The Holy Prophet [s] said: “Ask (questions from) the learned, speak with the wise, and associate with the poor.”
Tuhaf-ul-‘Uqul, p. 34
HADEETH ON ‘ULAMA
Imam as-Sadiq (as) has said, “The kings are rulers of the people and the ‘Ulama are the rulers of the kings”. (Meezan al-Hikmah)
There is no doubt that the true and the virtuous ‘Ulama have always enjoyed greater status then all the kings and rulers put together. History has shown that
the kings and the rulers of the world have always bowed down in respect before the ‘Ulama Or they have used ways and means to either isolate them from the society or eliminate them because they considered them as threats.
“Say (O Muhammad): Can those who know and those who do not know be equal? Verily only the men of understanding take the heed”. (39:9)
‘ULAMA- THE PREFERRED PEOPLE
It is related that:
[ There was a great Shia’h Scholar in the days of our 10th Imam (as). Once a Nasibi (a person who curses the Ahlul-Bayt) had a debate with this scholar and the scholar defeated him through Quranic verses and Prophetic traditions. One day this scholar came into a gathering, which consisted mostly of Alavids and people of Banu Hashim; and Imam Al-Hadi (as) was also present. In the centre of that gathering, Imam (as) was seated and there was a huge pillow placed at that spot. As soon as the Imam (as) saw this scholar, he (as) rose from his place and asked the scholar to come forward until the Imam (as) made him sit next to him and offered him the pillow to relax. One old man from Banu Hashim did not like this, so he complained saying, “O Son of the Prophet! How can you give preference to an ordinary person over a Sayyid who belongs to the progeny of Abu Talib and Abbas?” When our Imam (as) heard this, he (as) was extremely furious with the old man and started quoting verses from the Holy Quran to prove the supremacy of a scholar over everyone else.
Imam (as) asked the people present there: “Do you believe the commands of Allah in the Quran?” They all said, “Yes!” Then the Imam (as) said, “Hasn’t Allah (SWT) said: “Allah will raise those who have faith and those who have been given knowledge in rank…” (58:11). Then know that just as Allah loves a Mumin over a non-Mumin, similarly, He loves a Mumin with knowledge over a Mumin without knowledge. (Now tell me) Hasn’t Allah (SWT) also said, “Say (O Muhammad): Can those who know and those who do not know be equal? Verily only the men of understanding take the heed”. (39:9) Then why are you people trying to stop me from giving preference to one who has been preferred by Allah (SWT)?? This Scholar has utilized his knowledge, which Allah (SWT) has blessed him and defeated our enemy with it. This act is better than any family ties and relation in my eyes”. ] (Al-Ihtijaaj)
The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “The superiority of a Scholar over others is like the superiority of a Prophet over his nation”. (Kanzul-‘Ummaal)
He (saww) has also said, “The –Religious- Scholars are the trustees of Allah upon His –entire- creation”. (Kanzul-‘Ummaal)
OUR DUTIES TOWARDS ‘ULAMA
Our duties towards our ‘Ulama are: We must accord them with maximum respect; Follow their guidance as required; Not to challenge them with our ignorance; Love them and never show hostility towards them
The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “Beware! Never belie a Scholar, and do not come in confrontation against him, do not be hostile towards him and love him. For verily their love is the sign of sincerity and hostility to them is the sign of hypocrisy. Beware! Do not insult a Scholar. Whoever insults him insults me and whoever insults me insults Allah and whoever insults Allah then his path is to Hellfire. Whoever honours a Scholar, honours me. And whoever honours me, honours Allah. And whoever honours Allah then his path is towards Paradise “. (Gunahaane-e-Kabeera)
IMAM AS-SADIQ (AS) HONOURING THE ‘ULAMA
Imam Ja’ffar as-Sadiq (as) was the most knowledgeable person of his time. Despite this, the people who studied under him and became virtuous Scholars, Imam (as) accorded them with maxim respect and supported them in different ways.
Abu Hamza Thumali was a companion as well as a devotee of our Imam (as). Infact he had the honour of being with 4 Imams (as) during his lifetime. This companion was also regarded as a Scholar of a very high calibre. Imam Ja’ffar as-Sadiq (as) used to say: “I feel mental tranquillity on seeing him”. Imam ar-Ridha (as) said of him, “He was the Salman al-Farsi of his age”. (Status of Imam as-Sadiq)
Himraan bin Aayoon. Once a most learned Syrian scholar came to our Imam (as) and a controversy occurred in a matter. Imam (as) ordered Himraan to argue with the Syrian. He managed to do so with such skills that the Syrian was dumbfounded. It is also related that once our Imam (as) was in Hajj when Bukeer, the brother of Himraan came to our Imam (as) and conveyed his brother’s salaams to him. Imam (as) said , “Himraan belongs to the people of Paradise and his faith is unshakeable”. (Status of Imam as-Sadiq)