*Who are the scholars and from whom should knowledge be taken?*
by *Shaykh Ahmed Muhammed Al-Munayee حفظه الله*
on Sunday, June 18, 2006

   - They are cautious and take their time before passing any type of
   religious ruling (fatwa) i.e. they are not hasty. Also, they would prefer
   that someone else passes a religious ruling instead of themselves, if there
   is another individual. They are also cautious in the area where they have no
   knowledge on a particular issue. If at a given moment they do not have at
   the forefront of their mind the evidence for a particular issue they will
   refrain from answering.

   - They are concerned about conveying knowledge and passing it on to
   others, and also teaching and instructing others in the knowledge that they
   have been given.

   - They are preoccupied with knowledge and putting it into practice.

   - When they deal with knowledge – whether conveying it or acquiring it –
   they start with that which is most important and then that which is
   important – there is prioritisation. This is done without becoming bored or
   tired, although it is something that they do constantly.

   - They have great concern for the knowledge; and for the areas of Tawheed
   and the Sunnah – that nothing touches these aspects of our Deen.

   - They are the ones who stand in defence of the Qur’aan, the Sunnah, and
   for the Deen in general.

   - They have humility and fear of Allaah and they depend on Him سبحانه و
   تعالى and they adhere to whatever He commands. Narrated by ‘Awf ibn Maalik
   al-Asja’ee رضى الله عنه that: *“The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم once
   looked at the sky and he صلى الله عليه و سلم said “This seems to be the time
   of the raising up of knowledge,” so one of them said: “O Messenger of
   Allaah, how is it that knowledge will be raised up and we have the Book of
   Allaah and we read it and we study it and we teach it to our children?” The
   Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “I used to consider you one of the most
   knowledgeable people of Ahlul Madinah, didn’t the Jews and Christians have
   their book with them?[5] Should I not inform you of the first of the
   knowledge to be raised up?” He صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “khushoo and the
   fear of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى until you will not see a person having this
   type of humbleness in a state of fear in times to come”*.”[6]

   - They put knowledge into practice, so you find the scholar working with
   the knowledge that he has from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, and being
   concerned about it. They practice the optional acts of worship, not to
   mention the compulsory acts of *eebaadah* (worship). They adhere to all
   these acts of worship, and they stay away from those things that are
   disliked and should be shunned.

   - Their knowledge is in the heart and not on the tongue. Knowledge is of
   two types:
      1. Knowledge on the *tongue* – this is the evidence of Allaah سبحانه و
      تعالى that is used to convey to the people from the Qur’aan and from the
      Sunnah. The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم mentions in the hadith: *“The
      Qur’aan is an evidence for or against you.”*[7]

      2. Knowledge found in the *heart* – this is the beneficial knowledge.
      Al-Hasan رحمه الله said that *“Knowledge is of two types, knowledge on
      the tongue is the evidence of Allaah against the children of
Aadam as comes
      in the hadith: “The Qur’aan is an evidence for or against you.” and
      knowledge in the heart is the truly beneficial knowledge.”*

   - They do not try to find an easy life which goes against the Deen and
   they stay away from innovations and from discussions which have no basis in
   the Deen. When Ibn Rajab رحمه اللهdealt with the virtue of knowledge of the
   Salaf over the Khalaf, this is one of the things that he pointed out as one
   of the characteristics that they (the Scholars) possess.

   - They try to avoid hasty religious rulings or being involved in passing
   them. This is an aspect of the Deen which the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم
   had much concern for – persons who pass religious rulings without being
   properly qualified. One of the reasons that we find the scholars of the past
   being very cautious is due to their fear of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and the
   caution that they had in respect of their Deen, and a desire to free
   themselves form the responsibility of the fataawa that would be given. For
   this reason we find that this was the mannerism of the Sahaabah who were
   chosen to be the Companions of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. They used to
   try and pass on the fataawa to someone else, who might be more knowledgeable
   in their eyes to pass religious rulings. Sometimes a person would come into
   Madinah and he would ask a question, and he would be told to go to someone
   else, and that person would say to go to someone else and he would go to
   that second individual who would tell him to go to a third, until he would
   go all around Madinah and return to the first individual. Because of this,
   we find in regard of the *Mufti* (the person who passes religious
   rulings) that he should have certain qualities.

*Characteristics of the Mufti*

   - One of these is his *concern for the Arabic language* – he exerts
   himself in acquiring and excelling in the Arabic language, until he becomes
   one of the most eloquent individuals. This is because the Arabic language is
   the language of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. So, if you have an understanding
   of the Arabic language you will be able to understand the verses of the
   Qur’aan – what is abrogated and what is not abrogated. You are able to
   understand the general and restricted expressions. You will be able to
   understand what is specific and what is not specific. All these things are
   accomplished by understanding the Arabic language. You will know what has
   been explained in detail and what has not been explained in detail.

   - After that you find them having *concern for the knowledge of the
   Sunnah*. One aspect of the Sunnah is that one is supposed to be aware of
   what is authentic and what is *da’eef* (weak); and to have some
   understanding of those people who are acceptable to take narrations from and
   those whose narrations must be rejected, so that based on the hadith being
   authentic in his view he will be able to make religious rulings based on it.

Masjid Ahlul-Quraan wa As-Sunnah of New york

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