Dissemination of knowledge
From: Usul al-Kafi
74 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p): God did not seek a pledge from the uneducated to acquire knowledge unless and until, he had sought from the learned ones the pledge to spread knowledge. This was so because knowledge existed before ignorance did.
75 Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (p): The Zakat imposed on the treasure of knowledge is to impart it to other servants of God.
76 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p) stated that Prophet Isa (Jesus) (p), while addressing Bani Israel, said: Never address the ignorant people at a high level of wisdom and intellect; this will be a torture for wisdom and intellect itself; and do not refrain from this kind of talk with those who are intelligent enough to comprehend it.
Prohibition of speaking without knowledge
77 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p): I warn you against two tendencies that lead to perdition of Mankind; do not resort to wrong ways with respect of the Divine Religion, and do not announce your verdict on matters which you do not know.
78 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p): I warn you against two tendencies that have caused destruction to people. Beware of announcing your judgment on the basis of your personal opinion before the people. And beware of treating anything as permissible without due knowledge
79 Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (p): One who pronounces his verdict (on religious matters) before people without due knowledge and proper guidance, is cursed by the angels of mercy as well as by the angels of chastisement, and he is also responsible for the sin of those who act according to that verdict.
80 Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (p): Speak only about what you know. Regarding what you do not know say, ‘God knows best’. Verily, a person may single out any verse from the Noble Quran (and interpret it wrongly) and may fall down deeper than the distance between the Heaven and the Earth.
81 Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (p) was asked: What is the right of God over His servants?
The Imam (p): It is expected that His servants should say what they know, and maintain silence in case they do not know.
82 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p): Verily God, the Mighty, the Majestic, has especially warned His Servants in two verses of His Book. Firstly, that they should not say anything without definite knowledge, and that they should never insist on what they do not know.
The Imam (p) then quoted two verses of the Noble Quran which are as follows: “Was not a Covenant of the Book (of Law) taken from them that they will not speak about God save the truth?” (Q, 7:169)
“Nay! They belied that which they comprehended not with the knowledge of it and the explanation of it comes not unto them” (Q, 10:39).
83 Prophet Muhammad (p): …Whoever acts on the basis of faulty conclusions (in religious matters) is doomed, and brings others to their doom. And whoever issues a prescript (an edict) without any knowledge of the abrogated verses (of the Noble Quran) and of those verses that have abrogated them, and without any knowledge of those verses which are precise in meaning and of (those that are) ambiguous, meets his doom and brings others to their doom.
Acting without proper knowledge
84 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p): One who acts without proper insight is like a wanderer who has gone astray due to lack of knowledge. His speed only increases his distance from his destination.
85 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p): God does not approve the action of any one without his insight (good understanding) and mere insight means nothing without action. Insight leads a person to proper action. A person without proper action will not have any insight. Lo, the conviction of one interacts with the conviction of the other.
Application of knowledge
86 Prophet Muhammad (p): There are two kinds of learned men. The one who acts according to his knowledge will be delivered (from chastisement in the Hereafter). The other who ignores his knowledge is destined to perish. Even the dwellers of Hell will be tortured, due to the stench emanating from the burning body of the learned person who ignored his knowledge. The most repentant and frustrated among the dwellers of Hell will be the person who guided a servant of God towards the path of God, and the latter accepted this guidance from him and obeyed God, and therefore God sent him to Paradise, but he himself ignored his knowledge and acted according to his carnal desires and high ambitions. The pursuit of evil desires becomes a hurdle in the right path, and unwarranted ambitions makes one indifferent to the life hereafter.
87 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p): Knowledge goes with action. One who knows, acts on it; and one who acts, possesses knowledge. Knowledge invites one towards action. If the call is accepted, knowledge stays, and if it is rejected knowledge departs.
88 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p): If a learned person does not act according to his knowledge, his sermons and preaching slip away from the hearts of the listeners, like rain water slips from a smooth, sloping stone.
89 A believer approached Imam Zainul Abideen (p) and asked certain questions. The Imam answered every question.
The believer came again and asked similar questions.
The Imam then said: It is written in the Injeel (Bible): ‘Do not seek knowledge of what you do not know until you have acted on what you already know, because the knowledge which is not put into practice, only enhances the disbelief of the knower and it also enhances your distance from God.’
90 mam Jafar as-Sadiq (p) was asked: How can one who is destined for salvation be recognized?
The Imam (p): One whose deeds are in accordance with his words. If it is so, the evidence of his salvation is genuine. In case his actions are not in agreement with his words, his knowledge is worthless.
Making knowledge a means of livelihood and boasts about it
91 Prophet Muhammad (p): The cravings of two kinds of people with great appetites can never be satisfied; the seeker of worldly gains and the seeker of knowledge. One, who limits his worldly gains to what God has made lawful, finds peace; and the one who achieves worldly pleasures by unlawful means, meets his doom, unless he repents and turns away from evil. One, who acquires knowledge from the people of knowledge and matches his deeds with it, secures salvation; one who uses it for worldly gains, then that is all he gets..
92 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p): One who acquires knowledge of Tradition (Hadith) to earn worldly gains, will have them in this life and he who aims at the good of the Hereafter will be rewarded by God, with the good things of this life as well as of the Hereafter.
93 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p): Anyone who intends to attain knowledge of traditions for worldly gains shall have no share (of Divine Rewards for attaining this knowledge) in the Hereafter.
94 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p): If you see any learned person in love with this world, then he is hostile to your religion, because all lovers are obsessed with the things they love. God revealed to Prophet Dawood (David) (p), ‘Do not let any learned man who is obsessed with this world intervene between Me and you, because he will become a hurdle in the way of your love for Me. Such people are highway robbers for My servants who seek My pleasure. The minimum punishment for them is that I deprive their hearts of the joy of their communion with Me.’
95 Prophet Muhammad (p): Religious scholars are the trustees of the prophets so long as they do not become lovers of this world.
On being requested, the Prophet (p) explained saying, that it means surrendering to the authorities: If they do so, save your religion from them.
96 Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (p) said: He who acquires knowledge and boasts about it among other learned men, or wrangles about it with the illiterates, or tries to draw the attention of the people towards him, is punishable (on the day of judgment) with fire filled in his internal organs. Verily, leadership is fit only for those who really deserve it.