Case Study of a Hadith in Abi Dawud – A Jumlah Acting Like a Haal

I came across a hadith in Abi Dawud in the chapter “Regarding seeking knowledge for other than (the sake of) Allah” that has an interesting grammar to it. I actually needed to seek help on this, and brother Moustafa El-Qabbany answered my question. Here’s what I learned:

Narrated Abu Hurayrah:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: If anyone acquires knowledge that should be sought seeking the Face of Allah, but he acquires it only to get some worldly advantage, he will not experience the arf, i.e. the fragrance, of Paradise.

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا سُرَيْجُ بْنُ النُّعْمَانِ، حَدَّثَنَا فُلَيْحٌ، عَنْ أَبِي طُوَالَةَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ مَعْمَرٍ الأَنْصَارِيِّ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ يَسَارٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ مَنْ تَعَلَّمَ عِلْمًا مِمَّا يُبْتَغَى بِهِ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لاَ يَتَعَلَّمُهُ إِلاَّ لِيُصِيبَ بِهِ عَرَضًا مِنَ الدُّنْيَا لَمْ يَجِدْ عَرْفَ الْجَنَّةِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ يَعْنِي رِيحَهَا ‏.‏

Sunan Abi Dawud 3664

So you could break it up into two major parts:

  1. مَنْ تَعَلَّمَ عِلْمًا مِمَّا يُبْتَغَى بِهِ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ
  2. لاَ يَتَعَلَّمُهُ إِلاَّ لِيُصِيبَ بِهِ عَرَضًا مِنَ الدُّنْيَا لَمْ يَجِدْ عَرْفَ الْجَنَّةِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

Where I was confused is how to connect the two. It’s like there was an invisible “yet” or “while” in between the two. What’s going on?

So a sentence is treated like an indefinite noun, like nakiraat (نكرات). If it comes after another indefinite noun, it’s like a na’at/sifa. If it comes after a definite noun it is treated like a haal. In this case it comes after both, so what is it describing? In this case it seems like it is describing the haal of man مَن. So this second sentence is not describing the ‘ilm, it’s describing how this person acquires knowledge. So in that case, it’s a haal, so there is an implicit “while.”

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