Imam Malik, a Great Ulama Claiming to be Stupid
Ulama living in the past were known to never be ashamed to be frank, especially when they really did not know about something, they would just admit it. They knew that the consequences of acting without being based on knowledge were heavy and dangerous. The caution of the previous ulama indicated that they were actually knowledgeable people and among these scholars was Imam Malik, the founder of the Maliki fiqh school of thought.
Imam Ibn Jauzi in the book Shifat al-Shafwah explains, there is a narrative which tells of a man who asked Imam Malik. The man asked about a problem, but Imam Malik replied that he did not understand the problem asked by the man.
Then the man said; “Please, I have traveled far to be able to ask you about this problem”.
Then Imam Malik said to him; “When you return to your place of residence, tell the people there that I say to you; La Uhsinuha, I don’t understand the problem well “.
Khatib al-Baghdadi in his book Al-Faqiih Wa al-Mutafaqqih explains that Imam Malik was asked various problems up to 48, but only two were answered and 30 of it was answered with la-adri (I don’t know). Imam Malik is an example that when we do not know and are not experts in the field, then we do not have to force it to answer. As the great Malik who were not shy to admit the he do not know and is also not afraid of being considered stupid by people because he cannot answer their questions.
It is possible for some smart people today, the statement of Imam Malik who said he did not know about it could drop self-esteem, because it would be considered stupid. In fact, to avoid being considered stupid, people will try to answer without caring the reliability of the answers given.
Even though Imam Malik said several times that he did not know about the problems he was asked, he actually received a lot of praise from the great Islamic scholars. For example, An-Nasa’i who said,
“I do not see a person who is smart, noble, honest, trustworthy in narratiing the hadith more than that of Imam Malik. We never see him narrating hadith from rawi who were matruk (untrusthworthy), except Abdul Karim “.
Imam Syaf’i and Ibn Hayyan also gave praise to Imam Malik. Imam Shafi’i once said; “Imam Malik is Hujjatullah (proof of the existance of Allah) for His creatures after the tabi’in“.
Whereas Ibn Hayyan also said; “Imam Malik was the first person to select fiqh experts in Medina, with jurisprudence, religion and the virtue of worship”.
Imam Malik was a humble scholar, although he always studied and studied to more than 900 teachers. He never felt himself the smartest, even he once said; “Often I don’t sleep all night, just to think of answers to the problems that were raised to me”.
But in this day and age, many people have just learned a little about religion, but when asked anything, they always and all will be answered, whether the answer is right or wrong. They are no longer afraid of being considered stupid, but already consider themselves to be the most aware. Therefore, you should not be ashamed to say you don’t know if you really don’t know, because the position of the pious and knowledgeable person will not fall by saying “I don’t know”.
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