There seems to be an inclination towards looking down on and mocking at the ‘ulamâ’ by the masses, which includes a large portion of religious people as well. The reason for this is ignorance about the status and greatness of the ‘ulamâ’. Inshâ Allâh, this lecture will be sufficient to open their eyes. This lecture will also serve as a guide for those who are working for Islam, but outside the limits of the Sharî‘ah.
These days the masses are extremely audacious against the auliyâ’ of Allah Ta’ala and the ‘ulamâ’ of Islam. They look at the clock of the musjid and if the imam comes one minute late, they start speaking out against him. They consider the imam to be a steel spout, which can be opened and closed whenever they like. If he is slightly delayed because he had to relieve himself, they ought to wait for him for five or ten minutes. However, the masses treat the imam like a slave.
‘Allâmah Jalâluddîn Suyûtî rahimahullâh quotes the following statement of Rasulullah (sallellaho alaihe wasallam):
Honour the ‘ulamâ’ because they are the inheritors of the Prophets.”
(Kanzul Ummal: The chapter on knowledge, vol.10, pg.150)
Rasulullah (sallellaho alaihe wasallam) also said:
The one who does not honour our ‘ulamâ’ is not of us.”
It is Disrespectful to Claim to be Knowledgeable in the Presence of ‘Ulamâ’
Do not try to rectify and reform the ‘ulamâ’ just by reading a few Urdu books, and do act like a mufti. There was a pious ‘âlim who placed his elbows on his knees while he was in prostration in salâh. Later on, a person came to him and told him that a Hadîth states that one should not place the elbows on the ground like a dog when in prostration. Instead, the elbows should be elevated from the ground. The maulânâ asked him: “Are you an ‘âlim?” He replied: “I am not an ‘âlim but I read this in an Urdu book.” The maulânâ asked him: “Do you have all the Ahâdîth in your mind or are you objecting to my action merely on the basis of one Hadîth?” The person said: “I do not know all the Ahâdîth.” The maulânâ said: “The objection which you levelled against me actually entails a major sin because you damaged the honour of an ‘âlim. When you are an ignorant person, what right do you have to come and advise me? There are two Sunnahs of Rasulullah (sallellaho alaihe wasallam), one when he was young, and the other when he was old. When Rasulullah (sallellaho alaihe wasallam) became old and his body became heavy, he used to rest his elbows on his knees.”
When you find anything objectionable about an ‘âlim, convey it to another ‘âlim. When you find anything objectionable about your father, convey it to your uncle, do not go directly to your father. Now the situation is such that everyone is a mufti. Muftis of this type are for muft (free), they do not possess knowledge. A Hadîth states:
“The person who is audacious in issuing fatwâ is audacious to enter the Hell-fire.”
Such “free” muftis express their views on every issue and say: “This is my view on this issue.” Today, even a person pushing a wheel-cart will say: “This is my view on this issue.” Ask these who are intellectually blind if a “view” is acceptable in Islam? Is Islam something which is based on views? ‘Allâmah Shâmî rahimahullâh states in his book of jurisprudence, Kitâb ash-Shâmî, that Rasulullah (sallellaho alaihe wasallam) said that:
“The person who is very audacious in giving a ruling without investigation is very audacious in entering Hell”.
You should first consult books, if you do not understand, go and consult your teachers and qualified ‘ulamâ’. Go to them like a beggar, not like a person who is going to make objections. Ask them in a respectful manner: “Hazrat, I have a question to ask.” Ask them as though you are a student. It is essential for the masses to reduce themselves like students when they ask the ‘ulamâ’.
(Hazrat Hakeem Akhter R.A)