intentions

Do Not Beautify Yourself with Knowledge

It is reported that Ḥabīb b. ʿUbayd – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Learn knowledge, understand it and benefit from it (live by it); and do not study it in order to decorate yourself with it, for if you live long you will likely see a time when knowledge will be used for beautification like a man beautifies himself with his garments.

Ibn Al-Mubārak, Al-Zuhd wa Al-Raqāʾiq no. 1056.

The Value of Most People’s Judgements

It is reported that Mālik b. Dīnār – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Since I have come to know people, I do not rejoice when they praise and I do not dislike it when they blame, for those that praise go to excess in praise and those that blame go to excess in blaming. When the scholar learns knowledge in order to act, it humbles him; but if he learns it for something other than action, it only makes him more boastful.

Al-Dhahbī, Siyar ʾAʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 5:362.

Hidden Safety

It is reported that Sufyān Al-Thawrī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Safety lies in not wanting to be known.

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar Aʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 7:258.

The Rarity of Zuhd in Leadership

It is reported that Sufyān Al-Thawrī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

I have not seen less zuhd (abstinence) in anything than leadership; you can see a man renouncing food, drink, wealth and clothing, but if his leadership is contested, he vehemently defends and has enmity over it.

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar ʾAʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 7:262.

Knowing what Spoils Your Deeds

It is reported that Al-Ḥasan Al-Baṣrī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

A man remains upon good as long as he knows what things spoil his deeds.

Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, Al-Zuhd p339.