Few quick thoughts/ concerns as below…
There is a new trend in Pakistan that I am noticing. I may be wrong, I wish to be wrong in this case.
There are people who are getting these so-called Certificate type “Islamic Degrees” from various institutes and universities. Then they are becoming independent thinkers in the matters of the Deen (religion), in other words they are becoming Amateur Mujtahids-amateurs that are exercising Ijtihad, meaning interpreting Shariah (Islamic Law) .
Although making judgement of people is not the proper etiquette and we should give the benefit of a doubt but at the same time, eyes can’t be shut close.
Such youngsters are boasting about their Certification or Associate as if it makes them a credible speaker or “thinker” when infact their apparent (that which is zahir) is in opposite to what should be of the real seeker of knowledge. Although, that which is apparent (zahir) in of itself is not a criteria to judge the credibility but it only tells one aspect of the one’s life.
Just because one learns some Arabic grammar and language, and learns some Arabic terminologies of Islamic Sciences, doesn’t make one an “Islamic Thinker” let alone qualify to speak like “I think …” in the matters of the Deen. In fact, there is no “I think” in Islam because Islam is established based on the Noble Quran- i.e. the Revelation, the Sunnah – i.e. way of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him (which explains the Noble Qur’an), and the Ijma – the clear consensus of the companions of the Prophet. It is based on evidence, it is not based on what “I feel” or what “I think.”
This is not to say that getting certificate is wrong. Seeking knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim male and female as the famous Hadith of the Prophet goes, but it should only humble oneself and should not result in one boasting around to back personal opinions and ideology.
May Allah save us from boastfulness, may Allah save us from falling into the trap of thinking that such certifications and associates make us acting Mujtahids and that we can “Think” in the matters of Shariah. May Allah save us from the false appearance of the understanding of His Deen.
[Note: I have avoided the names of the institutions and of the people. It is not my intent to personally attack anyone, nor my intent is to discredit any institute or university. This is a growing trend in Pakistan that I am noticing as the financially stable youth (Upper Middle or Upper Class) is turning towards Islam in the current times of chaos. This trend of amateur Islamic thinkers is different from those who have earned Masters in Arabic or Islamic Studies and are posing themselves “Islamic Scholars.” That is a much more prevalent problem, and about that may be some other time. As I said I wish to be wrong, but I can’t keep my eyes shut at the same time.]