The Second Type of Craving for Status
The second type of seeking status and position over the people is through matters of the Deen such as knowledge, action and zuhd (shunning this world and its delights). This is more wicked than the first type, more disgraceful, more corrupt and more dangerous. This is because knowledge, action and shunning of this world are for seeking the high ranks and never-ending bliss that are with Allah, and to seek nearness to Allah.
Ath-Thawree said, “The excellence of knowledge is due only to the fact that it causes a person to fear and obey Allah, otherwise it is just like anything else.” So if a person seeks through any of this some worldly end, then this is also of two types:
The first type is he who seeks wealth through it – then this is a part of craving after wealth and seeking it through forbidden means. Concerning this there is the hadeeth from the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), “Whoever seeks knowledge from that by which Allah’s Face is sought but does not learn it except for some worldly goal, then he will not smell the fragrance of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection.” It is reported by Imaam Ahmad, Aboo Daawood, Ibn Maajah and Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh from the hadeeth of Aboo Hurairah from the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
The reason for this, and Allah knows best, is that in this world there is a foretaste of Paradise and it is knowledge of Allah, love of Him, being happy with Him, longing to meet Him, fearing Him and obeying Him. The way to this is shown by beneficial knowledge and he whose knowledge leads him to experience this foretaste of Paradise in this world will enter Paradise in the Hereafter, and he who does not smell its fragrance will not smell the fragrance of Paradise in the Hereafter.
Therefore the one who receives the severest punishment in the Hereafter is the scholar to whom Allah does not grant the benefit of his knowledge. He is one of those people who will suffer the most severe regret on the Day of Resurrection since he had what was required to take him to the highest levels and most elevated stations [in Paradise] yet he used it only to attain the most lowly, inferior and contemptible ends. So he is like a man who had valuable and expensive pearls and sold them for a piece of animal dung, or something filthy and of no use. This is the condition of one who seeks this world with his knowledge, rather he is worse. Worse still is one who seeks by it outwardly displaying that he is one who abstains from this world – this is a very despicable deception.
Sulaymaan ad-Daaraanee used to criticize a person who wore a simple course cloak if he had some worldly desire in his heart greater than the value of the cloak. What he was indicating was that manifesting one’s aversion to this world by wearing clothes showing connection to the Religion only befits one whose heart is empty of any attachment to it – such that his heart has no greater attachment to it than the value of the clothes he is seen to be wearing, so that he is the same outwardly and inwardly with regard to his disassociation from this world.
How well a certain wise person spoke when asked about the (true) Soofee, so he replied,
“He who wears the woollen clothes on top of purity and sincerity,
whilst following the way of the Chosen Messenger:
Who tastes delight despite experiencing harshness,
And the world is thrown behind his neck.”
The second type is he who through his knowledge, action and shunning of this world seeks: leadership of the people and a position of honour above them and that the creation should comply and submit to him and turn their faces to him. He seeks that it should become manifest to the people that he has the greater knowledge than the scholars so that he can attain a status greater than theirs and so on. The appointed place for a person like this is the Hell-Fire. This is because intending to arrogantly raise oneself above the creation is itself something forbidden, then if one seeks it through the means of attaining the Hereafter then this is worse and more despicable than attempting it through use of worldly means such as wealth and leadership.
There occurs in the Sunan a narration from the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam),
“Whoever seeks knowledge in order to argue with the ignorant and to argue with the scholars, or to turn the people’s faces towards him, then Allah will enter him into the Fire.” It is reported by Imaam Ahmad and at-Tirmidhee from the hadeeth of Ka’b ibn Maalik.  Ibn Maajah reports it from the hadeeth of Ibn `Umar, radiyAllahu `anhumaa, and Hudhayfah, radiyAllahu `anhu, and the wording is, “….then he is in the fire.”
Ibn Maajah and Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh report the hadeeth of Jaabir, radiyAllahu `anhu, from the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) who said,
“Do not seek knowledge in order to compete with the scholars, nor to argue with the ignorant, nor to gain ascendancy in the assemblies. So whoever does that, then the Fire, the Fire!”
Ibn Adiyy reports it like from the hadeeth of Aboo Hurairah, radiyAllahu `anhu, from the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and he added, “…Rather learn it for the Face of Allah and the Hereafter.”
Also from Ibn Mas`ood, radiyAllahu `anhumaa, who said, “Do not learn knowledge for three: To argue with it with the ignorant, nor to contend with the scholars through it, nor to turn the people’s faces towards yourselves. Rather seek by your saying and action that which is with Allah – since it will remain and everything else will perish.”
It is also established in Saheeh Muslim from Aboo Hurairah, radiyAllahu `anhu, from the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) who said,
“The first of the creation for whom the Fire will be kindled on the Day of Resurrection are three... from them is the scholar who recited the Qur’an in order for it be said that he is a recitor, and he learned knowledge in order for it to be said that he is a scholar, and it will be said to him, “That was said,” then the order will be given regarding him and he will be dragged upon his face and flung into the Fire.” He mentioned the same regarding the one who gives charity in order for it to be said that he is generous, and the one who fights Jihaad in order for it to be said that he is a brave person.
Also from `Alee, radiyAllahu `anhu, who said, “O bearers of knowledge! Act upon it since the scholar is the one who acts upon what he knows, so that his actions conform to his knowledge. For there will come a people who carry knowledge but it does not penetrate beyond their throats. Their knowledge will be contrary to their actions, and what they hide will be contrary to what they manifest. They will sit in circles and vie with one another to the point that a man will become angry with one who sits with him if he sits with someone else and abandons him. Their actions in those assemblies of theirs will not be raised up to Allah, the Mighty and Majestic.”
 Sufyaan ibn Sa`eed ath-Thawree, famous imaam from the successors of the taabi’een,. Ibnul-Mubaarak said, “I have not written from anyone more excellent than him.” He died at the age of 64 in Sha’baan 161H.
 Aboo Daawood (transl.vol.3, p.1039, no.3656) and others. Its chain of narration contains Fulaih ibn Sulaimaan who is acceptable but has a poor memory – however, another narrator supports his narration in the report of Ibn `Abdul-Barr in al-Jaami` (1/190) so the hadeeth is saheeh.
 What the author means by Soofee, is one who abstains from the world and engages in much worship (i.e. ascetic) and not the modern day usage of the term referring to the group of people who are immersed in innovation both in their beliefs and actions – may Allah protect us. [Publisher’s Note]
 Reported by at-Tirmidhee (no.2654), al-Haakim (1/86) and al-Aajurree (p.93). At-Tirmidhee said, “This is a singular (ghareeb) hadeeth, we do not know it except from this narration, and Ishaaq ibn Yahyaa ibn Talhah (one of its narrators) is not very strong in their view, some of them speak about him concerning his memory.” I say: Ibn Hajar says of him in at-Taqreeb, “Weak.” However it is strengthened by the following narration.
 The hadeeth of Ibn `Umar has two chains from him, the first is reported by Ibn Maajah (no.258), at-Tirmidhee (no.2655) who declared it hasan and al-Aajuree (p.92), and its chain of narration is muqati’ (disconnected). The second is reported by Ibn Maajah (no.253) and its chain of narration contains a weak narrator and one who is unknown. As for the hadeeth of Hudhayfah, then it has three chains, the first is reported by Ibn Maajah (no.259) and its chain of narration contains Ash`ath ibn Sawwaar who is weak.
The second is reported by al-Khateeb in Iqtidaa ul-`Ilmil’Amal (no.100) and contains Basheer ibn `Ubayd al-Madaarisee who is weak and is accused of lying. The third is reported by al-Khateeb in his Taareekh (9/446-447) and contains Aboo Bakr ad-Daahiree who is abandoned and accused of lying.
 Reported by Ibn Maajah (no.253), Ibn Hibbaan (no.90: Mawaarid) and others. Its chain of narration here is weak since it contains Ibn Juraij and Abuz-Zubayr, both of whom are mudallis reporting with `an`anah [not clearly stating that he heard it directly from the narrator before him]. However the hadeeth is established since the author will mention a hasan (good) chain of narration for it afterwords.
 Al-Khateeb reports it in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (2/88) from Ibn `Adiyy with it and its chain of narration is hasan.
 It is reported by al-Khateeb in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (2/88-89) and its chain of narration is weak since it contains Muhammad ibn `Awn al-Khuraasaanee who is abandoned (matrook).
 The hadeeth is reported by Ahmad (2/322), Muslim (transl.vol.3, p.1055, no.4688), an-Nasaa`ee (6/23-24) and others, however the hadeeth which they report begins, “The first of the people against whom judgement will be passed…” As for the wording, “The first of the creation for whom the fire will be kindled on the Day of Ressurection.” Then it is reported by Ibnul-Mubaraak in az-Zuhd (no.469), al-Bukhari in Khalq Af’aalil-`Ibaad (p.42), at-Tirmidhee (no.2382) who declared it hasan and others. Its chain of narration is saheeh.
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