I have been asked by a Christian friend as to whether Muslims do go to specail university or college to study on how to become an Imam to lead prayers in the mosque and as to whom is that Imam responsible if he makes mistakes or errs as he is a Catholic and in their faith the priest goes to seminaries schools or what we call a theologian
school to study to become a priest and is answerable to the Vatican directly.
To whom are Muslims answerable to? is his question.What can I give him as answer to this as I explained him that we are not Catholics and therefore we do not have a Pope but all Muslims are answerable to Allah as our Prophet (P.B.U.H.) had left us with two things which are the Qur'an and his sunnat to abide to and who ever is within these will not suffer and those also amongst the ulamas who err in the process of seeking good will not be punished as they were seeking the truth and will stil receive their hasanat for striving in seeking the truth e.g. in fiqah etc.,What would be your appropriate answer to this question as we cannot be answerable to Muftis directly and cannot be rebuked directly or be ex-communicated as they Catholics are but I also told him that the followers who are learned would directly correct the Imam and would demand the source of his actions to prove that it is a genuine part of the religion and as done by the Holy Prophet(P.B.U.H.)Would that have been a good answer?Please respond to me
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatoh
People who are well educated in Shariah are Ulama. The Shariah primarily constitutes the Quran and Hadith. One has to do extensive studies before actually studying the Quran and Hadith.
That includes learning the Arabic language thoroughly, principles of Jurisprudence, principles of Hadith, Hadith and so much more. Ulama generally study at traditional Darul Ulooms. The general length of the course is approximately seven years.
One important feature of an Alim is the fear for Allah. That is his driving force. He serves the people to please Allah and not for personal gain. Allah says the Ulama are those who fear Allah. There is no need to subject an Alim of Deen to any other person. His conscious in Allah is sufficient. However, it is possible that as a human being, he may err. For that his fellow colleagues or any Muslim may correct him. An Alim is revered but he is not above the laws of Shariah. Every ordinary Muslim has a right to correct him or remind him of his obligation.
And Allah knows best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In'aamiyyah