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Thursday, August 16, 2018

The passing of the Murabit Al-Hajj

Although I never personally met Murabit Al-Hajj, I heard a lot about from his students in particular Sheikh Hamza Yusuf. Moreover, anyone who heard from Sheikh Hamza would have benefited from the knowledge that he was taught. 

He was a man known for piety and great knowledge. He taught for decades and had an understanding that is beyond a few years of study. It is foolish to think one is qualified after a few years of study but in reality, they are merely students.

The real sadness is that we do not recognise the importance of scholars and scholarship. ‘Diy’ Islam has affected us all. Namely, Islam is whatever we think it is and not what it actually is. The Internet has made experts of us all as we spread false opinions without realising the ramifications. 

Often people do not recognise knowledge but recognise dress sense. Therefore, when someone dresses like a scholar people think he is! Only those with something recognise in someone else. This is our problem.

Perhaps greater than all this is the death of a scholar without his knowledge being passed on. It is not the loss of books in that we lose religion it is from people who are in touch with the traditional works. That most of us have no access to. Scholars are a means to knowledge. You see it is the heart that contains knowledge and when the hearts go, so does the knowledge. 

I find it bizarre that the illiterate have expressed sadness about the death of a scholar when they have no interest in knowledge. To me the death of a scholar is the severing of decades of study and understanding. Even if someone was to study like them they would only reach their understanding after decades, if at all. 

He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, “Allah the Exalted does not take knowledge by removing it from the servant. Nevertheless, He takes knowledge by the death of scholars until there does not remain a single scholar. Then people appoint the ignorant as their leaders. They are asked, they give legal edict without knowledge. They are misguided and cause greater misguidance.”[1]

Allah (the Exalted) does not take knowledge once it is given but there might be a time when it is not taken. Then the scholar dies and that knowledge has gone and the opportunity lost. People make leaders of the misguided because they cannot recognise knowledge. Only knowledge recognises knowledge. The people are misguided and they can only accept the misguided as leaders. Look at how a scholar saves people from misguidance, but without one everything goes. So bear in mind the person who is appointed by people might be as misguided as them. When there is no apparent heir to the knowledge should we become worried.

Food for thought because this hadith is happening now and has been happening for about twenty years without most people losing sleep. If we were really to understand this correctly, we should be scared.

Islam is protected from being altered by the men of knowledge and when we lose them, do the misguided rule. We are seeing these signs now. We need more students to study at least the basics, if not more than this. Religion is protected from misguidance because a party will remain steadfast on the truth. But the distressing thing that most of us are not concerned with, that makes the death of any scholar heartbreaking is, there is no replacement.

[1] Bukhari and Muslim.