All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds, Who says in His Ever Glorious Book, “Say, ‘How can those who know be equal to those who do not know?’ Only those who have understanding will take heed.’” I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger. May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his Household, Companions and upon those who follow their path to the Day of Judgment.
Islam has called people to seek knowledge and praised seriousness and diligence in acquiring it. This is so clear from the fact that the first revealed verses from the Glorious Qur’an are Allah’s saying, “Read! In the name of your Lord who created: He created man from a clinging form. Read! Your Lord is the Most Bountiful One. Who taught by [means of] the pen, who taught man what he did not know.” Thus, the first Divine command was to read, which is the first means of knowledge. Then, the verse referred to the “pen”, which is the way to record and transmit knowledge. This shows for all people the virtue of knowledge, and is an encouragement to acquire it. It is thus evident that Islam is the religion of science and knowledge, and that this nation of Islam is a nation of science and civilization.
A complete surah in the Qur’an is called “Al-Qalam” (The Pen), which starts with Allah’s saying, “Nun, By the pen! By all they write,” as an affirmation of the importance of the tools and means of science. It is a sufficient indication of the significance of knowledge that the Almighty Allah did not command His Prophet (PBUH) to ask for an increase of any of the world affairs except with regard to knowledge. The Almighty Allah, says, “Say, ‘Lord, increase me in knowledge!’”. Moreover, the Prophet (PBUH) equated the pursuit of knowledge with striving for the cause of Allah, and that such action leads to Paradise. He (PBUH) said, “He who goes forth in search of knowledge is considered as struggling in the Cause of Allah until he returns.” He (PBUH) also said, “”Allah makes the way to Jannah easy for him who treads the path in search of knowledge.” Thus, knowledge is one of the pillars of the building of nations, as it leads to its advancement and progress.
The Glorious Qur’an has praised scholars, regardless of their specializations, as the Almighty Allah said, “Allah will raise up, by many degrees, those of you who believe and those who have been given knowledge: He is fully aware of what you do. He, the Exalted, also stated that scholars are the ones who fear Him most, saying, “It is those of His servants who have knowledge who stand in true awe of Allah. Allah is Almighty, most Forgiving.” Given this status, scholars are declared by Allah as the witnesses to His Oneness, As the Qur’an says, “Allah bears witness that there is no god but Him, as do the angels and those who have knowledge. He upholds justice. There is no god but Him, the Almighty, the All Wise.”
The Prophet (PBUH) emphasized this, showing that the people of knowledge are the heirs of the Prophets in terms of guiding people and calling them to the path of Allah and to the path of truth and reformation. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “The learned are the heirs of the Prophets who bequeath neither dinar nor dirham but only that of knowledge; and he who acquires it, has in fact acquired an abundant portion.” The Prophet (PBUH) also said, “The superiority of the learned man over the devout worshipper is like that of the full moon to the rest of the stars (i.e., in brightness).”
It goes without saying that the scholars whom the Almighty Allah honored and whom the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) praised are the true scholars of the nation who realize the greatness of the responsibility that they carry. It is the responsibility of knowledge, calling to Allah, and explaining His commands. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “May Allah cause to flourish a slave (of His) who hears my words and understands them, then he conveys them from me.” The faithful scholars have understood the mission for which Allah has chosen them. It is not a mission to earn money with; it is more sublime and lofty. The Almighty Allah commanded His Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to say, “Say, ‘If I have asked you for any reward, you can keep it. It is Allah alone Who will reward me: He is witness to everything.” Also, the Qur’an reported the statements of Prophets: Noah, Hud, Salih, Lot, and Shu’ib (peace be upon them), “I ask no reward of you, for my only reward is with the Lord of the Worlds.” All Prophets speak in the same affirmative tone confirming the unity of their goal, approach, faithful intent, and devotion to Allah.
The true scholars of the nation are those who spent their time and effort for the sake of Allah, and used their knowledge in the service of their religion and their homeland. Thus, they lead people through the path of moderation, tolerance and mercy. Therefore, their call yielded good generations who build and never destroy, raise human dignity, and coexist with all people in peace, security and safety. This is actually the beneficial knowledge that benefits man after death. In this regard, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “When a man dies all his good deeds come to an end except three: Ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge and a righteous son who prays for him.” He (PBUH) used also to seek refuge with Allah from knowledge that neither benefits nor builds nor cultivates manners and ethics. He (PBUH) said, “Ask Allah for beneficial knowledge and seek refuge with Allah from knowledge that is of no benefit.” He (PBUH) furthermore used to supplicate Allah, “O Allah, I seek refuge with You from knowledge that is of no benefit, a heart that is not humble, a supplication that is not heard and a soul that is not satisfied.”
With that said, I ask Allah to forgive me and you
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds; I bear witness that there is no god but Allah; and I bear witness that our master Prophet Muhammad is His slave and Messenger; may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his family, companions and whoever follows their guidance to the Day of Judgment.
Sincere scholars of this Ummah are the ones who guide us to the righteous path; they are people of righteousness and moderation; they are the ones who carry the flag of moderation in every time and protect the religion of Allah from the corruption of the extremists and the interpretation of the ignorant.
As for those semi scholars who exploit religion to reach their goals and purposes, they have indeed violated the limits and allowed themselves to issue fatwas that harm people, not benefit them; that divide not gather; that destruct not builds and that opens the doors to Takfir in this Ummah, a matter that Islam has warned us against. In this regard, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Any person who called his brother: “O unbeliever” (has in fact done an act by which this unbelief) would return to one of them. If it were so, as he asserted (then the unbelief of man was confirmed but if it was not true), then it returned to him (to the man who labeled it on his brother Muslim).
Those so-called scholars exploit extremism, fanaticism and imposition of restrictions upon people as a way to them in spite of the fact that it is totally away from the tolerance and moderation of Islam that removes all hardships from people. Allah, Most High, says, “He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty.” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Facilitate things to people (concerning religious matters), and do not make it hard for them and give them good tidings and do not make them run away (from Islam).” So, keeping away from the ease of Islam is against its tolerant moderation for which it is known. Allah, Most High, says, “And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you.” Moderation means justice and ‘itidal means keeping away from extremism that is the main cause in the destruction of nations. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “O people, beware of exaggeration in religious matters for those who came before you were doomed because of exaggeration in religious matters.’” Sufyan Al Thawri is reported to have said, “For us, knowledge is but a license (to be given to people) in light of correct understanding. As for extremism, everyone can do it.”
Those scholars who stir up unrest are exactly like those who talk on no basis of knowledge and who do not understand the need of the Ummah to make use of moderation and ease. They do not realize that the construction of the world is one of the objectives of Sharia and that people will not respect our religion unless we achieve superiority in our worldly affairs. Those who do not understand this fact direct their speeches and preaching to prohibit people from the worldly life, a matter that caused so many laymen to misunderstand the relation between religion and the worldly life, to the extent that they understand that mysticism is none but isolation from life, neglecting the Saying of Allah, “Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.”
In this vein, issuance of fatwa by those unqualified persons is misguidance and a way to lead people astray. Fatwa based on no knowledge has caused considerable harm to people. Jabir Ibn Abd Allah (Allah be pleased with him) narrated, “We set out on a journey. One of our people was hurt by a stone, that injured his head. He then had a sexual dream. He asked his fellow travelers: Do you find a concession for me to perform tayammum? They said: We do not find any concession for you while you can use water. He took a bath and died. When we came to the Prophet؛ the incident was reported to him. He said: They killed him, may Allah kill them! Could they not ask when they did not know? The cure for ignorance is inquiry. It was enough for him to perform tayammum and to pour some drops of water or bind a bandage over the wound (the narrator Musa was doubtful); then he should have wiped over it and washed the rest of his body.”
We are actually in a dire need to restrict to our specializations and to exert our utmost in what we can do in fulfillment of showing fear to Allah, respecting knowledge and consideration of the danger of word, for words served many times as the causes for destruction and corruption; so silence is better than that speech that causes harm and does not bring benefit. As such, if those who do not know keep silent, there will be no disagreement at all. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, ” “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him be hospitable to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain good the ties of blood relationship; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, must speak good or remain silent”.
O Allah! Show us the way of righteousness and help us adhere to it; show us the way of misguidance and keep us from it; teach us what benefits us, increase our knowledge and protect Egypt and all the world’s countries