Change for the sake of change isn’t ‘change’, and change which erodes your established principles is not change based on knowledge; but rather data & unprocessed information.
True knowledge does not ‘change’ the constants (correctly established principles) of a sincere person; but rather increases a person in faith, firmness to the truth, and faithfulness to Allah Almighty (positive change).
About this Allah Almighty says:
“And so those who were given knowledge may know that it is the truth from your Lord and [therefore] believe in it, and their hearts humbly submit to it. And indeed is Allah the Guide of those who have believed to a straight path”.
As for unprocessed new learnings (data & information) that in turn erodes a person’s correctly established principles; then this learning, in my humble view, is a fitnah and not a blessing.
There is a difference between knowledge that changes the human condition for the better, and unprocessed information that effects change, but for the worse.
Examples of this would include ‘change’ that makes one speak about the book of Allah without truth, or belittle and lay negative claim onto the respected scholars of the ummah, or even increase one in ‘academic’ arrogance.
The latter, sadly, can only be described as reprehensible ‘change’, or ‘change’ for the sake of ‘change’, and ‘change’ that occurs at the expense of breaking away from the framework of one’s own correctly established principles.
You would have come across by now, or you will come across- calls to leave following the understanding of Islam by the majority of our established scholars of the past, for the understanding of a few people today whose continued guidance isn’t guaranteed. They believe that their contentious teachings are the way forward today, and that the teachings of the scholars of the past have little bearing today. They believe that they can see further than the scholars of our history whilst forgetting that they only see anything today because they are standing on the shoulders of the giants of our past.
I ask you sincerely to resist those over-zealous calls, and urge you to stick to the established character and methodology of Islam as based on true knowledge, and laid down by our established scholars of the past; whose scholarship has been attested to across generations. I urge you to choose as your religious references today those scholars and students of knowledge who revere the knowledge of Islam since it’s advent, and have the ability to apply the richness of our established tradition in a way that is both suitable today, and without the erosion of its heritage.
‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Whoever wants to follow a path, let him follow the path of the one who has died, for the living are not safe from fitnah. I mean the Companions of Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). They were the best of this ummah: the purest in heart, the deepest in knowledge and the most straightforward
Adding to this; Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “It is very well known to anyone who ponders the Qur’an, Sunnah and the consensus of all groups among Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa‘ah that the best generations of this ummah – in deeds, words, beliefs and all other virtues – is the first generation, then those who came after them, then those who came after them, as is proven in more than one report; they are superior to the later generations in every virtue, be it knowledge, deeds, faith, reason, religious commitment, eloquence or worship. Their view of any problem is more deserving of being followed. This cannot be denied except by the one who would refuse to accept that which is well known in the religion of Islam and whom Allah sends astray despite his knowledge, as ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood (may Allah be pleased with him) said”. (Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa, 4/157).
If you come across someone who belittles the eminence of the scholars of the past, and contradicts the view of the majority of the scholars of the ummah, especially the scholars of the first 3 generations of Islam; don’t take such a person as your source of knowledge. Also; if you come across any fatwa today that helps you follow your desires and it goes against the view of the majority of the scholars of our ummah, all in the name of ‘saving faith’; discard it. I say it confidently as a crisis of faith will always be in one following one’s desires, and you owe it to yourself, and your faith to follow this advice, for life is too short to make it shorter through tinkering with falsehood.
Lastly- it is important that we all understand that ‘saving faith’ and ‘true knowledge’ is in following the directives of the Qur’an and Sunnah, and not in bending Islam to help people follow their desires, for Allah Almighty says:
“And know that among you is the Messenger of Allah . If he were **to obey you** in much of the matter, **you would be in difficulty**, but Allah has endeared to you the faith and has made it pleasing in your hearts and has made hateful to you disbelief, defiance and disobedience. Those are the [rightly] guided”.
Finally- I urge you all to raise your hands and supplicate for all of our scholars, the duaat and students of knowledge. Ask Allah sincerely to keep us steadfast so we can better serve the ummah for His sake alone, and ask Allah to return in a beautiful way those who have gone astray.
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