It is related that Ibn 'Umar, radiallahu 'anhuma, said, "You ask us for religious verdicts in such a manner that it is as if we are people who are not going to be questioned about the verdicts that we give you."
Also from Muhammad ibn Wasi' who said, "The first of those who will be called to account are the scholars." It is reported about Malik, radiallahu 'anhu, that when he was asked about a matter it was as if he were standing between Paradise and the Hell-Fire.
One of the scholars also said to a person who used to give religious verdicts, "When you are asked about a matter then do not let your concern be to release and find a way out for the questioner, but rather to release and save your own self."
Another said, "If you are asked about a matter then consider - if you find a way out of it then speak, otherwise remain silent." The sayings of the Salaf about this are too many to quote and gather.
Also relating to this is the hatred of entering upon and coming near to the sovereigns, this is the means used by the worldly scholars to attain worldly status and position. Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi and an-Nasa'i report from the hadith of Ibn 'Abbas, radiallahu 'anhuma, from the Prophet who said, "He who settles in the desert becomes coarse / hardhearted, and he who pursues the game will become negligent, and he who visits the kings will be put to trial."
Ahmad and Abu Dawud report its like from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah, radiallahu 'anhu, from the Prophet and there occurs in this hadith, " ... And no one increases in nearness to the king except that he becomes further away from Allah."
Ibn Majah also reports from the hadith of Ibn 'Abbas, radiallahu 'anhuma, from the Prophet who said, "Indeed some people from my Ummah will boast religious knowledge and will recite the Qur'an and will say, 'We will enter upon the rulers and attain a share of their worldly riches, but will remain in separate from them with our religion.' But that will not be the case just as nothing will be harvested from the thorny bush al-Qatad except thorns. Likewise nothing will be gained from nearness to them except sins."
It is also reported by at-Tabarani and his wording is, "Indeed some people from my Ummah will recite the Qur'an and delve into the Religion. Shaytan will come to them and say, 'If only you would enter upon the rulers and benefit from their worldly riches and remain separate from them with your Religion.' Indeed that will not be the case, just as nothing will be harvested from al-Qatad except thorns."
(s) The Evil of Craving for Wealth and Status