Abūt-Tāhir and Harmalah bin Yahyā narrated to me, they said Ibn Wahb narrated to us, he said Yūnus informed me, on authority of Ibn Shihāb, on authority of Ubayd Allah bin Abd Allah bin Utbah, that Abd Allah bin Mas’ūd said: ‘It is the case that you do not relate to the people a narration which their minds cannot grasp except that it becomes a Fitnah for some of them’.
Explanation: Abu al-Abbas al-Qurtubi said: “The fitnah (trial) here is misguidance and confusion…”
Note: Imam al-Bukhari brings a chapter in his sahih in the book of knowledge alluding to that is found in this narration of Ibn Masood. He wrote: “Chapter of the one who makes certain knowledge specific for some as opposed to others, disliking that they would not understand.” And Ali said: “Relate to the people what they will understand. Would you like that Allah and His messenger be denied?”
He says in al-Fath: “What is intended by ‘with what they will understand’ means what they will comprehend. Adam ibn Abu Iyyas says in the book of knowledge at the end of the narration: ‘And abandon what they will not comprehend.’ He intends that which will confuse them. Abu Nu’aym collected what is similar to this in al-Mustakhraj.”
This is proof that doubtful matters should not be mentioned amongst the common-folk. And from those who disliked relating specific affairs to certain people (i.e. the common-folk) was Ahmad concerning the narrations which had (in them) the appearance of rebellion against the rulers, Malik concerning the narrations of Allah’s attributes, Abu Yusuf concerning al-Ghara’ib and from those before them, Abu Hurairah as found in the story of al-Jaraabin…” (Fath al-Bari 1/272 – Dar ar-Rayyan print)
Muhammed ibn Adam says: By mentioning of the story of al-Jaraabin, he is alluding to what is collected by al-Bukhari in the book of Knowledge in his Sahih on the authority of Abu Hurairah who said: “I memorized two types of knowledge from the Messenger of Allah: one I circulated amongst the people; however the other if I circulated it, this throat of mine would be slit.”
He (Ibn Hajr) says in al-Fath: “The scholars have interpreted the knowledge he withheld to mean the narrations which mention the names of the wicked rulers, their conditions and time periods. Abu Hurairah would allude to some of them without explicitly stating their names for fear of (harm to) his person. This is found in his statement: “I seek refuge with Allah from the sixtieth year and the ruler ship of the youth.” He was alluding to the ruler ship of Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah because it was in the sixtieth year after the emigration; and Allah answered Abu Hurairah supplication, as he died one year earlier..”