On the Relationship between Scholars and Callers to Allah

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

How should the relationship between the scholars and the callers to Allah be?

If the scholar’s knowledge is true and the caller’s call is true then their relationship is loftier than we can describe. In it is the highest manifestation of love and co-operation for the sake of Allāh on the Earth. Each of them sees the other as being more virtuous.

There is an example of this in what Imam al-Shafi’ said about Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, who was his student, and not his peer:

They said: “You visit Ahmad and he visits you.”

I said: “Virtue does not leave his house.

If I visit him it is due to his virtue, and if he visits me it is by his virtue

So virtue is his in both cases.”

If someone claims to be a scholar when in reality he has not attained true knowledge or if someone claims to be calling to Allah when in reality he is calling to his caprice or to a group, then this needs to be recognised. It is unacceptable for someone to be content to bear a grudge against someone else and they must rise above this. Far worse than this is for that grudge to lead that person to harm or insult the other. The minimum level of co-operation is working together on those issues that they agree upon and excusing one another on the issues that they differ over.