knowledge

Two Calamities for Fitnah

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

Stay away from the sinful amongst the scholars and the ignorant amongst the worshippers, for these two are the calamity of everyone who would fall into fitnah.

Al-Bayhaqī, Shuʿab Al-Īmān ḥadīth 1753.

The Correct Place of Opinion

Al-Awzāʿī reports that Caliph ʿUmar b. ʿAbd Al-ʿAzīz – Allāh have mercy on him – wrote (in his orders):

There is no place for anyone’s opinion [when it comes to] what is in the Book (revelation). The opinion of the imāms (great scholars) is only regarding what the Book did not come down with, and regarding which no Sunnah has passed from the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ. And the opinion of no one is counted in the face of a Sunnah from the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ.

Al-Ājurrī, Al-Sharīʿah #113 et al.

Not Speaking in Front of Elders

Samurah b. Jundub – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

I was young during the time of Allāh’s Messenger ﷺ and I had memorised things he had said; nothing stopped me from speaking except for the fact that there were amongst us men who were older than me.

Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, Kitāb Al-Janāʾiz #964.

Al-Ḥasan b. ʿUtaybah reports:

Sufyān Al-Thawrī said to Sufyān b. ʿUyainah, “Why do you not speak (narrate)?” He replied, “While you are alive, no way.”

Al-Khaṭīb Al-Baġdādī, Al-Jāmiʿ li Akhlāq Al-Rāwī #698.

Ḥusayn b. Al-Walīd Al-Naysābūrī said: a reliable person informed me:

ʿAbdullāh b. ʿUmar (Al-ʿUmarī, great-great grandson of ʿUmar) was once asked about something to do with ḥadīth, so he replied, “As long as Abū ʿUthmān (his older brother) is alive, then no.”

Op. cit. #699.

It is reported that ʿĀṣim said:

Zirr (Ibn Ḥubaysh) was older than Abū Wāʾil (Shaqīq b. Salamah); so if they ever sat together [in a gathering] Abū Wāʾil would not speak with Zirr (out of respect).

Op. cit. #702.

It is also reported that:

When Ibrāhīm and Al-Shaʿbī were together, Ibrāhīm would not speak about anything, because of his age.

Op. cit. #703.

It is reported from Abū ʿAbdillāh Al-Muʿayṭī that he said:

I saw Abū Bakr b. ʿAyyāsh in Makkah. Sufyān b. ʿUyainah came to him and knelt in front of him. Abū Bakr asked him, “How are you Sufyān? Sufyān, how is your father’s family?” Then a man came and asked Sufyān about a ḥadīth, so Sufyān said, “Do not ask me as long as this Shaykh is sitting here.”

Op. cit. #705.

It is reported from Al-Ḥasan b. ʿAlī Al-Khallāl that he said:

We were once with Muʿtamir b. Sulaymān while he was speaking to us, when Ibn Al-Mubārak approached. Muʿtamir cut short his speech. It was said to him, “Speak (or narrate) to us.” He replied, “We do not speak in front of our seniors.”

Op. cit. #706.

And it is reported that ʿAbdullāh b. Al-Mubārak was once asked about an issue in the presence of Sufyān b. ʿUyainah, so he replied, “We have been forbidden from speaking in front of our seniors.”

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar Aʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 8:420.

Letting Elders Enter First

Al-Khaṭīb Al-Baghdādī has mentioned this heading and quotes the following general aḥādīth. He then reports narrations from some of the Salaf about letting elders enter first.

From Ibn ʿAbbās, that the Prophet ﷺ said:

Blessings are with your seniors.

Ibn Ḥibbān et al. Graded ṣaḥīh by Al-Albānī and others. See Al-Ṣaḥīḥah no. 1778.

From Ibn ʿUmar, from Allāh’s Messenger ﷺ that he said:

Jibrīl told me to give precedence to those who are older.

Recorded by Abū Bakr Al-Shāfiʿī in Al-Fawāʾid, and graded authentic by Al-Albānī in Al-Ṣaḥīḥah no. 1555.

It is reported that Mālik b. Mighwal said:

I was once walking with Ṭalḥah b. Muṣarrif when we came to a narrow (entrance). He went in front of me, then said, “If I knew that you were older than me even by a day, I would have never preceded you.”

Al-Khaṭīb, Al-Jāmiʿ li Akhlāq Al-Rāwī #248.

It is reported from Al-Faḍl b. Mūsā that he said:

ʿAbdullāh b. Al-Mubārak and I once came to a bridge, so I said to him, “Go ahead”, and he said, “Go ahead.” So we calculated [the age difference], and it turned out I was two years older than him.

Op. cit. #249.

Al-Khaṭīb mentions after these and other narrations, “And if the elder gives precedence to someone more knowledgeable than himself, this is allowed, and it is good.”

He then reports that Al-Ḥusayn b. Manṣūr said:

One day, I was with Yaḥyā b. Yaḥyā and Isḥāq (Ibn Rāhuwayh) visiting a sick person. When we all came to the door (next to each other), Isḥāq stepped back and said to Yaḥyā, “Go ahead.” Yaḥyā said to Isḥāq, “You go ahead.” He replied, “O Abū Zakarīyah, you are older than me.” Yaḥyā replied, “Yes, I am older than you, but you are more knowledgeable than me.” So Isḥāq went ahead.

Op. cit. #252.

Getting Ahead of Yourself

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

Whoever takes leadership quickly (too early) will harm a lot of [his] knowledge (will not learn what he needs); and whoever does not take leadership can continue to seek knowledge until he reaches [where he needs to be].

Al-Dārimī, Al-Sunan #554.