ISIS and the End of Times

by Ustadh Abdul Aziz Suraqah

Understand that the bulk of apocalyptic literature is riddled with weak narrations and even forgeries. Nevertheless, if a narration with a weak chain speaks about a future event and that event plays out exactly as recorded in the narration, then the narration can be strengthened. Whether or not this narration is sound according to the standards of hadith-authentication can be left for the scholars to discuss, but read this narration and consider it in light of what is going on in the world today. Allah knows best.

Nu’aym b. Hammad records in his Kitab al-Fitan (The Book of Tribulations):

“It is related on the authority of ‘Ali (may Allah ennoble his countenance): ‘When you see the black flags, remain where you are and do not move your hands or your feet (It’s a common phrase meaning: “Stay put and don’t get involved in the fighting”). Thereafter there shall appear a feeble folk to whom no concern is given. Their hearts will be like fragments of iron. They are the representatives of the State (Ashab al-Dawla). They will fulfill neither covenant nor agreement. They will invite to the truth, though they are not from its people. Their names will be agnomens [i.e., Abu So-and-so], and their ascriptions will be to villages. Their hair will be long like that of women. [They shall remain so] till they differ among themselves, and then Allah will bring forth the truth from whomever He wills.'”


عن علي قال: إذا رأيتم الرايات السود فالزموا الأرض ولا تحركوا أيديكم ولا أرجلكم! ثم يظهر قوم ضعفاء لا يوبه لهم، قلوبهم كزبر الحديد، هم أصحاب الدولة، لا يفون بعهد ولا ميثاق، يدعون إلى الحق وليسوا من أهله، أسماؤهم الكنى ونسبتهم القرى، وشعورهم مرخاة كشعور النساء حتى يختلفوا فيما بينهم ثم يؤتي الله الحق من يشاء

1. Black flags: ISIS use black flags.
2. Feeble: They are newcomers to the fight in Syria and relative nobodies till they took swathes of land that was taken by other fighters.
3. Hearts like fragments of iron: Watch any of their videos and judge for yourself.
4. Ashab al-Dawla: They call themselves, the Dawla.
5. Breaking agreements: They broke agreements and refused Shariah arbitration.
6. Invite to the truth, though not from its people: Yes, they’re Khawarij (Separatists).
7. Their names will be agnomens: Of course, they’re a bunch of Abu Fulans.
8. Their ascriptions will be to villages: Villages here could be read as cities; most of them are al-Iraqi, al-Misri, al-Maghribi, al-Tunisi, etc.
9. Long hair: See Abu Ibrahim and the other assorted characters.

And Allah knows best.

The damage of pseudo-scholars in corrupt times – Abdullah ibn Mas’ud

By Ustadh Abdus Shakur Brooks

Imām Bukhārī narrates in his Sahīh Collection that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said:

اصبرو فانه لا يأتي عليكم زمان الا و الذي بعده اشر منه

“Be patient, verily a time will not come upon you except that the time after it is eviler than it.”

Ibn Mas’ūd said about this hadīth:

ما ذاك بكثرة الامطار و قلتها و لكن بذهاب العلماء ثم يحدث قوم يفتون في الامور برأيهم فيثلمون الإسلام و يهدمونه

”That is not due to abundance or depletion of rain, but it is due to the disappearance of the ‘Ulamā [educated scholars] then the occurrence of a “people” [not ‘ulamā!] who give fatwā [verdicts] according to their own opinions [meaning unqualified opinions] corrupting/bending [the meaning] of Islām and destroying it”.

The fact that Ibn Mas’ūd used the word “a people will come” shows that they are not scholars but pretenders; which is inferred from the fact that he referred to the first group as “scholars”, whereas the second group, he referred to them as merely “people”. It also indicates that such people will be mistaken by the common folk to be scholars, since they “give fatwā” and because they are assumed to be scholars by the common folk, their opinions are respected; although they are contrary to the practice of  Islam. In this way the pretenders distort and help in destroying a true representation of Islam, as Ibn Mas’ūd mentioned.

Much of what we see happening today under the claim of “contextualisation and reform” is a result of what Ibn Mas’ud is talking about. Anyone will notice that those who are consistent in such claims, tend to focus on issues that conflict with societies whose moral compass is dictated by godless people; who openly disregard religion as a premise altogether and openly show disregard towards Islam as a religion. Much of it is done as a desperate attempt  to convince such societies that “our religion” is suitable for their standard of life, or to make permissible what is known to be forbidden in search for desirable ease.

There is no doubt some type of contextualisation must apply in the modern world when it is necessary, which is embodied by jurisprudence.

To “contextualise” 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 Sharī’ah. Some of what we see today is not that, but rather unwarranted and unqualified reasoning by those who wish to change the rules and regulations of matters well established in Islam.

The Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith – Imam al-Bayhaqi [d. 458 A.H]

The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said

“There are some 60 or 70 branches of faith. The highest is to bear witness that ‘There is no god but Allāh and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh’ (lā ilāha illallāhu muhammadur rasūlullāh). The lowest is the removal of harm from the road. Modesty is also of faith.” [1]

The “Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith” [2] is a collection of Qur’anic verses and Prophetic narrations compiled by Imām al-Bayhaqī [d. 458 A.H], Allāh be well pleased with him. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true faith [imān]. These seventy-seven branches are some of the essential attributes and characteristics that a true believer should have or strive towards having.

Complete Iman in reality consists of three components:

  1. Confirmation by heart of all the essentials of Iman
  2. Confirmation by tongue of all the essentials of Iman
  3. Confirmation by actions of all the essentials of Iman

Thus, the ”77 Branches of Faith” are divided into three categories:

  1. the first of which concern the intention, belief and action of the heart,
  2. the second concern the use of the tongue,
  3. and the third concern all the remaining parts of the body.

Abdul Hakim Murad, professor of Divinity at Cambridge University, was the first to translate this work into the English vernacular.[3] As the book is no longer in print, here then are theSeventy-Seven Branches of Faith:

30 Qualities are Connected to the Heart

  1. To belief in Allāh Most High.
  2. To believe that everything other than Allāh was non-existent. Thereafter, Allāh Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence.
  3. To believe in the existence of angels.
  4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Qur’an, all other books are not valid anymore.
  5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ alone.
  6. To believe that Allāh Most High has knowledge of everything from before-hand and that only that which He sanctions or wishes will occur.
  7. To believe that Resurrection will definitely occur.
  8. To believe in the existence of Heaven.
  9. To believe in the existence of Hell.
  10. To have love for Allāh Most High.
  11. To have love for the Messenger of Allāh, ﷺ.
  12. To love or hate someone solely because of Allāh.
  13. To execute all actions with the intention of religion alone.
  14. To regret and express remorse when a sin is committed.
  15. To fear Allāh Most High.
  16. To hope for the mercy of Allāh Most High.
  17. To be modest.
  18. To express gratitude over a bounty or favour.
  19. To fulfill promises.
  20. To exercise patience.
  21. To consider yourself lower than others.
  22. To have mercy on the creation.
  23. To be pleased with whatever you experience from Allāh Most High.
  24. To place your trust in Allāh Most High.
  25. Not to boast or brag over any quality that you posses.
  26. Not to have malice or hatred towards anybody.
  27. Not to be envious of anyone.
  28. Not to become angry.
  29. Not to wish harm for anyone.
  30. Not to have love for the world.

7 Qualities are Connected to the Tongue

  1. To recite the Testimony of Faith [Kalimatu-sh Shahādah] with the tongue.
  2. To recite the Qur’ān.
  3. To acquire knowledge.
  4. To pass on knowledge.
  5. To make supplications [du’a] to Allāh Most High.
  6. To make invocations [dhikr] of Allāh Most High.
  7. To abstain from the following:
    • lies,
    • backbiting,
    • vulgar words,
    • cursing, and
    • singing that is contrary to the Sharī’ah.

40 Qualities are Connected to the Entire Body

  1. To make ablution [wudū], take bath [ghusl], and keep one’s clothing clean.
  2. To be steadfast in offering the prayer [salāt].
  3. To pay the tithe [zakāt] and Sadaqatu-l Fitr.
  4. To fast.
  5. To perform the Hajj.
  6. To make i’tikāf.
  7. To move away or migrate from that place which is harmful for one’s religion [din].
  8. To fulfill the vows that have been made to Allāh Most High.
  9. To fulfill the oaths that are not sinful.
  10. To pay the expiation [kaffārah]for unfulfilled oaths.
  11. To cover those parts of the body that are obligatory [fard] to cover.
  12. To perform the ritual slaughter [Udhiya/Qurbani].
  13. To enshroud and bury the deceased.
  14. To fulfill your debts.
  15. To abstain from prohibited things when undertaking monetary transactions.
  16. To NOT conceal something true which you may have witnessed.
  17. To get married when the nafs desires to do so.
  18. To fulfill the rights of those who are under you.
  19. To provide comfort to one’s parents.
  20. To rear children in the proper manner.
  21. To NOT sever relations with one’s friends and relatives.
  22. To obey one’s master.
  23. To be just.
  24. To NOT initiate any way that is contrary to that of the generality of the Muslims.
  25. To obey the ruler, provided what he orders is not contrary to the Sharī’ah.
  26. To make peace between two warring groups or individuals.
  27. To assist in noble tasks.
  28. To command the good and forbid the evil.
  29. To mete out punishments according to the Shari’ah, IF it is the government.
  30. To fight the enemies of religion [din] whenever such an occasion presents itself.
  31. To fulfill one’s trusts (amana).
  32. To give loans to those who are in need.
  33. To see to the needs of one’s neighbour.
  34. To ensure that one’s income is pure.
  35. To spend according to the Sharī’ah.
  36. To reply to one who has greeted you.
  37. To say yarhamuka-Llāh [Allāh have mercy on you!] when anyone says alhamduliLlāh [all praise is for Allāh] after sneezing.
  38. To NOT cause harm to anyone unjustly.
  39. To abstain from games and amusements contrary to the Shariah.
  40. To remove pebbles, stones, thorns, sticks, and the like from the road.

 

References:

[1] Sahīh Bukhārī
[2] Al-Bayhaqī, Shu’ab al-Īmān.
[3] al-Qazwīnī, 1300. Mukhtasar Shu’ab al-Imān. Translated from Arabic by TJ Winter, 1990. India: The Quilliam Press.
[4] AA al-Tahanawi. The 77 Branches of Faith. F. Rabbani on Sunni Path website [Online] Available from: http://spa.qibla.com/issue_view.asp?HD=7&ID=103&CATE=24.  [Accessed 30 Dec 2013].
[5] Jalali. The 77 Branches of Faith. [Online] Available from: http://taqwa.sg/v/articles/77-branches-of-faith/. [Accessed 30 Dec 2013]

 

Manners of visiting the resting place of the Prophet ﷺ

By Imām ibn al-Hājj al-Mālikī [d. 737 AH]
Translated by Suraqah al-Tufahi

As for what has been mentioned regarding visiting the grave of the Master of the first and last ﷺ, then all that has been mentioned should be increased by many folds, meaning, in humility, brokenness, and tranquility, because he ﷺ is the one who will intercede and have his intercession accepted, the one whose intercession will not be rejected. The one who intends him (in their journey of visitation) will not be let down, nor will the one who disembarks upon his ﷺ place, nor the one who seeks his ﷺ aid or refuge (wa lā man ista’āna aw istaghātha bihi ), for he ﷺ, is the pole of perfection and the crown jewel of the kingdom. Allāh the Exalted said in His mighty Book:

“He has certainly seen the greater signs from His Lord.’’

Our scholars (may Allāh the Exalted have mercy upon them) have stated: He ﷺ saw his image, for he is the crown jewel of the kingdom. So, whoever makes tawassul through him ﷺ, seeks aid through him (istaghātha bihi), or seeks his needs through him ﷺ, then he will not be refused or disappointed. [1]

Ibn al-Ḥājj further said:

Our scholars (may Allāh the Exalted have mercy upon them) said: The visitor should cause himself to feel as if he is standing in front of him ﷺ just as he would be in his life, for there is no difference between his death and life, meaning, in his witnessing of his Ummah, and his knowing of their situations, intentions, resolves, and inner thoughts. That is (all) clear to him ﷺ without there being any concealment whatsoever. If someone said (in objection to this): These attributes are particular to the Master (Allāh) ﷻ, the response is: All of those who have relocated to the hereafter from among the believers know the situation of the living predominately. That has occurred to no end (found) in accounts that have been (reported) to have occurred. It is possible that their knowledge of that is when the actions of the living are presented to them, and there are other possibilities to it (as well). These matters are hidden from us. The truthful one ﷺ informed about the presentation of deeds to them (the dead) so it must occur. The knowledge of how it occurs is not known and Allāh ﷻ knows best about it, and it is sufficient as a clarification, the statement of the Prophet ﷺ: “The believer sees with the light of Allāh.’’

The light of Allāh ﷻ is not veiled by anything. This is regarding the living among the believers, so what about those among them in the other worldly abode? The Imām, Abū ‘Abdallāh al-Qurṭubī said in his al-Tadhkirah: (It has been narrated that) Ibn al- Mubārak narrated with his chain to al-Minhāl ibn ‘Amr who narrated that he heard Sa’īd ibn al-Musayyib say: ‘There is not a day, except that on it, the actions of the Ummah are presented to the Prophet ﷺ, both in the morning and the evening. So, he knows them by their deeds and appearances, and it is due to that he ﷺ will bear witness against them. Allāh ﷻ said:

“So how will it be when We bring every nation with a witness and bring you as a witness over these’’

It has proceeded, that the deeds are presented to Allāh ﷻ on Thursday and Monday and (the deeds are presented) to the Prophets and fathers and mothers on Friday and there is no contradiction, for it is possible that it is specific to the Prophet ﷺ that the deeds are presented to him ﷺ every day and on Friday with the other Prophets. (end quote from al-Qurṭubī) [2]

Further on, Ibn al-Ḥājj said:

So when he visits him ﷺ, if he is able to (remain standing) and not sit, then this is better. If he was unable, then he can sit with proper decorum, respect, and honor. When the visitor is seeking the fulfillment of his needs and forgiveness of his sins, he might not need to mention that with his tongue. Nay, he may bring that to presence in his heart while he is standing in front of him ﷺ, because he ﷺ, knows his needs and benefits more than him, and is more merciful to him than himself, and more caring towards him than his own relatives. He said ﷺ: “The likeness of me and all of you is like moths that are rushing into the fire while I am standing to prevent you from it.”, or as he ﷺ said. This applies to the Prophet ﷺ at all times- meaning in tawassul through him and seeking the fulfillment of one’s needs by way of his rank with his Lord ﷻ. Whoever is unable to undertake a visit to him ﷺ with his body, then let him intend it at all times with his heart, and let him bring present to his heart that he is there in front of him seeking intercession through him unto the One who bestowed (His) bounty (Allāh) through him, as was said by the Imām, Abū Muḥammad ibn al-Sayyid al-Baṭalayūsī (may Allāh have mercy upon him) in his line (of poetry) that he sent to him:

Unto you I flee from my slips and sins,
and when I meet Allāh you are the one sufficient for me

Visiting your grave that is visited by foot
is my longing and desire if my Lord wills

So if visitation of him is prevented by my body,
then I am not prevented from visiting him with my heart

To you oh Messenger of Allāh I send, from myself,
a salutation of a believer and lover.  [3]

———————————————–
[1] Al-Madkhal 1/258
[2] Ibid 1/259
[3] Ibid 1/264

Tawassul (Intercession) Through The Prophet ﷺ and The Awliyā (Saints)

By Imām ibn al-Hājj al-Mālikī [d. 737 AH]
Translated by Suraqah al-Tufahi

After quoting the narration of the tawassul of ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb through ‘Abbās (May Allāh be pleased with them), Ibn al-Ḥājj said:

Then he is to perform tawassul through the people of those graves, I mean: through the righteous from among them in fulfilling his needs and forgiving his sins. Then he should supplicate for himself, his parents, his teachers, his relatives, and the inhabitants of those graves, and the dead from among the Muslims and their living and their offspring until the Day of Judgment and those who are not present from his brothers. He should turn to Allāh the Exalted in supplicating at their place (of burial) and frequently make tawassul through them unto Allāh the Exalted, because He, the Glorified and Exalted chose them, honored them, and ennobled them. So, just as He caused them to be a source of benefit in this world, so it will be in the hereafter, nay, even more. So, whoever has a need to be fulfilled, then let him go to them and make tawassul through them, for they are the intermediaries between Allāh the Exalted and His creation.

It has been established in the Sacred Law, and Allāh the Exalted knows what He has vouchsafed to them of (Divine) care. That is abundant and well known. The people have not ceased, among the scholars and elders, from elder to elder, both East and West, deriving blessings by way of visitation of their graves, and they find the blessings of that both in the sensory, and spiritual (ḥissan wa ma’nan). The Shaykh, the Imām, Abū ‘Abdallāh Ibn Nu’mān (may Allāh have mercy upon him) mentioned in his book titled: safīnat al-najā’ li ahl al-iltijā’ , regarding the miracles of the Shaykh, Abūl Najā’. Speaking about this, he said:

“It has been realised by those who possess insight and consideration, that visiting the graves of the righteous is beloved for the sake of obtaining blessings along with reflection. The blessings of the righteous flow after their death, just as it did during their life. Supplicating at the graves of the righteous and seeking intercession through them has been acted upon by our verifying scholars from the Imāms of the religion.”

{al-Madkhal; 1/255}

The Obligation to Follow One of the Four Schools of Thought

By Shaykh Murābit al-Hājj al-Mālikī
Translated by: Hamza Yusuf

In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Amongst the most important replies that I have given, is my reply concerning the one who has deviated to the point where he censures the importance of studying the branches [furu’] of jurisprudence, and we seek refuge in Allah from the deviation of such a wandering deviant. Would that he simply had claimed independent reasoning (ijtihad) for himself only, and Allah is his reckoner, but abandoned the call of Muslims to leave that which is incumbent upon them. In our reply to such a one, we make mention what the scholars of the methodological bases of Islamic jurisprudence (usuli’un) and the Imams of jurisprudence themselves have said about such a matter. As for my labelling him a deviant, it is only because he has desired to impose upon common people the precious rank of absolute independent reasoning [ijtihad], about which Muhammad an-Nabigha  said,

And ijtihad in the land of the Moroccans,
The western phoenix has taken to flight with it.

I say in reply, that the following of qualified scholarship (taqlid) is an obligation on anyone other than an absolute mujtahid. I shall make mention of all his prerequisites if Allah wills. [Sidi Abdullah Ould Hajj Ibrahim] has said in his Maraqi as-Sa’ud:

“[taqlid] is necessary for other than the one who has achieved the rank of absolute ijtihad. Even if he is a limited [mujtahid] who is unable [to perform absolute ijtihad].”

Commenting on this line, [Sidi Abdullah] said in Nashru al-bunud,

“It means that taqlid is an obligation on anyone who is not an absolute mujtahid, even if he has achieved the limited rank of ijtihad muqayyad . . . [until he says], ‘And ask the people of the reminder, if you yourselves do not know.’”

By using the line of Muhammad an-Nabigha above, I am in no way claiming that all ijtihad has been severed in every land; how [could I say such a thing] when [Sidi Abdullah] says in Maraqi as-sa’ud:

“The earth will never be void of a mujtahid scholar until its very foundations shake.”

He also said,

“[Regarding] the necessity of binding to a specific madhhab, the [scholars] have mentioned its obligation upon anyone falling short [of the conditions of ijtihad].”

He says in Nashru al-bunud,

“It means that it is incumbent for whoever falls short of achieving the rank of absolute ijtihad to follow a particular madhhab.”

Again, in Maraqi as-Sa’ud, Sidi Abdullah says,

“The consensus today is on the four, and all have prohibited following [any] others.”

He says in Nashru al-bunud,

“This means that the consensus of the scholars today is on the four schools of thought, and I mean by the schools of Malik, Abu Hanifa, Shafi’i and Ahmad. Indeed, all of the scholars have prohibited following any other school of an independent and absolute mujtahid since the eighth century when the school of Dawud adh-Dhahiri died out and until the 12th Century and all subsequent ones.”

In the chapter concerning inferential reasoning, from Maraqi as-sa’ud, [Sidi Abdullah] says,

“As for the one who is not a mujtahid, then basing his actions on primary textual evidence [Qur’an and hadith] is not permissible.”

He says in Nashru al-bunud,

“It means that it is prohibited for other than a mujtahid to base his actions upon a direct text from either the Book or the Sunna even if its transmission was sound because of the sheer likelihood of there being other considerations such as abrogation, limitations, specificity to certain situations, and other such matters that none but the mujtahid fully comprehends with precision. Thus, nothing can save him from Allah the Exalted excepted following a mujtahid. Imām al-Qarāfī1 says,

‘And beware of doing what some students do when they reason directly from the hadith, and yet they don’t know their soundness, let alone what has been mentioned [by the Imams] concerning the subtleties involved in them; by doing this, they went astray and led others astray. And whoever interprets a verse or hadith in a manner that deviates from its intended meaning without proof [dalil] is a kafir.’”

As for the conditions of the absolute and independent ijtihad, they are mentioned in the Maraqi as-sa’ud in the following line and what follows:

“And that [word ‘faqīh2]  is synonymous with the [word] ‘mujtahid’ coupled with those things which bear upon [him] the burden of responsibility,

Such as his being of extreme intelligence by nature, and there is some debate about one who is known to reject juristic analogy [qiyas]

He knows the [juristic] responsibilities through intellectual proofs unless a clear transmitted proof indicates otherwise.

[Sidi Abdullah] says [in his commentary] Nashru al-bunud,

“This means that among the conditions of ijtihad is that [the mujtahid] knows that he must adhere to the intellectual proof which is the foundational condition [al-bara’atu al-asliyya3]  until a transmitted proof from a sacred law indicates otherwise.”

He then goes on to mention the other conditions of a mujtahid:

[The sciences of] grammar, prosody, philology, combined with those of usul and rhetoric he must master.

According to the people of precision, [he must know] where the judgements can be found without the condition of having memorized the actual texts.

[All of the above must be known] according to a middle ranked mastery at least. He must also know those matters upon which there is consensus.

[Moreover, he must know] things such as the condition of single hadiths and what carries the authority of great numbers of transmissions; also [knowledge of] what is sound and what is weak is necessary.

Furthermore, what has been abrogated and what abrogates, as well as the conditions under which a verse was revealed or a hadith was transmitted is a condition that must be met.

The states of the narrators and the companions [must also be known]. Therefore, you may follow anyone who fulfils these conditions mentioned above according to the soundest opinion.

So, consider all of the above-mentioned, and may Allah have mercy upon you, and [may you] see for yourself whether your companion is characterized by such qualities and fulfils these conditions—and I highly doubt it. More likely, he is just pointing people to himself in his demands that the people of this age take their judgements directly from the Book and Sunna. If, on the other hand, he does not possess the necessary conditions, then further discussion is useless.

In Muhammad ‘Illish’s, Fath al-‘Ali al-Malik, there are many strong rebukes for those who wish to force people to abandon the study of the judicial branches and take directly from the Book and the Sunna. The actual text of the question put to him is as follows:

“What do you say about someone who was following one of the four Imams, may Allah the Exalted be pleased with them, and then left claiming that he could derive his judgements directly form the Qur’an and the soundly transmitted hadiths, thus leaving the books of jurisprudence and inclining towards the view of Ahmad bin Idris? Moreover, he says to the one who clings to the speech of the Imams and their followers, “I say to you ‘Allah and His Messenger say’, and you reply ‘Malik said’ and ‘Ibn al-Qasim said’ or ‘Khalil said.’”

To this, Imam ‘Illish replies:

“My answer to this all this is as follows: Praise be to Allah, and Prayer and Safety be upon our Master Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah. It is not permissible for a common person to abandon following the four Imams and take directly from the textual sources of the Qur’an and the hadiths for the simple reason that this entails a great many conditions that have been clarified in the books of usul. Moreover, these conditions are rarely met by the great scholars, especially in these last days in which Islam has become a stranger just as it began a stranger.”

Ibn ‘Uyyana, may Allah be pleased with him, has said,

“The hadiths are a source of error except for the jurists.”

What he means is that people, other than the scholars, might interpret a tradition based on an apparent meaning, and yet [the hadith may] have another interpretation based on some other hadith that clarifies the meaning or some proof that remains hidden [to the common people]. After a long discussion, he remarks,

“That as for their saying, ‘How can you leave clear Qur’anic verses and sound hadiths and follow the Imams in their ijtihads, which have a clear probability of error,’”

His answer to them is as follows:

“Surely the following of our [rightly guided] Imams is not abandoning the Qur’anic verses or the sound hadiths; it is the very essence of adhering to them and taking our judgements from them. This is because the Qur’an has not come down to us except by means of these very Imams [who are more worthy of following] by virtue of being more knowledgeable than us in [the sciences of] the abrogating and abrogated, the absolute and the conditional, the equivocal and the clarifying, the probabilistic and the plain, the circumstances surrounding revelation and their various meanings, as well as their possible interpretations and various linguistic and philological considerations, [not to mention] the various other ancillary sciences [involved in understanding the Qur’an] needed.

“Also, they took all of that from the students of the companions (tabi’in) who received their instruction from the companions themselves, who received their instructions from the Lawgiver himself, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, divinely protected from every mistake, who bore witness that the first three generations of Muslims would be ones of virtue and righteousness. Furthermore, the prophetic traditions have also reached us through their means given that they were also more knowledgeable than us through their means given that they were also more knowledgeable than those who came after them concerning the rigorously authenticated (sahih), the well authenticated (hasan), and the weak (da’if) channels of transmission, as well as the marfu’u4, mursal5, mutawatir6, ahad7, mu’dal8 and gharid9 transmissions.

“Thus, as far as this little band of men is concerned, there is only one of two possibilities: either they are attributing ignorance to Imams whose knowledge is considered by consensus to have reached human perfection as witnessed in several traditions of the truthful Lawgiver, upon him be prayers and peace, or they are actually attributing misguidance and lack of din to Imams who are all from the best of generations by the testimony of the magnificent Messenger himself, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Surely, it is not the eyes that are blind, but blind are the hearts in our breasts.

As for their saying to the one who imitates Malik, for example, “We say to you ‘Allah says’ or ‘the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, says’ and you reply, ‘Malik says’, or ‘Ibn al-Qasim says’, or ‘Khalil says’, for example,” our response is that the follower who says, “Malik says . . . etc.,” means that, “Malik says based on his deep understanding of the Word of Allah, or of the words of the Messenger, or of those firmly adhering to the actions of the companions, or of the tabi’in who understood clearly the Word of Allah and the word of the Messenger of Allah or took their example from the actions of His Messenger.” And the meaning of [a follower] saying “Ibn al-Qasim said . . .” is that he has [faithfully] transmitted what Malik said based on his understanding of the Word of Allah or of what Ibn al-Qasim himself understood from the word of Allah the Most Exalted. And the meaning of him saying, “Khalil said . . . .”, for example, is that he is transmitting only from those [Imams] aforementioned. As for Malik and Ibn al-Qasim, they are both Imams whose spiritual and judicial authority is agreed upon by unanimous consensus of this Umma; and they are both from the best of generations.

As for the one who leaves their leadership and says, “Allah said and His Messenger said . . . ,” he has relied solely on his own understanding despite the fact that he is incapable of having any precision in the verses and hadiths that he quotes since he is unable even to provide chains of transmission [with any authority], let alone that he lacks knowledge concerning the abrogated, the absolute and the conditional, the ambiguous and the clarifying, the apparent and the textual, the general and the specific, the dimensions of the Arabic and the cause for revelation, the various linguistic considerations, and other various ancillary sciences needed. So, consider for yourself which is preferable: the word of a follower who simply quotes the understanding of Malik, an Imam by consensus—or the word of this ignoramus who said “Allah said and His Messenger said . . . .” But it is not the sight that goes blind, but rather the hearts in our breasts.

Furthermore, know that the origin of this deviation is from the Dhahiriyya10 who appeared in Andalucia [Muslim Spain] and whose power waxed from a period until Allah obliterated all traces of them until this little band of men set about to revive their beliefs. Imam al-Barzuli said, “The first one ever to attack the Mudawwana11 was Sa’id bin al-Haddad .”

If you consider carefully the above-mentioned texts, you will realize that the one who censures you from following [the Imams] is truly a deviant. And I am using the word “deviant” to describe them only because the scholars [before me] have labelled this little band and their view (madhhab) as deviant. Moreover, you should know that those who condemn your adherence to the Imams have been fully refuted by Muhammad al-Khadir bin Mayyaba  with the most piercing of refutations, and he himself called them, in his book, “the people of deviation and heterodoxy.” He called his book, Refuting the people of deviation of heterodoxy who attack the following [taqlid] of the Imams of independent reasoning, and I used to have a copy but no longer do. So, my brother, I seriously warn you from following the madhhab of these people and even from sitting in their company, unless there is an absolute necessity, and certainly from listening to anything they have to say, because the scholars have declared their ideas deviant. Ibn al-Hajj  says in his book, al-Madkhal,

“;Umar ibn al-‘Aziz said, ‘Never give one whose heart is deviant access to your two ears, for surely you never know what may find fixity in you.’”

I ask Allah to make you and me from those who listen to matters and follow the best of them.

Murabtal Haaj, Mauritania
Source: Masud Ahmed Khan’s Blog

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Footnotes

  1. Ahmad ibn Idris Shihabudin as-Sanhaji al-Qarafi al-Maliki was born in Egypt in the seventh Century, and died there in the year 684. He was one of the greatest Maliki scholars who ever lived and is especially known for his work in methodology and law (usul al-fiqh). He was a master of the Arabic language and has remarkable works in grammar. His book adh-Dhakhira is a magisterial 14 volume work recently published in the Emirates, that looks at Maliki fiqh with proofs from usuli sources. He is buried in Qarafi in Egypt near Imam as-Shafi’i. May Allah have mercy on them both.
  2. Sidi Abdullah says in his commentary on this line that the faqih is synonymous with mujtahid in the science of usul. There are different types of faqih. A faqih according to the scholars of usul is anyone who has achieved the rank of ijtihad. According to the scholars of furu’u, a faqih is anyone who has reached the level of knowledge in which he can give valid juristic opinion. This latter definition is important considering endowments that are given to fuqaha. See Nashur al-bunud `ala maraqi as-sa’udkitab al-ijtihad fi al-furu’u (1409 Hijrah. Beirut: Maktabat al-Kutub. p.309)
  3. The foundational condition is that a human being is not asked by Allah to do anything other than those things which have a firm proof through the transmission of the prophets, peace be upon them, and that the human being is only accountable for those things in which there is clear responsibility. All other matters are considered permissible because of the lack of a proof indicating their impermissibility.
  4. The transmission (sanad) goes to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) the hadith came from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
  5. tabi’i related it from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace); a companion (sahabah) is missing from the line of the transmission.
  6. The hadith comes from so many sources that it is an absolute proof.
  7. A hadith, that at some point in the line of transmission, has only one narrator.
  8. Two people in a row are missing in the chain of narrators.
  9. The narrator of the hadith is trustworthy, but no one else related the hadith.
  10. The Dhahiriyya followed Daw’ud ad-Dhahiri’s madhhab.
  11. Mudawwana: Imam Malik’s work of fiqh.

Related Articles:
Understanding the Four Madhhabs – Abdal-Hakim Murad
What is a Madhhab and Why is it Necessary to Follow one? – Nuh Ha Mim Keller

Faith & Reason: Emotion is not Enough

By Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

“When those bombs exploded in London, I felt my faith itself rocked,” confessed a friend of mine. Many people find their beliefs shaken by the flow of events, in their own lives or in society. Why? It would appear that most people’s religious commitment is based largely upon emotion— rather than knowledge, understanding, or spiritual realisation. The danger with emotions is that they are fickle. The “heart” is termed qalb in Arabic because it is given to taqallub— “turning over completely”. Thus, a heart only emotionally attached to religion can suddenly find itself swept away by worldly concerns, or shaken and left without religious inspiration.

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said that,

“Whomever Allāh wishes well for, He gives deep understanding (fiqh) in matters of religion.” {Bukhārī 71, Muslim 1037}

This fiqh (deep understanding) is knowledge that is coupled with understanding —‘ilm is to know something; fiqh is to know something deeply, with understanding. Imām Nasafī, the great Hanafī jurist and exegete, explained that this deep understanding has a transformative effect—if true, it invariably results in action, for the one who truly understands acts in accordance with their realisation. This acting—with the hearts and limbs —is likely to be consistent and steadfast, because it results from deep understanding. On the other hand, action based on the impulses of emotion is like student activism—one sees a flurry of activity for a period of time, and then it ends when one “moves on” in life with marriage, a career, and related concerns.

Even more dangerous than loss of religious commitment is the losing of one’s very faith. Imām al-Laqqānī says in Jawhara at-Tawhīd:

اذ كل من قلد في التوحيد   ✻    ايمانه لم يخل من ترديد

[Whoever believes through mere following / Their faith is not safe from creeping doubts.]

In the turbulent world we live in, many things can happen that challenge one’s beliefs. Faith based on emotional attachment to the way of one’s parents or community is easily eroded by creeping doubts. Often, these doubts grow because one is unable to respond to the intellectual and spiritual challenges one faces as an individual and citizen in a global community where Muslims live under questioning eyes.

A similar thing often happens to Muslims in academia. It is no doubt important for Muslims to get involved in academia, and to be active participants in the intellectual debates of our age—whether related to Islam, or more general.

However, when Muslims enter academia unequipped—but with the best of intentions and the noblest of goals—they put their religious commitment and very soundness of faith on the line. The challenges are not simple; and simple emotional attachment and religious goodwill isn’t enough.

What happens time and again is that such Muslims either succumb to prevalent academic currents that run counter to basic Islamic understanding, or become disillusioned and fail to make a meaningful contribution.

Imām Taqī al-Dīn al-Subkī mentioned that there are three conditions for engaging in the study of scholastic theology:

(a) Sound knowledge of the religious sciences, to know what is right;
(b) Sharp intellect, to be able to reason soundly and engage others’ arguments;
(c) A strong religious practice, so that the intellectual challenges one faces do not spiritually drain and weaken one.

These three conditions are critical for Muslims living in the modern world, if they wish to base their religious commitment on solid ground.

The question arises: how is this done, realistically? Here, we have to turn to our tradition. The transmission of our religion and its preservation has been through studying with scholars, and keeping their company.

This is the means of gaining knowledge with understanding—knowledge itself may be gained haphazardly through books, but understanding can’t. The Prophet ﷺ said,

“Knowledge is only through learning (ta‘allum).”
{Haytamī, Majma ‘al- zawā’id I.340, from Bazzār, with a trustworthy chain of narrators}

Learning (ta‘allum) entails studying under a teacher (mu‘allim). This gives one understanding, a living example of the knowledge one gains, and also a guide to turn to when confused. After all, “Asking is the cure for confusion,” as the Prophet ﷺ told us {Abū Dawūd 336, Ibn Mājah 572, with a sound chain}.

This means of learning also ensures that one’s understanding is well-rounded, and balanced—without the extremism of emotional calls to merely outward activism, for learning is a calming process that imbues one with the capacity for restraint and reflection. Living examples of piety and faith stir one towards spiritual transformation. And, ultimately, it is only the spiritual transformation that results from fiqh—deep understanding that results in consistent action—that sustains religious commitment.

Seekers Guidance