- Al-Sha’bi used to say: “Among the etiquette of the true scholars is that when they learn something they implement it. At that point, implementation preoccupies them from the people. When they are preoccupied from the people they are sought after. When they are sought after they flee away fearing that they might be cast into tribulation.”
- Hatim al-Asamm used to say: “No one sits to teach sacred knowledge in the mosque except one seeking worldly gain, or one ignorant of the tremendous responsibilities associated with that [station].”
- Fudail b. ‘Iyyad used to say: “If the truthful prophets such as Ishmael and Jesus, peace upon them, were asked about their truthfulness, how about liars like us?”
- Sufyan al-Thawri would usually only allow three people to sit in his circle. One day he noticed that the circle had grown quite large. He stood up, shaken, and exclaimed: “We have been afflicted with pride! I swear by God! If the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Umar, had seen my likes seated in such a gathering he would have made me get up and leave, lamenting: ‘Your likes are not fit to teach.’ ” When Sufyan would sit to relate prophetic traditions, he would sit crossed-legged in a fearful state. If a cloud passed overhead he would remain silent until it went by, saying: “I feared that it might be full of stones which it would unleash against me.”
- Al-Hasan al-Basri passed by Tawus as he was relating prophetic traditions to a large gathering in the Sacred Mosque. Al-Hasan drew near to him and whispered into his ear: “If you are proud to have attracted such a large audience you should get up and leave.” Tawus left immediately.
- Fudail b. ‘Iyad used to say: “As long as a person consciously seeks acceptability from people, he will not be safe from insincerity in his religion.”