Aalim (knowledgeable One)
When does one become knowledgeable? When a person realises that what he does not know is far greater than what he knows, he ends up referring to himself as a 'seeker of knowledge'. In fact, what a person knows is immaterial when compared to what he does not know. It is pointless to even compare.
It therefore follows from this that when a person declares himself to be an Aalim, then he is surely an ignorant one as he has yet to even realise that he does not know. He does not even know what it is that he does not know.
AL KAFI - H 56, Ch. 3, h4
Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from Muhammad ibn 'Isa from Yunus from Jamil who has said the following: "I heard Imam abu 'Abd Allah, recipient of divine supreme covenant, saying, 'People become of three groups: Scholars, those who learn and garbled ones. We are the scholars. Our followers are the ones who learn. The rest of the people are garbled ones." On top of this is the statement of Imam Ali (a.s.):
Whosoever neglects to say 'I don't know', will fall in the trap of death - Nahj Ul Balagah, Saying 85 (Arabic Version)
So the Holy Infallibles (a.s.) are the Ulama (Knowledgeable Ones). Can anyone in his right mind argue with this? I don't think so. Yet the priests go around referring to themselves as Ulama. In fact, in England, we have an organisation formed by these priests who have named it 'Majlis E Shia Ulama Europe', and most of the resident priests of the Imambargahs of England, as well as the freelancers are members of this organisation.
It looks like all these priests have yet to realise that what they know is infinitesimal compared to what it is that they do know, and that they are nothing but seekers of knowledge. Or is it that they do know and are trying to elevate their status among the people by adopting such titles?
So what kind of a scholar is a scholar?
AL KAFI - H 45, Ch. 2, h2 (EXTRACT)
Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn 'Isa from Muhammad ibn Khalid from abu al-Bakhtari from abu 'Abd Allah, recipient of divine supreme covenant, who has said the following: "The scholars are the heirs of the prophets because the prophets did not leave any Dirham or Dinar (units of money) as their legacy. What they left was certain pieces of their statements. Those who acquired anything of these pieces of their statements have certainly gained a colossal share.
H 52, Ch. 2, h9
Al-Hassan ibn Muhammad has narrated from Ahmad ibn Ishaq from Su'dan ibnMuslim from Mu'awiya ibn 'Ammar who has said the following: "Once, I asked (Imam) abu 'Abd Allah, recipient of divine supreme covenant, 'There is a man who recounts your Hadith and spreads them among people and ties them to their hearts and the hearts of your followers.
Also there is a worshipper among your followers who does not narrate your Hadith. Which of these two people is better?' The Imam replied, 'The one who narrates our Hadith and ties them up to the hearts of our followers is better than seventy thousand worshippers.'"
So, at the end of the day it all points in the same direction. A scholar is one who narrates Hadeeth and not the one who goes around as an expert in jurisprudence. Wasaail Us Shia Vol 11 H 27; Bihar Ul Anwaar Vol. 82 H 2; Rijal Kashi Vol 3.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: Understand the status of our Shias according to the good reports from us for we do not recognise the Faqih from among them to be a Faqih unless he becomes a Muhaddith (Narrator of traditions)
This is explained in more detail under the chapter on Fuqaha. Let us now look at a Hadeeth frequently quoted by the priests.
Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn 'Isa from Muhammad ibn Khalid from abu al-Bakhtari from abu 'Abd Allah, recipient of divine supreme covenant, who has said the following: "The scholars are the heirs of the prophets because the prophets did not leave any Dirham or Dinar (units of money) as their legacy. What they left was certain pieces of their statements.
Those who acquired anything of these pieces of their statements have certainly gained a colossal share. You must be very careful, when acquiring such knowledge, to know from what kind of people you receive them. After (the death of) every one of us (the Ahl al-Bayt,
family of the Holy Prophet, recipient of divine supreme covenant), there comes a just person who removes (and exposes) from (the texts of Shari'a) the forgeries of the exaggerators, the materials of the fallacious ones that might have been made to infiltrate and the interpretations of the ignorant ones." For some reason the priests usually only quote the words, 'The scholars are the heirs of the prophets' and thereby claim justification for all of their actions. Agha e Khomeini has quoted in his book Islamic Government and the Rule of the Jurist:
"The fuqahâ are the trustees of the prophets ('a) means that all of the tasks entrusted to the prophets ('a) must also be fulfilled by the just fuqahâ as a matter of duty"
He then goes further and uses another Hadeeth in this manner. AL KAFI - VOL 7 (ARABIC VERSION)
The Commander of the Faithful ('a) said to Shurayh: "The seat [of judge] you are occupying is filled by someone who is a prophet ('a), the legatee of a prophet, or else a sinful wretch." He then uses this Hadeeth to prove his claim and says: Considering the fact that the fuqahâ do not have the rank of prophethood, and they are indubitably not "wretched sinners," we conclude that, in the light of the tradition quoted above, they must be the legatees or successors of the Most Noble Messenger (s).
Have you noticed his proof? This involves very strange logic. Even if I were to accept this logic, then why restrict this to only Jurists? By this proof whosoever is not "wretched sinners," would end up being a trustee of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.).
Incredible! This thinking goes even further when they use this Hadeeth for themselves:
MUSTADRAK AL WASAAIL - VOL 17 H 21468
Allamah Hilli in his writing quotes: 'The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said that the scholars of my Ummah are like the prophets of the Israelites'.
MY! My! My! The Prophets of the Israelites include the Prophets Musa (a.s.) and Isa (a.s.). There is no limit to a person's aspirations now is there? So which scholars is this Hadeeth referring to? The priests or the Holy Infallibles (a.s.)? The following Hadeeth has answered this question.
Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from his father from 'Abd al-'Aziz ibn al-Muhtadi from 'Abd Allah ibn Jundab to who Imam al-Rida, recipient of divine supreme covenant, wrote the following: "Thereafter (after thanking Allah I must say), Muhammad, recipient of divine supreme covenant, was the trustee of Allah in the matters of His creatures. When he was taken away from this world, we, Ahl al-Bayt, inherited him; thus, we are the trustees of Allah over His earth.
When will all these priests realise that they are not knowledgeable, but are only seekers of knowledge?
When was the last time you heard from the mouth of a priest the words 'I don't know'?
Why do they concentrate mainly on Fiqh and not on Hadeeth?