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THE HONOUR OF SCHOLARS IS SACREED




By
Ibn Abdillaah As-sudaisiy Al-Iloori

Sometimes, when I scroll through my timeline on Facebook and see some refutations, the first thing that comes to my mind is those audios of purported refutation of Abu Haneefah, An-Nu'maan Ibn Thabit رحمه الله by Alfa Muhammadul Awwal Ali Jabata. After listening those audios then, there is no way you wouldn't nurse strong hatred for Abu Haneefah despite all his effort for this deen. Some of the refutations we read and hear these days are not so much different from what Jabata did to Abu Haneefah. May Allaah rectify his affairs and ours too. Anyone who was familiar with those audios would understand what I am trying to point out.

It is saddening and pathetic that some people think our stand is that some scholars shouldn't be refuted at all, or that some scholars are untouchable when it comes to refutations. I am stating it here once again very clearly, that no one is untouchable when it comes to the protection of the deen, as this is the first of the Maqaasidus Sharee'ah (objectives of Islamic law). No matter who a person is and his extent of knowledge, Allaah has not promised him that he would never make mistake in his research or be misled after being guided. So, how is it possible to confer immunity from refutation on certain individuals, no matter how knowledgeable they are? Even those great scholars some people might think can't be refuted or might not easily be refuted have been strongly, vehemently, adequately and appropriately refutated when the need for it arises.

So, refutation of an 'Aalim is not the problem. Rather, what we advocate is coordinated and mannerly refutations. Some people reading this might start thinking, he is talking about me, he is talking about us. No! It might not be you. You know yourself. You might not be guilty of the poor and destructive refutation, but some people are apparently guilty. You can only talk for yourself, and not for others. The evil of undermining and defamation of scholars is real. The earlier the beter for us to address it.

The 'irdh (honour) of the people of knowledge should be adequately protected. The protection of the honour of scholars shouldn't be mistaken for defence of personality upon error. They are two different things. If a scholar makes a mistake or is in error, his error is not to be defended blindly to the detriment of the deen. But at the same time, his honour, as a scholar, Muslim or human being must not be tampered with. The honour and personality of every human being should be guarded from insults, defamation (libel, backbitting) and so on. This is also from the objectives of the shari'ah.  Allaah says:

(وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ وَحَمَلْنَاهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَاهُمْ مِنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَىٰ كَثِيرٍ مِمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلًا)

And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference. [Surat Al-Isra' 70, Sahih International]

By this verse, all human beings are honoured by Allaah. However, Allaah elevates some people to be above some people. We can't all be equal. Allaah in His Wisdom has placed believers over the disbelievers. Allaah has placed and elevated the scholars over and above the ignorant people in the society. Allaah says;

(يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ ۚ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ)

Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do. [Surat Al-Mujadila 11, Sahih International]

If the honour of ordinary people are not meant to be violated just anyhow without just cause, what more of the scholars of the deen? By Allaah, we need to respect our scholars. We are in need of sound adab (manner) in dealing with the people of knowledge. They don't deserve our insults, denigration, backbitting etc. Their honour is sacred. Even if we hold that they make any mistake, that should still not give us the licence to talk to them anyhow. We shouldn't address scholars of Sunnah who are old enough to be our parent in a way we wouldn't address our parents and elders in the family. Sheikh Rabee' حفظه الله was asked about people who revile scholars, he said:

This is a very dangerous matter indeed, meaning: criticising Ahlul-Haqq (those who are upon the Truth) – attacking them leads to attacking and contending with the religion itself because it prevents [people] from the Path of Allah. That is due to the fact that the one who attacks Ahlul-Haqq, the callers to the Truth, the callers to Tawhīd, those who call to fighting against shirk, bid’ah and misguidance – attacking them causes one to flee from the Path of Allah (the Blessed and Most High). And you know already what Allah has stated regarding those who opposed and attacked the Prophets. They would attack their callers, not [so much] their individuals. They would say: “He’s a liar, a magician..” and so on from terms of abuse. So if he is reviled in his character, then his da’wah is lost. And this is the case today. The scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets. So when a people call to the Salafi Manhaj, to the Book of Allah, to the Sunnah of the Messenger (ﷺ), to the Methodology of the Prophets in ‘Aqīdah, to fighting against shirk, upon the Methodology of the Prophets, then there come a people [in opposition] reviling them – and this means that they prevent people from the Path of Allah. So we ask Allah that He guides them to repent, and that they return to the Truth, that they recognise the station of the People of Truth (Ahlul-Haqq), that they abandon their stance in front of those who are eager for the Truth so they do not prevent them from the Path of Allah.” (Audio source:Wujūb Al-Ittibā’ lā Ibtidā’ from the Shaikh’s website)

It is from the Sunnah and protection of Islaam to protect the honour of the prophets, companions عليهم السلام ورضي الله عنهم and the scholars of the deen (dead or alive) who tried their best  or who are striving hard to call to the Sunnah respectively, even if they slip in some matters. All of our teachers must caution their students on the evil of speaking ill of scholars in an unjust manne, due to divergent views on some matters in the deen. Scholars or preachers are strongly advised to refrain from traits which directly or inadvertently instigate students of knowledge to speak ill of their fellow scholars and preachers. This is a dangerous thing to do.

It should noted that when we try to emphasise sound manner and good character in the dissemination of the message of Sunnah, we are only trying to remind ourselves an important aspect of the shari'ah. It shouldn't be misunderstood that we are claiming to be embodiments of manner or that we are of good character than anyone else. We are only admonishing ourselves. So, whenever I display ill manner anywhere, whether to a scholar or otherwise, don't leave me alone, call me to order. No one is perfect. But getting angry when one is humbly advised to check his manners of dealing with people is like getting angry when one is told to fear Allaah. 

May Allaah guide us.

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