Enthusiasm for Islamic Knowledge
Yahya ibn Yahya ibn Kathir ibn Wislan ibn Shimlal ibn Munghaya was a great faqih (jurist) of Andalus. He was born in the year 152 Hijri and studied Hadith under the great Imam Malik (Rahmatullah Alaih), during the last days of the Imam’s life. He was present when the Imam breathed his last and also attended his janazah (funeral prayer). He then returned to Andalus, where many enthusiastic flocked to sit at his feet and benefit from his vast knowledge.
One day, while he was in the lesson of Imam Malik (Rahmatullah Alaih), an elephant passed by. All the students left to see the elephant, except Yahya ibn Yahya, who remained seated. Imam Malik (Rahmatullah Alaih) was surprised at his lack of interest in the passing spectacle, and asked, “Who are you and where are you from?”
“I am from Andalus,” Yahya replied.
Imam Malik (Rahmatullah Alaih) the asked, “Why did you not go out to see the elephant?”’
Yahya replied, “I came from my homeland to see you and learn from your guidance and knowledge. I did not come here to look at elephants.”
Imam Malik(Rahmatullah Alaih) was so impressed, that he called him, ‘The wise man of Andalus.’
Ibn Abd al-Barr (Rahmatullah Alaih), the renowned scholar of hadith, said, “Yahya ibn Yahya returned to Andalus with a great deal of knowledge. Fatawa (verdicts) used to be requested from him after Isa ibn Dinar had passed away. The leaders and general populace accepted verdicts. He was indeed a great jurist.”
True Islamic Knowledge is gained when the seeker makes a concerted effort to learn.
A true student shows due respect to his teacher.
To acquire the nur of Islamic knowledge, it is imperative for a student to sit in the company of a pious teacher. Together with knowledge, spiritual reformation and character building are of paramount importance.
Pearls from the Path (Maulana Afzal Ismail).