The Sinner Forgets

October 19, 2015

photo-2I’m not sure if it’s just common knowledge of the saints, hadith or in the Quran but the idea that the sinners forgets and therefore those who want to strengthen there memory should leave off sin came to my mind on my cab ride home. I’m about to take on a heavy load of studying, much of which will require loads of memorization if I’m too succeed. But memorization is not simply the repetition of facts, sacred knowledge requires more than just hour after hour of study. There’s a famous story of Imam Al Shafi’i as a student:

One day he came in to a market and there before him as the wind blew he saw the ankle of a women. After some time he complained to his teacher about his issues in memorization. Having not yet put the two together Imam Shafi’i’s teacher informed him that knowledge does not enter the heart of the sinful and thereupon he repented.

Looking at the ankle of a woman compared to our modern day daily exposure to pornographic images may not seem like much but for a man like Shafi’i it was. And maybe it can help to explain why men like Shafi’i no longer exist. Even some of the greatest scholars of our time watch TV and will be exposed to far more than ankles (even if they just watch the news). The small point I want to make to myself and to anyone reading is that if we’re serious about our studies, in particular our religious studies, we have to also be serious about ourselves. Knowledge is not only less likely to enter the heart of the sinful but is also a grave sign that one has not obtained real knowledge if they remain sinful. Whatever evil we can remove from our lives for both our memory and our salvation, let us look now and remove it.

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