Friday, April 11, 2014

Saying the Khalaf are wiser, while the Salaf are more knowledgeable

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Fatwas > Miscellaneous Fatwas (Jumada Al-Thany) > Saying the Khalaf are wiser, while the Salaf are more knowledgeable
The first and the third questions of Fatwa no. 17464
Q 1: Once in an Islamic lesson, a professor stated that the Khalaf (later scholars) are wiser, while the Salaf (righteous predecessors) are more knowledgeable; is this correct?
What is meant by "more knowledgeable" and "wiser"?

A: This is a false statement meant to disparage the Salaf of this nation, accuse them of lack of knowledge and wisdom and glorify the scholars of Kalam (a discipline that searches for answers to creedal issues using logic) for their knowledge and wisdom. Theologians were the first to make this statement. Inferentially, it follows that the successive generations are better and more knowledgeable than the preceding most righteous generations.
the Shaykh of Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said: "It is known to those who reflect upon the Qur'an, the Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet), and points where Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream) agreed that the best generation of this nation in terms of deeds, sayings, beliefs, and all virtues is the first generation, i.e. the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet), then the one after, then the one after them.
(Part No. 2Page No. 31)
This was reported in a number of authentic Hadiths from the Prophet (peace be upon him) in this regard. The Sahabah are better than later generations in every aspect; knowledge, actions, faith, character, deeds, and worship. Thus, they are most worthy of explaining every detailed point of religion. None may argue this evident fundamental except those who deny the well-established and known Islamic facts; and Allah, knowing that they know the truth, left them astray." `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "Anyone who wishes to adopt a certain example should follow those who have passed away, for the living are not safe from Fitnah (temptation). They are the Sahabah of Muhammad who have the purest hearts, the best knowledgeable, and are the least pretentious of all Muslims. They are the people that Allah chose to accompany his Prophet (peace be upon him) and to establish Islam. So affirm their status and hold firmly to their guidance, for indeed they were on the right path." Someone once said: "Hold fast to the traditions of the Salaf, for they brought forth what is sufficient and curative and no good ever arose after them which they were not knowledgeable of."
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: No time will come but the following time is worse than it,
(Part No. 2Page No. 32)
until you meet your Lord.
 How can there be a better time than theirs while they witnessed the revelation of the best knowledge, i.e. the Knowledge of Allah! This will never happen.
How precise are the words of Al-Shafi`y (may Allah be merciful to him) who wrote in his book "Al-Risalah": "They, i.e. the Sahabah, are superior to us in knowledge, reason, belief, virtue and every means through which knowledge or guidance is attained. Indeed, their opinion is more beneficial to us than ours to ourselves." (Al-Fatawa; vol. 4, pp. 157-158)

Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta'

Bakr Abu Zayd`Abdul-`Aziz Al Al-ShaykhSalih Al-Fawzan`Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan`Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz

Source: Fatwas of the Permanent Committee

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