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‘A Rich Scholar is More Effective’ by Shaykh Sajid Ahmed Umar

Sufyan al-Thawri (may Allah have mercy on him) is a giant scholar from our history of knowledgeable giants that walked the face of this earth.

He passed away in the 2nd century, around 160 years after the migration of the final Messenger (peace be upon him) from Makkah to Madinah.

He lived in an age far different to the capitalist world filled with banks and digital money that we surf through today!

During his humble age, I came across two eye opening statements of his as follows:

1. “If it was not for money (after Allah); the public would have used me (a scholar) to wipe their dirt!”

2. “In our time, wealth is the weapon of a believer.”

SubhanAllah, these statements were said during the 2nd century of Islam, so what would be the reality of these statements in terms of the century we live in today, where greed is rampant, and money actually screams!

In a recent post I mentioned how some members of the community actually bully our scholars and become a test for a scholar.

And in a previous post (on Facebook), I spoke about the poor attitude some communities have towards their scholars, imams and students of knowledge.

They choose to pay them peanuts, but expect them to deliver 36 hour days to the community, for the sake of community development, especially in this day and age of higher percentages of matrimonial stress, misguided youth and other more serious issues related to the sanctity of beliefs and actions of our communities.

The only way to lift up the ummah is through injecting capable imams into the ummah and its systems and environments. I firmly believe that Imams that are truly financially able, above being technically able, will be more effective in commanding change and building that world we wish to see.

Money indeed does talk and cannot be discounted from the discussion of transformative change!

Some communities are so unfair today that they will refuse to even pay the minimum cost the Imam may charge to keep his efforts sustainable in a particular community, believing that we are living in the 2nd century of Islam where no one paid to learn the religion, and the Imams had the time to trade and still be in the service of his communities!

Enable your Imams, pay them well unashamedly, give them on top of that healthy working budgets (opex) and capable staff, and let them get to work becoming true Imams of their communities.

Money is a means to an end, and in the right hands, with the right vision; communities can become ignited, which eventually will benefit humanity.

This discussion is a long one, and hopefully this post will instigate healthy dialogue.

This guest article is part of our efforts to educate people on the challenges our communities face here in the UK. By supporting Islamic scholarship, scholars can develop, guide people in a relevant way, and respond to the ideological and intellectual challenges of the day. The alternative is weakness in the face of external challenges, moral decline within the community, and low religious literacy – all which affect God’s cause. 

Our vision is for Islam to flourish in society as a source of prosperity and harmony for all. We distribute Zakat transformatively within the United Kingdom.

Through giving out Zakat grants in the UK, we’re here to support and empower individuals in poverty, transform community institutions, and promote understanding of faith and believers.

Disclaimer: The views, opinions, findings, and conclusions expressed in article are strictly those of the authors. Furthermore, NZF does not endorse any of the personal views of the authors on any platform. Our team is diverse on all fronts, allowing for constant, enriching dialogue that helps us to collect and distribute Zakat transformatively in the UK.

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