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Is knowledge ever beneficial (ilm nafi) without action in Islam?

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Masters in Education from Nottingham University in the UK. Also studied Masters in Islamic Studies and Islamic Banking & Finance. Political activist with interests in Geopolitics, History and Phil ...
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The answer is a categoric yes. Evidences that support the point you are appear below:

Quran

"The example of those who were entrusted with the Torah but failed to do so, is that of a donkey carrying books..." (62:5)

"Those who were given knowledge beforehand, when it is recited to them, fall on their faces in prostration. And they say: ‘Glory be to our Lord. Truly the promise of our Lord is fulfilled. They fall on their faces crying and it increases them in humility." (al-Isra: 17: 107-109)

Sunnah

The Messenger of Allah (saw) used to say after the dawn prayer: ‘O Allah, I ask You for beneficial knowledge, acceptable action, and good provision.’ (Ahmed)

The Messenger of Allah (saw) stated ‘Whomsoever seeks knowledge without the intention of pleasing Allah, he will not smell the fragrance of Paradise.’ (Abu Dawood)

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (saw) , said, “O Allah, benefit me with what you have taught me, teach me what will benefit me, and increase my knowledge. All praise is due to Allah in every circumstance and I seek refuge in Allah from the condition of the people of the Hellfire.” (Tirmidhī 3599)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) also said: ‘The worst of men in the eye of Allah on the Day of Resurrection will be the scholar who does not derive benefit from his knowledge.’ (Timidhi)

It was narrated from Jabir that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "Ask Allah for beneficial knowledge and seek refuge with Allah from knowledge that is of no benefit." (Ibn Majah)

Abu Barzah al-Aslami reported that Allah’s Messenger (saw) said, “The two feet of the servant will not cease (from standing before Allah) on the Day of Judgment until he is asked about four things: on his life and how he spent it; on his knowledge and what he did with it; on his wealth and where he earned it and how he spent it; and on his body and in what way he utilized it.” (Tirmidhi)

The Prophet (saw) said: “When the son of Adam dies, his good deeds come to an end except three: ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge…”

The Messenger of Allah (saw) used to supplicate, ‘O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the knowledge which does not benefit, and from the heart that does not entertain the fear (of Allah)’ (Muslim)

The Messenger (saw) said "On the night that I was ascended up to the heavens, I came upon a people whose lips were being cut off by pliers made from Fire. Every time their lips were severed, they would be brought back and formed again. So I said: ‘O Jibreel, who are these people?’ He said: ‘They are speakers from your nation, who say words but do not do deeds, and who read the Book of Allah yet do not act (on it).”‘ (Bayhaqi)

Early Generations

And some quotes from early generations:

Abu Abdillah Ar-Rudhabaari stated, "Whoever goes out towards knowledge, intending (just to obtain) the knowledge, knowledge does not benefit him. And whoever goes out towards knowledge, intending to act upon the knowledge, knowledge benefits him – even if it’s a little."

Habeeb ibn Ubayd ar-Rahbi stated "Acquire knowledge, comprehend it and use it. And do not acquire it in order to adorn yourselves with it, for indeed, it is imminent – should your life-spans be prolonged for you – that knowledge will be used as a means for adorning oneself, just as a man adorns himself with his garment."

Abdullah ibn Al-Mu’taz stated "The knowledge of a hypocrite is in his speech, while the knowledge of a believer is in his actions."

Al Fudayl ibn Iyyadh stated "It is upon the people to acquire knowledge. So when they attain knowledge, it is upon them to act (on it)."

A group of students of hadeeth set out early to see Imam Al Awzaa’ee, who then turned to them and recited, “How many dedicated (students of knowledge) there are, seeking to gather it and desirous of obtaining it, yet they do not gain benefit from it nor do they give benefit out to others.”

Imam Sufyaan Ibn Uyainah said, "If knowledge does not benefit you it will harm you."


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