Imām al-Qarāfī’s Explanation of the Ḥadīth of Abū Dardāʾ

From the many virtues of seeking knowledge is Allāh making the path to Jannah easy, the Angels lowering their wings out of delight, the inhabitants of the heavens & the earth seeking forgiveness for it’s seeker, and many others. These virtues were mentioned by The Prophet ﷺ in a lengthy Ḥadīth narrated by Abū Dardāʾ which is collected in many books, & has a very insightful explanation by the 7th century AH Mālikī scholar, Imām al-Qarāfī.

Imām al-Qarāfī al-Mālikī رحمه الله, who died in the 7th century AH/13th century CE, was a scholar of Fiqh within the Mālikī Madhhab from Egypt who authored many authoritive books within the Madhhab such as al-Furūq, Tanqīḥ al-Uṣūl, and others. Here, his explanation of a portion of the Ḥadīth of Abū Dardāʾ is extracted from his 14 volume encyclopedia of Mālikī Fiqh, adh-Dhakīrah.

ḤADĪTH:

Abū Dardāʾ رضي الله عنه narrated that The Prophet ﷺ said:

The superiority of the ʿĀlim over the devout worshipper is like that of the full moon to the rest of the stars…

Sunan Abū Dāwūd #463, Sunan ibn Mājah #223, Jāmiʿ at-Tirmidhī #2687, Riyāḍ aṣ-Ṣāliḥīn #1388, ar-Riḥla fī Ṭalab al-Ḥadīth #4, Sunan ad-Dārimī 1/98, Mawārid aẓ-Ẓamān P. 48, Jāmiʿ Bayān al-ʿĪlm wa al-Faḍlihi 1/35 | Ṣaḥīḥ to Imām ibn Ḥibbān

COMMENTARY:

Imām al-Qarāfī al-Mālikī رحمه الله (d. 684 AH/1285 CE) commentated: “The comparison is the full moon and there are benefits behind this. One of the benefits is that the scholar becomes complete in following The Messenger because The Messenger is the sun due to the statement of Allāh:

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِيُّ إِنَّآ أَرۡسَلۡنَٰكَ شَٰهِدٗا وَمُبَشِّرٗا وَنَذِيرٗا وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى ٱللَّهِ بِإِذۡنِهِۦ وَسِرَاجٗا مُّنِيرٗا
O Prophet, indeed We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner. And one who invites to Allāh, by His permission, and an illuminating lamp.
– Sūrah al-Aḥzāb, ʾĀyāt 45-46

Sirāj (سِرَاجٗا) means the Sun.

وَجَعَلۡنَا سِرَاجٗا وَهَّاجٗا
And made [therein] a burning lamp.
Sūrah an-Naba’, ʾĀyah 13

The Prophet is the sun, and where does the moon receive it’s light from? The sun. The more the moon takes light from the sun, the more that it shines, and the more the scholar takes from The Prophet , the more complete he will be.” [1]

And Allāh knows best.

All praise is due to Allāh, may His peace & blessings be upon our final Prophet Muḥammad, his family, his companions, & all those who follow him in guidance.

Source:
[1] adh-Dhakīrah (الذخيرة) by Imām al-Qarāfī al-Mālikī | Volume 1, Pages 42-43

Ṣafīullāh Labīb ibn Salīm ʿAbd al-Malik
25th of Rabīʿ al-ʾAwwal 1444