Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi al Maliki
on the Hadith :
"The Ulema are the heirs of the Prophets "
( From a radio interview during his visit to South Africa in 1997.)
What this hadith means is that the Prohets of Allah did not leave behind wealth or possessions , but they left
behind Knowledge. Just like the person who dies leave heirs i.e. sons , daughters , wives , etc.
As for the Prophets , their heirs are the Ahlil Ilm - the people of Knowledge. And their shares are in accordance
with their following of the teachings of the Prophets. As is the case with the heirs of a deceased person - those
who stand in closer relation to such person inherit a greater share. Similar is the case with the Ulema : those
who follows more stringently and loves the Prophet more dearly will earn a greater share of the
In other hadiths it is clarified that this inheritance does not refer to possessions but rather to Knowledge - the
Quran , the Sunna and Ahlaaq. It includes everything that is part of the Shariah.
Abu Hurayrah ( may Allah be pleased with him ) , known as the hafith of the Sahabah , narrated that he once
visited the market-place where he found people engaged in the usual trading.
He then told them : " You are here trading while people are distributing the inheritance of the Prophet (peace be
upon him ). " Where is this happening ? " they asked excitedly as they were eager to acquire a relic of the
Prophet ( s.a.w.) for themselves. " In the masjid ." Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) replied.
So all of them rushed to the masjid but found none of the Prophets (s.a.w.) possessions there.
They asked the companion " Why do you say the inheritance is being distributed when none is to be found ?"
" What did you find there ? " Abu Hurayrah (r.a) asked . " We found people in circles studying Quran and
" That is the inheritance ." Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) replied.
And Allah knows best.
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