The Commander of the Believers has divided the carriers of knowledge into three categories:
Category One: The People of Doubts
They consist of the one who has no evidences from the carriers of knowledge. Doubt has pierced his heart when it was first presented to him. He grasped it and thus fell into mass confusion and uncertainty. From that, he came out producing such acts as innovations and misguided affairs.
Category Two: The People of Desires
Their portion is of two types: The first consists of he who seeks after the worldly life, under the pretense of desiring knowledge. So he makes knowledge a means of attaining worldly goals. The second portion consists of the one who is overcome with the desire of amassing worldly gains, its riches and its treasures.
None of these types of people are from amongst the shepherds of the Religion. Rather, their similitude is only like that of the cattle.
For this reason, Allaah the Most High has compared those who were entrusted with the Torah and then failed that trust to donkeys carrying books. And He has compared the learner of evil, the one who detaches himself from the verses of Allaah, clinging onto this world and following his lusts, with the likeness of a dog. And the donkey and the dog are the lowest forms of animals and the worst of examples.
Category Three: The Carriers of Knowledge
They are the possessors of knowledge. They uphold it, protect it and establish it upon the evidences and clear proofs of Allaah.
It already has been stated that they are the fewest of people yet greatest in stature in the sight of Allaah. This is an indication towards their few numbers and towards the strangeness of the carriers of knowledge from this category.
Likewise, Al-Hasan Al-Basree (رحمه الله) has divided the carriers of the Qur’aan into a similar division as that of ‘Alee’s division of the bearers of knowledge.
Al-Hasan Al-Basree (رحمه الله) said:
“The reciters of the Qur’aan are of three types: Those who take it as a commodity and gain their sustenance from it. Those who establish its words, yet neglect its commandments (i.e. read it but don’t practice according to it). Due to (their knowledge of) it, they act arrogantly towards the people of their land and they use it (the Qur’aan) as a support for gaining positions of authority. This type of people from among the bearers of the Qur’aan are many. May Allaah diminish their number! And there is a type who apply the remedy of the Qur’aan and thus place it over the sickness of their hearts. Due to it, their battles come to a standstill and they feel compassionate in their burnooses (long capes worn by the people of old). And they feel a sense of fear (of Allaah) and the worries (of the worldly life) have left them. They are the ones whom Allaah sends His rain down upon and He sends victory through them over the enemies. By Allaah, this type of group from the carriers of the Qur’aan are more honorable than that of flaming torches in the sight of the rest of the reciters of the Qur’aan."
Thus, he (رحمه الله) has informed us that this group – and they are the reciters of the Qur’aan who place it as a cure for their hearts, such that all traces of fear and worry leave them – is more honorable amongst the other reciters than the example of flaming torches.