Question: How do we distinguish a student of knowledge from a Scholar?
Answer: By Allah this is something that is apparent to a scholar and is apparent to the ignorant one by the scholar’s conduct, his verdicts, his classes, the scholars recommendations for him, the good testimony for him, and what is similar to that. Like this, none of the Salaf would go into teaching until the scholars permitted him and authorized him, like Malik, he did not set up to teach and give verdicts except after seventy scholars nominated him. Shafi’ee, likewise, did not set up to teach except after his teachers nominated him, encouraged him, and found him upright to teach ,pass verdicts, write, and what is similar to that. So these are from the things to distinguish a scholar from other than him.
[Taken from ‘Awaaiq fi Tariq Talib ul-‘Ilm pg. 40]
Translated by Faisal ibn Abdul Qaadir ibn Hassan