Is Defending and Honoring the Scholars a Call to Blind Following?

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Ever-Merciful…

A visitor recently asked about the translation of Shaykh Saalih as-Suhaymee’s advice to support and defend the honor of the scholars of Islaam (found here), saying:

Since these guys are contemporary men who are human and prone to error and sin like all of us, why would we defend them? Isn’t this a call to blind following? [abridged]

To be clear: We have certainly not promoted the blind following of these scholars, nor have we claimed they are perfect without flaws. Nor are we ever to defend any of them in falsehood.

However, dear questioner, may Allaah give you better than the corrupt manhaj (methodology) of Yasir Qadhi, Almaghrib Institute, and those upon their way, your ideas clearly seem to reflect the opinions they commonly lead people into – a total loss of any meaningful distinction between us and the scholars of Islaam, as it relates to the virtues of the scholars, their special status amongst us, and our need to refer to them to learn our Religion. The goal is to disconnect the people from their scholars, which facilitates the spread of deviation very easily.

May Allaah give you better – If Allaah has commanded us in His Quran (more than once) to ask the people of knowledge when we do not know [16:43, 21:7], don’t we need to know who they are?!

Dear questioner, may Allaah give you better! – Know that Allaah has established a very high status for the scholars of Islaam in his Glorious Book, saying:

إنما يخشى الله من عباده العلماء
“Those who truly fear Allaah among His servants are the scholars.” [35:28]

يرفع الله الذين آمنوا منكم والذين أوتوا العلم درجات
“Allaah raises those who have believed, and those who have been granted knowledge, many levels.” [58:11]

And His Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) was inspired by divine revelation to say (what means):

وفضل العالم على العابد كفضل القمر على سائر الكواكب، إن العلماء ورثة الأنبياء
“The virtue of a scholar over a worshipper is like the virtue of the moon over the rest of the heavenly bodies (at night). The scholars are the inheritors of the prophets…” [Tirmithee #2682]

May Allaah give you better – Be warned of the tricks of Shaytaan, your sworn enemy! He may come to you in the form of a bearded religious teacher who, through lengthy and magical speech, wishes to take you away from the clarity of the above texts. Seek refuge with your Lord alone, and beg Him to grant you love and honor in your heart for all people and things praised in the Quran. Don’t let anyone turn you away from this! It is essential in Islaam, something not to be compromised. May Allaah give us all success in actualizing it.

The people who have taught you to refer to senior scholars in Islaam as “these guys… contemporary men… prone to error and sin, like all of us…” are a bankrupt bunch, who would only lead you astray, so much so that you would become completely incapable of answering one of the most obviously self-answering questions that could be posed:

قل هل يستوي الذين يعلمون والذين لا يعلمون إنما يتذكر أولوا الألباب
“Say: Are those who have knowledge equal to those who do not have knowledge?! It is only the people of intellect who truly receive admonition.”
[39:9]

Shun extremism (ghuluww), dear questioner, in all of its forms! Ordering the masses to blindly follow certain scholars or defend them in falsehood is clearly a form of unIslamic extremism, just as is trying to strip them of the distinction Allaah has given them – may Allaah give you better. Don’t let people mislead you into thinking that fleeing from a form of extremism means to embrace its opposite (the other extreme)!

And Allaah knows best.

Written by: Moosaa Richardson (on the eve of ‘Aashooraa’, 1435)

15 thoughts on “Is Defending and Honoring the Scholars a Call to Blind Following?

  1. Barakallahfeekum!
    I want your permission to post this article on FB and elsewhere as really people are being mislead in this matter and this needs to be told to them as straightforwardly as you have done.

    Jazakallah Khair

    • While we wouldn’t recommend using Facebook specifically, please do share this article with whomever you hope would benefit from it, may Allaah bless you.

      • As-Salaamu Alaikum Akhi Moosa. I just would like 2know why would you recommend not 2use facebook 2post this article or any other important article that calls 2right guidance & explains in detail the knowledge of THe Prophets Sunnah & its practices so the muslims who may be in error in their understanding, may correct it & follow the right way. ANd you know as well as I, many Muslims use the facebook social media for many purposes.

        • wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. Akhee Muhammad may Allaah bless you for the question. I don’t believe Facebook is appropriate for Islamic da’wah. It is not the case that every platform and every kind of social media is suitable for this blessed da’wah. Consider the kinds of things mentioned by the Muftee (Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Aal ash-Shaykh) in his warning against Twitter specifically. And Allaah knows best.

  2. [A question about the “Amman Interfaith Message” – Risaalat ‘Ammaan – and the stance of Shaykh ‘Abdul-Muhsin al-‘Abbaad on it…]

    • Dear brother, the Amman Message is full of clear contradictions to basic Muslim beliefs. It legitimizes entire religions of polytheism and endorses and defends the Raafidah Ja’faree math-hab (of Iran), declaring it impermissible to make takfeer of them [!], among other things. It is clear misguidance.

      Shaykh ‘Abdul-Muhsin al-‘Abbaad (may Allaah preserve him), like all other trustworthy and reliable scholars of Islaam, has explicitly rejected it and warned against it. He stated that its contents are “khabeeth” (filthy), “min abtal maa yakoon” (from the most false/corrupt things there are), and “min aqbah maa yakoon” (from the most disgusting things there are). [Arabic transcript of his position]

      We apologize for the re-wording of your original question, but it seems the question was phrased in a way that could make Alee al-Halabee’s endorsement of the Amman Message seem acceptable or not so bad to some Muslims. So please – may Allaah bless you – ponder over the clarity found in the words of Shaykh ‘Abdul-Muhsin, and compare that to what Halabee’s followers choose to understand and promote. And Allaah knows best.

  3. This is exactly the kind of stuff AlMaghrib teaches people. “Scholars” who taught us to play with beach balls to renew our attention and “scholars” who appointed joke managers to ensure the steady flow of jokes throughout the classes… they are the real people of knowledge cause the scholars “of the East” do not know our situation. Auzubillah! My eyes are opened and I hope that other sisters will open theres too.

      • And when the scholars speak on people of falsehood and groups by name, their devout followers simply move to the next stage of response: They twisted our words, we have been quoted out of context, etc. (even when quoted precisely and completely in context!) Propagators of falsehood will always have an answer for their fans.

  4. REFLECT:
    Abu ad-Darda’ (رضى الله عنه) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Whoever defends his brother’s honor in his absence, Allah will protect his face from the Fire of Hell on the Day of Resurrection.” [Related by At-Tirmidhi who graded it to be Hasan. Ahmad has something similar from the Hadeeth of Asmaa’ bint Yazeed.] 

    Explanation by Sheikh Fawzaan: “So this (hadeeth) contains the exhortation toward defending the honor of the Muslims which is being violated in gatherings or in writings. If you were to see someone writing about a Muslim, and the ‘Ulamaa’ specifically, and the Muslim Ruler, then it is upon you to defend them, as this is from defending the honor of the Muslims.”

    Source: http://www.troid.ca/index.php/new-and-basics/more-important-basics/1733-defending-the-honour-of-the-muslims

    May Allaah bless us with ability to recognize the truth and follow it, and ability to recognize evils and distant ourselves from them. [slightly edited by admin]

  5. Assalaamu alaikum akhee moosaa,

    Have a Q on an issue.

    When we tell some callers to connect themselves and their people to ulama or when we ask them about whether do they have connection with any ulama, they say

    ” i have connections with the ulama such as ibn taimiyah, ibn Qayyim, ibn Abdul Wahhab, etc. (he gives names of others from the past and shows their books)

    How do we reply to them or their followers? (Kindly give some advice on the danger of not connecting with present day scholars )

    Jazaakallahu khairan

    Abbas

    • wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. It is excellent to benefit from the works of the scholars of Islam who have passed, the likes of Ibn Taymiyyah and those you mentioned. However, to think that reading their books means you have automatically understood everything in them is a common mistake of a beginning student. To think that you will understand everything in them and have no need to ask about any difficult passages is another.

      Will he learn how to behave and interact from ink on pages? Will the ink on the pages give him much-needed personal advice about his ongoing struggle to refine his own specific character flaws? Will the ink on the paper notify him and even blame him when errs? Will the ink on the paper remind him to be patient when he faces difficulty and warn him against hastiness and inappropriate responses? Will the ink on the paper rectify feuds between him and other students and walk them through their differences into mutual understanding? Will the ink on the paper tell him to fear Allaah when he oppresses or sins? Will the ink on the paper show him how to research issues for himself and how to use the library? When new issues and new arguments of innovators and points of confusion arrive, as well as current events that need clear positions, will Ibn Taymiyyah come back from the grave to help him understand, or has this person reached the status of those scholars himself, so he can handle any issue that comes up himself (relying on his reading)?

      These kinds of things are why the scholars have said: Whoever’s shaykh is a book will have an abdundance of errors! And Allaah knows best.

      • Furthermore, our shaykh al-‘Allaamah Saalih al-Fowzaan (may Allaah preserve him) advises often that benefits be taken from books and that they are used for research. But seeking knowledge is done from the scholars directly. He stresses that this is the methodology of true Islaam, taking knowledge from people, not books. And Allaah knows best.

  6. Moosa… those who criticize Maghrib or Kawthar or this and that are wasting time. Pay heed to your own mufti Sh Rabee: Write about tafseer and hadeeth as required of you now by Sh Rabee’ in his latest ground breaking and paradigm shifting recantation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6gJnqsSRSk [link substituted by admin] Allah bless you. [comment abridged by admin]

    • Salman, I remember hearing those words from that recording about ten years ago, directly from the lips of Shaykh Rabee’. They are just as important today as they were back then. By Allaah’s Permission, I try my best to produce works of benefit for the people on a consistent basis. Since these great words of advice have reached me, by Allaah’s Permission, I’ve taught many summer courses and online and live classes on tafseer and hadeeth, as well as aqeedah, fiqh, and other important subjects. May Allaah forgive me and all of us for falling short.

      Those who criticize the groups you mentioned are in fact not wasting their time, nor are they going against the advice of the scholars. They are warning against manifest hizbiyyah and guiding people, which are praiseworthy acts in Islaam. Those caught up in those groups cannot see past their own personal attachments to them.

      Additionally, your claim that this clip is a “ground breaking and paradigm shifting recantation” is -speaking frankly- compound ignorance from yourself. The clip is neither ground-breaking, paradigm shifting, nor even a recantation. Its nothing but that same old Salafiyyah we’ve come to know and love from our top scholars throughout history.

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