I would like to know whether the following Hadith is authentic:
Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reported, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
منهومان لا يشبعان طالبهما طالب علم، وطالب الدنيا
The seekers of two concerns are never satisfied; the seeker of knowledge and the seeker of the world.
Before commenting on the specific narration in your question, I would like to draw your attention to the following authentic version, that is recorded by Imam Hakim (rahimahullah) on the authority of Sayyiduna Anas (radiyallahu ‘anhu):
منهومان لا يشبعان منهوم في علم لا يشبع، ومنهوم في دنيا لا يشبع
Two desirous people are never satisfied, The one who is desirous for knowledge will never be satisfied and the one desirous for the world will never be satisfied.
Imam Hakim (rahimahullah) has declared this as authentic and ‘Allamah Dhahabi concurs.
(Mustadrak Hakim, vol. 1 pg. 92)
As far as the version in your query, Imam Tabarani (rahimahullah) has recorded these words on the authority of Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radiyallahu ‘anhu) with a very weak chain, although it is well supported by the narration above..
(Al Mu’jamul Kabir, Hadith: 10388. Refer: Lisanul Mizan, vol. 4 pg. 464-466, number: 4208 and Majma’uz Zawaid, vol. 1 pg. 135)
Even though there is hardly a difference between the two, one should rather quote the first narration mentioned above.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar