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WHICH COUNTRY, GEOGRAPHY AND RACE HAS THE BEST MUSLIM SCHOLARS? OR IS THIS QUEST

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 9th July 2014 12:44
Assalaamu Alaykum

By Shaykh Isma'il Ibrahim Patel (HA)

WHICH COUNTRY, GEOGRAPHY AND RACE HAS THE BEST MUSLIM SCHOLARS? OR IS THIS QUESTION PLAIN WRONG?

No body of Muslim scholars deserves elevation over others along the lines of geography or race. It should be every Muslim's policy to keep scholars of all racial and geographical orientations on one equal pedestal, and respect each as much as the other. That especially includes scholars one has not studied under - students may feel biased to their teachers but that shouldn't be the norm.

I personally haven't studied under the scholarly bodies of North Africa, Turkey, Yemen, Levant, Central Asia - the list goes on - but I've made it my aim never to let my feelings dictate to me that they are inferior to the Indians or the Hijazis, under whom I have studied for short periods. (And with Allah is Tawfiq)

Apart from one's own racial bias, and alma mater bias, there can be two scenarios that can lead to the development a superiority complex for certain scholars:

1. One might feel some scholars are closer to the Sunnah than others.

The reality is that scholars from every geography have faults that others do not possess, so the superiority complex shouldn't ever apply.

So if one feels Egyptians not having beards is deeply obnoxious, then the Indo-Paks aren't any better when it comes to consuming/allowing paan. And if one finds the Turks' indifference to certain dodgy Sufi practices to be objectionable, then the Saudis are not in a better position when it comes to their affairs with the rulers. Generally speaking.

2. One might believe that a group of scholars from a region or sub-region has produced more academic works than scholars from the rest of the world, or has had a greater role in preserving an Islamic science than scholars from the rest of the world.

The truth is scholars face different intellectual challenges where they live, and have always responded accordingly. The preservation of the Sunnah may have been a strong point in Maghrib/Andalus centuries ago but is now the now the focal point for scholars in Najd. And Fiqh discussions were the most sophisticated in Central Asia but that mantle is now assumed by the Sub-Continent scholarship.

Overall, especially for us in this era - the global village - the Ulama are the Ulama, the heirs of the Anbiya. Just like we don't appoint ourselves as judges by comparing between the prophets and/or their efforts, we shouldn't contrast between scholars - not even subconsciously.

This message is also directed at laymen - they have no business whatsoever in even having any such opinion, claiming that " *my* scholars from such and such background, ethnicity or geography are superior to the rest of the world's scholars." You might be a prawn-guzzling Deobandi or Shimaghi Salafi, but you are in no position my friend to be pronouncing earth-shattering judgements on Sub-Continent or Saudi scholars being superior to Caucasian or Sub-Saharan scholars. You don't know anything about the latter, their services to Islam and the challenges they face, and thus your arbitrary preferences are invalid and best kept to yourself.

They are all *our scholars* and deserve the same respect we give to those around us. If we really want a true revival of global unity, we need to cease thinking about, and dividing, Muslim scholars along racial lines based on our own whims and biases, all under the false pretenses of superiority.
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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 9th July 2014 14:53
afriki_haqq wrote:
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Is this by harris hammam?
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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 9th July 2014 14:55
afriki_haqq wrote:
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Have to sadly disagree with this article strongly.
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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 9th July 2014 15:04
Haris Hammam has only venom for deobandis.. and hate to fuel his cheap circus running at IA.. sad but true..
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#5 [Permalink] Posted on 9th July 2014 15:08
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Harris Hammam's new ideology is that of akram nadwi....gone from the frying pan into the fire.
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#6 [Permalink] Posted on 9th July 2014 15:17
So let us see some constructive answers to this piece for that would be more beneficial than merely making statements as above.

Shukran
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#7 [Permalink] Posted on 9th July 2014 15:26
And sadly there are some knowledgeable defenders of this Hammam guy.
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#8 [Permalink] Posted on 9th July 2014 15:30
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#9 [Permalink] Posted on 9th July 2014 15:39
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Bro afriki haqq what is harris hammam waffling about in the above piece. To compare consuming paan to the beard is a very strange comparison to begin with. All his points are waffle. The issue is that most countries in the world hardly produce their own scholars. One can and should make comparisons. It would have been better if harris hammam made a comparison of the various syllabuses etc. Like for example in mauritania they hardly focus on hadeeth whilst strong points will be maliki fiqh/language etc. The issue with islamic scholarship is linked to a lack of institutes in non-indopak countries (excluding UK, South africa) etc. The arab countries have a heavy government influence where deen is restricted and mostly is taught at university where there are a lot of negative effects. Khair an objective comparison would have been better than waffling about almost nothing. Such an article smells of akram nadwi the new pir of harris hammam.
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#10 [Permalink] Posted on 9th July 2014 15:54
The sullied spoon...



I remember as an audience with a visiting dignitiary from UGC ( university grant comission) in India at a University where I worked as an Asst. Professor of Internal medicine.

The speaker was giving a talk on IVY league colleges and campus life. sharing his experience at Harvard.. he said to have visited one of the libraries there and during the conversation with the chief librarian asked whether the personal life of teachers leaves any impact on the students.

The Lady replied as having done a questionairre amongst students with the very subject and to thier astonishment found 80% students replying in affirmative.. Now she said something which the speaker ( and I as an audience took note) would remember forever.. she said.. "Conscously You teach them what u know... but subconsiously You teach them what You are..!"

It provokes the mind.. where something like worldly teachers can leave an impact on the subconcious of a student.. affecting thier lives.. what to speak when we listen or read literature of such people who are filled with venom.. support modernists.. slander ulema e Haqq..

Better be careful of the spoon we eat from..
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#11 [Permalink] Posted on 9th July 2014 16:03
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A Salafi once said to me "All your scholars are Asian, mine are Arabs" and now I think someone must've said to him that he himself has no value or status!

Don't worry, my response shut him up about non Arab Scholars like ibn Taymiyyah etc :)
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#12 [Permalink] Posted on 9th July 2014 16:19
Indeed article is good; but is a bit dodgy as well.

No doubt, Laymen arent entitled to differentiate ulama's levels or status considering their lectures or works only; but following sunnah and adherence to shariah is the only criterion and it's duly judged by truthful scholars.

Chewing or allowing consumption of paan isnt a sin in contrast with those ulama who've no beard or those who give fatwa at the will of their rulers to please them in order to live a luxurious life.

Sufism is not against teachings of Islam per se rather it's praiseworthy if they follow shariah strictly.

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#13 [Permalink] Posted on 9th July 2014 16:20
Indeed article is good; but is a bit dodgy as well.

No doubt, Laymen arent entitled to differentiate ulama's levels or status considering their lectures or works only; but following sunnah and adherence to shariah is the only criterion and it's duly judged by truthful scholars.

Chewing or allowing consumption of paan isnt a sin in contrast with those ulama who've no beard or those who give fatwa at the will of their rulers to please them in order to live a luxurious life.

Sufism is not against teachings of Islam per se rather it's praiseworthy if they follow shariah strictly.

Yes, I agree that unity is need of the hour
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