1. The Prophet of Allah(SAW) has said, “One who travels in search of knowledge, Allah paves his way towards Paradise and the angels spread their wings for him to express their pleasure and appreciation. Verily all those in heaven and on earth, including even the fish of ocean pray for his redemption. The superiority of the learned man over the (mere) worshipper is like the brilliance of the full moon among the stars during a moonlight night…”
2. Imam Jaafar al-Sadiq (AS) has said, “One who encourages anyone to righteousness will be rewarded as if he himself as acted on it.” The Imam (AS) further elaborated on the subject that one who has been taught by someone, in turn teaches someone else, then he and the original teacher both will be rewarded and if the teacher dies he will continue to be rewarded for the good deed of his disciples.
3. Imam Zain-ul-Abedeen (AS) has said, “If people knew the worth of acquiring knowledge, they would have done so even at the cost of a bleeding heart and by diving in stormy waves. Verily, Allah, the Glorious and the Elevated One revealed to Hazrat Danial (the prophet Daniel) to the effect: `The most detestable of My servants is that ignorant one who underrates the learned men and ceases to follow their footsteps. The most beloved among my servants is one who wards off evil seeking My maximum rewards, remains in contact with the learned men, follows in the wake of the forbearing and accepts the advice of the sages.”
4. Imam Jaafar al-Sadiq(AS) has said, “He who acquires knowledge and acts on it and imparts it to others is proclaimed in heavens as the `great one’, and it is said about him that he acquired knowledge in the way of Allah, acted upon it and disseminated it in the way of Allah.”
Attributes of the Religious Scholars
1. Imam Jaafar al-Sadiq (AS) has said, “Acquire knowledge of religion and adorn it with forbearance and reverence. Be humble to those whom you give knowledge and also to those from whom you receive it. Do not enter the fold of harsh-tempered scholars otherwise your good deeds will be washed away by your evil acts.”
2. Imam Jaafar al-Sadiq (AS) commenting on the 28th verse of the 35th chapter “Al-Fatir” which runs as follows: “Verily of the servants of Allah it is those who possess knowledge that fear Him” said, “Those who possess knowledge means those whose actions verify their words, and those whose deeds do not corroborate their words are not among the learned ones.”
3. Hazrat Ali (AS) has said, “Hearken! I will tell you about a religious erudite who is an erudite in the real sense of the word. He does not make people despair of the Mercy of Allah and does not let them feel immune from the chastisement of Allah and does not allow them to commit sins and does not give up the recitation of the Qur’an due to his temptation towards something else. Beware! There is no virtue in knowledge which is devoid of understanding. Beware! There is no virtue in worship which is devoid of meditation.”
4. Hazrat Imam Raza (AS) has said, “Forbearance and silence are among the signs of religious knowledge.”
Translator’s Note: In the above quoted tradition, silence means refraining from unnecessary gossip and superfluous conversation.
5. Ameer-ul-Momineen Hazrat Ali (AS) has said, “The heart of a learned man is fortified against stupidity and inadvertence.”
Translator’s Note: It may be mentioned here that the word “heart” is used figuratively and denotes “mind” or “mental process” or “reasoning faculty”. This figurative use of the word “heart” is very common in the Arabic language.
6. Hazrat Eisa (AS) (Jesus Christ) addressed his disciples saying, “I have a desire which I want you to fulfil.” They replied, “Consider it to be already fulfilled (rest assured we are at your service).” Hazrat Eisa (AS) got up and washed their feet. The disciples said, “O Spirit of Allah, we were more deserving to serve you like this.” He said, “The most desrving person to serve the people is the learned man. I have acted with humility like this so that you may also behave humbly with people as I have behaved with you after I am gone. Wisdom is nurtured by humility and not by conceit. Likewise vegetation grows in ploughed and fertile lands and not on arid mountains.”
7. Hazrat Ali (AS) has said, “O seeker of knowledge, there are three signs of a learned scholar: knowledge, forbearance and silence. Similarly there are three signs in one who just pretends to be a scholar: wrangles with one superior to him wrongfully and dominates high-handedly the one inferior to him and becomes an accessory for the wrong-doers.”
Rights and Privileges of a Scholar
1. Hazrat Ali (AS) used to say, “verily, some of the rights and privileges of the learned scholar are: do not over burden him with questions and do not grab his clothes (to invoke his attention). When you enter in his presence and others are sitting there, greet them all and pay special compliments to him and sit in front of him and never sit behind him. Do not cast furtive glances at him and never gesticulate with your hands and not talk too much saying such and such persons have contradicted his words. Do not harass him with lengthy sessions because the likeness of a scholar is like a palm tree under which you have to wait for a fruit to fall down upon you. The reward of a scholar is greater than the reward of one who fasts in the day and prays in the night and strives in the way of Allah.”
Death of a Religious Scholar
1. Imam Moosa Kazim (AS) has said, “When a believer dies, the angels weep over him and so do the portions of the earth on which he used to worship Allah and also the doors of heaven through which his good deeds ascended. His death causes such a void in Islam that nothing can fill up because the learned believers are fortresses of Islam like the protecting walls built around the city.”
2. Imam Jaafar al-Sadiq (AS) has said, “From among the believers, the death of no believer pleases the Satan (Iblis) so much as the death of a learned scholar of Islamic jurisprudence.”