The sanctuary of the seeker of knowledge

Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd (rahimahullaah) mentioned in his book “at-Ta’aalum”:

جنة العالم (لا أدرى) ، ويهتك حجابه الاستنكاف منها وقوله: يقال .

وعليه، فإن نصف العلم (لا أدرى) ، فنصف الجهل (يقال) و (أظن)

The sanctuary of the scholar is “I don’t know” (Laa ‘Adree), and he destroys this [his sanctuary] by refusing to say it out of pride, and by answering instead “It was said … such-and-such”. Therefore, if half of knowledge is saying “I don’t know”, then half of ignorance is saying, “It was said … such-and-such”, or “I think … such-and-such.”

[Source: at-Ta’aalum p. 36 of Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd (rahimahullaah)]

Muhammad Ibn Sireen – rahimahullaah – said:

قَالَ ابْنُ سِيرِينَ: لَأَنْ يَمُوتَ الرَّجُلُ جَاهِلًا خَيْرٌ لَهُ مِنْ أَنْ يَقُولَ مَا لَا يَعْلَمُ.

“For a man to die in a state of ignorance, is better for him then to speak about that which he has no knowledge of.”

[Source: Related by Ibn ’Abdul-Barr in al-Jaami’ul-Bayaanil-’Ilm wa –Fadlihi (2/54)]

Imaam Maalik Ibn Anas (d.179H) – rahimahullaah – said:

“The shield of the scholar is saying, ‘I do not know.’ So if he forgets it, then his enemies strike him!”

[Source: Hilyatul-Awliyaa (6/323)]

Al-Haytham Ibn Jameel said:

الإمام مالك أنه سئل عن ثماني وأربعين مسألة فقال في اثنين وثلاثين منها: «لا أدري»

“I heard Maalik being asked about forty-eight questions, he replied to thirty-two of them saying, ‘I do not know.’”

[Source: Related by Ibn ’Abdul-Barr in al-Jaami’ul-Bayaanil-’Ilm wa –Fadlihi (2/25)]

’Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Mahdee (d.198H) – rahimahullaah – said:

“[I]We were with Maalik Ibn Anas when a man came saying, ‘O Abaa ’Abdullaah, I have traveled a distance of six months. The people of my land sent me to ask you about a matter.’ So he said, ‘Ask!’ So the man asked him some things, so he replied, ‘I do not know.’ – and the man thought he had come to someone who knew everything, so he said, ‘What shall I tell the people of my land when I return to them?’ He said, ‘Say to them, Maalik Ibn Anas does not know.’”

[Source: Related by Ibn Abee Haatim in al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel (1/17) and also mentioned in Al-Muwahib al-Jaleel fi Sharh Mukhtasar Khaleel, Volume 1, pages 27-28]

Several of the Salaf, including Abu Al-Dardaa’ (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu), were quoted to have said: It is half of knowledge to say “I do not know”. (See Siyar A’lam Al-Nubalaa’ by Imam adh-Dhahabi, 8/77)

Author: Islamic Treasure

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  1. You could add this to the article:

    وَمَنْ تَكَلَّمَ فِي الدِّينِ بِلَا عِلْمٍ كَانَ كَاذِبًا وَإِنْ كَانَ لَا يَتَعَمَّدُ الْكَذِبَ

    “Whoever speaks about the religion without knowledge is a liar, even if he did not intend to lie.” (Sheikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah – Majmoo Al-Fataawa – Volume 10 – Page 449).

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