A Precious and Valuable Gem: The (Religious) Scholar Whose Deeds are Inconsistent with his Knowledge
The religious scholars who prefer and Love this worldly life shall surely speak other than the truth concerning their judgments and religious verdicts. Verily, the judgments of Allah usually contradict the desires of people especially the rulers and those who follow their whims, as their aims cannot be attained except by opposing the truth.
Accordingly, if the ruler and the religious scholar seek position and power and follow their desires, indeed they will not be able to fulfill their aims except by deviating from the truth, especially if there is a doubtful matter involved. The doubtful matter will agree with the desires of man, and vanity will prevail. As a result, righteousness will disappear, and truth will vanish.
However, there is no doubtful matter in the truth, so how can wrong doers dare to oppose it openly, assuming that they will be able to repent afterwards. Such behavior is mentioned in a Qur’anic verse in which Allah says, which means,
Allah, the Exalted, informs us that those wrong doers have chosen the goods of this low life (the evil pleasures of this world) despite being aware of its unlawfulness. Moreover, they say, as an excuse, “(Everything) will be forgiven to us.And if (again) the offer of the like (evil pleasures of this world) came their way, they would (again) seize them (would commit those sins), so they are insistent upon that, and that is the reason why they dare to utter falsehood against Allah, assuming that the judgment and the religion of Allah are implied therein.Either they know the fact that the religion and the judgment of Allah contradict their claims, or they do not know. The result is that sometimes they utter falsehood against Allah, or else they say what is unlawful.
On the other hand, the pious know quite well that the Hereafter is better than this worldly life, so loving leadership and following one’s desires would not be a temptation to them, so they would never prefer this worldly life to the Hereafter. They have only one path, which is abiding by the Glorious Qur’an and the Sunnah. Besides, they seek help in patience and prayer, think deeply about this worldly life, its transient nature and its inferiority, and they compare it with the Hereafter, its greatness and the fact that it is eternal.
Following one’s desires can blind the heart in a way that makes it confused between the Sunnah and innovation in religion. Sometimes, one may be confused whether or not an action is based on the Sunnah or on an innovation in religion. In fact, when misunderstandings like this occur, it is the fault of religious scholars as they prefer this worldly life and follow the rulers, and their vain desires.
They are mentioned in these verses in which Allah says,which means,
So, this is the likeness of the devious scholar of religion whose deeds contradict his knowledge.The previous verses dispraised this behavior as follows:
One: He has gone astray after having been knowledgeable, and he has knowingly chosen disbelief over faith.
Two: He abandoned faith entirely with no return, so, he threw away the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), like the serpent which throws away its skin.So, if there was any remnant thereof, he could not throw it away.
Three: Satan controlled him and so he tempted and seduced him, and that is why Allah says, “Satan followed him up, and He did not say, pursue him”, because following up means reaching and attaining him, which is much more eloquent than saying, “pursue him,” as far as meaning and expression are concerned.
Four: He has erred after having been guided, which means that he has gone astray in knowledge and in intention, which is related to the corruption of his intention and deeds. Going astray is related to the corruption of knowledge and belief, and the corruption of one side entails the corruption of the other.
Five: If Allah, the Exalted, had so willed, He could have elevated him with knowledge, which would have prevented his destruction. In other words, if he was not knowledgeable, it would have been much better for him, and would have meant a lesser torment for him.
Six: Allah, the Exalted, informed us about his wicked intention, mentioning that he has preferred inferiority rather than the most honorable and the most righteous.
Seven: His inferior choice was not chosen because of an idea that crossed his mind, on the contrary, it was chosen due to his desire to cling to the earth. Clinging means permanent adherence, as if it was said, “He is sticking to the earth.” The Qur’anic expression described his inclination to this worldly life by referring to his clinging to the earth, because the worldly life is the earth, and those who are living therein, and everything that can be extracted thereof, either for adornment or enjoyment.
Eight: He deviated from the right path following his vain desires, so his own desire resembles a leader who should be followed.
Nine: He, the Almighty compared him to a dog, which is the most low amongst creatures, because of its greed.
Ten: He compares his covetousness to this worldly life and his impatience thereto and his grief of being deprived thereof by the lolling out of the dog’s tongue, whether it is left alone or driven away. Accordingly, if that person is left alone, then he will be covetous of this worldly life, and if he is advised he will still be covetous. of this worldly life. He clings to covetousness like the dog with its tongue lolling out. Ibn Qutaibiyah said, “Surely everyone pants because they are exhausted or thirsty, except dogs, for it is their habit to pant while lolling their tongues out in all cases, whether they are exhausted or not, and whether they are thirsty or not, and that is why the Qur’anic expression compared it to the disbeliever, asserting that he has gone astray whether he is advised or left on his own. This is like the dog whether it is left alone or driven away.
- Reflections – Al-Istiqaamah Magazine , Issue No.6
- Correcting the two strengths of knowledge and action – Shaykh Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah
Taken from ‘Miftah dar as-Sa’ada’(key to the land of happiness) . Translated by Abbas Abu Yahya