Religious scholars: Unnecessary interference

Q565 :Most of those who have a religious standing have only scanty knowledge of politics, economy, business, science, industry, law, defense, etc. Why do they, then, want to interfere in each and everything? Their interference creates a hindrance to the advancement of the Muslim nations. Should they not confine themselves to the mosque and religious matters?


A565 : It is too simplistic, indeed naive, to think that the mosque is the only domain of religion, particularly when the mosque is viewed as a mere place of worship. Nor are religious matters confined to personal and family concerns such as marriage, divorce and parenthood. The domain of religion is life itself and the role of man in life. Hence, everything that affects human life and the progress of human beings is of interest to religion and religious people. It should be remembered that the Islamic faith, and indeed those religions preached by God's messengers, were revealed from on high. This revelation is meant to be a guidance to mankind to enable it to lead a happy life and to ensure that civilization is built on the right basis. When you consider the social ills that plague the most advanced nations of today, you realize that these nations are suffering from these ills because modern civilization has concentrated on material progress and abandoned the spiritual side of human existence. When a scholar of religion looks at any aspect of life, he is not interfering in something that does not concern him. Indeed every aspect of life is his concern. God has provided guidance for us in His last message conveyed by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which enables us to set such aspects as you have mentioned, including politics, economics, business, industry, law, defense, on a sound basis which will promote human progress and ensure human happiness. Yet God has not made His guidance in these matters too detailed to make it rigid. He has laid down certain principles which serve as a framework within which we have the freedom to choose the system that is most appropriate for us. These principles must be maintained, and the framework respected. Within them, we have a flexible system that can be adapted to any human situation and any degree of advancement that human beings may achieve. But you have a point if you are referring to those religious scholars who give rulings about matters without studying them thoroughly. I know that this takes place. What I have to say about it is that it is unbecoming of a scholar to issue a ruling based on what former scholars who lived centuries ago have said, without looking thoroughly at the problem in hand. It he is not conversant with a particular field or branch of study, he should have the moral courage to say, "I do not know." But when you say that these matters do not concern religious scholars, you are the one who is in the wrong.


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )