Scholars fight with one another on Twitter
Ibn Abbas, the paternal cousin of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the great authority on the Sunnah, once said, “Attend the sessions of (Shariah) scholars and listen to what they say. But do not believe them when they criticize one another. Those scholars feel very jealous of each other.”
Ibn Abbas made this statement hundreds of centuries ago and he was talking about the scholars of that time, most of whom had great knowledge in their fields. But what Ibn Abbas said was very true and still is today.
These learned men do feel jealous of one another and, as a result, they tend to speak against one another. They are human beings, not angels, and are not infallible. Being well respected and well versed in a field does not put the scholar above criticism.
From the time of Ibn Abbas until today, the same practice still exists and it has gotten nastier. Nowadays, we hear about well-known scholars who argue all the time over Twitter and sometimes use foul language that they should not be using given their religious status.
They are the role models for many members of the general public. Getting into such arguments and stooping to such level of talk will naturally have a negative effect on their followers.
Let me list what some of the great scholars said about this practice. Malik Ibn Dinar, a great pious man who died in 747, said: “Accept everything the scholars say about anything except what they say against one another because some are jealous and hate each other.”
Abu Hmaid Al-Ghazali, a Muslim theologian, jurist and philosopher who was born in 1058, said: “Some scholars compete fiercely with one another when they meet in a social gathering just to show off their knowledge.”
Shams Al-Deen Al-Thahbi, the great Muslim historian who died in 1348, said: “People of the same trade tend to speak against one another for jealousy reasons.”
Taqi Al-Deen Al-Subki, who was a jurist, grammar expert and a philosopher, said: “It is not permissible to accept the testimony a scholar made against another because they get very jealous of each other.”
Shariah researchers always mention the following statement in any book they write: “One should ignore the words Ibn Abi Theeb (jurist) used against Malik, the fabricated lies Ibn Maeen (a Sunni scholar) made about Al-Shafi, and the statements Al-Nesaee made up about Ahmad bin Saleh, because all those were eminent scholars and were known for their piety. Therefore, if the statements made against were true, they would have been supported by more evidence from other scholars.”
I can list hundreds of examples on how the jealousy of these men makes them say untrue things about one another. Ibn Taymiya, the well-known great scholar, said: “Some people pretend to be pious and God-fearing but in reality they backbite others and they do not care.”
I wonder how the above-mentioned scholars would feel if they were living in our time, the age of social networking sites. On these sites, there are plenty of examples of people who backbite and criticize others using harsh words and some cases spread lies and false statements. Some of those people are scholars and Dawah activists who are competing over who gets closer to influential people.