Imam Malik (r.a.) on the Shield of the Scholar

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam Malik (r.a.) said, “The shield of the scholar is, ‘I do not know,’ so if he neglects it, his statement is attacked.”

On one occasion, a delegation having heard about his vast knowledge, travelled from far to visit him.  They then proceeded to ask him forty-eight questions, and he replied with, “I do not know” to thirty-two questions.

In another instance, a man upon receiving the same answer said to him, “What shall I tell my people who have sent me from so far to you, the most knowledgeable person of Madina?”

Imam Malik (r.a.) replied, “Tell your people that Malik does not know.”


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