Scholars’ Status and Grace
Scholars are the heirs of Prophets
Scholars inherited the commitments of Islamic Da`wah, explanation and education from Allah’s Messenger who says: “If Allah wants to do good to a person; He makes him comprehend the religion. Knowledge is achieved through learning, and the prophets (Peace be upon them) bequeathed neither dinar nor dirham; instead, they bequeathed knowledge, so he who acquires it, has in fact acquired an abundant portion.” (Al-Bukhari)
Make the scholars your medium to refer back to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger so as to be aware of the judgment of Allah the Al-Mighty in any case, based on what Allah commanded us in His Book “Ask the people of Remembrance if you do not know” (Al-Nahl 16:43). In addition, there was a consensus among the followers of the Prophet on that opinion, as common people used to ask for their legal opinions and they used to answer their questions, a procedure to which nobody has ever objected. Common people may not but ask for the legal opinions of whom they believe are people of piety. However, if there are men of discretion, then common people may ask whomever they like, and they do not have to consult the most knowledgeable as it is allowed to ask the good scholars in the presence of those who are better.
Scholars are the guards of the faith
Scholars in all ages are the carriers of Shari`ah who defend it against the negligence of the negligent, the deviation of the delinquents and the falsehood of the false people. Those scholars are the ones who fight atheists and disbelievers. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people, but He takes it away by taking away (the lives of) the religious scholars till none of the scholars stay alive. Then, the people will take ignorant ones as their leaders, who, when asked to deliver religious verdicts, will issue them without knowledge, the result being that they will go astray and will lead others astray.” (Al-Bukhari).
Scholars are the ones who laid the rules of understanding of each branch of science and defended it, including scholars of Fiqh, like Abu Hanifah, Ahmed ibn Hanbal and Al-Shafi`i who laid the foundations of understanding the acts of worship and transactions in addition of Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Al-Qayyim who stood in the face of the extremists and the negligent who belonged to the groups of Sufism and Batanians. The modern age witnessed the emergence of Imam Hassan Al-Banna, Sheikh Al-Ghazali, Sheikh Al-Sha`rawi and Al-Qaradawi who showed people how to understand Islam and confronted the violent materialism waves which muddled people’s beliefs and troubled their minds.
Respect for scholars draws one nearer to Allah
Indeed, to respect scholars is an important thing and a duty in Islam. Every Muslim has to love and support the faithful after adhering to Allah and following His Messenger, exactly as it is expressed by the Qur’an. This applies in particular to the scholars who are the heirs of the prophets, whom Allah made like the stars which guide people in the darkness of land and sea. There is a consensus among all Muslims on their guidance and their knowledge. Before the revelation of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), every nation’s scholars were their most evil ones except for Muslims; their scholars are their best, as they are the successors of the Prophet from his nation, and those who revive that part of the Sunnah which may fade away. The Martyr, Hassan Al-Banna says “and the love of the righteous, their respect and praising their known good deeds are a pious act that makes one closer to Allah, the Almighty.”
Knowledge is to be taken from specialists
Religion scholars are the leaders in this field. If one of us is ignorant about a branch of the secular sciences, such as medicine, engineering, accounting, industry, agriculture or carpentry, he will resort to the knowledgeable specialized persons in these areas, then why not seek the guidance of the jurisprudence scholars if we are to learn this religion and resort to the scholars to acquire learning and understanding? Allah, the Almighty says, “Ask the people of Remembrance if you do not know” (Al-Nahl 16:43). Allah, the Al-Mighty also says, “Ask about Him from he who knows Him.” (Al-Furqan 25:58) and He says, “None can tell you like He who is the Aware.” (Fattir 35:14)
Scholars are the intended people in the Prophet’s saying “What is lawful is clear and what is unlawful is clear, but between them are certain doubtful things which many people do not know.” Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali said, “It means that what is pure lawful, is so clear with no trace of doubt, and the same applies to the pure unlawful, but between the two extremes, there are other matters that may cause confusion to a lot of people who are not sure whether they are lawful or unlawful. The firmly grounded in knowledge shall not suffer from any doubt and they know to which of the two groups they belong?
Dr. Ali Al-Halawani is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Translation, Kulliyyah of Languages and Management (KLM), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was Assistant Professor and worked for a number of international universities in Malaysia and Egypt such as Al-Madinah Interanational Univerity, Shah Alam, Malaysia (Mediu) and Misr University for Science & Technology (MUST), Egypt; Former Editor-in-Chief of the Electronic Da`wah Committee (EDC), Kuwait; Former Deputy Chief Editor and Managing Editor of the Living Shari`ah Department, www.islamOnline.net; Member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS); and member of the World Association of Arab Translators & Linguists (Wata). He is a published writer, translator and researcher. You can reach him at [email protected].