Thursday, September 30, 2010

What attracts me as a student to Islamic Scholars?

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “One who treads a path in search of knowledge has his path to Paradise made easy by God…”

There are many Islamic scholars in South Africa. Many have studied abroad and locally. They all approach topics with their own distinct style and charisma. Some are traditional whose sole focus of study is centred on the Quran and Hadith. Some are labelled progressive; they possess in-depth knowledge of the Quran and Hadith and have branched out into tackling problems in a very liberal and contemporary approach. There are also those who fall in-between, sitting on the fence if you may call it that.

I have compiled a list of a few things that attract me to Islamic Scholars:

Open Mindedness

I am drawn to scholars who are open minded. Scholars who are willing to accept change and realise that there are other ways of looking at things. It is only the narrow minded who prefer to only see things their way.

Non Judgemental

I want scholars to approach issues in the community without being judgmental. They have no divine authority to judge anyone; they have a right to guide us but never to judge us. There is an organisation in Cape Town who assists homosexuals. This organisation has been judged and the Imam has been labelled a kuffar. My views on homosexuality aren’t the point on this one, but I will give him a pat on the back and say “job well done.” Do you want to know why? Because homosexuality is on the increase in the Muslim community. Deny it all you want but it is there. These young men do not how to handle the issue so they turn away from Islam, they turn to drugs and alcohol. Some even commit suicide. This organisation wants to prevent that so they open their doors to homosexuals and try to help them. They help them to be better Muslims. They have never judged them. They don’t promote homosexuality rather say “its okay, we are here for you.”

Language and Choice of words

I am as curious as a cat. When I come to you and ask “Why do we have to make salaah?” please do not retaliate by saying “Because it is compulsory and how can you ask such a thing.” I honestly believe if the youth were stopped coerced into doing things but rather have someone explain to them as to why we should do things and the beauty that lies behind it, we will have a better society. How often do you hear people saying, “I have to go make salaah, otherwise my mother will upset.” Do you make salaah to make your parents happy? Don’t you know that is a form of shirk. Scholars should guide the youth with a soft tone and love in their voice. Don’t be rude, don’t be violent and most of all don’t be forceful. Let the person, through your soft words, make their own choices.

Non Patriarchal

I have a very big problem with male scholars who believe they are superior to women. These scholars do not believe the rights of women are as important as the rights of men. The feel the position of women is secondary to that of men. This goes against the core teachings of Islam. The Quran teaches us that women are equal to men in their value. Your value is based on your ability to submit yourself to Allah (swt). Therefore the person who is valuable is the one who is most noble in the eyes of Allah (swt). This is the one who has the most awareness of Allah (swt). This can be gained by a man and woman. Does this not show that we are equal? Why do they continue to use their religious authority to glorify their misdoings against women? I applaud the male scholars who focus on women’s rights. The scholars who have respect for other female scholars in Islam and the scholars who believe women should actively participate in this community.


I admire those scholars who are devout. Many contemporary scholars are criticised on a daily basis. Their belief is questioned, they are labelled as kuffar and sometimes violence and animosity has come their way. Yet these scholars have never given up on Islam and their studies. They continue to pursue it and continue to make a difference in the communities.

There are many other things that attract me to Islamic scholars but I will write about that at another time.

This is a list of my favourite Islamic scholars, whose works have inspired me and made me fall in love with my religion all over again. They are amongst those who don’t stop fighting for what they believe in. Some may criticise them others may applaud them. I simply thank them...

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "If anyone travels on a road in search of knowledge, God will cause him to travel on one of the roads of Paradise. The angels will lower their wings in their great pleasure with one who seeks knowledge. The inhabitants of the heavens and the Earth and (even) the fish in the deep waters will ask forgiveness for the learned man. The superiority of the learned over the devout is like that of the moon, on the night when it is full, over the rest of the stars. The learned are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets leave (no monetary inheritance), they leave only knowledge, and he who takes it takes an abundant portion. - Sunan of Abu-Dawood, Hadith 1631

1 comment:

  1. You have some nice ideas. The one Id like to comment is open mindedness.

    What is open mindedness? I have tried talking to 'open minded' people.Each person has a certain limit as to what he or she will accept or be able to listen to without reacting.

    As someone who naturally inclined to being curious and perhaps seeing the good in someone, or perhaps trying to save people, I always welcomed going to people of different sects to ask them questions.

    What we have today is two types of people. You get people who contort their logic to fit their beliefs, and you get today people who can contort their beliefs to fit their logic.
    But what is the truth then?

    Naturally, as a revert growing up in SA, or rather as a person/girl, you have had the ability to go to school, to higher education, the ability to vote, freedom to choose what to believe , how to believe, what to dress, etc. You could even become president( is that islamic) here.

    For you , since these seem perhaps the quintessence of freedom, choice, and equality, things you have grown up with, it seems impossible to you, and to others in the same situation, that these things MUST be a part of Islam. Its fair and just and thats what Islam stands for right?

    Hence any scholar which is 'open minded' to find ways of bringing these ideas into, and proving its already apart of islam, you will love. Not to bore you with psychology, but if youve watched inception, do we really come to any conclusions? Or does an idea take hold in our mind without us knowing, and slowly it will grow till it becomes a belief?

    But perhaps the next most open minded question , are these things really apart of Islam? Or Islam as flawed as any other religion? ( when I say religion I speak about the man constructed laws, not the real truth).

    To suggest such a thing would be ludicrous right? Its the one thing that muslims and reverts sought of use as there own external and internal marketing drive. This is an untouched perfect religion, its equal, just, fair, scientific.... If they can accept now that theres holes in it, then what?

    Then they have a big problem, because there very core is shaken to its roots.

    Very few scholars if any are able to take it to this level, where they now have to really re evalutate everything they believe in , to the point of looking at other systems, eg hinduism, bhuddism, mysticism, christianty.

    For me the essential truth of what the really open minded person would find would essentially be the same, and hence it would not matter how or what you worship.

    Not only does this break down barriers, but it allows us to really become one global family, since my religion doesnt mean im better because i worship like this and you off to hell, you disbelievers.

    I would suggest that all scholars, should learn at least one human science, and one general science to become a true scholar of islam. to be truly open minded.