In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Do Not Remind eople of The Worldly and Religious Favours You’ve Given Them In order to Prevent Them From Telling You What Is Right When You Are Wrong!
Allaah [The Most High] stated that Fir’awn said to Prophet Musa [peace be upon him]: [ قَالَ أَلَمۡ نُرَبِّكَ فِينَا وَلِيدً۬ا وَلَبِثۡتَ فِينَا مِنۡ عُمُرِكَ سِنِينَ – Did we not bring you up among us as a child? And you did dwell many years of your life with us]. After a few exchanges, Musa’s reply to this was: [ وَتِلۡكَ نِعۡمَةٌ۬ تَمُنُّہَا عَلَىَّ أَنۡ عَبَّدتَّ بَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ – And this is the past favour with which you reproach me, that you have enslaved the Children of Israel]- Meaning, “Are you indicating to me regarding this favour because indeed you subjugated the Children Israel, placed them in a position of slavery and you emancipated me from your enslavement and subjugation, and you consider this as a favour to me? However, when you look into the affairs, it become manifest as a matter of fact that you oppressed this virtuous nation, punished them (without justification) and subjugated them to work for your. Allah saved me from your harm, whilst my people received your harm. So what is this favour which about which you seek to sing your own praises to me and reminding me?!
Allaah [The Exalted] said: [وَلَا تَمۡنُن تَسۡتَكۡثِرُ – And do not confer favor to acquire more]- Meaning, do not sing your own praises due to the religious and worldly favours you give people- considering it more than what you have given and seeing yourself more virtuous than them due to your act of generosity. (1)
In Madaarij As-Saalikeen Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] spoke about generosity and its different levels, then he stated that to be generous with one’s knowledge is one of the loftiest levels of generosity. To be generous with knowledge is more virtuous than generosity with wealth, because knowledge is more noble than wealth. To be generous with knowledge necessitates that when a questioner asks a question related to the religion, you give him (or her) a detail and sufficient answer and not an answer that is only sufficient to address the needs of the questioner. Indeed I [i.e. Ibnul Qayyim] have witnessed something amazing about Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] in relation to this affair. When he used to be asked about an affair that requires a ruling, he would mention in his response-if he was able to do so- the Madhab of the four Imaams, the reason behind the difference of opinion and the position that carries more weight. He would also mention the other issues related to the subject matter which might even be more beneficial for the questioner than the issue he (she) asked about. The Sahaabah [may Allaah be pleased with them] asked the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] about performing ablution with sea water, so he said, “Its water is purifying [i.e. can be used for ablution] and its dead [animals] are lawful to eat”. [Bulooghul Maraam’ Hadeeth 1. Book of Purification]. So, the Prophet answered their question and then generously gave them (an extra response) regarding what they would be more in need of -at certain times- than the initial affair they asked about. (2)
Abu Ad-Dardaa [may Allaah be pleased with him] said, “The Scholar and the learner are two partners [i.e. in good], the teacher and the listener are two partners [in good], the one who guides to good and the performer of the good are two partners [in good]”. (3)
Abu Hurairah [may Allaah be pleased with him] used to say, “Had it not been for two Aayaat in Allaah’s Book, I would not have narrated anything to you. Indeed Allaah (The Most High) said: إِنَّ الَّذِ يَكْتُمُونَ مَاأَنْزَلْنَا مِنَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالْهُدَىٰ – Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down….'” and that which comes after it; then he (Abu Hurairah) said: Indeed the people say, “Abu Hurairah narrates a lot”. (4)
Ibraaheem Bin Adham [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Whoever sincerely seeks knowledge by way of which he benefits the slaves of Allaah and himself, then being unknown will be more beloved to him than bluffness. This is the one who will increase himself in humility, exertion in acts of worship, fear of Allaah and longing to (obey Allaah, carrying out His commandments, keeping away from what He has forbidden and desiring to meet Him in the afterlife), and he is humble with the people. He does not give much importance to what he goes to bed with or wakes up with (pertaining) to the things of this worldly life”. (5)
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2: An Excerpt from Madaarij As-Saalikeen 2/43-44. فصل : مراتب الجود – Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 3: Jaami Bayaan Al-Ilm: 1/40]
[Ref 4: Jaami Bayaan Al-Ilm 1/22]
[Ref 5: Shu’ab Al-Eemaan. 2/288. By Imaam Al-Bayhaqi]