Kumayl ibn Ziyād has related: Amīr al-mu’minīn, peace be upon him, caught hold of my hand and took me to the graveyard. When he had passed through the graveyard and left the city behind, he breathed a deep sigh and said:
People are of three types: One is the scholar and divine; then the seeker of knowledge who is also on the way to deliverance. Then (lastly) the common rot who run after every caller and bend in the direction of every wind. They seek no light from the effulgence of knowledge and do not take protection of any reliable support.
O Kumayl, knowledge is better than wealth. Knowledge guards you, while you have to guard the wealth. Wealth decreases by spending, while knowledge multiplies by spending, and the results of wealth die as wealth decays.
O Kumayl, those who amass wealth are dead even though they may be living while those endowed with knowledge will remain as long as the world lives. Their bodies are not available but their figures exist in the hearts. Look, here is a heap of knowledge (and Amīr al-mu’minīn pointed to his bosom). I wish I could get someone to bear it. Yes, I did find (such a one); but either he was one who could not be relied upon. He would exploit the religion for worldly gains, and by virtue of Allāh’s favours on him he would domineer over the people and through Allāh’s pleas he would lord over His devotees. Or he was one who was obedient to the hearers of truth but there was no intelligence in his bosom. At the first appearance of doubt he would entertain misgivings in his heart.
So, neither this nor that was good enough. Either the man is eager for pleasures, easily led away by passions, or is covetous for collecting and hoarding wealth. Neither of them has any regard for religion in any matter. The nearest example of these is the loose cattle. This is the way that knowledge dies away with the death of its bearers.
O My Allāh! Yes; but the earth is never devoid of those who maintain Allāh’s plea either openly and reputedly or, being afraid, as hidden in order that Allāh’s pleas and proofs should not be rebutted. How many are they and where are they? By Allāh, they are few in number, but they are great in esteem before Allāh. Through them Allāh guards His pleas and proofs till they entrust them to others like themselves and sow the seeds thereof in the hearts of those who are similar to them.
Knowledge has led them to real understanding and so they have associated themselves with the spirit of conviction. They take easy what the easygoing regard as hard. They endear what the ignorant take as strange. They live in this world with their bodies here but their spirits resting in the high above. They are the vicegerents of Allah on His earth and callers to His religion.
Oh, oh, how I yearn to see them! Go away now, O Kumayl, wherever you wish!
 Kumayl ibn Ziyād an-Nakha‘ī was the holder of the secrets of the Imāmate and one of the chief companions of Amīr al-mu’minīn. He held a great position in knowledge and attainment and a chief place in abstinence and Godliness. He was Amīr al-mu’minīn’s Governor of Hīt for sometime. He was killed by al-Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf ath-Thaqafī in the year 83 A.H. at the age of ninety years and was buried outside Kūfah.