The Scholars of Dunya

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Shaykh al-Akbar, Shaykh Muhyi ad-Din ibn 'Arabi (q.s.) wrote, in Ruh al-Quds, “God forbid, my brother, that you should think that I blame the jurists for being jurists or for their practice or jurisprudence, for such an attitude is not permissible for a Muslim and the nobility of the Law is beyond question.  However, I do censure those jurists who, harbouring merely worldly aims, cynically study the Law with the sole object of acquiring fame, of putting themselves in the public eye, and who indulge in constant hair-splitting and useless controversy.  It is such men who seek to refute the claims of the brethren who fear God and who are Instructed by God Directly.  This kind of jurist attempts to contend against them in a field of knowledge of which he has no inkling of the first principles.  Were any of them to be questioned about some term employed by the gnostics they would soon display their ignorance on the subject.  If they would only reflect on God’s Saying, ‘Why do you then dispute concerning that of which you have no knowledge?’ they would consider the matter more carefully and repent.”

Ah!  Ye are those who fell to disputing (even) in matters of which ye had some knowledge!  But why dispute ye in matters of which ye have no knowledge?  It is Allah Who Knows, and ye who know not! (Surah Ali ‘Imran:66)

“The Prophet (s.a.w.) himself censured those of the learned who sought knowledge for other than God's Sake or who exercised it in ways displeasing to God.  It is clear that he did not censure them simply because they were learned, since he praised those who seek knowledge in the fear of God.

In the same way, I have censured certain Sufis; not the sincere ones, but only those who affect before men a holiness which is contradicted by their true condition.  God Says, ‘And of mankind there is he whose speech may dazzle you in this worldly life and he calls God to witness as to that which is in his heart, yet he is the most contentious of enemies.’”

There is the type of man whose speech about this world's life may dazzle thee and he calls Allah to Witness about what is in his heart; yet is he the most contentious of enemies. (Surah al-Baqarah:204)

“I do not, therefore, take the whole of the legal profession to task, since the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘Whom God Wishes Well, He Causes him to have knowledge of the Faith.’  However, the jurists I have mentioned are dominated by their egotistical and lustful desires, being in the grip of Satan.  Since they continually offend against the Friends of God, they shall surely perish by their own testimony.

As for those of the learned who are truly and deeply rooted in religious knowledge, they are the rightly-guided, the torches of guidance, the models of piety, heirs to the Messenger of God (s.a.w.) in knowledge, works, sincerity and character, who properly merit the name of righteous.  When you, therefore, hear me censure the jurists, I mean only those who are lead by their selfish and lustful desires.  Likewise, in censuring certain of the Sufis, I mean the kind I have mentioned above, since the incarnationists and free-thinkers who attach themselves to our Way are in fact the fellow-travellers of Satan and abetters of perdition.  May God Illuminate our inner sight and theirs, may He Restore our inner hearts and theirs and Cause them to awaken to their errors so that they may return to the straight path.”


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