Advices of the Salaf al-Salihin to the ‘Ulama

By Mawlana Ahmad Sadiq Desai

Foreword: The following piece has been extracted from a publication by Mawlana Ahmad Sadiq Desai. The advices that follow are not only directed to the ‘Ulama but to all Muslims. At a time when the the Ummah is facing all sorts of trials and tribulations let us heed to these advices which have been extracted from the best of generations. May Allah grant us tawfiq to understand. Amin!

Some naseehat of the Salaf-e-Saaliheen will, Insha-Allah, exercise a salutary effect on the Ulama who squander the resources and bounties of time and wealth on functions which have no affinity with the Deen.

Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Soon will there dawn a time when all the Aabideen (worshippers) will be jaahil (ignorant), and all the Ulama will be fussaaq.”

Hadhrat Nabi Isaa (alayhis salaam) said: “Knowledge is abundant, but not all knowledge is beneficial. There are innumerable Ulama, but not all Ulama are guided.”

Hadhrat Sha’bi (rahmatullah alayhi) said: “The characteristic of the Ulama is to practically implement what they have learnt of knowledge. When an Aalim begins to practice according to his knowledge, he will desist from meeting people. When he desists from association, he will become lost to the people. When he is found missing, he will be searched for. When he is being hunted, he will flee for fear of fitnah overtaking his Deen.”

Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Do not be like those who acquire the knowledge of the Ulama, but acquit themselves as juhala (morons).”

Hadhrat Umar Ibn Khattaab (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “For this Ummah I fear most a man who is an Aalim with his tongue, but a jaahil in his heart.”

Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh) said: “The punishment of the Aalim (in this world) is the death of his heart, and the death of the heart is the consequence of seeking the dunya with the amal of the Aakhirah. By means of the deeds of the Aakhirah, he seeks the proximity of the people of the world.”

Hadhrat Saeed Bin Meelab (rahmatullah alayh) said: “When you see an Aalim frequenting the wealthy, then know that he is a thief.”

Hadhrat Fudhail Bin Iyaadh (rahmatullah alayh), addressing Hadhrat Sufyaan Thauri (rahmatullah alayh) said: “O Assembly of Ulama! What advice should I offer you? You were lanterns which brightened the cities. But now you have become total darkness. Before, you were stars. In the darkness people would see the road by the light emitting from you. But now you, yourselves have lost the path. You frequent the doors of the rulers. You sit on their carpets. You consume their food, and you accept their gifts. Then you go to the Musjid and narrate Ahaadith saying that so and so had narrated from Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). By Allah! Ilm is not acquired for these antics.”

While listening to this naseehat, Hadhrat Sufyaan Thauri (rahmatullah) sobbed profusely.

Hadhrat Ka’b Ahbaar (radhiyalah anhu) said: “Soon will there dawn an age when morons will acquire knowledge (i.e. higher knowledge of the Deen) and use it as a means for gaining the proximity of the rulers.”

Hadhrat Saalih Al-Marree (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Beware of associating with an Aalim of the world. He will deceive you with alluring statements, without practicing on the knowledge and by praising knowledge.”

Hadhrat Zunnun Misri (rahmatullah alayh) said: “We have observed such Ulama whose disinclination with the world increases with their knowledge and they reduce their worldly provisions. But, nowadays we are seeing such people whose love for the world increases with the increase of their knowledge and their desire for worldly luxuries increases.”

Hadhrat Sufyaan Bin Uyainah (rahmatullah alayh) said: “How is it possible for an Aalim who recites the Qur’aan to make amal on it when he sleeps away the night, abstains from fasting during the day, and devours haraam and mushtabah food”

Hadhrat Umar Bin Abdul Azeez (rahmatullah alayh) said: “If the Reciters of the Qur’aan (i.e. the Ulama) were alive (i.e. if their hearts were alive), they would feel fire burning in their stomachs should they ingest haraam food. But, they are in fact dead (i.e. their hearts are spiritually dead), hence they wander around (like dogs) devouring carrion and fire.”

Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh) said: “It is evil for an Aalim to fill his stomach with even halaal food. What should I say about an Aalim who devours haraam? The piety of an Aalim is shunning lust. I have heard that in Aakhiruz Zamaan (the time in close proximity to Qiyaamah) there will be such people who will pursue knowledge of the Deen for objectives other than Allah. On the Day of Qiyaamah their knowledge will be a great calamity for them.”

Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Mubaarak (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Nowadays consuming haraam and mushtabah has overwhelmed the Ulama. They are enslaved to their stomachs and carnal lusts. They utilize their knowledge as a net to entrap the world (i.e. to gain name, fame, and wealth).”

Hadhrat Fudhail Bin Iyaadh (rahmatullah alayh) said: “The Ulama of the Qur’aan and Hadith have made their knowledge a profession for earning wealth. They have therefore become contemptible on earth and in the heavens.”

Hadhrat Sufyaan Thauri (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Do not impart knowledge to a person who desires advancement in knowledge without amal (i.e. without practically implementing the knowledge). Such a scholar is like the colocynth tree. Its bitterness increases with its nourishment.” (The villainy of such an Aalim increases with the increase of his textual knowledge.)

Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mubaarak (rahmatullah alayh) said: “If a man despite being the Bearer of the Qur’aan (i.e. and Aalim) inclines towards the world, then know that he makes a mockery of the Aayaat of Allah Ta’ala.”

The Ulama should take stock of themselves in the mirror of these warnings and admonition of the Salaf-e-Saaliheen. If they place themselves and their deeds and activities under scrutiny, they will not fail to discern the deviation and deception they perpetrate whilst labouring under the massive misconception of serving the Deen. These functions and conferences of ostentation and extravagance are acts which come within the purview of Talbeesul Iblees (Deception of Iblees).

Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “There will dawn an age over the people when nothing of Islam will remain except its name, and nothing of the Qur’aan will remain except its text. The Musaajid will be beautifully adorned structures, but devoid of guidance.

The Ulama will be the worst of the people under the canopy of the sky. From them will emerge fitnah, and the fitnah will rebound on them (hemming then in their own evil).”

All Ulama are required to examine themselves and do some earnest soul searching. There is no need to be offended by this Naseehat. It is the Naseehat of the Qur’aan and Ahaadith. It is the Naseehat of the Salaf-e-Saaliheen of the Khairul Quroon era. It is the Naseehat of our Akaabir Ulama and Auliya of Deoband.

O Assembly of Ulama?
The dunya has despoiled your hearts. Among the signs of Qiyaamah according to the Hadith is that men will pursue the dunya with the amal of the Aakhirah. Your conferences and functions advertised in the name of the Deen are a mere simulacrum. You labour in deviation and with your deviation you deviate the masses. Your verbal poutings about the Deen are meaningless twaddle which benefit no one. You peddle deception to secure rank and fame. You devour haraam and mushtabah, hence your brains have become fossilized, and your hearts have solidified. You have made the wonderful Dars-e-Nizaami syllabus a dysfunctional educational system by expunging its fundamental dimension of amal. In Rasulullah’s words, you are “garlanding khanaazeer with pearls, diamonds and silver”. The dunya has contaminated and corrupted your hearts which according to the Qur’aan have become harder than stone:

“Then your hearts became hard like stone or even harder than stone, for verily from some stones emerge water, and verily, from some stones gush forth springs, and verily some stones roll (from heights) in fear for Allah.”

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