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

 

How To Perform The Solar Eclipse Prayer

When the sun is eclipsed, total or partial, then the Prophet ﷺ is reported to have performed Salātul Kusūf (solar eclipse prayer). The Prophet ﷺ said:

“Verily, the sun and the moon are two of the signs of Allah and they do not eclipse on account of the death or birth of anybody. So whenever you see this, pray and invoke (Allah) until it is over.
[Related by Muslim]

How it is performed according to the Hanafi school:

When the sun is eclipsed, the imam prays two rak’ahs with the people, like the form of the nafl (supererogatory prayer). There is only one bowing in each rak’ah (just as any other prayer). The imam lengthens the recitation in both (of the rak’ahs) and he makes the recitations (inaudible), according to Abu Hanifa….

Afterwards, he makes a supplication until the sun appears again. The imam who performs the jumu’ah prayer with them prays with the people and if the imam is not present, the people pray it individually.

There is no khutbah for the eclipse prayer.

[Source: Mukhtasar al-Quduri]

How it is performed according to the Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali school:

It is a sunnah to perform Salatul Kusuf whenever there is a solar eclipse. According to the Hanafis and Hanbalis, it is nafl. The imam goes to the mosque and begins to lead the people in prayer without either an adhan or an iqama. It is recommended that it be performed in congregation, but it can also be performed at home, by oneself. The complete method to pray the solar eclipse prayer is as follows:

  1. Make an intention to pray this sunnah prayer and make the opening takbir.
  2. Recite (inaudibly) the Fatihah and a long surah of the Quran i.e. Surah al-Baqarah or its like.
  3. Say ‘Allahu Akbar’ and go into ruku. Stay in ruku for a considerable period of time.
  4. Say ‘Sami’ Allahu li-man Hamida’ and stand back up.
  5. Recite the Fatiha, again, followed by another long surah of the Quran that is not as long as the previous one i.e. Surah Aali ‘Imran or its like.
  6. Say ‘Allah Akbar’ and go into ruku, less prolonged than the first.
  7. Say ‘Sami’ Allahu li-man Hamida’, followed by ‘Rabbana wa laka l-Hamd’.
  8. Then make two prolonged prostrations (Sajdatain).
  9. Say ‘Allahu Akbar’ and stand back up.
  10. Repeat steps (2) through (8), however, not as prolonged as the first; reciting Surah an-Nisa (or its like) in the third standing and Surah al-Ma’idah (or its like) in the fourth.
  11. Say ‘Allahu Akbar’ and sit back up.
  12. Finally, say the tashahhud and then the salam

According to the Shafi’is and some Hanbalis, the imam then gives a sermon (Khutbah). However, according to the Malikis, there is no khutbah, but there is no harm in the imam taking the opportunity to admonish and remind the people.

[Sources: Risalah Ibn Abi Zayd || Muqaddimat al-Hadramiyyah || al-‘Umda fi ‘l-Fiqh]

The World is like Water – Imam al-Qurtubi [d. 671 AH]

Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, says:

Tell them, too, what the life of this world is like: We send water down from the skies and the Earth’s vegetation absorbs it, but soon the plants turn to dry stubble scattered about by the wind: God has power over everything.” [Sūrah al-Kahf 18:45]

Commentary:


Imām Al-Qurṭubī says that Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, compares the world to water for five reasons:

  1. Water does not settle in any location, similarly this world does not remain with one person for life.
  2. Water does not remain in a single state, similarly this world is constantly changing.
  3. Water does not last, it disappears after some time, similarly this world disappears sooner or later.
  4. No one can enter water without getting wet; similarly anyone who enters this world will not be safe from its trials and tribulations.
  5. In certain limited amounts water is beneficial and causes plants to grow. But if it surpasses the beneficial amount it becomes harmful and destructive. Similarly, taking what is sufficient from this world is beneficial, while taking excess can be harmful.

Moon-sighting or Saudi-following?

Firstly, giving an *informed opinion* about an issue is not the same as “confusing the people”; it’s cognitive dissonance if anything. When ignorance is widespread, knowledge is what is needed; knowledge of Fardhul ‘Ayn because knowledge comes before action.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“So whoever from amongst you *witnesses* the month, let him fast.”
[Sūrah al-Baqarah, V. 185]

Ibn Abdul Barr comments on the above Ayah:

He means – and God knows best – whoever among you knows, with a knowledge that is certain, that the month has indeed begun must fast it.” And knowledge that is certain is (based on) either a clear and widespread sound sighting or the completion of thirty days of the previous month.”

Qur’an demands testimony of sighting as the Sabab (causation). Testimony must only be of factual presence, not based on possibilities.

“Sighting of the crescent is demanded by Sharī’ah”

[Hanafī: Hāshiyah Radd al-Mukhtār]
[Mālikī: Risālah ibn Abī Zayd]
[Shāfi’ī: Muhadhdhab of Shirāzī]
[Hanbalī: Mughnī of Ibn Qudāmah]

Imām as-Subkī says:

If a calculation shows that moon doesn’t exist on the horizon yet a Muslim claims to have seen it, then this testimony is to be *rejected*, due to the absence of evidentiary qualities.

As for “sighting”, there are two opinions:
1) Local Sighting: Various horizons at locality (points of rising).
2) Global Sighting: Single horizon globally.

There is no such thing as “Saudi sighting” or “Pakistani Sighting”. The formation and visibility of new crescent will never be at the same location, every month.

Here are some statistics for countries that relied on *calculation* for Ramadhan:

– Saudi Arabia: From 1961-2004, went with the *wrong* day 64% of the time, when the crescent was *not* even present on the horizon; 23% possible and 13% definite.

– Syria: From 1950-2001, went with the *wrong* day 59% of the time, when the crescent was *not* even present on the horizon; 33% possible and 13% definite.

– Morocco: From 1963-2004, went with the *wrong* day 1% of the time, when the crescent was not even present on the horizon; 74% possible and 25% definite. They relied on accurate calculations *with* local (naked-eye) sighting.

Saudi Arabia is *not* the Muslim Vatican, so if you really want to follow the sighting of a particular country, it should be obvious (based on the above) which one you should really be following.

Imām al-Bājī said:

If anyone did rely on calculations (for moonsighting) I opine that he should *not* consider his fasting sound based upon calculation and return to sighting (the crescent) or the completion of thirty-days. If that results in him having to make up any days, he should…