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Taking Turns and Sharing Knowledge
‘Abdullâh b, ‘Abbâs reports that ‘Umar b. Al-Khattâb – Allâh be pleased with them – said:
I used to have a neighbor from the Ansâr who lived in the area of Banî Umayyah b. Zayd, which is in the ‘Awâlî of Medinah, and we used to take turns attending [the gatherings] of Allâh’s Messenger – Allâh’s praise and peace be upon him. My neighbor would attend one day and I the other; so when I attended I would convey to him the reports about the revelation that had come, and other such news, and when he attended he would do the same.
My Ansârî companion went on one of his days, and [upon returning] came to my door and knocked hard saying, ‘Is he there?’ I was alarmed and came out to him, and he said, ‘Something serious has happened (some people thought the Prophet had divorced his wives).’ I entered upon Hafsah and found her weeping. I said, ‘Has Allâh’s Messenger – Allâh’s praise and peace be upon him – divorced you [all]?’ She replied, ‘I don’t know.’ Then, I came to the Prophet – Allâh’s praise and peace be upon him – and asked him, still standing, ‘Have you divorced your women?’ He said, ‘No’, so I said, ‘ Allâhu Akbar (Allâh is Greatest).’
Al-Bukhârî, Al-Sahîh, Chapter on Taking Turns in Seeking Knowledge.
The narration translated above is a shorter report of the full incident, recorded elsewhere in SahîhAl-Bukhârî.
In his commentary on SahîhAl-Bukhârî, Ibn Hajr lists some of the lessons and points that can be taken from this narration, including the following:
1. This hadith shows us that the khabar (news, report) of a single (reliable) person is dependable.
2. The student of knowledge should not neglect taking care of his living needs, in order to help him continue seeking knowledge and other pursuits (at that time, ‘Umar was involved in trade, as is mentioned in other reports).
3. At the same time, the student of knowledge should be diligent and resolute in asking about the knowledge he has missed in his absence.
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