Al-Imaam Al-Bukhaaree - rahimahullaah - said: 'Never venture into a matter until you know the limits therein and after having a grasp on its nature. Then know that you can never become a complete muhadith (or a scholar) until you write four things alongside four other things the likes of four things regarding four other things.
Four things will still go with those four yet upon four things derived from four things. These multiple of fours will not complete except they go with four things. So when they all become complete, four things will become easy for him and he will be TRIED with four things. When he is however patient over those Allaah will honour him in this world with four things, and will reward him with four things in the Hereafter.'
He continued: 'As for for the four things he needs to write, they are: the reports from the Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and his laws, then the Companions and their levels, then the Taabioon and their conditions, then the rest of the scholars and their history, alongside the names of those who brought the reports (about the foregoing), so their agnomens, places of residence and the periods they lived.
'(The above four phenomena will go hand-in-hand with what they are mentioned with) the same way saying the tamheed goes with every khutbah, supplications with letters to others, basmallah with every Surah (except Surah Tawbah), takbeer with every Salah.'
(In the likes of what you find in) the reports that are musnad or mursal or mauqoof or maqtoo, (he will continue to learn this right) from his tender age, when he comes of age, when he becomes a youth and when he reaches adulthood.
This will always go with his either being busy or free, poor or rich. Whether he is on top of the mountain or in the sea, in the city or in the hinterland.
Jotting it on the rocks or shells, animal skins or shoulder blades.
He should be able to retain whatever knowledge he acquired until he can write it down, as he get them from those over him, or those like him, or those he is above or from the books of his father.
He should be sure it is his father's handwriting not anyone else.
Doing all these to Seek Allaah's Face the Mighty, ensuring that that knowledge is tandem with the Book of Allaah the Mighty, then spreading it among those who seek it and making it into a book to make it live even after his death...
Then all the foregoing cannot become complete until there are four other things:
The other four things are from the doing of the slave: that he learns how to write, the (Arabic) language, syntax (Sarf) and grammar (Nawh) to be accompanied with four things only Allaah can gift to His slave: good health, ability, covetousness (to learn more and more) and (how to) memorize..
When the above four things are for him, then four things will become easy for him: getting a wife, raising a child, wealth and an abode. But he will be tried with four things: the derision of enemies, blame of friends, disparagement of the ignoramuses and envy of co-scholars.
If he is patient over these four afflictions, Allaah will honour him with four things in life: the splendour of contentment, awesomeness for the reality, sweetness of knowledge and immortal living (for he will be remembered after death forever).
Allaah will then reward him with four things in the Hereafter: serving as an intercessor for whomever he wants among his comrades, he be under the shade of Throne when there will be none other, he will give drink to whomever he wants from the Pond of Muhammad - sallallahu alayhi wa sallam - and beside him - sallallahu alayhi wa sallam - in the highest place of the Jannah.'
The end of quote.
This has been severally reported from Al-Imaam Al-Bukhaaree - rahimahullaah. This version, with its complete chain, is taken from Tadreeb ar-Raawee of Al-Imaam as-Suyootee, p. 383-4, Daar at-Turaath, 3rd Edition (2005).
It was our teacher, Aboo Naasir, hafidhahullaah, that actually spurred me into looking for this. I had asked him after the reception on the day of Abu Sakeenah's daughter' s nikaah about the well-being of the scholars of Sunnah in Yorubaland in the face of this morbid disparagement about them from some youths in the region. He said, that's normal. That whoever is teaching the people should be ready for such stupid attacks from those very low to him. Then he made a reference to this Ruba'iyaat of Al-Bukhaaree stressing the part where Imaam Bukhaaree talked about the ignoramuses attacking the scholars.
Interestingly, my friend, Abu Khadeejah, was the first to check up the report as we stood that day. I was waiting for him to come out with it eventually but as Allaah would want it, I preceded him. Perhaps he has his own write-up on it to take another dimension.
Click here for the Arabic version of the piece.