Mu’adh ibn Jabal رضي الله عنه said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم said:
” Learn Al-Ilm (knowledge), for learning it is a type of Khashyah (Fear) of Allah, seeking it is an act of worship, studying it is a type of Tasbih (Glorification of Allah), searching for it is a Jihad, teaching it to those who do not know it is a charity and delivering it to those worthy of it is an act of drawing closer (to Allah). Knowledge is the reference guide to the allowed and disallowed, a light on the path for the people of Paradise, the companion during loneliness, the friend during estrangement, the converser during seclusion, the guide in times of ease and times of difficulty, a weapon to use against the enemies and the quality that is valued by friends. Allah elevates some people by knowledge to the rank of leaders in righteousness who are followed, their actions imitated and their opinions referred to. The angels long to attend their gatherings (of learning knowledge) and shade them with their wings. Everything wet or dry, the fish in the sea and its creatures, beasts of prey and cattle that live on hand invoke Allah to forgive them (people of knowledge). Verily, this is because knowledge is the life of the hearts against ignorance and the lamps of the eyes against darkness. With knowledge the slave reaches the ranks of the righteous and the elevated grades in this life and the hereafter. Thinking about knowledge is equivalent to Siyam (Fasting), and studying it is equivalent to Qiyam (praying at night voluntarily). With knowledge, ties of kinship are kept and the allowed and prohibited become distinguished. It is the Imam (Leader) of all actions and all actions follow its lead. Only the happy ones are endowed with knowledge while the miserable ones are deprived of it.”
– Ibn Abdul Barr in his book, Jami’u Bayani Al-‘Ilm, from Musa bin Muhammad bin ‘Ata Al-Qurashi, vol. 1, p. 66.
– also in خطب مختارة (Selected Friday Sermons) by Darussalam Publishers and Distributors, Chapter 1: Some sermons of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم and his Companions, p. 28.
That hadeeth is mawdhoo’ (fabricated), however its meaning (in general) is nice. Ibn ‘Abdil-Barr says after mentioning it, “This hadeeth is hasan jiddan (very hasan), but it does not have a strong chain.” So when he said hasan, he was using the linguistic meaning (nice, fine), referring to the meaning, and not the technical meaning the scholars of hadeeth use (acceptable, authentic). This is clear since the second part of the statement refers to the chain, showing that the first part was not.
Here’s the chain:
- Ubayd ibn Muhammad
- Muhammad ibn Abdillaah al-Qaadhee
- Muhammad ibn Ayyoob
- Ubayd Allaah ibn Muhammad al-Kalaa’ee
- Moosaa ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ataa’
- Abdur-Raheem ibn Zayd al-‘Ammee
- his father, Zayd ibn al-Hawaaree
- al-Hasan al-Basree
- Mu’aath ibn Jabal
Here are some of the problems:
In the chain is a liar, Moosaa ibn Muhammad (#5), narrating from another liar, Abdur-Raheem ibn Zayd (#6), from his dha’eef father (#7), from Al-Hasan (#8) from Mu’aath (#9), whom al-Hasan never met!
ath-Thahabee called Moosaa (#5) a kath-thaab in al-Mughnee fidh-Dhu’afaa’ (2/442), and Ibn Hibbaan mentions that Abdur-Raheem ibn Zayd (#6) fabricated narrations and relayed them from his father (#7) in al-Majrooheen (2/150-151), just to support what I have said.
So in no way is it permissible to mention this as a hadeeth of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam). It comes with another chain as the speech of Mu’aath, however that one is also dha’eef at least, and Allaah knows best.