In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Ten useless matters:
1. Knowledge that is not implemented:
Dear brother, let's tackle a new Fa'idah (singular of Fawa'id, and it means point of benefits) from Ibn Al-Qayyim's Al-Fawa'id (Points of Benefit), and this Fa'idah is about "Ten Useless Matter." When a merchant imports goods, and pays great effort to sell them, but ultimately, he never makes any profits, he will be deeply hurt because of his lost effort, and his wasted money. Loss is very painful, and as it was said, "Loss is to waste your time and effort", and about the matter of loss, Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on his soul, said, "There are ten useless matters that cannot be benefited from" , and the first one is knowledge that is not implemented. The useful knowledge is the one you apply; otherwise, it is worthless. I read a book which begins with four influential Du'as (supplications) in its introduction. The first Du'a says, "O Allah, I seek refuge in You that anyone is happier than me about what You have taught me.". Thus, having knowledge without applying it is worthless.
2. An action that is empty of sincerity and is not based on the correct example
The second useless matter is an action that is empty of sincerity and is not based on the correct example. A man used to perform Salah al-Fajr in the Masjid in the first raw for forty years, but one day he missed Salah al-Fajr, so he said to himself, "I missed Salah in the Masjid today, so what will people say about me" It means that he used to perform Salah al-Fajr in the Masjid for forty years in order to get the admiration of people! Deeds with no sincerity are useless and valueless:
((The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.))
If a person checks out his deeds, he will discover the severe truth that he is not sincere enough while performing them. Therefore, it is said, "Sometimes, sincerity needs sincerity." Some people unintentionally exert efforts while performing actions in order to be admired by sh3er and be the centre of their attention. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
((Whoever seeks knowledge in order to argue with the foolish, or to show off before the scholars, or to attract people’s attention, Allah will admit him to Hell.))
Values of actions are closely related to the intention:
Intention is a very serious matter,
((The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions.))
Deeds are evaluated according to the intentions. For example, if you give someone a delicious drink, but this drink may hurt his stomach and you know this, you will be punished severely, although you seem to please him. On the other hand, if you give a sick man a medicine intending to help him recover, but his illness becomes worse, you will be exalted in Allah's Sight (because you have good intentions):
((The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions.))
In fact the value of deed is estimated by the insight that precedes it, and by the motives. Hence, sincerity is essential, because without it, the deeds you perform is useless whether they are many or few, whereas the deed that goes hand in hand with sincerity is valuable no matter how insignificant it might seem.
As I said earlier, the knowledge that is not applied is a wasted effort, an` argument made against you, and a matter of regret on the Day of Resurrection. A man has this regret and painful feelings before he dies out of thirst; he will feel sorry, because he knows where he can find water, but he does not go and drink it. Therefore, Allah the Almighty says:
((Guide us to the Straight Way* The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).))
People who earned Allah's Anger were those who had received knowledge, but they deviated, while the people who went astray were those who did not receive knowledge, but they deviated from the Right Path too. However, the first group had the severest remorse. Therefore, Allah the Almighty says:
((Verily, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depths (grade) of the Fire))We have discussed so far the knowledge that is not implemented and the action that lacks sincerity and is not based on the correct example.
3. Wealth that is hoarded:
The third useless matter is the wealth that is hoarded. A very rich man died, and one day his friend, met his son, so he asked him, "Where are you going?" The son said, "I am going to drink wine for the sake of my father's soul!" The deceased man would commit a great sin if he did not guide his sons to spend money for the Sake of Allah.
Scholars differentiate between earning and sustenance. Sustenance is what benefits man as the food he eats, the clothes he wears, the house where he and his family live, the bed on which he sleeps, etc. On the other hand, earning is just a figure in the bank or worthless words; even if this earning reaches thirty-eight millions. No matter how huge man's wealth is, he eats a simple meal, sleeps on the same bed and wears clothes like other people. You will be called to account on the Day of Judgement for the wealth you have even if you do not enjoy it. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
((Mutarrif reported on the authority of his father: I came to Allah's Apostle, peace be upon him, as he was reciting: "The mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly things diverts you" (At-Takaathur, 1), He said, "The son of Adam claims: My wealth, my wealth." He (the Noble Prophet, peace be upon him) went on saying, "O son of Adam. is there anything as your belonging except that which you consumed, which you utilised, or which you wore and then it was worn out or you gave as charity and sent it forward?"))
Let me repeat the useless matters we have discussed up to now: Knowledge that is not implemented, an action that is empty of sincerity, and is not based on the correct example, and wealth that is hoarded, as the owner neither enjoys it during this life, nor obtains any reward for it in the Hereafter. Actually, parsimony and stinginess are blameworthy diseases, and the stingy man lives in poverty only to die rich.
4. The heart that is empty of love and longing for Allah:
The fourth useless matter is the heart that is empty of love and longing for Allah, and it is heedless and oblivious. Allah the Almighty says:
((The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, * Except him who brings to Allah a clean heart [clean from Shirk (polytheism) and Nifaq (hypocrisy)]))
The clean heart is the heart that never yearns for a lust which does not please Allah, it never believes something that contracts the Divine Revelation, it never accepts any rulings but Shari'ah rulings, and it never worships other than Allah. Some people talk about the worldly matters, commercial projects, currency rate and investments for a very long time, but they feel bored if the Imam of the Masjid prolongs the time of Salah. The heart which is empty of love for Allah is indulged in the worldly life to such an extent that its pleasures have blinded him and made him dumb.
5. A body that does not obey and serve Allah:The fifth useless matter is the body that does not obey Allah or serve His Creations. The person who does not serve Allah's Creations is the one who never helps them unless he is paid for everything he does for them and every word he says to their advantage.
6. Loving people without seeking Allah's Pleasure:
The sixth useless matter is loving people without seeking Allah's Pleasure. This matter is manifested when man hates the people Allah likes, or loves the people Allah hates. Thus, his love and hatred for people have nothing to do with his faith since he loves those who benefit and praise him, and he hates those who advise him. Hence, his love and hatred are not based on Shari'ah rulings.
I would like to repeat the useless matters we have discussed up till now: The knowledge that is not implemented and the action that lacks sincerity and is not based on the correct example, Wealth that is hoarded, the heart that is empty of love and longing for Allah, a body that does not obey Allah or serve His Creations and loving people without seeking Allah's Pleasure.
7. Time that is not spent in expiating sins or seizing opportunities to perform deeds of righteousness:The seventh matter is wasting time. Man may spend hours playing dice, or watching series. You have to seize opportunities and spend your time doing the things you missed, because as it was said, "O son of Adam! You are nothing but a number of days; whenever each day passes then part of you has gone." When man reconciles with Allah and establishes a connection with Him, he can exploit time by performing righteous deeds or seeking Islamic knowledge. It was reported in the relic:
((Not a day comes from the days of this world but says: O people, I am a new day, I am a witness for the deeds performed during my stay. If my sun sets, I will not return until the Day of Resurrection!))
8. A mind that thinks about issues which bring about no benefit:
Sometimes, man indulges in following-up local news, Arab news, Islamic news and international news. He also keeps himself busy with following-up the comments, the statements and the analyses. However, what does he accomplish? He accomplishes nothing! It is better to do a righteous deed that draws you closer to Allah, Glorified and Sublime be He. Someone may ask you, "Have you ever read the Odyssey?" He will be surprised if you say that you have never read it. Well it consists of seven thousand verses that are talking about gods and polytheism, but it is extremely eloquent. Another person may ask you whether you have ever read so and so collection of poems, and he will also be astonished when your answer is, "No, I have never read it." Those people are busy with matters which are worthless, which never exalt them and which bring about no benefit.
Furthermore, you can notice that the majority of people spend their time committing verbal transgressions like backbiting and gossiping, discussing sensual matters that make them commit sins and misdeeds or talking about worthless subjects.
((The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, once entered the Masjid and saw a genealogist, he asked, "Who is this man?" (he asked a rhetorical question) They said, "He is a genealogist" The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "What is genealogy?" They said, "It is the science about Arab linage." The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "This kind of science gives no benefit to whoever learns it, nor does it harm whoever is ignorant of it."))
Time is precious.
9. Serving those who do not bring you close to Allāh:
There is another useless mater, which is serving those who do not bring you closer to Allah. Someone may do a favor to a deviated person, or to an immoral man seeking his praise, admiration and satisfaction although this man is away from Allah. You may serve such a person mistakenly thinking that he can benefit you, while he cannot. Bear in mind that none can benefit you but Allah, Al-Mu'ti (The Giver), Al-Mane' (The Withholder), Ar-Rafe' (The Exalter), Al-Khafedh (The Demoter), Al-Mu'izz (The Giver of Honor) and Al-Muthill (The Giver of Disgrace).
10. Hoping and fearing the one whose forehead is in Allah's Hand:
The tenth useless matter is hoping and fearing the one whose forehead is in Allah's Hand. This matter is about fearing the one who is under Allah's Authority and in His Grip. Allah the Almighty says:
((So plot against me, all of you, and give me no respite. * "I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving (living) creature but He has grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the Straight Path (the truth).))
If you think that pleasing the person who you fear, seek his help and pin your hopes on will elevate you high and bothering him will reduce him to the lowest of the low, then you are mistaken, because this man is under Allah's Authority and Control. Therefore, try to please Allah, to Him is the return (of all), and Who has promised to admit you to a Paradise that is as wide as the heavens and the earth. Keep in mind that "Hoping and fearing one who is under the authority of Allāh, and whose forehead is in His Hand, while he cannot bring any benefit, harm, life, death, or resurrection to himself" is the hidden Shirk (polytheism) which is described in the following Hadith:
" ((Ash-Shirk-al-Khafi (the hidden polytheism) in the Muslim nation more inconspicuous than the creeping of black ant on black rock in the pitch-darkness of the night.))
The greatest loss is the wasting of the heart, and the wasting of time:
Ibn Al-Qayyim said, "However, the greatest of these matters is the wasting of the heart, and the wasting of time." I would like to repeat the ten matters:
• Knowledge that is not implemented.
• An action that is empty of sincerity, and is not based on the correct example.
• Wealth that is hoarded, as the owner neither enjoys it during this life, nor obtains any reward for it in the Hereafter.
• The heart that is empty of love and longing for Allāh, and of seeking closeness to Him.
• A body that does not obey and serve Allāh.
• Loving Allāh without seeking His pleasure.
• Time that is not spent in expiating sins or seizing opportunities to perform deeds of righteousness that will bring one closer to Allāh.
• A mind that thinks about issues which bring about no benefit.
• Serving those who neither bring you close to Allāh or benefit you in your life
• Hoping and fearing one who is under the authority of Allāh, and whose forehead is in His Hand, while he cannot bring any benefit, harm, life, death, or resurrection to himself.
After mentioning these matters Ibn Al-Qayyim said, "However, the greatest of these matters is the wasting of the heart, and the wasting of time." Wasting the heart is done when it is filled with the love of the worldly life, by "preferring this worldly life over the Hereafter" and by favoring the short life over the eternal one. As for wasting time it "is done by having incessant hope." Once, someone told me about his plans for the next twenty years, but in the evening of that same day, I read his death notice!
Goodness is found in following the Right Path, while evil is in following one's desires:
Dear brother, "All evil is in following one's desires and having incessant hopes, while all goodness is found in following the right path and preparing oneself to meet Allāh", Glorified and Sublime be He. When man becomes in his 50s, his eyesight weakens, so he wears glasses, and he starts to take certain medicines as he suffers from osteoarthritis and other tiring things. I think these diseases are messages from Allah, Who seems to be saying, "O My worshipper, the meeting had approached, are you ready?"
How long will you stay indulged in pleasures
Although you are responsible for all your deeds
You disobey Allah while you claim that you love Him
By my life, it is shameful to do so
If you sincerely love Him, you'll obey Him
As the one who loves, obeys his beloved
Dear noble brother, the most dangerous matter in man's life is the forbidden desires and doubts. Desires are psychological, whereas doubts are intellectual. I ask Allah, Glorified and Sublime be He, to help us make use of these ten matters instead of missing them.