Please note: The answers on constitute friendly advice rather than fatwas. Where relevant, we translate the opinions and fatwas of respected scholars and present them in our answers.

Superficial knowledge versus true knowledge

Assalamualaikum. A few days ago you posted a quote "Superficial knowledge breeds arrogance; true knowledge induces humility." by Sh. Dr. Yasir Qadhi. Since you have dealt with lots of knowledge, may I know your opinion of this quote? Thank you very much and have a blessed day.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Knowledge is like other blessings; the more we have of it the more likely we are to consider ourselves self-sufficient and superior to others. Knowledge can also cause a person to attain a higher status and gain the respect and admiration of others. Both of these create the danger that a person will become arrogant as their knowledge increases. In the Middle East I have seen this most clearly among university professors, many of whom unfortunately consider themselves extremely superior to everyone around them. They are often extremely proud and narrow-minded.

The true knowledge that Yasir Qadhi refers to is knowledge of our human limits and our status compared to God’s greatness. This knowledge unfortunately leaves the mind rather quickly. We always tend toward feelings of arrogance and self-sufficiency unless we have constant reminders of our status. The best reminder in my view is the Quran. A person who reads it daily is likely to be protected from the danger of arrogance and various other dangers. I believe there is no way for a person to remain truly balanced, steadfast and pious unless they read the Quran daily.

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And God knows best.

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