Of the most unfortunate things to afflict our Ummah
today is the divide that has been created between it and its scholars. The same scholars who were once held high in stature are today accused of being the source cause of our Ummah's
problems. One of the main reasons behind this divide can be attributed to the ideological warfare that has swept across the Ummah
. When the enemies of Islam failed to conquer the Muslims physically, they came to the conclusion that the only way to put out the light of Islam would be by distancing the Muslims from their religion. And the most effective way of achieving that would be by separating the Muslims from their scholars, because in so doing the knowledge of Islam would seize to be passed on, thereby creating a void in which ignorance would prevail. And that's exactly what we see happening today.
The only way now for the Muslims to rise out of the ashes of darkness and be guided out of the realm of ignorance, is by following the light of the true genuine scholars. They are the ones who the Prophet (SAW) described as when he said: “Verily, everything in the heavens and everything in the earth, even the fish in the water, asks forgiveness for the scholar. The superiority of the scholar over the worshiper is like the superiority of the moon over the rest of the stars. Verily, the scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets, and verily, the Prophets did not inherit a Dinar nor a Dirham, rather they only inherited knowledge, so whoever takes a hold of it has taken a hold of a great fortune.”
[Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, and Bayhaqi]
They are the ones who the Prophet (SAW) mentioned when he said: “The upright in every generation will carry this knowledge, rejecting the distortions of the extremists, the false claims of the liars, and the (false) interpretations of the ignorant.” [Ahmad]
If you're still not convinced that the scholars of Islam are the ones to turn to, then consider the following. When someone feels ill, he goes to a doctor he trusts to cure him. When one's car requires maintenance, he goes to a mechanic who he trusts will fix his car. Similarly, in all aspects of life we turn to the specialists of each field for solutions to each of our particular problems. So logically, it would only make complete and accurate sense for you to turn to the scholars of Islam to provide you with the solutions to the problems addressing the Ummah.
However, unfortunately we find the Muslims turning to the ignorant ones for solutions, those who will only give their baseless opinions on matters of the Deen in which opinions are not even acceptable. And so the result: the confusion that we see prevalent in our Ummah today. The reason: not turning to the specialists.
So how do we determine who the true and genuine scholars are? There are many today who speak in the name of Islam, but only a handful of them are true and upright scholars. A genuine scholar is recognized by his perseverance, his Taqwa, and his fear of Allah, striving to do what Allah has made obligatory and keeping well away from what Allah and His Messenger (SAW) have forbidden. Allah says:
“It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah.” [Fatir 35:28]
As every day draws near, the Ummah's need for such pious scholars intensifies. Not anyone who is said to be a scholar is such, for the scholar is the one who fears Allah and fears Him as He should be feared. He is the one who acts in obedience to Him and is cautious of sinning Him. He seeks knowledge for the sake of Allah, not to dispute other scholars with it, or to concord with the foolish ones, or to attract attention.
As for the evil scholar, then usually he is well-versed in his words, and is an expert in articulating speech, whereas from the inside he is void of every good quality. Hypocrisy has filled his heart and overflowed onto his limbs. The thirsty one thinks it to be water and it is none other than a mirage in a desert. He says what he does not do, he does what he is not ordered to do, and he pursues that of which he has no knowledge. He burdens himself with that which does not concern him, and busies himself with the faults of others whilst forgetting his own faults. His objective from knowledge is enjoyment of the Dunya and attainment of status.
The presence of the pious scholar has become scarce in this day and age, except those whom Allah has had mercy upon, who are few, verifying the saying of the Messenger of Allah (SAW): “Allah does not take away knowledge by taking it away from the hearts of the scholars, but rather by the death of the scholars, till when no scholar remains, people will take as their leaders ignorant ones who when consulted will give their verdict without knowledge. So they will go astray and will lead the people astray.” [Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, and Ahmad]
We ask Allah to guide the Ummah at the hands of its scholars, guiding them to the truth and directing them to it, as beacons and lanterns of guidance in the darkness.
Madeenah, Saudi Arabia
2nd of Dhul-Qa'dah 1429