Islamic Studies

Return Of The Poor Righteous Teachers: “Where Are The Ulema al-Haqq and the Imams Of Righteousness?”

Making sense of the disorientation present in the world today is no easy task. To make matters worse we see the return of the militant hype which undermined the growth of the Muslim community in the 90’s coupled with rise of spies and lies. Muslims are divided and the destruction of this Nation is at hand. Our people are dieing of ignorance of Islam and therefore ignorance of self. The question we must ask here is who is taking up the task of revival and building the Umma as it is being destroyed from within and without? Where are the teachers that are educating the Muslim as to he and she is and how he or she ought act in the world?

It is clear that the Muslim Nation is being destroyed but the question is are we being destroyed because of our righteousness? Violence will not safeguard us from ourselves and the evil we put forth. When we are just with each other and begin to implement Islam in action and give others their rights then we will be a people capable of standing in front of oppression, we will be the best of Nations because we enjoin the good and forbid the evil.

The Prophet Muhammad (s) did not respond to the oppression of the Quraysh with violence but rather with knowledge of self, he taught the people the truth of Islam and when the Muslim became a brotherhood and were capable of being just then Allah (swt) called them to face oppression with the aim to put an end to it. But before such a call the Muslims were commanded to be just among themselves, an example and model community built upon iman, brotherhood and good deeds.

Where is that community today? Where are the teachers who teach the people how to remove themselves from the ills that enslave them and keep them from the truth of Islam? Even if the Muslims were to take up arms in response to the oppression we face, is it enough to liberate us from the ills that have corrupted our very selves and action? If we want change then let us change the way we act in the world, the way we think and the way we perceive so that it is in line with Islam. Enough emotion, we need real change, a change in people and not just a call to change political systems. Without changing people, one is not unlike he who changes his clothes but fails to bathe; he reeks of corruption although his clothes externally appear clean and new.

About the author

Yusuf Rios (Abul Hussein)

Yusuf Rios (Abul Hussein)

Yusuf Rios was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While becoming a Catholic priest, Yusuf discovered the path to Islam. He studied Islamic sciences for a period of seven years, studying with scholars in Cleveland, Ohio before receiving a work-study contract with the Islamic American University. At the Islamic American University, he read Arabic and a limited number of Islamic sciences intensively for one year. He then traveled to Cairo, Egypt where he resided for five years. There, he attended a number of intensive courses at Arabic learning centers. After these courses, he joined various scholarly circles, reading Islamic sciences with a host of scholars of diverse expertise and orientations. Yusuf takes particular pride in having studied intimately with a number of scholars from al-Azhar University. Likewise, he has great love and attachment to Egypt and especially al-Azhar Mosque where he studied for the major portion of his residence in Egypt. Yusuf has a Bachelors in Western Philosophy and Sociology and is working on a Masters in Education. He serves as an instructor in Islamic Sciences with Islamic American University and in local mosques in Dearborn, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio. His four main research areas in Islamic sciences are in the areas of Usul al-Fiqh, Maqasid ash Shar’ia, Hadith Sciences, and Fiqh.

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  • Salam,

    This questions has plagued my mind for many years and it is one that becomes somewhat of a vicious cycle for the one with just a little more than a basic understanding of Islam. That person becomes caught between the teachings and how to live and apply them to everyday life. That person becomes the teacher and the student, to his/her own self, because of the unforutante lack of true examples of how to live everyday life Islamically as it is meant to be. This phenomenon is every where and not just faced by those of us who live in the west.
    The scholars, the teachers and the ones who are blessed with a strong will power are ones to be sought after to learn from, not to become students of Islamic Sharia but to get an understanding of that deep spiritual bliss.
    We should start an “Islamic counceling services” group. I think that would be better than any councellor/spiritual teacher/psychiatrist out there. But where is that service and how can it be available outside of the typical lecture based format. We need “experiential/clinical/hands-on” training and orientation.
    Jazak Allah khair for the article.


  • This is so true–Muslims nowadays are so selfish into thinking about themselves w/ regard to financial security, their immediate family, that they forget about the slow demise of our deen in the succesive generations. Inshallah, I hope this changes.

  • MashaAllah brilliant post. It hits the nail on its head, this is exactly what we need to be thinking about and trying to implement.

  • Salaam alaykum Abul Hussein,

    Have you been sneaking peeks at our upcoming articles at MuslimMatters 😉 Insh'allah, we have a similar 4 part series coming out on this very topic, down to the analogy used, look out for it really soon.


  • the first thing which muslims should change is their mindset.
    once they've changed their mindset, they are becoming new people. muslims have a perfect guidance for life and a perfect figure to be their good example but when they trap themselves into their narrow mindset, the perfect guidance will take them nowhere.

  • It is one thing to get a new mindset, it is another to keep re-fueling that mindset. There needs to be a constant nourishment of the heart and mind. We have too many young Muslims who think they know it all after a few books and islamic lectures. Knowledge and development is for life. So the first lesson would be to realise that this process renewal and revival process must be done regularly and nobody should slack.

  • nomad78:
    I agree with your concerns and I understand what you are saying, it is ideal to have mentors and teachers close to us to help each one of us in our spiritual development. However, in the real world, every Muslim cannot practically have one, so what is the solution?

    In my opinion, a muslim has to do his best what the knowledge he/she has and try to improve. As you know, knowledge is defined as not only learning, but learning coupled with action. For example, some companions would come to the Prophet (saws) and learn some important points of faith and stay with the prophet (saw) for a short time and then return to their tribes to spread the message. Their sincerity, maturity, and steadfastness helped them grow spritiually, although they did not possess volumes of knowledge.

    Today, alhamdulilah, we have access to volumes of knowledge online at our fingertips, access to video lectures of scholars, access to scholars easily, and so therefore, I think we have ample opportunities to elevate ourselves and we should be thankful..

  • Brother Abu Rumaysha,
    Thank you for your input and I agree with you whole heartedly. My problem is “not really knowing where to start” and Alhamdullillah I am thankful for all the resources that are available and I have been working on improving myself Islamically but sometimes without the guidance of one who truely models our beautiful teachings the process gets a tad bit overwhelming and one, although not dispaired, starts to get a bit frustrated with the growing pains.
    I ask Allah to keep us all steadfast and on the right path

  • Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

    There is an increasing voice of frustration from the muslim masses regarding the visibility and profile of the Ulema/Scholars of Islam, “They need to stand up and be counted”, etc, etc.

    BUT…The scholars are the offspring of the masses, a reflection, a manifestation of our own condition and character. Speaking from first hand knowledge the makeup of the madresahs, schools of Islamic theology, are not a composition of the best of what Islam and muslims have to offer.

    The story is the same whatever country or region of the world you choose to analyse. The majority of the students (Note: not all) comprise of the following:
    1. Those whose parents regard them as 'too dumb' or unable to become doctors, surgeons etc. (Intellectually challenged)
    2. Those whose parents feel they are no longer able to control them. (Socially and morally challenged)
    3. Those who are either orphans or from poor backgrounds. (Financially and economically challenged)
    4, Those whose parents have studied in madresahs and therefore desire the same for their child(ren).

    Very few of the children studying can say that they are there because they were the most intelligent of the siblings and their parents believed this to be the best path in life and best course of education for them.


    Yes, from amongst that motley crew every now and then we unearth a gem but it is rare and very few and far between. THE BLAME LIES NOT WITH THE ULEMA BUT WITH US!

    It is never too late though and we should seek to re-dress this issue immediately. It is time for us to stand up and be counted. The cleverest most able and intelligent of our children should be sent to study and master the sciences of Islam. We should stop fearing, ' who will run the household, pay the mortgage and bring food to the table when i am too old to work'. The answer is simple, Allah will, he who fed those before you and will feed those after you. Rizq, sustenance lies with him. Success is for him who puts his complete trust in the Almighty and surrenders himself completely.

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