Insulting scholars and pursuing their defects are blameworthy

Since 2020-08-10

Abdullah ibn Al Mubarak, the master of the science of Hadith who died in 181 AH, was asked: Who are the best among people?

He said: Scholars.

It was asked: Who are the best among kings?

He said: The ascetics.

Somebody asked: Who are the low people[1]?

He said: Those who replace religion with the world. So, he considered the people who deserve the rank of humanity are scholars, and he had said the truth.


How wonderful his answer was about the low people! The lowest people are those who replace their religion for the world; those are the evil scholars.


The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "The inhabitants of the heavens and the Earth and the fish in the deep waters will ask forgiveness for the learned man. The learned are the heirs of the Prophets who bequeath neither dinar nor dirham but only that of knowledge; and he who acquires it, has in fact acquired an abundant portion." [Reported by Abu Dawud No. 3641, At-Tirmidhy No. 2682, and Ibn Majah No. 223].


It was reported: When a scholar dies, Islam is affected until the Day of Recompense.


The meaning of this narration is correct because the factors which participate in the formation of man, such as: The environment, health, economic conditions, talent, the genetic factors, and teachers differ from a person to another.


The rank of a scholar in Islam is high. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "Allâh will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge." [Surat Al Mujadalah: 11].


Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "Say: Are those who know equal to those who know not?" [Surat Az-Zumar: 9].


The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "It is not one of us, he who does not respect old people, show mercy to young people, and know the right of scholars." [Reported by Imam Ahmad and Al Hakim in Sahih Al Jami` As-Saghir, 5443].


Therefore, a Muslim should know the rights of scholars to respect them and refer to them in all their religious affairs.


I noted a deviant phenomenon at some youth who are hasty to gain a high status and good reputation; when I read some written words that were full of arrogance insulting one of the great former scholars in addition to some recent scholars who have spent their entire life in search and Knowledge.

Those words were pursuing the faults of scholars, speak badly about them, and distort their great efforts and their service to knowledge and the religion.

Such a person does that to prove his status in knowledge, and he may be mistaken.


I say: If that was expected from those who do not respect the religion and those who have transgressed the proper limits in regard of themselves, it is very strange to see that in those who claim to be religious or adhering to the Islamic trend in thoughts and behavior.

However, the crime remains as is regardless the person who commits it because the one who commits the ugly and prohibited act is a criminal whether he was from those who were known by criminality, or those who claim fighting criminality; they are equal.


This slander of the former and recent scholars is considered a crime in the right of knowledge because we have to show gratitude for the former scholars and the distinct contemporary scholars.


Insulting scholars reflects people's doubt in scholars and the conveyers of Shari`ah, and do not alleviate the gravity of the crime that the offender envelops his attack by praising the insulted scholar to make an introduction to his censure and to claim that he said the positives and the negatives, but in fact he did not.


Some of these people may speak about a controversial matter among scholars, holding a view and attacking the other. I am sorry to say that most of those arrogant do that for the sake of show off, therefore they attack Ash-Shafi`y and Malik for the sake of distinction and say: We are scholars like them. This is a wrong concept and they are just liars, arrogant, and away from the truth; and some people do that in the field of literature and poetry.


Abu Farag Al Asfahany said in the profile of Abu Tammam: "In our time, there are some men who are bias to him and prefer him to all the former and the contemporary poets, whereas some people deliberately spread his bad poetry and conceal his good poetry, moreover, use arrogance for that so as people who do not know their condition would say about them: Those people have not reached the status of Abu Tamam except through perfect literature and good knowledge. That has become the profession of those people who use it to insult others and boast others. Mediation in everything is beautiful and the truth is more entitled to be followed." [2]


Scholars are just humans and liable to mistakes by their human nature, and according to Ahl As-Sunnah, we have no one infallible but the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) in regard of the instructions which he receives from his Lord.

Verifiers overlook the small faults of scholars in compare to their good deeds and do not follow scholars except in correct rulings and they are rewarded even for their mistakes.


Some of them said: Scholars are the lamps of the nation and each lamp enlightens the way to the people of his time.


Yahya ibn Mu`adh said: Scholars are more merciful with the nation of Muhammad than their own parents.

It was said: How is that? He said: Because their parents protect them from the worldly fire, but scholars protect them from the Hell-Fire.


So, we have no right to belittle their excellence, knowledge, and guidance.


Allah (Glory be to Him) says on the tongue of Shu`ayb while admonishing his people: "so give full measure and full weight and wrong not men in their things, and do not do mischief on the earth after it has been set in order, that will be better for you, if you are believers." [Surat Al A`raf: 85].


The people of Shu`ayb (peace be upon him) did not give full measure and full weight to the people, and Allah (Glory be to Him) mentioned that they did not respond to advice, but insisted on their disbelief and oppressive behavior, therefore their bad consequence was loss and severe torment in the world, and the torment of the Hell is severer if they only know. Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "So the earthquake seized them, and they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes.* Those who denied Shu`ayb, became as if they had never dwelt there (in their homes). Those who denied Shu`ayb, they were the losers." [Surat Al A`raf: 91-92].


If you mention a venerable scholar, overlook his excellence and good traits, and invert them to bad qualities, attribute lies to him, belittled his excellence, and magnified his faults, you shall be of the oppressors because you underestimate his rights which will be severer than not giving full weight and measure in trade.


This meaning should be clear in our mind because many people underestimate the moral rights of others.


So, let us hold ourselves accountable and stop pursuing scholars' faults. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.



[1] Low and mean people.


[2] "Mukhtar Al Aghany" 3\348.


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