When one informs you regarding an affair of the religion or a matter regarding worldly affairs which you already have knowledge of, it is from good character that you do not dispute it. Rather, you listen attentively as if you have not come across this [information] before and [act like] you have benefitted from him, like the intelligent men used to do.
The benefits of this are, inspiration and delight for the narrator [i.e. as opposed to rejecting his narration], safeguarding yourself from self-amazement, and safeguarding yourself from bad character because disputing with the narrator over the narration is considered bad character.
Translator’s note: There are many examples from the Salaf with regards to listening attentively to the narrator as if you have never come across that which he is narrating to you, even if in reality you have. From these examples is that of Muādh ibn Sʿad al-ʾAʿawar, who said: “I was sitting with ʿAṭā ibn Abī Rabāḥ whilst a man narrated a narration, and then one of the men present elaborated upon the narration to which ʿAṭā ibn Abī Rabāḥ replied, ‘What is this behaviour?’ I listen to the narration of a man whilst I have more knowledge concerning that narration than him, but I [act like] I don’t know anything.” [Rawdat al-ʿUqalā pg. 72].
Source: al-Riyādh al-Nāḍirah pg. 548.
Translated by: Munīb al-Ṣumālī