We live in strange times. In the days of old, students would travel great distances to sit at the feet of the ‘Ulema – sometimes only to learn a single hadeeth or to understand a single legal issue. Today, the situation has almost reversed – the scholars come to us. Websites such as SeekersGuidance and Sunnipath enable seekers to study from qualified scholars from all over the world. In spite of being able to access our teachers at the push of a button, many of us do not use the blessings and opportunities that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) has provided to us.
Accessibility to the ‘Ulema is even more important now then ever before – given the numerous spiritual, intellectual, and socio-political crises humanity is facing today. While we live in the so-called age of information, ignorance is truly king. Islam and Muslims make headlines on an almost deadly basis – cartoons denigrating the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa sallam), burqa bans, minaret regulations, terrorism, imperialism, Qur’an burnings, mosque protests – the list goes on and on. Yet in spite of the frequency of the mentioning of Islam, there is very little substantive learning – both within the Muslim community and from nonbelievers about Islam. The lack of learning is undoubtedly related to the the lack of scholarship. Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, the 14th century prolific scholar, wrote in his work “The Heirs of the Prophets”: “So, as long as knowledge remains, people will be guided. But sacred knowledge will remain as long as the scholars remain. When the scholars dwindle in number, people fall into error.”
While many of us may not be able to study today due to school, work, and family obligations – we should make an effort to consistently learn those scholars that we can, whether in the form of attending a weekly study circle, studying online, or even reading the blogs of the ‘Ulema. There are an increasing number of ‘Ulema who use blogs. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is one of the most recent additions to the blogosphere. You can read his first post here. I’ve made a list of ‘Ulema that blog below.