Please note: The answers on Hawramani.com constitute friendly advice rather than fatwas. Where relevant, we translate the opinions and fatwas of respected scholars and present them in our answers.

On becoming an Islamic scholar

I'm just wondering since you possess a lot of knowledge on Islam why can't you become an Islamic scholar?

There is no official authority determining who is a scholar (ʿālim) and who is not. You are a scholar when others, especially other scholars, think you are. For now I am a student of Islamic studies, and if I spend multiple hours every day studying Islam for the next ten to fifteen years, then some people may start to consider me a scholar.

In classical Islam, one had to write a taʿlīqa to be considered a true scholar, this was similar to a PhD dissertation. The person had to present in it the results of many years of independent research. According to the (non-Muslim) scholar of Islam George Makdisi, the origin of the PhD dissertation in medieval Western academia was Islam’s taʿlīqa system. Today it is becoming common for Islamic scholars to get PhD degrees, so that is one of the things I hope to be able to do.

And God knows best.

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