Islamic Studies

Light of The Scholar: Shihab al-Din al-Qarafi al-Maliki D. 1285 C.E

Light of the Scholar: Shihab al-Din al-Qarafi al-Maliki D. 1285 A.H

The Prophet [May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] said:

“The virtue of the scholar, in comparison to the worshiper, is like the virtue of the full moon in comparison to the stars.”

The Hadith:

This is part of a long hadith related by al-Tirmidhi on behalf of the great companion Abu Darda [May Allah be pleased with him]. Al-Tirmidhi states that the chain of this narration does not connect to the Prophet [May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.]

Fiqh of the Hadith:

Imam al-Qarafi wrote:

“As for the comparison [of the scholar] to the full moon, then there are a number of benefits:

  • The scholar’s quality is based on the extent he follows the Prophet [May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him]. This is because the Prophet [May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] is the sun [metaphorically]. Allah says, “Indeed, We sent you as a witness, a giver of glad tidings and a warner. And [We sent you] as an illuminating torch.” The torch is the sun as Allah says, “And We made an illuminating torch.”
  • Just as the moon’s light derives benefit from the sun, as they draw nearer to each other, becoming full. The likeness of the scholar is the same! Every time he turns towards the Prophet [May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] and [gives] his attention to him [May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him], he increases his completion and perfection [as a scholar].
  • When the scholar turns away from the Prophet [May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] his state becomes gloomy and his condition becomes corrupted, just as the moon darkens when something comes between it and the sun.
  • The stars that exist, in proximity to the full moon, are like lifeless bodies which are ineffective. The brightness of the moon is glorious in its benefits, spreading illumination and dispatching light through the entire world, land and sea. This is the state of a scholar. As for for the worshiper, he is like a star whose light does not leave its place, nor does its benefit reach others.”

al-Dhakhira vol. 1 pg. 44

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.


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