Is it permissible to say:
“The people of knowledge, they are the ones that guide the people”?
The wording “the people of knowledge, they are the ones that guide the people” is different from -for example- the statement “the people of knowledge guide the people” because the first wording contains “they” which brings out the meaning of reiteration and restriction.
And with the people of Al-Balāgha [Eloquence & Expressive Language] ˹Restriction˺ contains:
“Affirmation of the ruling mentioned and negation from everything apart from it.”
So the first wording contains restriction of guidance to the people of knowledge only, and the caveat surrounding this statement is not obscured.
For Allah has affirmed for the Prophets and their inheritors, the scholars, guidance by way of pointing and directing; they are a means but the affair belongs to Allah in its entirety, because it is He who has utilised them for this, Exalted and Glorified is He.
Allah, the Most High, said:
(وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا)
“And We made from among them, leaders, giving guidance under Our Command”
As for the guidance of success; then this is solely the right of Allah, and it’s not for an Angel which is brought close nor for a Prophet which has been sent.
(إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِى مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَهْدِى مَن يَشَآء ۚ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِٱلْمُهْتَدِينَُ)
“Verily! You (O Muhammad ﷺ) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who are the guided.”
And Allah, the Most High, said informing about the people of paradise:
(وَقَالُوا۟ ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِى هَدَىٰنَا لِهَٰذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لِنَهْتَدِىَ لَوْلَآ أَنْ هَدَىٰنَا ٱللَّهُ)
“All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has guided us to this, never could we have found guidance, were it not that Allah had guided us”
And the ‘Allāmah Ash-Shinqītī, may Allah have mercy upon him, said:
“The guidance which has been negated from him ﷺ is: granting success, and the guidance which has been affirmed for him is: manifesting the way.”
[End of speech]
Contrary to the second wording: “The scholars guide the people“, this contains informing about the scholars that they guide and direct the people to good, and this is attaching something to its legislative known and sensed means.
Allah, the Most High, said:
(وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِىٓ إِلَىٰ صِرَٰطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ)
“And verily, you (O Muhammad ﷺ) are indeed guiding (mankind) to the Straight Path (i.e. Allah’s religion of Islamic Monotheism).
And in the well known Khutbah of Imām Ahmed, may Allah have mercy upon him:
“All praise is due to Allah for placing scholars the remnants of the Messengers in every era, guiding those that went astray to guidance.”
[End of speech of what was intended]
And Allah knows best.
Shaykh Abu Hatim Yusuf Al-‘Inaabi Al-Jazaa’iree – may Allah preserve him.
22th, Saffar, 1438H
Abu ‘Abdirrahman ‘Abdullaah bin Ahmed Ash-Shingaani