do we need our scholars?


These days there is a negative trend in Islamic society. There are some who say that we do not need our scholars to guide us or teach us about our laws. We believe the Internet is sufficient to answer our questions about Islam. Whenever an issue comes up, we search it on the Internet and sometimes read an article or two. Some people, after doing this type of light research, go a step further and give out their own opinions on that topic.


The problem with this trend of not asking religious scholars for religious advice is that we are undermining their knowledge. The scholars are experts in Islamic Law and have spent many years studying Islam. Here is an example that illustrates the problem: Would you allow an unlicensed surgeon, who never went to medical school, but instead studied Wikipedia articles and YouTube videos, to operate on you? If you had to defend yourself in court, would you prefer an attorney who went to law school, or an individual who never went to law school, took the bar, nor practiced law, but instead just spent a few hours on Google? The practice of religion is critically important to your afterlife; you cannot go online and do some research and start giving out your opinions in matters of religion.

There is nothing wrong with searching online about ideas and rulings in Islamic Law. The problem occurs when you give your own personal opinion on the matter or make up a new rule based on what you read online.

For example, if you have a headache and you Google why you have a headache, the results may give you information about different types of headaches. However, before you believe you have a particularly serious diagnosis, you will go to the doctor to know the truth. They are experts in the field and have more experience than you do. They can run some tests to find the etiology of these headaches or even send you to a specialist. If the doctor cannot sufficiently treat you, they will refer you to a specialist. You would not find it acceptable if the doctor went on Google to try and figure out how to treat you.

We should take our religion just as seriously. Our religion is very complex and it is not as simple as we might initially think. While we are mentally capable of comprehending our religion, until we devote years of study and analysis to the understanding of Islamic law, we will need experts in Islamic Law to teach and guide us.