سَلْ تَفَقُّهاً وَ لَا تَسْأَلْ تَعَنُّتاً فَإِنَّ الْجَاهِلَ الْمُتَعَلِّمَ شَبِيهٌ بِالْعَالِمِ وَ إِنَّ الْعَالِمَ الْمُتَعَسِّفَ شَبِيهٌ بِالْجَاهِلِ الْمُتَعَنِّتِ۔
Ask me in order to gain understanding but do not ask me seeking to create confusion, because the ignorant person who tries to learn is like the learned man, but the learned man who tries to create confusion is like the ignorant.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #320)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his purified progeny, and his noble companions.
The provided Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) emphasizes the importance of seeking knowledge with the right intention and approach. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advises us to ask him for understanding, indicating his vast knowledge and willingness to share it with others. However, he warns against asking questions with the intention of causing confusion or creating disputes.
Let us delve into the deeper meaning of this Hadith by examining the key words and their implications. The word (tafaqqaha) "تَفَقُّهاً" refers to seeking understanding and knowledge. It implies a sincere desire to gain wisdom and insight. On the other hand, (ta'annuta) "تَعَنُّتاً" means seeking to create confusion or discord. It signifies a malicious intent to cause division and strife.
To further understand the significance of this Hadith, let us turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) repeatedly emphasizes the importance of seeking knowledge and understanding. In Surah Al-Zumar, verse 9, Allah says,
Are those who know equal to those who do not know?
This verse highlights the distinction between those who possess knowledge and those who are ignorant. It emphasizes the superiority of knowledge and the importance of seeking it.
Additionally, in Surah Al-Hujurat, verse 6, Allah warns against spreading rumors and causing confusion. He says,
O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.
This verse cautions against blindly accepting information and encourages us to verify its authenticity before spreading it. It aligns with Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advice to seek understanding and avoid creating confusion.
The profound wisdom in Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) words becomes evident when we reflect on the consequences of seeking knowledge with the wrong intention. An ignorant person who sincerely seeks knowledge is comparable to a learned individual, as both are on a path of growth and enlightenment. However, a learned person who uses their knowledge to create confusion and discord is akin to an ignorant person, as they are misusing their knowledge and causing harm.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advice serves as a reminder for Muslims to approach the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge with sincerity and humility. It urges us to seek knowledge for the sake of personal growth, enlightenment, and the betterment of society. It discourages us from using knowledge as a tool for division and discord.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the importance of seeking knowledge with the right intention and approach. It reminds us to ask for understanding and wisdom, while cautioning against using knowledge to create confusion and discord. By aligning our intentions with the pursuit of knowledge, we can contribute positively to our own personal growth and the unity of the Muslim community. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guide us all on the path of knowledge and wisdom.
Join our community to daily receive one short Hadith of Imam Ali a.s on your device.
Your message has been successfully received, and we will respond to you soon.