Ulemas (people of knowledge) are the heirs of Prophets (as), a title which is not given simply by the endorsements of any university or madrasah, nor just by the knowledge itself which they acquired. Rather the title is given as a great responsibility due to their burden of conveying the messengership (تبليغ الرسالة) in the absence of Messengers ﷺ to the people with what they acquired as a pure knowledge from the book of Allah and the Sunnah of Prophet ﷺ. This conveyance includes reviving the Ummah with the light of knowledge when the Ummah gets struck in the darkness of ignorance. It is therefore, the death of any great scholar is a great loss to the Ummah as Prophet ﷺ said, «إن الله لا يقبض العلم انتزاعًا ينتزعه من الناس ولكن يقبض العلم بقبض العلماء حتى إذا لم يبقِ عالمًا، اتخذ الناس رءوسًا جهالا، فسئلوا فأفتوا بغير علم، فضلوا وأضلوا» “Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people, but He takes it away by taking away (the lives of) the religious scholars till none of the scholars stays alive. Then the people will take ignorant ones as their leaders, who, when asked to deliver religious verdicts, will issue them without knowledge, the result being that they will go astray and will lead others astray.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Scholarship in Islam is not like the priesthood in other religions to make laws from their own desires and for their own benefits, claiming those are from Allah, as the People of the Book had previously done. Rather, it is a great responsibility of conveying the messengership to the people in the absence of the Messenger ﷺ without concealing anything. The responsibility of conveying the messengership is not fulfilled with partial conveyance by limiting oneself to individual preaching, teaching and guidance. Also it is not fulfilled with self-sufficiency of a person in doing dawah work with what he affords such as calling individuals to Islam, preaching the morals of Islam or establishing madrasas and others. Rather it mainly requires a diligent political work as conveyed by our beloved Prophet ﷺ, which can be seen clearly when Allah (swt) commanded him to go out to convey the call during the initial stage of Prophethood by saying, إِنَّ لَكَ فِي النَّهَارِ سَبْحًا طَوِيلًا “Indeed, for you by day is prolonged occupation (sabhaa).” [73:7]
The word ‘سبحا طويلا’ literally means swimming over a long duration (in the middle of a sea) without having any rest or sleep. This indicates the severity of conveying the messengership and Prophet ﷺ did convey this over 23 years with same diligence as commanded by Allah (swt) until he sought testimony from the people on the Day of Arafah by saying, «ألا هل بلغت… اللهم فاشهد» “did I convey you…oh Allah be witness to this”. Thus, inheriting the Prophets by ulemas do not occur just by partial conveyance of Islam, nor by self-sufficiency of a person to convey with what he affords. Rather it requires the diligent political work by calling ummah for the establishment of Khilafah (Caliphate), accounting the rulers, teaching Islam to the people as a whole, without concealing anything, like our Prophet ﷺ conveyed.
Failure to convey this by concealing or altering it comes with the great rebuke and curse from Allah (swt), إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَا أَنزَلْنَا مِنَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالْهُدَىٰ مِن بَعْدِ مَا بَيَّنَّاهُ لِلنَّاسِ فِي الْكِتَابِ أُولَٰئِكَ يَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّاعِنُونَ “Indeed, those who conceal what We sent down of (Bayyinath) clear proofs and guidance after We made it clear for the people in the book – those are cursed by Allah and cursed by those who curse” [2:159]
Indeed, this verse is a stark reminder, rather a great warning for scholars to not conceal or twist the Ahkam of Allah, in particular what is apparent and clear under any circumstances, be it either due to threats from the oppressive rulers or to attain meager profits in this worldly life. Abu Huraira (ra) narrated all that what he heard from the Prophet (sal) due to the great rebuke of this verse. He (ra) said, لولا آية في كتاب الله تعالى ما حدّثتكم حديثاً “Had it not been for a verse in the Book of Allah, I would not have narrated you a single hadith” (1).
This verse was revealed in the context of rebuking the scholars amongst the people of the book who concealed what was revealed to them about the arrival of the Prophet (sal). However, the generality of the verse applies to all those who conceal. Also this verse is affirmed by a hadith in which Prophet ﷺ said,«مَن كتَم علما ألجمه الله بلجام من النار» “Whoever conceals a knowledge, Allah will bridle him with the bridle of fire on the day of judgement” (reported by Abu Ya’la and Tabarani with the sound chain from Ibn Abbas (ra)). The sentence in the verse من البينات والهدى refers to what is apparent and with clear proofs that was clarified by Allah (swt) without being subjected to difference of opinions. ‘Al-Bayyinah’ includes halal, haram, preaching and Ahkam that were clarified in the book of Allah, as said by Imam Qurtubi . Obviously, this refers to the concealment of all that is clear and definite in the sharia like ‘ruling by what Allah has revealed’ as Allah (swt), وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ “And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth.” (5:48). This also includes the definite Sharia rule for the prohibition to take disbelievers as allies due to the saying of Allah (swt), لَّا يَتَّخِذِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ فَلَيْسَ مِنَ اللَّهِ فِي شَيْءٍ إِلَّا أَن تَتَّقُوا مِنْهُمْ تُقَاةً وَيُحَذِّرُكُمُ اللَّهُ نَفْسَهُ وَإِلَى اللَّهِ الْمَصِيرُ “Let not believers take disbelievers as allies rather than believers. And whoever [of you] does that has nothing with Allah, except when taking precaution against them in prudence. And Allah warns you of Himself, and to Allah is the [final] destination.” [3:28]
This also includes sharia rulings related to Jihad in the path of Allah that requires no other misleading interpretations as comes in many verses of Quran. Allah (swt) says, انفِرُوا خِفَافًا وَثِقَالًا وَجَاهِدُوا بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ “Go forth, whether light or heavy, and perform Jihad with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah. That is better for you, if you only knew.” [9:41]
This also includes violating the limits (hudud) of Allah such as flogging the fornicator, amputating the hands of a thief and others.
Allah (swt) says, تِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ فَلَا تَعْتَدُوهَا وَمَن يَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَ اللَّهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ“These are the limits of Allah, so do not transgress them. And whoever transgresses the limits of Allah – it is those who are the wrongdoers”. [2:229]. Accordingly, it is not allowed for a scholar to conceal anything from amongst the bayyinat (clear proofs) and guidance which Allah has clarified in His Book. Sadly, there are scholars who conceal or twist the ahkam of ruling with what Allah has revealed and the prohibition of ruling with the kufr laws in the favor of Muslim rulers who rule by other than Islam, whilst Allah (swt) has made it as clear proof (bayyinah) in his book! There are scholars who give fatwas in favor of Muslim rulers to make alliance with the disbelievers to kill the Muslims, whilst Allah has made it as clear proof (bayyinah) in His Book! There are scholars who interpret the verses of Jihad in compliance with secular laws and conceal it to please the disbelievers! In order to have forgiveness of Allah, it is upon them to correct themselves by disowning their loyalty to the Muslim rulers who rule with kufr laws and declare to the people what Allah has made as clear proofs. Allah (swt) says, إِلَّا الَّذِينَ تَابُوا وَأَصْلَحُوا وَبَيَّنُوا فَأُولَٰئِكَ أَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَنَا التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ “Except for those who repent and correct themselves and make evident [what they concealed]. Those – I will accept their repentance, and I am the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.” [2:160]
Finally, this message of Islam and call cannot be conveyed to the people without the guidance of noble scholars who inherit the pure knowledge of Allah’s Book and the Sunnah of Prophet ﷺ. History has witnessed many such scholars who protected the Deen of Islam both intellectually and materialistically from the enemies of Islam. When Islam was attacked by the alien thoughts and concepts, noble scholars were at the forefront to repel these evil thoughts. Also, when Islamic lands were attacked by the enemies of Islam, noble scholars were at the forefront to incite the people for jihad to expel the disbelievers from the Islamic lands. Thus, with absence of Khilafah, it is obligatory upon the current scholars to protect the Deen by inciting the Ummah to establish the Khilafah to expel alien thoughts and colonial kuffar from the Islamic lands. Oh sincere scholars of Islam, the heirs of Prophets! Join the global call of establishing the Khilafah at forefront, through which Islam will be implemented and carried it to the world.
وَذَكِّرْ فَإِنَّ الذِّكْرَىٰ تَنفَعُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers.” [51:55]
Muhammed bin Farooq
1) Tafsir Qurtubi (Al-Baqara: verse 159)
2) Teysir fi Usuli Tafsir by Sheikh Ata Bin Khalil Abu al-Rashtah (haf) (Al-Baqara: verse 159)
3) Tafsir Qurtubi (Al-Baqara: verse 185)