Concepts, Islamic Culture, Side Feature

Role of the Scholars in Revival

إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّـهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَزِيزٌ غَفُورٌ

“Only those of His slaves with knowledge (Ulema) have fear of Allah. Allah is Almighty, Ever-Forgiving.”

(Al-Faatir: 28)

Regarding: “Only those of His slaves with knowledge (Ulema) have fear of Allah.”

Ibn Kathir stated that, “The more the knowledge of Allah and His سبحانه وتعالى power is complete, the more He سبحانه وتعالى will be feared by those who have the complete knowledge.”

Imam Al-Qurtubi said that, “The scholars are those who know the power of Allah سبحانه وتعالى. They are in no doubt of His سبحانه وتعالى punishment no matter what the sin is.”

Abdullah b. ‘Amr b. al-‘As narrated from the Prophet ﷺ:

«إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَقْبِضُ الْعِلْمَ انْتِزَاعًا يَنْتَزِعُهُ مِنَ النَّاسِ وَلَكِنْ يَقْبِضُ الْعِلْمَ بِقَبْضِ الْعُلَمَاءِ حَتَّى إِذَا لَمْ يَتْرُكْ عَالِمًا اتَّخَذَ النَّاسُ رُءُوسًا جُهَّالاً فَسُئِلُوا فَأَفْتَوْا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ فَضَلُّوا وَأَضَلُّوا»

“Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people but He takes away knowledge by taking away the scholars, so that when He leaves no learned person, people turn to the ignorant as their leaders; then they are asked to deliver religious verdicts and they deliver them without knowledge, they go astray, and lead others astray.” (Sahih Muslim 2673)

It is heartening to see that the youth of this Ummah are struggling against the tyrant rulers in order to bring about political change. Also it is sad to note that many Islamic scholars are silent and nowhere to be seen or heard except a sincere few. The Ummah is in urgent need of Islamic leadership. In the absence of this Islamic leadership and Islamic guidance, the eager and energised youth will be misguided by the secularists and those smitten by western culture, which will keep the Ummah in her state of subjugation.

The Ummah today more than ever before needs to understand Islam, judge events correctly and implement the pure Islamic method for revival, namely the re-establishment of the Khilafah state, which will implement the Sharia, unite the sons of the Ummah under the flag of Khilafah. This is the only correct step to true independence and freedom for this Ummah.

The scholars have a pivotal role in leading this Ummah and cultivating a new generation of Muslims leaders who will have the vision and strength of character to lead this Ummah to her rightful status as the best nation raised for mankind, Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:

كُنتُم خَيرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخرِجَت لِلنّاسِ تَأمُرونَ بِالمَعروفِ وَتَنهَونَ عَنِ المُنكَرِ وَتُؤمِنونَ بِاللَّهِ

“You are the best nation ever to be produced before mankind. You enjoin the right, forbid the wrong and have iman in Allah.”

(Aali-Imran: 110)

The history of this Ummah is full of examples of righteous scholars who strove to lead this Ummah solving the most difficult of problems. We just need to look to the era of the crusades, which is comparable to the status quo of the Ummah today. During the era of the crusades, the Muslim Ummah was characterised by division, internal conflicts, weak armies, low morale and no unified leadership. Today, the Ummah is subjugated to unprecedented levels of poverty, oppression, occupation and intellectual and political decline. However, there is one crucial difference today, which is Islam, as a system has not been implemented since the destruction of the Khilafah state in 1924. As result our lands our governed by despotic rulers who have been installed by the colonialist powers to protect their interests.

The challenge today is to resume the Islamic way of life by re-establishing the Khilafah state. This is not only a political necessity but a matter of obligation. It is in this context we must see the important role of scholars and students of Islamic knowledge. They have a duty to educate and lead the ummah in confronting the grave challenges we are facing.

To appreciate the significance of the role of the scholars in tackling problems, we need to reflect on the role of the scholars from our history especially from the era of the crusades. There were many scholars during the crusades that played an active role in liberating the Islamic lands. One such scholar whose contributions were outstanding is Al-Qadi al-Fadil, who was born 529 AH, and who was the spokesman of Salah ad-Deen Ayubi. Ibn Kathir narrates that he was dearer to Salah as-Deen than his own family and children. Salah ad-Deen mentioned his status when he said, “Do not think that I took the land by the means of your sword; rather it was by the means of the pen of al-Qadi al Fadil.”

Al-Qadi al Fadil reached a position of high status in the state. He was Salah ad-Deen’s right hand man. He was made vizier and consultant, and Salah ad-Deen did not issue any orders except after consulting him. He did not take any decisions that were not based on his opinion and did not judge concerning any case without consulting him.

Al–Imad said: “He died as a good Muslim, not leaving any righteous deed except that he did it, and not having entered any covenant but he fulfilled it. His great accomplishments in freeing prisoners and establishing endowments cannot be listed, especially the endowments he established for freeing prisoners. He supported the Malikis and Shafi’is by establishing schools for teaching Qur’an. He restored people’s rights, and was ahead in doing righteous deeds. The sultan was obedient to him, and lands were not conquered except because of his good advice and opinion. I am one of his good deeds. His writings were as effective and powerful as mighty battalions. His pen was the jewel of the age, his intelligence was used for righteous purposes, his words were highly effective, his eloquence lent perfection to the state and gave the era of Salah ad-Deen precedence over others, surpassing the styles of the ancients. I never found him repeating a supplication in any letter that he wrote, and he never repeated a word when speaking to people.”

This scholar was one of the scholars of revival, and the Ummah is in the greatest need of such men. His life story tells us the importance of becoming involved and active in the public affairs and leading the Ummah in solving the political problems of our time.

Today the sincere scholars must awake from their deep slumber and look seriously at the problems and challenges that we face. We are in desperate need from our scholars to lead us in our quest for the correct change and assist us in overcoming many obstacles. In particular, scholars have as a matter of duty to address the following issues and obstacles, which prevent the Ummah reaching its goal of establishing Islam as a complete way of life.

  1. Ensuring the Ummah understand Islam as an ideology, the only correct solution to the problems that we face and destroy all concepts and attitudes that make Islam a mere spiritual religion only.
  2. Refute the modernist onslaught to reconcile Kufr and Islam, changing the meaning of Jihad from fighting the enemy to striving against the self (nafs), equating Democracy with Shura, and allowing freedom of speech on the basis of enjoining good, and forbidding the many such perversions of the Deen.
  3. Lead the Ummah to challenge the tyrant rulers who only serve the interests of the West, implement Kufr systems and suppress any challenge to their illegitimate rule by the Muslims.
  4. Explicitly explain in their lectures, Friday sermons, writings and gatherings the vital issues of the Ummah, the re-establishment of Islam, unity of Muslim lands, liberation of the occupied Islamic lands and that the method to achieve all this is to re-establish the Khilafah state.
  5. Lead the Ummah in the ideological struggle against the western thoughts, systems and concepts and present Islam as an alternative system not only for the Muslim world but also for the entire world, which is suffering under the oppression of Capitalism.
  6. Call on their fellow scholars to join the work for revival and lead the Ummah in her quest for fundamental change in the Muslim world.
  7. Challenge those government scholars who issue fatwas to justify the rule of the kings, dictators and despots that rule our lands.
  8. Educate the Muslims about the systems of Islam – economy, social, foreign policy, judiciary, education, ruling system etc.

This is the role of the scholars in our time. As for the general public, we are not exempt from the duties imposed by Islam. There is no concept of clergy in Islam. Our allegiance is only to Islam not to any scholar or a group, or anyone who contradicts the fundamentals of Islam.

Therefore when we follow a scholar or ask for an Islamic opinion we must ask for evidence from the Islamic sources to support any argument. Too often we have been led astray by corrupt scholars. To safeguard against this we must endeavour to constantly seek authentic Islamic knowledge and challenge any opinions and views before we adopt and act upon them.


Abdullah Hakim