Maulāna Ashraf Ali Thānvi rahmatullah ‛alayh mentions that his nephew was very intelligent. One incident of his nephew’s childhood, when he was not even able to wear his pants properly has been narrated:
I asked him, “Which language is better, English or Arabic?”
He answered, “Arabic”.
This was inspite of the fact that the child was studying English himself. Hence I asked, “Why?
He said, “Because Qur’an has been revealed in this language.”
Maulana: “Your evidence is sound but people who study Arabic do not get any government jobs.”
Maulana: “This is correct too but people consider this to blameworthy.”
Nephew: “This is people’s stupidity. Blameworthy will be in the case where the person begs help from people. When people help from their own initiative, then where lies the blame?” **
Malfuzāt Hakīmul Ummat Malfuz vol.19 pg. 196
** Maulana Thānvi rehmatullah ‛alayh has mentioned the incident by way of highlighting the intellect of the child who is no older than a few years. The underlying message is much deeper. It has been an experience that Ulamā’ are commonly seen as the class of community which feeds on the masses. While this may be true for some corrupt Ulamā’ who have made their religion a means for their bellies, there are those true seekers of the Ulūmud Dīn whose concern in life is nothing but working for the pleasure of Allah.
In my recent visit to Pakistan I came across some shocking revelation about a couple of teachers of a good standing Madrasah. These teachers are at the rank of Sheikhul Hadīth (i.e they teach one of the higher level hadīth books), yet their wages are no more than Rs 2300 per month! That is equivillant to approximately US $30 per month. SubhanAllah! Real Ulamā’ of Dīn are not concerned with worldly perks and pleasures. If Allah blesses them with boon, then they are thankful for it; if they are tested with poverty they are patient with it.
Sometimes when we see Ulamā’ in good clothing and worldly boon and we tend to have sū’ dhan (think bad) about them. This is a disease in our thought process and not the fault of that Alim. There is nothing wrong in dressing good, driving a good car or wearing expensive clothing, as long as it is not done out of Isrāf (excessive spending). Also, we are not tasked to judge who commits Isrāf and who does not. This is a matter of their heartly intention and their private matter. Instead our focus should be inward towards our own wellbeing. The clothes which I have don, are they free from riyā’ (show)? Is my food from halal source rather than expensive source? Is my car bought for fulfilling my needs or comfort instead of a show to gain some worldly status?