Distinguishing between true scholars and hypocrites

5-12-2016 | IslamWeb


Assalaamu alaykum. I have the following question: how can we understand who is a true scholar of Islam and who is a hypocrite? Kindly answer with detailed evidence, Allaah willing.


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

You should know, dear brother, that the basic principle is that the scholars of Islam are true. Their statements and actions should be interpreted in the best possible manner unless proven otherwise by clear evidence. In fact, this is the required attitude towards all Muslims in general and, therefore, it is required for the scholars with greater reason. They are the heirs of the Prophets and the carriers of the religion to the people. Allah, The Exalted, added their testimony to His own testimony and then to that of the angels; He says (what means): {Allah witnesses that there is no deity except Him, and (so do) the angels and those of knowledge - (that He is) maintaining (creation) in justice. There is no deity except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.} [Quran 3:18]

Hence, it is the duty of the Muslims to show respect and reverence to the scholars and acknowledge their refined status that was bestowed upon them by their Lord. ‘Ubaadah ibn As-Saamit, narrated that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, "He does not belong to my nation who does not respect our elderly, show mercy to our young ones, and acknowledge the honor due to our scholars." [Ahmad]

Hypocrisy is a set of traits; some of which are related to the creed; i.e. showing Islam outwardly and harboring Kufr (disbelief) inwardly. This is major hypocrisy, and the scholars are the farthest from this kind of hypocrisy. The believers, in general, fear it, and the scholars are more fearful of it. There is also the minor hypocrisy, or hypocrisy in actions, such as lying, breaking promises, and the like. Scholars mostly avoid this, just like lay-Muslims do; however, they are not infallible, as they may commit some of it. Whoever knows that a scholar commits such hypocrisy should give him advice in a polite and kind way.

Allah knows best.