"Shaykh ul Islam": The latest fad...

Discussion in 'Bickering' started by chisti-raza, Aug 29, 2009.

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  1. chisti-raza

    chisti-raza Veteran

    Brother, hope that all is well on your end. This is my original post.

    "brothers, what we need to realise is that there are others who deserve to be called the 'Shaykh al-Islam' and there is really nothing wrong with these scholars being referred to as such. Shaykh al-Islam Abdur Razack al-Halabi, Shaykh al-Islam Akhtar Rida Bareillwi, and of course there are others. I don't find anything wrong if scholars of this calibre are addressed in such a manner."

    I did not (at any stage) say that he has approved but was simply trying to get across that a giant of his caibre is undoubtedly deserving of being called such.
  2. Bismillah...

    I don't want to sound antagonistic, but has Shaykh Abdur-Razzaq ever approved of being called Shaykh Al-Islam. I don't have a problem calling him such a title, but I am curious?

  3. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    you are mixing up things. that is modesty and humility. our cultures particularly islam not only encourages modesty and humility, but also counts them as superlative traits in a man.

    'whosoever is humble, Allah ta'ala will raise his rank' is the hadith.

    if you are talking of hagiographical praise by followers, your british culture is no less guilty of it than ours.

    where else in the world did the prize for the most beautiful woman in the world originate; and don't you regularly come across the world's smartest person, world's fastest person etc, etc, ad nauseum in the western press? guinness, as far as i know is not eastern.

    probably you are not as british as you think you are: in our culture (islamic) we don't curtsey to royals. royals are not only ordinary, but it is considered as a flaw being a royal. it is another matter that muslim countries have adopted these western mores in aping the royalty of the west.
    "I have the honour to remain Madam, Your Majesty's most humble and obedient servant"

    or the titles of clergy:

    indeed, if you read the correspondence of british during the raj, you will find that people addressing their seniors with utter servility.

    islam looks down upon such sycophancy and considers deferring to people of wealth and power as a depravity and defect in faith itself. egalitarianism was an islamic ideal until muslims forgot that, and the west claimed it for their own.

    magna carta is touted as the earliest document of equality of the rulers and the ruled; whereas, sayyiduna umar's letter to the judges preceded it by 600 years. radiyallahu anhu.*

    *ten years ago, i visited dubai courts, and found the historical letter engraved in marble in the main entrance/reception. i cannot describe the joy and pride i felt within myself. i am sure it is still there.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2009
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  4. Wadood

    Wadood Veteran

    In the maghrib, they call everyone sidi or Moulay. Yes, it definitely seems like an Eastern hemisphere thing.

    I am curious about the Aztec/Andean races in Central and South America
  5. i think it might be a cultural thing too: most of the world's muslims are from the East and, especially in Eastern cultures, this sort of exaggerated praise is quite common and not just for scholars. We praise our cricketers and singers to the skies too. "He is the sun of cricket" people say of Tendulkar in India!

    In the British culture, by way of contrast, understatement is the norm. A brilliant person will say, "I did quite well I think!"

    I suppose, for me, I just find this hyperbole--outside of poetry--strange probably because of my upbringing in the UK.
  6. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    followers and admirers keep saying exaggerated things about talented and knowledgeable people. i was reading an old article about alahazrat, and the writer was praising alahazrat; only that he was going overboard with his praise.

    like, claiming that alahazrat's arabic was so good that if sibawiyh was in his time, he would be alahazrat's student. (instead of the other way round)

    or ibn taymiyyah's praise by some of his students, to the point that dhahabi remarked: 'we are not among those who exaggerate his praise; yet we are not stingy in praise where it is due. in spite of all his qualities, he was still only human...'

    some later imams have also praised his 'powers of reasoning' whereas his mistakes are usually on account of poor logic. the book 'iqtida'a as sirat al-mustaqim' has many examples of his fallacious arguments.

    Allah ta'ala knows best.
  7. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    i remember the couplet recited by some scholar thus:
    maulvi hargiz na shud maula e ruum
    ta ghulam e shams e tabrizi na shud

  8. AbdalQadir

    AbdalQadir time to move along! will check pm's.

    Strictly going by legalities, there's nothing wrong with such titles as long as they are used for knowledgeable/pious Muslims of the Ahlus Sunnah.

    It is kufr to use them for a kafir.

    I would assume it would be either a serious sin or kufr to use them for a mubtadi (shia, wahabi, etc) or fasiq (like open drunk, adulterer etc.). (Not sure about exact ruling on this one... sure about the ruling of kufr for using it for kuffar).

    You can for example, call your local Imam "Sheikhul Hadith" out of love and respect if he narrates ahadith to you after the daily 'Esha prayers. He might only be a Hafiz-Quran and nothing more.

    Strategically speaking, though, as mentioned, I would think it lessens the value of the titles and Islamic scholarship if just any Qari or Hafiz or someone who only barely completed Dars-e-Nizami is called Sheikhul Islam or Ghauthul Waqt or Ghazali-e-Zamaan. And even if some knowledgeable common folk use it for some scholarly personalities they respect, it won't be long before just any tom, dick and harry starts calling just any murgha-chaap mulla as a Ghauthul Waqt or Sultanul Awliyaa or Sheikhul Islam or Mujaddid or Mufakkir-e-Islam or what ever.
  9. Doesn't it lessen the value of a title if every other mullah has it?! (I accept that often it is only the followers who do this and the shaykhs themselves are free from this...though not in all cases...);

    Another fashionable title is now becoming 'Mujaddid'. I know that some of TuQ's followers believe he is the mujaddid of this era and I've heard other people say so for their shaykhs too.

    Next: Shaykh al Milky Way Galaxy/Shaykh of the Megallanic Clouds. And Sayyidi Ala Hazrat was happy to be called 'Maulvi'.

    Mevlevi shud, Mevlana Rum na shud
    Ta ghulam-i Shams Tabriz na shud!

    A maulvi I was, "Our Master of Rum" I was not
    Until, the slave of Shams of Tabriz I was not!
  10. chisti-raza

    chisti-raza Veteran

    brothers, what we need to realise is that there are others who deserve to be called the 'Shaykh al-Islam' and there is really nothing wrong with these scholars being referred to as such. Shaykh al-Islam Abdur Razack al-Halabi, Shaykh al-Islam Akhtar Rida Bareillwi, and of course there are others. I don't find anything wrong if scholars of this calibre are addressed in such a manner.
  11. The Emir

    The Emir Well-Known Member

    The only Shaykh ul Islam I knew and heard of was Sayyad Muhammad Madani Miya Ashrafi of Kicchocha Sharif, India, which was deservedespecially for his work (including written) against the Wahhabis, Qadianis, Jamate Islami, Tablighi jamaat - until recently when everyone seems to want to become a Shaykh ul Islam without doing anything. Hazrat Madani Miya is also currently writing a tafsir of the Quran in urdu at an age when most people would be in retirement!

    A new one now is Shaykh ul Alam!! What about Shaykh ul Universe next or Shaykh ul Globe?????
  12. chisti-raza

    chisti-raza Veteran

    and to think that our Imam Ahmad Raza adopted 'abdul Mustafa' for himself...
  13. then there is the eponymous "****** al millat" with the asterisks replaced with words like ghazi, hafiz, shaykh, shams, etc. etc.
  14. and mufakkir e islam is a title used by quite a few now too: pir abdul qadir shah, tahir ul qadri etc.

    the maxim, "titles maketh the man" is en vogue!
  15. Wadood

    Wadood Veteran

    yanafi recently were labelling Pir Alauddin of Aston as 'Shaykh e 'Alam'
  16. Wadood

    Wadood Veteran

    Not just in the Sub Continent. In my tariqa, which is Turkish based, the area where my teachers are, there are many shuyukh who are labelled as Ghaus al-waqt, Ghaus al-zaman. This is the entire eastern and south central areas of Turkey.

    From the city of Konya of Mawlana HaDrat raDyAllahu 'anhu to the city of Erzincan, there are many awliya Allah, who are labelled with this title as such.

    They are from the Naqshbandi-Qadiri-and Rifa'i Tariqas.
  17. chisti-raza

    chisti-raza Veteran

    Sultaanul Awliya;)...i couldn't help myself
  18. Yaseen

    Yaseen Active Member

    Gaus ul Waqt is quite common amongst certain murideen as well...
  19. :s1:

    There was a time when the honorific Shaykh al Islam was seldom, if ever, applied, and, when it was, it was for one or two individuals in the entire Muslim world who were unique in their knowledge and stature e.g. al-Ghazali. Then there was another time when the Ottoman Sultan would appoint one person as the Shaykh ul Islam of the entire Muslim world e.g. Ebu Se┬┤uud.

    Nowadays, and it is a VERY recent phenomena, tons of "Shaykh ul Islams" have sprung up everywhere, particularly in the Indo-Pakistani community of scholars!
    It seems that titles such as "Hazrat", "Allama", "Mufti", "Khateeb al Asr", "Shaykh al Hadith", "Ghazali e Zamaan", "Hujjatelislam" etc. etc. were no longer grandiose
    enough to fit the egos of our ulama (or their overzealous acolytes) and now the only one big enough to fit has to be "Shaykh al Islam".

    Whatever next?
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