Topic: The rights of Ahlul ‘Ilm (the people of knowledge) upon the Muslims.
Since the people of knowledge are the inheritors of the Prophets, those who are guided by the truth and guide others by it, those who Allah has raised in levels, those whose virtue over us is like the virtue of the sun over the stars, those who the angels lower their wings for. These individuals who Allah has chosen to guide, teach, give verdicts and solve the crises of the Ummah have rights that are accorded to them.
The origin of this is the Hadeeth of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) wherein he said: “He is not from us who doesn’t have respect for the elderly and mercy for the young and (doesn’t) know the rights of our scholars.” Narrated by Imam At Tirmidhi.
Imam As Sa’di said: “It is upon the people to love them, praise them and respect them, and for them to know their virtues. And to thank them much, and to make du’a for them in secret and in open, and to seek closeness to Allah by loving them and praising them and to spread their goodness. And to hold the heart and the tongue from (mentioning) their evils which if are found would be obliterated compared to their goodness.” (Nurul Basair Wal Albaab: 58)
Imam Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al Uthaimeen said: “And being sincere to the scholars is as follows:
- Loving them: Because if you don’t love anyone you wouldn’t take them as an example.
- Aiding them in clarifying the truth. Therefore spreading their books via different public forums that differ in every place and time.
- Defending their honour…
- . That if one sees a mistake from them one doesn’t keep quiet and say: he is more knowledgeable than I am. Rather, you discuss with him (the matter) with respect and manners because sometimes a ruling may be hidden from someone and he is alerted by some else who is lesser than him (in knowledge) and he therefore corrects himself and this is from advice to the scholars.
- And point them toward good regarding calling the people.” (Sharh Arbauuna Nawaweeyah (139-140)
Likewise, Imam At Tahawi mentioned in his treatise after mentioning the virtues of the scholars said: “… they are not mentioned except with that which is good and whoever mentions them with evil he is upon other than the correct way.” (Sharh Aqeedah At Tahaweeyah 748)
This falls into my next topic which is:
The reality of those who revile the people of knowledge.
The scholars from the time of the pious predecessors to modern times have stated that those who revile the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah are indeed people of innovation and manifest evil. On this note I shall put some of the speech of the Salaf regarding this matter so it can be clarified:
Imam Abdur Rahman Ibn Abi Haatim Ar Razi said: The sign of the people of innovation is reviling the people of narrations (Athar)
Imam As Sabooni said: “And the signs of innovations on its people are apparent. And the most obvious of their signs is their extreme disdain for those who carry that which was relayed from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and humiliating them and calling them names such as Hashaweeyah…” (Aqeedatus Salaf Ashaabul Hadeeth page 299)
Imam Khateeb Al Baghdaadi said in book Sharaf Ashaabul Hadeeth: Evidence that someone is an innovator because of his dislike for Hadeeth and its people.
He then narrated a statement from Ahmad Ibn Sinaan Al Qattan where he said: There is not an innovator in the world except that he hates the people of Hadeeth. Whenever a man does an innovation the sweetness of Hadeeth raises from his heart. (Sharaf Ashaabul Hadeeth pg. 136)
Likewise one of the evidences that a person is upon the Sunnah is that he loves the scholars of the Sunnah. Imam As Saabooni said: “And one of the signs of Ahlus Sunnah is their love for the Imams of the Sunnah and its scholars and those who aid it… and Allah has decorated the hearts of Ahlus Sunnah and enlightened it with their love of the scholars of the Sunnah as a favour and blessing from him.” (Aqeedatus Salaf Ashaabul Hadeeth page 307)
Imam Khateeb Al Baghdaadi also said: Evidence that a person is from Ahlus Sunnah because of his love for the people of Hadeeth.
He then mentioned a statement of Qutaibah Ibn Sa’eed where he said: “If you see a man loving the people of Hadeeth like Yahya Ibn Sa’eed Al Qattan and Abdur Rahman Ibn Mahdi and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and Ishaaq Ibn Rahuuyah, he then mentioned others, for verily he is upon the Sunnah and whoever opposes (i.e dislikes them) then know he is an innovator.” (Sharaf Ashaabul Hadeeth pg. 134)
Hence, it is clear that those who revile well established scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah are innovators who should be warned against publicly. Their innovation becomes even more obvious when they pounce upon those who have revived the correct ‘Aqeedah and Manhaj (methodology) among the masses of Muslims.
Like those who revile Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab and say that he has Takfeeri tendancies and claim that he is a Neo-Kharijite. When the reality is that he revived the study and propagation of Tawheed Al Uluheeyah within a people who were engaged in worshipping the dead.
From those who revile the likes of Shaikh Saalih Al Fawzaan, the Imam of Ahlus Sunnah in this time. They attack him, viciously calling him a slave of the rulers and sarcastically call him “grandmaster” Fawzan. This is because Shaikh Fawzaan is a thorn in the throats of those who preach the Mu’tazili (not Sunni) ideology of rebellion against the oppressive rulers.
When we look at the reality, the belief that one must have patience under the leadership of an oppressive ruler is the belief of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. This has been clarified by the likes of Imam At Tahawi, Imam As Saabooni, Imam Al Barbahari, the Imams of Hadeeth such as Imams Bukhari, Ali Ibn Madeeni, Ahmad and others.
What is clear from this post is that the only reason why the scholars of the sunnah are attacked by innovators is because these scholars clarify the misguidance that these individuals are engaged in with clear evidences from the book, the sunnah and the statements of the pious predecessors. The adhominem statements made against the scholars are a sinister means to deter the Muslims from truth. It is a cry of desperation from those who are ill-equipped to reply to knowledge based, scholarly arguments.
May Allah guide us to what he loves and is pleased with.