The Need for Contextualisation of Islamic Tradition

“To contextualise rulings”, means to take the foundations of something and make it applicable to the times in a meaningful way, or to grant dispensations in areas recognised by the Shariah.

Much of what we see happening today in the “scholarly tradition” under the pretext of “contextualisation” (and reform) is a desperate attempt to convince the society that the modern standards of life are suitable for our religion; by making permissible what is known to be forbidden, in search of some desirable ease. It is rather unwarranted and unqualified reasoning by those who wish to change the rules and regulations of matters that are well established in our religion only to show the world that we have transcended the draconian scholarship of the past. If it is not to please anyone, then the aim is to show that we are qualified, somehow, to excercise our juristic reasoning in order to come up with rulings that are in conformity with the modern standards of life in the West.

Sadly, such people are mistaken by the common folk to be scholars of Islam, since they “give fatwa”. But because they are assumed to be scholars by the common folk, their Ijtihadi-opinions are respected. When in reality, they are simply Naqilin (transmitters) entrusted with the task of transmitting and ruling by the Mu’tamad (relied-upon position) of the madhhab. They are not Mujtahid (one who is able to exercise independent juristic reasoning) even of the lesser degree. Rather they distort and help in destroying a true representation of the religion (unintentionally, of course).

Sh. Al-Mishri Ahmad Ibn al-Hawi said:

…The well known (opinion) with us is the nonexistence of any mujtahid from approximately the time of Ibn ‘Arafah [d. 1401 CE] or Imam Suyuti [d. 1445 CE].

Sidi ‘Abdullah b. Ibrahim in Maraqi as-Su’ud says:

‘(As for) The Ijtihad in the lands of Islamic West

The phoenix flew away with it to the sky’

Here is an interesting observation made by Daniel Haqiqatjou, he says:

Beware the Muslim reformers coming out of Islamic studies university departments.

Often these are very confused individuals, but they speak confidently about the moral imperative to “reform Islam.”

What makes them dangerous is that they quote from the classical texts to make it seem to the average Muslim like their reform is either informed by the tradition or is necessary in light of the manifest “barbarism” of the tradition. But their citations virtually always are either selective, partial, distorted, or all of the above. Sometimes maybe they just don’t know better. Other times it’s clearly deliberate.

One of the things Western academia teaches you is how to be creative with the source material and how to “craft your own reading.” This approach to “scholarship” stems from the postmodernistic notion — a notion that is rife in all the liberal arts — that text has no inherent meaning and it is only different readers that project their opinions and commitments onto the text. This means, in their minds, that no reading is inherently superior to another. Hence, all readings are worth seriously exploring, which is what the university facilitates.

As you can imagine, this makes it very easy for these Muslims to justify a selective, contorted interpretation of the texts as scholarly and sound because “Well, everyone’s reading is in some way selective, so why is my reading any less plausible?” etc. Suffices to say that all this incentivizes far-fetched interpretations that are presented to Muslim laypeople as accurate and faithful conveyances of the tradition.

To be clear, I am only referring to “reformers” here.

Although the above is not restricted to the “reformers” only, it applies to all those who approach traditional texts the same way.

Some rulings in Islam are easy to practice while others are difficult. So, let’s be thankful for that which Allah has made easy for us and ask Him for forgiveness and strength for that which is difficult. No need to claim that one needs to transcend the barriers of Taqlid (imitation) and centuries of scholarship in order to “reform” the Deen so it fits our times and social constructs; it’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole—it just can not happen. We can contextualise a text in light of another authorative text, but so long as a precedent exists in our legal texts, we are bound by it. We can find the easiest and appropriate of the two Mu’tamad opinions and practice that. But no need to turn the Deen into a potpourri of Rukhas (dispensations)—“Deen of ease”.

May Allah protect the ‘Ulama al-Haqq and protect us from the Ulama as-Su’.

Regarding the dubious Tafsir that was published recently in America

To the honourable scholars, al-salam ‘alaykum.

Recently, an English translation and commentary of the Quran entitled ‘the Study Quran’, was published. It was undertaken by a group of western academics. The work includes Shia, Sunni, Sufi tafsir, in addition to several essays as appendices. Unfortunately, in spite of some benefits in the work, the authors have, while commentating on certain verses, presented interpretations that accord with the belief in the universal validity of religions. For instance, during the discussion on the tafsir to the verse: Truly the religion in the sight of God is submission (3:20), it says:

Many Muslims say that this verse shows that the only religion acceptable to God is the one revealed to the Prophet of Islam, but the most universal meaning of it, which been emphasised by many Islamic authorities over the ages, is that Islam in this verse refers to submission to God even if it is not in the context of Islam as the specific religion revealed through the Quran … [p. 135]

The reader is then referred to the essay at the end of the book entitled ‘The Quranic View of Sacred History and of Other Religions’ in which it is argued that previous scriptures and religions are not abrogated by Islam:

The notion that previous scriptures have been abrogated in the sense of being nullified or excessively distorted to such an extent that the message no longer reflects  the particularity of the original teachings, as some Muslims maintain, would seem to be contradicted by verses such as 5:43: And how is it that they come to thee for judgement …  It would be contradictory for the Quran to speak of the efficacy of judging by the Torah and the Gospel if it were to also maintain that these Scriptures have been abrogated or excessively distorted … If the previous religions were abrogated by the revelation of the Quran, it will be implausible to tell the Prophet Muhammad to seek their counsel when it says, Ask the people of the Reminder, if you know not. [p. 1767]

Regarding the verse: Whoever seeks a religion other than submission it shall not be accepted of him… (3:85), it says:

However, the idea that 3:85 abrogates 2:62 is connected to the interpretation expressed by some commentators that this verse denies the “acceptability” of any form of religion other than that brought by the Prophet Muhammad. This opinion is not without its inconsistencies, however, since it does not take into account the more general and universal use of Islam and muslim in the Quran to refer to all true, monotheistic religion… [p. 153]

Moreover, regarding the interpretation of the verse on the Christian trinitarian belief: They certainly disbelieve, those who say, “Truly God is the third of three,”… [5: 73], it says:

However, the verse clearly threatens punishment only for those among them who disbelieved, suggesting that it is not for all Christians. Moreover, an interpretation that considers all Christians to be barred from the garden in the next life would openly contradict both v. 69 and 2:62 where Christians and anyone who believes in God and the Last Day and works righteousness shall have the reward with their Lord. No fear shall, upon them, nor shall they grieve, and is not consistent with the description of Christian virtue in vv. 82-85. [p. 316-17]

The same author says in the above-mentioned essay as he speaks about the concept of trinity criticised in the Quran:

And say not “Three.” Refrain! … (4:171) … They certainly disbelieve, those who say,” Truly God is the third of three…” This, however, is not a direct condemnation of Christian theology, for trinitarian theology does not make God one of three, but rather speaks of the triune God, Who is both one and three in a manner that transcends human understanding. Viewed in this light, 5:73 does not oppose the various forms of orthodox trinitarian doctrine that have prevailed for most of Christian history. Rather, it appears to oppose crude misunderstandings of it that would lead one to believe that there are three gods instead of one. [p. 1779]

Similar notions to the above are frequently found throughout the work.

The author of another essay, also within the work, states the following on the matter of perpetuity of hellfire:

During the early period of Islam, scholars differed about the duration of Hell. The majority of them argued that Hell is perpetual and an actualised state that never ends. But some groups argued otherwise, citing verses that hinted at an end to Hell’s torment and arguing that this was more consistent with God’s saying, ‘My Mercy exceeds My Wrath.’ Thus the scholars fell into three camps. The first believed that although Hell did not end, its punishment and torment did. The proof for this was the verse: Truly Hell lies in ambush, a place unto which the rebellious return, to tarry therein for ages (78:21-23). This was the opinion of Aḥmad ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Qayyim, and Ibn al-ʿArabī; a similar opinion that the majority of Hell’s denizens are ultimately released also appears to have been held by al-Ghazzālī, as is evident in his Fayṣal al-tafriqah (Decisive Criterion). [p. 1849-50]

The work would probably not have gained much popularity were it not for certain popular Muslim preachers in West who promoted and endorsed the work unconditionally without any caution against its absurd interpretations and false beliefs; one of them went to the extent of describing it as ‘A major victory and a gift from god’, and another said, ‘It is probably the best work in English to date’ and called it ‘A mercy from God.’ This latter individual made the matter worse by allowing the hosting of an event in his Islamic institute in America wherein one of the translators of the work was invited to speak about the book. None of the panel attendees refuted or challenged his claims. Instead, they encouraged the attendees to purchase a copy of the book at the end of the session and get it signed by the translator.  Since the book has gained much popularity and is increasingly bought we fear that it will pollute the minds of readers and therefore seek your guidance and fatwa in regards to the following questions:

1. What is the status of those who believe in the validity of all religions other than Islam, claiming that it does not abrogate the previous religions: does it take them out of the pale of Islam even if they an interpretation (ta’wil) for such a belief?

2. What is the ruling on believing that Hellfire or its torment will eventually extinguish? Is there a valid scholarly disagreement over the issue?

3. What is the ruling on promoting, endorsing, and encouraging people to buy and read such a work, knowing full well its contents, without cautioning readers against the problematic points?

4. What is the ruling on laymen reading such a work?

Answered by Shaykh Muḥammad Tawfīq Ramaḍān:

In the Name of Allah, the All Merciful, the Most Merciful

Praise be to Allah, the Unique, the One, the Singular, the Everlasting Sustainer, who has not given birth and was not born, and no one is comparable to Him, and blessings and peace be upon our master Muḥammad and upon his family, all of his companions and those who follow them on the path of truth until the Day of Repayment. To proceed:

I have looked at the explanation (tafsīr)[1] of certain verses from the Book of Allah which offends what the people of truth are upon and contradicts the Qurʾānic texts with interpretations that are inconsistent with what is correct. I believe that whoever stated them is upon misguidance in his theology and whoever has followed him is obliged to return to the path of truth. If not, then one becomes one of those whom Allah, may His affair be manifest, described by saying: “Do you, then, believe in one part of the Book and reject the other? What repayment will there be for any of you who do that except disgrace in this world? And on the Day of Standing, they will be returned to the harshest of punishments. Allah is not unaware of what you do.” [Sūrat al-Baqarah 2:85]

Indeed the Book of Allah the Exalted has commanded us to debate kindly with the People of the Book[2] whom we differ with regarding what they believe about our master ʿĪsā (Jesus), peace and blessing be upon him or ʿUzayr (Uzair), peace and blessings be upon him. The Book of Allah calls on the People of the Book to have faith in our master Muḥammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and it does not consider those who disbelieve in our master Muḥammad to be from the people of salvation nor does it consider those who believe Allah to be the third of three or that the Messiah is the son of Allah to be from the people of salvation.[3] Our theology is not taken from those who are suspect in their theology nor from those who flatter those who contradict the truth, seeking to ingratiate themselves while having certain interests, or something similar, in mind.

Indeed a tafsīr like this aims to ruin the Muslims and to take them away from the true paths of knowing their religion and their theology. Indeed, treating the People of the Book kindly is one thing and presenting relinquishments to them in violation of our theology and our Revealed Law is something else. The obligation to debate with the People of the book in the kindest of ways is one thing and violating what is clear in the Book of Allah, seeking to ingratiate oneself with them, is something else.

Indeed the belief that the People of the Book, with the beliefs that they currently hold, are not disbelievers contradicts what is clear in the Book of Allah, and the circulation of such publications is one of the waves of misguidance that Muslims are exposed to, in addition to their other afflictions.

Likewise, the belief that the people of the Fire are not in there eternally is inconsistent with the Exalted’s statement: “As for those who disbelieve in Our Signs, We will roast them in a Fire. Every time their skins are burned off We will replace them with new skins so that they can taste the punishment. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.” [Sūrat an-Nisāʾ 4:56] and other verses that clearly show that the people of the Fire are therein eternally and that the people of Paradise are therein eternally, and this is aside from what this tafsīr ignores from the clear, authentic Prophetic ḥadīths on this matter. This shows that the authors of this tafsīr have shunned the Exalted’s statement: “And we have sent down the Reminder to you so that you can make clear to mankind what has been sent down to them so that hopefully they will reflect.” [Sūrat an-Naḥl 16:44] Al-Bukhārī has related on the authority of Abū Saʿīd al-Khudrī, may Allah be pleased with him, who said, ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, {Death will come in the form of a black and white ram and then a caller will call out, ‘O people of Paradise’, and at that point they will stretch their necks and look. He will say, ‘Do you know what this is?’ They will respond, ‘Yes. This is death.’ and all of them will have seen it. Then he will call out, ‘O people of the Fire’, at which point they will stretch their necks and look. He will say, ‘Do you know what this is?’ They will respond, ‘Yes. This is death.’ and all of them will have seen it. It will thus be slaughtered and then he will say, ‘O people of Paradise, eternity and thus no death, and O people of the Fire, eternity and thus no death.’} Then he recited, “Warn them of the Day of Bitter Regret when the affair will be resolved. But they take no notice [i.e. the people of this worldly life]. They do not believe.” [Sūrat Maryam 19:39]

Indeed circulating books like this is to take part in misguiding and in serving the plan to disrupt the thinking of the Ummah away from the right path. And Allah knows best.

The servant of knowledge: Muḥammad Tawfīq Ramaḍān

[Translated by Mahdi Lock]


[1] (tn): because it is not actually possible to fully translate the Qurʾān, and thus any so-called translation is in fact only a conveyance of some of the meanings, and therefore it’s an explanation, or tafsīr

[2] (tn): for instance, see Sūrat an-Naḥl 16:125

[3]  (tn): for instance, see Sūrat al-Māʾidah 5:72-73

Analysis of Ashhab’s Opinion on Combining Prayers

 

Ashhab ibn ‘Abd al-Aziz (140AH – 204AH) was a famous Egyptian jurist and companion of Imam Malik. Some have claimed that he was of the view that combining between two prayers without a valid Shar‘i excuse is permissible. This view contradicts the Mashhur position in the Maliki school. However, has that opinion been established from Ashhab?  Below we will analyse the view of Ashhab:

Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (d. 386 H), the famous author of the Risalah, quotes Ashhab as follows:

“[Ashhab said:] The non-traveller also has a dispensation to do that [i.e. join Ẓuhr and ‘Asr/ Maghrib and ‘Isha’], although it is better not to. He has this licence because he is praying in one of the two times that Jibril stipulated. When the shadow becomes the same length (as a standing object), this is the end time of Ẓuhr and the start time of ‘Asr…This is also the case with Maghrib and ‘Isha’. The disappearance of the twilight is a common time for both of them…The Prophet ﷺ joined at the end of one time and the start of the other time. That is, to complete Ẓuhr when the shadow is the same length (as a standing object), or to start it when the shadow is the same length; and then to stand and pray ‘Asr after it. Or to complete Maghrib when the twilight has disappeared or to begin it at that time; and then offer ‘Isha’ thereafter.” (Nawādir, 1:263)

According to the well-known view in the Maliki school, Ẓuhr and ‘Asr have a shared time. That is, when the shadow of a standing object becomes equal to its length, the time of ‘Asr enters. However, the time of Ẓuhr does not end immediately at the start of ‘Asr, but there is a small window of time when they can both be prayed. This is based on the hadith in which Jibril led the Prophet ﷺ in prayer. In this hadith, it states that he led him in Ẓuhr on the second day when the shadow of a standing object was the same length; and this is despite the fact that he led him in ‘Asr on the first day at the very same time. Based on this, according to the well-known position in the Maliki madhhab, there is a shared time between Ẓuhr and ‘Asr. This is also the case with Maghrib and ‘Isha’: there is a small window of time when they can both be prayed just after the twilight disappears. Ashhab, who upholds this opinion, says Ẓuhr and ‘Asr can be combined even without a valid excuse, but only by praying each within their own respective times.

Ashhab’s comment: “because he is praying in one of the two times that Jibrīl stipulated” means that he is praying Ẓuhr at the time that Jibril prayed on the second day i.e. in the common time of Ẓuhr and ‘Asr. His subsequent explanation shows that he believes each of the two prayers are prayed in their own times.

Ibn Yunus (d. 451), a great mujtahid in the Maliki school, also quotes Ashhab saying the exact same thing. (al-Jāmi‘ li Masā’il al-Mudawwana, pp. 712-13) Al-Baji (d. 494) in his commentary of Muwaṭṭa’ narrates this position of Ashhab also, stating the same. (al-Muntaqā, 2:235, 236)

Qaḍi ‘Iyaḍ (d. 544 H) in his commentary on Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim says:

“All the ‘ulama’ have opined that it is not permissible to combine between two prayers without an excuse, except for a fringe group amongst them from the early Muslims, like Ibn Sirin, and from our [Maliki] authorities, Ashhab. They permitted it for a need and excuse as long as it is not made a habit. ‘Abdul Malik said something similar for Ẓuhr and ‘Asr. Their proof for this is the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas, and the statement: ‘He did not want to cause inconvenience to his ummah.” He (‘Abdul Malik) interpreted that to mean delaying the first prayer until the end of its time and bringing the second to the start of its time, as interpreted by Abu l-Sha‘tha and ‘Amr ibn Dinar in Book of Muslim. Ashhab also explained the hadith in the same way. He said: ‘Because he prayed at the second of the two times that Jibrīl prayed’…Once this is so, there is no disagreement.” (Ikmāl al-Mu‘lim, 3:36)

Qaḍi ‘Iyaḍ makes it clear that there is no disagreement, since Ashhab did not say it is permissible to perform these prayers outside of their own times. They are each performed in their respective times but with an apparent combining (Jam’ Ṣūrī). Also note: the above references are quoting Ashhab’s words directly, explicitly showing he meant apparent combining.

It becomes very clear from the above that Ashhab did not advocate a real combining (Jam’ Haqīqī). Moreover, some Maliki authorities quote Ashhab as sharing the view of the Hanafis: that apart from Hajj, there is never a real combining, only apparent combining. The author of Manāhij al-Taḥṣīl says:

“The disputed scenario (of joining prayers) is a traveller combining outside of ‘Arafa and Muzdalifa. Malik and al-Shafi‘i said it is permissible to combine in general. Abu Hanifa and his followers said it is impermissible. Ashhab amongst the students of Malik agreed with him.” (Manāhij al-Taḥṣīl, 1:419)

Hence, the position of Ashhab cannot be used to claim there is an opinion of actual combining in the Maliki madhhab, even if some later scholars may have misunderstood his opinion to mean this. From the clear quotes from him above, no room remains for interpretation. Those who wish to respond, should address the clear reference to apparent combining  found in Ashhab’s statement and also Qaḍi ‘Iyaḍ’s comment that based on Ashhab’s own explanation, no disagreement really exists.


By Zameelur Rahman


Also see:

1) Al-Mazari on giving verdicts contrary to the Mashhur in one’s school
2) Importance of following the Mashhur — Protocols of Fatwa

 

Al-Mazari: Giving verdicts contrary to the established positions of one’s school

Al-Mazari [d. 536 AH] was asked:

Is it possible to take the position of Sa`id bin ‘l-Musayyab in an irrevocably divorced woman by considering her legalised by mere contract? And is this issue from the issues of the fundamentals of the religion (Usul), or from the subsidiary issues (Furu’) in which every mujtahid is correct? And if I do this and did follow Sa`id bin ‘l-Musayyab, then [would it be] with sin or not?

He responded:

I already have a detailed answer I gave for this specific issue, when a question from Tunis (may Allah protect it) came. A man who studied Usul under me some time back got married to a woman, divorced her thrice, then had her returned as a legal wife after another man had contracted with her in marriage without penetration. So a question came to me from the judge and scholars of [Tunis]. Upon this, I condemned him so much that they thought I had permitted them to punish him. I mentioned that if this door is opened, a lot of religious irregularities, negative consequences in following [those] rulings, and preferring scholars of the past over competent contemporary scholars (on top of the difference that has occurred between the scholars of Usul regarding the following of a deceased scholar in the presence of a competent [living] scholar).

The advice I gave was that, as part of the fortified religion, exiting from the school of Malik and his disciples must be prohibited (Nahy) as a safeguard for the means. If [following any scholar of any school from any era] was legalised, [another] man would say, “I can sell a dinar for two, due to what has been reported from Ibn `Abbas”, then another would come and say, “I can marry a woman and take her private part as legal without any representative (Wali) or witnesses, by following Abu Hanifah in the issue of representative and Malik in the issue of witnesses, and I would marry her for just a penny by following al-Shafi`i.” This would be the worst place for harm.

Such activity was usually curbed in previous eras despite the piety of its people and their fear for the sake of their honour and religion. So how about an era in which the situation has become such that its people have fallen far too short of those preceding them, as is evident for the intellectual? This era is more worthy of having such a lax approach to religious affairs curbed. The judges and jurists of [this man’s] place should therefore not even consider the position of [Sa`id bin ‘l-Musayyab]; rather they must enact an annulment against that [marriage] and break [it] up. Their own selves should not allow them to abandon the schools of Malik, al-Shafi`i and Abu Hanifah due to the agreement of all the [Muslim] cities in following them, as this marriage prevents him from [following them]. And how can his own self allow for him to take a female private part as legal today, and have it declared illegal against him by a judge – who may contemplate punishment over that – the very next day?

As for your question regarding whether this issue is from the fundamentals of religion or from its subsidiaries, then according to me, the most correct position is that it is from the subsidiaries, because the reason for difference therein are inconclusive matters, not definitive. This is because the word of marriage in Allah’s statement “… then she would not be legal for him until she marries a husband apart from him” could be the contract as its literal meaning, and intercourse as its metaphorical meaning, or vice versa…

… However, even though this is from the subsidiaries according to me, then [realise] we have already mentioned what would prevent [that] man from [taking] this [alternative interpretation of the verse].

I remember when I was an adolescent by my master in Usul (may Allah have mercy on him). It was the first [night] of Ramadan, and the people had gone to sleep without having intended to fast [the following day]. I said, “We don’t need to make up for this day as is the position of some students of Malik in a solitary narration.” My teacher took me by the ear and told me, “If you want to read knowledge like this, then don’t bother studying at all, because if you start looking for [only] the convenient things on the path, a little heretic will come out of you…”

So you can see how our Imams — who used to fear Allah — used to condemn the one who is lax in his religious affair and exits from one school to another, as this leads to tribulation. And Allah knows the secrets of His servants. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Leave that which throws you in doubt for that which does not put you in doubt.”

This amount should suffice.

[Fatawa ‘l-Mazari, pg. 151-154, Al-Dār al-Tunisiyyah Tunis, 1st edition, 1414 A.H.]

He further said, indirectly indicating to the lax nature of his contemporaries in passing rulings:

“All praise is for Allah, the only one who is praised, and the only one consulted in every affair. We seek His refuge from becoming those who are overpowered by predilection, and make ignorance their last place and abode. I turn to Allah that he does not make us from those who thinks knowledge is all about claims, and who wants to flood the laymen with his rulings – such a person is far removed. Knowledge is only that which its people testify to, and greatness is only that which is known from those who possess it. The law is not by the one who says ‘Me’, and suffices with being commended and praised.”

[Fatawa ‘l-Mazari, pg. 307, Al-Dār al-Tunisiyyah Tunis, 1st edition, 1414 AH]

Lastly, it should be noted that Al-Mazari’s opinion was directed at those in authority, passing edicts and judgements, not at laymen. He says:

“I would not pass rulings apart from that which is Mashhur. I would not place the people on anything else. Indeed, fear of Allah and safeguarding for the religion has diminished. There are a lot of those who claim knowledge and are bold enough to pass rulings without any insight. If this door was opened for them, so that they could go against the famously established position school, the tear would widen from the patch, and the school’s cover of awe would be breached. This is from the evils from which there is no hiding… “

Praising al-Mazari for his stance, Abi Ishaq al-Shatibi Ibrahim bin Musa al-Gharnati [d. 790 AH], said:

“See how this Imam and scholar, despite his leadership and greatness being agreed upon, did not allow passing rulings apart from the famously established position of the school and its known rulings, and this is a Maslahahand necessity—based viewpoint, that fear of Allah and religiosity has diminished in many of those who have jobs in the spreading of knowledge and passing of edicts. If this door was opened, the foundations of the schools – in fact all schools – would be dismantled whatever becomes necessary for something would become necessary for its likes [as well]…”

[Taken from al-Miʿyār ál-Muʿrib Wa-‘l-Jāmiʿ ál-Mughrib by ál-Wansharīsī (died 914 A.H.), 12/25, Ministry of Awqāf and Islāmic Affairs Morocco, 1st edition, 1401 A.H.; originally sourced in al-Shatibi’s al-Muwafaqat]


By Sayyidi I. Ibrahim

 

Protected: The Relation Between Awrah & The Obligation To Veil The Face According To The Maliki School

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Delaying The Prayers Beyond Their Prescribed Times

Allah says in the Qur’an
“…there came after them generations who neglected prayer and were driven by their own desires. These will come face to face with their evil (Ghayya), but those who repent, who believe, who do righteous deeds, will enter Paradise. They will not be wronged in the least…” [Surah Maryam 19:59-60]
Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said:
The meaning of ‘neglected’ here does not imply complete abandonment of the prayer but delaying it beyond it time.
Sa‘id ibn al-Musayyab, the Imam of the Tabi‘un, said:
It means not praying Zuhr until the time of ‘Asr; not praying ‘Asr until the time of Maghrib; not praying Maghrib until the time of ‘Isha; not praying ‘Isha until the time of Fajr, and not praying Fajr until the sun has risen. If someone dies persisting in this state without repenting, Allah has promised him Ghayy, which is a deep valley in Hell whose food is disgusting.
Sa‘d b. Abi Waqqas, may Allah be pleased with him, said:
I asked the Messenger of Allah ﷺ about ‘those who are forgetful of their prayer‘ (107:4-5), and he said, ‘It means delaying it’ – in other words, delaying it beyond its time.
[al-Bazzar]
Ibn Hazm [d. 465AH] said:
After Shirk, there are no wrong actions greater than delaying the prayer beyond its time and killing a believer without right.
Lastly, Imam adh-Dhahabi says, we find in a hadith:
Whoever presevers in the prescribed prayers, Allah Almighty will grant him five honours:
  1. He will release him from straitened circumstances,
  2. protect him from the punishment of the grave,
  3. give him his book (of deeds) in his right hand,
  4. let him pass over the Sirat (The Bridge over hellfire) like lightning, and
  5. admit him to Paradise without reckoning.

May Allah forgive us for our shortcomings and grant us the strength to worship Him in accordance with the Sunnah of our Master Muhammad ﷺ.


[Shams ad-Din adh-Dhahabi, al-Kaba’ir]

 

The Bad Adab in Refutations That Aim to Protect The Noble Religion

In this age of decadence where the moral fabric of the society is being ripped apart, there are some deluded people, sadly “scholars” too, who remain silent about falsehood and wrongdoings that surround them. In some cases, they endorse it, for whatever reason. And in many other cases, they conflate refutation and rejection of falsehood with “bad-adab”. As if Adab (propriety) entails accepting falsehood and wrongdoings and not speaking against them; handing out chocolates and gifts to the one who has slapped you; and overemphasising the Prophetic Jamal while neglecting the Prophetic Jalal.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“[Believers] you are the best community singled out for mankind: you enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and believe in Allah…” [Surah Aali ‘Imran 3:110]

‘Good’ in the Arabic language is ‘Khayr‘ and ‘Bad/Evil’ in the Arabic language is ‘Sharr‘. Why then are the words Ma’rūf and Munkar used? Ma’rūf literally refers to that which is known, because it is what the heart is familiar with. Munkar literally refers to that which is not known, as it is not known to the heart but the heart learns it. We don’t have the idea of ‘original sin’ or that children are inherently evil. They have to be taught that as their hearts are originally pure. The reason they begin doing bad things is because they are being taught that by humans or Shayātīn. [R Nsour, Sharh al-Akhdari]

It is interesting that Allah mentions “you enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong” first and then mentions “and believe in Allah”. Whereas belief in Allah should come first and our actions should then follow. But if we look at the testimony of faith: “There is none worthy of worship except Allah”, we see, as our scholars have mentioned, it is negation (‘There is none worthy of worship…’) followed by affirmation (‘…except Allah’). So, we are negating all deities and refuting all types of falsehood before confirming the Truth; Godhood and Oneness of Allah. One enters the religion with a refutation because falsehood must first be obliterated and only then will true belief manifest. It is also evident from the biography of our Master Muhammad ﷺ that he preached Tawhid (monotheism) for a decade, before conveying anything else, for it is necessary to know the One we are submitting to, before knowing what it is he has commanded us to submit to.

Having said that, to now believe that one must be harsh in preserving the religious boundaries or that we must have a “soft spiritual approach” where transgressions are tolerated, is far from the truth. We discipline our ego, put it aside and love and hate for the sake of Allah only, as that is how our Master Muhammad ﷺ taught us to be. He placed his love and anger appropriately and never got angry for the sake of his own self but only when the rights of Allah were violated.

The conditions for enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong are mentioned by Ibn Rushd in al-Bayan wa’l-Tahsil:

Enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong is obligatory upon every Muslim, subject to three conditions:

  1. He should know what ‘right’ is and what ‘wrong’ is. If he is ignorant of the ruling then there is a possibility that he will forbid something that is right and enjoin something that is wrong.
  2. The denunciation of wrong should not lead to a greater evil, such as if he tells people not to drink alcohol and that may result in murder and the like. In that case, it is not permissible for him to enjoin the right and forbid the wrong.
  3. He should know or think it most likely that his denunciation of evil will put a stop to it, and that his enjoining good will be effective and beneficial. If he doesn’t know that or doesn’t think it (will be effective), then it not obligatory upon him to enjoin the right and forbid the wrong.

The first two conditions are essential for it to be permissible, and the third condition is essential for it to be obligatory. If the first and second conditions are not met, then it is not permissible to enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. If the third condition is not met, but the first and second ones are, then it is permissible for him to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, but it is not obligatory.

Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Abdur Rahman bin Qudamah says in Mukhtasar Minhaj al-Qasidin:

Knowing that there is a certain evil in a market that can be reformed, one should rectify it. Every Muslim should reform himself first, keeping obligations and deserting sins. He should then do the same to his household and relatives, then comes his neighbours, then his fellows of his hometown, then citizens of his country. Finally come people of the world.

Lastly, Ustadh Amjid Mahmood mentions that Shaykh M.S. Ramadan al-Bouti said during a Dars he delivered on Jami’ al-Iman, almost a decade ago:

People often confuse using Hikma (wisdom) as being soft and gentle. But Hikma is rather to use the most effective method and treatment, which can sometimes be harsh and other times soft.

May Allah grant us the right understanding of our religion; forgive us for our shortcomings; and grant us ‘Afiyah (wellbeing) in religion, in our life in this world and in the world to come. Amin!


By Abdul Samad Ali