Sincerity Toward Scholars Sheikh Muhammed bin Saleh Al Uthaymeen
Sincerity Toward Scholars
Sheikh Muhammed bin Saleh Al Uthaymeen
Source: Explanation of 40 Hadith (Arabic)
Sincerity toward the scholars is established through various means:
1. Having love for them. If one does not love a person, he will not take that person as an example.
2. Supporting and assisting them in clarifying the truth. This is accomplished by spreading their books through various means of media which are presently available at every time and place.
3. Defending their honor. If something detested was attributed to an esteemed scholar, it is upon the Muslim to follow the following steps:
a. To confirm that the disliked or incorrect issue was actually mentioned by the scholar. How many lies are attributed to a scholar! Therefore, it is incumbent that one investigates concerning the issue. Once that takes place and it is confirmed, then the person moves on to the following steps.
b. One should then contemplate the issue and question himself, is this actually something that should be rebutted or not? It is possible that at first the issue seems to be something that should be rebutted, but after one reflects over the matter, they come to the conclusion that it is actually a true statement. Therefore, it is compulsory that one contemplates over the issue to conclude whether it is correct or not.
c. If you conclude that the matter is not something which should be rebutted, it then becomes mandatory on you to defend the scholar and spread this defense amongst the people. You should clarify to the people that what was mentioned by the scholar is true, even if the people are in opposition to it.
d. But on the contrary, if you conclude based on your opinion, that the matter attributed to the scholar is a mistake (by way of the scholar), it then becomes mandatory upon you to contact him with good manners and humbleness. You should say: I have heard that you have said such and such, and I would like for you to explain this issue to me, for indeed you have more knowledge than me.
If he clarifies the issue for you, you then have the right to debate him concerning it, but this should be done with good manners and reverence for the scholar according to his status and what is suitable with respect to him.
As for what is conducted by many ignorant individuals who approach the scholar who holds an opinion in opposition to what they believe, they approach him in a rude and impolite manner and it’s even possible that some of them move or shake their hands in his face. They say to him: What is this statement that you have invented! What is this detested statement! You do not fear Allah!
But if a person were to reflect over the issue, he would find that the statement of the scholar is in fact in accordance with the text (hadith), and the other people’s opinion is actually in opposition to the text. Most of these kinds of individuals are afflicted with this sort of character due to them being amazed with themselves. They believe that they are Ahlu Sunnah and that they are upon the way of the Salaf, but in reality they are the furthest away from the path of the Salaf and they are likewise furthest away from implementation of the Sunnah. If a person is amazed with himself – we ask Allah for protection-, this person views others as extremely small ants. Therefore, one must be aware of this matter.
4. If you witness a mistake made by a scholar, it is not befitting that you are silent and say: He is more knowledgeable than me.
Rather you should debate with him concerning the matter with good manners and respect. This is because, at times a person may be unaware of a ruling and this individual is informed by someone who is lower in knowledge than him. This is also considered from sincerity toward the scholars.
5. One should direct him (the scholar) toward good as it pertains to propagating Islam amongst the masses. If you notice that this scholar loves spreading knowledge, and therefore he speaks in (gatherings) everywhere he goes, but you notice that this is a burden upon the people and they mention: This scholar has burdened us. Or they say: Whenever we sit with him, he gives us a lecture! From sincerity toward the scholar is that you advise him that he should not lecture except when needed. A person should not feel that if he advises the scholar with the aforementioned that he has prevented him from spreading knowledge. But rather, this action (advising the scholar) is considered from that which protects and preserves knowledge. This is because, if the people become uninterested, then they will become unconcerned with the scholar and his lectures.
After reading this valuable advice by Sheikh Muhammed bin Saleh al Uthaymeen رحمه الله تعالى, I felt the need to translate it and post it for the benefit of those who consider it a small matter to refute a scholar of Ahlu Sunnah. You find some individuals who are young and have not sat a significant amount of time with the many senior scholars of this Ummah, but yet they find within themselves the courage to refute well known respected scholars who have been praised by many of their contemporaries from amongst the people of knowledge. It should also be noted that if one were to read some of the statements of these individuals, he would find that they are not at all matters that a scholar should be rebutted for, but instead they are minor issues not related to Minhaj, Aqeedah nor major issues of Fiqh, and therefore these issues do not produce hatred amongst Salafi scholars nor do they lead to refutation or separation. At any rate, we encourage our brothers and sisters to benefit from the above advice of Sheikh Uthaymeen, and may Allah correct the affairs of the Muslims.
Mustafa George DeBerry