Shaikh Abdullah Bukhaari (may Allaah preserve him) stated:

It is obligatory to attach the Ummah to the Rabbaani Scholars- those who are well known for their goodness, steadfastness, leadership and sound advice to the Ummah, and they are those who teach the smaller affairs of knowledge before the greater affairs.  Therefore, their status must be made known amongst the people because the scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets, as reported in the narration from the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam).

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullaah) stated in explanation this hadith:

This is from the greatest virtues of the people of knowledge, and because the Prophets are the best of the creation, so their inheritors are the best after them.  And when it is the case that everyone who is inherited from passes on inheritance to his inheritor, then the inheritors are those who take the place of those they inherit from. And none will take the place of the Messengers in propagating what they have been sent with, except the Scholars. They are the most worthy of their inheritance. [Source:المقالات الشرعيّة page 15-16]

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Abu Mu’aawiyah (Abdullah Al-Gambi)