The Balanced position of Ahlus-Sunnah towards their scholars
An excerpt from the Book “Aqeedah Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’a Mufhoomha, Khasaeesuha wa Khasaees Ahluha” written by Sheikh Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al-hamd and introduced by Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin baz rahimuallah.
Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah love and respect their Scholars, they defend them and have always been willing to give them the benefit of doubt. They spread the benefits gained and refer to them (in their matters) and take knowledge from them. They judge according to their opinions because they know that they are the inheritors of Al Anbiya and stand at the rank of dawa. They are the ones in whom the Ummah take refuge after Allah. It is wajib upon the Ummah to have love for them and treat them according to their ranks and have respect for them accordingly.
Nonetheless, they consider them fallible and it is possible that they may forget and they may follow their desires unknowingly or otherwise. However, these things do not detract from their good nor is this taken as evidence to shun taking deen from them.
They are not hasty in trying to prove the scholars wrong rather they put much thought and deliberation into the matter at hand. So, when it is proved that a certain scholar has erred, they do not defend his error blindly and do not follow in his fault and at the same time they do not take his particular flaw as a justification to deprive him of all the respect he deserves.
Moreover, they try not to spread his flaws until and unless that particular scholar becomes prominent among the masses and there is a doubt that ummah might fall in fitnah. In this case, taking into account the respect he deserves, the one who refutes him should be a scholar himself and refute his flaws justly and he should, as much as possible, bring forth a valid excuse for the scholar’s error. This in stark contrast to those people who haven’t taken into account the rank of the scholars and didn’t recognize their rights, as khawarij and their likes have done.
And, Ahlus Sunnah behave differently than those who have respect for the scholars but make ghulu (excessiveness) in it and have raised them beyond the limits of their deserved ranks and have started doing absolute taqleed of them. Therefore, instead of making daleel and haq as their guide, they made their sheikh’s sayings as their leader.
For example, look at rawafidah, they have done so much ghalu that they have elevated their Imams to the rank where even muqareb anbiya and angels haven’t reached. They have claimed for them infallibility and described them as ones who were free of any error or forgetfulness. The is the case with ghali sufees those who do ghalu in their mashaykh and say that whoever has asked lima (meaning why) from a sheikh becomes kaafir and they say that you have to become in front of the sheikh just like the one who is given bath at the time of his burial.
And also contrary to those who acknowledge the rights of scholars, however, they haven’t treated them as human beings with the ability of making mistakes, or that they are subject to forgetfulness. So, they treat the scholars as people who are not supposed to commit an error. Therefore, when they see any scholar falling into a mistake, they make a huge issue out of it, advertise it; they do not hesitate to degrade him and make people hate him. This group has formulated two opposing things and their excessiveness has led them to extremism (in the opposite direstion).
First, they give them honor, and give the impression that they never commit a mistake. Then when they do make a mistake it is used as a tool to defame them and they start advertising it. They should not put this blame on the heads of scholars, as they were the ones who incorrectly raised the scholars to that position of infallibility in the first place.