بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Pulse on the Ground
‘Ikrimah, the mawla of Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه and one of the leading authorities in Tafseer, once travelled to Basra. And he recalls an incident while out walking:
إني لأخرج إلى السوق فأسمع الرجل يتكلم بالكلمة فينفتح لي خمسون بابا من العلم
“I went out to the marketplace and (over)heard a man speak some words. (These words) opened for me fifty (different) doors of knowledge.” 
‘Ikrimah was a scholar of Qur’an par excellence, and he was also known for profound fiqh as well as knowledge of seerah. Many of his contemporaries and those who came after him , praised him highly mentioning him with specialties – see ‘Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’.
It was a distinct quality and an intrinsic value of our astute Imams, scholars, teachers and indeed tulabul ‘ilm that they observed society around them and kept their pulse on the ground. They were informed and listened to the kalam in the streets – by which they would extract from it, information and benefit that widened their scope of thinking. This also enabled them to grapple with finding solutions for many challenges communities face.
As constituents of society, we interact with all types of people from all walks of life. We may see a person or hear a word that may positively alter the way we see something – or it may open up for us, avenues in reassessing an area of benefit or harm. We beseech Allah grant us insight and acute sense of visual perception and spiritual insight into the decisions we make. Ameen.
 Al-Mizzi, ‘Tahdheeb al-Kamal’, 6/405