My first question is: I am someone who likes to become a scholar that gives lectures, Friday sermons, lead the prayer and give lessons on Islam. I want to become scholars like Al-Bukhaari, Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Taymiyyah, etc. These were scholars that feared Allaah. But I afraid that my desire of becoming a scholar would mix up with show-off, because at the moment I don't do much cibaadah! And I think that my Nafs wants this status that scholars have and I tell myself that I would do this for the sake of Allaah! So I am in this dilemma. What shall I do?
Second: What are the status of those that lead the prayer? Is leading the prayer something that I Muslim should look forward to it? Please give the Daleel for these questions.
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 is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.
We advise you, dear brother, to be sincere to Allaah in all your deeds and to stay away from any sign of showoff, as showing off destroys the person. Many narrations clarified its danger on the Muslim.
The first three types of people to be burnt in Hell will be people whose apparent deeds were righteous. Abu Hurayrah said that: "The first man to be judged on the Day of Judgement…..till he said: 'A man who sought knowledge and taught it and recited Quran. Allaah will then remind him of the blessings He had bestowed on him. Then, He will ask him: 'What did you do with these blessings?' The man said: 'I sought knowledge and taught it. I recited Quran for Your sake." Allaah said, "You are a liar. You acquired knowledge so that people say you are a scholar. You recited Quran for people to say you recite the Quran well and they already said so. Then Allaah will order His angels to drag him on his face and throw him in Hell-fire." Know that if you seek knowledge and become an Imaam only for the sake of Allaah and not out of love for showing off, then it is not included in what we said. To reach what you are seeking, we advise you to worship and mention Allaah more and more. You should also perform many more voluntary acts of worship so that Allaah may love you, for these are the only means to get everything that is good, as Allaah said in one of the Qudsi Hadeeth: "The most beloved thing with which My slave comes nearer to Me is that which I have enjoined upon him, and My slave continues to come closer to Me by performing optional acts of worship until I love him. When I love him, I become his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks. If he asks (something) of Me, I will give him, and if he seeks My protection, I will protect him." [Al-Bukhari]
If you reach this sublime rank, you will then be able to reach higher and higher ranks.
Being the Imaam (who leads people) during the prayers has a great virtue. The one who shoulders this position and gives it its due rights will be greatly rewarded by Allaah. Suffice it that the Prophet and the rightly guided Caliphs led people in prayers and were Imaams.Allaah Knows best.
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