Laymen criticising Sunni ulama

Discussion in 'Bickering' started by Waqar786, Dec 16, 2019.

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  1. Waqar786

    Waqar786 Veteran

    brother Aqdas's post where he points out the perceived faults of Sunni scholars stems from frustration at the current climate of intra sunni issues that he feels are not dealt with. Although his hurt is understandable, I feel that such emotional posts do nothing but further the fitna. In one post he claims that Mulla Asrar causes fitnas and in other, he claims that his talks are a must. How is the layman meant to decide where Mulla is causing fitna and where he is raising the level of discourse. If he argues that Sunnis can diffrentiate, so should take the good and leave the bad then why would he argue that a sunni should not listen to a deviant when that sunni says, I take the good and leave the bad. Brother Aqdas, social media is not a place to air your frustrations because where has rants solved issues. Your sincerity towards the sunni cause seems genuine but practically what have you done to further it? You got issues with scholars, contact them.
  2. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    From Fataawa-Ridawiyyah shareef vol.13, part of a tasdeeq by Mawlana Abdur RaHmaan sahib of Ahmadabad, quoting a maktub of Mujaddid Alf-Thaani ('alayhumarraHmah):

  3. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    Please excuse me if I misunderstood you sidi - but your conclusion seems to consider all "fiqhi-differences" at par.

    This does not seem to be the purport of hazrat's words. To quote:

    khilaaf-e-Shar'a umuoor ko riwaaj dete hai - ya khilaaf e shar'a baaton par jari hain

    unke khilaaf-e-Shar'a umuoor ko riwaaj dene ki wajah se, ya ma'aaz Allah, sulh kulliyat wa-gayraha ki wajah se, ya badmazahbon se aazadaana ikhtilaat ki wajah se - aise ulaama awaam ke liye sakht muzir hain

    It's clear that fiqhi-differences which are untenable are within the ambit of "khilaaf e shar'a".

    That is why I posted the other reply:

    Now this is a very cautiously worded question - if it was asked by a layman, he was probably under the influence of someone who has some knowledge about fiqhi matters.

    Hazrat saw right through it and his reply is edifying.

    He says that not just any "ikhtilaaf" is considered valid and quotes durr-al-mukhtaar:

    As for us, then it is but the following of that which they have judged as most correct or which they preferred - just as if we had asked them in their lifetimes (meaning those who belonged to one of the categories of mujtahids - including the ashaab e tarjeeH)

    Then hazrat further dismantles the deception of modern claimants by saying:
    This is regarding some sahib-e-ijtihaad or ahl-e-tarjeeh from bygone centuries. Does this apply to anyone today? Are the people of our age muqallids or mujtahids? Are they from the ashaab-e-tarjeeh?......

    As to whether anyone on the face of the earth today is of that level - then it is in this very durr e mukhtar:

    Pronouncing judgments or giving fatwa based on a marjuh (an opinion that is not the established or elevated opinion of a madhhab) is jahal (ignorance) and a violation of consensus (against the ijma' of the ummah) .... and reverting from taqleed after an action is unanimously invalid and this is the chosen verdict of the madhhab.
    After this hazrat quoted another important statement from durr-al-mukhtar - which I could not catch clearly - but it was something about ikhtilaaf being limited to a qualified mujtahid.

    So the following words of hazrat should be seen in light of the above reply:

    aur ulama kla ikhtilaaf jo khaalis ilmi ikhtilaaf hai - wo hadith ke mutabiq raHmat hai - aur usmein awaam ka koi hissa nahi hai - awaam tamaam ulama ki - jo zimmah daarne ahlesunnat hai - agarche unmein koi 'ilmi ikhtilaaf ho - iske ba wajood unpar tamaam ulama ki tawqeer wajib hai - ye aise hi hai jaise ki shafi'i, hanafi, maliki, hanbali ikhtilaaf - ke is ikhtilaaf ke ba wajood sunni sahih sahihul aqeeda tamaam ulama ki tawqeer o tazeem awaam par lazim hai.

    Aur sunni sahih ul aqeeda ulama ko bura kehna aur bura kehelwaana ye sakht haraam, bad kaam aur kufr anjaam hai


    The fore-going is to clarify that not all fiqhi differences are created equal. If anyone listens to the other verdicts of sayyidi taaj al-shari'ah (raHimahullah) himself, or read the fataawa of Alahazrat ('alayhirraHmah), they will note that they deal with untenable fiqhi aberrations with a severity almost matching that of aberrations in aqaid.

    Otherwise, which ikhtilaaf is not khaalis-'ilmi? We are definitely not talking about some territorial disputes or money-motivated wrangling among scholars.


    Now, my question: If a sunni sahih-ul aqeeda aalim sahab is used to doling out rulings based on marjuh or even cross-madhhab opinions - can I - as a layman with a small idea of it's invalidity - inform my friends about it and ask them to keep away from him?

    And what if the person in question is not even a qualified mufti - but just a celebrity muqarrir whose entire credibility is built around facebook and twitter?*

    Is THAT considered disrespect which will cause me a bad-ending?!!

    al 'iyaadu bi Allah

    * and were this person to sit in a gathering of mutfis he would do well to remember switzer's advice: It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.
    Aqdas likes this.
  4. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    This is saying:

    1. If the difference is scholarly, lay people should abstain. They should respect both sides.

    2. If it's sharýi and "ulama" indulge and promote haram, then lay people must keep away from such "ulama".

    What I understand from it is, we should tolerate fiqh differences and those differences in belief that can be differed over. But if "ulama" do public wrong such as promote deviants, commit bidah or kufr, lay people must stay away from them and can inform others to do the same.

  5. Mohammed Ali Rizvi

    Mohammed Ali Rizvi New Member

  6. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    fixed. thanks.
    Alf likes this.
  7. Alf

    Alf Active Member

    I think the previous answer was annexed to this one too.
  8. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    As usual, Sayyidi Taaj-al-Shari'ah (raHimahu Allah) resolves the matter for us (to quite an extent - because the awaam is surrounded by a lot of things - and it's difficult to expect them to grapple with it in a knife-through-butter manner):

    HUZOOR fiqhi qaida hai (jab haram Aur halal jama ho jayen to haraam ko tarjeeh di jati hai) lekin agar koi kisi masale mein kisi jawaz ke qail ulama ki pairwi kare to kya wo laiqe malamat therega ya nahi Kyunki riyayate ikhtilaf sirf mustahab hai farzo wajib nahi wazahat farmayen: Answer.

    This is more pertinent:

    Ulamae ahlesunnath ko bura kehne waale ke liye kya hukm hai? aur kya awaam ka ulama ke ikhtilaaf ke beech me padna sahi hai?
    For the real scholars - whom hazrat termed 'zimmah-daran-e-ahlesunnat' - we should always show the utmost respect even in cases of conflicting fataawa - where there is genuine room for differing (as hazrat said: khalis ilmi ikhtilaaf) we can state our reasons for accepting one side or the other without being disrespectful.

    However, even in these instances, I see no reason to discourage students of knowledge from thinking and reasoning or imposing all-round curfews on each and every discussion regarding the subject.

    Needless to say, this of-course does not apply to every muqarrir or muballigh who goes by the title of 'mawlana'.
  9. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    Once you slam the door to critical thinking into the faces of the paltry-few who care enough, you open the flood-gates of fitnah - if anything had still been left unopened that is.

    for example see here.

    What we are witnessing is the formation of cabals of 'mawlanas/shaykhs/pirs' (I have witnessed some of these things first hand in my own locality) where they work like rival political parties and religious masaail are used as vectors of attack and counter-attack - caught in the cross-fire is the awaam who - as is human, will either take sides or reject all of them and take refuge in their dunyawi engagements/friends.

    Truth and falsehood become subject to the decisions of these cabalists - and the amount of game-play, gheebat, su-az-zann and character assassination that goes on is not too difficult to imagine.

    Power corrupts ....
  10. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    which book? who wrote? where?

    Does the author of the above deduction-cum-regulation provide key definitions, viz:

    1. Who is a scholar, who is a layman, who is an advanced student of knowledge, who is a beginner student?
    2. What is the definition of "disrespect"?
  11. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member


    Imām Fakhrudīn al-Rāzī writes in Tafsīr al-Kabīr,

    “The one who deems a scholar lowly has destroyed his faith.”

    Such severity is found in the issue of disrespecting scholars. One will not even realise that his faith has been ceased. Therefore, it is incumbent upon every individual to abstain from speaking ill of the scholars. Whether the scholar is at fault or not, the lay people should refrain from discussing and pointing fingers at the scholars. If in the case the scholar is at fault then it is the responsibility of other scholars to rectify his mistakes in a very polite manner. The public in no circumstance are to take this upon themselves.

    - The Merit of Knowledge and Scholars p. 103
  12. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    you beat me to it brother - my reply was going to be on similar lines.

    besides, we need also not lose sight of the differing levels of 'layman-ship' (if you will) and the all important fact which cannot be stressed enough - every darsi-grad is not a 'scholar' let alone every be-turbaned and be-thobed mic-wielding 'hazrat'.

    Grey hair might be a good indicator of age but they do not betoken knowledge.

    Often, popularity is used as a yardstick for knowledge and, worse, piety - so if a popular neem-mullah sahib is criticized, people will get offended and rattle off an annotated checklist of faDaail-al-ulama (which are routinely fed to them from pulpits - whose sincerity - Allah knows best) but to these same die-hard ulama-lovers, a lesser known or unpopular but real scholar is fair game.

    What is at play here then? Rank ta'assub.

    Then there are those who criticize everyone who is against their pir sahib or whom their pir-sahib criticizes - regardless of the subjects' level of knowledge or taqwa. I don't know what can be said of these people - they might or might not be sincerely mistaken.


    Personally for me, it is a matter of near-fanatical obsession with finding the TRUTH and upholding it in any public avenues available to me. It goes right back to my early teenage years - and it's inescapable. I simply must know the truth - may it be as bitter as it pleases. And to not speak it out is - very often - unthinkable.

    This is the canoe which conveyed me from the dark waters of wahabism to the clear blue and shimmering ponds of sunni-Islam - at a personal level, the journey has been arduous and soul-wrenching - but strangely satisfying and empowering at the same time. It's become in-grained as a habit, second-nature.

    Truth is sacrosanct and there are those - it's sincere seekers, stranded in the turbid waters of confusion as I once were, may I not help them?

    In the end it comes down to the universal and all-embracing, paramount principle - "Actions are but by intentions. For each is what they intend".

    And Allah knows best.

    May He forgive and guide the sincere.
    Ghulam Ali and AMQadiri like this.
  13. AMQadiri

    AMQadiri Seeker

    It depends on the criticism. If it is something truly futile (which it usually is), then yes the laymen have no right to criticize.

    However, Islam is not like the Vatican church or other religious groups (Wahhabis, Deobandis, Shias, etc.) where they don't dare criticize their scholars even if they're in the blatant wrong.

    Take the various examples from the time of Sayyiduna Umar-e-Farooque radhiAllah ta'ala anh and with his governors. If laymen were able to question the Khulafa-e-Rashideen and Sahaba in their time for matters such as where they got their shirt from, then what makes Ulema today so infallible?

    Constructive criticism should always be welcomed and considered. This is how we can grow as a community.
    Unbeknown likes this.
  14. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    Many Sunni ulama say that why do you laymen criticise Sunni ulama? With what right? Who gave you the authority? You should get ulama to speak up. If they don't, you shouldn't either.


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