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Who are the Ulama' as-Su'?

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Question:

There are many innovations among the Muslim community. Why do scholars not condemn them? Secondly, who are the AI- 'Ulama' -As-Su'?

S. Sadiq, Jhelum, Pakistan


Answer:

In every phase of history, there have been two types of Ulama (religious scholars and priests) - good and bad. The 'good' are those who deeply understand the religion, practice accordingly and convey their knowledge and practice to others. They strive in the cause of Islam regardless of the difficulties faced.

A 'bad' scholar is one who either doesn't fully understand Islam or if they do, then they don't practise according to the teachings of Islam. Even worse, they try to mislead people telling them what they wish to listen to, whether right or wrong. These type of Ulama (scholars) are a danger to Islam and the society because when people depend on them and trust them, they tend to mislead them for personal material benefits. We find such scholars/priests in every religion, not only Islam. The level of trust that people have, according to Surat At-Taubah is:
اتَّخَذُواْ أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَاباً مِّن دُونِ 
"They take their priests and their anchorites to be their Lords, besides Allah." (9:31)

A great companion, Adee bin Hatim (a convert from Christianity), upon hearing this verse, came to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) saying that the followers do not believe in them as Lord. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) told him:

"Though they don't directly admit this, their indirect belief is so. When priests say something the people blindly follow, whether lawful or unlawful."

In Surat At-Taubah it says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِنَّ كَثِيراً مِّنَ الأَحْبَارِ وَالرُّهْبَانِ لَيَأْكُلُونَ أَمْوَالَ النَّاسِ بِالبَاطِلِ وَيَصُدُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَالَّذِينَ يَكْنِزُونَ الذَّهَبَ وَالفِضَّةَ وَلاَ يُنفِقُونَهَا فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ 
"O you who believe. There are indeed many among the priests and anchorites, who in falsehood, devour the wealth of men and hinder them from the way of Allah…." (9:34)

There are no priests who directly stop people from doing good, religious deeds and practices, but indirectly, they have great emphasis in making one do so. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
"The best among you are scholars and priests. And the worst among you are scholars and priests."

So these are Al'Ulama'-As-Su' who instead of stopping people from Bid'ah (innovation) and wrong deeds, encourage them even more.


Country Of Origin : Saudi Arabia
State : Riyadh
Author/Scholar : The Late Maulana Mahmood Ahmed Mirpuri [1]

Source: INFAD Fatawa Management, Islamic Science University of Malaysia

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[1] Maulana Mahmood Ahmed Mirpuri rahimahulah was one of the early graduates of Al-Madina University and a prominent and renowned student of Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Baaz and Sheikh Mohammad Nasiruddin al-Albani.


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