Is the following Hadith authentic?
من تعلم حديثين اثنين ينفع بهما نفسه أو يعلمهما غيره فينتفع بهما كان خيرا من عبادة ستين سنة
Translation: Whomsoever learns two Hadiths to benefit himself or to teach others so that they may take benefit, then this is better than sixty years of worship.
Hafiz Khatib Al Baghdadi (rahimahullah) has recorded this narration in his book: Sharafu As-Habil Hadith.
(Sharafu As-Habil Hadith, Hadith: 157)
However this narration is extremely weak and not suitable to quote due to a discredited narrator.
(Refer: Tahdhibul Kamal, vol. 30 pg. 9, number: 6466 for more details on this narrator)
Although this particular narration is extremely weak, the virtue of ‘ilm (knowledge) over ‘ibadah (worship) has been proven through various other narrations. Among them are the following:
1) Sayyiduna Hudhayfah ibn Yaman (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to me:
“The reward of knowledge supersedes the reward of worship”
(Al Mu’jamul Awsat of Imam Tabarani -rahimahullah-, Hadith: 3960)
Hafiz Mundhiri (rahimahullah) has classified the above Hadith as sound (hasan).
(At Targhib, vol. 1 pg. 93)
2) Sayyiduna Abu Dharr (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to me:
“O Abu Dharr! Learning one verse of the Holy Quran is better than performing one hundred rakats of (optional) Salah, and learning one chapter of knowledge is better than performing one thousand rakats of (optional) Salah, irrespective of whether that knowledge is practiced upon or not”
(Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith: 219)
Hafiz Mundhiri (rahimahullah) has graded the above Hadith as sound (hasan).
(At Targhib, vol. 1 pg. 97)
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala