By Zeeshan Rasool Khan
July 5, 2019
YOU all might have heard our family elders admiring any of the preachers of their younger times. And even sharing the knowledge gained from their sermons. In mosques, congregations and everywhere, many scholars of the past are discussed for their good. We even get to read columns, essays and books about scholars, who shuffled off this mortal coil a long time ago. In most instances, neither we have annals nor any other source, which could remind us about them, yet they did not sink into oblivion. Without the use of technology, they reached every nook and corner of their native countries/states or even abroad and left indelible marks in the heart and minds of the people. However, a question arises what has made them literally ‘immortal’. What was it that made most of them the household name? Actually, these were etiquettes of these scholars, which furnished them an eternity. They would ardently follow rules and regulations of preaching thus had religious clout on everyone irrespective of ideologies.
In the first place, they were known for their selflessness, sincerity, and above all their deep attachment with religion and nation with the only motive of pleasing Allah. They would never believe in affectation, instead, they would toil to acquire authenticity. In consequence, every one among them had an authentic understanding of religious scriptures. They would be argus-eyed about everything and would address every issue of Ummah under the ambit of Islamic teachings.
Secondly, they would preach not to demonstrate their knowledge and gain name, but to help the people in assimilating religious knowledge. They would devotedly moil to edify masses and to reform the nation. Those scholars would never touch the issues of no or little use. They would emphasize on the branches of knowledge, beneficial for the people and which revolutionizes one to do good deeds. Rostrum of mosques was the sacred place for them, thus speaking or behaving indecently on the rostrum was next to sin. They would stress more on unifying people under one banner.
Creation of a peaceful atmosphere would be among their priorities. Thirdly, preaching was not a mode of earning for most of them. They would perform this service out of their passion. Although they would receive perquisites, yet it was not their actual ambition. Their excellence manifested in their listeners, followers and common people. In those times, people were largely peaceable, free of malice and prejudice. Religious and ideological bias was not predominant thereupon aroma of love, peace and harmony was perceptible everywhere.
On the contrary, presently inauthentic, inept, and insincere preachers have outnumbered the proficient ones. Mostly, incompetent and irresponsible people are seen on pulpits now. Every person capable of speaking has become a religious preacher. Melodious voice and ability to recite a few verses of Quran has become a criterion for being sermonizer. They pretend to be intellectuals but actually are not. They aim at publicity rather than focusing on the basic purpose of preaching – that is a rectification of the society. Rather than transmitting knowledge, they concentrate on cutting a figure. They have degraded the sanctity of Mosques. Mosques have been turned into battlegrounds and platforms to prove one another wrong.
Pulpits are being used imprudently with no care for its holiness. Nowadays, we see these pseudo-scholars taking jibes at each other. Passing vitriolic comments against one another and name-calling is a new tradition they have set. They usually discuss trivial issues, which mostly are propitious to none, except them.
Topics that are of no use to common people are debated and in this way, ideological clashes are fomented in the society. Religion Islam that is a synonym to peace has been made incendiary topic by them. The upshot is that Sectarianism has pervaded our personal lives. Discordance among Muslims is on the rise. Moral bankruptcy, waywardness and other social evils have taken roots, which otherwise should have been nixed. The fact these Maulanas have huge acceptance among gullible people has added to the problem.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) has already hinted about this situation and said:
Time will come upon Ummah when their learned men (Ulema) will be the worst people under heaven, contention and strife will issue from them, and it will return upon them (Bihaqi).
Furthermore, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said;
Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from people, but by taking away religious scholars until no scholar remains. Then the people will turn to the ignorant as their leaders who, when asked to deliver religious verdicts, will issue them without knowledge, result being that they will go astray & will lead others astray.” (Muslim)
However, it does not mean we have to act as a mute spectator and should live with it, assuming it as divine and unalterable occurrence. In fact, no sane preacher would prefer to be one, castigated by the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Similarly, rational people will never choose pseudo-intellectuals to lead them. Therefore, either the preachers need to change their approach or people have to turn the tables because the existing system of affairs is problem aggravating, not problem-solving.
Source: Pak Observer