What has knowledge done for you?
al Hasan, the son of ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with them, mentioned the following story:
A man died, leaving his wife, son, and a servant. Before passing, he implored his servant to take good care of his son. The servant did, raising him to be a good person, and, when he was of age, he helped him to get married. Then the son wanted to seek knowledge, so he asked the servant to help him in that regard. The servant prepared a mount and got him ready, and he went off.
He found a scholar, whom he questioned about knowledge. The scholar told him: “When it is time for you to leave, then tell me – I will teach you all that you need to know.”
A short while later, the man said to the scholar: “The time has come for my departure, so teach me.”
“Be mindful of Allah, have patience, and do not rush.” said the scholar.
- and in these three things there is the sum total of goodness, said al Hasan –
The man set off to return home, unable to forget what the scholar told him – how could he, when they were only three things? – when he got back, he came down off of his mount and walked into the house.
His wife was lying asleep, and beside her there was another man, also sleeping. “What should I be patient for here?” thought the man, and he rushed to his horse to get his sword. But when he was about to take up his blade, he said to himself “Be mindful of Allah, and have patience, and do not rush.” So he walked back to the house.
When he went inside and saw them still sleeping, as before, he said “No! There’s nothing to wait for here!” And he rushed back to his sword. Then he said to himself: “Be mindful of Allah, and have patience, and do not rush”. So he went back.
But when he saw them the third time, he said “There’s nothing to wait for!” and he went back. Then he said: “Be mindful of Allah, and have patience, and do not rush”. So he returned.
When he went in, the man woke up, and rushed to him, hugging him and kissing him and congratulating him on his return. “What have you learned after leaving us?” (The man was his son, i believe… travel took a long time back then.)
“By Allah!,” said the man, “I have learned great things – I have walked back and forth between your head and my sword three times this night, wanting to kill you, and it was only what knowledge I learned that prevented me.”
(Narrated by al Bukhari in al Adab al Mufrad).