Introduction to the book Akhlaaq al-‘Ulamaa’ by Al-Imaam Aboo Bakr al-Aajurree
Translated by Aboo Shaybah
Al-Imaam Aboo Bakr Muhammad ibn al-Husayn al-Aajurree (d.360) compiled a number of narrations in his book Akhlaaq al-‘Ulamaa’ explaining the qualities befitting a true scholar, as well as how to deal with the people of knowledge. He also appended a section covering qualities which make one unfit to be regarded as a scholar. He cited the narrations in his book with complete chains of transmission – some of them being Hadeeth and others being statements from the Salaf.
The following translation is only his introduction to the book.
In the name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, the One who bestows Mercy. All praise is due to Allaah, by whose grace all good things are accomplished. May Allaah send salaah and salaam upon our leader Muhammad, the unlettered Prophet, and upon his family. I seek aid from Allaah alone, He is sufficient for me and the best in whom I place my trust.
Allaah - may His names be glorified - chooses whomever of His creation He wishes, and guides them to Eemaan. Thereafter, He selects whom He wishes from among the people of Eemaan, and grants them His favor by teaching them the Book and wisdom and bestowing upon them deep knowledge about the Deen and granting them sound and thorough understanding. He has favored them over the rest of the believers, and that applies to every age and era. He has exalted them with knowledge and adorned them with forbearance. By them the permissible is known apart from the prohibited, truth from falsity, harm from benefit, and good from bad. Their virtue is truly great and they play a tremendous role. They are the heirs of the Prophets, and they bring delight and joy to the Awliyaa’. The fish in the oceans seek forgiveness for them, and the angels humbly lower their wings for them. On the Day of Reckoning, the scholars shall intercede after the Prophets. Their gatherings impart wisdom, and their actions admonish the heedless. They are even better than those who continuously worship Allaah, and they hold a higher rank than those who abstain from indulging in this world. Their living presence is a blessing, and their passing away is a tragedy. They remind the negligent and educate the ignorant. Danger and misfortune are neither feared for them nor from them. The manners and education they impart are practiced and exchanged by the obedient [servants of Allaah], and the fine admonition they deliver incites the negligent to repent. All people are in need of the knowledge they possess, and their position is always used as an argument against anyone who contradicts them. Obedience to them is a duty upon everyone, while disobeying them is not permissible. All who take heed of what they say shall be rightly guided, whereas all who disobey them only do so out of stubbornness. If the Muslim leader comes across any issue that may be unclear to him, and causes him to waver and halt, it is based on the advice of the scholars which he acts and on their view which he proceeds. When any matter is presented to the authorities of the Muslims which they have no knowledge about, it is based on the statement and opinion [of the scholars] which they act and proceed. If any problematic ruling faces a judge, he rules based on the ruling given by the scholars and makes it what he relies upon. Thus, they are a radiant lamp for the servants of Allaah, a lighthouse for all lands, guardians of the Ummah, and reserves that pour forth wisdom. They enrage Shaytaan. They bring life to the hearts of the people of truth, and demise to the hearts of the people of deviation. Their similitude upon the Earth is like that of the stars in the sky: their guidance is sought in the darkness of the land and sea. When stars die out people become confused, but when the darkness is lifted they see clearly.
If someone were to ask, “Is there proof for what you said?” The response to him is, “The Kitaab and the Sunnah.” If he were to then say, “Tell me something which, if heard by the believer, he would hasten to attain knowledge and would desire what Allaah and His Messenger have encouraged him to do,” he should be told: As for proof from the Qur’aan, Allaah (Azza wa Jall) has said,
“O you who have Eemaan, when you are told to make room in the assemblies, then spread out and make room; Allaah will make room for you. And when you are told to rise, then rise up; Allaah will exalt in degree those who have Eemaan among you and those who have been granted knowledge. And Allaah is Well-Acquainted with all you do.” Here, Allaah (Azza wa Jall) promised the believers that He shall exalt them, and He then made specific mention of the scholars as having high degrees. Allaah (Azza wa Jall) has also said,
“It is only those who have knowledge among His servants that fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is Almighty, Most Forgiving.” Here, He informed His creation that the ones who fear and revere Him most are those who have knowledge about Him. He (Azza wa Jall) further said,
“He grants wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been granted wisdom has certainly been given much good. And none will remember except those of understanding.” Allaah (Azza wa Jall) also said,
“And We had certainly given Luqmaan wisdom,” and He (Azza wa Jall) additionally stated,
“Rather, be learned scholars of the religion because of what you have taught of the Book, and because of what you have studied.” He (Azza wa Jall) further said,
“Why do the religious scholars and learned men not forbid them from saying what is sinful?” It was explained that this refers to the fuqahaa’ and ‘ulamaa’. He (Azza wa Jall) additionally stated,
“And We appointed among them leaders who guided by Our command, when they were
patient and certain of Our signs.” And Allaah (Azza wa Jall) said,
“And the servants of ar-Rahmaan (the Most Merciful) are those who walk upon the Earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them harshly, they reply back mildly with words of peace,” until His saying,
“And make us leaders for the righteous.”
Muhammad ibn al-Husayn remarked, “This description, and others like it in the Qur’aan, show the virtue and excellence held by the scholars, and that Allaah (Azza wa Jall) has made them leaders whom the creation should follow.”
 Soorah al-Mujaadilah (58):11.
 Soorah Faatir (35):28.
 Soorah al-Baqarah (2):269.
 Soorah Luqmaan (31):12.
 Soorah Aali ‘Imraan (3):79.
 Soorah al-Maa’idah (5):63.
 Soorah as-Sajdah (32):24.
 Soorah al-Furqaan (25):63.
 Soorah al-Furqaan (25):74. The translation of the entire set of verses are as follows, ““And the servants of ar-Rahmaan (the Most Merciful) are those who walk upon the Earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them harshly, they reply back mildly with words of peace; and those who spend the night before their Lord, prostrating and standing; and those who say, ‘Our Lord, avert from us the punishment of Hell. Indeed, its punishment is inseparable and permanent. It is truly an evil place to settle and reside’; and those who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor stingy, but instead remain moderate between those extremes; and those who do not invoke any other deity along with Allaah, or kill a soul which Allaah has forbidden except by due right, and do not commit adultery. And whoever should do that will receive punishment. The torment shall be multiplied for him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein humiliated; except those who repent, have Eemaan and do good deeds – for those, Allaah will replace their evil deeds with good, and Allaah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful. Whoever repents and does good deeds certainly turns to Allaah with true repentance. And those who do not testify to falsehood, and when they pass near evil speech, they pass by with dignity. And those who, when reminded of the verses of their Lord, do not fall upon them deaf and blind. And those who say, ‘Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes, and make us leaders for the righteous.’” Soorah al-Furqaan (25):63-74.
“Make things easy and do not make things difficult. Give glad tidings and do not repel people..”
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