knowledge

Arguing with a Scholar or an Ignoramus

Yūnus reports: Maymūn b. Mihrān once wrote to me saying:

Beware of dispute and argumentation about the religion, and do not argue with a scholar nor an ignoramus. As for the scholar, he will withhold his knowledge from you, and will not be concerned with what you do. As for the ignorant person, he will only cause roughness in your heart and he will not obey you [anyway].

Al-Dārimī, Al-Sunan no. 302.

The Importance of Knowing Different Opinions Before Giving Fatwa

Saʿīd b. Abī ʿArūbah – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Whoever has not heard the differences of opinion, then do not consider him a scholar.

Ibn ʿAbd Al-Barr, Jāmiʿ Bayān Al-ʿIlm wa Faḍlihī no. 1521.

It is reported that Sufyān b. ʿUyainah – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

The most audacious people in giving verdicts (fatwā) are those who know the least about the differences of opinion amongst the scholars.

Op. cit. 1527.

It is reported that Imām Mālik – Allāh have mercy on him – was asked:

“Which kind of person is allowed to give verdicts (fatwā)?” He replied, “It is not allowed to give verdicts except for the person who knows what people have differed over.” He was asked, “Do you mean the differences of the people of (mere) opinions?” He replied, “No, the different opinions of the Companions of Muḥammad ﷺ, and the one who also knows the abrogating from the abrogated [texts] in the Qurān and in the ḥadīth of the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ – such a person can give fatwā.”

Op. cit. 1529.

It is reported that Yaḥyā b. Sallām – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

It is not right for the one who does not know differences of opinion to give verdicts, and it is not allowed for the one who does not know about the various statements [of the scholars] to say: I prefer such-and-such opinion.

Op. cit. 1534.

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.

Three Things to Satisfy Yourself With

ʿAbdullāh b. ʿAwn – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

There are three things that I like for myself and for my brothers:

That the Muslim man looks to the Qurān; he learns it, recites it, ponders it and refers to it. Second, that he looks to the narrations and the Sunnah; he asks about it and follows it with all his efforts. Third, that he leaves alone all these people except when doing good.

Al-Bukhāri, Al-Ṣaḥīḥ, no. 97 (in annotative, discontiguous form). The chain of transmission is connected in Al-Marwazī, Al-Sunnah, no. 108.

Three People to Stay Away From

It is reported that ʿAlī b. ʾAbī Ṭālib – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

Do not be with the sinner (fājir), for he will beautify to you the things he does, and he will want you to be like him; and he will beautify to you the worst of his practices; and his entrance upon you and leaving from your company will cause ignominy and discredit [of you].

And do not accompany the fool (aḥmaq), for he will exhaust himself [to help you] but will not benefit you, and he may want to benefit you but end up harming you; his silence is better than his speaking, his distance is better than his closeness, and him dying is better than him living.

And do not accompany the liar, for life will not benefit you with him, he will tell others what you say, and tell you what others say; and if you speak the truth, it will not be believed.

Abū Bakr Al-Daynūrī, Al-Mujālasah wa Jawāhir AlʿIlm no. 1379.