from al-uzlah / on knowledge

Discussion in 'Tasawwuf / Adab / Akhlaq' started by Aqdas, Mar 22, 2006.

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  1. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

  2. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    many of us, young and not-so-young, dabble in matters of knowledge even before it is time. here is some advice from the grand sages – first to remind myself – and then our brothers and sisters. may Allah guide us all and give us knowledge that benefits us.


    chapter: concerning the corruption of the elite and what has been reported about evil scholars and their harm

    abū sulaymān told us: ibn al-aárābi told us that ábbās ad-dūri narrates from ibn bishr al-ábdi who narrates from hishām ibn úrwah from his father, who reports from ibn ámr ibn al-áāş that RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam said: Allāh táalā will not take away knowledge by forcibly confiscating it from the people [intizāán] rather, He shall constrict knowledge by taking away scholars [their death]. when there are no more scholars, the people will take ignoramuses as their leaders; and ask them [for their opinions] and they shall reply without any knowledge. thus they go astray themselves and misguide others. [reported by bukhāri, muslim and others]

    abū sulaymān said: RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam told us that the peril of knowledge is when there is a scarcity of competent and worthy [dhahābu ahlih] and when ignoramuses and unqualified people make an undue claim of knowledge for themselves. [intiĥāla’l juhhāl] and he warned the people from following men of such [dubious] claims. and he also told us that they are astray themselves and they misguide others. he has also warned of such ‘scholars’ in another ĥadīth:

    abū sulaymān told us: narrated to us aĥmed ibn sulaymān an-najjār from jáfar ibn abū úthmān at-ţayālsī who narrates from khađir ibn álī who narrates from nūĥ ibn qays [narrating] from his brother khālid ibn qays [narrating] from qatādah [narrating] from anas who said: i narrate a ĥadīth to you, that which nobody who has heard it will narrate this to you after myself ever again: i have heard RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam say: ‘among the signs of the final hour is that knowledge shall be withdrawn [yurfáu’l ílm] and ignorance will be widespread.

    abū sulaymān comments: he meant – Allāh knows best – that ignorant, incompetent and unqualified men will become [mere] claimants to knowledge. they seek to become leaders [and guides] of men even before they have spent time learning, acquiring knowledge and far before they are proficient in the sciences or have mastered them. [žuhūr al-juhhāl al-muntaĥilīna li’l ílm; al-mutar-yisīna ála’n nāsi bihi qabla án yatafaqqahu fi’d dīn wa yarsukhū fī ílmih]

    abū sulaymān told us: ábdullāh ibn muĥammad as-saádī told us that ibn ábd al-ázīz narrated to us that qāsim ibn salām narrated to us that ibn áliyyah [reports] from ibn áwn from ibn sīrīn from al-aĥnaf ibn qays who said: úmar ibn al-khaţţab rađiyAllāhu ánhu says: ‘learn and acquire knowledge before you become leaders’ [tafaqqahu qabla an tusawwadu] he meant that whosoever did not serve knowledge [by being a student and learn / yakhdima’l ílm] in youth will be certainly shy of it when he advances in age and thus cannot achieve leadership.

    abū sulaymān said: a report has reached me from sufyān ath-thawrī wherein he said: ‘when one becomes a master [teacher?] too early, the lightest penalty that he will suffer is that he will be deprived of a great amount of knowledge’ [man tara-asa fi ĥidāthatihi kāna adnā úqūbatuhu an yafūtahu ĥažžun kabīrun mina’l ílm]

    and it is reported from abū ĥanifah raĥmatullāhi álayh that he said: ‘whosoever wishes to become a master [or a teacher or a guide] far before its time, shall spend the rest [of his time] in disgrace.’ [man ţalaba’r riyāsata bi’l ílmi qabla awānihi lam yazal fī dhullin mā baqī]

    abū sulaymān recited these verses [anshadana] and said it was recited to him by sahl ibn ismāýīl from manşūr ibn ismāýīl [who composed the verse]

    al-kalbu akramu íshratan
    wa huwa’n nihāyatu fi’l khasasah
    mimma’n yunāziú fi’r riyāsati
    qabla awqāti’r riyāsah

    the dog is better off
    and it is a lowly creature
    than he who tries to grab leadership
    before the time is ripe for one to be a guide or a master.

    abū sulaymān told us that abū úmar told him that he asked mubarrad: ‘why is it that abu’l ábbās surpassed you in memorizing the exceptional/uncommon reports and in poetry? [gharīb wa’sh shiýr]’ and he replied: ‘because i became a teacher when i was [too] young and he became a master when he was old’

    abū sulaymān told us that aĥmed ibn ibrahīm ibn mālik told him narrating from ad-daghūli who narrates from muĥammad ibn ĥātim al-mužaffarī who said: i heard from ámr ibn muĥammad an-nāqid [the critic?] that he heard sufyān ibn úyaynah say: we sat in the company of úbaydullāh ibn úmar, and he looked at us and said: ‘you have disgraced knowledge and you are deprived of its light. if úmar rađiyAllāhu ánhu saw you and i, he would have lashed us.’ al-mužaffarī adds from a report other than that of ámr: ‘i am not worthy of narrating to you, neither are you worthy of narrating to others; the example of you and i, is like what has been said earlier: ‘their flaws became well-known, so they made truce’ [iftađaĥū işţalĥū] [translator: that is since we both are aware of our flaws and are in the same boat, we have agreed to ignore it. Allah knows best]

    al-úzlah, pg. 82-84; by imām abū sulaymān ĥamd ibn muĥammad al-busti al-khaţţabī (d.388 AH)

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