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Adopting and Conveying a False View for the Sake of Dawa

Ustadh Farid Dingle untangles questions on establishing a state and the rule of law, authority, personal opinions and ijtihad, and who one should follow.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Praise be to Allah Most High and may His peace and blessings be upon His Messenger and those who follow him.

Is it permissible for a dawah group with the intention and goal of establishing khilafah and shar‘ia to demand of its followers to leave their personal opinions of ijtihad in regards to what the group deems to be essential to keep the unity of the group on the way to establishing the state?

They quote as evidence the maxim “that without which an obligation cannot be fulfilled is an obligation”(ma la yatim al wajib illa bihi fahuwa wajib).

They also quote the version of events regarding the bayah of Uthman. A;;ah be pleased with thim, which is mentioned in Tarikh al-Tabari and al-Bidayah wa al-Nihaya and others, where Ali, Allah be please with him, declines the bayah because of the condition of following as shaykhayn in addition to kitab and sunna and Uthman, Allah be pleased with him, accepts the bayah with its condition.

Their claim is that Uthman, Allah be pleased with him, stepped down from his opinion and Ali, Allah be pleased with him, didn’t.

They say that this is evidence that one can leave whatever opinion he has for the sake unity of the ummah in action, saying and believe regardless of whether the person believes something else.

So is the Amir khass like the amir Aam in regards to the right to be obeyed ?  Is it possible and is there perhaps any scholarly precedence for this analogy ? I’m especially interested the extension of the right of the amir to be obeyed (whether Aam or khass) to actually adopting his opinion and carrying it to the people despite disagreeing with it?

I hope my question is clear and understandable and I hope you will provide us with an answer and references since this topic affects hundreds of people.

Note: They say that this applies to the muqallid and the mujtahid, even if he is mujtahid mutlaq.

Jazakum Allah khayr.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assaalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Question 1: Is it permissible for a dawah group with the intention and goal of establishing khilafah and shari‘a to demand of its followers to leave their personal opinions of ijtihad in regards to what the group deems to be essential to keep the unity of the group on the way to establishing the state?

1) This question assumes that there are no Islamic states, and that Shari‘a law is not applied. The former is not true, and the latter is not entirely true.

Any Muslim ruler who has military and political control over an area makes that area an Islamic state. Based on this definition, most, if not all, Muslim countries are Muslim states. The significance of that is that their laws that do not categorically contradict the Sacred Law are biding, and that their ruler must be obeyed by their subjects.

As for saying that Sharia is not upheld, that is true to a great extent in many Muslims countries, though not all. And given the fact that they are Islamic states, the proper way to “establish Shari‘a” is to work with the governments and not against them, in whatever form and capacity one can.

It is worth noting that there, at least in my opinion, many Muslim rulers who would love to apply Shari‘a Law 100% but whose hands are tied by the political weakness of the country, and moral weakness of their own people. Being a ruler of a country is no easy business.

2) For the sake of political, communal, or familial unity, is it valid for a non-scholar (muqallid) to adopt another valid position?

Yes, a thousand times yes. Can one follow something that is invalid? No.

Question 2: So is the lesser/specific Muslim ruler (Amir khass) like the greater/general Muslim ruler (amir Aam) in regards to the right to be obeyed?

I am no mujtahid or specialist in Islamic political theory, but I have never heard of these terms. The authority of a Muslim ruler (defined above) is only extended to those who he appoints as governors and judges and the like.

As for any temporal or moral authority granted to someone trying to set up an “Islamic state,” I’ve never heard of anything like that. [al-Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun (specifically his discussion on the Hisba); The Governing Ordinances, al-Mawardi; al-Ihkam fi tamyiz al-fatawa an al-ahkam wa tasarrufat al-qadi wa al-imam, al-Qarafi]

My Advice

Make your heart and soul conform to the state of Iman, Islam and Ihsan, and help existing Muslim countries and Muslim people and non-Muslim people get closer to the Quran and Sunna.

May Allah give you success through Sacred Knowledge.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Does Accidentally Eating Break Your Fast in the Maliki School?

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour

Question: Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmahtullah,

1) Is it true that Imam Qurtubi Al-Maliki was of the view that accidentally eating/drinking something in the obligatory fast, does Not break the fast?

2) Are their any other Maliki Scholars that had this view?

Answer: 1) In his tafsir of the Quran (2:187), Imam al-Qurtubi did in fact prefer the opinion that accidentally eating while fasting does not break the fast. Although he said that this is the correct opinion and used the same reasoning of Imam Shafi’i and others, his position is not the madhab of Imam Malik.

According to Imam Malik, if a person accidentally eats while fasting, it breaks his fast and he would have to make it up. The opinion of Imam al Qurtubi would be valid to follow as it corresponds to the opinions of other madhabs but a person following that opinion would not be following the Maliki position on this matter.

2) I am not aware of other Maliki scholars that held the same opinion but there may be. Even if there are though, those Maliki scholars that hold that opinion cannot consider it to be from the madhab unless one of the mujtahids of the mahdab, such as Ibn al Qasim, held that opinion and can prove it through the principles or another narration of Imam Malik.

Reasoning in a madhab

The reason for this is that when you have an explicit text of the mujtahid imam of a madhab, the followers of that madhab have to go with that text. Even the mujtahid within a madhab has to base his opinions on the opinions and reasoning of his imam just as the imam of the madhab bases his opinions on the Quran and Sunna (Muhammad al Khadir, َQam’u ahlul Zaygh wal Ilhad).

Using a Hadith in Ijtihad

In this case Imam al Qurtubi in this matter, he used a Hadith to prove the strength of his opinion and not the text of Imam Malik or his principles. If a person is to follow a Hadith for action, they would have to do so through one of the four agreed upon Imams.

While it is theoretically possible for a person in any age to reach ijtihad, the permissibility of following a mujtahid mutlaq (complete mujtahid) is that there is consensus about his level (Sidi Abdullah, Maraqi as Su’ud). There is only consensus about following the ijtihad of the four imams. Imam Suyuti claimed complete ijtihad and the scholars of his age refuted his claim.

Ijtihad in our age

In this day and age, there are many people who claim ijtihad at various levels, with some even claiming complete ijtihad. Some of them claim their ijtihad is in all areas while others claim they are mujtahid in one matter (mas’alah). The question that one should ask of those who make this claim is at what level of ijtihad are they.

Are they at complete ijtihad such as Imam Malik or Abu Hanifa? Are they a mujtahid within a madhab like Ibn al Qasim from the Malikis, Abu Yusuf from the Hanafis, or Al Muzni from the Shafi’is, none of whom claimed complete ijtihad? Or are they a mujtahid of tarjih like Al Maziri from the Malikis or Nawawi from the Shafi’is, both of whom did not claim complete ijtihad?

It would be a difficult claim for one in our age to be like any of these aforementioned scholars. Safety in faith relies on following what is clear and in following the well known positions of the widely accepted scholars.

And Allah knows best.

Understanding Ijtihad and Legal Differences

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: It is said that the four madhabs differ only on smaller jurisprudence issues and not issues regarding ‘aqeeda. I understand that but then I heard that Hanafis regard witr as wajib while shafi’is regard it as sunna.

(a) Does that mean that if the shafis are wrong they might be in trouble on the Day of Judgement for not fulfilling something which is necessary? And

(b) why weren’t these type of things clarified by the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam)? Because it seems that the differences in madhabs are sometimes so obvious that you would think that the Prophet would have touched on the issue just like this issue of witr.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health states.

The short answer is that a mujtahid imam is not sinful for an incorrect opinion, and that the lack of explicit clarification in the Qur’an and sunna regarding peripheral legal issues is in fact a vast mercy for our community.

Is A Mujtahid Sinful For an Incorrect Opinion?

No, there is no sin if a mujtahid imam is incorrect in his judgment. Rather there is reward, since he did his utmost to arrive at the ruling. This is based on the explicit hadith that states a mujtahid receives 2 rewards if he is correct and 1 reward if incorrect. [Bukhari, Muslim]

Of course, this applies only to a qualified mujtahid imam, namely, a religious scholar that has attained mastery of the various religious sciences whereby he is able to derive rulings directly from the Qur’an and sunna. Examples are those whom the four legal schools (madhabs) were named after: Imams Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi`i and Ahmed ibn Hanbal (Allah have mercy on them all).

If an unqualified person derives a ruling directly from the Qur’an and sunna, without recourse to a qualified imam of one of the four schools, the person incurs sin even if he is correct.

The Role of a Prophet

Our Master Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was sent to humanity as a prophet, messenger, and bringer of guidance. He therefore spoke in ‘prophetic language’ of guidance, not in technical juridical language.

That is to say, rather than providing us with lists of actions accompanied by their respective rulings of being mandatory, recommended, disliked, etc., he (peace and blessings be upon him) lived in the world as a prophet to be emulated and followed, and taught us guidance to be practiced. Moreover, his silence on matters was a mercy, as those matters were then open to disagreement, allowing for leeway that would otherwise have not been there.

Understanding Difference of Opinion

While the beliefs and general practices of Islam were clearly delineated and are therefore not differed upon, there was disagreement even amongst the Companions (sahaba) with respect to the finer details and peripheral issues of practice.

With respect to these issues, there was further disagreement over the next few generations after the Companions. There are many reasons for this, such as the ambiguous nature of language that leads to multiple interpretations, as well as the difference amongst the mujtahid imams in foundational legal theory (usul al-fiqh).

That is, when approaching the Qur’an and sunna and deriving law, each imam had his own specific ‘methodological rules’ in areas including:

— linguistic interpretation, such as the exact meaning of words, or their particular usage in any given Qur’anic verse or hadith;

— hadith verification, such as the well-known disagreement regarding the strength of a mursal hadith, i.e., in which a follower (tabi`i) narrates directly from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) without stating the name of the Companion that relates that hadith;

— reconciliation of seemingly conflicting texts, whether Qur’anic verses, hadiths, or both;

— the role of inherited practice of towns inhabited by scholar-Companions, such as Medina and Kufa;

— reconciliation of legal analogy (qiyas) versus legal preference (istihsan),

— as well as many other aspects of legal derivation that led to difference of opinion.

A Vast Mercy

Historically, this culminated in four schools of law according to Sunni Islam, all of which are valid to follow. And the resultant difference of opinion amongst the schools is a great mercy for the community (umma). This is not only evident historically, but was explicitly articulated by many eminent imams, both early and late, such as Imams Umar ibn Abdul Aziz, Abu Hanifa, Malik, Khattabi, Nawawi, Ibn Qudama, Ibn Taymiyya, Shatibi and others. [Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim; Shatibi, I`tisam; Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu` al-Fatawa]

For example, a scholar once authored a work in difference of opinion, to which Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal responded, “Do not call it ‘The Book on Disagreement’, but rather call it ‘The Book of the Sunna.'”

And the rightly guided Caliph Umar ibn Abdul Aziz used to say:

“It does not please me if the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) did not disagree [on a particular issue], since if they all agreed on a matter and then a person did not act accordingly, he would be astray. Yet if they differed on a matter, and one person took the opinion of one [of the Companions] and someone else took the opinion of another [Companion], there would be leeway in the matter.” [Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu` al-Fatawa]

While the prophetic report “The difference of opinion in my community is a mercy” has a problematic chain of narration, its meaning was generally accepted amongst scholars of both law and hadith.

For more detail on the four schools of law, please see the following:

A Reader on Following Schools of Thought Madhabs

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani