The word ‘Alim in Arabic means scholar or scientist. The word ‘Alim itself derives from the word ‘Ilm, which means knowledge or science. However, when used alone, by default, ‘Alim means a religious scholar. Therefore, the religious scholar knows with the utmost certainty the truth of Allah and his religion.
Of all of Allah’s servants, only the knowledgeable ˹of His might˺ are ˹truly˺ in awe of Him.
Surah Fatir (35 – 28)
So anyone who is unaware of His might or is in awe of someone or something else than Allah is truly ignorant. Moreover, if someone has knowledge of the Quran and ignores Allah’s directives or bows to another entity or power besides Allah for worldly gain is among the scum of this Earth.
Those who hide the clear proofs and guidance that We have revealed—after We made it clear for humanity in the Book—will be condemned by Allah and ˹all˺ those who condemn.
As for those who repent, mend their ways, and let the truth be known, they are the ones to whom I will turn ˹in forgiveness˺, for I am the Accepter of Repentance, Most Merciful.
Surely those who disbelieve and die as disbelievers are condemned by Allah, the angels, and all of humanity.
Surah Al-Baqarah (2 – 159-161)
Indeed, those who trade Allah’s covenant and their oaths for a fleeting gain will have no share in the Hereafter. Allah will neither speak to them, nor look at them, nor purify them on the Day of Judgment. And they will suffer a painful punishment.
Surah Ala-Imran (3 – 77)
Have you ˹O Prophet˺ not seen those who were given a portion of the Scriptures yet trade it for misguidance and wish to see you deviate from the ˹Right˺ Path?
Surah An-Nisa (4 – 44)
I know, many hypocrites (people who feel targeted) will be quick to say that these passages are specific to Rabbis and Priests who used the past Scriptures (Torah and Gospel) to their advantage. Didn’t the prophet Muhammad (ppuh) say:
“You will most certainly follow the ways of those who came before you, arm’s length by arm’s length, forearm’s length by forearm’s length, hand span by hand span, until even if they entered a hole of a mastigure (lizard) you will enter it too.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah, (do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?” He said: “Who else?”
Sunan Ibn Majah, Tribulations, 3994.
The original reason for revelation might have been corrupt Rabbis and Priests, but the intended audience is that of similar deeds in action and speech. Allah never singles out a denomination without making them an example to follow or to avoid. Therefore, mimicking past people begets the same retribution; good and bad.
Now, the position of a Muslim scholar is not an enviable one. Since there are no more prophets, they have inherited their burden; scholars are the sieve of truth. They are the defenders of Islam, they maintain its limits, they are more powerful than any ruler! And tyrants know this, that is why these tyrants use corrupt scholars to mislead people. And don’t think that this is a recent phenomenon. After the Rashidun Caliphate, pressure has been exerted on scholars to comply with the ruler’s desires. For instance, the example of Imam Ahmad (the Quran is a creation instead of the word of Allah). He was imprisoned and lashed on multiple occasions for staying steadfast on the right path. Now, practically all Muslims have heard about him, but how many remember any of the “scholars” that served the tyrant of his time. However, in recent years, all limits have been transgressed. “Scholars” are not just used to acquire worldly advantages or support a perverse interpretation of the Quran; they are presently being used to actively destroy this religion.
Despots hide behind this shield, yet scholars comply?! Once again, the devil’s advocate speaks: “You think you’d do a better job than these so-called religious scholars if you were in their place?” The answer… I thank Allah that I am not in their shoes for two reasons. I never wish to have this burden of responsibility on my shoulders and I would not wish on anyone to witness the reckoning they will receive on the Day of Judgement. With this said. Scholars have accepted the responsibility that comes with the job.
Fortunately, not all scholars are corrupt hypocrites. Many do actually stand up for what is just and true. On the downside, they more often than not they are the first to face the brunt of unjust rulers. They are imprisoned, tortured, or killed; thus, leaving the court empty for the remaining “scholars”, i.e. hypocrites.
So for these remaining “scholars”, all we ask of you is to be quiet. We do not wish to see you harmed, so just be quiet. Forget about taking a stance, it is not everyone that is up to the task, and it is very, very understandable… but please, just shhhhuuush!!! We don’t need more people to be led astray and we surely don’t need tyrants to find legitimacy in your words. This life is short enough as it is. This life is not worth the eternal anger of Allah.
In conclusion, A religious scholar is judged by his stance, not his knowledge. He is judged by his actions, not his appearances on national TV. He is judged by his tongue, not his Facebook likes. Moreover, he is judged by Allah, not his worldly leader. So say the truth, or say nothing.