THE CLERGY ARE THE CARETAKERS OF RELIGION ?
The Clergy are the caretakers of Religion. We should consider them to be the sole authority for the interpretation of the divine message and should humble ourselves to what they inform us. We should not challenge any thing that the Clergy has authenticated as they are the rightful descendants of the messengers of Allah.
Although almost every faith of the world accepts the Clergy as the caretakers of Religion, but contrary to this widely held opinion the Qur’an states that the Clergy are infact the very opponents of the ‘Deen’ given by Allah. Thus it is stated in Surah At-Tauba:
“O you who believe! Most surely many among the Religious scholars and the priests eat away the property of mankind falsely, and oppose them from Allah’s way; and (as for) those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah’s way, announce to them a painful chastisement.” (9:34)
The Clergy hinders people from the path of Allah described in His Book, by inventing laws from their own selves and then falsely attributing them to Allah.
They also tutor their followers to accept without hesitation what ever they teach, thus render useless their reasoning ability, and people are deluded to consider the concocted teachings of the Clergy to be the divine truth. The Qur’an resents such in the strongest terms:
“Woe, then, to those who write the book with their hands and then say: This is from Allah, so that they may take for it a small price; therefore woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.” (2:79)
In Surah Ash-Shoora we are reminded about those who invent Shariah-laws by themselves and then falsely attribute them to Allah and His messenger:
“Or have they associates who have prescribed for them any Shariah laws that Allah does not sanction? And were it not for the word of judgment, decision would have certainly been given between them; and surely the unjust shall have a painful punishment.” (42:21)
One of the greatest gifts that Allah has bestowed upon us is the ability to think and reason. We should use this gift wisely and use it well. The Qur’an asks us not to accept anything without verifying it first, no matter how much ‘pious’ a source it may come from, when it says:
“Do not pursue that whereof you have no knowledge. Verily, the hearing and sight, and the heart, each of these will be asked.” (17:36)
The above verse clearly teaches us that we should not accept any information without first examining it with our Allah-given senses and mind. Following opinions or opinion leaders blindly without first verifying them from the divine code may lead to tragic ends, as the Qur’an states:
“And they shall all come forth before Allah, then the weak shall say to those who were proud: Surely we were your followers, can you therefore avert from us any part of the chastisement of Allah? They would say: If Allah had guided us, we too would have guided you; it is the same to us whether we are impatient (now) or patient, there is no place for us to fly to.” (14:21)
The blind followers will disown their leaders on the day of judgment and vice versa:
“When those who were followed shall renounce those who followed (them), and they see the chastisement and their ties are cut asunder. And those who followed shall say: Had there been for us a return, then we would renounce them as they have renounced us. Thus will Allah show them their deeds to be intense regret to them, and they shall not come forth from the fire.” (2:166-167)
We are informed in advance that to follow our Religious leaders and great men, without verifying their teachings with the Qur’anic criteria may lead us to make the following statement on the day of retribution:
“And they shall say: O our Sustainer! surely we obeyed our leaders and our great men, so they led us astray from the path; O our Sustainer! give them a double punishment and curse them with a great curse.” (33:67-68)
One the final day Allah will question us only concerning the Qur’an, and it is for this that we have to prepare ourselves. (See 23:66-67, 104, ,25:30, 45:31)
Therefore our ability to think and to ponder is a supreme gift. Let us not allow any individual or group of individuals to usurp this Allah-given gift away from us, otherwise the consequences have been foretold in the Qur’an.
Let us be reminded that there are a thousand and one Religious Scholars in the world whose teachings are quite diverse: are they all without question, teaching the correct ‘Deen’ of Allah? Of course not. Then how are we to know which one of them is on the right path? For Allah has also warned us about some individuals:
“A part has He guided aright and (as for another) part, error is justly their due, surely they took the Shaitans for guardians beside Allah, and they think that they are on guidance!” (7:30)
Hence to be a Muslim one has to know the will of Allah, and if we do not know the will of Allah as expressed in the Qur’an then how are we to judge who is right and who is wrong? If someone does not use his reason and senses to ascertain the Qur’anic message, then what is he following but the whims and wishes of others.
Thus the Qur’an has stated that there is no priesthood in ‘Deen’ and no room exists for any intermediaries between the guidance of Allah and mankind. The order to think and ponder over the divine message is not reserved to any special class of people but Allah asks all of us to reflect on His Book and seek guidance from it. (See 2:185, 4:82, 38:29, and 47:24)