HomeHeirs Of The Prophets › Examples Of Virtuous Scholars

Chapter 4.3. Examples of Virtuous Scholars

It is clear from this that the most complete and virtuous of schol­ars are those who are knowledgeable of Allah and His command­ments. They combine the two [kinds of] knowledge, [the outer and the inward], which they receive from the Quran and the Sunnah. They examine what people say on the basis of the Quran and the Sunnah. That which agrees with these sources, they accept. And that which contradicts them, they reject.

These scholars are the elite of mankind, the best of humanity after the prophets. They are the true successors of the prophets and messengers. They were many among the Companions [of the Prophet], including the four righteous caliphs, Muadh, Abu Darda, Salman, lbn Masud, lbn Amr, Ibn Abbas, and many oth­ers. Similarly, from the generation after them, there were the likes of Sa'id ibn al-Musayyib, Hasan al-Basri, Ata, Tawus, Mujahid, Sa'id ibn Jubayr, al-Nakba'i, and Yabya ibn AbiKathir. And among those who came after the latter, there were people like al-Thawri, al-Awza'i, Ahmad, and others from the righteous scholars.

Ali ibn Abi Talib has dubbed them godly scholars [rabbaniyyun], indicating their praiseworthy status. Their kind is referred to in more than one place in the Quran. Ali says of them, "People are of three groups: righteous scholars, students of sacred knowledge, and the riffraff. " He then went on at length to describe both corrupt and righteous scholars. We expound on them elsewhere in this book.