Listening to Angry Imams…



On Facebook recently, a friend of mine who spent some time learning the Islamic sciences in Mauritania said that one of his teachers gave him some great advice:

“When you see a teacher of Islam getting angry as he speaks… He probably doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

This stirred up a bit of Facebook controversy: Some people said that’s nonsense – knowledge has nothing to do with how you’re feeling. Others completely disagreed and said that the teacher was right and we shouldn’t be paying attention to angry imams.

I believe my Facebook friend’s teacher made a great point & here’s why:
There is a difference between BREADTH of knowledge which is available to anyone who has the means and willingness to study & DEPTH of insight which is only available to those Allah blesses.

We can roughly measure breadth of knowledge by looking at certain achievements (like how many degrees the person has/how many years they spent studying/ijaaza’s etc.), but we cannot measure depth of insight or Taqwa – these are internal & only Allah can see them.

Insight increases your consciousness & makes you less susceptible to ego-based passions (like anger). Al-Ghazali & others note that being angry is like being intoxicated – it can make you much more vulnerable to your ego.

The aim of traditional Islamic learning is to open up the student to systematically receive divine insight through increasing one’s awareness & knowledge of Allah. It’s not a perfect system, but for the sincere seeker, who approaches the text from the Inside-Out, it’s transformational.

Finally, we all get caught out. Even the most spiritually aware person on the planet will sometimes get angry & in that moment she/he would be wise to be skeptical of their own thinking in that moment… and so would the rest of us.

May Allah bless us with very chilled, super-spiritual, well-grounded scholars that can enlighten us to the secrets of the Quran & Sunnah.

Peace, Love & Blessings.
Mamoon 🙂

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