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In Announcements

By Abu 'Aaminah

‘…their knowledge was thus ruined.’

On 24, Mar 2013 | In Announcements | By Abu 'Aaminah

Ibn al-Jawzi makes this remarkable entry in his book, ‘Sayd al-Khatir’:

“I met many scholars whose circumstances and depths of knowledge were very different. I found the most beneficial of them to be the one who acted upon his knowledge even if others were more knowledgeable than him.

I met a group of people from the scholars of hadith who memorised and knew narrations but they used to permit backbiting under the guise of Jarh and Ta’dil(critique of narrators), and they used to charge money for the narration of hadith. They would also hasten to answer questions even if that made them fall into error, because they feared losing status (in the eyes of people).

I met ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Anmati and he was upon the manner of the predecessors. No backbiting was heard in his gathering and he never sought a wage for listening (and narrating) hadith. If I read a heart-softening narration to him, he would cry profusely. It used to affect my heart and built it up, and I was very young at the time. He was just like those scholars whose descriptions we’ve heard about from (classical) texts.

I met Shaykh Abu Mansur al-Jawaliqi; he was known for his increased periods of silence, his extreme caution over what he said, and his precision and authenticity (in knowledge). Perhaps he would be asked a question and the answer was clear to even children, but he would hold back until he was certain (of its correctness). He used to fast a lot and observed silence a lot.

So I benefited from these two men more than I benefited from others. I came to understand that guiding people by one’s actions is greater and more inspiring than guiding them by just words. I saw scholars whose moments of seclusion was mere joking and play so they turned hearts towards this and the knowledge they had gathered was thus ruined. The people did not benefit from them in their life except a little, and after their death, they were forgotten and hardly anyone looked to their works and writings.

So fear Allah when it comes to acting upon knowledge for it is the greatest of foundations. The impoverished one is truly the only who wastes his life in seeking knowledge that he does not act upon and so he misses out on both the delight of this world and the goodness of the Hereafter, so he goes forth (into the Hereafter) as a bankrupt one burdened with evidences against him.”

Arabic text:

لقيت مشايخ، أحوالهم مختلفة، في مقادير في العلم. و كان أنفعهم لي في صحبته العامل منهم بعلمه، و إن كان غيره أعلم منه. و لقيت جماعة من علماء الحديث يحفظون و يعرفون و لكنهم كانوا يتسامحون بغيبة يخرجونها مخرج جرح و تعديل، و يأخذون على قراءة الحديث أجرة، و يسرعون بالجواب لئلا ينكسر الجاه و إن وقع خطأ. و لقيت عبد الوهاب الأنماطي ، فكان على قانون السلف لم يسمع في مجلسه غيبة ،و لا كان يطلب أجراً على سماع الحديث، و كنت إذا قرأت عليه أحاديث الرقاق بكى و اتصل بكاؤه . فكان ـ و أنا صغير السن حينئذ ـ يعمل بكاؤه في قلبي، و يبني قواعد. و كان على سمت المشايخ الذين سمعنا أوصافهم في النقل . و لقيت الشيخ أبا منصور الجواليقي، فكان كثير الصمت، شديد التحري فيما يقول، متقناً محققاً. و ربما سئل المسألة الظاهرة التي يبادر بجوابها بعض غلمانه، فيتوقف فيها حتى يتيقن. و كان كثير الصوم و الصمت . فانتفعت برؤية هذين الرجلين أكثر من انتفاعي بغيرهما. ففهمت من هذه الحالة أن الدليل بالفعل أرشد من الدليل بالقول . و رأيت مشايخ كانت لهم خلوات في انبساط و مزاح ، فراحوا عن القلوب و بدد تفريطهم ما جمعوا من العلم . فقل الانتفاع بهم في حياتهم ، و نسوا بعد مماتهم ، فلا يكاد أحد أن يلتفت إلى مصنفاتهم. فالله الله في العلم بالعمل، فإنه الأصل الأكبر . و المسكين كل المسكين من ضاع عمره في علم لم يعمل به، ففاته لذات الدنيا و خيرات الآخرة فقدم مفلساً على قوة الحجة عليه