Rights of Scholars

Merits of Knowledge and Scholars

Knowledge is the dearest thing for man, since it is the base of civilization and the honor of this world as well as the life to come. Scholars are the prophets’ heirs and supporters of the religion as they guide people to the recognition and obedience to God and lead them to honesty:

“Say, "Are those who know equal to those who do not know? Only the people of reason take heed" (39:9).”

“Allah will raise the position of the believers and of those who have received knowledge. Allah is Well- Aware of what you do (58:11).”

“Only Allah's knowledgeable servants fear Him. Allah is Majestic and All-pardoning. (35:28)”

“These are parables, which We tell to human being, but only the learned ones understand them. (29:43)”

The Prophet (S) said: “As for him who takes a way for seeking knowledge, Allah will lead him to the way that takes to Paradise. As a sign of their pleasure with the seekers of knowledge, the angels lower down their wings for them. Every creature that is in the heavens or on the earth, including the whales, seeks Allah’s forgiveness to the seekers of knowledge. The scholar is preferred to the worshipper in the same way as the full moon is preferred to the other stars. The scholars are the heirs of the prophets, who definitely did not bequeath dinars or dirhams. They only bequeathed knowledge. Thus, he who takes from that knowledge has surely taken a great thing1.”

“On the Day of Resurrection, some individuals will have rewards as huge as clouds or as great as unshakable mountains. When they will wonder how they have obtained such rewards that they did not do things deserving them, they will be answered: “As you instructed people to do good deeds, we recorded for you the reward of every deed that those people carried out2.”

Amirul-Mu'minin (a) said: “Kumayl, those who amass wealth are dead even though they may be living while those endowed with knowledge will remain as long as the world lives. Their bodies are not available but their figures exist in the hearts3.”

Imam al-Baqir (a) said: “A scholar whose knowledge is useful for others is preferred to seventy thousand worshippers4.”

Imam as-Sadiq (a): “On the Day of Resurrection, all people will be gathered on one highland and the scales will be maintained. The blood of the shahids will be put in a scale and the ink of the scholars in the other. The ink of the scholars will outweigh the blood of the shahids5.”

“On the Day of Resurrection, the worshippers and the scholars will be interrogated together. The worshippers will be permitted to be in Paradise, and the scholars will be asked to intercede for others whom they taught the high moral standards6.”

The faithful scholars owe Muslims great rights that should be fulfilled. They are as follows:

Regard of Scholars

To show regard toward scholars is their leading right because of their being characterized by knowledge and virtue.

The Prophet (S) said: “To look at the face of a scholar, out of love for him, is a sort of worship7.”

“You should be either scholar or seeker of knowledge or loving the scholar, and do not be of any other class. To hate the scholars leads to perdition.”

Husham Ibn al-Hakam, the teenage, visited Imam as- Sadiq (a), who was encompassed by the celebrities of the Shia such as Hamran Ibn A’yun, Qays al-Massir, Younus Ibn Ya’qoub, Abu Ja’far al-Ahwal, and others, in Mina. As soon as his eyes fell on Husham, Imam as-Sadiq (a) preceded him to all the others who were all older than him i.e. Husham-. When he felt that the attendants were displeased by this act, Imam as- Sadiq (a) said: “This man has been supporting us with his heart, tongue, and hand8.”

Ahmed al-Bezanti, the scholar, narrated:

I responded to the invitation of ar-Ridha (a) and spent that night with him. After I had been served dinner, the Imam (a) ordered the servants to prepare my bed. The most excellent kinds of pillow, bedspread, and blanket were brought. When I finished my dinner, he (a) asked me whether I wanted to sleep. “Yes, I want,’ answered I. The Imam covered me with that blanket and supplicated God for me, ‘God may make you pass this night with good health.” When the Imam left me, I said to myself, ‘Verily, I have awarded with such unprecedented great honor by this man9.’

Charity to Scholars

The main concern of scholars is to serve the religion, publicize the Islamic enlightenment, and guide Muslims towards high moral standards. Such endeavors require time and giant efforts that divert from seeking earnings. It is then necessary for the believers who observe the religious affairs to save the means of good livelihood for the scholars, through supplying them with the Shariite rights of which God orders as well as the other charities. Scholars in fact are the worthiest of enjoying such rights that enable them to go on achieving their aims and carrying out their religious tasks without being distracted by any other factor.

Muslims, in the past, used to volunteer openhandedly to dedicate some money as waqfs10 for saving the livelihoods of the scholars.

Compliance with Scholars

Rational individuals refer to the specialists in the various fields of life so as to benefit by their experts. In the same manner, Muslims should refer to scholars in fields of religious teachings and rulings. It is required to imitate and yield the fruits of the scholars’ studies who devoted themselves to servicing the Islamic Sharia, propagandizing its rulings, and guiding people to uprightness. Following so, people will have full awareness of their doctrine and will be able to resist the rumors of enemies. But if they neglect reference to scholars, people will ignore the reality of their religion, principles, and rulings and, subsequently, will be the subject of deviation.

The Prophet (S) said: “To sit with the religious people is the honor of this life as well as the life to come11.”

“To sit with scholars is a sort of worship12.”

“Knowledge is stored in safes whose key is question. Hence, you Allah may have mercy upon you must put questions, for your questions will bring rewards for four persons: the asker, the instructor, the listener (to the question and answer), and the one who loves those three13.”

Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: “People perish so long as they do not put questions14.”

Luqman the wise instructed his son: “Son, sit with the scholars and stick your knees to them, for Allah enlivens the hearts i.e. intellects- with the illumination of wisdom in the same way as He enlivens the barren lands with heavy rain15.”

  • 1. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 40 (as quoted from al- Kafi).
  • 2. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 1 page 75 (as quoted from Bassaair ud-Darajat).
  • 3. Quoted from Nahj ul-Balagha
  • 4. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 40 (as quoted from al- Kafi).
  • 5. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 40 (as quoted from al- Faqih).
  • 6. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 1 page 74 (as quoted from Ilal ush-Sharayi and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan as-Saffar’s Bassaair ud-Darajat).
  • 7. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 1/64 (as quoted from ar- Rawandi’s an-Nawadir).
  • 8. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 1/59 (as quoted from Sheikh as-Saduq’s al-Khissal).
  • 9. Quoted from Safinat ul-Bihar; vol. 1 page 81.
  • 10. Waqf is the endowment or settlement of property under which the proceeds are to be devoted to a religious or charitable purpose.
  • 11. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 1/62 (as quoted from Thawab ul-A’mal and al-Amali).
  • 12. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 1 page 62 (as quoted from keshf ul-Ghumma).
  • 13. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 1 page 62 (as quoted from Sahifat ur-Ridha and Uyounu Akhbar ir-Ridha).
  • 14. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 1 page 46 (as quoted from al- Kafi).
  • 15. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 1 page 62 (as quoted from Rawdhat ul-Waizhin).