scholars

A Man Should Sit Where He Benefits

It is reported that:

ʿAlī b. Ḥusayn – Allāh have mercy on him – would sometimes ride to Makkah and return without entering it (meeting anyone there), and he used to sit with Aslam the freedman of ʿUmar (himself a scholar), so it was said to him, “You leave Quraysh, and instead sit with the slave of Banī ʿAdī!” So he replied, “A man [should] sit where he benefits.”

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar Aʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 4:388.

It is reported that:

ʿAlī b. Ḥusayn – Allāh have mercy on him – would enter the masjid and cut his way through the people until he would sit in the circle of Zayd b. Aslam. Nāfiʿ b. Jubayr said to him, “Allāh forgive you, you are the sayyid of the people, yet you come traversing the people to sit with this slave.” So ʿAlī b. Ḥusayn replied, “Knowledge is to be sought and come to and looked for wherever it is.”

Ibid.

The Foolish Gathering

It is reported that Muʿāwiyah b. Qurrah – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Do not sit with the foolish using your knowledge, and do not sit with the knowledgeable (scholars) using your foolishness.

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar Aʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 5:154.

I Would Rather Sing a Song

It is reported that a man once came to Al-Shaʿbī – Allāh have mercy on him – and asked him about something, so he replied:

“Ibn Masʿūd used to say such-and-such [about this issue].” The man asked, “But tell me your opinion.” He replied, “Are you not all astonished by this man? I inform him of what Ibn Masʿūd [said] and he asks me my opinion. My religion is more important to me than that. By Allāh, I would rather sing a song than inform you of my opinion.”

Al-Dārimī, Al-Sunan ḥadīth 108.

Three Traits of the Scholar

It is reported that Abū Ḥāzim Salamah b. Dīnār – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

You cannot be a scholar unless you have three traits: you do not transgress against those above you, you do not look down on those lesser than you, and you do not take any dunyā in return for your knowledge.

Al-Bayhaqī, Shuʿab Al-Īmān 3:282, article 1655.

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.