Degrading of the Ulema
There is something quite significant in the last two thoughts expressed here. It is one thing to perform a bad deed and completely and infinitely a worse thing to consider that bad deed to be a good thing. In the light of Shariat it is not as bad a thing to perform an evil deed as it is to consider that evil deed to be good.
This indicates corruption in one‟s belief and such corruption is always more severe than corruption of actions. A person may be tremendously bad sinner, but it still does not bring him to Kufr (disbelief). But if something small has been proven and accepted as one of the essentials of deen and a person denies it, jeers at it or make light of it, he is excluded from the pale of Islam and becomes a Kaaflr (disbeliever).
Almost all these signs are witnessed today. Now I ask you, if the Ulema of Islam and the men of knowledge are being denounced and abused, is it something to be wondered at?
Sayyidina Abdullah bin Mas-ood (Radiallahu anhu) once told someone: “You people are now living in an age when many Ulema are around, and when there is a scarcity of those men proficient and skilled in the Quranic recitation. The instructions of the Quran-e-Kareem is very much noted but not so much attention is given to the letters thereof. „This is a time when few are the beggars and numerous are the givers, when lengthy Salaahs are performed and short are the sermons and when men give priority and preference to deeds of righteousness over their desires and passions. But soon such an age will dawn when few will be the Ulema and numerous the proficient readers of the Quran, when more concern will be shown for the letters and words of the Quran than to its injunctions, when many will be the beggars and few the givers, when sermons will be lengthy and the Salaahs short, when men will give priority for their desires over de‟ds of righteousness. (Jami)
Yes all these will come to pass and are in fact already happening. Then too it has always been the divine law from time immemorial that the saintly Shaikhs and Ulema have to be abused and attacked. Never in history has it been that this denunciation and abuse against the scholars of Islam did not take place. In the Hadeeth we have the saying of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).
“It is the general practice with Allah that whatever of this world he elevates in rank, he also lowers in rank.” (Bukhari, Abu Dawood, Nisai, Ahmed, Jami)
For this reason if you ponder over the world and its history, and meditate on the various eras in history and if you consider our present times with a searching eye, you will see the truth hereof. You will see that when a man had once been noted as being of particular fame, you will later see him disgraced in the same type of activity. You will see people who had been praised and cheered in newspapers, posters and placards, being later insulted and denounced in those same newspapers, and posters. Those people who had ac quire great fame in private circles and in public gatherings, become denounced, abused and insulted in those very circles. You will find these change-overs in attitude may take a longer or a shorter period of time to come about in the cases of some, but I am almost sure that there is no exception to this rule.
And so I say that this (denunciation of the Ulema) is not really something to worry about much. It is not necessary for the Ulema to pay undue attention to it or to fight to eradicate it. But what is really required is this: They should definitely endeavour to clear up what is among themselves and keep pure and clean that which lies between them and Allah Ta‟aala. Their relationship should be proper between themselves and Allah Ta‟aala. They should under no circumstances lift a finger to perform any deed for the sake of honour and their own fame. Whatever they do should be for the pleasure of Allah Ta‟aala, the protection of His deen and to let the truth and the word of Allah Ta‟aala prevail above all other. If others come along in support, then Allah Ta‟aala be praised. And if none come along, they should not become despondent.
Is it not true that at the hands of unworthy and undesirables the Ambiyaa (Alayhimus Salaam) suffered tremendous harassment? What insults and abuse they bore? They even were injured and suffered bodily harm. Is it not true that some of them were killed? Look at what Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) had to suffer? They called him a sorcerer, fortune-teller, a mad-man. They accused him of causing dissension among people. And what else! All those things were said of him and yet he tolerated it.
The Ulema are the heirs of the Ambiyaa (Alayhimus Salaam). If all that happened to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), why should the heirs of the Ambiyaa (Alayhimus Salaam) complain if some of this abuse comes their way?
What is to be noted, thought about and paid attention to is this: All these should be tolerated and borne with patience for Allah Ta‟aala‟s pleasure alone. That should be the only aim, and for it, all should be tolerated.
Let it not be such that this pleasure be not attained because that would be a great loss. In fact, I sometimes think that for simple people like myself it is indeed a great favour from Allah Ta‟aala that all these rich people and men of means remain aloof from us and resent and shun our type of society. Hazrat Mirza Mazhar Jan-e-Jaanan (Rahmatullah Alayh) wrote in one of his letters: “Praise to Allah that in these times the worldly people of this locality do not mix with the poor sufis otherwise these poor ones would land in great difficulties.”
Khwaja Hashim (Rahinatullah Alayh) wrote in the „Maqaumat‟ of Hazrat Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani Sheilch Ahrned Sirhindi (Rahmatullah Alayh): “Once I visited Khwaja Husamuddin (Rahmatullah Alayh) who was one of the spiritual successors of Khwaja Baqi Billah (Rahmatullah Alayh). In the meeting one of those present complained about the attitude of the wealthy ones, who do not keep any contact with the dervishes. In fact they do not have any respect for the dervishes as was the case before. Hearing this, Khwaja Saheb (Rahmatullah Alayh) replied: “My dear brother! This is the wisdom of Allah! In bygone times the more the dervishes stayed aloof from others, the more the wealthy drew nearer to them. So independent were the saints. Nowadays we are not like that at all. If those wealthy noblemen should keep close relations with us, and increase their intimacy, we will not be able to maintain and preserve our ascetic lifestyle. Hence we should be grateful that Allah‟s grace is our preserver and protector.” (Kalimaat-Tayyibaat)
It is certain that those who continuously look for bad things in the true Ulema, who take a special pride in showering abuse and insults at them, are doing themselves greater harm. There is no doubt about that. All that harm they can cause the Ulema is this, that they may suffer somewhat through material losses. And this too only if it had been predestined that by their doing some harm may be inflicted. Then also they can cause the Ulema some loss of respect, honour or dignity in the world – and this worldly respect and dignity are worthless and passing possessions. But as for the insulters and abusers, they are causing themselves tremendous religious harm.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “That man is not from among us, who does not respect our elders, neither show mercy on our young ones nor appreciate the AIim (scholar of deen amongst us).”(Targheeb)
Having heard this saying of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), let those who openly abuse the Ulema in general and who swear at them, count themselves as members of the Ummat of Sayyidina Muhammed (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). They can go on doing so. But the leader and chief of this Ummat himself is not prepared to accept them as such.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “There are three persons whom none but munafiqs (hypocrites) can look upon as being insignificant and low. The first is the man who reaches a ripe old age in Islam, the second is the men of knowledge (an Alim) and the third is a just king.” (Targheeb)