A Collection of Golden Speeches on Knowledge and Its Manners from The Golden Imâm: Adh-Dhahabee [RahimahuLlaah]

All praise to Allâh; only Him is worthy of worship. May the choicest benediction be upon the best of Mankind.

He said:

‘By Allâh, I love him because of Allâh – that is, Abdullâh bn Mubaarak, between him and me are just six persons (in chain of narration). Allâh endowed him with Taqwa, sense of good worship, sincerity, fighting in the cause of Allâh, vast knowledge, precision in knowledge, good traits, prowess and lofty character.’

He also said:

‘Just in a single sitting in our time, more than ten thousand pens would meet to jot down the Prophetic narrations.’

He also said:

‘How often we see a leader in a particular field but who is lagging in another filed. Here is Nûh Al-Jâmi’ despite his vast knowledge, his hadith narrations are rejected. So also was his Shaykh, Ar-Riqaashee. Just like Seebaway in Arabic Grammar who did not have the understanding of hadith. Wakee’ was a big scholar in the field of hadith but did not have the proper understanding of the Arabic. Abu Nawwaas was a figure in Prosody but a layman in other than that. AbdurRahmân bn Mahdee was a figure in the field of hadith but a no-man in [Islamic] Medicine. Muhammad bn Al-Hasan was an expert of Jurisprudence but did not know Qiraa’aat [of the Qur’aan]. As for Hafs, he was a leader in Qiraa’aat but weak in hadith.’

He also said:

‘Wars have men who know their manoeuvres. What you have been endowed with of knowledge is but very little. And today (during the time of al-Imâm Adh-Dhahabee), what remains of knowledge is too shallow yet found with very few people, and how few are those who work with that little knowledge among them! HasbunAllâh wa ni’mal-wakeel.’

He also said:

‘Knowledge is a proof against the scholar. Ash-Sha’bee said: How I wish I never knew a possessor of knowledge a bit. I [Imâm Dhahabee] say: This is because a scholar is susceptible to not having proper intention with his knowledge, or that he prides himself with it, or that he boasts about with it to earn leadership and the fleeting world.’

He also said:

‘Knowledge refuses to be for other than Allâh. Ma’mar said: People used to say: One can quest for knowledge for other than Allâh but it will refuse to be for other than Allâh.’

He also said:

‘From the Provisions of the Hereafter is seeking the knowledge of hadith, and working with it.’

He also said:

‘Ibraaheem bn Ad’ham said: He that seeks popularity with his knowledge is not truthful to Allâh.’

He also said:

‘Ayyoub bn Al-Mutawakkil said: if Al-Khaleel benefitted anybody with any knowledge he would never let the person know he benefitted him, but if he benefitted any knowledge from anybody, he would let him know he had benefitted him. I [Imâm Adh-Dhahabee] said: The people of today are opposite of that!’

He also said:

‘An ignorant person is better that he who possesses the knowledge of Philosophy. ’

He also said:

‘Jealousy is transgression and filthy. A believer envies what is good but is not jealous of it. Envying what is good is from faith, jealousy is from hypocrisy. ’

He also said:

Al-Fudayl bn Iyaad said: ‘O prideful pauper, you are a sinner but you see yourself a good doer; you are an ignoramus but you see yourself a scholar; you are a miser but you see yourself a generous person; you are stupid but you see yourself as wise. Your lifespan is short but your hope (in life) is long.’ Adh-Dhahabee said: ‘Yes, by Allâh he (al-Fudayl) has spoken the truth.’

He also said:

‘What a good speech said by Bishr bn Al-waleed: ‘Learning how to dispute is ignorance while not learning how to dispute is knowledge.’

He also said:

‘If not by the efforts of the great scholars, the deviants would have been speaking on pulpits. We do not say the scholars of Jar’h wa Ta’deel are error-free but they are often correct and least in error; they are the most just of the people and the most detached of them from sentiments thus when they agree over a disparagement or otherwise of an individual hold unto it.’

He also said:

‘Saying the truth (to the deviant’s face) is great; but it requires a strong will and sincerity. But whoever is sincere but lacks the will, will not be able to carry it out. As for he that has the prowess but is not sincere, he will suffer disgrace. Whoever possesses the two traits is indeed truthful whoever is weak as regards any of them should resort to using his heart to condemn the wrong, there is no faith beyond that.’

He also said:

‘There is no scholar except that what he does not know about knowledge is more than what he knows.’ Some people said: ‘Indeed Ismaaeel bn As-Sudee was endowed with a great knowledge about the Qur’ân.’ I (Adh-Dhahabee) said: ‘Rather Ismaaeel had been endowed with many errors with respect to the Qur’aan.’

He also said:

‘The established Qiraa’aat have their good, better and best. If you however see an Imâm shifting from one Qiraa’ah to another and articulate some strange recital, be sure that he is lacking concentration [in Salaah], loves fame and popularity. We ask Allâh for safety in the Deen.’

And lastly:

‘Other people are better than you, O seeker of Islamic knowledge for Dunya!’

May Allâh bestow massive mercy on al-Imâm Adh-Dhahabee.

Adapted from: ‘Kalimaatun Fil-Ilm Wa Adabit-Talab Wal-Tibaa’ Wa Dhamm Al-Ibtidaa’ gathered by Dr Jamaal Azwun published by Maktabah Al-Ma’aarif, Riyaadh.

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