Ulama’ means the knowledgeable, scholars, doctors of knowledge, the learned. In the muslim world the word ulama’ is the strict monopoly of religious scholars. Unfortunately in the division of knowledge into secular and religious by many muslims and the rejections of anything worldly, anything western, knowledge , to many muslims is just religious knowledge. The body of knowledge has been hijacked by none other then the religious scholars or ulama’.
With none of the university of any Islamic countries able to make it to the top 200 top universities of the world a lot can be inferred or even concluded f on the state of institution AND TRADITION of knowledge of the Islamic world. Although the muslim claim that the first university was started by the Muslim, the growth of knowledge seems to have been frozen. The conflict between blind acceptance and te tradition of research and thoughts has been a continuous debate.
I often get into the debate that God recognize the importance of the knowledgeable or ulama’ and engineers, doctor, doctors of sciences are also ulama’.
Not that I am an ulama’, but as an engineer, I see myself as a student of SUNATULLAH. SUNATULLH are the laws and principles and practices of ALLAH that you see in your everyday world. The infinite body of knowledge known as SUNATULLAH are the things, medical doctors, biologist, physicist nuclear scientist , engineers and many other fellow scientists including economists and management gurus learn.
Many of our ustazs who hijacked the title ulama to themselves obviously draw criticisms on their narrow undertanding of the word ILM or knowledge or SUNATULLAH. This is further compounded by their even narrower field of study to SUNATULLNABI instead of learning about SUNATULLAH, the practice of ALLAH.
There are many references to SUNATULLAH in the Quran which I trust everyone can search.
There are so many things we cannot explain by science yet, not because these SUNATULLAH are inexplainable or miracles BUT because we have not acquired the knowledge or more correctly we have not been given the ILMU by the almighty to explain it. As a student of science I believe every SUNATULLAH has a scientific explanation to it. I am convinced.