“They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah” [Surah at-Taubah: 31]
On the authority of Adi Ibn Hatim (may Allah be pleased with him), it is reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) reciting this (above mentioned) Quranic verse, so he said to him (peace and blessings be upon him): “We do not worship them.” He (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Do they not forbid what Allah (Glorified be He) has permitted and do you not then forbid it (to yourselves), and do they not make permissible for you what Allah (Glorified be He) has forbidden, and do you not then make it permissible (to yourselves)?” I replied: “Certainly!” He (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “That is worshiping them.” (Narrated by At-Tirmidhi, who graded it as Hasan)
After mentioning the ayah and hadeeth shown above, Akbar Shah Khan Najeebabadi writes:
“The commentators of the Quraan, in their commentaries of this verse have stated that, ‘had the monks and rabbis asked their people to abandon Allah and worship them instead, the masses would never come to terms with such a suggestion. But, instead they (the scholars) declared permissible what Allah had forbidden, and forbade what He had made permissible, and the people accepted this. And, this is what is meant by taking them as their lords (besides Allah).’
Similarly, the scholars of the Muslims have become (like) the monks and rabbis, and the Muslims have arrived at the position of the People of Israeel (the Jews). They (the Muslims) have raised their Imaams and Ullama to the stature of lords (above them). Usually, a person does not ask what the Quraan and Hadeeth have to say in regards to such and such a matter, rather they have taken the words and analogies of their scholars to be a (Shari) proof in and of it’s self, and they have covered their eyes and follow them blindly.
To claim that “we only follow our scholars because they would never go against the rulings of Allah and his Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), and that they will only give us a ruling that is inline with the commandments of Allah and the guidance of His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him)” is utterly incorrect. In fact, this is the very same claim the Jews and Christians made in regards to their scholars, but Allah (SWT) has declared them to be misguided criminals, because Allah dislikes that His Book (the Quraan) and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) be pushed aside, and that the sayings of someone else takes precedence over them in the Shariah.
The Ullama should (only) be asked about what Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) have to say in regards to such and such a matter, and not about what he himself has to say, nor what his teacher or Imaam had to say regarding it. But, since the ullama usually wish to be taken as lords (besides Allah) they fill their fataawa with their own rulings, or they parrot the rulings of those that they have taken as lords over themselves (i.e. their Imaams). And, if someone (dare) suggest that the evidence supporting this ruling were kindly presented from the Quraan and Sunnah, these Muftis and Scholars lose their senses as if someone had just proclaimed disbelief in front of them.
Verily, the verses of the Quraan or that which is required through the Ahadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), is like a death sentence to their Sheikhdom and their fatwa offices.”
[Taken from: Akbar Shah Khan Najeebabadi’s: ‘Meyaar ul Ullama’]
Translated by Shaaze (http://ilmulfaadl.muslimpad.com/)