Regardless of whether it be in the foundation of the religion or its subsidiary issues, the exegesis of the Qur'an, the explanation of hadith, asceticism, matters which soften the heart, points of benefit and wisdom, exhortations - whatever the Salaf spoke about - whoever traverses their path in this is rightly guided, and who ever does not; instead involving himself in excessive questioning, disputation, and speculation; is not rightly guided. However, if this latter person was to admit their excellence and his own shortcoming then his state is better. Iyas ibn Mu’awiyah said, 'Only a fool is unaware of the defects of his own soul.' It was asked of him, 'What is your defect?' He replied, 'Speaking too much.'
However, if this latter person was to attribute excellence to himself and deficiency and ignorance to those who preceded him, then he has clearly deviated and has suffered a great loss.
In summary, in these corrupt times, it is upon the person to either be content that he is a scholar in the sight of Allah, or not be content with this and instead content himself with being a scholar in the eyes of people. If he chooses the first, let him suffice with Allah's knowledge of him; whoever has a state of gnosis existing between him and Allah will suffice with Allah's knowledge of him. Whoever chooses the second then he falls under the saying of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, "Whoever seeks knowledge to compete with the scholars, or to argue with the fools, or to win the attention of people, let him take his place in the Fire."
Wuhayb ibn al-Ward said, 'It could well be that a scholar in the eyes of the people is counted to be amongst the ignorant in the Sight of Allah.'
Muslim records the hadith of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet; peace and blessing be upon him, said, "The first to be burnt in the Fire are three ...," amongst whom are the scholar and the reciter of the Qur'an who only learnt their knowledge that it may be said of them, 'He is a scholar', 'He is a reciter of the Qur'an.' It was indeed said of them and they will be dragged face first into Hellfire.”
If one does not content his soul with this, contenting it instead with the position of judge simply because this is a position that people respect, then he has chosen that which is lesser in exchange for that which is best, and he has moved from the ranking of scholar to the ranking of oppressor. This is why; when one of the Salaf was offered the position of judge, he refused saying,
'I only learnt knowledge that I may be resurrected with the Prophets, not that I may be resurrected with kings. The scholars are resurrected with the Prophets and judges are resurrected with kings!'
 Abu Nu'aym, vol. 3, p. 146 #3489.
 The author, may Allah have mercy upon him, has actually combined two separate ahadith inone. The first is the hadith, ''Whoever acquires knowledge to compete with the scholars, or to argue with the fools, or to win the attention of people, is in the Fire." Recorded by Tirmidhi #2654 and Ibn Majah #253 00 the authority of ibn 'Umar,
It was declared sahih by Albani, Sahih al-Targhib# 109.
The second is the hadith, "Whoever seeks knowledge for other than Allah - or, intending thereby other than Allah - let him take his place in the Fire." Recorded by Tirmidhi #2655 and Ibn Majah #258 on the authority of ibn 'Umar.
It was declared da'if by Albani, Daif al Jami #5687. Refer also to fn. 98.
 Muslim #1905/4923 on the authority of Abu Hurayrah with the words, 'The first man (whose case) will be decided on the Day of Judgment, will be a man who died as .a martyr. He shall be brought forth and Allah will recount His blessings (which He had bestowed upon him) and he will acknowledge them. Then Allah will ask, "What did you do with them?" He will reply, "I fought for Your sake until I died as a martyr." Allah will say, "You lie. You fought so that you might be called a 'brave warrior' and you were called so." Then a command will be given and he will be dragged on his face and cast into Hell.
And a man who acquired knowledge and taught it and recited the Qur'an. He will be brought forth and Allah will recount His blessings (which He had bestowed upon him) and he will acknowledge them. Then Allah will ask, "What did you do with them?" He will say; "I acquired knowledge and disseminated it and recited the Qur'an for your sake." Allah will say, ''You lie. You acquired knowledge so that you might be called 'a scholar,' and you recited the Qur’an So that it might be said; (He is a Qari',' and it was said. Then a command will be given and he will be dragged on his face and cast into Hell.
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