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26 June 2019 CE | 23 Shawwal 1440 AH
Explanation below

Hadith Explanation

Scholars Visiting Rulers

Ibn Abbas (radi Allahu anhu) narrated that Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever lives the life of a Bedouin becomes coarse. And whoever occupies himself with hunting becomes heedless and whoever visits the rulers falls into fitnah.” [Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasai and Bayhaqi]

Man is affected by his environment and actions. Even the line of work that one chooses affects one’s personality. For example, Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said that the shepherds of goats and sheep are merciful while the shepherds of camels are proud. Therefore, Islam guides us regarding which actions to perform and which to avoid. It also tells us what environment to live in and which people to surround ourselves with.

In the above quoted hadith, three actions and their effects on the person who performs them are mentioned. The first is living as a Bedouin. Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) says that life as a Bedouin makes a person coarse and rough. The difficulty of life in the desert demands that man develop the traits that are suitable for his survival in such conditions.

The second action mentioned is hunting. The desire to win against the prey’s abilities to deceive, hide and run makes the game exciting for the hunter and can become addicting. This may lead to the hunter foregoing his responsibilities and cause shortcomings in his religion. Thus, Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said that the person who occupies himself with hunting becomes heedless.

The third action mentioned is visiting rulers. Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said that the person who visits rulers falls into fitnah. The commentary on Sunan Abi Dawud, “Awn al Mabood”, explains the meaning of falling into fitnah as “losing one’s religion.”

Imam Anwar al-Awlaki says: “The hadith here refers to the rulers of the Muslims who were Muslim but fell into wrongdoing and oppression. So what should we say about the scholars who visit the rulers of today who have left the folds of Islam altogether? If the hadith states that a person loses his religion by visiting an oppressive ruler what would happen to the religion of those scholars who visit the promoters of apostasy and the protectors of the enemies of the Ummah?”

The Sahabi Hudhayfah Ibn al-Yamaan (radi Allahu anhu) said, “O indeed! Never should any of you walk even a hand-span in the direction of the ruler.” [Collected by Ibn Abee Shaybah] Imam Sufyaan at-Thawree of the Salaf as-Saaliheen said, “Don’t go, even if they ask you to visit them just to recite ‘qul huwallaahu ahad’.” [Collected by Bayhaqee] Bishr al-Haafee said, “How disgusting is it to request to see a scholar, but then to get the response that he is at the ruler’s gate.” [Collected by Bayhaqee in “Shu’ab al-Eemaan”]

Thus, such narrations should help the wise differentiate between the true scholar and the fake. Most true scholars/ulema these days are either behind bars or on the frontlines of Jihad.

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