Rasulullah Salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: “O Muslims! Sit with your elders, question the scholars, and meet wise people.” [Tibrani, Mishkat]
In other words, one should benefit from knowledge at every opportunity. Elders have life experience from which one may benefit. We should sit with them to benefit from their experiences and also to provide them with company. Scholars have religious knowledge from which one may learn. Asking questions is a way in which we can learn from them.
Besides elders and scholars, Rasulullah Salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam advised us to keep the company of the wise. The wise are those whose destination is Paradise. Whoever ends up in the Fire will consider himself/herself to be the most stupid of people. They may have been Nobel laureates in this world but when they get to their final destination they will realize how they had wasted their brains and will say: وَقَالُوا لَوْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ أَوْ نَعْقِلُ مَا كُنَّا فِي أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ “Had we but listened or used (any of) our intelligence, we should not (now) be among the Companions of the Blazing Fire!” [Quran 67:10]
The scholars and the wise are those who have the awareness, love and fear of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).
How should we recognize these wise people whose destination is Jannah?
Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) says that the wise are:
1) Those who forbid others from doing wrong: “Why were there not, among the generations before you, persons possessed of balanced good sense, prohibiting (men) from mischief in the earth.” [Quran 11:116]
2) Those who practice what they preach: “Do you enjoin righteousness upon mankind while you yourselves forget (to practise it)? And you are readers of the Scripture! Have you then no sense?” [Quran 2:44]
3) Those who give every preference to the life of the Hereafter and spend their life working for it: “Naught is the life of the world save a pastime and a sport. Better far is the abode of the Hereafter for those who keep their duty (to Allah). Have you then no sense? [Quran 6:32]
4) Those who believe in the message brought by Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam): “The likeness of those who disbelieve (in relation to the messenger) is as the likeness of one who calls to that which hears nothing except a shout and cry. Deaf, dumb, blind, therefore they have no sense.” [Quran 2:171]
Although everybody has something to teach and something to learn, the harm of the foolish, ignorant or frivolous person is more than their good. Time is a precious commodity that should not be wasted in useless chatter. For a capitalist, time is money. For a Muslim, time is much more precious than that. It is our Jannah or Jahannum. Our never ending life depends on how we use it.
A wise person is one who learns from his experiences, while the wiser person is one who learns from the experiences of others. This hadith is telling us to be the wiser person and learn from the experiences of our elders, the scholars who fear Allah and the wise.
Source: Hadith App.