The condition of certain ignorant scholars is reported as follows in trustworthy hadiths quoted in Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim and Sunan Abu Dawud:
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:
The Prophet said, "AMONG THE OFFSPRING OF THIS MAN WILL BE SOME WHO WILL RECITE THE QUR'AN BUT THE QUR'AN WILL NOT REACH BEYOND THEIR THROATS. (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 558)
I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "In the last days of this world there will appear some young foolish people who will use (in their claim) the best speech of all people (i.e. the Qur'an) and they will abandon Islam as an arrow going through the game. Their belief will not go beyond their throats..." (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 808)
In these hadiths our Prophet (saas) sets out the characteristics of ignorant, so-called scholars in the End Times:
1. They will be foolish, in other words, they will have weak intelligence,
2. They will use the best speech of all people, in other words, they will talk at great length and make statements lasting for hours, but their words will not be reflected in their lives and moral values. There will be no harmony between what they say and how they live. For example, they will describe the self-sacrifice of believers with verses from the Qur’an, but personally they will be preoccupied by their own comfort. They will speak of the importance of serving on the path of Allah, but since they are preoccupied with their families and businesses they will engage in no intellectual struggle. Our Prophet (saas) means when he says, "Their belief will not go beyond their throats," that these people will not behave sincerely.
Our Prophet (saas) presaged that, in the End Times some people with shaved head, wearing turban, who know the Qur’an very well, will emerge. Although they will pretend to praise the religion with their explanations and statements, they will be afar from Islam with their speech, statements, some innovations (bidah) that they concocted into the religion and their twisted way of religious behavior. With this twisted way of mindset they will struggle against the Qur’an and sincere Muslims.
Such a nation will appear in the End Times that THEY WILL RECITE THE QUR’AN BUT IT WILL NOT PASS DOWN THEIR THROATS. THEY WILL BE ABJURED FROM RELIGION LIKE AN ARROW HURLED FROM A BOW. AND EVERY MUSLIM HAS A RIGHT TO STRUGGLE WITH THEM. THEY WILL HAVE SHAVEN HEADS... (Abu Abdur Rahman Ahmad Ibn Shu’aib an-Nasai, Hazrat Ali through the Hadiths, p. 142)
These people will align themselves with the way of the dajjal against Hazrat Mahdi (as) and will strive against him:
The Messenger of Allah (saas): SEVENTY THOUSAND PEOPLE FROM MY COMMUNITY WEARING TURBANS WILL FOLLOW THE DAJJAL. (Musannaf of ‘Abd ar-RazzaqAbu Bakr Abd ar-Razzaq ibn Hammam, XI, p. 393)
SEVENTY THOUSAND SCHOLARS WITH TURBANS FROM MY COMMUNITY WILL FOLLOW THE DAJJAL. (Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, p. 796)
It is revealed in another hadith that that these ignorant scholars will seek to pursue their own advantage and will not be honest:
There will be such times that common people will read the Qur’an, devote themselves to worship (but) they will be busy with the acts of the companions of innovation (bi’dah) and stray into polytheism unwittingly.THEY WILL DERIVE PROFIT BY THEIR WORDS AND SCIENCE, GET WEALTH BY ABUSING RELIGION. HERE THEY ARE THE ACCOMPLICES OF THE DAJJAL, WHO IS BLIND IN ONE EYE.(Ahmad Diya ad-Din al-Kamushkhanawi, Ramuz al-Ahadith, Hadith no: 6255)
Another feature of the End Times is that people will adopt these ignorant, so-called scholars as their leaders. They will follow these people, even though they know them to be ignorant and make dishonest statements:
ALL THAT REMAINS WILL BE AN IGNORANT BODY OF PEOPLE. THE PEOPLE WILL ASK THEM ABOUT THEIR RELIGIOUS NEEDS, AND THEY WILL ISSUE FATWAS (RELIGIOUS OPINION ON A MATTER) IN THE LIGHT OF THEIR OWN IDEAS AND DESIRES (IGNORING THE QUR’AN AND HADITH) AND WILL BOTH DEVIATE THEMSELVES AND LEAD OTHER INTO DEVIATION.” (Sahih Bukhari, Tajrid as-Sarih: 2174; Muslim; Tirmidhi; an-Nasai; Sunan ibn Majah; Ahmad, al-Musnad, 2/162, 190; Darimi, as-Sunan; ibn Hibban, as-Sahih, no. 4571, 6719, 6723; Hadith narrated by Abd Allah ibn Umar (ra))
Imam Rabbani advised Muslims not to go along with ignorant so-called scholars. He warned Muslims by telling them that listening to such people's words is as harmful as eating poisoned food. These people will literally poison people's minds by telling them that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will not come in the End Times.
Imam Rabbani said:
LISTENING TO THE WORDS OR READING THE BOOKS OF RELIGIOUS SCHOLARS WHO FOLLOW THEIR OWN WORLDLY INTERESTS IS AS HARMFUL AS EATING POISON. THE HARM DONE BY EVIL RELIGIOUS SCHOLARS IS CONTAGIOUS. THEY DAMAGE COMMUNITIES AND SPLIT NATIONS ASUNDER. Evil religious scholars were always responsible for the disasters that befell Islamic states. They caused the heads of the states to deviate from the true path. Our Prophet (saas) said that Muslims will be divided into 73 parties, of which 72 will go to hell and only one party will be saved from hell. The leaders of these 72 heretical parties are all evil religious scholars. The only party to be saved from hell is the People of the Sunnah. (Imam Rabbani, The Letters of Rabbani, 47th letter)
In another passage, Imam Rabbani says that in the End Times certain ignorant so-called scholars will adopt a hostile attitude toward Hazrat Mahdi (as):
When Hazrat Mahdi (as) whose coming is promised wishes to raise the value of the religion and revive the Sunnah, those who are used to act along with the people of innovation [ahl al-bidah] and who imagine that things not in fact lying at the essence of the religion are the commandments of the faith will say with amazement: "THIS PERSON [HAZRAT MAHDI (AS)] WANTS TO DO AWAY WITH OUR RELIGION AND DESTROY OUR SHARI'A [WAY OF BELIEF AND PRACTICE]." (Imam Rabbani, Letters of Rabbani, 1/535)
Imam Rabbani described the characteristics of certain ignorant so-called scholars as follows:
1. They use superstitious beliefs as tools: In other words, they act in the light of various superstitious beliefs that are not truly part of the faith and were added on afterward.
2. They confuse inessential matters with the faith: They imagine that things not in the essence of the faith are commanded by it.
3. The claim these people most frequently make will be that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will seek to eradicate their religion. In other words, Hazrat Mahdi (as) will act according to the Qur’an and Sunnah of our Prophet (saas), not in the light of their superstitious religion and what has been added on afterward.
Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi also stated that the religion would revert to its essence in the time of Hazrat Mahdi (as), in other words, that people would live by its unsullied form, as in the time of our Prophet (saas), and that the people most opposed to Hazrat Mahdi (as) would be certain ignorant so-called religious scholars:
In his [Hazrat Mahdi’s (as)] time the religion will assume its previous form by being purged of all conflicting opinions. HE WILL OPPOSE THE MEMBERS OF THE ULAMA (RELIGIOUS SCHOLARS) IN MANY OF HIS JUDGMENTS. FOR THAT REASON, THEY WILL AVOID HIM [HAZRAT MAHDI (AS)]. Because they will imagine that Allah will leave no Mujtahid (a scholar who derives legal rulings) of the faith after the imams... (Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi, Futuhat Al-Makkiya, chapter 66, Vol. 3, pp. 327-328)
According to Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi, Hazrat Mahdi (as) will have very powerful knowledge and that ignorant religious scholars in his day will be completely neutralized in the face of the power and impact of that knowledge. One of the main reasons they oppose Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be their loss of esteem in the public eye. Their rage against Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be so intense that they will almost elect to issue a death fatwa against him, but they will lack the courage to do that because Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) knowledge will be so powerful:
... Hazrat Mahdi (as) will apply the religion as in the time of the Prophet (saas). He will eliminate sects from the world. No sect will be left apart from the pure and true religion. HIS ENEMIES WILL BE THOSE WHO IMITATE SCHOLARS OF JURISPRUDENCE. That is because they will be displeased when they see that Hazrat Mahdi (as) pronounces in a manner different to that of the imams of the sects, BUT THEY WILL ALSO UNABLE TO OPPSE HIM…
HIS DECLARED ENEMIES WILL BE THE SCHOLARS OF CANON LAW. BECAUSE THEY WILL LOSE ALL PUBLIC ESTEEM. THEY WILL EVEN HAVE LESS KNOWLEDGE ON THE SUBJECT OF THE LAWS. By his coming, this imam will also eliminate disagreements among rulings by scholars. IF HE HAD NO SWORD (KNOWLEDGE), THEY WOULD ISSUE A FATWA FOR HIS DEATH. Because Almighty Allah will purify him [Hazrat Mahdi (as)] with His munificence and his sword (brothers), AND THEY WILL OBEY HIM [Hazrat Mahdi (as)]. Because they will have no more esteem in the public eye and even their knowledge of ahqam will decline... With the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as), disputes over pronunciations among scholars will be overcome. They will both fear him [Hazrat Mahdi (as)] and also have expectations of him. THEY WILL HATE HIM [HAZRAT MAHDI (AS)] IN THEIR HEARTS, BUT THEY WILL STILL, WILLINGLY OR UNWILLINGLY, ACCEPT HIS PRONOUNCEMENTS... (Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, pp. 186-187)
In one hadith our Prophet (saas) said that some ignorant scholars in the End Times will inflict grave damage on the Islamic world:
My Community WILL BE DESTROYED BECAUSE OF EVIL SCHOLARS and ignorant servants. (Darimi)
Our Prophet (saas) refers to scholarship disappearing and being replaced by ignorance as one of the portents of the End Times:
Almighty Allah will not take back knowledge (from your memories) after having bestowed it on you. However, He will take scholars, together with their knowledge, from within their communities and take their souls. All that remains will be an ignorant body of people. The people will ask them about their religious needs, and they will issue fatwas (religious opinion on a matter) in the light of their own ideas and desires (ignoring the Qur’an and hadith) and will both deviate themselves and lead other into deviation. (Sahih Bukhari, Tajrid as-Sarih: 2174)
On the Day of Reckoning a religious scholar is cast into hell. People he knows say to him, “While in the world you communicated the commandments of the religion. Why has this torment befallen you?” And he will say; “I told people not to sin, but sinned myself. And I did not do those things I told them to do. I am being punished for that.” (Bukhari)
Bediuzzaman Said Nursi also stated that certain ignorant religious scholars, who are stubborn, weak in faith and have strayed into holding materialist beliefs will strive to give the idea that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will not appear. By referring to “their arrogance,” Bediuzzaman notes that these people will think they are very learned and will regard themselves as very great, flawless and superior, and they will literally deify their lower selves (Surely Allah is beyond that). By saying “their belief is weak,” he says that this perspective of these stems from the fact that these religious scholars’ faith in Allah is weak and they harbor doubts about the religion and regard it as a means of obtaining esteem or as a profession.
Since the hadith that speak of the signs of the end of times, the events at the end of times, and the merits and rewards of certain actions have not been well understood, SOME SCHOLARS WHOSE BELIEF IS WEAK AND WHO ARE ARROGANT relying on their reason have MOVED ON TO DENY SOME OF THEM. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Words, Twenty-Fourth Word - Third Branch, p. 351)