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The Balanced Approach: Dedication and Concentration

Ibn Jama’ah(R) said:

“The student of knowledge should utilize his youth and free time in his life to gain as much as he can, and he should not be deceived by the temptation to put things off for another day. Every hour that passes of his life is crucial and will not be replaced. He should cut off what he can of the distracting relationships and preventative obstacles that are in the way of the knowledge he seeks, and should instead exert his energy and power in gaining as much as he can, since these obstacles are like roadblocks in his way. This is why the Salaf preferred to move far from their families and homelands, because if one’s concerns become spread out, he will miss out on discovering details and realities that he would’ve otherwise come across, and Allah did not give a man two hearts in his chest. “

Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (R) mentioned in his ‘Jami’ ‘ that some of them said:

“This knowledge is not granted except to he who shuts down his factory, destroys his garden, abandons his friends, and whose closest relatives have died, such that he does not have to attend a funeral.”

While this may contain some degree of exaggeration, the point is that one must gather his thoughts and concentration for this knowledge.” [Tadhkirat as-Sami’ wal-Mutakallim’ (p. 70)]

It should be mentioned that by cutting himself off, one is not supposed to neglect those under his care or sit back from working to make a living, living at the mercy of those who would give or withhold from him.

 Imam Ash-Shafi’i (R) said:

 “Do not consult one who does not have flour in his home, as he is devoid of sound logic.”

Rather, what is meant by cutting yourself off from distractions is those things you are not in need of, while being balanced in seeking a living and freeing your heart and energy for seeking knowledge.

It is as Abu Yusuf al-Qadi said:

 “Knowledge is something that will not give you even a fraction of itself until you give it all of yourself.”

[From:Adaab Talibul ‘Ilm’ by Abu ‘Abdillah Muhammad Sa’id Raslan , pp.20]

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