The above writing is written by Dr. Wan Azhar published in The Star Online entitled 'Preserving Sanctity of Titles'. Click HERE to read more.A title comes with certain duties and responsibilities, and while one may feel proud of such an accolade, one must not act in a manner that may bring disrepute to the title.
Tan Sri Prof Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, a prominent thinker, once said to me that it is not the title that gives honour, pride and dignity to the recipient. But rather, it is the recipient who must honour and preserve the sanctity of the title, especially academic or religious ones. The conferment of such a title comes with certain duties and responsibilities.While one may feel proud of such accolades, one must not act in a manner that may bring disrepute to the title.
The higher one’s title is, the greater one’s duties and responsibilities. Such a title does not extend one’s rights or enhance one’s powers to treat other people wrongly, or to do whatever one likes at one’s whims and fancies. Yet, we witness again and again how this privilege has been misused or abused by a number of unscrupulous title bearers without any sense of guilt.
They fail to understand that their position is actually a trust (amanah) to make them accountable and to protect the good interest of the people.By the same token but in a different manner, a PhD holder is not supposed to think that he/she is already at the top of the world and can ridicule others indiscriminately. He must realise that his doctorate just marks the beginning of a long and arduous intellectual journey.
A professor, first and foremost, must profess something profound intellectually to justify his/her elevation to the position of professorship.This is to be followed with other series of professes, discoveries, rediscoveries, findings and solutions. Otherwise, he’s doing great injustice to himself in particular, and to knowledge in general.
As a true scholar, he or she is supposed, or rather obliged, to solve people’s problems, and not to confuse them any further in any problem at stake.
The burden of responsibility is even greater on those people heading religious bodies or especially entrusted with religious jobs and duties like missionary officers, imam, ulama, qadhis, muftis, monks, priests, etc. They are not to mislead their respective communities or set bad or wrong moral examples to the public.
It’s a great challenge to preserve one’s integrity and dignity.
Apart from Quranic or prophetic injunctions or the wisdom of true ulama, a line from the uncle of Spiderman in the movie is relevant here: Remember, with great power comes great responsibilities.
He is the one who gave lecture in WISE series on 'Happiness and Sadness in Islam'. His writing above is a great reminder to everyone of us because most of people today try to achieve high position, influence and title without knowing the reality behind those 'tests' in this world. I am full agree that the higher one title is, the greater one's duties and responsibility.
Don't ever forget that Rasulullah SAW said, “There are three signs of “Munafiq”; When he speaks he Lies, when he promises he breaks those promises and when he is entrusted, he embezzles.” (Hadith Bukhari and Muslim).