Home > Adab (Manners), Knowledge (iLm), Sayings and Actions of Salaf as Saalih > Classes of men: Different narrations

Classes of men: Different narrations

 

Khalid ibn Safwan said,

“People are of three classes:

1] a class of scholars,

2] a class of orators, and

3] a class of litterateurs;

and there is a group of brainless people among them who make prices rise, who cause markets to be sluggish, and who render waters turbid.”

 

Al-Hasan said,

“Men are of three kinds:

1] a man who is like food and is indispensable,

2] a man who is like medication and is needed only from time to time, and

3] a man who is like disease and is not needed at all.”

 

Mutarrif ibn Abd Allah ibn al-Shikhkhir said,

“People are of three kinds: human beings, monkeys, and people who have been steeped in the water of people.”

 

Al-Khalal ibn Ahmad said,

“Men are of four kinds:

1] a man who knows, and knows that he knows – this one is a scholar, so ask him questions;

2] a man who knows, and does not know that he knows – this one is forgetful, so remind him;

3] a man who does not know, and knows that he does not know – this one is   an ignorant man, so teach him;

4] and a man who does not know, and does not know that he does not know – this one is a stupid man, so do not have anything to do with him.”

 

A poet said:

Is it not an affliction that you are ignorant,
And that you don’t know that you don’t know?
If you don’t know and are not like one who knows,
How then will you know that you don’t know?

 

Another poet said:

It is a real disease when you teach an ignorant man
And he ignorantly claims that he knows more than you.

 

Ali ibn Abi Talib, may God be pleased with him, said,

“People are of three kinds: religious scholars, learners seeking salvation, and uncivilized rabble who are favorably inclined to every wind.”

 

Wise men said,

“Friends are of three kinds:

1] a friend who loves you sincerely, gives to you generously, and exerts himself to help you;

2] a friend with good intentions who limits himself to his good intention toward you but does not offer his generosity and help; and

3] a friend who flatters you and is distracted from you by his own affairs, and showers down his lies and oaths upon you.”

 

Al-Shabi said,

“Commenting to his companions about a man passing by, Abd Allah ibn Masud said, ‘This man does not know and does not know that he does not know, and he will not learn from one who knows.’ ”

[Al-Iqd al-Farıd, volume II, page 142]

 

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