Advice of ‘Alee bin Abee Taalib (Part 1)
The Advice of ‘Alee bin Abee Taalib to Kumayl ibn Ziyaad
Taken from: Chapter One – Words of Advice from the Salaf by Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaalee
Kumayl ibn Ziyaad said, “Alee bin Abee Taalib, may Allah be pleased with him, took me by my hand and brought me out in the direction of the desert. Once we had travelled into the desert, he sat down, took a deep breath and then said:
“O Kumayl ibn Ziyaad! The hearts are receptacles, so the best of them are the most attentive. Memorize what I am about to say to you.
The people are of three categories: the upright scholar, the one seeking knowledge upon the path of salvation, and the hooligan type rabble who follows anyone who cries out, turning whichever way the wind blows. This last category has not been illuminated by the light of knowledge and they have not fallen back upon the support that offers safety, strength and security.
Knowledge is better than wealth, for knowledge guards you while you have to guard wealth. Knowledge increases the actions, but wealth gradually decreases as it is spent. And the love of the scholar is Deen – it being professed through this act of love.
Knowledge secures obedience for the scholar during his life and praise after his death. But the benefit of wealth stops once it finishes.
The people who hoard wealth are [in reality] dead while they live their lives. However the scholars remain as long as time remains – for their bodies may no longer be present, but their examples are found in the hearts.