Role of Muslim scholars in society
Fatwa No: 325081

Question

What is the role of muslim scholars in society?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

There is no doubt that the scholars play a vital role in society. They are the heirs of the Prophet's knowledge, and they should act upon that knowledge, taking the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, as their role mode and doing what he used to do for the Muslim society. Their duties include the following:

First: keenness to teach people their religion and nurture their faith, morality and Islamic etiquette. Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {It is He Who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom - although they were before in clear error.} [Quran 62:2] The sermons and speeches of the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, and his advice to his Companions are too many to be listed in full.

Second: giving a good example for people to follow by means of abidance by the commands of Allaah and avoiding His prohibitions. Indeed, role models play a great role in guiding people to the straight path. Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allaah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allaah and the Last Day and (who) remembers Allah often.} [Quran 33:21]

Third: they should treat people with modesty and humbleness and strive to help them with their needs to the best of their abilities. Anas ibn Maalik  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported, “If a female slave from the people of Madinah were to take the hand of the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, he would go with her wherever she wanted to help her fulfil a need.” [Al-Bukhari] Shaykh Ibn ʻUthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him commented: “How humble the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, was! He was the master of all mankind and yet would not object that a slave girl takes him by the hand wherever she wished so that he would help her meet her needs.

Ibn ʻUmar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “The dearest person to Allaah is the one who is the most beneficial to people. The dearest deed to Allaah is bringing happiness to a Muslim, dispelling a grief from him, settling his debt, or feeding him while he is hungry. It is dearer to me to support my Muslim brother in satisfying a need than to make iʻtikaaf (seclusion for the purpose of worship) in this mosque (meaning the Prophet's mosque in Madinah) for a month...” [At-Tabraani]

Fourth, enjoining good and forbidding evil and eliminating grudges and discord against fellow Muslims from people's hearts, because the scholars are leaders and it is unbecoming of a true leader to harbor grudges against others. It has been narrated in the Quran that the believers supplicate their Lord to eradicate resentment towards others from their hearts. Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {And (there is a share for) those who came after them, saying: Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith, and put not in our hearts (any) resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.} [Quran 59:10]

Fifth: striving in tending to the needs of fellow Muslims, visiting the sick, making peace between the disputing parties, and similar acts of goodness and kindness. Jaabir ibn ʻAbdullaah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them narrated, “I fell ill, and the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, and Abu Bakr came on foot to visit me...” [Al-Bukhari]

Sahl ibn Saʻd  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported that there was a dispute amongst the people of the tribe of Banu ʻAmr ibn ʻAwf. The Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, went to them along with some of his companions in order to make peace between them. [Al-Bukhari]

You can refer to the books on the biography and attributes of the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, to familiarize yourself with the refined manners with which the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, treated his Companions and the non-Muslims in Madinah. Verily, the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is the best role model for all Muslims in this regard, and especially for the scholars.

Allaah knows best.

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