This term has been existing since the era of the Salaf [our great predecessors], of the chosen centuries, they passed down warnings regarding the Sultan's scholars (those who have [carry] the knowledge of Sharia, who issue their fatawa according to what is harmonious with the ruler's desires), due to their danger in distorting the truth, disguising the truth to be false and vice versa. They give the legitimacy reasons to the rulers for their deviation of actions, covering up of their criminality, furthermore, of their infidelity. Thus goes the saying of our Prophet (pbuh):
''Whoever approaches the Sultan [king, president, governor] will be subjected to trials''.
Why don't we see this term put into practice by some groups? The society as a whole barely hears from their preachers the danger which Sultan's scholars represent and if there is a preacher that warns people from the tyrannical rulers, he will be pointed at and told that this contradicts the method of the Salaf in dealing with the rulers. It hurts the heart, knowing that when they hear man-made laws are blasphemous, especially if they are on the aqeeda of al-Murijah unaware of its ruling, they might approve them (man-made laws).
Some of them acknowledge the saying of Ahlu-Sunnah with that regard. However, that will cause a disagreement between them. It gets to the extent that when they hear the passing of legitimate judgment upon a specific ruler, they burst out of rage as if Islam is demolished by that judgment. So why would you become furious when the ruler is confronted more than when the fundamentals of Islam are being screwed? Did you get that and have you been directed to the correct way? Is it really possible for this era to be free of the Sultan's scholars? Is it really the method of the Salaf to be silent and not to warn people off those scholars? All fair-minded students of Islamic knowledge know the answer. This era is full of those scholars, and also it is the way of the Salaf to warn people off them.
Let's take some of their sayings:
1. Imam Ad-dhahaby said that Sufyaan At-thawry said:
''Whenever you see a reciter abides by the door of the Sultan, know he is a thief and if he resorts the rich, know he is a hypocrite. Beware of being deceived, it might be said to you, by being close to the sultan, you'll prevent injustice and defend the oppressed, since truly, this is Iblis's deception which some reciters have taken as a stairway''.
(Alqawl Alnafees fi Atahtheer min Kadeeat Iblis, page 30)
2. Sufyaan bin ‘Abbaad wrote:
''Beware from approaching the princes or associating with them in any issue. Also beware from the deceptions that you'll intercede and that you'll defend an oppressed or prevent oppression because that is the deception by Iblis that the dissolute reciters have fallen into''.
(Al-Hilyah by Abu Nu'aim 376-377/6)
I ask you by Allah's name, what would Sufyaan say if he was alive today, what will he say to the scholars who gave fatwa to the American Muslims that they can participate in the US army which occupies Afghanistan? How about those who say that the victims of September 11 are innocent, some even called for donation to be granted to them? And what would he or other scholars of Salaf say about the quiet scholars who have not given fatwa on the obligation of Jihad today, being fard 'ayan?
What would they say about the American Military bases in the Muslim lands from which the operations against Muslims advance and then come back to its bases with the protection of the "Muslims"? What about the American warships passing through the Arab ports and seas? What if they were to see millions of Muslims being massacred by the American soldiers who are backed-up by the Arab rulers with intelligence, fuel and food and also preventing the mujahideen from fighting them.
So if they [the Salaf] did not judge them as infidels at worst. Would they give a fatwa to kill the Mujahideen or curse them? Would they have been by the side of these leaders?
Sufyaan criticized the rulers' errors at his time while they ruled by the Sharia and mobilized armies to conquer the lands of the kuffaar. He did so to the extent that he departed secretly away from them to Makkah, some say Yemen. Then he disappeared to Basrah where he reported to the narrators in secret till he died, and his funeral was a surprise to the residents.
This is Sufyaan At-thawry whom Imam Ahmad said about:
''Do you know who the imam is? The imam is Sufyaan At-thawry and no one could precede his place in my heart''.
Sufyaan who said:
"Verily, whenever I see something that I must speak about but do not do so, I then urinate blood".
How would it be if Sufyaan and his examples from the great scholars of Islam were alive nowadays? What would they say to the rulers while they see the lands of the Muslims being occupied by the Jews and Christians in cooperation with the Arab tyrants?
Beloved brother, we witness degrading fatawa made by scholars who are, unfortunately, deemed respected today. And If they were in the time of Sufyaan, the Muslim would not have been cornered labeling them as "the Sultan's scholars". Therefore, Al-Qaeda have preceded others in reviving this term. The dissenters may say: ''al Qaeda slanders the scholars". So they are answered "God-fearing, true scholars are respected by the Mujahideen, as for the Sultan's scholars, they have no status in eyes of the Mujahideen. We are not required to appreciate those whose words are in favor of the Americans and are condemning the Mujahideen, accusing them of being the stray party and being Khawarij. Although, truthful scholars may utter inaccurately some words which hurt the Mujahideen and favors their enemies, we say, "they have committed a mistake, but they are not scholars of the sultan.
It is necessary to revive this term, for neglecting it, contradicts with the method of the Salaf and deceives the Muslim nation. Also the Jews, Christians, munafiqeen and other enemies of Islam will benefit from that. Bearing in mind, reviving this term is an exhortation to the ummah, because it is part of the deen, so it is mandatory to carefully know who we are taking our deen from. Due to the presence of the sultan's scholars, many benefits are sealed away, among the important ones is jihad, that's when jihad isn't in the interest of the ruler. Verily, the matter of jihad is dignified, Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah says:
''Whoever has lot of sins, then his greatest medicine is Jihad''.
They - the scholars of the sultan - may give a fatwa on the legitimacy of a matter but in reality it is a disobedience to Allah. Note that in the Holy Quran, The Almighty Allah sets two of the worst examples and they have been given to those who don't put their knowledge into action:
''The example of those who were entrusted with the Torah and then did not take it on, is like that of a donkey who carries volumes [of books]Wretched is the example of the people who deny the signs of Allah. And Allah does not guide the wrong doing people''.
(The Holy Quran, Surah 62. "The Congregation, Friday", verse 5)
''And recite to them, [O Muhammad], the news of him whom We gave [knowledge of] Our signs, but he detached himself from them; so Satan pursued him, and he became of the deviators, And if We had willed, We could have elevated him thereby, but he adhered [instead] to the earth and followed his own desire. So his example is like that of the dog: if you chase him, he pants, or if you leave him, he [still] pants. That is the example of the people who denied Our signs. So relate the stories that perhaps they will give thought''.
(The Holy Quran, Surah 7. "The Heights", verses 175-176)
And if he conceals the knowledge, there is a severe menace directed to him:
''Indeed, those who conceal what We sent down of clear proofs and guidance after We made it clear for the people in the Scripture -those are cursed by Allah and cursed by those who curse, Except for those who repent and correct themselves and make evident [what they concealed]. Those -I will accept their repentance, and I am the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful''.
(The Holy Quran, Surah 2. "The Cow", verses 159-160)
Do you think the Salaf would warn from the scholars of Sultan if they don't exist? Or do you assume that Allah may curse someone never exist? Or maybe you think that the scholar with the two worst examples never exists? I swear by Allah, all of them exist in reality, and if they don't exist in real life, and if they do not exist in your mind, then accuse your intellect and stop disgracing the mujahideen, by saying that they slander the God-fearing scholars of truth. Yes, there might be some individuals who are associated with jihad, who ill-treats the scholars and this exists, as each box of apple might have one or two rotten apples in it.
By Sheikh Abu Mus'ab al-AwIaki
Source: Inspire Magazine, issue #9