The Final Words of Advice from Sayyiduna Ja’far as-Sadiq [d. 148 AH]

It has been narrated that Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ great-great-great grandson, Ja`far al-Sadiq ibn Muhammad al-Baqir ibn Zayn al-`Abidin ibn Husayn ibn Fatimah bint Muhammad ﷺ, was on his deathbed and some people from Kufa (a city in `Iraq) entered upon him. They pleaded him to tell them of someone they could go to after he passed away for learning about the Dīn. He then said,

“Stick to the opinions of the people of Medina for this city forces out its bad folk (and only good people remain) as the bellows expel the impurities from iron. And follow the path of those early Muslims who have already passed. Right now, I am the most knowledgeable of you and I follow (the way of the Prophet ﷺ) and do not engage in blameworthy innovations. After me, follow the opinions of the people of Hijaz. Follow the fortunate blessed helper of Islam, the one who clings to the path of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. I tested him and found him to be an excellent scholar of jurisprudence. He is not subject to his whims and desires… If you follow him, you will obtain your due portion of Islam. If you go against him, you will become misguided and ruined… He studied [under me for a period of time] and took from me what he needed… I have pointed you to a man who is trustworthy.”

The people said,
“(We are still not sure whom you mean.) Please clarify.”

Ja`far al-Sadiq answered,
“He is Malik ibn Anas. Follow the opinions of Malik (after me).”

[Ibn Rushd, Muqaddimah Vol 1, page 10]

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

 

Imams of Fiqh and Sufis Aiding Their Followers in The Afterlife

Imam Abdul Wahhab ash-Sha’rani says:

We have mentioned in Kitab al-Ajwibah on the authority of the Imams of the fuqaha (jurists) and the sufis that all the Imams of the fuqaha and sufis  will intercede for their followers. They (their followers) will witness the presence of each of them at the moment their soul leaves their body, at the point they are questioned by Munkar and Nakir (in the grave), when they are resurrected, when they are gathered, when they are brought to account, when their actions are weighed on the scale, and when they come to the bridge (Sirat). The Imams of the fuqaha and the sufis will not abandon them (their followers) at any stage in the stages of the afterlife.

When our Shaykh, Shaykhul-Islam, Nasir-ud-Din al-Laqqani passed away, one of the righteous people saw him in a dream and this righteous person said to him: “What has Allah done with you?” He replied: ‘When the two angels sat me up in the grave in order to ask me questions, Imam Malik came to them and said, “Does someone like him require his Iman (belief) in Allah and His Messenger ﷺ to be questioned?” Then the two angels moved away from him (Imam Malik) and moved away form me.’

If the scholars of the sufis take care of their followers and mureeds in all of their affairs and difficulties in this world and the afterlife, then how will it be with the Imams of the four schools of thought who are Awtad on the Earth, the pillars of the religion, the trustees of the Lawgiver (who are responsible) for His nation? May Allah be pleased with them all.

So, my brother, gladly follow any Imam from amongst them as you wish—all Praise belongs to Allah.


[Abdul Wahhab ash-Sha’rani, Al-Mizan al-Kubra. Tr. Mohammad Jamili]

 

 

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

 

Loving the Saints of God

The Saints of God and who they are:

‘Ali bin ‘Uthman al-Hajweri [d. 465 AH] said:

Shaykh Abu Yazid Bistami said, “A saint is he who accepts courageously what is commanded (by God) and rejects what is prohibited (by God).” This is because the more a man loves God, the greater is His respect for His commands.

God Almighty has, therefore, upheld the validity of prophethood for good and has done so through the continuity of the class of his chosen people: the saints of God. They are God’s vicegerents on Earth and are fully devoted to Him without the slightest interference of the lower beastly self. It is through the spiritual blessings of the saints that God sends rain from the skies, grows vegetation form the earth and grants success to the Muslims over the disbelievers.

The saints of God are four thousand in number, but they are hidden from the gaze of the common people; and even they themselves don’t know one another. In fact, they are not aware of their own spiritual capabilities and virtues. In short, they remain hidden not only from mankind but from themselves as well. Their existence stands confirmed not only by the Quran and Hadith, but actual experience of the saints of God as well, including myself, by the grace of God.

Those who are entrusted the duty of administration are three hundred in number and are known as Akhyār or Nujabā. There are forty more who are called Abdāl; seven more known as Abrār; four more known as Awtād; three more known as Nuqabā; and one more who is called Qutb or Ghawth, (who is the most righteous man on earth at any given time). All these persons know one another and depend on one another in the performance of their duties. Their existence has been confirmed by the Holy Quran and Hadith, and by a vast majority of the Ummah, called Ahlus Sunnah wa’l-Jamā’ah (People of the Prophetic way and the majority of scholars). [Kashf al-Mahjūb]

Murabit al-Hajj [who resides in Tuwamarat, Mauritania] said:

While some of these terms (i.e. Nujabā, AbdālQutb etc.) are mentioned in the Quran and Hadith, others are not; but their existence has been confirmed by too many of the scholars and saints to deny them.

Loving the Saints of God:

Shaykh Abu Talib al-Makki [d. 386 AH] said:

If you are not from the righteous, see to it that you have love for them, for Allah Most High will look to their hearts, and perhaps He may look at your name and forgive you.

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz Mu’inuddin Chishti [d. 627 AH] narrated:

There was a man who hated the saints. When he died, and was placed in the grave, the people tried to turn his face towards Mecca, but it would always turn away from that direction. The people were astonished at this action. There was a voice from nowhere announcing, “It would be a futile exercise to try to turn his face towards Mecca, because he used to turn his face away at seeing the saints, and that he who would turn his face in disgust from My friends, I will turn My face from him. He is a condemned soul, and on the day of judgement, such people will appear with faces of donkeys.”

Fariduddin Mas’ud Ganj Shakar [d. 661 AH] narrated:

A sinful young man died in Multan. He then appeared to someone in a dream and was asked by him what his condition was. He replied that Allah had pardoned him. He explained that one day, when Khawaja Baha ul-Haq Zakariyya Multani was walking, he had kissed his hand with utmost respect. Due to this act, he had been pardoned.

Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq [d. 899 AH] said,

Know that the spirit of Islam is loving Allah, loving His Messenger—Salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, loving the Hereafter, and loving the righteous among Allah’s servants. [Badl al-Nasīha]

Shaykh Ibn al-Zakari, in his commentary on the above said:

It is related from my master, Abdul Rahman al-Thalabi, with his chain of transmission up to Imam al-Tabari who said, ‘A stranger passed away when we were in Mecca. We took his body to Bāb al-Mala and sat down to prepare for his burial when suddenly he rose up and sat upright. We asked ourselves, “Did he not die?” The stranger said, “I did, but I returned in order to bring you glad tidings and inform you that the most beneficial thing we have is love for the righteous and closeness with them.” Right after he said that, he became a corpse again.’

Shaykh Abdur Rahman ould Murabit al-Hajj [who resides in Granada, Spain] said:

Even if you never get to meet a saint of God, but simply love them and would love to meet them, the saints of God know without you having to tell them. The scholars of our religion say, “A person being blessed with just visiting the lands they reside in, without meeting them, is a great honour in itself.”

May Allah grant us love for the saints of God, allow us to meet them in this life and unite us with them in the next life. Ameen!

Maliki School: The Timbukti Syllabus

The Timbukti syllabus is an old method of teaching; it was the exact method of teaching adopted by scholars in Medina before and after Imam Malik: A student reads before the scholar, just like children read to the teacher, and if he makes a mistake, the teacher corrects him. The teacher interprets and explains the sacred texts to the student. The order that is followed in teaching the series of books of jurisprudence (fiqh)—according to the Maliki school—differs from place to place and from one school to another. However, the most common order is as follows:

  1. Qawāʿid aṣ-Ṣalāh (or Kawaʿidi) is a treatise of about thirty pages by an unknown author. It concerns the principles of prayer and articles of faith.
  2. Mukhtaṣar al-Akhḍarī by Abū Zaid ʿAbdur-Raḥmān al-Akhḍarī, which is an introduction to Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) with emphasis on purification of the heart (taṣawwuf), ritual purity (tahārah) and prayer (ṣalāh).
  3. Al-ʿAshmāwiyyah by ʿAbd al-Bārī al-ʿAshmāwī ar-Rifāʿī, which is an introductory text that covers ritual purity (tahārah), prayer (ṣalāh) and fasting (ṣawm). It is studied alongside:
  4. Manẓūmah al-Qurṭubī fiʾl-ʿIbādāt by Yaḥyā al-Qurṭubī, which is another introductory text covering the five pillars of Islam: creed (ʿaqīdah), prayer (ṣalāh), fasting (ṣawm), alms (zakāh) and pilgrimage (ḥajj) to the holy sanctuary.
  5. Al-Muqaddimah al-ʿIzziyyah by Abul Ḥassan ʿAlī ash-Shādhilī is an intermediate text that concerns the jurisprudence of worship (ʿibādāt), commercial transactions (muʿāmalāt), as well as social ethics. It is studied alongside:
  6. Naẓmu Muqaddimah Ibn Rushd by ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān ar-Rāfiʿī, which is an intermediate text that adds to Manẓūmah al-Qurṭubī. It explains the jurisprudence concerning the five pillars of Islam in detail.
  7. Al-Risālah by Abū Muḥammad ʿAbdullāh ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī is another intermediate text in the school. The first half is on worship (ʿibādāt), the second concerns aspects of jurisprudence such as marriage (nikāḥ), divorce (ṭalāq), commercial transactions (muʿāmalāt), inheritance (mīrāth), punishments (ḥudūd) and social ethics. This text has the distinction of being continuously taught for over a thousand years—the only fiqh text to have reached us with tawātur (mass-transmission). One unique feature is that the author often uses prophetic traditions (ahādīth) to construct the wording of the text.
  8. Al-Murshid al-Muʿīn by Ibn ‘Āshir, which is an extensive text, categorised into three sciences: Ashʿarī Theology (ʿaqīdah), Maliki Jurisprudence (fiqh) and Spirituality (taṣawwuf) based on the spiritual path of Imam Junaid al-Baghdādī.
  9. Miṣbāh al-Sālik by ʿAbd al-Waṣīf Muḥammad is one of the first advanced books of the Maliki school that is studied before studying later advanced works. This book covers theology, all chapters of jurisprudence (worship, marriage, transactions, commerce, judicial law etc.), and social ethics (akhlāq).
  10. Aqrab al-Masālik by Aḥmad bin Muḥammad bin Aḥmad ad-Dardīr is an advance text that is an abridgement of al-Khalil’s Mukhtaṣar. The author leaves out the differences of opinion, and clarifies some difficult passages from Mukhtaṣar.
  11. Mukhtaṣar Khalīl by Khalīl ibn Isḥāq al-Jundī is the last advance text that is covered by the students of the Maliki school.  It concerns the differences of opinion among major authorities within the school. It has an unrivalled position in the later Maliki school and is the relied upon and mufta bihi text today.

References:

Hausa Women in the Twentieth Century, edited by Catherine M. Coles, Beverly Mack
Maliki Law: The Predominant Muslim Law in Nigeria, by Barr. Abdullahi Ghazali

Etiquettes of the Teacher and the Student

By Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi

The student should start with purifying his own soul and steer clear of evil manners, for knowledge is the worship of the heart. He should dedicate his life for seeking knowledge. The early Muslims used to give precedence to knowledge over anything else. For example, Imam Ahmad did not marry except after the age of 40.

To the student, the teacher should be how a physician is to a patient. The student should serve his teacher. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, in his Jami’ Bayan al-‘Ilm wa Fadlih, states that Ibn ‘Abbas—may Allah be pleased with him—used to hold the reins of Zayd ibn Thabit’s mount and drive it. Zayd ibn Thabit—may Allah be pleased with him—would say to him, “Don’t, O cousin of the Prophetﷺ!” Ibn Abbas would then say, “This is how we were commanded to treat the learned ones among us.”

The student should be on his guard against feeling pride, for it is the flaw of the ignorant. He should evaluate all matters and give preference to his teacher’s opinion over his own. In Al-Jami’ li-Akhlaq al-Rawi wa Adab as-Sam’, al-Khatib al-Baghdadi reported that ‘Ali—may Allah be pleased with him—said, “It is the right of the scholar to greet the public in general and to be greeted in particular. You should sit before him and avoid overburdening him with questions. You should not divulge his secrets, nor backbite people in his presence, nor find his shortcomings…”

The student, at the beginning of seeking knowledge, is recommended not to occupy his mind with the differences of scholars in order not to perturb his mind.

As for the teacher, he should be patient and forbearing. He should dedicate his efforts in teaching knowledge for the sake of Allah and not to seek rewards or gratitude from people. Early Muslim scholars used to refuse gifts from students. The teacher should offer advice to his students and follow the best manners in this regard.

Furthermore, the teacher should teach his student what the latter can understand and comprehend. More importantly, the scholar should behave according to his knowledge. Allah, the Most High, says:

“How can you tell people to do what is right and forget to do it yourselves, even though you recite the Scripture? Have you no sense?” [Surah al-Baqarah 2, Verse 44]

[See Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi, Mukhtasar Minhaj al-Qasidin (Dar al-Manarah) pg 9-10]