Caliphate, Featured, Judiciary

Q&A: Does Islam have a clergy like Christianity and Judaism?

Sheikh Abu Iyas Mahmoud bin Abdul Latif al-Uweida from Jordan answers this question. He says,

There are no clerics in Islam like those found in Judaism and Christianity. Every Muslim is commanded to carry the call of Islam, spread it, guard it, and abide by its rules. The ulema (scholars) and fuquhaa (jurists) are only there to teach people about Islam. They have no religious powers like those of the Jewish and Christian clergy, such as accepting the repentance of penitents, granting forgiveness, baptizing followers, legislating, and so on.

There is no special clothing in Islam for scholars and jurists to distinguish themselves from other Muslims, as is the case in the two religions.

When a Bedouin would arrive in Medina to meet the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, while he ﷺ was sitting among his companions, he would ask those present: ‘Which of you Muhammad?’ and would be told ‘this is him’, which indicates that He ﷺ was not distinguished from others by clothing or badges, but rather he wore the same as the rest of the people.

Therefore, the Khilafah State will prohibit any clothing that makes the presence of clerics possible, and it will ban the wearing of the turban and the robe that makes them feel the presence of clerics.

As for what we see of the clothes worn by Al-Azhar graduates or Shiite scholars today, it will be forbidden in the Khilafah state, and these scholars and jurists are not authorized to represent their Lord in accepting repentance from the penitent, or approving marriage alone, or legislating rulings in order for all Muslims to abide by them, for they are normal Muslims. In terms of powers, obligations and duties, they do not exceed others except by what they acquire in terms of knowledge by which they become scholars and jurists only.

Source: Selected Fiqhi issues, Second edition, 2008, Chapter 8 – Miscellaneous