True and False Scholars – Ulama-e-Haq & Ulama-e-Soo
By Syed Soharwardy
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Before you read this article, please offer du’a (supplication) to Allah that he shows us the right path and give us the courage to accept the truth and not to be stubborn. May Allah remove sectarian biasing from us. Ameen.
The real and true scholars of Islam are a big blessing from Allah to this Ummah. There is no doubt that these true scholars (Ulama-e-Haq) are the inheritors of Real Knowledge, which Allah gave to Prophets, and through Prophets (peace be upon them) these scholars learned it and they spread it. May Allah give the best reward to these scholars and give us the opportunity to follow them. Ameen.
In this article, the author has tried to identify the problems for Muslim Ummah caused by the False Scholars (Ulama-e-Soo)
Mankind was one single nation, And Allah sent Messengers with glad tidings and warnings. And with them He sent the book in truth, To judge between people in matters wherein they differed. But the people of the book after the clear signs came to them, did not differ among themselves except through selfish contumacy. Allah by His grace guided the believers to the truth, concerning that wherein they differed. For Allah guides whom he will to a path that is straight. (Surah: Al Baqarah, volume 1, verse 213)
The division of Muslim Ummah into various sects (FIRQAH) has caused so much grief that some time the concerned Muslims wonder what is wrong with us? At present, in many areas of the world the survival of Muslims is becoming very critical such as, Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine, Parts of Indonesia, Kosovo, Iraq, Turkey, Russian Federation and the list goes on. In the other parts of the Muslim world, Muslims are fighting against Muslims because of difference of opinions on very minor issues. Its pity and sad.
Just because of these minor differences Muslims are so deeply divided that most often they forget the actual problems of Muslim Ummah (nation). This is what Satan and enemies of Muslims want from Muslims.
The most unfortunate aspect of this division is that the people who claim that they have the knowledge of Islam such as Moulvees (Imams of Mosques) and Muslim scholars are responsible for this division. They are the one who dwell on these differences in every Jum’a speech (Khutba), in other speeches and in their writings. These religious scholars have turned away many Muslims from Mosques and confused them about Islamic beliefs. These religious scholars have influenced their followers so deep that these people do not hesitate to fight in side Mosques with other Muslims, declare other Muslims Kafir (non-believer), Mushrik (a person who finds partner for God) or Bid’atee (innovator in Islam).
In Pakistan, after Friday prayers, in Ramadan after Taraweeh prayers and on other Islamic occasions, the gatherings in some of the mosques become so unpleasant that the Muslims start fighting against other Muslims just because of minor differences. Unfortunately, same situation is rising in Muslim communities living in North America and Europe. We suppose to bring the message of Islam to non-Muslims which is based upon peace, love and respect but our own behavior denies this message.
Who is responsible for this problem? Lets see what Qur’an says about this problem.
And We granted them Clear Signs in affairs (Of Religion): it was only After knowledge had been granted to them that they fell into schisms through insolent envy among themselves. Verily thy Lord will judge between them on the day of judgment as to those matters in which they setup differences (Surah: Jathiyah, volume 25, verse 17)
Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving clear signs: For them is a dreadful Penalty (Surah: Aal-e-Imran, volume 4, verse 105)
Nor did the people of the Book make schisms Until after there came to them clear evidence (Surah: Al Bayyinah, volume 30, verse 4)
And they became divided only after knowledge reached them – through selfish Envy as between themselves. Had it not been for a Word that went forth before from thy Lord, (Tending) to a term appointed, The matter would have been settled between them. But truly those who have inherited the Book after them.
It is He who has power over all things. (Surah: Al Shura, volume 25, verse 14)
The Religion before Allah is Islam: Nor did the people of the Dissent therefrom except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of Allah, Allah is swift in calling to account. (Surah: Aal-e-Imran, volume 3, verse 19).
The above five verses from the Qur’an very clearly describe the following.
The people who had the knowledge of religion created the division in the religion.
These people created the division in the religion because of their selfishness, jealousy / envy for each other and sectarian biasing.
These people had clear signs from Allah but still they created doubts and divided the Ummah.
Among the previous nations the people of knowledge divided the religion and now among the Muslims the people of knowledge are doing the same thing.
All these people who divided the religion will ultimately pay a huge penalty hereafter.
In present days whom we call the people of knowledge in religion? Certainly, they are our Moulvees (Imams of Mosques) and religious scholars. Please remember that all the people of knowledge in religion do not create division among Muslims. Very few people are responsible for this division. They are the one who is addressed here. Most of the Islamic Scholars, are God fearing people and they teach and propagate the correct knowledge of Islam. It is because of them that we get the correct understanding of Islam and we should be very thankful to them. May Allah give them the best reward. The true Islamic scholars are the scholars of truth (Ulama-e-Haq) while, the scholars who has created this division are false scholars (Ulama-e-Soo).
Difference of Opinion in Religion
An intellectual difference of opinion among scholars is a very healthy sign for a nation. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that the difference of opinion in my Ummah is a blessing. This means that the constructive difference of opinion is healthy and should be encouraged. In previous nations, the entire scholar community got agreed to change the divine commandments in order to please the rich, powerful and themselves. They changed the Shari’a of their religion and people followed them. But Insha-Allah (God willing), this will never happen in Muslim Ummah. Muslim Ummah in its entirety will never agree on false ideas and beliefs. This disagreement on false ideas and beliefs is a blessing from Allah in order to keep Islam secure from changes.
Similarly, intellectual difference of opinion is a blessing. This is very healthy. It nourishes the community. It encourages the Ummah to think, do not follow blindly, and try to understand things and try to rationalize things. This is the beauty of Islam that it is a very rational religion. This intellectual difference of opinion was very common among the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Allah has asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Qur’an to consult with the companions on issues and matters. This does not mean that Allah or the Prophet were in need of any advice from the companions but it was part of their training. Allah does not require anyone’s advice. The Prophet (peace be upon him) required guidance and directions from Allah only. Prophets follows no body but Allah. Prophet’s (peace be upon him) consultation with the companions was only for companion’s training and setting up the example for the rest of the coming generations that Muslim governments and individuals consult with each other before making decisions. During the consultation process the intellectual differences may arise and these differences in opinions should be respected.
Before the battle of Khandaq, Prophet (peace be upon him) consulted with the companions on war strategy. Various suggestions came from various people and Prophet (peace be upon him) approved the idea of Trench (Khandaq). A huge trench was dug and Muslims fought the war against the non-believers and won the war. This did not mean that those companions who gave different strategy of war were wrong. But when a decision was made everybody followed it. Same thing happened during the battle of Uhad and on many other occasions. During the period of Khilafah, every Khalifa (Caliph) had his consultative council and companions expressed their views free from any fear or desire.
When Sayyidna Abu Bakr Al Siddiq was the Caliph, the companions came to him and asked him to collect Qur’an in one place. Although, most of the companions had memorized the Qur’an but there was a concern for future generations. Till that time Qur’an was written on tree leaves, branches, animal skins etc. and various companions had various parts of Qur’an. It was not in one place. When companions asked him to collect Qur’an in one place, he refused and said how can I do some thing, which Allah’s Messenger did not do himself? But when the companion and especially Sayyidna Omar Farooq requested him to collect Qur’an and explained to him the reasons and good intentions of doing such work he agreed to the idea and Qur’an was collected. There are several examples of this kind, which can be quoted from the books of Hadith.
Similarly, the four Imams of FIQQAH (Jurisprudence) disagreed on many issues. Some time the differences were very deep. But these Imams differ from each other on intellectual level only. NO IMAM CALLED ANY OTHER IMAM WRONG. Rather, they all respected each other. The difference among them was never personal. It was purely sincere, intellectual and very civilized.
What is happening now?
What happened to our scholars now? Why their differences of opinion are less intellectual and more personal.
Why Muslims fight against each other not only on streets but also in Mosques. Mosques (Masajid) supposed to be the most peaceful places on earth. Why in Pakistan, Muslims are shooted and killed in Mosques by the Muslims in the name of Islam? Why a Muslim scholar calls another Muslim Kafir or Mushrik or Bid’atee just because of sectarian differences? The list of these questions can go on. The worse thing about these differences is that these Moulvees and Scholars feel that they are doing these things to please Allah and to serve Islam and they will go to heaven by doing these things. They enjoy this division. Allah knew that these Moulvees have done this in the past and they will be doing the same thing in future. Allah mentioned in Qur’an;
Those who split up their religion and become (mere) sects – each party rejoicing in that which is with itself. (Surah: Al Rum, volume; 21, verse 32)
Before we find the answers to some of the above questions, lets analyze some of the incidents. If we read carefully, we will realize that there is a character in all these incidents which plays a pivotal role.
During 1979-80, the Muslim Community of Corona (Queens), New York built a mosque in Corona. During the construction everybody worked together and masjid was completed. After few days the Ramadan started. On 27th Ramadan some of the Muslims tried to decorate the masjid with lights. The Imam and his followers opposed the idea. The discussion became so heated that the two groups were about to get physical but because of some interventions people left the mosque and went home. At night after Khatmul Qur’an, some of the Muslims wanted to recite Salam on the Prophet (peace be upon him). Two groups were formed right a way. Those Muslims who were making Du’a just few minutes ago for the unity of Muslim Ummah were so severely divided, they forgot that they were in the Mosque. The sticks, baseball bats, belts were out and Muslims were beating Muslims in the Mosque.
Within few minutes police came with dogs. Entered into the masjid with dogs and boots and arrested the management committee and many other Muslims on “Lailatul Qadr” night. This all happened in the name of Islam. Both sides were thinking that they will be rewarded from Allah if the other side surrenders. There have been similar incidents in many places in USA and UK.
In Pakistan, such incidents are so common that if the people do not fight against each other then the Imam will make a Khutba in Jum’a prayer and force people to remember the differences and fight against the other Muslims who belong to a different sect. During the last ten years hundreds of Muslims have been killed in Mosques just because they belonged to a different sect. Muslims were murdered in Mosques while they were praying. This was all done to please Allah and spread Islam. Do you think that an ordinary Muslim who just know little about Islam will do such a thing?
1994, I was in Karachi, Pakistan during Rabi’a Alawal. This was my first time in ten years to see Eid-e-Miladunnabi (Prophet’s Birthday Celebrations) programs. I was watching a Eid-e-Miladunnabi Parade (Jaloos) which was passing near a mosque. This Mosque has an International Islamic School (Madrasah) in it. The Muslims who manage the mosque and the school do not believe in celebrating Eid-Miladunnabi. The people in the parade were chanting some slogans (Na’arah) very loudly near the mosque. The students of the Madrasah in the mosque did not like the slogans and started throwing rocks on the people and within seconds the road near the mosque looked like a battleground. The Moulvees (students and teachers of Madrasah Al Islamiyah) were running after the people and snatching the banners from the children in the parade. They Put their feet on the banners which has kalima, Qur’anic verses, painting of Ka’ba and Masjid Al Nabawi and torn those banners. I was astonished that these Moulvees, who has the knowledge of religion suppose to be the best in manners. These are the Moulvees when they make speeches they quote Qur’an, Hadith,
Imams of Fiqqah in every sentence of their speech. Here we go that these Moulvees do not practice when they preach. Surely, Islam does not teach to disagree with your opponents like this. These are the Moulvees who were unable to understand Islam.
Allah says in Qur’an that it is a sin that a Muslim preaches what he / she does not practice. These false scholars of Islam (Ulama-e-Soo) are the example of such Muslims. These Moulvees preach hate, intolerance, division and disrespectfulness in the name of Towheed and Islam.
Muslim countries are facing several problems. The causes of these problems could be several. Economical, educational, political, social, ethical, scientific, technological and many other problems are caused by many factors. In my opinion, these false scholars of Islam (Ulama-e-Soo) are the major reasons for our problems. In Pakistan, these Moulvees have created huge corruption and unrest in the lives of innocents Muslims that the true scholars of Islam, Ulama-e-Haq are hiding just to save their dignity and livelihood. These false scholars of Islam are damaging Islam and are responsible for turning away Muslim Youth from the religion or turning Muslim youth into intolerant people. In Pakistan, people know that the police, income tax department, customs, politicians, judiciary are corrupt but In my opinion, during the past twenty years the corruption caused by these false scholars of Islam (Ulama-e-Soo) is the highest. These Corrupt Moulvees are so successful in managing their corruption that whenever they are asked by the government or by the true scholars of Islam (Ulama-e-Haq) they diverted peoples attention from their corruption and moved it towards the government or the West. They always blame Western countries for the sufferings of the Muslim world in order to hide their own corruption and cruelty. It is very easy to blame others but it is very difficult to correct us.
In Sindh and Punjab most of the landlords (waderas) are also PIR (self claimed spiritual leaders). They own grave or graves of some Sufis (saints). They build a big shrine on those graves and ask villagers, who have little or no knowledge of Islam to come and donate whatever they earn. This is a big source of their income. The people who cultivate their lands, farmers (Mazares) are badly abused by these landlords including males and females. These landlords consider their human farmers as animals. They do not allow education for the children of their farmers. They do not allow to make roads in their areas. They do not let these farmers go out side their boundaries and these farmers die within those boundaries and never had a chance to see the out side world. These PIRs (self claimed spiritual leaders who are billionaires as well) are so greedy that they do not let these farmers become independent. Is USA or west is responsible for these crimes or the system in Pakistan, which has created and empowered such criminals? These landlords have combined the power of money, politics and religion and corrupted the entire system in Pakistan.
No government can operate without taxes. In Pakistan, certainly not all, but some prominent and influential Moulvees are rich. Their standard of living is as high as a wealthy businessmen or landlord. How many of these Moulvees pay taxes to the government and how much? These Moulvees would like to know the amount of Zakat paid by others. What about their own Zakat? Who gets their Zakat and Sadqah? Will these Moulvees ever allow third party to audit their religious operations? They would like to make every person accountable but aren’t they account able as well?
Unfortunately, similar things are happening in the western countries. The Imams (Moulvees) of most of our Mosques talk about unity of Muslims but this unity must be based upon their conditions and school of thought. If a Muslim who happens to belong to a
different school of thought expresses his opinion, the Imam not only see that person as an outsider but also feel very insecure when this person is around. These Moulvees are afraid of loosing donations or jobs rather, being honest and sincere to the Muslims.
Our Imams make du’a for Muslim unity but their condition of unity is to follow them blindly and never challenge them. These Imams and Moulvees talk about the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him), Companions of the Prophet (May Allah be pleased with them) and good manners and behavior but when it comes to prove it, most of them fail. These are the false scholars (Ulama-e-Soo) and they are the one who has divided us.
What should we do about it?
The answer is simple. Let’s ask Allah. Allah says in Qur’an;
As far those who divide their religion and break up into sects, thou hast no part in them in the lease: Their affair is with Allah. He will in the end tell them the truth of all they did. (Surah: Al An’am, volume 8, verse 159)
Allah asked the Prophet to stay away from such people who divide religion and breakup into sects. In fact, Allah is asking all of us that we should not follow such people and do not associate with them in their sectarian mission.
Brothers and Sisters, Lets not to get trapped by these false scholars. Allah has given us very clear instruction that we should not join them. Having difference of opinion is permissible in Islam as long as it does not contradict Qur’an and Hadith. Who should define what contradicts and what’s not? The answer is simple. Its, Allah, his Prophet (peace be upon him) and you. Unfortunately, Head of Islamic State (Ameer ul Mo’mineen) does not exist at present times. What you need to do is try to read Qur’an and understand it. Do not use only one Tafseer from one school of thought. Consult at least three or four Tafaseer of different school of thoughts, compare their translation
and interpretations and sincerely ask Allah to guide you in understanding his glorious book. I am sure, that Allah will never leave you astray if you ask him sincerely. Last Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, if Allah wants to shower his blessings on someone, he gives him / her the understanding of “DEEN” (Islamic Way of life) This is what exactly we need.
We must tolerate each other. We must respect difference of opinion. We must not impose ourselves on others. We must love each other for the sake of Allah not for Moulvees. We must have good manners and we must be civilized in the mosque and out side the mosque.
Lets follow Qur’an and the Prophet (peace be upon him) not the Moulvees. Lets understand Qur’an and Hadith ourselves and do not depend upon Moulvees. Lets see how the Companion’s of the Prophet and the Family Members of the Prophet (peace be upon them) interpreted Islam and do not follow the interpretation of False Scholars. We just need little time to spend on acquiring Islamic knowledge on daily basis. Remember, the best Tafseer of Qur’an is by Qur’an itself and then the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) and then his Family’s (AHL-E-BAIT) and the Companion’s (SAHABAH). In short,
If someone wants to perform prayer with fasten hands and the other with open arms, both should be respected.
If someone, says Ameen loudly in the prayer and the other don’t, both should be respected.
If someone breaks FAST right at the sunset and the other after ten minutes, both should be respected
If someone says Salam on the Prophet (peace be upon him) by standing and the other do not want to say, both should be respected.
If someone wants to celebrate Prophet’s Birthday and the other don’t, both should be respected
If someone calls an Islamic gathering, Mehfil-e-Seerat and the other calls it Mehfi-e-Milad, both should be respected
Do not force people. We should not call one is wrong and the other is right.
There are scholars on both sides and both of them have valid arguments. Therefore, instead of fighting against each other by following False Scholars, lets fight against those who fight against both of them.
We must not follow the false scholars who create division among Muslims based upon their sectarian beliefs. May Allah show us the right path. Ameen. Please send me feedback on this article at Soharwardy@Home.com Thanks.