The Rights of the Ulema

Hadith Gateway

The Rights of the Ulema

Mawlana Muhammad Nasir Jamal Attari Madani

The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said:

 لَيْسَ مِنْ اُمَّتِي مَنْ لَمْ يُجِلَّ كَبِيرَنَا، وَيَرْحَمْ صَغِيرَنَا، وَيَعْرِفْ لِعَالِمِنَا حَقَّهٗ

“The one who does not respect our elders, have mercy on our children, and acknowledge the rights of our ulema, is not from my Ummah.”[1]

In this blessed hadith, the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم warned three groups of people: Those who do not respect elders; those who are not merciful towards children; and those who flout the rights of the ulema.

We discussed the first two groups in the September 2022 edition of ‘Faizan-e-Madinah Monthly Magazine’. The commentary upon the third category of people in this hadith is as follows:

The one who does not acknowledge the rights of the ulema is not from us! Respect for the people of sacred knowledge is a bounty of Allah Almighty. Only loss and humiliation are reaped by the folks who disrespect them.[2] The honour and grandeur of the noble scholars also used to be mentioned before the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم blessed the world with his presence. Prophet Ibrahim عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام was informed, “Dear Ibrahim! I am omniscient, and I love every person of knowledge.”[3] In other words, knowledge is Allah’s attribute, and He loves the people of knowledge.”[4] Likewise, mentioning the greatness of a scholar that acts upon his knowledge, Prophet ʿĪsa عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام stated, “The one who sought knowledge and acted upon it and taught it is known in the dominion of the celestial realms as a great person.”[5]

The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم extolled the ulema in several hadith and encouraged the believers to revere them and benefit from them. Those hadith include:

Hadith One

“Whoever Allah Almighty desires good for, He grants him understanding of the religion ˹of Islam˺.”[6]

No one is aware of his outcome except for the noble jurists because they know what Allah has willed concerning them through the informing of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم , the one who conveys the truth.[7]

Hadith Two

“Indeed Allah,  His Angels, and all the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth, even the ant in his hole, to the extent that even the fish, send prayers on the one who teaches the people to do good."[8]

Hadith Three

“The inhabitants of the heavens and the earth—even the fish in the sea—seek forgiveness for the scholar ˹of Islam˺. The superiority of the scholar over the devout worshipper is like that of the full moon over the stars. The learned are the heirs of the Prophets عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام . Indeed the Prophets عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام bequeath neither dinar nor dirham, rather they bequeath knowledge; so he who acquires it has in fact acquired an abundant portion."[9]

Hadith Four

“One jurist is more formidable against Satan than a thousand devout worshippers.”[10]

That is because the worshipper saves himself from the Fire while a single scholar guides scores of people.[11]

The manner of Amir Ahl al-Sunnah concerning the rights of the scholars:

Amir Ahl al-Sunnah states:

Since my early days, I have had a deep passion for sacred knowledge and savoured the company of the ulema, travelling to remote areas to visit and learn from them. For even the simplest ruling, I would consult Mufti Waqar al-Din رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه and the ulema at Dar al-‘Ulum Amjadiyyah. I asked Mufti Waqar al-Din رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه hundreds, if not thousands, of rulings. I would go and remain seated in his رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه presence. Sometimes, two or four of us would go together, and we would board a bus from the ‘Tower’ area of Karachi. It would take about one and a half hours to reach his majestic house, then on the way back we would often board a bus to the ‘Sadar’ area. From there, we would walk to Kharadar, but sometimes, we would find another bus to reach Kharadar. If it was late at night, we took a lift from someone. Alhamdulilah, I was interested in sacred knowledge since childhood. Although now I am unable to readily travel to ulema due to security issues, I still cannot live without books. Furthermore, I still present questions to the scholars. I continue to consult the learned muftis of Dawat-e-Islami at every possible opportunity. By Allah’s grace, we are affiliated with the noble ulema and in regular contact with them. Those who are uninterested in knowledge of Islam and do not accompany or meet ulema may be committing gross mistakes in their worship and beliefs, unbeknown to them. May Allah Almighty grant us beneficial knowledge.[12]

اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ خاتَمِ النَّبِیّیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم

Etiquette with the Ulema:

1.   Be polite and mindful of their position.

2.   When seeking their advice, choose a suitable time, place, and words. Be considerate of their valuable time.

3.   Completely avoid interjecting, expressing boredom when scholars are speaking, and the use of improper speech.

4.   Save yourself and others from holding bad opinions about them.

5.   If their advice does not suit you, consider it your personal deficiency.

6.   Spreading lies about the ulema and blaming them is destructive to one’s salvation.

7.   Avoid aggrandising your own statements by attributing lies to the noble scholars.

8.   Do not hold Sunni ulema in contempt or harbour enmity towards them.

9.   Completely disengage from social media campaigns against the ulema.

10.   Save yourself from backbiting or hearing backbiting against the noble scholars in every situation.

May Allah Almighty grant us the ability to respect our elders, be compassionate to our children and acknowledge the rights of the noble scholars.

اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ خاتَمِ النَّبِیّیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم

[1] Makarim al-Akhlaq lil-Tabarani, p. 367

[2] Al-Tayseer, vol. 2, p. 331

[3] Jami’ Bayan al-‘Ilm wa Fadlihi, p. 70

[4] Faizan-e-‘Ilm wa ‘Ulama, p. 20

[5] Al-Zuhd lil-Imam Ahmad, p. 97, raqm 330

[6] aī al-Bukhāri, vol. 1, p. 43, Hadith 71

[7] Al-Ashbah Wal Nazair, p. 337

[8] Jāmi’ al-Tirmidhi, vol. 4, p. 314, hadith 2694

[9] Sunan Abī Dāwūd, vol. 3, p. 444, hadith 3641

[10] Jāmi’ al-Tirmidhi, vol. 4, p. 311, hadith 2690

[11] Faizan-e-‘Ilam wa ‘Ulama, p. 18

[12] Mahnama Faizan-e-Madina May 2022




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