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In the Name of God بسم الله
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The Tawbah of Alim VS. The Tawbah of Jahil

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Here's the narration: 

ْ أَبِي جَعْفَرٍ ع قَال‏

إِذَا بَلَغَتِ النَّفْسُ هَذِهِ وَ أَهْوَى بِيَدِهِ إِلَى حَلْقِهِ لَمْ يَكُنْ لِلْعَالِمِ تَوْبَةٌ وَ كَانَتْ لِلْجَاهِلِ تَوْبَةٌ 

What's the proper way to interpret this narration? 

It can't imply that being a Jahil is a safer choice. Right?

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"Culpable jahl" is tajahul; which is when someone is purposely ignorant about something - they avoid learning, ignore knowledge, and put their fingers in their ears. The hadith is presumably referring to people who just don't know, but not on purpose.

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there is another Hadith with a little deference that help up to understand that Hadith better :

 قَالَ‏ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع‏ يَقُولُ‏ إِذَا بَلَغَتِ النَّفْسُ‏ هَاهُنَا وَ أَشَارَ بِيَدِهِ إِلَى حَلْقِهِ‏ لَمْ يَكُنْ لِلْعَالِمِ‏ تَوْبَةٌ ثُمَّ قَرَأَ إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى‏ اللَّهِ‏ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهالَةٍ

Ali ibn Ibrahim ... "(Imam) Abu ‘Abdallah ((عليه السلام).) has said, "When the soul reaches here, pointing to his throat, there will be no chance for learned persons to repent. He recited this verse; "God will only accept the repentance of those who commit evil in ignorance, if they repent immediately. God is All-knowing and All-wise (4:17)"

so Jahil of sin has chance to repent, no Jahil at all,

also there is another Hadith :

عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ، قَالَ: قَالَ: «يَا حَفْصُ، يُغْفَرُ لِلْجَاهِلِ سَبْعُونَ ذَنْباً قَبْلَ أَنْ يُغْفَرَ لِلْعَالِمِ ذَنْبٌ وَاحِدٌ

Ali ibn Ibrahim ibn Hashim has narrated from his father from al-Qasim ibn Muhammad from al-Minqari from Hafs ibn Ghiyath from Abu ‘Abdallah ((عليه السلام).) who has said the following.
"O Hafs, seventy sins of an ignorant person may be forgiven before only one sin of a learned person is forgiven.

I think your question is more relevant with this Hadith,

14 hours ago, SoRoUsH said:

It can't imply that being a Jahil is a safer choice. Right?

الْحُسَيْنُ بْنُ مُحَمّدٍ عَنْ مُعَلّي بْنِ مُحَمّدٍ عَنِ الْوَشّاءِ عَنْ حَمّادِ بْنِ عُثْمَانَ عَنِ السّرِيّ بْنِ خَالِدٍ
 عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللّهِ(علیه السلام) قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللّهِ(صلی الله علیه و آله وسلم) يَا عَلِيّ لَا فَقْرَ أَشَدّ مِنَ الْجَهْلِ وَ لَا مَالَ أَعْوَدُ مِنَ الْعَقْلِ

Al-Husayn ibn Muhammad has narrated from Mu‘alla ibn Muhammad from al-Washsha’ from Hammad ibn ‘Uthman from al-Sariy ibn Khalid from Abu ‘Abdallah ((عليه السلام)) who has said the following.
" The Messenger of Allah said, ‘O Ali, no poverty is more sever than ignorance and no property is more profitable than intelligence."


in fact, an ignorant person is not safer than a learned person because ignorance may lead a person to hell. but anyone who is learned has more responsibility, this is a law: anyone who got more mercy from Allah has more responsibility, and must have an answer for using those mercies 
a person who has more money Allah will judge  him more accurate in money,
a person who has more knowledge Allah will judge  him more accurate in knowledge,
and so on
but a person is in ignorant at all has no chance to rescue, yes is he has essential knowledge of his religion has only a chance to rescue, but they're so many perfections that he has no chance to reach

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7 hours ago, SoRoUsH said:

Its sanad is problematic

Sanad is not problematic, Sanad is Hasan

7 hours ago, SoRoUsH said:

matn seems to contradict other narrations that do not leave any conditions for Allah's mercy and forgiveness. 

I don't think so 
1, this Hadith didn't limit Allah's mercy because Allah's mercy is not only with Towbah may Allah forgive oneself without Towbah or compensate with other good Amals. 

2, who said Allah's mercy is unconditional? Allah's mercy is adapted with his wisdom

3, as I mentioned this Hadith didn't mean that Alim is less than Jahil for having the opportunity of Towbah, hadith means Alim has more responsibility before Allah 

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