Scholars and Islamic Teachers Act Upon Their Knowledge

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


Scholars and Islamic Teachers Act Upon Their Knowledge


This is an extremely important characteristic which should be found in the individual who is in a position to teach the religion. He should be mindful that he has become an example for others to follow. With this being the case his statements and actions must be in accordance with what Islam legislates and encourages. This also demands that the teacher displays exemplary character, especially when in the presence of others. Allah – The Most High – mentioned in the Glorious Quran concerning Prophet Shua’ib alayhi salaam:


وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُخَالِفَكُمْ إِلَى مَا أَنْهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ

{I do not wish to oppose that which I call you to} (Surah Hud)(11:88)


The famous companion Abu Darda (may Allah be pleased with him) said:


إن أخوف ما أخاف إذا وقفت على الحساب أن يقال لي: قد علمت، فماذا عملت فيما علمت


Indeed my greatest fear concerning standing on the Day of Judgment is that it will be said to me: You have learned, hence what have you done with your knowledge?!


(Jam’e Bayaan al ‘Elm wa Fadlihee #647)


Imam al Thahabee Rahimahullah mentioned on the authority of Abu ‘Umraan who said that Hiram bin Hayaan Rahimahullah said:


إِيَّاكُم وَالعَالِمَ الفَاسِقَ.


Beware of the sinful scholar.


When this statement reached ‘Umar ibn al Khattaab (radhiallahu anhu) he wrote to Hiram inquiring about it. Hiram  replied:


مَا أَرَدْتُ إِلاَّ الخَيْرَ، يَكُوْنُ إِمَامٌ يَتَكَلَّمُ بِالعِلْمِ، وَيَعْمَلُ بِالفِسْقِ، وَيُشَبِّهُ عَلَى النَّاسِ، فَيَضِلُّوا

I only intended good ‘oh Leader of the believers! If the scholar speaks with knowledge and then acts with sin, this will confuse the people and they will be led astray. (Tareekh al Islam 5/534)


Sheikh ‘Abdul ‘Azeez bin Baaz Rahimahullah said:


Another matter which relates to the student of knowledge with regards to his position with Allah firstly, and secondly with regards to his brothers and the society, is that he should fear Allah within himself. When he learns something, he is diligent in performing it without delay and procrastination. He learns and he acts upon it. It is incumbent that actions accompany knowledge. The student should constantly bring himself to account. (The Obligation of a Student of Knowledge pg.15)


Sheikh Muhammad bin Saleh al ‘Uthaymeen Rahimahullah mentioned:


It is incumbent upon the student of knowledge to act upon his knowledge. This includes belief, worship, manners, character and dealings with others. This is the fruit and result of knowledge. The carrier of knowledge is similar to the carrier of a weapon. This weapon could either defend him or harm him. It is because of this that the Prophet (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

وَالْقُرْآنُ حُجَّةٌ لَكَ أَوْ عَلَيْكَ


The Quran is a proof for you or against you. (Sahih Muslim)


(Mejmoo’ Fatawaa 26/80)


It is vital that those who are in positions to teach the Muslim communities realize that they must set a good example and display fear of Allah in private and in open. It is due to this that Imam al ‘Awzai’ee Rahimahullah mentioned:

كنا نضحك ونمزح ، فلما صرنا يقتدى بنا خشيت أن لا يسعنا التبسم

We used to laugh, but when we became individuals who others followed, I feared that it was no longer befitting for us to smile.


(Al Madkal ila Sunan al Kubraa 1/448)


Although no Muslim would deny the permissibility of laughing, the above narration displays for us the great importance the Salaf gave to being cautious of one’s character, especially for those who are looked at as examples in the Muslim communities.


Sheikh Abdul ‘Azeez bin Baaz Rahimahullah said while discussing the great status that Allah has given to the people of knowledge, he said:


The scholars are on a higher level than the layman. This is due to the enormous effect they have on the people, and the tremendous benefit they disperse to the masses. (Knowledge and the Character of its People pg.7)


It is due to this fact that the Salaf were very keen to monitor the teacher’s character before taking knowledge from him. Ibraheem al Nakha’ee Rahimahullah said:



كانوا إذا أتوا الرجل ليأخذوا عنه نظروا إلى هديه وسمته وصلاته ثم أخذوا عنه

If they (students of knowledge) approached an individual for the purpose of study, they would first examine his guidance, character and prayer. Then they would take knowledge from him. (At Temheed 1/48)


In light of this information, it is befitting that the Muslim communities are cautious who they take their knowledge from. They should not lend their ears to any and every individual, even if those individuals claim to have a level of knowledge and are able to benefit others. Rather, the Muslim communities seek to benefit from those who to the best of their ability display exemplified Islamic character. By doing so, these individuals (teachers) have truly helped their Muslim brothers and sisters by first saving themselves, and then trying their level best to save others from a blazing Hell-fire.


The above information is a summarized excerpt of an article soon to be available titled:

The Characteristics of Those Who Knowledge is Taken From


Posted on December 2, 2013, in Naseehah/Advice, Seeking Knowledge. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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