In TJ the term "Elders" is used often. For example:
- "The elders want us to do/not do such and such";
- "We will have to ask to the elders before we can make a decision on such and such";
- "As per the elders...";
- "Well, I understand you want to do it this way, but the elders want it done that way";
- "What you're saying may be true, but we have never heard it in such a way from the elders";
- "Our elders have come up with a tarteeb (schedule/routine) for such and such";
- etc etc.
I would like to ask, to those who know, who are the "elders" exactly and what exactly is their role in TJ? I mean, it is obvious that they are the ones "in-charge", yes, but I am looking for a bit more details, just out of curiosity and to Insha'Allah increase my knowledge about how TJ works.
The thing is, that at each progressive step of the process, starting from the local Masjid, to Halqa (area) mashwara (meeting), to City mashwara, etc, I have seen "the elders" mentioned; however (as far as I know), I have never actually seen an elder. I don't mean that in the literal sense as, Subhan'Allah, a large number of brothers present at TJ gatherings are often "elders" (as far as age, whiteness/greyness of hair and beard , etc)... however, even they seem to always want to "check with the elders". Subhan'Allah, how old can we get??
Also, I guess my next question would be, how does one "become" an elder? In addition to other qualifications, do you have to be "old", or does that not matter as much? I would presume that one can spend an entire lifetime trying to be an "elder" and not even scratch the surface of it.
I don't mean any of this in a "smart" or "sarcastic" manner so, please don't take it as such, and forgive me if it comes across as such. I have just been hearing this stuff for a while and am genuinely curious. I am not that heavily involved with TJ yet so I know my knowledge and perception is very, very off and skewed. I know it's gotta "end" somewhere to where we actually physically reach an "elder" and then they can help us with whatever 'issue' we may be needing their help on... or do they normally like to work from "behind the scenes" or something?
I guess my last question would be... has anyone ever seen an Elder??
Waiting for someone of knowledge to enlighten me Insha'Allah.
May Allah forgive me if I said anything wrong. Ameen.