Who Bares the Greatest Obligation?
Prepared by Faddy Shaheen
Exploring various conversations and comments from Muslims around the world on meaningful topics can raise questions such as: Who are these people? What level of knowledge of Islam do they possess? Do they understand the basics, including the performance of the five obligatory pillars in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him)? Is their Imam a teacher or a speaker? Does their Imam have the necessary knowledge themselves and are they adhering to the Prophet's teachings as they should? Answering these questions can help us determine whether the Muslim community is genuinely carrying out its religious duties.
As Muslims, it is our obligation to adhere to the five pillars of Islam as commanded by Allah in the Holy Qur'an and from the teachings of Allah's Messenger Mohammed (May peace and blessing be upon him).
The grand question is: who bears the greatest obligation – the ignorant or the learned? In other words, is it an obligation of the learned Imams to teach the community about the five obligatory pillars? The answer is clear; it falls squarely on both but more so on the learned Imam. The ignorant need guidance, and that can only come from those with knowledge. The learned have a duty to pass on their wisdom and spread the message of Islam. Both parties must come together in order for the community to learn and practice these five obligatory pillars. Through this cooperation can a harmonious Muslim community be developed and strengthened.