Abu Nu’aym and others record on the authority of Kumayl ibn Ziyad, from ‘Ali (radiAllāhu ‘anhu) who said,
People are of three categories: the erudite and wise scholar; a student of knowledge traversing the path to salvation; and the confused rabble, following anyone, bending along with every wind, not enlightened by the light of knowledge and having no firm support.
Then after talking about the superiority of knowledge, he proceeded to say,
Here, indeed here – pointing to his chest – there is knowledge, if only I could find bearers for it. All I have found are people who are quick to comprehend but untrustworthy, they exploit the religion for worldly ends, they try to use the proofs of Allāh against His Book, and His favours to lord over His servants.
Or I have found people, devoid of insight, blindly following the People of Truth, having no capacity to receive it, and misgivings piercing their hearts at the first appearance of doubt; none of these deserve it.
Or I have found people passionately addicted to pleasures, continuously succumbing to their lusts.
Or I have found people with a propensity to amassing wealth and hoarding it; these are not worthy of being callers to this religion, rather they are more akin to grazing cattle.
Thus knowledge passes away with the passing away of those who carry it. O Allāh! Indeed the earth will never be devoid of one who stands firm for Allāh with clear proofs. Therefore, Allāh’s clear proofs and signs will never be abolished. Such people are few in number but have the greatest standing with Allāh. Through them Allāh asserts His proofs amongst their contemporaries and cultivates them in the hearts of those like them. Through them knowledge launches forward and unveils the true state of affairs, they are then able to bear with ease what the opulent find burdensome and take comfort with what engenders consternation in the ignorant. They live in this world with their bodies but their souls are attached to heavenly matters, they are ambassadors of Allāh in His lands and His callers to His religion. O how I desire to see them! 1
1. Abu Nu’aym, vol 1, pg 79.
- Transcribed from: The Journey of the Strangers; Kashf Al-Kurbah Fi Wasfi Hāli Ahli’l-Ghurbah | Ibn Rajab Al Hanbali