“Don’t be the Fifth”

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Adh-Dhahabî stated in his Al-Kabâ’ir (The Major Sins) that Abû Ad-Dardâ’ said:

كن عالما، أو متعلما، أو مستمعا، أو محبا، ولا تكن الخامس فتهلك

“Be a scholar, a student, a listener, or a lover of knowledge, but don’t be the fifth (i.e. an ignorant) or you’ll be destroyed.”

This narration has many wordings, many of them weak.  Another similar narration reported by Abû Khaythamah An-Nasâ’î in Kitâb Al-`Ilm (The Book of Knowledge) on the authority of `Abd Allâh bin Mas`ûd is:

اغد عالما، أو متعلما، ولا تغد بين ذلك

“Aspire to be a scholar, or a student of knowledge, and do not aspire to be other than that.”

Similarly, Abû Khaythamah narrated that `Umar bin `Abd Al-`Azîz said:

إن استطعت أن تكون عالما، فكن عالما، فإن لم تستطع فكن متعلما، فإن لم تكن متعلما فأحبهم، فإن لم تحبهم، فلا تبغضهم

“If you are able to become a scholar, then become a scholar.  If you are unable to, then be a student (of knowledge).  If you are unable to be a student, then love them.  And if you do not love them, then do not hate them.”


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