Ali bin Abi Talib’s Advice to Kamil bin Ziyad
`Abdu-Rahman bin Jandab narrated that Kamil bin Ziyad told him:
“`Ali bin Abi Talib held my hand once, and he walked with me in the direction of the cemetery. When we reached the open desert, he soughed a deep breath before he said to me:
“O Kamil son of Ziyad, hearts are like vessels, the best are exceptionally conscious and vast. Learn from what I am going to tell you. There are three types of people:
(1) A godly scholar
(2) A student who is seeking salvation
(3) A ferocious follower of every howler and his own type
The third type of people are biased, and they float with the currents. They neither seek enlightenment through knowledge, nor do they take refuge in a safe recess during a storm.
You must understand that knowledge is better than money, for knowledge will guard you, while you have to be the guard of your money. Deeds are more exalted than knowledge, while money needs someone to spent it justly in order to render it pure. To love a man of knowledge and to learn at his hand is a debt one can never repay. Knowledge earns its owner respect during his lifetime and praiseworthy remembrance after his death, while what money can do expires once it is spent. The keeper of a safe dies, and what treasures he guard remain, however, a man of knowledge lives throughout the ages.
Their distinct form may no longer be seen, but their findings are preserved in people’s hearts. Although knowledge is preserved in the hearts, yet if it is acted upon, it will carry its bearer, otherwise when merely memorized, knowledge remains vulnerable.
Another person may use his religious knowledge for worldly gains, like that; knowledge dies away when its carrier dies.
However, the earth will never remain devoid of someone who carries the proof of God’s sovereignty, and the testimony of His messenger (peace be upon him) otherwise, God’s revelations and clear signs will be abrogated. Such true human beings are the rare few, although they are the most exalted in God’s sight. Through them, Almighty Allah guards His message, and He will not take them back unto Himself until they have delivered the same to their coequals. These people endeavour to plant such seeds in hearts akin to their own. Hence, knowledge gushes forth from their hearts, and they take from it the terrain the opulent ones judge as rugged and what the ignorant ones deem as reprehensible. In fact God’s people live in this world with bodies whose souls are captivated by the Supreme Observer of all. Such are God’s representatives on earth, and such are the callers to His religion. Ah, ah! I yearn to meet them, and I ask for God’s forgiveness for me and for you.
Reference: Hilyat-ul Awliya Wa Tabaqaat al-Asfiya (The Beauty of the Righteous and Ranks Of The Elite)