds, and Allah gave this book the status that it has as a result of his sincerity. It is the most authentic book after the Qur’an, and Muslims from every era have accepted it without fail.

I think we often have a rather romantic perception of what the lives of the scholars were like. It’s possible to imagine a candle-lit room with books upon books and a life of just scholarship, but when you look at their social and political context, you immediately notice that there were no shortage of obstacles in their path towards a life dedicated to Allah ‘azzawajal. They literally and figuratively battled hardships on every front. Despite the incarceration, expulsion, beating, resistance, having their books burned, etc., they continued to preoccupy themselves with preserving the deen, fighting in the path of Allah, and being real change agents beyond the bounds of their societies.

Just the other day, I was struggling to synthesize a few scholarly articles for a research paper and I thought to myself, how is it that I’ve spent an entire semester working on just one (major) paper!  Scholars like Imam Bukhari, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Taymiyyah (radhi’alllahu ‘anhum) were able to crank out at least fifteen to twenty pages a day, and their work was so original .. so profound. On top of that, a student spends months, if not years, working on a dissertation but at the end of the day, it’s nothing more than quotations and some food for thought and further research, is it not? It would have taken these scholars less than a day to come up with the type of assignments we stress out about in school.

When it comes down to it, I believe it has everything to do with one’s sincerity. Even among my friends, I see that some sisters are able to do so much and excel in everything they are doing while others have to exhaust themselves for something quite trivial. The thing about sincerity is that it’s something we can work towards but ultimately, it is from Allah ‘azzawajal. If we are determined to attain ikhlaas and ihsaan, bi’ithinillah Allah will assist us along this path and make us among the sincere ..  and this all goes back to getting to know Allah and developing greater concern for the aakhirah. If we can do that, the barakah in our time and efforts will come pouring in, inshaAllah. :)

قُلْ هَلْ نُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِالْأَخْسَرِينَ أَعْمَالًا

الَّذِينَ ضَلَّ سَعْيُهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ يُحْسِنُونَ صُنْعًا

“Say, [O Muhammad], “Shall we [believers] inform you of the greatest losers as to [their] deeds? “Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds.” {Al Kahf: 103-104}

Allahummaj ‘alna minal Muhsineen. Ameen.

-Fi Amanillah-


4 thoughts on “Sincerity, Knowledge, and Time

  1. mashaAllah love this! jazakallahu khayir for an awesom reminder. i too have had goals like memorize Quran etc, BUT you are right the difference between me kind of memorizing and others memorizing it in like a year is sincerity. SubhanaAllah what an awesome way to put it. I will be analyzing myself. I recently heard (on twitter) that the one who has sincerity is like a child neither caring for praise or criticism. That really made me reflect because I so do not have that yet!!! May allah make us all amongst his sincere slaves.

    • Waiyyaki Saba. Thanks for stopping by. :)

      Completely agree, finding a balance in our lives while striving to make Allah our main concern takes a significant amount of introspection on a regular basis. May Allah make us among the muhsineen and put barakah in our time, deeds, efforts. Ameen.

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