Crime of Concealing Knowledge
By Br. Khalid
conveying the knowledge of revelation is an obligation and sacred
trust upon the scholars and the inheritors of the Message. A great
reward is promised for those who teach people the knowledge of revelation.
Conversely, a severe punishment is prepared for those learned men
who conceal and hide the revealed truth out of envy or for the sake
of a worldly desire. Allah (swt.) in His Noble Qur'an informs us
about how previous nations deviated and warns us from following
their path. Amongst the deviations of the People of the Book is
that they used to conceal revealed knowledge for a cheap gain. Are
Muslims today following their footsteps?
who conceal the clear proofs, evidence and guidance, which We have
sent down, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book,
they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by the cursers.
who repent and do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth
which they concealed). These, I will accept their repentance. And
I am the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.
were revealed in response to the People of the Book when they were
asked about Biblical prophecy of Muhammad (saw). Ibn Abbas (raa)
narrates that Mu'aath bin Jabal and other companions asked some
Jewish Rabbis about Muhammad as mentioned in their Book. They concealed
Muhammad's description and did not inform of his forthcoming out
of hatred and envy1. Allah (swt) then revealed, "Verily, those
who conceal the clear proofs .."
Meaning of the Verses
Allah the Most
High openly declares in these verses His abomination with those
who conceal and obscure the clear signs and certain proofs regarding
the truthfulness of Muhammad (saw) and that he is the Messenger
of Allah. Those who intentionally veil the expected prophecy and
advent of Muhammad even though they are well aware of his characteristics
which are mentioned in their books, "Those who follow the Messenger,
Prophet who can neither read or write [i.e. Muhammad (saw)] whom
they find written with them in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel
(Gospel)."2 They juggle the laws of religion and tamper with
the Taurat and the Injeel and thus deserve expulsion from Allah's
Mercy and warrant the curse of angels and mankind in all. On the
other hand, everything in this world asks forgiveness for the true
scholar, even the fish in the sea, as mentioned in a Hadith. The
exception from Allah's curse are for those who repent and feel remorse
from concealing religious knowledge, do righteous deeds by believing
in Muhammad (saw), and openly declare the revelation and truth of
the Prophets which they concealed. Hence, the sign of a true and
sincere repentance is doing righteous deeds and declaring the truth
and acting upon it, followed by trust in Allah's Mercy and acceptance
of the repentance. These repentant learned people will have their
repentance accepted and the Most Merciful will inundate them with
rivers of mercy and forgiveness.
verses were revealed in response to the scholars of the People of
the Book, its theme comprehends all those who conceal the Words
of Allah and distorts the laws of His Shari'ah. This implication
is based on the scholarly principle, 'the lesson to be learned is
derived from the generality of the expression and not from the particular
occasion.' This interpretation is true and is further supplemented
by the Prophet's articulation: "He who is asked about something
he knows and conceals it, will have a bridle of fire put on him
on the Day of Resurrection"3 Furthermore, the Sahabah who are
the eloquent Arabs and the authoritative source in interpreting
the Qur'an, understood the generality of these verses and that it
also includes Muslims alike. Abu Hurairah (raa) said: "Had
it not been for two verses in the Qur'an, I would not have narrated
a single Hadith, and the verses are: 'Verily, those who conceal
the clear proofs, evidence and guidance, which We have sent down
... (up to) ... the Most Merciful.'" [Bukhari]
The Sacred Trust
The wisdom and
guidance that Allah (swt) revealed and the divine laws and commands
that He sent down are for the benefit of the entire humanity. Comprehending
and conveying the knowledge of revelation is an obligation and sacred
trust upon the Prophets, scholars and learned people. Narrated 'Abdullah
bin 'Amr (raa), the Prophet (saw) said, "Convey (my teachings)
to the people even if it were a single verse or a sentence (from
the Qur'an or the Sunnah)." [Bukhari]
and veiling the Truth from the people is an infringement on the
essence of the Message that Allah has revealed to His prophets and
messengers. It is also a betrayal of the duty that Allah has entrusted
the scholars with, "(And remember) when Allah took a covenant
from those who were given the Scripture to make it known and clear
to mankind, and not to hide it." [3:187] For those reasons,
Allah (swt) has prepared severe punishment for those who conceal
knowledge from people, aside from those who tamper with the Law
of Allah and distort His Shari'ah. Indeed, concealing reveal knowledge
is a great crime and sin that deserves the Curse of Allah and exclusion
from His Mercy.
The verses clearly
demonstrate how Islam devotes its followers to the dissemination
of knowledge and enlightenment, in order to propagate the Message
and extricate the Ummah from the iniquity of ignorance and misguidance.
The dissemination of knowledge is an act of worship, while the concealment
of it is a crime and sin. Unfortunately, today's Muslim Ummah did
not learn the lesson from nations of previous scriptures, but on
the contrary, followed the footsteps of the People of the Book,
as foretold in numerous Ahadith. Widespread ignorance and corruption
soon followed, as Allah's Messenger (saw) said: "From among
the portents of the Hour are (the following):
will be taken away (by the death of religious sincere learned men).
ignorance will prevail.
alcoholic drinks (will be very common).
There will be
prevalence of open illegal sexual intercourse."4
need for honest scholars of Islam who understand their times and
who can sincerely declare the truth, is felt by all Muslims. Yet
we observe many Sheikhs and learned Muslim figures garnish the falsehood
of tyrant regimes and indulge in the adornments offered by at-Taghut,
and so "they throw it (Allah's covenant entrusted to the scholars)
away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain!
And indeed worst is that which they bought." [3:187] The Muslims
must not listen to or follow those so called 'Ulama' as-Sultan (court
scholars), who while claiming to be scholars in the service of Islam,
are dissolving the identity of falsehood and distorting the rulings
of the Shari'ah to harmonise with the Taghut's desires and with
the subverted condition of the Ummah.
We ask Allah
(swt) to protect the scholars of this Ummah, the guardians of the
Deen, from deviation and concealment of the truth. O Allah, we take
refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness
and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being overpowered by
Ad-dorarr al-Manthoor, vol 1: p161. See Rawa'ii al-Bayaan (5th Ed.),
vol 1: p148.
2. There exists in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel), even
after the original text has been distorted, clear prophecies indicating
the coming of Prophet Muhammad (saw), e.g. In John 14:15-16, "If
you love me, keep my commandments. And I shall pray the Father and
He shall give you another Comforter (i.e. Muhammad) that he may
abide (i.e. his laws and way of life known as Shari'ah and the Qur'an)
with you forever." See also, Deut. 18:18, 21:21; Psl. 118:22-23;
Isa. 42:1-13; Hab. 3:3-4; Matt. 21:42-43; Jn. 26-28, 16:7-14. (The
Interpretation of the Meanings of the Noble Qur'an, p256)
3. Narrated by Abu Hurairah (raa). Collected by Ahmad, Abu Dawood,
at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah and al-Hakim.
4. Bukhari. Ch 13: 71 What is said regarding the disappearance of
the religious knowledge and the appearance of religious ignorance.