In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful
Signs of beneficial knowledge and its people
By al-Haafidh ibn Rajab al-Hanbali al-Baghdaadi may Allah have mercy on him
The Imaam, who died 795 AH, collects in his tremendous book, “The superiority of knowledge of the Salaf over knowledge of the Khalaf” under the chapter “Sign’s of Beneficial Knowledge and its People”. He says:
“From the signs of those (that have) beneficial knowledge is that they do not see themselves having a status or position. They hate in their hearts commendation and praise, and they are not arrogant towards anyone.
Hasan al-Basree (110 AH) said,
انما الفقيه: الزاهد في الدنيا, الراغب في الاخرة, البصير بدينه, المواظن على عبادة ربه
“Indeed the Faqeeh (person with understanding) is: an ascetic in the worldly life, desiring the hereafter, versed in his religion, and diligent in worship of his Lord.”
And in another narration he said,
الذي لا يحسد من فوقه. و لا يسخر بمن دونه, و لا يأخذ على علم علمه لله أجرا
“(The Faqeeh) is the one who does not envy anyone above him, mock those around him, and doesn’t obtain knowledge of Allah for a wage.”
The meaning of this last statement has been also attributed to Ibn ‘Umar.
Whenever the people of beneficial knowledge increase in knowledge they also increase in humility, fear, and submissiveness for Allah’s sake. Some of the Salaf said,
ينبغي للعالم أن يضع التراب على رأسه تواضعا لربه, فانه كلما ازداد علما بربه, و معرفة به, ازداد منه خشية, و محبة, و ازداد له ذلا و انكسارا
“It is incumbent for the Aalim (learned person) to put sand on his head in order to be humble before his Lord. Every time he increases in knowledge and awareness of his Lord he (should also) increase in fear, love, and submissiveness towards Him.”
Also, from the signs of beneficial knowledge, is that its companion flees away from the worldly life. The greatest things to run away from are leadership, glory, and praise. He separates himself from that and strives hard in avoiding it.
And if these things were to occur to him, without him intending it, then he severely fears for himself whatever would result from it like deceit and allurement . This was the case with Imaam Ahmad when he used to fear those things for himself once his name started to become known and famous.
From the signs of beneficial knowledge is that its companion does not claim to have knowledge, and he is not haughty against anyone. He does not attribute to anyone ignorance EXCEPT for those who have opposed the sunnah and its people.
Indeed he only speaks against what is hated by Allah and not what he hates, and he doesn’t intend to be raised above anyone.”
Translated by: Michael AbdusSalaam Deonarain
الفقير الى الله