Kitaab Iqtibaas ‘l-`Ilm
(The Book of the Acquisition of Knowledge)
Realize O brother eager to acquire knowledge upon whom it is clear in his soul the truthfulness of his desire and excessive thirsting after it – if you intend by seeking knowledge; competition with others, boastfulness and pride, seeking preference over one’s colleagues, turning the faces of people towards you, or gathering the rubble of this worlds life – then you have helped in the destruction of your deen, destroyed your nafs, and bartered your Hereafter for your worldly life.
Thus your bargain has become profitless and your trade has become unproductive. Everything which you have learned will only assist you in your disobedience and it will be a partner with you in your destruction. It is like your selling a sword to a highway robber to rob you with. For whatever or whoever helps you in disobedience, even by a single word, has become a partner with you in the crime.
However, if your intention and aim in seeking after knowledge is concerning that which is between you and Allah ta`ala by learning knowledge and being guided, without mere showing-off; then rejoice for the Angels have spread out their wings for you when you go out and the dwellers of the sea seek forgiveness of you when you proceed.