بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Mothers of our Imams and scholars of the Ummah were instrumental in nurturing and pushing them to seek knowledge. And the mother of Sufyan Ath-Thawri was no different; she would encourage him to seek knowledge and met his expenses for this noble cause through utilising her skill in spindling thread. She once parted the following profound advice to him:
يا بَنِي، إِذَا كتبت عشرة أحاديث، فانظر هل ترى فِي نفسك زيادة فِي مشيتك، وحلمك ووقارك، فَإِن لَمْ تر ذَلِكَ، فاعلم أَنَّهُ ل يضرك، ولا ينفعك
❝ O my son, if you write down (and study) ten ahadeeth, then look to see in yourself if there has been increase in (positive) change, and in forbearance and poise. For if you don’t see (any of) that, then know (such endeavour) will cause you harm, and be of no benefit to you. ❞ [Al-Sahmi, ‘Tareekh Jarjan’, 471]
In an age of information overload where ‘ilm and information is incorrectly conflated, it’s not often enough that we take stock of what we’ve learnt and measure its impact within our selves and even upon those around us.
Indeed the virtue of ‘ilm lies in acting upon it and internalising it. Otherwise it can become a wasteful exercise and a source of grief in this world and the Hereafter.