Raashid Ul Nabi Khan
There is new concept coming up these days, that, is ‘celebrity scholars’. First of all let us see, how an ordinary Muslim know who the scholars are? The quality of the scholar and faqeeh who is qualified to issue fatwas is that he is able to use as evidence the verses of the Qur’an and the hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Another quality of the scholars is that they are very religiously committed and have a good attitude, and they are also keen to follow the example of the righteous of the early generations, namely the Sahaabah and Taabi‘een, and the leading scholars.
There are some leading scholars of all times whose sincerity was par excellence; their dedication was absolutely wonderful which include Abu Bakr(RA), Umar(RA), Sufyaan, al-Awzaa‘i(RA), Abu Haneefah(AS), Maalik(AS), ash-Shaafa‘i(AS), Ahmad, al-Ghazaali(AS), al-‘Izz ibn ‘Abd as-Salaam(AS), an-Nawawi(AS), Ibn Taymiyah(AS), Ibn al-Qayyim(AS), Ibn Katheer(AS), Ibn Hajar(AS) and so on.
Now-a-days, however, most of the people claiming that they are scholars and issue fatwas against each other especially on social media like Facebook, twitter and so on. One of the criteria of great scholars according to Ibn al-Salaah is that, “his sound character may be proven when two other scholars state that he is of good character, or because it is widely known. If a person is widely known to be of good character among the scholars of hadith or other scholars, and he is widely praised for his trustworthiness and honesty, there is no need for a statement from specific people testifying to his good character.
The ordinary person (who follows a scholar) must definitely research matters in order to know whether the one he is asking is qualified to issue fatwas. It is not permissible to ask for fatwas from anyone who claims to have knowledge, even if a person is involved in teaching or preaching, or any other position of knowledge, just because he claims to have knowledge.
These days many so called scholars walk on the red carpet to give lectures on Islam but they forget the life of Hazrat Umar (RA). I recall one incident from the life of Umar (RA); when he was on his way to meet the King of Jerusalem, Hazrat Umar(RA) waswearing his usual overly patched robe, and when Abu Ubaidah saw this, he expressed the fear that the people of the village would not treat the Caliph with honour because of how he was dressed. Upon hearing this, Hazrat Umar(RA) remarked: “Oh Abu Ubaidah, we were the most humiliated people on earth and Allah gave us honour through Islam. If we ever seek honour through anything else, Allah will humiliate us again.
If we believe that we truly love and honor our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) then our ultimate love should be to his (PBUH) teachings. We should be serious in seeking knowledge; we should seek knowledge in order to make our lives better; we should seek knowledge for the sake of Allah. As our beloved Prophet (PBUH) has said: “Whoever treads the path in search of knowledge, Allah will make the path to Paradise easy for him’’.
By way of a conclusion, I would offer a suggestion and a dua: My dear brothers and sisters, respect your celebrity speakers but do not idolize them. And, O Allah protects our scholars. Increase them in sincerity, understanding, goodness and protect them from any fitnah. Ameen!
—The author is a Law Graduate from Kashmir University and also holds a Masters in political science. He can be reached at: raashidulnabikhan.dawah@gmail.