What Must Be Done When Scholars Die?

Just yesterday we heard of the death of a well known scholar in India. He was a scholar of Islam; from the discipline of Hadeeth – traditions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It grieved a lot of us to learn of such an unexpected event; so very suddenly. We all feel the loss of such people who’ve spent ages together to gather such humongous wealth of knowledge that is recorded in the books since ages. And the knowledge that is gained by them by allotting lots of time, is the thing that they inherited from the Prophets (may peace be upon them). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that Allah does not lift away knowledge, except by the death of the scholars. So how are we to respond to such deaths?

Produce more scholars. That’s being optimistic. Believers are not to lose hope and sulk at the demise of the people of knowledge. The positive ones never lose hope; for people live and die, but the Ever Living God is always with us. We must send our children to schools and universities to acquire quality education that would be beneficial in this world and the hereafter. Knowledge is an ocean. And every scholar is like a fish in the ocean. No matter how many fishes come to life, the water never gets exhausted. Such is the case of knowledge that Allah has allowed us to benefit from. We must encourage ourselves and our next generations to gain knowledge with utmost care. And that has to be a lifetime endeavour. There is never a set limit to stop learning.

What made us to make knowledge so exclusive? Why aren’t we able to produce scholars in greater numbers? This is a question that makes the brains go numb. Why are we so reluctant and lethargic towards seeking beneficial knowledge? The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim. Then what excuse do we have? What stops us from learning languages; especially the language of the Qur’an? What makes us indifferent towards learning the Qur’an and Hadeeth – The book of Allah and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)? And what makes us ignore the knowledge of science, history, law and mathematics? Why are we not paying heed towards worldly knowledge even? We need scholars who know the religion, and who can apply that to the world we live in. Hence we need to produce scholars who are specialized in various disciplines, while having a general know-how of various aspects of life and cultures. Hence there is a need to systemise the schools and madrasas, in order to meet the demand of the day. Yes, the world is progressing ahead, and it’s about time that we catch up with the pace. So spend time to acquire scholarship. Never underestimate your potential. For you have Allah with you all the time to guide you.

As Muslims we are encouraged to make dua’ for the deceased. Allah has taught us a very beautiful supplication by saying: Rabbanagfirlanaa wali-ikhwaaninaa allazeena sabaqoona bil eemaan. Walaa taj’al feequloobinaa ghillallazeena aamanoo – O Lord, forgive us and those among our brothers (in faith), who preceded us along with faith. And don’t place rancor in our hearts against those who believed (in Islam). Hence our earnest supplication for the scholars of Islam must be made, in order to ask Allah to forgive their shortcomings, and to allow our hearts to be clean towards them; for believers are brothers in faith; and our religion teaches us to be merciful towards each other. These duas will benefit them in the life of barzakh, and that which follows it.

Then, if we truly love them, then we must read the books the scholars have written, and publish them. For knowledge that is imparted by the scholars benefit them even after their death. So make way for people to benefit from the knowledge that they have imparted while they were living on earth. Share their talks over the media, in whatever ways you can, so that you too gain rewards for the noble deed, while the deceased get rewarded in’shaa’Allaah. May Allah make us amongst those who seek His pleasure all the time. Aameen.

وَٱلَّذِينَ جَآءُو مِنۢ بَعْدِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا ٱغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَٰنِنَا ٱلَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِٱلْإِيمَٰنِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِى قُلُوبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ رَبَّنَآ إِنَّكَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

And [there is a share for] those who came after them, saying, “Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.” Al-Hashr 59:10

– Writer,
Umar Shariff
President, Discover Islam Education Trust

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