Our Preachers Should be the Best among Us
By: Saaeid Ibn Mukhtar
Many a times, after hearing a preacher speak in a mosque, or at an event, we feel very disappointed. Not only disappointed, I would rather say that we feel disgusted! One feels like the man that I just heard is not fit to be sermonising people, not because he is not eloquent and articulate. Rather it is because he doesn’t have the prerequisites that Islam lays for public preaching. From the qualities of a Muslim preacher are that, he should be a man of authentic knowledge, integrity, wisdom and sound intellect.
If we look around, and listen to our preachers speak on social channels, or even if we attend an event live with them.While they are lecturing, or even debating, we might hold our breath and think,‘How is such a person considered for stepping up on the pulpit of The Prophet of Allah (SallalahuAlayhiWaSallam) and allowed to deliver the message that the Prophet once delivered, when this person doesn’t even know what he is talking about’?
These people would speak about science without having studied it, speak about economics when they know nothing about it, or worse even speak about religion when their preaching and Islam’s teachings are a valley apart. Sometimes it gets so tragic that you feel like the words this preacher utters are so absurd, that you feel like puking once you have heard the complete volley of their naive thoughts. We also don’t find a dearth of preachers who have no religious knowledge ortraining yet speak about religion and make all kinds of funny conclusions. How are we so accepting of it? Don’t we deserve better?
Now, getting to the crux of the debate. I am sure that you have seen this happen, probably more so in the last few months. But have you ever thought of a solution? There is a solution to everything in this world and even to this murmuring of the foolish. Yes, right, we need to evolve as listeners. As people who are being taught, it is our right that we ask to be taught things that are in the best of our own interest, not in the personal interest of the speaker. After all, we are giving our valuable time to him. This preacher needs to respect that!
How could we tolerate a person ranting about his personal issues with another preacher of a different sect, and we give an audience to him? Why do we allow some hate mongers, divide the community on the basis of their own understanding of particular aspects of religion, which may not have any relation to the general teachings of Islam?
Let me give an example. There are people who break the very cords of the community and claim that a person with ‘such and such’ a methodology has left the fold of Islam and all of the community which follows this way should be shunned and boycotted. Not even married to or prayed behind!How can someone claim so unless he has a clear proof from the Quran or the Sunnah to make such a bold statement? What we know is that as a religion, Islam promotes brotherhood, cohesion and community. So, what makes this preacher claim something on the contrary. Something not established by the Quran, the Sunnah or the Ijma (Consensus of the Muslim Scholars)? It is just his desire of gaining fame, popularity, personal bias and may even be gaining some wealth that leads him to utter such venom. Who knows?
To be honest, if we shun the glasses of extremism and personal bias, these people are using pulpits to fart out their garbage, not to cultivate, educate or nurture people. We need reformers who nurture the young and the old upon the noble teachings of Islam:the great conduct of the Prophet, the amazing manners of the Companions and the great piety of our dead scholars.
This is religionmy dear friends, and it is not right on our part to take it from any Tom, Dick and Harry. Rather make it a condition that you check the piety of the person you are listening to before giving him an ear. Accept nothing but what Islam teaches us with authentic indications from the Quran and the Sunnah. O People, let us do ourselves a favour, set high standards for scholarship and preacher-hood. And to achieve this, make sure that your preachers are the best of you in terms of religiosity, knowledge, conduct and wisdom.
The writer is a Communications Professional with a British Master’s Degree in International Business & management.