Scholars vs. Donkeys in Islam
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)
From an Islamic point of view -- as per the Qur'an that is -- scholars have been blessed with knowledge and insight into matters of Deen as well as Dunya.
On the one hand, they have been taught by Allah and his Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, theoretical understanding of things, both worldly and other-worldly.
And, at the same time, they also have been taught practical wisdom -- how to handle the everyday challenges of Deen and Dunya in the most effective and successful manner.
That is, how to invite the whole world to Allah in a most wonderful and effective manner, and, at the same time how to make the world a better place for all of Allah's creation regardless of race or religion.
The Qur'an crystallizes the role of Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in making all this possible in this way:
Wa Yu'allimuhumul Kitaaba wal Hikmah!
And he teaches them Kitab and Hikmah both.
That is why the Sahaabah Kiraam combined so perfectly in themselves the best aspects of Kitaab (theory) as well as Hikmah (practice) -- both of them together.
And that is why they could be the most pious people (Deen) all their life, and, at the same time, also be the most successful people in any given worldly situation, from a worldly point of view (Dunya).
Ruhbaanan Bil Layil,
Fursaanan Bin Nahaar!
That is why they have been described as monks during the night and warriors during the day.
And that is why they could assume the most successful positions as commanders in battle or rulers of the world all at the same time. And yet, all the time, they were the most God-fearing people around.
And this was made possible because Allah's Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, did not merely impart knowledge to them, he also cleansed and purified them and rebuilt their character from scratch to become what can only be described as the best models and embodiment of human perfection on earth.
Wa Yuzakkeehim, is how the Qur'an puts it.
And he purifies them!
Therefore, when people don't combine 'Ilm with 'Amal both, and when their 'Ilm does not in turn combine Kitab (Theory) and Hikmah (Practice) both, and when that Ilm and Hikmah do not at the same time subsume Deen and Dunya both, and when their character has not been thoroughly purified, formed and reconstructed from top to toe, such people with all kinds of degrees and so-called qualifications and credentials of this world in their possession -- whether such people are Muslim or Non-Muslim -- they are little more than what the Qur'an calls them:
Ka-Mathalil Himaari Yahmilu Asfaaraa!
Donkeys with a load of documents and degrees on their backs.
So being a scholar in Islam -- throw in all the other titles such as shaikh, mullah, mowlana, and everything else, but please don't destroy Islamic culture and heritage by adding the word "Imam" to the list, especially in front of people's names, as a prefix that is -- requires a lot more than just having a couple of degrees, regardless of how and from where you acquired them.
Read Surah Al-Jum'ah.
That may help.