In Censure of Ignorance

The following is a thought-provoking sermon, attributed to Caliph `Ali (may Allah be well pleased with him).

Among the people most detested before Allah are two: One whom Allah has [forsaken and] entrusted to his own self, and so he has transgressed from the sound path and is enamored with speech of [reprehensible] innovation and invitation towards error. He is therefore a tribulation for those who are afflicted with him, astray from the guidance of those preceding him, misleading those who follow him in his life or after his death, carrying [part of the burden of] sins of others, and mortgaged for his own misdeeds.

[The second is] a man who has amassed ignorance. He moves among the ignorant of the ummah [to deceive them] and hastens to the darknesses of tribulation, while being blind to the advantages of tranquil satisfaction. Pseudo-men have named him a scholar but he is not so. He goes out in the early morning, and amasses an abundance of things which are better to be lacking in than to have in plenty, until, when he has quenched his thirst from polluted, brackish water and gathered purposeless things, he sits as a judge amongst people, taking upon himself to clarify what has been perplexing to others. If an enigmatic matter comes before him, he prepares for it some crumbling stuffing and passes it off as a certainty. Read more