Various types of seekers of knowledge and scholars
If the scholars don’t act according to their knowledge, they will not have respect and status. And they will not be included in to the credits set out for the scholars.
Sufyan at-Thawri may Allah be pleased with him said:
قال سفيان الثوري :إنما فضل العلم على غيره، لأنه يُتقي به الله
“Knowledge is considered to be superior over all things because it is meant to be used for the purpose of fearing Allah [and warding off His punishment].”
[If knowledge wasn't important] it would have been like all the other things. And the people of knowledge are different kinds:
There is the one who seeks knowledge to act upon, and those who want the reward of the Hereafter. And the beneficial knowledge is what is in contact with the heart. So they inherited the knowledge about Allah, about fearing Him, His Greatness, His Love, His Majesty and His Hope.
There is also those who seek knowledge to be honored, and to act superior over the people, or out of pride and showing off. So those have no share by Allah, and they are the first ones with whom the Hell-Fire will be inflamed.
There is also those who seek it [i.e. knowledge] for presidency, to make dirhams and to adopt [high] positions, for them there is no reward, and they have no share in the verses and narrations that talk about the reward of the scholars and their high positions and statuses, and the obligation to respect them, and knowing their qualities.
There is also those who seek it [i.e. knowledge] out of love, so they don’t seek it for the sake of showing off, to adopt [high] positions, or for the Sake of Allah.
And those, will not be dragged to knowledge nor seeking it, and they are not sinful, and this knowledge will learn them about Allah, and will guide them to working for Allah, and seeking His Pleasure.
And it was said to al-Imam Ahmad may Allah be pleased with him: ‘Did you seek knowledge for the sake of Allah.’ He said: “For Allah is difficult, rather it was something which have been made dear to me.” And maybe he said this out of humbleness, or to distance himself of praising himself.
And some of the Salaf said: “Seeking knowledge for other than Allah, so he refused so it’s done only for Allah.”
This means that the start of seeking of knowledge can be for Allah, and also not for showing off or wordily gains. And when they taste the sweetness of knowledge, and know it’s virtues, the intentions will reform and become good.
And they were pushed towards it [knowledge] by the treats against those who seek it for other than Allah. And also the virtues of knowledge pushed them towards the correcting of the intention, and reforming the intent.
Translated by Abu Yahya