Is it true that the jaahil gains double the sin? How strong is the hadith?



Islamic Text

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah Most Merciful Most Kind

Short Answer

The hadith which states that an ignorant person – a jaahil – gains double the sin than the knowledgeable one is classified as ‘matrook‘ or very weak.

(ابْن عَبَّاس ذَنْب الْعَالم وذنب الْجَاهِل ذنبان الْعَالم يعذب على ركُوبه الذَّنب وَالْجَاهِل يعذب على ركُوبه الذَّنب وَترك الْعلم (الفردوس بمأثور الخطاب

Ibn Abbas narrated that the sin of the scholar is a single sin, and the sin of the ignorant person is double. The scholar is punished for committing the sin, whereas the ignorant person is punished for committing the sin and failing to learn. (al-Daylami, 3165).

Although some scholars mentioned that the Hadith is weak, it seems more correct to say it is very weak. This is because it has a Matrook narrator in the chain.

Classical scholars
(وفيه جويبر بن سعيد قال الذهبي: قال الدارقطني وغيره متروك (فيض القدير

It has Juwaybir bin Saeed in the chain. (Imam) al-Dhahabi said that al-Dar Qutni said he is Matrook (very weak). (Imam al-Manawi, Fayd al-Qadeer).

As well as this major issue with the chain, there is another significant problem with this narration. It seems to be difficult to trace this Hadith back to a primary source with a complete chain of narrators. If the train cannot be traced, the Hadith will be considered baseless.

The obligation of studying

Lastly, it is important to note another key idea.

Although this hadith – which states that the jaahil gains double the sin – is weak, the principle is sound.

طَلَبُ الْعِلْمِ فَرِيضَةٌ عَلَى كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ

Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim. (Ibn Majah, 224)

Therefore, people who do not study their Deen have greater sin that is established through other evidence. These evidences include the fact that the Prophet ﷺ commanded us to study Islam and if we contradict a Prophetic command then it is sinful.

Allah (Most High) knows best.

– Answered by Shaykh Noor ud-deen (04.01.2021)