Understanding in the religion is not just mere knowledge, it is knowledge and action. And this is why the Salaf used to warn against much reading and having little understanding as Abdullah ibn Mas’ood radhiAllahu ‘anhu used to say:
“What will be of you if readers become many and the people of understanding become few?”
Therefore, if a person learns something from Allah’s religion but does not act upon it, he is not a person of understanding. Even if he memorizes and understands the biggest books of jurisprudence but does not act upon it, this person is not called a person of understanding, rather he is called a reader. The person of understanding is he who acts upon that which he learns, so he studies first then he acts, this is the one that has understanding of the religion. As for he who studies but does not act, then he is not a person of understanding but rather he is a reader. And this is why the people of Shu’aib ‘alayhi salam said to him:
“We do not understand much of what you say.” [Hud 11:91]
They were prevented from good because of that which Allah knew was in their hearts of evil.
Therefore uphold the study of the religion and uphold acting upon it so that you may be from those who Allah wills good for.
- Transcribed from: The Greater Understanding | Shaykh Dr. Saleh ibn Fawzaan ibn Abdullah Al-Fawzaan