Knowledge Or Voluntary Action? By Ibn Rajab
Ibn Rajab said:
“The scholars have differed concerning this issue. Which one is better, studying sacred knowledge or performing voluntary prayers and reciting the Quraan and words of remembrance? Knowledge is better for him who studies sincerely for Allaah’s sake and has a good and clear mind. However, this should still be joined with a good amount of prayers and worship. If you find him to be a serious student but notice that he’s lacking in his worship, it is a lazy and worthless person you’re dealing with, and this person is not truthful when he says his intentions are good.
As for when one studies hadeeth and fiqh simply as an intellectual pursuit, worship is better in such a case. In fact, the difference between the two is like the difference between the normative and superlative. This is a general categorization, and by Allaah, I have only seen a few who are sincere in seeking this knowledge.”
[Ibn rajabs explanation to Aboo Ad-dardaa’s hadeeth, p.96]