Hadith: The death of scholars



A scary Hadith..

:عن عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص رضي الله عنهما قال: سمعت رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وسلّم يقول


( رواه البخاري و مسلم والترمذي وابن ماجه ولا أحمد والدارمي)

Source:  Sahih Bukhari, no. 100, kitaabul I’lm and Sahih Muslim, kitaabul i’lm, Book 48, Hadith 6971


‘Abdullah b. ‘Amr b. al-‘As reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying:

“Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people but He takes away knowledge by taking away the scholars, so that when He leaves no learned person, people turn to the ignorant as their leaders; then they are asked to deliver religious verdicts and they deliver them without knowledge, they go astray, and lead others astray.”

The phrase: “إنّ الله لا يقبض العلم انتزاعا” means that Allah does not lift the knowledge from the hearts of the scholars after He has bestowed it upon them, be it knowledge concerning Islam, its beliefs or its rules(Shari’ah). These three branches of knowledge are specifically mentioned here because they are all knowledge concerning the permissible(halal)-the obligatory(waajibaat) and the supplementary(manduubaat)-and the forbidden(haram)-the forbidden(muharramaat) and the disliked(makruhaat). And knowledge is not taken from this world by the death of ordinary people that has little knowledge; but it is taken by the death of the Knowedgeable that spends his life in seeking and obtaining knowledge.

Whenever a scholar dies, his knowledge dies with him(albeit his books) until there are no scholars left. When this happens, mankind will take their leaders from the ignorant(without knowledge) who knows nothing of Islamic knowledge. If they were asked about matters concerning Islam, they will issue out fatwas(religious rulings) based on their own opinions without referring to the Quran and Sunnah and without any other proofs to strengthen their fatwas, and thus, they led themselves astray by being far from the Truth and they lead others astray by leading them away from the Truth. (and thus, chaos will ensue)

And Allah knows best.

Fruits from the hadith:

1) The encouragement to treasure and take care of the knowledge we have(don’t forget it!)  and to respect and glorify(ta’dzeem) the knowledgeable

2) A warning to make the Ignorant(un-knowledgeable) as leaders

3) An insult(dzamm) to those who issue out fatwas(or answer to any question) without knowledge

4) An explanation the great loss we Muslims face by the death of scholars

5) An encouragement to work hard and persevere in seeking and obtaining beneficial knowledge that will benefit himself and his ummah

The above is what I translated from a hadith book compiled by my teacher, Ustaz Fathurrahmaan Dawod.

Just want to add my 2 cents…

It can also be inferred from the hadith that the knowledge circulating in this world now is nothing compared to the knowledge circulating centuries ago. Thus, logically, the scholars that lived centuries ago could have had more knowledge than the scholars of today. Ie. They know what they are doing and we laymen have no right to criticise or say that their opinions are wrong. Source: http://www.perkim.net.my/ques_ans.cfm?CurrentPage=10&cat=1

How does the above hadith apply to us?

The hadith warns us against saying things that we are unsure of, or giving answers without any substance(or proofs) to sincere questioners. Doing so would 1) give wrong information to the asker and 2) It would mean that we have an ego and pride by not wanting to say ‘I don’t know’.

Please let me know of any mistakes in my translation. The words that I am not sure of its translation have been put in ( ) beside their english translation. And also let me know with anything that is incorrect islamically or anything any of you dear readers don’t agree with. Jazakumullah Khayr:)

And Allah knows best,


Categories: Seeking Knowledge | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Hadith: The death of scholars

  1. Assalamu alaikum warahmatullah, really wanted to read this hadith but I can’t understand the arabic only. You mention that you have the translation up, but perhaps I am not understanding clearly as to which part of the text is your commentary and which is your translation. Would it be possible to please clarify. Also I have understood that it is generally a good practice to list the source when sharing hadith, especially as nowadays there are a lot of dubious hadith being shared online. So listing the source is helpful for readers. Jazaki Allah Khair for sharing!

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