Archive for the ‘Sayings of our Predecessors’ Category

“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.”

Ash-Shafi`i on the Excellence of Knowledge

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Al-Imâm Shâfi`î –may Allaah have mercy on him- said:

“Seeking knowledge is better than the voluntary prayer.”

And he also said:

“After the obligatory matters there is nothing more excellent than seeking knowledge.”

And he also said:

“The one who desires the world; then upon him is knowledge, And the one who desires the hereafter; then upon him is knowledge!”

And he also said:

“The one who does not love knowledge; there is no goodness in him. Thus let not there be any connection between you and him, nor any companionship.”

Source: al-Majmoo’ of Imaam An-Nawawee


Taken and slightly edited from a recent email.

It’s Raining Pens…

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

This has got to be one of my favourite quotes…  Muhammad ibn Mubashshir al-Karmînî said,

Muhammad ibn Salâm al-Baykandî’s pen broke whilst in the gathering of a Shaykh, so he announced “a pen for a dînâr”, whereby pens began to fall upon him (from all directions).

[Siyâr A’lâm an-Nubalâ. – Volume 10, Page 629]

I can’t remember where I got this from (google search results only yield my TTI signature), but it shows the seriousness of the salaf with respect to seeking knowledge.  Compare their level to ours; if their pen broke in a gathering they would announce their willingness to buy a new one (for a ridiculous price too)!  Yet today you sit in front of a Shaykh, there are droves of people but only a fraction of them are writing or recording the dars.  When a pen of theirs brakes, runs out of ink or their recorder’s batteries die, khalâs, they’re done!

How many of us value the ahâdîth and âthâr so much that we advertise our willingness to by a bic biro for a high price, just to continue documenting them?  We know that asking around would disturb the lesson and you may have to weave through tens of people just to find someone who has a spare pen and is willing to lend it.

Mâ shâ’ Allâh!  Here we have a predecessor who didn’t want to waste time in this fashion, who knew the value of islamic knowledge and so took a swift course of action that would secure himself a deal; one that would ultimately allow him to resume his learning.  The plan somewhat backfired as Al-Baykandî got more than what he bargained for and found himself the target of a volley of pens!

Some Quotes from Ibn Hazm Al-Andalusi

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The following are some sayings of Ibn Hazm Al-Andalûsî, rahimahullâh.  They are all from Al-Akhlâq was-Siyâr except for the last one, which is from At-Ta`âlam wa-Atharuhu `alâ Al-Fikr wal-Kitâb.  I found these a while  back on http://www.fatwa-online.com.

The most noble branches of knowledge are those which bring you close to the Creator and help you to be pleasing to Him.

Anyone who spends his time studying something inferior, abandoning higher studies of which he is capable, is like someone who sows corn in a field capable of growing wheat, or who plants bushes in a soil which could support palm trees and olives.

When you compare yourself with others in matters of wealth, position, and health, you should look at people less favoured than yourself. When you compare yourself with others in matters of religion, knowledge and virtue, look at people who are better than yourself.

A man who is a miser with his knowledge is worse than a man who is a miser with his money, for the money-miser is afraid of using up what he possesses but the knowledge-miser is being mean with something which does not get used up and is not lost when it is given away.

There is nothing more harmful to the branches of knowledge and its people than those who enter themselves into it and they are not from its people. They are ignorant and yet they think they have knowledge, they cause corruption whilst thinking they are correcting the affairs.

“If your intention is one of these three….”

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Ibn Mas`ûd (رضي الله عنه) would advise his students,

If your intention is one of these three, do not seek knowledge: To shame the ignorant, or to argue with the Fuqahâ’ (scholars), or to cause people to turn their faces in your direction. Intend with your actions and words that which is with Allâh, for indeed that which is with Allâh shall remain and everything else shall perish.