Issue No.235 – September 2023
The legacy of Islam has presented innumerable contributions to Mankind. Among the greatest and most enduring legacy is a living one i.e. the institution of the Ulama, the Pious Scholars who are regarded as inheritors of the knowledge of the Prophets (peace be upon them all).
Whilst the divinity and mantle of Prophethood ended with the final Prophet of Allah, Muhammad (peace be upon him), the responsibility of perpetuating the Divine mission of monotheism did not fade into oblivion. Rather, by the Command of Allah it passed on to every Believer and more specifically spearheaded by the Ulama, a Divine responsibility which continues to this day.
Their many years of intensive training and study of Islamic disciplines, equips and elevates them to assume the leadership role of the community without fear or favour, transcending tribalism, sectionalism, nationalism and man-made ideologies. They are well-versed in jurisprudence, the sciences of the Noble Qur’an, the Hadith which is the traditions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and are teachers, Imams and leaders of their communities. Their occupation and guidance extends to the regulation of the Divinely Decreed lawful and unlawful things for the benefit of humanity
Islam reveres Ulama because they are the heirs to the Prophets (peace be upon them). In fact, it is in respect to their dignity and merit that Allah Almighty mentions them along with His Name and that of His Angels when He says: “Allah (Himself) is Witness that there is no deity save Him. And (so do) the angels and the men of learning (too are witness). Maintaining His creation in justice, there is no deity save Him the Almighty, the Wise.” (Chapter 3, Verse 18)
It is narrated on the authority of Ubadah bin Samit (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “He who does not respect our seniors, does not show compassion to our young and does not revere our Ulama is not from us.” (Jami’ al-Hadith # 19537). It is therefore incumbent on us to love them, obey them in good, defend their honour and ask for Allah to extend His Mercy upon those who are deceased from among them.
The establishment of the South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA) almost three decades ago was initiated and reinforced by such reputable and visionary Ulama focussing on the concerns regarding Halaal and Haraam in the Ummah. Their guidance and support continues to this day, Alhumdulillah.
SANHA further taps into the collective independence and righteous leadership of the Ulama by ensuring that a major portion of the SANHA personnel are drawn from the broader Ulama fraternity. In addition to the upper echelons and senior management, Ulama members account for 80% of the Audit team. Their Islamic integrity in accordance with their role as the inheritors of the Prophets (peace be upon them) serves as an additional safeguard for the ongoing review and a conscience-check of our systems, in ensuring that the highest standards of Halaal are maintained.
Sit with the Seniors, mix with the Wise and enquire with the Scholars.