As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

The scholars and the righteous of this Ummah always feared fame and
becoming well-known amongst the people. They would dislike for their
name to be mentioned much and you can see one of them fleeing from the
people as if they were a fitnah (trial), whilst at other times you can
see one get up and leave the circle of knowledge which he was
conducting because the numbers became too many.

Below here are some amazing statements from our predecessors that
allude to just how much they held onto sincerity and how much they
fled from fame and from being spoken about.


Ibn Mas’ood (radhiallahu `anhu): ‘(O people!) Be the springs of
knowledge and the lamps of guidance! Stick to your homes and be like a
light in the night, revivers of hearts, wearing worn-out clothes, you
will then be known by the people of the heavens and be hidden among
the people of the earth.’

A man said to Bishr: ‘Advice me.’ So he said, ‘Let your mention be
unknown…’ And Hushib would be found crying saying, ‘My name has
reached the Masjid!’

Both Ibrahim al-Nakha’i and al-Hasan used to say, ‘It is enough of an
evil that a man should be pointed at in matters of Deen or Dunya (i.e.
out of fame), except him whom Allah has protected. Righteousness lies
here’ and he’d point to his chest three times.

Ibrahim ibn Adham: ‘A slave who loves fame has not been truthful to Allah.’

‘Aasim: ‘If more than four people came and sat around Abul-‘Aaliyah,
he would get up and leave.’

Dawud al-Ta’i used to say: ‘Flee from people just like you would flee
from a lion.’

Imam Ahmad: ‘Glad tidings be to the one whose mention has been hidden
by Allah!’ And he would say, ‘I wish for something that will never be…
I wish to be in a place devoid of other people.’

Dhul-Nun: ‘Being pleased with being around people is from the signs of

Fudhayl ibn ‘Iyyadh: ‘If you can get by without being known, then do
so. What does it bother you that people will not praise you, and what
does it bother you that you may be blameworthy in the sight of people
if in the Sight of Allah you are praiseworthy?’

Muhammad ibn al-‘Alaa ibn Musayyib from Basra wrote to Muhammad Yusuf
al-Asbahani saying, ‘O my brother, whoever loves Allah loves that he
remain unknown (to the people).’

Bishr ibn al-Harith: ‘I do not know a single man who loves fame except
that he loses his religion and becomes disgraced. No-one who has fear
of Allah, loves to be known amongst the people.’

He (rahimahullah) also said: ‘A man who loves that everyone should
know him, will never find the sweetness of the Hereafter.’

Yazid ibn Abi Habib: ‘Indeed from the fitnah of a scholar is that
speech should become more pleasing to him than silence and listening.’

Abu Huraira (radhiallahu `anhu) used to say: ‘Were it not for an ayah
in the Book of Allah, I would not have narrated to you people (ayah

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَا أَنزَلْنَا مِنَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ
وَالْهُدَى مِن بَعْدِ مَا بَيَّنَّاهُ لِلنَّاسِ فِي الْكِتَابِ
أُولَـئِكَ يَلعَنُهُمُ اللّهُ وَيَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّاعِنُونَ
‘Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the
guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the
people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by
the cursers.’ [al-Baqarah: 158]

Al-Sha’bi: ‘We tried incredibly hard to get Ibrahim al-Taymi to sit
down in the masjid and narrate to the people but he refused.’

Ibn Abi Layla: ‘I met a hundred and twenty Companions of the Prophet
(sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam), and none of them would narrate except
that he loved his brother to suffice him of that. And none of them
gave fatawa except that he wished his brother would suffice him of

‘Abdullah ibn Abbas: ‘Indeed Allah has slaves who have been silenced
by the fear of Allah although they are eloquent in speech.’

Sufyan al-Thawri: ‘If you can become a scholar without being known,
then do so. For indeed the people, if they knew what was in you, they
would eat your flesh.’

^ He (rahimahullah) wouldn’t allow more than three people to sit in
his gathering. One day, more than three came and he saw his gathering
had increased so he stood up in fear and said, ‘By Allah, we have been
taken and we do not even feel it! By Allah, if the leader of the
faithful, ‘Umar (radhiallahu `anhu) were to see someone like me
sitting in this gathering he would make me stand up and say ‘The like
of you is not worthy of this!’

It is reported that when sat to narrate hadeeth, he would sit in fear
and terror. If a cloud passed over him, he would become silent until
it passed then he’d say, ‘I feared that it contained stones with which
we would be struck with.’

When Bishr al-Hafi abandoned narrating hadeeth in a gathering, the
people said to him: ‘What are you going to say to your Lord when He
asks you ‘Why did you abandon narrating to the people the statements
of My Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam)?!’ He
(rahimahullah) said, ‘I will say, O my Lord. You have commanded me to
do it with sincerity but I did not find that in me.’

It was said to Sufyan Ibn ‘Uyaynah once, ‘Won’t you sit and narrate to
us?’ He (rahimahullah) said: ‘By Allah, I don’t see you worthy of
being narrated to nor do I see myself worthy of being listened to.’

Ibrahim Ibn Adham;-

Ibrahim ibn Adham: ‘I never found delight in living except in al-Sham
(greater Syria). I would flee with my religion from heights to heights
and from mountain to mountain. Whoever saw me said ‘He’s delusional’
and whoever saw me said ‘He’s a porter.’

He (rahimahullah) would also say: ‘The scholars! When they taught they
would act (righteous deeds) and when they acted, they would become
busy in that, and when they became busy they would be missed by the
people and when they were missed, they would be sought out by the
people, and when they were sought, they would flee.’

One day he passed by the gathering of al-Awza’i (rahimahullah) and saw
that a large number of people had gathered. So he said, ‘If all this
crowding was around Abu Huraira, he would have departed from it.’ This
reached al-Awza’i who got up and abandoned the gathering from that day

Ibrahim ibn Adham was an amazing personality masha’Allah; he tried
hard to keep away from the people in fear of them mentioning him much.
But his fame shot up and his name became so widespread to the point
that it was said one time ‘He is in the garden (where he worked
tending to crops), so the people entered it, encircling it, saying
‘Where is Ibrahim ibn Adham?’ So he began to encircle along with them
saying, ‘Where is Ibrahim ibn Adham?!’ *

[*Point being here that his name, character and reputation was known
but he himself was hardly seen so they didn’t recognise him!]

He (rahimahullah) said: ‘My eye never found solace and delight in a
day of this world except once. I spent the night in a mosque in one of
the villages in al-Sham whilst I had a stomach sickness. The mu’adhin
then grabbed me by my leg and dragged me out of the mosque!’ – He
found solace in this because the man did not recognise him and he did
not leave the mosque as he was ill and illness had made him remain in
the mosque.

Quotes taken from the book: Ta’tir al-Anfas min Hadith al-Ikhlas by
Dr. Sayyid al-’Affani (original sources include Tahdhib al-Hilyah,
Siyar A’lam al-Nubalaa, Tanbih al-Mughtarin and Sifat al-Safwah to
name a few)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *