Is it wrong to take money to teach Islam? should this be a factor in deciding whether one becomes a scholar or not?
Assalamualikum My brothers who are Alhamdullilah huffaz wished to become ulama since childhood. As they entered the teen years, people would inform them that they must get secular education ( college degrees: professions etc.)first in order to be able to get jobs to support future family. They say so because these days ulama due to lack of jobs struggle financially and are not able to teach deen 100% fee sabeelillah. Due to financial constraints and families to feed, ulama are forced to take pay from people they teach deen. The doubt I have is by the time they finish college and get a degree they will be aged and might lose the zeal for ilm. Could mufti saheb kindly clear this conception and enlighten us on the correct route towards Allah? JazakAllah
(Question posted as received)
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
No matter which country you live in, you will find that that the elected officials or rulers – whether they are kings, presidents, prime ministers, judges, or politicians representing their districts – are given a salary from the state.
The source of these salaries is the revenue that is collected from the citizens through taxation, fees, or through the resources that the country happens to have. In essence, wealth which is collected or is for all the people in that country is allotted to these officials – from the most junior public servant to the highest ruling official in the land – because they have devoted themselves to serving the people of that country.
In the same way, a wife’s expenses are the responsibility of her husband as she is now devoted to being a wife and in the khidmah of her husband.
Likewise, the scholars also have devoted themselves to teaching and guiding the believers in their religious affairs such that the time that would be used for earning a living is now given in service to their community. Just as public wealth is given to officials in the government for devoting their time in service, likewise the public wealth is given to scholars for devoting their time in service. Unfortunately, due to a lack of religious understanding, some of our brethren have no problem with elected officials receiving extremely high salaries and benefits from public wealth but object to the scholars receiving an amount that would suffice them and their families. They have it in their heads, that the scholars should have two jobs: one to feed themselves and their families, and another full-time job of serving the deen.
It is no favor on the scholars that they are given salaries. In fact, their service to their communities and their efforts to preserve the deen is a communal obligation for which the community is itself indebted to them. If a person gives back a loan he took, what favor is he doing to the lender? Likewise, if the community gives back to the scholar, what favor is it doing? In fact, a scholar guiding his community is something that cannot really be paid back in the currency of this world. Any salary a scholar receives, is only a token of appreciation. Can a believer put a price on Paradise? It is unfortunate that our appreciation for religious knowledge is so little that the salaries of the scholars barely suffice them.
There is nothing wrong with your brothers pursuing secular knowledge within the confines of Shariah. However, if they have a passion for becoming scholars, it is only natural that they should seek religious knowledge first. Insha-Allah, they can pursue secular knowledge after that as well, however, they should commit to serving the deen, no matter what they do in the future. We are in need of religious scholars to guide and teach our communities, and to erase the ignorance that has crept into our societies. If your brothers have the strength and will to combine both secular and religious knowledge, that is fine, but if not, then they should not think that taking a salary for teaching religious knowledge is wrong. They should rely on Allah and pursue the deen, Insha-Allah, the One for whom they want to serve the deen will suffice them. [i]
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best,
Sohail ibn Arif,
Assistant, Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.
[i] للاستزادة ينظر: تحفة العلماء، ١/ ١٣٤ – ١٣٧؛ ادارة تاليفات اشرفية