Desire for Knowledge

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Desire for Knowledge


Allāmah Ibn Abdil Barr (Rahimahullāh) has quoted the incident of Ghālib Qahtān which to some extent portrays the hardships and difficulties which the pious predecessors underwent in order to obtain the knowledge of hadīth. It also indicates how much they valued a single hadīth.


 Ghālib Qahtān was a cotton trader. Once he traveled to Kufa for some business. It was a purely commercial journey but when he reached Kufa, he felt like taking some benefit from the scholars of hadīth. During that era, Sheikh Sulaymān Al-A’mash, the famous muhaddith, was delivering the lessons of hadīth. Ghālib Qahtān began attending these lessons and he learnt many ahādīth from him.


Finally, when his business dealings were completed, he intended to return to Basrah. He spent the final night in the service of Sheikh Sulaymān Al-A’mash. In the latter part of the night, Sheikh Sulaymān Al-A’mash stood up for tahajjud salāh and began reciting the verse,



“Allāh bears testimony, and the angels and the people of knowledge, maintaining with justice, that there is no deity besides Him.”


Together with the recital of this verse, Sheikh Sulaymān Al-A’mash read some other words from which Ghālib Qahtān understood that he knew some hadīth pertaining to this verse. Consequently, when he went to bid farewell to Sheikh Sulaymān Al-A’mash in the morning, he mentioned the verse which the sheikh recited at night and asked him if he knew any hadīth pertaining to the verse. Ghālib told him that he had spent a year there but he (Sheikh Sulaymān) had not narrated this hadīth to him.


Sheikh Sulaymān Al-A’mash spontaneously said, “By Allāh, I will not narrate it to you for a year.”


Ghālib Qahtān was a mere trader. He had come for business purposes. Whatever he had learnt thus far, was not a meagre amount. This was a matter of just one hadīth. The hadīth in question also did not pertain to any juristic law. It was connect to the merits of a Qur’ānic verse. But look at the desire of learning of this individual. He immediately postponed his journey and decided to stay with Sheikh Sulaymān Al-A’mash for another year. He says, “I stayed over. I noted the date on the door of Imām A’mash. When a whole year had passed, I asked him, “Abū Muhammad, one year has passed. Now please narrate the hadīth to me.”


 Imām A’mash narrated the hadith which was as follows:



Abū Wāil narrated to me from Abdullāh Ibn Mas’ūd t that Rasūlullāh e said, “Whoever recites the verse of Sūrah Baqarah, he will be brought (before Allāh) on the day of Judgement and Allāh will say, “My bondsman made a pledge with Me and I am most worthy of fulfilling the pledge. Admit My bondsman into jannah.”

(Jāmi Bayānil Ilm of Ibn Abdul Barr)