The Journey Of ‘Ilm (Hadith No. 124)
Narrated Ubai bin Ka’b:
The Prophet said, “Once the Prophet Moses stood up and addressed Bani Israel. He was asked, “Who is the most learned man amongst the people. He said, “I am the most learned.” Allah admonished Moses as he did not attribute absolute knowledge to Him (Allah). So Allah inspired to him “At the junction of the two seas there is a slave amongst my slaves who is more learned than you.” Moses said, “O my Lord! How can I meet him?” Allah said: Take a fish in a large basket (and proceed) and you will find him at the place where you will lose the fish. So Moses set out along with his (servant) boy, Yusha’ bin Nuin and carried a fish in a large basket till they reached a rock, where they laid their heads (i.e. lay down) and slept. The fish came out of the basket and it took its way into the sea as in a tunnel. So it was an amazing thing for both Moses and his (servant) boy. They proceeded for the rest of that night and the following day. When the day broke, Moses said to his (servant) boy: “Bring us our early meal. No doubt, we have suffered much fatigue in this journey.” Moses did not get tired till he passed the place about which he was told. There the (servant) boy told Moses, “Do you remember when we betook ourselves to the rock, I indeed forgot the fish.” Moses remarked, “That is what we have been seeking. So they went back retracing their foot-steps, till they reached the rock. There they saw a man covered with a garment (or covering himself with his own garment). Moses greeted him. Al-Khadir replied saying, “How do people greet each other in your land?” Moses said, “I am Moses.” He asked, “The Moses of Bani Israel?” Moses replied in the affirmative and added, “May I follow you so that you teach me of that knowledge which you have been taught.” Al-Khadir replied, “Verily! You will not be able to remain patient with me, O Moses! I have some of the knowledge of Allah which He has taught me and which you do not know, while you have some knowledge which Allah has taught you which I do not know.” Moses said, “Allah willing, you will find me patient and I will not disobey you in aught. So both of them set out walking along the sea-shore, as they did not have a boat. In the meantime a boat passed by them and they requested the crew of the boat to take them on board. The crew recognized Al-Khadir and took them on board without fare. Then a sparrow came and stood on the edge of the boat and dipped its beak once or twice in the sea. Al-Khadir said: “O Moses! My knowledge and your knowledge have not decreased Allah’s knowledge except as much as this sparrow has decreased the water of the sea with its beak.” Al-Khadir went to one of the planks of the boat and plucked it out. Moses said, “These people gave us a free lift but you have broken their boat and scuttled it so as to drown its people.” Al-Khadir replied, “Didn’t I tell you that you will not be able to remain patient with me.” Moses said, “Call me not to account for what I forgot.” The first (excuse) of Moses was that he had forgotten. Then they proceeded further and found a boy playing with other boys. Al-Khadir took hold of the boy’s head from the top and plucked it out with his hands (i.e. killed him). Moses said, “Have you killed an innocent soul who has killed none.” Al-Kha,dir replied, “Did I not tell you that you cannot remain patient with me?” Then they both proceeded till when they came to the people of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused to entertain them. Then they found there a wall on the point of collapsing. Al-Khadir repaired it with his own hands. Moses said, “If you had wished, surely you could have taken wages for it.” Al-Khadir replied, “This is the parting between you and me.” The Prophet added, “May Allah be Merciful to Moses! Would that he could have been more patient to learn more about his story with Al-Khadir. “
Lesson: Travel to gain knowledge!