One of the greatest tragedies of today is that of people who lack the correct understanding and knowledge of Deen, yet feel that they are qualified to hold their own opinion and want people to refer to them. Sadly, this ignorance is generally ‘incurable’, as the ignorant person refuses to acknowledge his ignorance so that he can take the steps to remedy it. Below is an incident which although humorous and an extreme example, it nevertheless aptly describes the plight of such people:

A man once passed by a group of people who were beating a certain person. Seeing an old man among them, he asked him, “What crime did this man commit that you are beating him in this manner?” The old man replied, “This man reviled and spoke ill of the sleepers of the cave!”

Finding this to be strange, he asked the old man, “And who are the sleepers of the cave?” The old man was surprised and asked, “Are you not a Muslim? How is it that you do not know the sleepers of the cave?” The man responded, “I am a Muslim, but I like to learn and that is why I am asking you.” The old man then answered, “The sleepers of the cave are Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and Mu‘aawiyah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) – the very same Mu‘aawiyah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) who is among those who carry the throne of Allah Ta‘ala!”

Hearing this ridiculous and obviously incorrect answer, the man said in sarcasm, “I am amazed at your knowledge of people and religion!” The old man, failing to catch the sarcasm, proudly replied, “Yes, you should always refer to learned people (like myself) when you need to know something!”

At that point, another person present began to argue with his friend regarding whether Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was greater or ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). When his friend confidently replied that ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was greater, he asked him, “What is your proof? How do you know that he is greater?” The friend answered, “When Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) passed away, ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) attended his janaazah, but when ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) passed away, Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) did not attend his janaazah. Hence, ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) must be greater!”

(Akhbaarul Hamqaa wal Mughaffaleen libnil Jowzi pg. 145)