Ibn Taymiyyah / Islamic Themes / on Knowledge

Ibn Taymiyya Knowledge and Action

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah

on “Knowledge and Action”

  • Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyya states:

قال أبوعبد الرحمن السلمي : حدثنا الذين كانوا يُقرئوننا القرآن : عثمان بن عثمان وعبد الله بن مسعود وغيرهما أنهم كانوا إذا تعلَّموا من النَّبي صلَّى الله عليه وسلم عشر آيات لم يتجاوزوها حتى يعلموا ما فيها من العلم والعمل، قالوا : فتعلَّمنا القرآن والعلم والعمل جميعاً . وقال الحسن البصري : ما أنزل الله آية إلا وهو يحب أن يعلم في ماذا نزلت وماذا عنى بها . وقد قال تعالى : { أفلا يتدبرون القرآن }، وتدبر الكلام إنما يُنتفع به إذا فُهم، وقال : { إنَّا جعلناه قرآناً عربيّاً لعلكم تعقلون } ، فالرسل تبيِّن للناس ما أنزل إليهم من ربهم، وعليهم أن يبلغوا الناس البلاغ المبين، والمطلوب من الناس أن يعقلوا ما بلغه الرسل، والعقل يتضمن العلم والعمل، فمن عرف الخير والشر فلم يتبع الخير ويحذر الشر : لم يكن عاقلاً، ولهذا لا يعدُّ عاقلاً إلا من فعل ما ينفعه واجتنب ما يضره، فالمجنون الذي لا يفرق بين هذا وهذا قد يلقي نفسه في المهالك ، وقد يفر مما ينفعه

“Abu `Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami said: Those who used to read and teach us the Qur’an told us that: ‘Uthman b. ‘Uthman [s: `Affan?] and `Abd Allah b. Mas`ud and others when they had learned ten verses from the Prophet (saw), would not continue until they learned how to put knowledge contained within these verses into practice. They said: Hence we learned the Qur’an with knowledge and practice both together. 

al-Hasan al-Basri said: that Allah did not reveal any verse [s: of the Qur’an] except that He desires it to be learned especially about what was revealed and what was meant by it. 

Allah Most high states: {do they not ponder on the Qur’an…}.[1] Pondering over the words is only of benefit if one understands them. Allah also says: {We have made it an Qur’an in Arabic so that you are able to understand it…}.[2]

Thus, it is the Prophets that have explained to the people that which was revealed to them from their Lord and it is upon them to convey it clearly to all the people. What is required of the people is to understand what the Messengers have conveyed and understanding implies knowledge and action. Whoever knows good from evil but does not follow good and warns against evil, has not really understood. Hence no one can be counted as being a man of understanding unless he does what will benefit him and avoid what will harm him. So the insane person who cannot distinguish between this or that, may fall into things that will harm him and may run away from things that may benefit him…”[3]


  • Knowledge must be combined with action.
  • It is not enough to have knowledge.
  • It is not enough to just have actions.
  • The Companions combined knowledge of the religion with immediate action.
  • The Qur’an was read, learned and implemented.
  • Understanding of something precedes contemplation or deep reflection of it.
  • The Qur’an was revealed to be understood so that it can be implemented.
  • Knowing the difference between good and evil means to act on the good and warn against evil. Being content with just warning against evil but not acting on the good is not to have correct understanding it all.


  • The din of Islam is to be learned, taught and implemented in one’s life.
  • This includes all aspects of the religion without exclusion.
  • All commands and rulings (ahkam) of the Qur’an and Sunna from the spiritual to the legislative, the moral to the marital and from economic to the political have to be implemented.
  • Although the personal areas of rulings (ahkam) are adhered to in large part, the large domains of law remain unimplemented due to the absence of that which will enable it to be implemented – the Khilafa system.[4] Thus, reversal of the situation where there is no Khilafah will reverse the absence of large parts of the shari`a in life.


And with Allah is true success.


s. z. c.

[1] See Q. 4:82.

[2] See Q. 43:3.

[3] Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu` al-Fatwa, 15:108.

[4] For more on the Caliphate, see Ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller (trans. Sh. N. H. M. Keller), o.25-26.


One thought on “Ibn Taymiyya Knowledge and Action

  1. Pingback: Imam Ahmad’s Quote on Knowledge | دار نيـقـوسـيــا

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