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Religious Hierarchy in Quranic Islam: Is it Legitimate?

By Rashid Samnakay,

There are many light hearted philosophical statements coined in the name of the Sage Confucius that begin with “Confucius said that…” Relevant to this topic is-- Confucius said that “The one who hood-winks others, himself suffers from eye-twitch”! ('Tourette's Syndrome'/Tic)

Are Muslims being hoodwinked? Yes, with reference to Quran we are. Let us argue!

In keeping with other world religions, Muslims too are being hood-winked and taken for spiritual ride by an elite and reverend class of people. This is particularly strange, because of the fact that unlike other religions, the existence of this class is totally rejected by the book Quran. And yet this religious profession is entrenched in the community as a guide to the followers of Quran, where the Messenger is told to address his listeners:-

10-37, Say (to them), “of your partners is there any that can give you guidance-(yahdi) - towards the ‘Truth’? Say, it is God only (lillah) who gives guidance towards the truth”.

Apart from the shameful and notorious title of Halala Maulvi/mullah in some primitive Muslim communities, as discussed on this and other forums, the two main titles, though not as shameful as that, are in common usage in South and South East Asia.

These two are Maulana, colloquially called Mullahs and a loftier one Mufti. The later is more widely used in the Muslim world and is sometimes bestowed by the governments.

In the Book both the titles are reserved for only God (lillah) and that is its ‘spirit and essence’ of unity of the Creator. Logically because, when these titles are applied to humans, they elevate humans to godliness. On this basis the above verse then proceeds to argue:

10-37, “Is then He (God) who gives guidance to the truth more worthy to be followed or he (the human) who finds not guidance himself unless he is guided? What then is the matter with you, how judge you?” This last sentence is significant.

In appealing to our intelligence in an argumentative way, and almost in frustration, it alludes to the illogicality of existence of this class as associate to God-- SHIRK, ascribing ‘associates’ to God; a “highest wrong doing 31-13” etc, an unforgiveable sin!

The first one Maulana, a word meaning our Master/Protector appears in the Book in numerous verses and not all will be presented here. The translations are taken from Yusuf Ali, the most commonly used by English language readers.

The significant and the first verse on the list is;-

 2-286—this long verse ends with a supplication to All Mighty as “… Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. …... You are our Maulana--master/protector: help us against those who stand against Faith”. Here very obviously the protector is God, and not the persons sitting in front leading spiritually.

Verse 3-150 is in the same vain but short and precise. It says- “Nay, God is your Protector and He is the best of the helpers”.

Only the significant words relating to ‘God’ in the next few verses are given;

6-62, “the only reality”, 8-40 “best to protect”, 9-51 “put your trust in Him”, 10-30 “your rightful Lord”, 22-78 “hold fast to Him as your protector”.

And then there are others such as 44-41, 47-11, and 66-2 and 66-4.

The grammatical construction of 66-4 of the Arabic text is contorted to justify the use of ‘Maulana’ for beings other than God. However one does not have to be an Arabic language scholar, as this writer confesses he is not, to see through the deception and realise that out of so many verses, just one verse can not negate all the others in their ‘essence and spirit’. It is a truism that two masters can not be served simultaneously.

The next lofty title that is in vogue in Muslim religious circle is the title of Mufti, that is, the one who is qualified to issue a Fatwa, a religious opinion. It is worth remembering that a Mufti’s fatwa is only an opinion and carries no legal authority.

Historically this position was created by the RULERS as a buffer between the scholars who dared to oppose the Rulers. The Mufti would issue a Fatwa against the scholar where required and if the masses accepted it and the Ruler won, the Mufti was rewarded, but if not, the poor clown lost his head!

The connection with the word occurs in two verses of the Book where, it is emphasised that the authority of issuing a Fatwa – in Quranic sense--is similarly and exclusively God’s (lillah) domain. Not even His messenger could issue one, even when requested by the people to do so. For example:

Chapter Nisa No.4, verse 127 says “They ask you for instruction (fatwa) concerning the women, say only God (lillah) does instruct you about them (the orphans)…”.

And in verse No.4-176 it says, “They ask you for a legal decision (fatwa). “Say: only God (lillah) directs you thus….”

Muft -in Urdu means free. Said Ghalib:

Muft kee peetay thhey Mae par jaantey thhey keh han’

          We were indulging in free issue of vine but were aware of the fact,

Rung laayegee hamaaree yeh baadah mastee aik din!

          This drunkenness of ours would have consequences one day!

But are our spiritual leaders aware of the consequences?

No disrespect, but in all seriousness one must ask as to how have these, ostensibly learned people, contrived Ranks for themselves in complete contradiction of what they claim to adhere to and obey Faithfully—the Quran? Is it accepted by them innocently or is it just interpreted differently in some linguistic sense other than Quranic sense or is  the human urge for rank and status so overwhelming that it makes them say “Ana-al-Huq”-- I am The truth?

In the olden days this crime was punishable by hanging, if we remember the fate of the one who proclaimed himself so, but we now live in a civilised world. The learned religious ‘scholars’ – Aa’lim-ud-Deen as they are called-- if it is the one and same Deen of Quran—then they are guilty of intellectual dishonesty for they are deceiving the masses knowingly and professionally. This fraud HAS, and IS doing untold damage to the Brotherhood of Muslims 49-10 by their having created numerous irreconcilable DIVISIONS as in 30-32, including separating Sisters, by putting them under the hood!

Conversely, the educated but ill-informed masses that willingly put them on the reverential pedestals, are being lead astray. The urge to submit to and idolise a tangible symbol, is a human weakness. In abrogating our responsibility in mature age, to acquaint ourselves of such matters, has kept us and our off-spring also in the ‘dark’. Therefore those religious spongers – (mutrifeen 34-34 etc), are entitled to pray on humanity, for that alas, is the law of the jungle from which we have not emerged as yet!

Poet Iqbal had said:

Yahee sheikh-e- Haram hai Jo bechh khaataa hai’

This is the scholar-trader of the Church who thrive on the proceeds of stolen goods,

Galeem-e-bu Zar, dilq-e-Awies wa chadar-e- Zahraa

(Such as) Abu Dhaar’s carpet, Owies’ garment and the covering-sheet of Zahra!

Church based Religions are one of the most effective and common tools used to achieve this breakup of Humanity, given as one Nation in 10-19 as there is no room for argument allowed in Church. The Book advises us to “shun such people as use profanity in His (God’s) name 7-180”.

Agar chey kayee buut hain’ jama’t kay Asteenon’ main’

Although there are numerous idols lurking under the sleeves of the community,

Mujhey hai hukm-e-Azaan’, lailaha illallah

I am but only commanded to proclaim, the Unity of God.’  So has Iqbal explained laailaahaa illallaah to us! (Note-‘Karkhaanon main’ rhymes with ‘Asteenon main’!)

Mankind on the whole has carried this burden for millennia, as a consequence of ignorance or willingness to being hoodwinked. It therefore must be asked—if the whole basis of these guides is illegitimate according to Quran, then should not ALL aspects of their teaching be declared illegitimate and fraud? Should we not as Muslims at least, discuss this intellectually since it is proved to be against the Quranic Deen we profess to adhere and obey in total?

Let us collectively, them and us, close down this industry (Karkhaanaa)-- which is what it is; operating in the name of ‘spirituality’ and re-configure it to producing practical acts—amillus-saalihaati, by men and women (4-124) and generate pluralistic society 2-62, for doing just ‘good for the goodness sake’ for humanity as a whole, without class barrier.

But when such a huge industry is closed down, an alternative employment is needed. So are our learned people ready or have the capacity to be retrained for other useful tasks for humanity and are we, the masses and States ready to help them?

Rashid Samnakay is an Indian-origin Engineer (Retd.) based in Australia for over forty years.