This hadith popped up on my Facebook feed in meme form, and I was thinking about sharing it, but I should fact check first:

"Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim" Sunan Ibn Majah 224 FB/IConvertToIslam

I found that this hadith from Sunan Ibn Majah is listed as da'if (weak) at sunnah.com:

It was narrated from Anas bin Malik that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Seeking knowledge is a duty upon every Muslim, and he who imparts knowledge to those who do not deserve it, is like one who puts a necklace of jewels, pearls and gold around the neck of swines."

However, I found it described elsewhere as sahih (reliable), e.g. IslamWeb. Islam.ru, and NewMuslims.com both described it as "authentic", but instead give a reference Al-Tirmidhi. Alim.org, also referencing Al-Tirmidhi, writes:

Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim; and the imparting of knowledge to the non-deserving is like putting necklaces of jewels, pearls and gold around the necks of swine.

Transmitted by Ibn Majah and Bayhaqi in Shu'ab al-Iman up to the word "Muslim" saying: This is a hadith the text of which is quite well known but the chain of transmission is weak.

Question: What is the classification of this hadith?

I don't really have a good grasp of what all this means, and perhaps the hadith sciences are not as one-dimensional (i.e., "this hadith is good", "this hadith is bad") as I sometimes expect.

  • How do you expect a Muslim to follow/choose Islam then? I mean we are intellectual beings that must process things and differentiate between right and wrong they come to us mixed. To approve The Quran, The prophet, narrations we need some basic knowledge. – Honey Feb 22 '17 at 7:34
  • That can't be a statement of at-Tirmidhi (author of the sunan or al-Jami') as at his time al-Bayhaqi might not yet have been born. – Medi1Saif Feb 24 '17 at 5:44

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