With the name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.
All praise is due to Allaah, the Lord of all that exists. And may the peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, the truthful, the trustworthy. And upon his family, his Companions, and whoever follows their way and guidance until the Day of Judgement. To proceed:
And indeed having knowledge of the fiqh (understanding) of Islaam and its evidences and rulings, and having knowledge of the Scholars of Islaamic fiqh - the ones whom we return back to in this field - is from the most important matters. That it is befitting for the people of Knowledge to safeguard it and to clarify it for the people. That is because Allaah created the mankind and Jinn for His worship. And it is not possible to know how to worship (Allaah) except by having knowledge of Islaamic fiqh and its evidences, and the Islaamic rulings and their proofs. And this will not happen except by knowing the Scholars, the ones we refer to in this field, from the Imaams of hadeeth and Islaamic fiqh.
And the Scholars, they are the inheritors of the Prophets. And the Prophets did not leave behind a dinaar nor a dirham; they only left behind knowledge. So whosoever takes hold of it, he has taken hold of an abundant portion (of their inheritance). And from the means of salvation for the slave and from the signs of safety and victory is that Allaah grants him (the slave) understanding of the religion. And for them to be jurists of Islaam having baseerah (clarity) of the religion upon what has come in the Noble Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, the trustworthy, upon him be blessings and peace.
And Allaah has clarified the status of the Scholars and raised their ranks. And they are the people of knowledge, of Allaah and of His Shar’eeah. And they are the most knowledgeable of what has come from Allaah and from His Prophet, upon him be blessings and peace. And they are the Scholars of guidance and the lamps (of Tawheed) for the darkness (of ignorance).
And they are the most knowledgeable of the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم). And they are the ones about whom Allaah (جل وعلا) said:
شَهِدَ اللَّهُ أَنَّهُ لا إِلَهَ إِلا هُوَ وَالْمَلائِكَةُ وَأُولُو الْعِلْمِ قَائِمًا بِالْقِسْطِ لا إِلَهَ إِلا هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
“Allaah bears witness that Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness); (He is always) maintaining His creation in Justice. Laa ilaah illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” - Aali Imran (3):18
And He (جل وعلا) said concerning them:
يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ
“Allaah will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge.” - Al-Mujadilah (58):11
And He (سبحانه وتعالى) also said concerning them:
إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ
“It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allaah.” - Fatir (35):28
And it has been authentically narrated upon the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that he said:
“Whoever Allaah wants good for, He gives him understanding of the Religion.”
So this tremendous hadeeth is evidence for the excellence (and high status) of having understanding of the religion.