Sects, madhabs, schools of thought, schools of law, and scholar-worship have become the equivalent of tribes and castes in the Ummah. Those that push a specific sect, or madhab, or scholar’s teachings, rarely realise that they’re creating more divisions in the Ummah, rather than uniting us behind a common good.
Debating the merits of my scholar versus your scholar is juvenile and smacks of arrogance. There would be no need to have such debates if the focus was on the issue itself. If we weren’t too lazy to apply our minds to the beautiful and sound principles contained in Islamic teachings, we’ll very quickly find that there is no need for us to align with a specific scholar, or a specific sect.
I have yet to come across a single debate between the sects that is based on the threat of something taking one outside the fold of Islam. The only time judgements of kufr or deviance are passed out is when the ones passing them out are steeped in arrogance and obstinacy because they refuse to be wrong, rather than any stated concern about the imaan of the one that they are accusing.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You’ll never find an extremist unless they profess to fall under a specific banner or sect. Islam is about moderation, yet every sectarian forgets this. We’re also encouraged directly by the Hadith, in plain language, that we should not help Shaytaan by insulting others, yet even this the sectarians don’t get.
It’s time that we started rejecting the quotes of scholars that are divisive, unless they can directly support their view with a sahih hadith, or a verse from the Qur’an that they believe encourages the divisions that they seek. We need to stop believing that we’re so depraved of intellect and logic, that only those that formally study the sources of Islamic knowledge are capable of teaching others. Yet another hadith that is often forgotten or maligned is the one that teaches us to teach others even if we know only a single verse.
I could go on all day, but it should be obvious by now that the facts are stacked against the sectarians, the taqleedis, the blind followers of scholars, and similar such extremist tendencies that we have in the Ummah. We have Muslims starving themselves to death to get our attention, but it seems selecting the right label for your imaan is more important than this. No wonder we’re so despicable in action and inaction these days.
May Allah save us from ourselves, and may He save others from us as well. Aameen.
This is illogical.
Going for the ‘anti-scholars’ route will not help anyone progress their conviction of Allah(swt). You can apply this same skewed rationale towards understanding the sciences and have people ‘think for themselves’; toss a textbook towards them and let them ‘learn on their own’. That’s now how it’s supposed to work. With every book of information comes a guide. Sometimes information is so obvious that the guide that would suffice is common sense. Other times, when it’s something as complex as Islamic Philosophy, you need a scholar to help you along.
If people don’t know how to think they won’t know what to think. They’ll run astray, start finding loopholes and exploit these misunderstandings through their own perspective.
This is dangerous because these perspectives are radicals that can cause enormous disruptions in the mindset of the masses. It starts small at first, but once you get a few people that are capable of swaying huge numbers of people solely by the way they communicate, their words cause huge shifts in understanding. And this understanding, if left uncensored, unfiltered, and unregulated leads towards insane deviation of what is supposed to be accepted within a populace.
This is not what Islam is teaching us. In Islam, there has always been some sort of leadership that chains back towards Allah(swt). This whole notion of “use your intellect” is conditional on the fact that you have prerequisite knowledge of what you’re studying. This extends towards teaching others as well. You have to be very careful that the information that you are giving others is 100%, without a doubt, set-in-stone, flawless, follows logic, history, and (in certain situations) is backed by hadith and Quran as well as tafseers by reputable scholars.
If there is something that Islam is saying, that is explained by scholars who have spent their lives trying to understand Islam, that you don’t agree with, then you are at fault. Your understanding is flawed.
So bottom line, scholars are the way to go.
At the risk of starting a reblog debate, I respectfully disagree with what you have said. Not only are you contradicting yourself, but you’re also confirming exactly what I stated to begin with. For starters, you cannot teach someone how to think. If you assume that teaching someone to interpret something the way someone else believes it should be interpreted, then you’re essentially conditioning them.
When you raise scholars above reproach, you make them infallible, which ultimately results in the sectarianism that we see today. In fact, you confirmed this when you said “It starts small at first, but once you get a few people that are capable of swaying huge numbers of people solely by the way they communicate, their words cause huge shifts in understanding.” Like I said, that confirms exactly what I said.
However, I have never stated that we should become anti-scholar. That is simply your extremist interpretation of my post. I simply said that we should encourage people to apply their minds to the principles of Islam rather than dogmatically following rituals based on the interpretations of others.
More importantly, Islam is not science, nor is it a philosophy that needs to be studied in order to be applied. We’re all so quick to talk about following the ways of the salaf, yet we rarely consider the practical reality of the lives they lead on a daily basis. We conveniently overlook the ahadith that directly indicate that variations of practice are entirely allowed, and were not reprimanded or corrected if the principles of Islam were not violated. We selectively quote the salaf, and the scholars that profess to follow the ways of the salaf, but ignore the examples of the salaf themselves when they abandoned their personal views in favour of establishing unity in the Ummah.
Stop intellectualising Islam and making it a domain for the academic elite only. Islam is a way of life, not a course to be studied at some university. The ahadith is a practical example that anyone can learn from. Apply your mind and live moderately, and observe the basic principles of Islam, and you’ll be fine.
Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Beware of going to extremes (in religion), for those before you were only destroyed through excessiveness.” [An-Nasai]
Allah Most High says in the Quran, “Say: O people of the Book, do not be excessive in your religion.’” [4:171]
I therefore reconfirm my disagreement with your views. I think Al-Ghazali made a good point when he questioned why it is that we seek more knowledge when we don’t practice on the knowledge we have.
To clarify, I am not dismissing the works of the scholars as a whole. I said specifically “It’s time that we started rejecting the quotes of scholars that are divisive, unless they can directly support their view with a sahih hadith, or a verse from the Qur’an that they believe encourages the divisions that they seek.” So I’m not sure why you felt a need to defend a position I didn’t even take in the first place.