In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Allaah [The Most High] stated that the people of Nooh [alayhis-salaam] said about Nooh and the believers:
وَمَا نَرَٮٰكَ ٱتَّبَعَكَ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ هُمۡ أَرَاذِلُنَا بَادِىَ ٱلرَّأۡىِ
Nor do we see any follow you but the meanest among us and they (too) followed you without thinking. [11:27]
Imaam Sadi [rahimahullaah] said: In their view, they did not see that anyone followed Nooh [alayhis-salaam] except the meanest and foolish ones. [Ref 1]
Shaikh Saaleh Al Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] stated in his explanation of Masaail Al-Jaahiliyyah: They [i.e. people of the pre-Islamic era of ignorance] reviled the followers of the Messengers- that they possess neither understanding nor are they well versed in the affairs, and that nor are they farsighted. This is what many amongst those who have strayed from the right course and the enemies of Allaah brag about today. They make fun of the Muslims and their scholars- that they neither possess understanding nor are they farsighted. They seek to diminish the scholars with this calumny even though the scholars of the Muslims are people of clear sightedness and cognizance, because they examine [affairs] with the light of Allaah [i.e. the revelation]. They command based on what Allaah what commanded and forbid that which Allaah has forbidden. There is no doubt that the steadfast and righteous scholars are the best of the people after the Messengers [alayhimus-salaatu-was-salaam]. The superiority of the scholar over the worshipper is like that of the moon over all the stars. Therefore, none diminishes the scholars and charges them with short-sightedness and lack of understanding, except one who has similarities with the people of Jaahiliyyah and the people of Nooh, who described the followers of the Messengers with this description- to drive the people away from them.
This [i.e. accusing the scholars of short sightedness and lack of understanding] is uttered from the tongues of some of the people today. They say: these scholars are ‘ulamaa’u hayd wa nifaas’ [i.e. scholars whose knowledge is limited to rulings related to menstruation and post- natal bleeding]; and that they are ‘ulamaa’u ahkaamul Istijmaar’ [i.e. scholars whose knowledge is limited to rulings related to Istijmaar (i.e. the use of dry objects such as stones, tissue etc, to clean oneself after using the toilet], and that they are ‘ulamaa’u juz-iyyaat’ [i.e. scholars whose knowledge is limited to some affairs] and that they do not possess knowledge of current affairs. And the knowledge of current affairs [i.e. according to these ones who accuse and revile the scholars] is the affairs of politics and revolt against the Muslim rulers. [Ref 2]
NB: Regarding The Term Al-Jaahiliyyah: Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said:
The ‘Jaahiliyyah Aamma’ (The Pre-Islamic ignorance that was widespread in the world and touched every aspect of life) has ceased to exist; but it remains with some people or with some of the tribes, or in some of the lands. This is Jaahiliyyah Juz-i (a portion of Pre-Islamic Ignorance), (but) as for the ‘Jahiliyyah Aamma’, this has ceased to exist with the sending of the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam), but some characteristics of Pre-islamic ignorance remain with some of the people due to saying of the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam): ”Among my people there are four characteristics belonging to pre-Islamic period which they do not abandon: boasting of high rank, reviling other peoples’ genealogies, seeking rain by stars, and wailing (i.e. for the dead)’’ (reported by Muslim).” This remains, but it is a portion, (but) as for the Jaahiliyyah Aamma, it has ceased to exist.
So due to this, it is not permissible to say that the people are in Jaahiliyyah (Pre-Islamic ignorance). Some (people) say: (the people) are in a state of Pre-Islamic ignorance that is more severe than the one before the sending of the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam)…. The meaning of this (statement of theirs) is a denial of what the Messenger (sallal-laahu-layhi-wasallam) came with; it is a denial of the Qur’aan, the Sunnah of the Prophet and the abundant knowledge within our hands. Its meaning is that we are in Jaahiliyyah (Pre-islamic ignorance). This is a mistake, the people are not in Jaahiliyyah, walil-laahil Hamd, but there remains some of the characteristics of Jaahiliyyah in some individuals, in some nation states and in some tribes; but this is a specific Jaahiliyyah. Therefore, it is incumbent to be acquainted with this affair. [Ref 3]
Ref 1:Tayseer al-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam Al-Mannaan
Ref 2:Sharh Masaa’ilil Al-Jaahiliyyah Page: 78-79. Abridged and slightly paraphrased]