In the Name of All?h, the Ever Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy
Questioned about the meaning of the term ‘Shaykh al-Isl?m’ [i.e. the Shaykh of Isl?m], Shaykh ??li? ibn ?Abd al-?Az?z ?l al-Shaykh (???? ????) stated:
What is meant by the term ‘Shaykh al-Isl?m’? Does this mean that Isl?m is a student of the Im?m of da?wah [i.e. Shaykh Mu?ammad ibn ?Abd al-Wahh?b (???? ????)], or that Isl?m is a student of ibn Taymiyyah (???? ????)?
This is not what is meant. ‘Shaykh al-Isl?m’ is a designated title, and it was first utilized in the latter part of the second generation of the Hijrah. It was then applied to anyone who was a role model, had companions and followers, and possessed different branches of knowledge and information. He is called: “Shaykh al-Isl?m”, which is a rank just below the rank of ‘Im?m’.
The highest rank is that of ‘Im?m’ followed by the rank of ‘Shaykh al-Isl?m’. This is a designated sequence [i.e. the rank of ‘Im?m’ proceeding that of ‘Shaykh al-Isl?m’ is merely a sequence the scholars agreed upon to identify and to differentiate the status and the level of knowledge of the scholars], so it is not said about the Companions (??? ???? ????) that they are Shuy?kh al-Isl?m [i.e. Shaykhs of Isl?m], although Ab? Bakr and ?Umar (??? ???? ?????) were mentioned with this title in some A??d?th.
Source: al-Ajwibah wa-al-Bu??th wa-al-Mud?ras?t, vol. 6, pg. 251.
Translated by: Musa Shaleem Mohammed.
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