‘Some of the students of al-Buhlul said: A letter was handed to Imam al-Buhlul (rahimallah) so he opened it and it was in it:
“From a woman from Samarqand of Khurasan [near Afghanistan], I am a woman who committed all types of sins that no other ever committed, but turned to Allah and repented, and I asked about the worshippers living on earth so I was informed of four worshippers, one of them is al-Buhlul (rahimallah) in Africa. O Buhlul, I ask you by Allah to invoke Allah for me so He maintain for me this guidance”
Upon reading this, the letter fell off the hands of Imam al-Buhlul (rahimallah) and he fell on his face weeping and crying until he wet the letter with his tears then he said [blaming himself]: O Buhlul! From Samarqand Khurasan [They know of you]? Woe to you if Allah did not cover you [i.e. conceal your faults and make you unknown]!
This story is a lesson to all those who seek knowledge to debate so and so or to give lectures and talks so people know him, or so that people approach him to ask him questions, or to be called a shaykh or a student of knowledge, and it is for those who dislike it when someone does not pay attention to what they say, or feel insulted when someone call them laypeople, and for those who learn but do not act upon what they learn, and for those whose knowledge did not increase the sense of fearing Allah in their hearts, for those who think knowledge is about memorizing and for those and for those… May Allah engulf our hearts with His Mercy and write us among those who fear Him and act upon what they know for Imam al-Shafi’e said: Knowledge is not to memorize, rather to act upon it.
And Allah directs Whoever He likes to success.
[al-Qadi ‘Iyyad related it in his known book ‘Tartib al-Madarik’ (3:89) under the biography of Imam al-Buhlul ibn Rashid al-Qayrawani al-Maliki who was one of the companions of Imam Malik and known for his piety and excessive wosrhip.]