بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The Role of Ulema
Allah (swt) says,
(إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاء إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ غَفُورٌ)
“Only those of His slaves with knowledge (Ulema) have fear of Allah. Allah is Almighty, Ever-Forgiving.” [Fatir: 28]
(إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاء)
“Only those of His slaves with knowledge (Ulema) have fear of Allah.” Ibn Kathir stated that, “The more the knowledge of Allah and His (swt) power is complete, the more He (swt) will be feared by those who have the complete knowledge.”
Imam Al-Qurtubi said that, “The scholars are those who know the power of Allah (swt). They are in no doubt of His (swt) punishment no matter what the sin is.”
Abdullah b. ‘Amr b. al-‘As narrated from the Prophet (saw):
«إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَقْبِضُ الْعِلْمَ انْتِزَاعًا يَنْتَزِعُهُ مِنْ النَّاسِ وَلَكِنْ يَقْبِضُ الْعِلْمَ بِقَبْضِ الْعُلَمَاءِ حَتَّى إِذَا لَمْ يَتْرُكْ عَالِمًا اتَّخَذَ النَّاسُ رُءُوسًا جُهَّالًا فَسُئِلُوا فَأَفْتَوْا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ فَضَلُّوا وَأَضَلُّوا»
“Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people but He takes away knowledge by taking away the scholars, so that when He leaves no learned person, people turn to the ignorant as their leaders; then they are asked to deliver religious verdicts and they deliver them without knowledge, they go astray, and lead others astray.” (Sahih Muslim 2673)
It is heartening to see that the youth of this Ummah are standing against our subservient rulers to the West in order to bring about political change. The Ummah is in dire need of Islamic leadership. In the absence of this Islamic leadership and Islamic guidance, the hopeful animated youth will be unfounded by the secularists and those love-struck by Western culture, which will keep the Ummah in its state of subjugation.
The Ummah today more than ever before needs to understand Islam, judge geo-political events flawlessly and implement the method of Prophethood (saw) for revival, scilicet the re-establishment of the Khilafah (Caliphate) state, which will implement the Sharia, unite the Ummah under the emblem of Khilafah. This is the only correct way to true independence for this Ummah from the man-made capitalist democracy.
The scholars have a pivotal role in leading this Ummah and cultivating a new generation of Muslims leaders who will have the vision and strength of character to lead this Ummah to its rightful status as the best nation raised for humankind, Allah (swt) says:
(كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ)
“You are the best nation ever to be produced before mankind. You enjoin the right, forbid the wrong and have iman in Allah.” [Aali-Imran: 110].
The history of this Ummah is full of precedent of righteous scholars who endeavor to lead this Ummah solving the most strenuous of problems.
The challenge today is to recommence the Islamic way of life by re-establishing the Khilafah state. This is a matter of obligation. It is in this context we must see the important role of scholars and students of Islamic knowledge. They have a duty to educate and lead the Ummah in confronting the grave challenges we are facing.
To acknowledge the significance of the role of the scholars in tackling problems, we need to reflect on the role of the scholars from our history. There were many scholars during the crusades that played an active role in liberating the Islamic lands. One such scholar whose contributions were outstanding is Al-Qadi al-Fadil, who was born 529 AH, and who was the spokesman of Salah ad-Deen Ayubi. Ibn Kathir narrates that he was dearer to Salah as-Deen than his own family and children. Salah ad-Deen mentioned his status when he said, “Do not think that I took the land by the means of your sword; rather it was by the means of the pen of al-Qadi al Fadil.”
To the east in Dehli sultanate Turkic slave-soldiers withstood Mongol pressure, benefited from the presence of scholars and administrators fleeing Mongol destruction, and gradually began to extend Muslim control south into India, a feat that was virtually accomplished under Muḥammad ibn Tughluq.
Muslim Ulema’s role was not limited to merely giving advice to the rulers and then become mute spectators of what was taking place. On the contrary, when they realized that there was no one coming forward to lead the masses, they took up leadership role, and fought off the invaders. From Bengal to Balakot and from Delhi to Lucknow, Muslim Ulema played prominent roles in all the uprisings against the British Raj. Be it Khilafat Movement, Faraizi Movement, first war of independence of 1857 or the Reshmi Rumal Tehrik, they were instrumental and took leadership roles. During the Mutiny of 1857, Ulema were at the forefront and paid heavy price for their leadership role but didn’t capitulate kalma e Haq. Maulavi Ahmadullah Shah, Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki, Maulana Qasim Nanotwi and Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi, Maulvi Liaqat Ali and many more Ulema played prominent roles during the uprising and paid dearly when the Company came back with a vengeance. Tens of thousands of Ulema were hanged to death. Even those Ulema who had nothing to do with the Mutiny were implicated, jailed, sent to Kalapani and unceremoniously killed. A total of 200,000 men and women were martyred at the time. Of these about 51,200 were Ulema. 500 of these Ulema were hanged in Delhi. However, this dance macabre didn’t stop them from taking to the same means to defeat the colonial rulers later.
“Anti-Mongol” fatwas issued by Ibn Taymīyah. When read in the context of the historic circumstances in which they were written, these fatwas inform us as to Ibn Taymīyah’s attitude in face of the danger represented by the Mongol attempts to gain control of Bilād al-Shām. He reveals his view of the Mongol regime as well as his position regarding certain religious communities in Bilād al-Shām, whom he considered dissidents from Sunni Islam, in other words, these fatwas acquaint us with Ibn Taymīyah’s critical understanding of political situation.
The Khilafat movement was a popular campaign among Indian Muslims in response to the threat to the Khalifah and the Muslim holy places after the defeat of the Ottoman Khilafah at the end of the First World War. In 1919, Muslims of north India mobilised a broad-based popular campaign, the likes of which had not been seen before in colonial India. Rumours had begun to circulate, as the war ended, that a harsh peace treaty was to be imposed on the defeated Ottoman Khikafat. If true, such a treaty would endanger the position of the Sultan as Khalifah of Islam and the safety of Mecca and other holy places. The Khilafat movement aimed to pressure the victorious Allies to retain intact the boundaries of the Khilafah as they had existed in 1914 and to preserve the position of the Khalifah as the temporal head of the Islamic world. It was largely Indian Muslims who campaigned to save the Khilafah lead by Ulemas.
Ummah is in the greatest need of such men (Ulema’s) becoming involved and active in the public affairs and leading the Ummah in solving the political problems of our time.
Still today when West with the help of secular liberal’s ruler has managed to wage physical and cultural war against Islam and creates humongous level of ambiguities every one young or old respect the sincere scholars. We are in desperate need from our scholars to lead us in our quest for the correct change and assist us in overcoming many obstacles. In particular, scholars have as a matter of duty to address the following issues and obstacles, which prevent the Ummah reaching its goal of establishing Islam as a complete way of life.
Ensuring the Ummah understand Islam as an ideology, as the only correct solution to the problems that we facing. Refute the modernist onslaught to reconcile Kufr and Islam, changing the meaning of Jihad from fighting the enemy to striving against the self (nafs), bracketing Democracy with Shura, and allowing freedom of speech on the basis of enjoining good, and forbidding the many such perversions of the Deen. Lead the Ummah to challenge the defeated mentality rulers who only serve the interests of the West and implement man-made capitalist systems. Explicitly explain in their lectures, writings and gatherings the vital issues of the Ummah, the re-establishment of Islam, unity of Muslim lands, liberation of the occupied Islamic lands and that the method to achieve all this is to re-establish the Khilafah state.
Lead the Ummah in the ideological struggle against the western thoughts, systems and concepts and present Islam as an alternative system not only for the Muslim world but also for the entire world, which is suffering under the oppression of Capitalism.
This is the role of the scholars in our time. As for the general public, we are not exempt from the duties imposed by Islam. There is no concept of clergy in Islam. Our allegiance is only to Islam not to any scholar or a group, or anyone who contradicts the fundamentals of Islam.
Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by