Ahmad Hambal was the Imam of his time, and his merit beyond praise. Once when he wished to rest from his studies and his position he went out to talk with a man who was very poor. Someone who saw him blamed him saying: ‘There is no one more learned than you, and you have no need of another man’s opinions, yet you spend your time with a poor wretch who goes barefoot and bareheaded.’
‘It is true,’ said the Imam, ‘that I have carried off the polo ball in the hadis and the sunna, and that I have more knowledge than this man; but in regard to understanding he is nearer to God than I am.’
You who are unjust through ignorance, reflect, at least for a moment, on the integrity of those who are on the path of the spirit.
~Farid ud-Din Attar, The Conference of The Birds