A Monthly Newsmagazine from Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT)
To Gain access to thousands of articles, khutbas, conferences, books (including tafsirs) & to participate in life enhancing events


Distinguishing Ulul Amr From False Scholars

Salina Khan

Image Source - Pixbay Free Content

When a Palestine solidarity group in Nashville, Tennessee (US) organized a shut-it-down march for Gaza last month, a local imam sent out an email discouraging people from attending because of unspecified “concerns.” As a result, most Muslims stayed home.

But should they have? That depends on if the imam fits the criterion of ulul amr, to whom obedience in political matters is obligatory after obedience to Allah and His Last Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), according to the Qur’an. Ulul amr, as discussed in the previous two articles, are contemporary Islamic scholars who not only have deep knowledge of the deen of Islam but also correct political insight, both of which they manifest practically, selflessly and courageously in their lives.

“And if any [secret] matter pertaining to peace or war comes within their awareness, they go public with it; whereas if they would but refer it to the Apostle and to those from among the committed Muslims who have been entrusted with authority [ulul amr], such of them as are engaged in obtaining intelligence would indeed know [what to do with] it. And but for Allah’s bounty toward you, and His grace, all but a few of you would certainly have followed Satan” (Surah An-Nisa: 83).

People need to be able to identify ulul amr from the plethora of “Muslim leaders” claiming to lead Palestine liberation movements, both through mosque pulpits and through emails, tweets, and YouTube videos. That’s because it is ulul amr who with their knowledge, fortitude, courage and foresight will be able to strategically navigate the sea of lies, propaganda, and enemy traps to free the oppressed people like the Palestinians.

With Israel massacring scores of Palestinians virtually every hour, there is no time for trial and error. People must be intentional in who they follow on the path to supporting Palestinian freedom, the harbinger to freedom everywhere.

Thankfully, out of His continuous “bounty and mercy” Allah provides detailed guidance in the Qur’an on how to recognize ulul amr. He does this by using the literary device of antithesis: Allah details and exposes the characteristics of false “scholars” to provide a clear, stark contrast to the true scholars from whom ulul amr arise. “And from everything We have created counterparts, so that you may realize [the creative power of Allah alone] (Surah Al-Dhariyat: 49).

The false scholars that Allah highlights in the Qur’an belong to the people of Bani Israel, who descended from the children of Prophet Yaqub (as). Though they were blessed with many prophets and divine books to guide them out of their oppression, their religious leaders hid, changed, and misinterpreted scripture to benefit themselves and their rich and powerful benefactors. They were even “cursed by Dawood (as) and Isa (as), son of Maryam” (Surah Al Ma’idah: 78) for their false preaching, but Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) predicted that the religious leaders of his own ummah will still closely “imitate” them. This makes these verses applicable to the so-called Islamic “scholars” of today as well.

To make it easy for us to identify the false scholars, Allah exposes their emotional state of mind, intentions, and modus operandi in the Qur’an. While addressing them directly, He censures three characteristics that must be analyzed and recognized in the false scholars misguiding people on Palestine today.

“[O acquisitive Children of Israel], hold not others in awe, but stand in awe of Me; and do not barter away My messages for a small trifling gain; for they who do not judge in accordance with what Allah has bestowed from on high are, indeed deniers of the [divinely revealed] truth” (Surah Al Ma’idah: 44).

(1) "Fear the people”: False scholars are afraid of people. In terms of mobilization for Palestine, this can look like fear of:

  • police, FBI, US Department of Homeland Security and their threats of deportation or imprisonment
  • politicians and their terrorist labels
  • Anti-Defamation League and their accusations of anti-semitism
  • pro-Israel groups and their doxxing of Palestine supporters

(2) “Barter my revelations”: False scholars ignore, misinterpret, or misapply verses of the Qur’an to conform with their government’s zionist policies. In terms of mobilization for Palestine, this can look like:

  • staying silent on Israeli oppression
  • condemning Palestinian resistance
  • justifying dialogue with zionists
  • promoting a two-state solution
  • discouraging effective activism
  • misdirecting energies towards ineffective actions

(3) “For a trifling gain”: False scholars misguide their communities for personal benefit, career advancement, and media fame. In terms of mobilization for Palestine, these prizes for preaching conformity to zionist interests can look like:

  • full-time or part-time jobs as imams of local mosques
  • funding for Islamic universities, schools, or other organizations
  • teaching positions at elite universities
  • chaplain roles at local chapters of Muslim Students Association
  • tour guide gigs at travel groups to hajj, umrah, and other destinations
  • paid speeches at mosques and Islamic conferences
  • invitations to “interfaith dialogues” with zionist Jews and zionist Christians
  • publication of opinion articles in national and local newspapers

An important point to note is that these false Islamic scholars who preach conformity to the corrupt taghuti power structure are not outliers but rather the norm in countries like America that have been bombing and looting Muslim lands for decades. Sell-out “scholars” are educated, groomed, and elevated to prominent positions in order to counter and suppress the ulul amr, who pose a threat to the corrupt power structure. This point will be discussed further in the next article of this series on ulul amr, insha’Allah.

Article from

Crescent International Vol. 53, No. 11

Jumada' al-Akhirah 19, 14452024-01-01

Sign In


Forgot Password ?


Not a Member? Sign Up