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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
100Level, Nigeria.
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Is a Faqeeh in a upper level then a
person who is a hadith narrator?.

Praise be to Allaah.
The faqeeh is the mujtahid who
derives shar’i rulings, explains the
principles of sharee’ah and teaches
people the rulings of their religion.
The focus of his specialty is the
aims and goals of sharee’ah, the
clear verses of the Qur’aan and
achieving sound understanding of
what Allaah wants from His slaves.
This is something that can be done
by only a few individuals, because it
requires extensive study of the
texts, lengthy study and
examination of the words of the
scholars, and intelligence in
studying real life situations and
applying the rulings of sharee’ah to

As for the narrator of hadeeth, he
transmits what he hears of the
Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him),
and he delivers what he receives
with honesty and sincerity. His main
concern is to convey the hadeeth as
he heard it by any possible means,
but he does not concern himself
with explaining the meaning of the
hadeeth or deriving shar’i rulings
from it, or knowledge of what
abrogates and what is abrogated, or
what is general and what is specific.
Rather his role is limited to simply
transmitting and narrating.
This task requires precision and care
in transmission, but it does not
require knowledge of fiqh or the
basic principles (usool) of fiqh.
Imam al-A’mash (may Allaah have
mercy on him) described the work
of both the faqeeh and the narrator
of hadeeth in detail. He said:
“O fuqaha’, you are the doctors and
we are the pharmacists.” End
Naseehah Ahl al-hadeeth li’l-
Khateeb al-Baghdadi (1/45).
It is no secret that the roles of the
doctor and pharmacist are
complementary; they cannot do
without one another. Both of them
are good and their influence is
important. Islam also confirms that
both the faqeeh and the hadeeth
narrator are good and will be
rewarded by Allaah, but the faqeeh
(the doctor) is of a higher standing,
as he pays attention to
understanding and deriving rulings.
Some scholars derived this meaning
from the words of the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him): “May Allaah bless a man
who hears a hadeeth from us and
memorizes it so that he can convey
it to others, for perhaps he is
conveying it to one who will
understand it better than him, and
perhaps the one who conveys
knowledge does not understand it
himself.” Narrated by Abu Dawood

Al-Ramahramzi (d. 360 AH) said: The
Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) differentiated
between the one who narrates the
Sunnah and the one who
understands it, and he indicated
that the one who understands it is
superior, by saying “for perhaps he
is conveying it to one who will
understand it better than him, and
perhaps the one who conveys
knowledge does not understand it
himself.” By affirming the virtue of
one, the virtue of the other is
automatically affirmed. For
example: Maalik ibn Anas and
‘Ubayd-Allaah al-‘Umari, or between
al-Shaafa’i and ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn
Mahdi, or between Abu Thawr and
Ibn Abi Shaybah. Fair-mindedness
leads you to determine that both
are people of knowledge and virtue;
this is the attitude of fair-minded
people that is reached by those who
have knowledge of the truth. End
Al-Muhaddith al-Faadil (1/169-170).
As for the one who combines both
qualities, who understands the
words of the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him)
and memorizes what he brought of
knowledge, and understands the
meanings, and benefits himself and
others thereby, these are the best
of all types of people.
It was narrated from Abu Moosa al-
Ash’ari (may Allaah be pleased with
him) that the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him)
said: “The likeness of the guidance
and knowledge with which Allaah
has sent me is that of rain falling
upon the earth. Some of it is good
ground which receives the water
and brings forth a great deal of
herbage and grass. Some of it is
hard but it retains the water, and
Allaah benefits people by it, and
they drink it and give it to their
animals to drink and use it for
irrigation and grazing. And another
part of it is barren, it does not
retain the water or produce
herbage. That is the likeness of one
who gains an understanding of the
religion of Allaah, and Allaah
benefits him by that with which
Allaah has sent me, and he learns
and teaches others; and the likeness
of a man who pays no attention to
that, and does not accept the
guidance of Allaah with which I
have been sent.”
Imam al-Nawawi (may Allaah have
mercy on him) said:
As for the meaning of the hadeeth,
it is likening the guidance that the
Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) brought to rain.
It says that land is of three types,
and the same is true of people.
The first type of land benefits from
the rain and comes back to life after
having been dead, and it brings
forth herbage from which people,
animals and plants benefit. This is
like the first type of people whom
guidance and knowledge reach: such
a person memorizes it and his heart
is brought back to life; he acts upon
it and teaches others, so he
benefits from it and benefits

The second type of land does not
benefit from the rain itself, but it
does something good with it,
namely holding the water for
others, so people and animals
benefit from it. This is like the
second type of people; they have
good memories but they do not
have deep understanding or deep
insight by means of which they
could derive meanings and rulings,
and they do not strive hard in
worship. They memorize it and
preserve it until there comes along
one who needs it and thirsts for the
knowledge that they have, a scholar
who is able to benefit from it. So he
takes it and benefits others by
means of that which they conveyed
to him.
The third type of land is the barren
land that does not produce any
herbage and the like, and does not
benefit itself from the water, and
does not retain it so that others
may benefit from it. This is like the
third type of people; they do not
have good memories or
understanding or insight. If they
hear knowledge they do not benefit
from it or preserve it so that others
may benefit. End quote.
Sharh Muslim (15/47-48).
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have
mercy on him) said:
The Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) likened the
knowledge and guidance that he
brought to rain, because of what
each of them bring of life, benefit,
nourishment, medicine and all
things that are in people’s interests.
This is true of both knowledge and
And he likened people’s hearts to
the different types of land on which
rain may fall, because the land is
the place that retains the rain, and
all kinds of beneficial plants grow,
just as the heart understands
knowledge and bears fruit and
manifests blessings and benefits.
Then he divided people into three
categories, according to their
readiness to memorize and
understand its meanings and derive
rulings from it.

1-People with good memories and
good understanding, who
understand and comprehend the
meanings, and derive different
rulings, wisdom and benefits from
it. They are like the land that
absorbs the water, which is the
likeness of the memory, and brings
forth a great deal of herbage and
grain, which is the likeness of
understanding, knowledge and
derivation of rulings. This is the
likeness of the one who is both a
haafiz and a faqeeh, the people who
both narrate and understand the
2-People who are able to memorize
and classify reports, but they are
not able to understand the
meanings or derive different types
of rulings and benefits from them.
They are like those who read and
memorize the Qur’aan, paying
attention to the letters and
pronunciation, but they are not able
to develop a proper understanding
of Allaah, as ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said:
“Except an understanding that
Allaah grants to His slave
concerning His Book.” People vary
greatly in their understanding of the
texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah.
Perhaps one person may understand
one or two rulings from the text,
whereas another may understand
one hundred or two hundred. They
are like the land that retains the
water for people so that they may
benefit from it, drinking it or giving
it to others to drink or irrigating
crops with it.

These two types are blessed,
although the former are of higher
status. This is the bounty of Allaah
which He gives as He wills, and
Allaah is the Owner of great
3-Those who have no share of it,
who neither memorize it nor
understand it, who neither
memorize nor comprehend it. Rather
they are like the land that is barren
and dry, which neither produces
herbage nor retains the water.
They are the ones who are doomed.
The first two categories share the
qualities of learning and teaching,
each according to what it has
accepted as sound and what has
reached it. One may know and
memorize the phrases of the
Qur’aan, whilst another knows its
meanings, rulings and sciences, but
the third category does not know or
teach. They are the ones who
neither benefited from the guidance
of Allaah or accepted it. They are
worse off than cattle, and they are
the fuel of Hell.
This hadeeth also points to the
honourable status and lofty position
of knowledge and teaching, and the
wretchedness of those who have no
share of it; it mentions different
categories of the sons of Adam with
regard to it – who is doomed and
who is blessed; and it further
divides the blessed into those who
are the foremost (in faith) and
those who are among “those on the
Right Hand” (cf. al-Waaqi’ah 56:8).
This indicates that the people’s need
for knowledge is like their need for
rain, or even greater. If they lose
knowledge then they are akin to the
land that is lacking rain.
Imam Ahmad said: People need
knowledge more than they need
food and drink, because they need
food and drink once or twice a day,
but they need knowledge with every
breath they take. End quote.
Miftaah Daar al-Sa’aadah (1/65-66).
So how do you stand with regard to
all this? What type of land are you?
Are you the type that will benefit
itself and others, so that you
memorize and understand, act upon
it and teach it to others? Or are you
one who will preserve it for others
so that they may benefit, and the
one who points others towards a
good deed will be like the one who
does it (in terms of reward)?

We pray that Allaah will protect
you. We think that you are far
above being like the barren land
which never holds any water or
produces any vegetation, never
memorizing or understanding, but
appointing yourself as judge to
decide between the two groups!
Look at your aims and goals; strive
hard and set high goals for yourself.
Make yourself memorize and
understand, and if you are not able
to do some of it, then at least be
one who points others towards good
deeds, and does that which is
enjoined upon him.
And Allaah knows best.


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