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The Responsibility of the Learned (Ulama)

We learn form this that any person who has some Deeni knowledge has a special responsibility. The one who gives guidance necessarily needs to be more advanced in Deen. We see this practically in salaah; the imam stands in front of the muqtadis. Therefore, this person cannot live by the same standards that the general people live by.

In short, knowledge demands that we continually make an effort to increase our level of taqwa – the perfection of all other facets flow as a consequence.


If people new to Islam become disillusioned after seeing the behaviour of general Muslims, then we are answerable for this – for not displaying the beauty of Islam but rather bringing it into disrepute. A new Muslim whose previous religion included worship to ancestors once asked: ‘doesn’t Islam teach tauhid? If it does, then why do Muslim traders sell livestock to Africans who are going to sacrifice them as offerings to their ancestors? Don’t the traders become party to shirk (this sacrifice) in this case?

The mas’alah is that it is permissible to sell the livestock – what happens thereafter is not in the control of the trader. However, this illustrates the mindset of a person who is concerned about Islam. What then should the mindset of the teachers of Deen be? We should keep in mind that people observe those who have learnt Islam.

An Effective Method Of Developing Commitment

This is an indication that those who acquire Deeni knowledge need to fulfil the rights of this knowledge – that it be established in their persons and be practiced upon. Regularly attending the majaalis of the mashaaikh develops the commitment required to succeed in this.

If this is not practical, then we should study their writings. It is better that we read small sections and make sure that we understand the lesson that is being taught. We should try to step into the mind of the author and understand what he intended when he wrote the piece. A saint used to say ‘people take this (the writings of the auliya) as a pastime, but they are not written for mere entertainment. In fact (in the absence of the Shaykh) they represent his khanqah.

Conduct Of The Learned In Social Interaction

Let us ponder for a while: does our conduct invite people to the Deen or turn them away from it? We must remember that if a learned person slips, then many a follower slips with him as well.

The Era Of Rasulullah Sallallahu `alayhi wasallam

Someone used unpleasant language when speaking to Hazrat Ayesha Radi Allahu Unha. Rasulullah Sallallahu `alayhi wasallam told her to reply to this tirade. However, as soon as Hazrat Abu Bakr Radi Allahu Unhu breaks his silence and replies to one hurling insults, Rasulullah Sallallahu `alayhi wasallam leaves his company. This is indicative of the conduct appropriate for each due to their relative ranks. Hazrat Abu Bakr Radi Allahu Unhu’s level required him to display greater patience

In Present Times

The following incident makes (one aspect of) this readily understandable:

A grandmother from a family who had converted to Islam was asked ‘why don’t you send your grandkids for lessons?’ She complained ‘For 21 years we used to attend Christian classes, but not a single day did the teacher ever hit anyone; but here not even a single year has passed and we are getting a hiding already. So there can’t be much good in this. We are all returning to our previous religion’

While these people will be responsible for their own actions, the fact that our actions led to it will make us answerable too.

he Precaution Of The Learned Regarding Association

‘Whoever Adds To A Group, Is Counted Amongst Them’

The munasabat Of Hazrat Shaykhul Hind and Ml Gangohi (Rahmatullahi `alayhiim): Hazrat Shaykhul Hind Rahmatullahi `alayhi was exceptional. Most of the fuyudh (zaahiri in terms of madaaris and baatini in terms of khanqahs) of Ml Gangohi Rahmatullahi `alayhi spread through him and Ml Saharanpuri Rahmatullahi `alayhi. Both were held in esteem by their Shaykh.

Once, the dastarkhan was laid for meals. An extremely wealthy person was also present. Hazrat Shaykhul Hind Rahmatullahi `alayhi was of simple habits. On this occasion he was dressed in simple attire. Seeing that the wealthy person was also at the dastar, he did not sit with Ml Gangohi Rahmatullahi `alayhi as was his habit. Out of regard for the wealthy person, he chose to sit elsewhere (some wealthy people are uncomfortable with having poor people in their circle). This is illustrative of how much our elders honoured their guests – even though Shaykhul Hind Rahmatullahi `alayhi very dearly loved to sit in the company of his Shaykh, he excused himself for another’s benefit.

Ml Gangohi Rahmatullahi `alayhi accurately interpreted Shaykhul Hind Rahmatullahi `alayhi’s behaviour. Ml Gangohi Rahmatullahi `alayhi instructed ‘if the wealthy person is uncomfortable with having meals with you, then he make his arrangements elsewhere. Our living and dying are inextricably entwined. I cannot tolerate to be separated from you’ There is no greater accolade that a Shaykh can give his mureed and it demonstrates the strength of their munasabat.

The Precaution Of The Learned Regarding Association (2)

Do Not Allow Our Actions To Be Construed To Mean Support For Baatil – Even As A Misinterpretation

Every week Shaykhul Hind used to walk approximately 35-40km to visit his Shaykh, Ml Gangohi Rahmatullahi `alayhi. On one occasion, an urs was being held in the town. When Hazrat Sheihul Hind Rahmatullahi `alayhi arrived, Ml Gangohi Rahmatullahi `alayhi instructed him to return without any delay i.e walk 35-40km back to Deoband. The person who had accompanied Hazrat Shaykhul Hind Rahmatullahi `alayhi correctly deduced that this command was on account of Hazrat Shaykhul Hind Rahmatullahi `alayhi passing by the street where the urs was being conducted. This person explained to Ml Gangohi Rahmatullahi `alayhi ‘Hazrat Shaykhul Hind Rahmatullahi `alayhi had no knowledge of the urs being held here. He came with the sincere intention to meet with you’. Ml Gangohi Rahmatullahi `alayhi replied ‘I am not so gullible. I am aware that he did not have prior knowledge of the urs. Nevertheless, when he did become aware of the urs taking place, he should have returned to Deoband. If on the Day of Qiyaamat we are questioned about the hadith “whoever adds to a group (perpetrating some wrong), then he will be counted form amongst them”, then what will our reply be?’

Ml Gangohi Rahmatullahi `alayhi was given the title of Faqihun Nafs by Shah Saab Rahmatullahi `alayhi who was himself an ocean of knowledge. Shah Saab Rahmatullahi `alayhi did not give this title to even Allaamah Shaami Rahmatullahi `alayhi. This is indicative of the level of understanding of fiqh of Ml Gangohi Rahmatullahi `alayhi.

Despite having this level of understanding and strength of munasabat, he still chose to correct Hazrat Shaykhul Hind Rahmatullahi `alayhi in the way that he did. This level of correction is because Ml Gangohi Rahmatullahi `alayhi was preparing his mureed for an extremely high level responsibility - for his mureed to adhere to such a standard that he was finally given the title Shaykhul Hind, a person who became a beacon of guidance for people all across the world. Nevertheless, it is still a shining example for the ummah at large.

The Lesson Regarding Association

The lesson to take from this incident is that we should not be in a place where any wrong is taking place – even though we may be there for some other business entirely. Allah’s anger is directed to that place and when his punishment descends, everybody in the area will be affected. Yes, on the Day of Qiyaamah the people will be judged according to their intentions in being at that place and in that time; but in this world, the punishment will be felt by all.

Lesson: Muslims across the world need to think about this especially during occasions that are generally celebrated – Christmas, New Year, Easter Weekend, Diwali, etc. It is unbecoming of Muslims to be in a place where these occasions are being celebrated or to greet someone with ‘wish you a merry Christmas’, give a present for Diwali present, etc.

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