Advice to those who are Tried with Love of the Chair and Fame
By: The Noble Shaykh Sulaymaan Ar-Ruhaylee

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Before we begin the lesson, I want to remind my brothers regarding an affair; and I ask Allaah the Mighty and Majestic to place in it good and that which is beneficial. That is, the fact that from the tremendous evils and great hindrances in the path of the student of knowledge in his quest to seek knowledge and his journey to Allaah the Mighty and Majestic is love of the chair and love of fame and a desire that the people should be in need of him. Indeed this is from the great evils. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

لا تعلموا العلم لتباهوا به العلماء، ولا لتماروا به السفهاء، ولا تخيروا به المجالس، فمن فعل ذلك فالنار النار

“Do not learn knowledge (simply) to compete with the scholars nor to argue with the foolish nor to (appear) elite within gatherings. For whoever does that, then the Fire; the Fire.”  (Ibn Maajah)

The righteous predecessors, may Allaah’s Pleasure be upon them, did not use to love fame nor did they like to be mentioned; while at the same time they loved the manifestation of the truth. Ayyoob As-Sakhtiyaanee used to say: “I was mentioned while I do not like to be mentioned.” It was said about him that when he would walk he walked through pathways wherein no one knew him. To the point that some of them (the people) would say: “I don’t know how he was guided to it (i.e. how he ever found this pathway).”

Imaam Ahmad, may Allaah the Mighty and Majestic have mercy upon him, used to say: “I wish that I could be in a mountain trail from the mountain trails of Makkah.” He said to his son: “I wish that your father was not associated with that; however, I have been tried with fame.” A calamity; he considered it to be a calamity. Hence, it is proper for the student of knowledge that she should seek knowledge with humility; and that whenever he increases in knowledge he increases in humility. Due to that, when Imaam Ahmad, may Allaah the Mighty and Majestic have mercy upon him, mentioned: “Nothing is equivalent to seeking knowledge (meaning, from the superogatory acts); for the one who makes his intention sound.” It was said to him: “How does he make his intention sound?” He said: “He is to seek it with humility and he intend to benefit himself.” (the Shaykh repeats:) “He is to seek it with humility and intend to benefit himself.” So it is proper for the student of knowledge that he should always remain diligent to be humble in his seeking of knowledge; diligent upon safety. For nothing is equivalent to safety. For this reason the Salaf did not used to race toward issuing verdicts, nor did they race towards the students of knowledge (i.e., having an abundance of students). Rather, one of them would direct (people) to the other. The issue would come to him, and he would know the answer, yet he would direct to questioner to someone else; and perhaps the other one would direct him to someone else! As occurred from some of the companions, may Allaah’s Pleasure be upon them. The last one would issue a verdict and he (the questioner) would return to the second one and he would say: “Whatever he said, then I said the same.” Then he would return to the first one and he would say: “Whatever he said then I say the same.” They were not ignorant of the answer. However, they would push the fatwa to other than them from the scholars who they knew concerning them that they had knowledge and insight.

If the student of knowledge is tried with love of the chair and fame and that the people should look to them and a desire that the people should be in need of them, then he has been afflicted with a great disease. He will remain such that you will find him one who reviles the firm and trustworthy scholars for whom safety and goodness has been attested to. It is inevitable that that will drive him to revile the major trustworthy scholars; the people of goodness, the people of guidance, the people of the Sunnah; such as our major scholars from the Committee of Senior scholars, or the Permanent Committee, or other than them from the major scholars; such as Shaykh Saalih Aalsih-Shaykh, the Shaykh ‘Abdul-Muhsin Al-‘Abbaad, Shaykh Rabee’ Al-Madkhalee, Shaykh ‘Ubayd Al-Jaabiree, Shaykh Saalih As-Suhaymee, and many others from those who the students of knowledge are familiar with. You find, in this vein, that which shows that he reviles these (scholars); not out of support for the religion; but because he sees them as an impediment in his path to fame.

Due to this, O brothers, when you see the scholars criticizing a thing or an individual you find, within their criticism, love of the religion, making the truth manifest, and refutation of falsehood; as you find evident within the refutations of Shaykh Rabee’ Al-Madkhalee. For the one who is just and reads the refutations of the Shaykh he will find therein love for making the religion manifest, fervent desire (for that), religiosity, and support (for the religion). Whereas you find within the speech of some that which indicates personal aspirations. Moreover he will continuously be explicit in that. So he says whenever we say something to him: “The scholars didn’t say (so and so) the scholars didn’t clarify (such and such).” So why are you saying (anything)?[1] So he clearly states the reason for his revilement of the scholars. And he will continue to come to the people with newly invented matters. Because he is, as has come on the authority of Ibn Mas’ood, may Allaah be pleased with him, that he says: “What is wrong with the people that they will not follow me? I have memorized the Qur’aan and have acquired knowledge; they will not follow me unless I invent something for them.” So he invents an affair for them by which he can become famous. Either he falls into an innovation wherein he attacks (others) with Takfeer or he comes with innovations wherewith he opposes that which Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah were upon, from the various types of Bid’ah in order that he will become famous and be recognized by way of it. When the scholars clarify to him that it is an innovation he becomes arrogant and rebuts them. The rebuttal is not done with the truth; it is only a rebuttal with falsehood.

I say this, O brothers, as an advice to myself (and O how I am in need of that), and as an advice to my brothers so that we do not fall into this calamity. I ask Allaah the Mighty and Majestic by His beautiful Names and lofty Attributes that He cures those who have been afflicted with this and that he returns him to guidance, truth, and the Sunnah. And that He makes him, if he returns, to be a sign from the signs of the Sunnah. And that He suffices me and you from the evils of this calamity. And that He makes us to be righty-guided guides who love goodness and its people and who support the truth and its people. This is a statement which I gave in response to a question which one of the students of knowledge asked me regarding this topic. I ask Allaah to place good within my speech and to make it good and beneficial.

Translated By: Raha ibn Donald Batts    @ http://mtws.posthaven.com

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[1] The Shaykh seems to ask this rhetorically; and Allaah knows best. i.e. If the scholars didn’t speak on an issue, as you claim, then why are you speaking on it?

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