In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Allaah [The Most High] said: [ وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ – Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa [virtue, righteousness and piety]; but do not help one another in sin and transgression. [5:2]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: This verse contains all the Masaalih (things that will bring about benefit and repel harm) for the salves in their worldly affairs and in the Hereafter – amongst themselves or in relation to their relationship with their Lord. That is because every servant finds himself within two circumstances and obligations – either to fulfil the obligations owed to Allaah or the obligations owed to Allaah’s creation. As for the obligations owed to the creation, they include (righteous) association, companionship, aiding one another upon what Allaah loves and obedience to Allaah, and that is the goal behind one’s search for happiness and success in the afterlife. There can be no happiness in the afterlife except through Bir and Taqwaa, because it is basis of all affairs of the religion.
As for Taqwa, its reality is to act in obedience to Allaah based on Eemaan in Allaah and hoping for Allaah’s Reward- fulfil what Allaah has commanded based on having Eemaan in that which Allaah has commanded and affirming the reward Allaah has promised; abandon what Allaah has forbidden based on one’s belief that what Allaah has forbidden is forbidden and fearing Allaah’s punishment, just as Talq Bin Habeeb [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “When Fitna occurs, extinguish it with Taqwa”. So the people said, “What is Taqwa?” He said, “You act in obedience to Allaah upon a light from Allaah [i.e. Eemaan, sincerity, guidance etc] and hoping for reward from Allah. And you abandon disobedience to Allaah upon a light from Allah and fearing the punishment of Allah”. This is the best of that which has been stated regarding Taqwa, because indeed there has to be an aim and a goal behind every deed. A deed cannot be considered an act of obedience to Allaah and an act that gets one close to Allaah until it is based on Eemaan, so that which leads to the performance of that deed is solely due to Eemaan – neither (un-Islamic) customs nor desires, neither seeking praise nor status and other than it; rather it should be solely based on Eemaan and the aim behind it should be to attain Allaah’s reward and seeking after Allaah’s Pleasure. (1)
Imaam Al-Hasan al-Basree [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “By Allaah! Never have a people sought advice except that they were guided to the best of what was available to them”. Then he recited [the statement of Allaah]: [وَأَمۡرُهُمۡ شُورَىٰ بَيۡنَہُمۡ – And (the Believers) who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation] [42:38]
Al-Allaamah Zaid Bin Haadi Al-Mad’khali [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated: Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] commanded His Messenger Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] to consult his companions in some affairs. Allaah [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] said:
[وَشَاوِرۡهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَمۡرِۖ فَإِذَا عَزَمۡتَ فَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى ٱللَّهِۚ – and consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah] [3:159]
He is the example to be followed by the Ummah, therefore when it is the case that Allaah commanded him [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] to consult his companions, then there is even a greater reason that the Muslims are in need of consultation amongst themselves. When a difficulty that is related to a Muslim’s religious and worldly affairs occurs, then indeed it is fitting that he consults someone whom he considers reliable, wise, truthful and sincere. He examines [the advice] given by that person, then he makes a choice – either to take that advice or decides not to take it based on what he is satisfied with, in relation to his personal affairs. The hadeeth places emphasis on the fact that consultation guides to the best outcomes, and due to this it is said: “The one who consults [others] does not regret [thereafter InShaaAllaah] and the one who performs Istikhaarah will not fail [to achieve good]”. Both Istikhaarah and consultation are legislated and a lot of good is achieved by way of them, as opposed to when affairs are pursued in a rigid and haphazard manner, for indeed this might lead to regret and harm. (2)
Finally, teaching books of the scholars and promoting brotherhood is a praiseworthy affair, but this does not mean that the one who manifests zeal in these affairs is one worthy of being from those whose opinion is sought after first and foremost; rather we return to the elder teachers for advice and consult them when our community embarks upon specific important affairs. When you consult those elder students who are in their fifties, then indeed you will come to know the great difference between their advice and that of others who are much younger than them. The youngsters – even including those who have reached the age of forty – cannot give Tarbiya to others; rather elders are the ones who can give Tarbiyah. Some of us have now reached the age of 52, 55 and 59, yet we constantly return to our elders, so how about anyone in his early forties who thinks that he has enough experience to deal with affairs independently – something neither certified for him by a single scholar nor an elder student in his mid fifties! As for the Nwaazil, our elder teachers in the UK are the first to make it known that we must return to the senior Ulama for guidance, such as the likes of Al Allaamah Rabee and Al Allaamah Saalih Al Fawzaan.
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from ‘Badaa’i At-Tafseer Al-Jaami Limaa Fassarahu Al-Imaam Ibnul Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah’ Vol 1 pages 307-311. Publisher: Daar Ibn Al-Jawziyyah 2nd Ed, 1431AH- Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2: An Excerpt from ‘Awnul Ahadis Samad Sharh Al-Adab Al-Mufrad’ 1/285. slightly paraphrased]