A scholar of the past said:
The seeker of knowledge must make the most of his time and avoid wasting time. Wasting time may take the following forms:
- Failing to review and revise what he reads.
- Sitting with his friends and engaging in idle talk in which there is no benefit.
- The most harmful time waster for the seeker of knowledge is when he has no interest except finding out about people, what they are saying and what they are doing, with regard to a matter that does not concern him. This undoubtedly stems from a weakness of commitment to Islam, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Part of a person’s being a good Muslim is leaving alone that which does not concern him.” Narrated by at-Tirmidhi, 2318; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.
Focusing on who said what and asking a lot of questions is a waste of time. In fact it is a kind of sickness which if it affects a person – we ask Allah to keep us safe and sound – will become his main focus and concern and he may end up showing a hostile attitude towards one who does not deserve enmity, or he may be friendly towards one who does not deserve friendship, because of his interest in these matters that are distracting him from seeking knowledge, on the grounds that this is part of supporting the truth.
But that is not the case; rather this comes under the heading of being distracted by that which does not concern one. But if news comes to you without you seeking it or looking for it, everyone receives news but you should not be preoccupied with it or focus on it, because this causes distraction for the seeker of knowledge and may confuse him, and it opens the door to partisanship and division amongst the Ummah.
Kitaab al-‘Ilm, p. 143-144