Dignifying Scholars Is Part of Exalting Allah - II

Esteeming Scholars and Knowing their Rights

It is an obligation for all Muslims to esteem, respect, honor the scholars, to know their rank/rights, and be polite with them. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) “He is not one of my Ummah (Muslims community) who does not respect our elders, who does not have mercy on our young, and who does not know (respect) the right of our scholar.” [Imam Ahmad, and Sheikh Al-Albani classified it as Hasan]

Esteeming scholars is part of exalting Allah the Almighty, exalting His Sharee’ah, and complying with His order. Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him said: “The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “It is out of glorification of Allah, the Almighty, to honor the gray-haired (old) Muslim, and the bearer of the Quran who neither exaggerates concerning it nor neglects it, and to honor the just ruler.” [Abu Dawood and Sheikh Al-Albani classified it as Hasan]

‘Aa’ishah,  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  her she said: “The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, commanded us to treat people according to their ranks.” [Abu Dawood and Al-Bazzar]

For this reason, the approach of righteous predecessors, which is amongst the methodology of Ahlus-Sunnah, is respecting the scholars, esteeming the jurists, and treating them with extreme politeness. Committing any offense towards them is a breach of the religion, as Imam At-Tahawi said: “Scholars of the first generations and their followers are the people of goodness and Sunnah, Jurisprudence and thought; they shall not be mentioned except with a good statement, and whoever mentioned them with a bad statement, is on the wrong path.”

The people of knowledge – formerly and recently – have emphasized treating scholars with politeness and carefully listening to them. Abd Ar-Razzaq narrated in his (Musannaf) on the authority of Ma’mar, on the authority of Ibn Tawoos, on the authority of his father Tawoos, who said: “It is from the Sunnah to honor four: the scholar, the gray-haired, the ruler, and the parent.”

Ash-Sha’bi, said: “Zaid ibn Thabit  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him prayed the funeral prayer on someone; somebody offered him a mule to ride, then Ibn Abbas held the stirrup of the saddle (to assist him to ride). Zaid said to him: ‘O cousin of the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) please do not do that.’ Ibn Abbas said: ‘This is how we should treat scholars and great people.’”

He also stated in another narration that: Ibn Abbas held the stirrup of Zaid ibn Thabit, then Zaid said: ‘How come you hold it for me! While you are the cousin of the Messenger of Allah –  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )?’ Ibn Abbas said: ‘This is how we treat scholars.’”

Khalaf said: Ahmad ibn Hanbal came to me to hear the hadith of Abu Awanah, so I tried my best asking him to sit on a high place, but he refused, and said: I will only sit on the ground in front of you, we have been commanded to be humble to those who teach us.

Ubaidullah ibn Omar said: Yahya ibn Sa’eed used to narrate Hadith to us and flow his knowledge upon us, but whenever Rabee’ah (a follower of the companions) appears, Ubaidullah stops his speech as a respect and honor for Rabee’ah (Tahdheeb Al-Kamal: 31/353).

Abu Zar’ah Ar-Razi said: “I was sitting with Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and Ibrahim ibn Tahman was mentioned, while Ahmed was leaning (on something) because of an illness, then he straightened himself up as soon as he heard the name of Ibrahim ibn Tahman, and said: “No one should lean when the righteous people are mentioned” (As-Siar: 7/381).

This topic deserves to be addressed in more detail, as respecting the scholars was a common trait in the old generations. Unfortunately, this etiquette has diminished in our time, and it was replaced by slandering the great people and degrading the scholars and callers to Allah (preachers). Indeed, it is a trial. Beware of being one of those because committing such offense is considered a major sin, and its doer will never succeed unless he repents.

Ibn Al-Mubarak said: “Whoever underestimates the scholars, he will be a loser in the Hereafter, and whoever underestimates the rulers, he will be a loser in this worldly life, and whoever underestimates his Muslim brothers, he loses his dignity.”

Ibn Al-Adhra’i said: “Slandering the people of knowledge – especially the most prominent ones among them – is a major sin.”

Al-Hasan ibn Dhakwan said to a man who criticized one of the scholars: “Be quiet! Do not mention the scholars of any evil thing, otherwise, Allah may cause your heart to die.”

What a beautiful statement that Ibn ‘Asakir said after all the above beautiful statements: “My brother, may Allah guide us and you to do what pleases Him and make us among those who duly fear Him, you should know that the flesh of scholars is poisonous (i.e. backbiting them); the way of Allah in disclosing the shameful deeds of the one who slanders them is known, and whoever calumniates the scholars, Allah will cause his heart to die before his death. {So, let those beware who dissent from his [i.e., the Prophet's] order, lest fitnah strikes them or a painful punishment.} [Quran 24:63]

Dignifying Scholars Is Part of Exalting Allah - I

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