Discussing Taqlid

Discussion in 'Islam' started by Abdullah, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. Abdullah

    Abdullah Well-Known Member

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    Salamualikum wr wb Sister Muslimwoman,

    You can discuss about Taqlid on this thread sister [everyone is invited to discuss/debate/voice their opinions as well], I will re-post my last post...on here so you may answer it.

    Salaam :)
     
  2. Abdullah

    Abdullah Well-Known Member

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Muslimwoman
    Ass salaam aleykum Brother Abdullah

    Please forgive me if I have misunderstood your comments. You appear to be implying that laypeople have no moral judgement and are incapable of understanding what Allah requires of us.

    wa alaikum salam wr wb sister.

    What I am saying sister, is that lay people [non-Mujtahidoun] are not qualified to perform ijtihad, nothing more, nothing less.
    smile.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    I kept coming across this topic on various sites so decided to ask an Imam for the definitive answer, I have copied and pasted his whole reply as I feel it is not only pertinent but far sighted:

    You have apperantly asked a 'Salafi'/Wahhabi Imam and he has given you an answer that goes against the view of the traditional Scholars.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    Bismillahir-RaHmanir-RaHeem. The Glorious Qur'an says: "And hold fast,All together, by the rope Which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves;" [Al-Qur'an 3:103]...

    Agreed hundred percent; but the irony of the imaam saying that, is that he himself has decided to divide himself from the traditional Scholars in the matter of taqleed atleast.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    If only all Muslims read the Qur'an with understanding and adhere to Sahih Hadith...

    Agreed

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    It is not obligatory for a Muslim to follow any particular madhhab among these four.

    It is the ijma [consensus] of the traditional Scholars that one of these four madhabs has to be adhered to by the laymen, for the laymen does not have the pre-requsite knowedge and qualities to perform ijtihad.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    People vary in their level of understanding and ability to derive rulings from the evidence. There are some for whom it is permissible to follow (taqleed), and indeed it may be obligatory in their case.

    It is obligatory for all non-mujtahids to adhere to taqlid, for the pre-requisite knowledge that qualifies one as a Mujtahid is absolutely essential in order to perfrom ijtihad. InshAllah I will be posting soon, a list of all the pre-requisite knowledge and qualites that is required to perfrom ijtihad.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    There are others who can only follow the shar’i evidence.

    Yes, and they are the mujtahidoun.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah are not to be regarded as opposition to the Maalikis, Shaafa’is, Hanbalis and the like, rather they are opposed to the followers of innovated and misguided beliefs and ways such as the Ash’aris, Mu’tazilis, Murji’is, Sufis and so on.

    The School of Ashari is infact a traditional School of theology/Aqeedah [not a School of fiqh] which many Scholars of the Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamaah base their Aqeedah upon. it is a righteous School of theology.

    Many Sufi's are upon righteous too, although some sufi's have adopted bidah [and possbily shirk too] in their tariqahs

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    The Hanafis, Maalikis, Shaafa’is and Hanbalis are schools of fiqh, whose imams are among Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, and indeed are among the leaders of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah. But unfortunately the followers of most of those madhhabs and schools of fiqh have begun to follow the people of innovation and misguidance in their beliefs, so many of the Shaafa’is and Maalikis have become Ash’aris, and many of the Hanafis have become Maatireedis.

    Maturidi is a righteous School of Aqeedah too, and ahle Sunnah Wal Jamaah Scholars form their Aqeeadah from iether of these two Schools or from Aqeedah At-Tahawiyyah...so that means that the followerd of the four Schools of thought have not strayed from the orignal teachings of these Schools. it is only the Wahhabi's that have decided to follow Scholars who have gone against the Hanbali School of thought, such as Ibn Taymiyyah and Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, that have strayed from the original teachings of the Hanbali School in many matters, and yet claim to follow the Hanbali School in these matters?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    But with regard to ‘aqeedah, the Hanbalis – apart from a very few – have been spared the change to something other than the ‘aqeedah of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah.

    And these relatively 'verry few' that have strayed from the Aqeedah of ahle Sunnah Wal Jamaah which the hanabli School's Aqeedah is based upon, are the so called Salafis...

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    The basic principle concerning the Muslim is that he adheres to the Qur’aan and Sunnah according to the understanding of the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and those who followed them in guidance.

    Agreed.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    As for following one of these four madhhabs or any other, that is not obligatory or recommended,

    It is indeed obligatory and most defenitely reccomended for those who are not mujtahids.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    and the Muslim does not have to adhere to any one of them in particular. Rather the one who adheres to a particular madhhab in every issue is being a partisan who is guilty of blind following.

    That is not true. The four Schools of thought are the only surviving traditional Schools of thought....the traditional Scholars have, unaniomously, only enjoined the following [for the laymen] of these four Schools of thought and prohibbited the following of any other.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    End quote. Hal al-Muslim mulzim bi Ittibaa’ Madhhab mu’ayyin min al-Madhhab al-Arba’ah? By al-Ma’soomi, p. 38. There is nothing wrong with following the four schools of fiqh if a Muslim does not have sufficient knowledge to enable him to derive rulings from the Qur’aan and Sunnah himself,

    Not only is there nothing wrong in doing so, but it is also fardh for one who does not have suffiiceint knowledge, to follow one of the four Schools. And 'sufficient knowledge' is the knowledge [and qualities] which qualify one as a Mujtahid.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    but if it becomes clear to him that the correct view is other than that of his madhhab, then he must follow the correct view and not his madhhab.

    If he is not a mujtahid, then it cannot become clear to him, for he will not be able to view the evidence in the comprehensive contextual way, for in order to do so, he will have to have the insight of a Mujtahid. [for example, one of the pre-requisite knowledge of a mujtahid is to be a master of the Arabic language and other ancillary sciences. If he does not have this mastery insight into the words of the hadith/Quranic verse, then that is just one of the barriers in him having a clear and precise insight into the evidence, and likewise, all his other ignorance of the sciences needed for ijtihad, are barriers as well in him being able to precisley judge the evidence from an expert and comprehensively contextual point of view.

    In other words, for him to be able to judge accurately the evidence he come across, he will have to perform ijtihad himself, and he just does not have the pre-requisite knowlege to perfom ijtihad.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: In the Qur’aan, Allaah condemns the one who turns away from following the Messengers and follows instead the religion invented by his forefathers. This is imitation (taqleed) which is forbidden by Allaah and His Messenger, i.e., following someone other than the Messenger in matters that go against the Messenger. This is haraam for everyone according to the consensus of the Muslims, for there is no obedience to any created being if it involves disobedience towards the Creator.

    Agreed, but the concept of taqleed of the four Imaams/Madhabs, is following those who have a DEEP knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah and who have interpreted it for us according to this deep knowledge and insight that they have, so following them is the verry essence of following the Quran and Sunnah, and this kind of taqleed is not forbidden. it is the kind, as said above, that goes against the obedience of Allah and His Messenger [saw] that is forbidden. not the kind that is in accordance with it.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    Obedience to the Messenger is obligatory for every one, elite and common folk alike, at all times and in all places, both inwardly and outwardly, and in all situations… Allaah has enjoined obedience to the Messenger upon all people, in approximately forty places in the Qur’aan.

    Agreed.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    It is permissible for one who is unable to derive rulings to follow a scholar, according to the majority of scholars

    Agreed, and not only is it permissable, but it is obligatory upon them to, for if one who is unable to perform ijtihad does not follow one who is, then how will he know what the correct interpretation or the practices of Islam is?. Such a person is not allowed to derive rulings from the Quran and Sunnah from his ignorance [extremely limmited knolwdge] Cybepi is a good example of what happens when laymen start forming their own personal opinions by reading the just reading the apperant meaning of the Quran.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muslimwoman
    the kind of imitation or following that is forbidden by the texts and according to scholarly consensus is that which goes against the words of Allaah and His Messenger. end quote. [Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 19/260-266 ] May Allah guide us all to the straight path! Wassalam and Allah Almighty knows best.

    Agreed.

    Salaam
     
  3. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    And I cannot agree with you more Brother. Insh'allah I am not an innovator and in matters of jurisprudence I go with my husband to AlAzhar for the answer but only in certain difficult topics. However I am very concerned about the issue of blind following.

    I would like in this post just to address the issue of blind following for now if that is ok.

    You are correct and I did so deliberately. I wanted a view that was outside that of the traditional scholars. As a convert it worries me that for centuries the traditional scholars have had various, and often opposing, views so knowing who to follow is a difficult choice. I therefore went to many, many sources for opinions.

    Allah tells us to obey those with knowledge and authority, so of course I have no problem with following the scholars in matters that I do not understand. However, some people look upon these scholars as infallable, thinking they simply cannot be wrong.

    "The saying of everyone may be taken or rejected except for the companion of this grave" and he pointed to the grave of the Prophet (saw)

    "It is not permissible for any one to give judgement with our saying unless they know the source from which we took it"

    "If the hadeeth is found to be authentic then it is my madhab"


    "If I say something then compare it to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger and if it agrees to them,then accept it and that which goes against them,then reject it and throw my saying against the wall".


    I am sure you will recognise these as the words of the original 4 Imams (may Allah enter them into paradise).

    You use the word ijma - in the 14th century (under al Ghazzali) the ulama transformed the concept of ijma from meaning the 'consensus of the Muslim community' to the 'consensus of the learned' i.e., the ulama themselves. History is littered with scholars and men of power telling the people they are too ignorant and they themselves should take power over the people but just to help them of course!

    They also, at the same time, closed down ijtihad so that independant reasoning was effectively forbidden. This was in the 14th century, so at this time the ulama changed Islam. In the time of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and for a considerable time after that, the imja referred to the Muslim community and independant thought, within the parameters of Islam was encouraged.

    This was the era that ijtihad gave way to taqlid and the Quran became frozen in time. Muslim thought went from constructive reasoning and thirst for knowledge to stagnation and blind following.

    Yes we are told to follow a school of our choice and they do this for reasons of personal consistency or people will pick and choose according to their desires, not because they feel another school has more credibility in an issue. However, what worries me is that the four schools differ greatly on certain issues and they are all caught in the stagnation caused by al Ghazzali and the ulama of the 14th century. This was clearly demonstrated when the ulama banned the printing press for 300 years after the time of al Ghazzali.

    Does that sound familiar? Sounds llike the insistance of the Christian priesthood that the Bible only be published in Latin because laypeople didnt have enough knowledge to understand it.

    I read your thread on the pre -requisites and it took a while but I read it all. Thanks for that.

    Agreed here too, now we just all have to agree who those are that followed them in guidance.

    It is only obligatory because these very men tell us it is obligatory to follow them. We are warned again and again against blind following. Until I find a comprehensive answer to the issue I discuss above (that of the ulama changing Islam in the 14th century) I will not be comfortable with the idea of blindly following any of the schools.

    This is the root of the whole problem.

    "If I say something then compare it to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger and if it agrees to them,then accept it and that which goes against them,then reject it and throw my saying against the wall".

    I can only give an extreme example to make my point.

    In 2003 a high-level Saudi jurist, Shaykh Saleh al-Fawzan, issued a fatwa claiming “Slavery is a part of Islam. Slavery is part of jihad, and jihad will remain as long there is Islam.” He attacked Muslim scholars who said otherwise maintaining, “They are ignorant, not scholars ... They are merely writers. Whoever says such things is an infidel.” At the time of the fatwa, Al-Fawzan was a member of the Senior Council of Clerics, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body, a member of the Council of Religious Edicts and Research, the Imam of Prince Mitaeb Mosque in Riyadh, and a professor at Imam Mohamed Bin Saud Islamic University, the main Wahhabi center of learning in the country.

    When we read further into the subject and ideals of Sheikh al-Fawzan, we see that he is not discussing taking slaves during wartime. He is in fact suggesting that young female slaves be taken, so that the right hand possesses them (and we know what that means). So should we follow this man blindly? Or should we read the Quran and Sunnah and reason that Islam never intended slavery to be used just to satisfy mens desires?

    I know that is an extreme issue but a few prominent Sheikhs have backed his fatwa. My issue is who should we follow? Who, in this day and age, really looks for the good of Islam and the Ummah, rather than for their own power and desires? Basically I am asking who can we trust? As a woman these contentious issues tend to arise more frequently than they do for men.



    I would be very interested in your comments Brother.

    Salaam
     
  4. Abdullah

    Abdullah Well-Known Member

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    Assalamualikum wr wb sister,

    Taqlid only concerns that which is not obvious, so your right that there are things which we [the laymen] ourselves can know without reffering to the Scholars.

    The advocates of Taqlid claim nothing more than the following:

    1. There is no Taqlid in the fundemental Beliefs in Islam
    2. There is no Taqlid in issues which are obvious and which have been transmitted to the degree that they have become almost undoubted
    3. There is no Taqlid in those issues of the Quran and Sunnah which are conclusive and not contradictory.
    4 Taqlid is made on those issues which there are different and perhaps contradictory statements on the same issue in the Quran and Sunnah and where instead of relying on one's own judgement, the opinion of an expert Scholar is trusted and adhered to.
    5 The Mujtahid is not infallible and therefore his opinions are subject to correction
    6 If an expert Scholar finds a sound hadith to which there is no contradictions, then he must forsake the opinion of his Imam and follow the hadith.

    90-91

    Now the way the traditional Scholars interpret those statements of the Mujtahid Imaams that suggests that people shouldn't just accept any of their sayings without checking it with the Quran and Sunnah, is that these statements are only directed towards the Mujtahids and not the muqallids [laymen].

    Here is an example of how traditional Scholars interpret these sayings of the imaams:

    Imaam Maalik said regarding the difference of opinions amongst the Sahabah [ra]: "Among them is the one that is wrong and the one that is right: therefore you must exercise ijtihad."

    Ibn -Al Salah explained the above swtatement as such:

    "...this applies exclusively to the mujtahid as he said: "you must exercise ijtihad," because the mujtahid's competence makes him legally responsible (mukallaf) to exercise ijtihad and there is no flexibility allowed for him over the matter of their difference. The flexibility applies exclusively to the unqualified follower (muqallid)"

    There is evidence from the lives and sayings of the Imaams themselves that they have endorsed taqlid:

    The Imaams lives were filled with incidences and occasions where laypeople asked them hundreds of questions to which they answered without volunteering any proofs. Taqllid's permissability was never questioned during the era of the mujtahid's. If such a practice were held to be invalid, the imaams would never have allowed themselves to be it's tools.

    Hasan has narrated from Imaam Abu Hanifa: "When the mufti is such that he is a mujtahid, then the layperson must follow him, even if the mufti has erred in his judgement; Ibn Rustum from Muhammad and Bashir Ibn Walid from Abu Yusuf [I think Muhammad and Abu Yusuf were two Mujtahid students of Abu Hanifa...]

    Imam Abu yusuf continues: "The layperson must follow the jurists, since he is not capable of understanding the hadith independently"

    Ibn Taymiyyah reprted that Imaam Ahmed Ibn Hanbal used to:

    "instruct the layperson to ask Ibn Ishak, Abu Thaur and Abu Musab. However he used to prohibit his companions like Abu Dawood, Uthman Ibn Saeed, Ibraheem Al Harbi, Abu Bakar al Athrum, etc, etc, to follow anyone. He would say to them: "You must follow the source of the Quran and Sunnah".

    This statement of Ibn Taymiyyah makes it verry clear that taqlid was unsuitable only for those Scholars/students who themselves were jurists...as for those who did not possess the requsite qualifications, they are strongly implored to follow a mujtahid and practice taqlid. Infact Taqlid for the non-Scholar was so overwhelmingly accepted amongst the Scholars, that only the mutazilah disagreed with the idea.

    94-95
     
  5. Abdullah

    Abdullah Well-Known Member

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    Now regarding the major differences of opinions in the four madhab, Islam allows differences of opinions. There is a hadith in which the Prophet [saw] said: "Difference of opinion in my Community is a mercy for people"
    1. 1. al-Hafiz al-Bayhaqi in his book al-Madkhal and al-Zarkashi in his Tadhkirah fi al-ahadith al-mushtaharah relate:
      Imam al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr al-Siddiq said: "The differences among the Companions of Muhammad are a mercy for Allah's servants."
      al-Hafiz al-`Iraqi the teacher of Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani said:
      This is a saying of al-Qasim ibn Muhammad who said: The difference of opinion among the Companions of Muhammad is a mercy.
    2. Al-Hafiz Ibn al-Athir in the introduction to his Jami` al-usul fi ahadith al-rasul relates the above saying from Imam Malik according to al-Hafiz Ibn al-Mulaqqin in his Tuhfat al-muhtaj ila adillat al-Minhaj and Ibn al-Subki in his Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya.
    3. Bayhaqi and Zarkashi also said: Qutada said: `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz used to say: "I would dislike it if the Companions of Muhammad did not differ among them, because had they not differed there would be no leeway (for us)."
    4. Bayhaqi also relates in al-Madkhal and Zarkashi in the Tadhkira: al-Layth ibn Sa`d said on the authority of Yahya ibn Sa`id: "The people of knowledge are the people of flexibility (tawsi`a). Those who give fatwas never cease to differ, and so this one permits something while that one forbids it, without one finding fault with the other when he knows of his position."
    5. Difference of opinion in religion is of three kinds:
    6. In affirming the Creator and His Oneness: to deny it is disbelief;
    7. In His attributes and will: to deny them is innovation;
    8. In the different rulings of the branches of the law (ahkam al-furu`): Allah has made them mercy and generosity for the scholars, and that is the meaning of the hadith: "Difference of opinion in my Community is a mercy."
    9. al-Hafiz al-Suyuti says in his short treatise Jazil al-mawahib fi ikhtilaf al-madhahib (The abundant grants concerning the differences among the schools):
    10. "The hadith "Difference of opinion in my Community is a mercy for people" has many benefits among which are the fact that the Prophet foretold of the differences that would arise after his time among the madhahib in the branches of the law, and this is one of his miracles because it is a foretelling of things unseen. Another benefit is his approval of these differences and his confirmation of them because he characterizes them as a mercy. Another benefit is that the legally responsible person can choose to follow whichever he likes among them. [After citing the saying of `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz already quoted (#3 above), Suyuti continues:] This indicates that what is meant is their differences in the rulings in the branches of the law".
    Ijma - consensus of scholars

    these are just some of the evidence that difference of opinions in the four school of thought [even though it may be major] are allowed in Islam and is a mercy to the Umaah.

    So it is clear to see from the above evidence that the traditional Scholars are correct in their opinion of taqlid and of valid differences of opinions, and that these two opinions of theirs is based on the Quran and Sunnah, and that they havn't 'changed' from the original Islam.
     
  6. Abdullah

    Abdullah Well-Known Member

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    The above evidence has also showed that the view of acceptance of taqlid and acceptance of differences of opinions, is based on evidence from the first three centuries of Islam and that it weren't adopted as a bidah in the fourteenth cenutry.

    And regarding the view that the traditional Scholars 'changed' Islam in the fourteenth century, there is evidence in the Quran and Sunnah that there will ALLWAYS be a group of people that will have the correct interpretation of Islam and will be on the right path untill the last day so that means that the Islamic teachings couldn't have been distorted in the fourteenth century, and thus the comrehensively true teachings of Islam lost untill the Salafi's came along to interpret Islam correctly again:

    Mufti Taqi Usmani says on a simmilar issue:

    Indeed We have revealed the Zikr (ie. the Qur’ân) and surely We will preserve it. (15:9)

    In this verse, Allâh Almighty has assured the preservation of the Holy Qur’ân. This implies that the Qur’ân will remain uninterpolated and that it shall always be transferred from one generation to the other in its real and original form ...


    http://ccm-inc.org/oldsite/iqra/arti...sun/chap3.html

    There is a hadith that says:

    "There will always be a group from my Community that fight for truth and remain victorious until Judgment Day." Ijma - consensus of scholars

    Which corrobarates the view that there will allways be a group of people that will be on the right path.

    And rationality dictates that if there will allways be a group of people on the right path, then it has to be a traditional group.

    I posted a post once on another forum to show some 'modernist' sisters that they should adopt the traditional view that hijab is fardh, as there is a traditional consensus on this view, and in the process of pointing out to them of how the traditional consensus could not be wrong, I pointed out to them the correct group of muslims that are on the right path. I will cut and paste that post below inshAllah, as it provides evidence that the four Schools of thought are amongst/comprise of the traditional group that have not strayed from the right path.
     
  7. Abdullah

    Abdullah Well-Known Member

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    We have to take all our evidences from the Quran and the Sunnah, to make up our minds about any matter in Islam.

    Allah [swt] says in the Quran that He will protect the Quran from corruption, and as a neccesity, this promise of protection also extends to the Sunnah, for the Sunnah is the Prophetic interpretation, and practical example of the Quran, which without, the Quran will not be able to fullfill it's purpose.

    So we can be sure that the correct interpretation of the Quran is out there.

    Also, what the promise of protection verse indicats to us is that, there would allways be a group of Muslims who wil be on the right path till the last day, for they will allways have the correct interpretation of the Quran.

    There is a hadith which says: ""There will always be a group from my Community that fight for truth and remain victorious until Judgment Day."
    Ijma - consensus of scholars

    which further corraborates this fact.

    So therefore, we should not think that the corect interpretation of Islam is lost or that all the traditional Muslims have gone astray.

    Now the Quranic and Sunnah evidence and a bit of common sense will easily lead us to the group of Muslims who have the orignal teachings of Islam and thus are on the right path.

    Allah says in the Quran "Hold fast to the rope of Allah, all of you, and do not split into factions" (3:103).

    The above verse shows that whoever splits away from the teachings of the traditonal Muslims and forms their own faction, or interpretation of the Quran, then they have gone astray for they have directly violated Allah's command of not to split into factions.

    And a bit of rationalising tells us that, if there will allways be a group of Muslims in the right path, then it has to be a traditonal group.

    So now to see which traditional group are on the right path.

    Again, the eivdence of that is found in the Quran and Sunah.

    In aditon to vers 3: 103, Allah also says in another verse: "Restrain thyself along with those who call upon their Lord at morning and evening, seeking his pleasure; and let not thine eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp of this worldly life; and obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance, who followeth his own lust and whose case has gone beyond all bounds." (18:29)

    The above verses show that we should not seperate ourselves from the main body of the traditional Muslims.

    Hadiths very clearly point out the same:

    "You have to follow the congregation for verily Allah will not make the largest group of Muhammad's community agree on error."

    "Verily Allah will not make my community -- or Muhammad's community -- agree on error, and Allah's hand is with the largest congregation." Tirmidhi said: "And the meaning of "jama`a" according to the people of knowledge is: the people of jurisprudence, learning, and hadith."

    "My community shall never agree upon misguidance, therefore, if you see divergences, you must follow the greater mass or larger group."
    Ijma - consensus of scholars

    The above hadiths are verry clear that the greatest mass/larger group of Muslims will be on the correct path.

    History also tells us that, the traditional Muslims who have not split up into factions and have allways remained with the main body of Muslims, have allways been the largest group [some broke away and formed the shia sec, some forme the mutazila sect, etc]

    The above hadiths shows us also that consensus can never be wrong, and they also indicate that, it is the consensus of the largest group of Muslims that the Prophet [saw] was reffering to.

    A bit of rationalisation and look into history, also tells us that consensus pertains to the largest group of Muslims.

    Here is how rationality indicate this:

    The Sahaba [ra], had consensus on many matters, then the Tabieen [the next generation of Muslims] had the same consensus, and the taba-tabieen [the next generation after the tabieen] had the same consensus, thereafter, some Muslims started to break up into factions, [if the shia's broke away before the three generations, then if they contradicted the Sahaba's consensus, they did not effect the consensus for their contradictory views are not valid, as they didn't keep to the righteous path of not disagreeing with consensus] and any faction that disagreed with any of the consensus' of the first three generation, such astray opinions of theirs weren't valid as they did not take heed of clear evidence that consensus' could not be wrong. Thus the consensus' of the main body of Muslims that did not beak up into faction, are the consensus' that remain so untill the last day.

    Mujtahids are major Scholars that are qualified to perform ijtihad, and there many Mujtahids in the early centurires...some Mujtahids learnt/gathered the comprehesive teachings of Islam and thus the laymen Mulims started to take all their teachings of of them...soon, all the traditional school of thuoghts died out, except the Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafi, Maaliki ones; [these four schools of thought have been verified and endorsed by the consensus of the Scholars as well] thus all the Scholars have prohibbited following any other schools of thought other than one of these four, for no other traditional School ha survived.

    The Prophet [saw] said: "Believe my Companions, then those who succeed them, and after that those who succeed the Successors. But after them falsehood will prevail when people will swear to the truth without having been asked to swear, and testify without having been asked to testify. Only those who seek the pleasures of Paradise will keep to the Congregation..."

    So there is evidence that the first three generations were upon righteous, and that is all the more reason to trust in the ijthad of the four great Imaams who were all from the third generation.

    Now that I have showed the way of the righteous path...
     
  8. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    As salaam alykum Brother Abdullah

    Thank you for your posts, this is a most interesting conversation. Please be aware that I am not advocating throwing the rule books away and doing as we please but I have genuine concerns regarding blind following.

    The Rightly Guided Caliphs (called this because they followed in the Prophet Mohammads (pbuh) footsteps, encouraging education, rights for women, political and administrative behaviour, etc, etc).

    Abu Bakr 632-634
    Umar 634-644
    Uthman 644-656
    Ali 656-661

    So in reply to my concerns you quote the very traditionalists that I fear changed Islam. Abu Yusuf and Taymiyyah are of the latter time of the ‘closing of the gates’.

    Imam Abu Yusuf 1184-1119 Traditionalist
    Ibn Taymiyyah 1263-1328 Traditionalist

    The closing of the gates is a fact of history that cannot be denied, the scholars simply disagree as to which century this took place. So as we accept it took place, we must also accept that it caused an alteration and a diverting of the teachings (hence the number of sects).

    Of the four Sunnite legal schools, the Shafi'iyah, the Malikiyah, and the Hanafiyah all embrace taqlid, while the Hanabilah reject it.

    And what should a good Muslim woman do if she just happens to belong to the wrong school of thought? An example, the question of placing the condition of monogamy in a marriage contract and obtaining a divorce if her husband does marry a second wife. If you look this question up you will see the dilemma for women. Of the 4 schools, 1 rejects this outright saying women cannot place conditions on marriage and polygamy is allowed so no divorce. 1 accepts that conditions can be placed but as polygamy is allowed then the divorce is a no-no. and 2 state that both conditions apply. So is it just pot luck for us laypeople? If you belong to school number 1 you are seriously oppressed, number 2 slightly oppressed and number 3 & 4 lifes ok – phew picked the right one. This of course is just one minor example and I would like to hear your comments on how all of the schools can be right about this.


    Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) also informed them that this Ummah will be divided in 73 groups, one of which will be protected from hell, while the other 72 will be sects of bid'ah and dalalah. We must be very careful in avoiding getting involved in sects of bid'ah.

    I go back to my question – which one? To say the one with the majority of followers is a nonsense because even that is divided into differing schools of thought. Has anyone counted to see if there are 73 sects yet?
     
  9. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Sorry if this looks wierd, have had problems with net connection so did it in word & pasted over.

    I think we can both agree that Sheikh al-Alwani is a reliable source? I have included just a few of his credentials. This is a small cut & paste from a very lengthy paper he wrote on the subject we are discussing.

    I have underlined 2 pieces where the scholars disagree about the century of ‘the closing of the gates’ but they certainly both agree that it is historical fact.

    As you can see,

    Dr. Sheikh Taha Jabir al-Alwani, a leading Sunni Islamic thinker and jurist, who currently serves as the Chairman of the Fiqh (Jurisprudence) Council of North America. As the Mufti (Chief Legislator), al-Alwani faces important challenges of living and working as a member of a minority group in a Christian and ultra-modern environment. Having the expertise of an Al-Azhar University graduate in the Islamic sources.


    Sheikh Taha Jabir al-Alwani was born in 1935 to a Sunni family in Iraq. Sheikh al-Alwani's family name marks him as a related to the Abu Alwan clan who live in the vicinity of the Euphrates, not far from Baghdad. Al-Alwani was educated at Al-Azhar University in Cairo over a period of almost twenty years. In 1973 he submitted his doctorate on the roots of Muslim jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh)3, which best qualifies the candidate to become a Muslim legislator (Mufti). At the same time Al-Alwani gained experience as a chaplain and lecturer in the field of Islamic Studies teaching at Iraq's Military Academy between 1963 and 1969.4

    Al-Alwani is a prolific writer who has published books on a variety of subjects in the areas of Law, Islamic legal tradition and Islamic thought; more specifically on the rights of the defendant, women's status, mixed marriages, finance, the stock market, Jihad, conflict resolution, democracy and other subjects.

    The Historical Justification for the Application of the Principle of Ijtihad
    Ijtihad and "The closing of the gates"
    Ijtihad is a traditio-historic Islamic concept, which signifies the independence of thought vis-à-vis religious rulings; the literal translation of the term is "effort" or "diligence". Islamic religious rulings must be based upon "the roots of the jurisprudence" (Usul al-Fiqh), which are the Koran, the oral traditions stemming from the prophet himself or traditions concerning his life (Sunnat al-Nabi, al-Hadith), syllogisms (Qiyas) and consensus among all Muslims (Ijma’). The use of syllogisms as a tool requires independent thought and is thus related to Ijtihad. The late Prof. Hava Lazarus-Yaffe defined the Islamic syllogism as “an analogy, or in other words the drawing of a logical conclusion on the basis of specific scriptures in the Koran or in the Sunnah, or on the basis of an analysis of the reasoning behind such scripture”. For example, the Koran expressly forbids the drinking of wine - other inebriating beverages are not mentioned. The prohibitions against drinking these other alcoholic beverages is learned by syllogism, or in other words by comparing these drinks to wine.22
    The Ijtihad principle has gone through a change since it was first introduced as a principle, also known as "the closing of the gates of the Ijtihad". Without referring to it by name, Al-Alwani states "from the sixth century onwards nobody has made use of the Ijtihad principle as a tool of interpreting the Usul al-Fiqh…the science of Usul al-Fiqh has remained in the same place it was back in the sixth century."23
    Not all scholars of Islam agree with this statement. In Schacht's opinion, the use of the Ijtihad principle was not restricted until the ninth century. When the traditions of that time were set, however, Muslims were required to accept the more established doctrines without question.24 According to Schacht, the formative period of Islamic Law came to its conclusion in the tenth century, with the formation of four accepted schools. From this moment onwards, the period of "Taqlid" (imitation) begins.



    A concise explanation of ‘the closing of the gates’

    the restrictions placed on independent reasoning in the formulation of legal rules with the 'Closing of the Gates of Ijtihad' in the 10th Century. This episode in Islamic history has ultimately been blamed for the stagnation in Islamic thinking from that time onwards. Joseph Schacht, a specialist in Islamic legal history, narrates the consequences of the change, "By the beginning of the fourth century of the hijra [approx. A.D 900] .… the point had been reached when the scholars of all schools felt that all essential questions had been thoroughly discussed and finally settled, and a consensus gradually established itself to the effect that from that time onwards no one might be deemed to have the necessary qualifications for independent reasoning in law, and that all future activity would have to be confined to the explanation, application, and, at the most, interpretation of the doctrine as it had been laid down once and for all. This 'closing of the door of ijtihad, as it was called, amounted to the demand for taklid, a term … [which] came to mean the unquestioning acceptance of the doctrines of established schools and authorities."


    So some scholars agree that Ijtihad has not been used for a number of centuries now. Perhaps that is why Muslims under shari'a law still use the barbaric method of stoning rape victims to death? Would you call that justice? (even though there is not one single verse in the Quran to justify this abhorrent practice?)

    Do you see where I am going with this? To follow blindly is to accept what is now unacceptable and certainly not sanctioned by Allah. We are then left trying to explain ourselves, even to ourselves.

    Salaam
     
  10. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Agree 100%. I just don't agree that we must follow a school blindly, sinning if we ask questions.



    I agree that Allah has protected the Quran but where does He say He will protect the hadiths? Yes the correct interpretation is out there but where?




    Forgive me but you seem to be making some rather sizeable assumptions saying the corroborates a fact. The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) stated that there would be 73 sects but he did not tell us which one, so out of the 73 to choose from the odds are not very good at picking the right one.



    Again, agree 100% but which one? You believe that you have chosen the right sect of 73 but must I believe that too because you say so?



    Here I take you back to my question regarding conditions for marriage contract and divorce. They cannot all be on the right path. Either conditions are allowed and/or divorce under these conditions is allowed and/or they are not allowed and polygamy is the answer. To say they are all on the right path seems rather like blind following, imagine the conversation "we will all disagree but tell you to believe us all and you are not allowed to question that some of us might be wrong".



    Oh I wish that the scholars had done that.



    Please Brother, read that statement back to yourself. It was the scholars that split into factions, the ummah just followed, so the very people you insist we must trust to guide us have guided us off the right path. We have 4 schools of traditional thought, who regularly differ in opinion and no matter how many pretty words you put around it that = factions.



    Forgive me again but the very point of this conversation is taqlid, which states we, the laypeople, must not rationalise. I agree 110% that it must be THE traditional group 'The Rightly Guided', we must return to their teachings.



    So you do not see the 4 different schools with their sometimes opposing views as different factions? Is that like saying an apple, an orange and 2 bananas are all fruit?

    I will stop there or I shall just keep repeating myself. But what of the words of Allah warning us that doing things just because our fathers did is no defence. The verses of the Quran and hadiths that tell us not to follow blindly. Then we follow blindly because the scholars tell us that is what was meant? We must question or we do not learn.

    I apologise Brother but I am far from convinced and I am not just trying to be stubborn but nothing you have shown me has taken away my fear of taqlid.

    Salaam
     
  11. Abdullah

    Abdullah Well-Known Member

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    Wa alaikum salam sister,




    If by 'closing of the gates' your reffering to the prohibition of laymen following any other School of thought other than the four School of thoughts, then that has been done for the following reason:


    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.” ​




    It seems following all other school of thoughts other than the four, has been prohibtted by consensus, because the other traditional Schools of though died out or were not comprehensive in their teachings.​


    The statements below gives further indication of why the prohibition was implemented:​


    After mentioning the pre-requsites of a Mujtahid, Shaykh Murabtal Haj says:​


    "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". ​


    Imam Illish says:​


    "...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 Uyaynah says:​


    “Also, they [the four Imams] 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 gharib9 transmissions...". ​


    If you mean by 'closing of the gates' that the practice of ijtihad has been stopped, that is not true, as people are free to study in the line of qualifying as a Mujtahid and thereafter, practice ijtihad, as the following statement in Shaykh Murabtal Haj's fatwa shows:​


    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.” ​



    Ibn Taymiyyah contradicted the ahle Sunnah in several/many? of his views thus we only take from Ibn Taymiyyah what is in accordance with the ahle Sunnah and do not take from him, what goes against it.

    But what about Abu Hanifa's statement that endorses taqlid? surely that is clear evidence that the great Mujtahid Imam was pro-taqlid?



    There is only two kind of 'closing of the gates' that took place, and that is the kind that prohibts the laymen from following any other school than the traditional four, and that was done for reasons of other traditional Schools dynig out, or not being comprehensive in their teachings, and because it is unlikely for the general Scholars to be a Jurist with all the pre-requisites of a jury that is needed, thus if the door of allowing laymen to follow other school of thoughts is left open, than many unscrupulous and deviant Scholars will lead many astray by claiming they are worthy of being followed. Even despite their being a traditional consensus on the prohibition, yet such deviant schools have propped up and are leading many Muslims who dont know any better, astray, so just imagine what would have happened if there was no prohibition to such a thing? ...And the other kind was of 'picking and choosing' from all four madhabs, and that was for reasons of closing the gates to following one's desires.

    Prohibition of following any other absolute Mujtahid other than the four Schools have not lead to any alteration or divertion of the teachings. If anything, they have prevented a lot of diversions and alterations than the one's there are now in the deviant schools that have propped up



    Hanbali's do not reject Taqlid, it is the Wahhabi's that reject it and purport it to be a Hanbali view.



    The door to 'picking and choosing according to one's desire' has to stay locked, so therefore it is not allowed to 'pick and choose' from the different school of thought. However, in certain circumstances, it is allowed to 'convert' to another madhab, and one of these circumstances is, if a couple belong to two different madhabs, then one of them can convert to their partners one, in order to be compatiable together as man and wife, there may be other simmilar circumstances as well.

    Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, who is a faqih of the Maaliki madhab, specialises in contemporary fiqh [of minorites] and he has said that in the west, Muslims are allowed to adopt views from the other three schools of thought, but only in matters where there are genuine need, due to the difficulties which life in the west presents for the muslims.



    Heres a hadith in which the Prophet [saw] says about the 73 sects:

    "The Holy Prophet Muhammmed [sm] said: "There was disagreement amongst the Jews and they split into 72 groups. In exactly the same way, their will be disagreements and divisions in my Ummah. It will split into 73 groups. Apart from one of those groups, all the remaining 72 will be thrown into hell". When asked which group will be on the right path, the Holy Prophet muhammed [sm] replied: "The group on the right path, which will enter Paradise, will be the group that follows my Sunnah and that of the Sahabah [ra] AND THIS WILL BE THE LARGEST GROUP OF MUSLIMS" [Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood, Imaam Ahmed, Mishkat].

    So the correct sect being the largest group of Muslims is nonsense is it? :)



    Differences of opinions are a mercy to the Ummah of muhammad [saw] and all the four schools of thought accept that all the differences of opinions amnogst them are valid, thus they are one united group. Even the Sahabah [ra] had differences of opinions.

    Here's more evidence of the correct group of muslims that are on the right path:

    "Allah's hand is over the group, follow the largest mass, for verily whoever dissents from them, departs to hell" [narrated by Al-Hakim and Al-Tabari from Ibn Abbas [ra] and al-Lalika'i in al-Sunnah and al-Hakim also narrated it from Ibn Umar ra]

    "You have to follow the congregation [Jama'a] for verily Allah will not make the largest group of Muhammed's [sm] community [Ummah] agree on error" [Ibn Abi Shaybah related it with a Sahih chain]

    "Verily Allah will not make my community - or Muhammed's [sm] community - agree on error, and Allah's hand is with the largest congregation" [Tirmidhi, #2256]

    And the meaning of 'jama'a' [congregation] that is used in the above hadiths is: The people of jurisprudence, learning and hadith [i.e., the Scholars]

    And the meaning of 'Ummah' [community] that is used in the preceding hadiths is:

    It means the overwhelming majority of the Muslims, This is the prevailing view, confirmed by many hadiths of the Sahabas [ra] and also by the hadiths of the Prophet [sm] on "Jama'a" and "sawad al-azam" [the vast majority]

    "Allah's hand is over the group" [Tirmidhi, Hasan]

    al-Munawi [ra] said: "Allah's hand is over the group means His protection and preservation for them, signifynig that the collectivity of the people of Islam are in Allah's folds, so be also in Allah's shelter, in the midst of them, and do not seperate yourselves from them. Whoever diverges from the overwhelming majority concerning what is lawfull and unlawfull and on which the community does not differ, has slipped of the path of guidance and this will lead him to hell"

    Salaam
     
  12. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Why? For the first 8-900 years of islam, before the closing of the gates, there were many, many scholars specialising in different aspects of Islamic life. Does it not then seem arrogant to say "we four are right, everyone else is wrong and you (the laypeople) are prohibited from following any but us".



    This appears to confirm the closing of the gates, there were many schools of thought and many did not "die out" they were simply rejected by the four schools and the ummah was instructed to follow the four schools - this instruction coming from the four schools.



    By consensus? Whose? It was the consensus of the four schools, not the consensus of all scholars or the ummah.



    I do not dispute what is required for anyone to qualify as a scholar so I will not address this issue.

    However, I agree completely with the above comment, Islam has become a stanger and it is my view that we must re-evaluate our position, accept change within the boundaries set by Allah and stop blindly following people for whom (through no fault of their own) have become estranged from Islam because of the system set up during the closing of the gates.



    I support completely the first 3 generations of Muslim scholars but the four schools do not follow their teachings as stated here, they only follow carefully selected pieces.

    A question to demonstrate this: During the first 800 years of Islam women were given specific rights. Men and women were given equal rights in all things that did not go against the roles of men and women. Both men and women are told to dress and behave modestly, yet these days women must dress as nuns and men run around in their trendy clothes. Islam gave women the right to divorce, the right to own property, to inherit, to speak publically and be an active part of the ummah - the list is endless. So if the four schools are following the teachings of the first three generations of Muslims then were did these rights go? Why is that my husband can divorce me in under a minute and it would take me up to 4 years to get a divorce from him? Why are women in pakistan, India and Bangladesh forced into marriage? Why are women stoned to death for the 'crime' of being raped? These are realities in Islam today that simply did not exist during the first 800 years of Islam, so when and why did it change?

    What I mean by closing of the gates is the point in time when the traditional scholars decided "every question that could ever be asked has been asked" so they decided that all future scholars must make every ruling based on what had gone before up to that point in time. You can look it up, this was actually said by the traditional scholars, it is recorded. This opinion does not allow for any change in society, it does not accept changes in human morality (ie stoning, slavery, etc).
    Yes one of his opinions you will not accept is of course that of the unlawfulness of blind following. He was an excellent scholar, yet you reject much of his thinking because he refused to follow blindly.

    What about the views of the scholars from the 800's? Al Tabri, alMasudi, al Athir and ibn Khaldun, all great historians and scholars who said

    "All records, by their very nature, are liable to error". They stated that "the first of these is partisanship towards a creed or opinion". These men were of the great Islamic thinkers and yet their thoughts can be rejected because they did not believe in blind following?

    The four schools may state that "there is only two kind of closing of the gate" but history is very, very clear - there is only one kind. The term closing of the gates was a specific and well documented period in Islamic history, where the thought process of scholars was stopped, free thinking and studying of the Quran (by scholars) was prohibited and all scholars were gagged, blindfolded and instructed to follow blindly. Islam has stood still from that time. I do not take these views from western scholars but from Islamic philosophers, scholars and historians, past and present, who desire a return to the true Islam, where women are not oppressed, education is paramount and the Islamic community works.

    As you are so convinced that nothing changed at this point in history I will be delighted to hear your answer to my above question (where did the rights of women go).

    taqlid: Definition and Much More from Answers.com



    No, your opinion that any given school, in 2007, is the largest sect is nonsense. A huge proportion of the ummah is questioning taqlid and how far Islam has gone astray from it's original teachings. Millions of people every year convert to Islam but do not follow one of the traditional schools, I live in a country that is 98% Muslim but most of the people accept that the traditional schools have outdated themselves (try reading Arabic newspapers, some are online translated into english). Many scholars, including traditional ones, are realising that the lack of willingness to change is damaging the ummah and Islam. do you have figures for how many Muslims follow each school? Not how many have their names on the books but how many actually follow the school (my conversion was performed at Al Azhar so no doubt they class me as one of their number but I do not follow their teachings blindly so would not include myself in their number).

    Thank you for all the pasted quotes but you have completely failed to answer my question. Forgive me Brother Abdullah, I have no desire to insult you, I enjoy our discussions but I would be interested in your own thoughts, how you qualify that all 4 schools are right when their opinions are oppossing. How can all four schools be right in the question of conditions of marriage and divorce? Either it is correct that a woman can make conditions on a marriage contract or it is incorrect. Either a woman can divorce if these conditions are not met or she cannot. Please answer the question, something cannot be two different things at the same time.

    I am open minded and therefore accept, more than most, differences of opinions but I cannot accept this wishy washy, we are all right no matter how we differ. This is how the ummah has strayed, lack of decisive leadership, lack of willingness to change with time and society and insistence on staying on a given track even when you can see the train hurtling toward you.

    Salaam
     
  13. Abdullah

    Abdullah Well-Known Member

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    To follow blindly, without asking questions, or sinning if we ask questions, is not the concept of taqlid.

    Here is what taqlid is:

    Since the laymen cannot precisely and acurately judge the evidence of the Quran and Sunnah [on views which Scholars differ in, or which may appear to be condradictory] which is needed to form an opinion from them [as one has to have the insight of a mujtahid in order to be able to do that], that is why they have no choice but to follow the opinion of an expert Scholar on the matter rather than base their opinion on the understanding of their unqualified selves.

    They can trust in the opinions of the four schools of thoughts, as the four school of thoughts have been endorsed and verified by the consensus of the Scholars, thus they can accept their opinions without having to check it with the Quran and Sunnah, and checking it with the Quran and Sunnah does not apply to them iether, as they need the insight of a mujtahid to be able to understand comprehensively of wether the opinion is infact acording to the Quran and Sunnah [by checking it themsleves, thus if they want to understand how it is in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah, at a deeper level, which all laymen are encouraged to understand, then they still have to rely on the explanation of an expert Scholar. The explanation that they will get be rational, so they do and can rationalise in that sense.

    Basically, the laymen are encouraged to ask questions, rationalise and learn what evidence the opinions are based on, but they are not allowed to independently form opinions on matters which requires ijtihad, for they are not qualified to perform ijtihad. On matters that require ijtihad, they have no choice but to rely on the mujtahids.

    They are free, and even encouraged to learn the sciences of ijtihad and try and qualify as a mujtahid, but before they qualify as one, they cannot form fiqhi opinions from their independent/personal understanding.

    [hope I've said enough to make it clear :) ]




    The correct interpretation of the Quran has been protected, as a neccessity, along with the Quran, by Allah [swt], for otherwise, there would be no meaning to just protecting the text of the holy Quran and leave it's correct interpretation at the mercy of the distorters, for the reason why the Quran is protected is so that people can get guidance from it till the last day, and without the Prophetic interpretation, just the text of the Quran isn't enough for people to get acurate and comprehensive guidance from it.

    The Sunnah is defined as what the prophet [saw] said, did, and silently consented to, and thus the Prophetic interpretation of the Quran [which also includes it's practical example] is the Sunnah [tafsir, fiqh, practical example of the Quran, all fall under the definition of the Sunnah], and hadiths are what the Prophet [saw] said, or documentation of what he did and silently consented to.

    So it will be neccassary for the hadiths to be protected in order for the Sunnah to be protected.

    Now I am not saying that each and every hadith of the Prophet [saw] has been reliably preserved, but what I am saying is that at least enough of the hadith has been reliably preserved in order for the faqih's and the mufasireens to derive an acurate interpretation of the Quran, and comprehensive fiqh.

    I answered a simmilar question before, so I will cut and paste that in the post below, for all our benifit inshAllah.



    He [saw] did tell us which one, take a look at the hadiths which I posted in the above post.

    Which sect consists of the largest group/greatest mass? [are the hadiths not clear?]



    All the strong opinions of the four school of thoughts are correct, even though they may differ.

    The teachings of Islam is vast, and every mujtahid's understanding is not the same; one would come to one conlusion with the [comprehensive] evidence in front of him, and another would come to another, but because they have been reached in all sincerity, and according to their best judgement, and the evidence whcih they have in front of them, that is why they both/all are correct.

    These differences of opinions are all correct for the mujtahids in the sense that they know that, "mines is correct for me, and his is correct for him, and their all correct for the laymen as they have flexibility to choose either one of them. And only one of them is correct for them in the sense that, they have to legally/intellectually judge between them and decide on one.



    The Scholars of the four Schools have done that.



    Did the Sahabah's[ra] break up into factions, when they themselves had differences of opinions between them?

    The prophet [saw] himself aproved of valid differences of opinions, and said that they were all right:

    There is a hadith in which it says that the prophet [saw] adviced a group of Sahaba's [ra] to not pray asr? till they get to a certain place. When the Sahaba's set out on their journey and magrib? time was drawing near, one group from amongst the Sahaba's understood that the Prophet [saw] didn't mean that delay the asr prayer even if the time of asr passes, so they decided to offer the prayer before magrib time set, thus before they reached their destination... antoher group came to the conclusion that since the Prophet [saw] said not to offer the asr prayer before they reach a certain place [destination?], than they should not do so even if asr time passes, so they waited untill they actually reached their destination...

    When they returned...they told the Prophet [SAW] of waht they done and the Prophet [saw] told them that both groups done right.

    So here we have an example of how two groups of Sahabah [ra] understood the words of the Prophet [saw] differently, and formed two different opinions from it, and the Prophet [saw] confirmed that they were both right.

    Here is what Shaykh Abdullah Bin Baayyah said about how to go about differences of opinions:

    we have to understand that we need to have solidarity. In order for us to have solidarity, there is something that is very important that we must understand about our legal structure, which is the jurisprudence of difference of opinion: fiqh al-khilaaf. We have to look deeply into this because if we understand this, this is a way in which we can be united and have good feelings towards each other and not negative feelings based on our understandings of valid differences of opinion amongst us. This last week in the classes that many of you have attended, we have been looking at usool al fiqh: the foundations upon which our fiqh is based. We looked at many differences of opinion amongst the scholars and how they were linguistically valid, how they were actually differences of opinion that had foundations; they were not differences based upon empty opinions. They were differences based on real issues that have validity and substance. If we understand that, this will enable us to rise up spiritually to another level of relationship with our fellow Muslims. It will take us to a higher level so that we begin to have differences that are still based on love and mutual respect. We will begin to see that there are different ways of doing things and that there is validity in them all.

    [SIZE=-1]We can learn a lesson from the western people who have individuality as one of the foundations of their culture. They respect the rights of people to explore their individuality. There is some good in this understanding, and the Muslims should learn from this even though it is originally from our own tradition. We should see that part of their strength lies in this ability. What this will enable us to do is build bridges. Despite the fact that there are two different opinions which place us in two different positions, this love and mutual respect enables a bridge to be built from one perspective to another perspective, and this creates contact; this creates the ability for us to visit each other, to be together. We should look at these hadiths in which the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said, "the Muslims are one hand;" "the Muslims are strong;" "a Muslim is strong by his brother;" "the Muslims come together as one hand against those who oppose them;" "the Muslims are like one body: if one part becomes afflicted with some illness, the rest of the body shares in that affliction with insomnia and fever."[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=-1]Furthermore, the Quran says, "Do not disagree:" do not "tanaasi'u;" that is a strong word in Arabic. It is different from "ikhtilaaf: disagreement." "Tanaasi'u" is saying, do not have conflict with one another-not disagreement-but conflict. Do not have conflict with one another, and if you do that, the wind that gives you strength to move forward will dissipate, and you will fail in your task. You will fail in what you want to achieve. Allah subhaana wa ta'aala said, "Rectify what is of between you." That is, Allah says to rectify the differences that you have. Rectify the hearts, so that you come together. The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam,said, "Al-muslimu akh ul-muslim: The Muslim is a brother of his fellow Muslim." He does not oppress him nor does he give him up to the enemy. Thus, all of these are indications that we should be together in spite of our differences if those differences are based on valid fiqhi differences; and this is why we must look into the jurisprudence related to differences of opinion.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=-1]We should look at these differences of opinion like different trains that are carrying different baggage or that are going to different places. These trains could be traveling on the same track at different times. If you do not organize them, the result is a disaster. They will crash. But if you organize them, the trains could be using the same tracks even though they are going to different destinations, have different concerns, and have different purposes. So, the blessing of organizing these differences is that the differences do not cause us to crash into each other so that we do not get anything done in the end.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=-1]In a sense, we could look at this like a famous fable. There is a legend about a lion and three bulls who were in the jungle. One of them was white, one was yellow, and one was black. The lion was not able to eat these three bulls because if he came near them, they would all stand up together, and each one of them would face the lion, so he could not eat them. The lion began to think about how he could get them to become divided.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=-1]He saw the bulls grazing once, and he approached the black and the yellow ones, and he said, "You know that white one over there" He kind of looks like the people around here. He's different from us. Why don't you let me eat him?"[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]The two bulls said, "Yeah, go ahead. Get rid of him." So, the lion went and ate the white one.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Then, the next day, the lion came to the yellow bull, and he said, "Haven't you noticed that you and I look the same? We have the same color. We're really cousins! And this black one over here-he's different from you. So, why don't you let me eat him?" The yellow one said, "Yeah, you're right. Go ahead."[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]So, the lion went and ate him. Then, on the third day, the lion came for the yellow bull and said, "I'm going to eat you." The yellow one replied, "I was eaten the day you ate the white one."[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]This is what happens when you get separated. You lose your strength; you lose your power to do anything. We have to realize that what unites us as Muslims is so much greater than what divides us as Muslims. [/SIZE]

    Muslims Living in Non-Muslim Lands, by Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah



    Nope, taqlid does not state that; there is a difference between "do not perform ijtihad [which is independently deriving opinions of the Quran and Sunnah, from one's own personal reasoning] unless your qualified to do so", and, "do not rationalise". The latter is encouraged while the former is prohibbited.



    "following of the forefathers" that is prohibbted is the following of the forefathers that were not guided aright [did not recieve revelation from Allah, or legislated haraam and halaal in contradcition to Allahs revelations], but following of the rightly guided Mujtahids who opined in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah is a must for the laymen

    Only Allah guides, Our duty is just to call.

    Salaam :)
     
  14. Abdullah

    Abdullah Well-Known Member

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    Sazaj: a few comments...
    1. no where in the Quran does God say he protects anything other than the Quran from corruption...not the Sunnah...or hadith...nothing

    Answer: Assalamualikum sister,

    The Quran came along with a Prophetic explanation and without this explanation, there will be no purpose for God to just protect the text of the Quran, for just the text of the Quran is not enough for people to get guidance from it. So as a neccessity, the Prophetic explanation of the Quran is protected along with the text of the Quran.

    There is evidence in the Quran and hadith, that the Sunnah [which is the 'interpretation' of the Quran] has been protected. Here is what Mufti Taqi Usmani says on this issue:

    Faced with the overwhelming arguments in favour of the authority of sunnah, some people resort to another way of suspecting its credibility, that is, to suspect its historical authenticity.

    According to them, the sunnah of the Holy Prophet () though having a binding authority for all times to come, has not been preserved in a trustworthy manner. Unlike the Holy Qur’ân, they say, there is no single book containing reliable reports about the sunnah. There are too many works having a large number of traditions sometimes conflicting each other. And these books, too, were compiled in the third century of Hijrah. So, we cannot place our trust in the reports which have not even been reduced to writing during the first three centuries.

    This argument is based on a number of misstatements and misconceptions. As we shall see in this chapter, inshâ-Allâh, it is totally wrong to claim that the traditions of the sunnah have been compiled in the third century. But, before approaching this historical aspect of the sunnah, let us examine the argument in its logical perspective.

    This argument accepts that the Holy Prophet () has a prophetic authority for all times to come, and that his obedience is mandatory for all Muslims of whatever age, but in the same breath it claims that the reports of the sunnah being unreliable, we cannot carry out this obedience. Does it not logically conclude that Allâh has enjoined upon us to obey the Messenger, but did not make this obedience practicable. The question is whether Allâh Almighty may give us a positive command to do something which is beyond our ability and means. The answer is certainly “no.” The Holy Qur’ân itself says,

    Allâh does not task anybody except to his ability.

    It cannot be envisaged that Allâh will bind all the people with something which does not exist or cannot be ascertained. Accepting that Allâh has enjoined upon us to follow the sunnah of the Holy Prophet (), it certainly implies that the sunnah is not undiscoverable. If Allâh has made it obligatory to follow the sunnah, He has certainly preserved it for us, in a reliable form.

    The following aspect also merits consideration. Allâh Almighty has given us a promise in the Holy Qur’ân:

    Indeed We have revealed the Zikr (ie. the Qur’ân) and surely We will preserve it. (15:9)

    In this verse, Allâh Almighty has assured the preservation of the Holy Qur’ân. This implies that the Qur’ân will remain uninterpolated and that it shall always be transferred from one generation to the other in its real and original form, undistorted by any foreign element. The question now is whether this divine protection is restricted only to the words of the Holy Qur’ân or does it extend to its real meanings as well. If the prophetic explanation is necessary to understand the Holy Qur’ân correctly, as proved in the first chapter, then the preservation of the Qur’ânic words alone cannot serve the purpose unless the prophetic explanations are also preserved. As quoted earlier, the Holy Book says,

    We have revealed to you the Zikr (Qur’ân) so that you may explain to the people what has been sent down for them.

    The word “Zikr” has been used here for the Holy Qur’ân as has been used in the verse 15:9 and it has been made clear that the people can only benefit from its guidance when they are led by the explanations of the Holy Prophet ().

    Again, the words “for the people” indicate (especially in the original Arabic context), that the Holy Prophet’s () explanation is always needed by “everyone.”
    Now, if everyone, in every age is in need of the prophetic explanation, without which they cannot fully benefit from the Holy Book, how would it be useful for them to preserve the Qur’ânic text and leave its prophetic explanation at the mercy of distorters, extending to it no type of protection whatsoever.

    Therefore, once the necessity of the prophetic explanations of the Holy Qur’ân is accepted, it will be self-contradictory to claim that these explanations are unavailable today. It will amount to negating the divine wisdom, because it is in no way a wise policy to establish the necessity of the sunnah on the one hand and to make its discovery impossible on the other. Such a policy cannot be attributed to Allâh, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.

    This deductive argument is, in my view, sufficient to establish that comprehending the sunnah of the Holy Prophet (), which is necessary for the correct understanding of the divine guidance, shall as a whole remain available in a reliable manner forever. All objections raised against the authenticity of the sunnah as a whole can be repudiated on this score alone. But in order to study the actual facts, we are giving here a brief account of the measures taken by the ummah to preserve the sunnah of the Holy Prophet (). It is a brief and introductive study of the subject, for which the comprehensive and voluminous books are available in Arabic and other languages. The brief account we intend to give here is not comprehensive. The only purpose is to highlight some basic facts which, if studied objectively, are well enough to support the deductive inference about the authenticity of the sunnah.

    The Authority of Sunnah - Chapter 3

    The hadiths that say:

    "My Community will split into seventy-three sects. All of them will be in the fire except one group. They asked: Who are they, O Messenger of Allah? He said: Those that follow my way and that of my companions."

    And:

    "There will always be a group from my Community that fight for truth and remain victorious until Judgment Day." Ijma - consensus of scholars

    indicate that there will allways be a group of Muslims on the right path untill the last day, and this indicates that the correct interpretation of the Quran will never be lost, for if it is lost, then how can a group of Muslims ALLWAYS be on the right path untill the last day?

    And the following is from the forward, of the reputable website, Science of Hadith:

    We have undoubtedly sent down the Reminder, and We will truly preserve it. (Al-Qur'an, Surah al-Hijr, 15:9)

    The above promise made by Allah is obviously fulfilled in the undisputed purity of the Qur'anic text throughout the fourteen centuries since its revelation. However, what is often forgotten by many Muslims is that the above divine promise also includes, by necessity, the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), for it is the practical example of the implementation of the Qur'anic guidance, the Wisdom taught to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) along with the Scripture, and neither the Qur'an nor the Sunnah can be understood correctly without recourse to the other.

    Hence, Allah preserved the Qur'an from being initially lost by the martyrdom of its memorisers, by guiding the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, endorsed by the consensus of the Messenger's Companions (may Allah bless him and grant him peace and may He be pleased with them), to compile the ayat (signs, miracles, "verses") of the Qur'an into one volume, after these had been scattered in writing on various materials and in memory amongst many faithful hearts. He safeguarded it from corruption by its enemies: disbelievers, heretics, and false prophets, by enabling millions of believers to commit it to memory with ease. He protected its teachings by causing thousands of people of knowledge to learn from its deep treasures and convey them to the masses, and by sending renewers of His Deen at the beginning of every century.

    Similarly, Allah preserved the Sunnah by enabling the Companions and those after them (may Allah be pleased with them) to memorise, write down and pass on the statements of the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and the descriptions of his Way, as well as to continue the blessings of practising the Sunnah. Later, as the purity of the knowledge of the Sunnah became threatened, Allah caused the Muslim nation to produce outstanding individuals of incredible memory-skills and analytical expertise, who journeyed tirelessly to collect hundreds of thousands of narrations and distinguish the true words of precious wisdom of their Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) from those corrupted by weak memories, from forgeries by unscrupulous liars, and from the statements of the enormous number of 'ulama', the Companions and those who followed their way, who had taught in various centres of learning and helped to transmit the legacy of Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) - all of this achieved through precise attention to the words narrated and detailed familiarity with the biographies of the thousands of reporters of Hadith. Action being the best way to preserve teachings, the renewers of Islam also revived the practice of the blessed authentic Sunnah.

    USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts

    Although I havn't heard or read this anywhere, but I think that the view that the Sunnah, as a neccessity, is included in Gods promise of protection of the Quran, may well be the consensus of the Scholars, and it is worth finding out if it is so.

    From what I have read of Mufti Taqi's and the science of hadith website statements above, it seems that there well maybe a consensus on this issue, for Mufti Taqi Usmani would not have debunked claims that the Sunnah has not been protected, if there was such a valid view in Islam, and also, his statements indicate that it is the orientalists and some modernists who hold this view [that the Sunnah has not been protected].

    And the context of the sceince of hadith website statement seems to be talking for All Muslims [consensus] when they say that the Sunnah has been protected, for they dont say, "according to this school of thought" etc,.

    Salaam
     
  15. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Brother Abdullah,

    I shall respond to your above posts when I receive an answer to my question. In other posts you have condemned the idea (as I have) of people 'picking and choosing' between the opinions of the schools in order to satiate their own desires. Yet here you appear to espouse such an act in order to explain how all the differing interpretations of the 4 schools are correct at the same time. To simply say "they are because they agree they are" simply avoids the issue. I am not saying the scholars are trying to mislead, only that one interpretation alone can be correct and in line with Allah's instructions.

    Please simply explain to me, in your own words (without lots of quotes and cut & pastes) how you personally believe that 3 differing opinions can all be correct at the same time. Thankyou.

    Everything you have written regarding the protection of the hadiths is pure assumption, the Quran clearly states (in 7 verses) that the Quran, the hadith of Allah, is the only hadith to be followed and protected. You may believe that the hadiths have been protected but there is nothing fromm Allah or the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) to substantiate this belief.

    Regarding your comment that your previous post gives the evidence as to which of the 73 sects are on the right path - now please answer my question as to which is the largest sect and provide evidence (of course to be considered the largest, this sect must be unanimous in their interpretations).

    Salaam
     
  16. Abdullah

    Abdullah Well-Known Member

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    Accepting that they are all correct is not 'picking and choosing' sister, picking and choosing is when you take from all four schools as your desire suits you.

    One interpretation can only be correct for the Mujtahid, for his competence makes him legally responsible, they are all correct for the laymen as the laymen are not legally responsible. They are all correct even for the Mujtahids in the sense that, they recognise that these opinions are based on substantial evidence, and have been reached by a righteous mujtahid in all sincerity, therefore, the mujtahids acknowledge that these are valid differences of opinions, which are correct for the respecitve Mujtahids who hold them, and for their followers.

    The Islamic teachings are vast, and people understand things differently [there is an example of that, of how the Sahabah's ra understood the Prophet sm's words in two different ways], so some mujtahids can come to one conclusion and other mujtahid's can come to another, about a certain matter. And Allah has allowed such differences for reasons of flexibility, as a mercy to the Ummah.

    Another example/analogy will be:

    The Jurisprudence of British Law is relatively vast; if one Judge comes to one conclusion and sentences a person to a certain number of years, than that would be according to the British Law, thus the Judge's decision would have been allowed by British Law, thus valid. If another Judge, after hearing the same case on appeal, comes to a different conclusion, such as the person is not guilty or that the the convict deserves a lower or higher sentence, than that decision would still have been reached from the sources of the British Law, and thus would be in accordance with it, and thus valid. So here is an example of how two individuals, who are well versed in British Law Jursiprudence, that understand the same case differently and come to two different conclusions and sometimes this difference of opinion/conviction could be a major difference, such as one judge's opinion being that the defendant is guilty, and the other Judges opinion/conviction being that he is not guilty.

    Is it an assumption to think that the promise of protection of the Quran extends to the meaning of the Quran as well [as without it, there would be no meaning for just the text of the Quran to be protected] or is it basic common sense, and basic rationality?

    Is it a clear fact that Allah has ordered the following of the Prophet [saw] and accepting whatever he [saw] says [in relation to the deen], in many verses of the Quran, or is it an assumption?

    When Allah says in the Quran that He doesn't task anyone except to their abilty, than is it an assumption to think that Allah wouldn't make it an obligation on us to follow the Sunnah and than make the Sunnah unavailable to us in a reliable form, or is it just a basic mathematical deduction. [in your previous posts, you have shown how pro 'rationalising' you are, but now you seem not to want to go beyond just the litteral and apperant meaning of these two verses :confused: ]


    Does not the Quran say to accept whatever the Prophet [saw] says and to follow him [saw]?

    Get into your 'rationalising/deductive' mode sister [a mode which you so far have strongly advocated], and read all the substantial and overwhelming evidence [consisting of Quranic verses, hadiths, deductive arguments] for this fact, in the above post.

    I have also expressed in the above post, of why I think that the view that the Sunnah has been protected, is most likely the consensus of the Scholars, and if it is, than that is another proof from the hadiths, as the hadiths say that consensus could never be wrong.

    The Sahaba's [ra] had differences of opinions, and yet they were all one united group and not different factions, thus the differences of opinions in the four madhabs does not affect their unity, just as it did not with the Sahaba's [ra]. The Scholars of the four madhabs are the overwhelming vast majority of Scholars, and if you are of the opinion that ijma refers to the general Ummah and not only the Scholars, then the adherants of the four madhabs are the overwhelming vast majority of the muslim Ummah.

    And the hadiths make it clear that the overwhelming vast majority are on the right path.

    Salaam

    ps: the following is a link of a highly reccomended online book by Mufti Taqi Usmani, that explains all about taqlid. It answers all the usual questions of the critics/rejectors of taqlid. If you read it from start to finish, then inshAllah you will have a relatively comprehensive view of the arguments for, and against the critics of, taqild. The book is well explained, with verry clear and sound deductive arguments, with the inclusion of lots of Quranic and Sunnah evidence:

    The legal status of following a Madhab

    Salaam.
     
  17. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Brother Abdullah

    I am sticking to just this one question until you actually answer it and saying they are all right because they say they are all right does not answer the question.

    Let us start with this analogy. We will stick to topic, divorce. I don't know much about UK law so for the sake of argument lets just agree to say that pre nuptual agreements are not legally binding in the UK. So if every judge in the UK knows pre nuptual agreements are not legally binding then no judge can rule one legally binding. So a couple go for a divorce and she states the pre nup gives her 50% of the husbands money and business. One judge cannot say no because they are not legally binding and another say yes you can have it. As for the divorce, one judge may offer a divorce immediately and another insist on a 3 month waiting period but the outcome is the same, the law says a divorce must be granted under certain circumstances. Now the outcome is the same in every single court in the UK.

    So lets go back to Islam. One school states that a woman cannot place conditions in a marriage contractt and therfore cannot get a divorce if these are broken and another school states she can place the conditions and get a divorce if broken. So how can they both be right?

    You can't go to Liverpool and the judge says yes pre nups are allowed and go to London and the judge says no they are not. Either pre nups are allowed under law or they are not.

    Also, for issues where judges may give different verdicts (ie criminal court) our juduciary system set up the appeal courts to decide on these matters. So why doesn't Islam have an appeal system, so when scholars from different schools disagree they have to present their evidence to a panel and they decide who is right. It would stop all these problems.
     
  18. Abdullah

    Abdullah Well-Known Member

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    The answer lies in the following:

    MADHHAB DIFFERENCES IN ISLAM

    1. al-Hafiz al-Bayhaqi in his book al-Madkhal and al-Zarkashi in his Tadhkirah fi al-ahadith al-mushtaharah relate:

    Imam al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr al-Siddiq said: "The differences among the Companions of Muhammad are a mercy for Allah's servants."

    al-Hafiz al-`Iraqi the teacher of Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani said:

    This is a saying of al-Qasim ibn Muhammad who said: The difference of opinion among the Companions of Muhammad is a mercy.

    Al-Hafiz Ibn al-Athir in the introduction to his Jami` al-usul fi ahadith al-rasul relates the above saying from Imam Malik according to al-Hafiz Ibn al-Mulaqqin in his Tuhfat al-muhtaj ila adillat al-Minhaj and Ibn al-Subki in his Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya.

    Bayhaqi and Zarkashi also said:

    Qutada said: `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz used to say: "I would dislike it if the Companions of Muhammad did not differ among them, because had they not differed there would be no leeway (for us)."

    Bayhaqi also relates in al-Madkhal and Zarkashi in the Tadhkira:

    al-Layth ibn Sa`d said on the authority of Yahya ibn Sa`id: "The people of knowledge are the people of flexibility (tawsi`a). Those who give fatwas never cease to differ, and so this one permits something while that one forbids it, without one finding fault with the other when he knows of his position."

    Al-Hafiz al-Sakhawi said in his Maqasid al-hasana p. 49 #39 after quoting the above:

    I have read the following written in my shaykh's (al-Hafiz ibn Hajar) handwriting: "The hadith of Layth is a reference to a very famous hadith of the Prophet, cited by Ibn al-Hajib in the Mukhtasar in the section on qiyas (analogy), which says: "Difference of opinion in my Community is a mercy for people" (ikhtilafu ummati rahmatun li al-nas). There is a lot of questioning about its authenticity, and many of the imams of learning have claimed that it has no basis (la asla lahu). However, al-Khattabi mentions it in the context of a digression in Gharib al-hadith... and what he says concerning the tracing of the hadith is not free from imperfection, but he makes it known that it does have a basis in his opinion."

    Al-`Iraqi mentions all of the above (1-5) in his Mughni `an haml al-asfar and adds:

    What is meant by "the Community" in this saying is those competent for practicing legal reasoning (al-mujtahidun) in the branches of the law, wherein reasoning is permissible.

    What `Iraqi meant by saying "the branches wherein reasoning is permissible" is that difference is not allowed in matters of doctrine, since there is agreement that there is only one truth in the essentials of belief and anyone, whether a mujtahid or otherwise, who takes a different view automatically renounces Islam as stated by Shawkani.

    Albani in his attack on the hadith "Difference of opinion in my Community is a mercy" ignores this distinction and even adduces the verse: "If it had been from other than Allah they would have found therein much discrepancy" (4:82) in order to prove that differences can never be a mercy in any case but are always a curse. His point is directed entirely against those who are content to follow a madhhab. The only scholar he quotes in support of his position is Ibn Hazm al-Zahiri, whose mistake in this was denounced by Nawawi.

    Ibn Hazm said in al-Ihkam fi usul al-ahkam (5:64):

    The saying "Difference of opinion in my Community is a mercy" is the most perverse saying possible, because if difference were mercy, agreement would be anger, and it is impossible for a Muslim to say this, because there can only be either agreement, or difference, and there can only be either mercy, or anger.

    Imam Nawawi refuted this view in his Commentary on Sahih Muslim:

    If something (i.e. agreement) is a mercy it is not necessary for its opposite to be the opposite of mercy. No-one makes this binding, and no-one even says this except an ignoramus or one who affects ignorance. Allah the Exalted said: "And of His mercy He has made night for you so that you would rest in it," and He has named night a mercy: it does not necessarily ensue from this that the day is a punishment.

    al-Khattabi said in Gharib al-hadith:

    Difference of opinion in religion is of three kinds:

    In affirming the Creator and His Oneness: to deny it is disbelief;

    In His attributes and will: to deny them is innovation;

    In the different rulings of the branches of the law (ahkam al-furu`): Allah has made them mercy and generosity for the scholars, and that is the meaning of the hadith: "Difference of opinion in my Community is a mercy."

    al-Hafiz al-Suyuti says in his short treatise Jazil al-mawahib fi ikhtilaf al-madhahib (The abundant grants concerning the differences among the schools):

    The hadith "Difference of opinion in my Community is a mercy for people" has many benefits among which are the fact that the Prophet foretold of the differences that would arise after his time among the madhahib in the branches of the law, and this is one of his miracles because it is a foretelling of things unseen. Another benefit is his approval of these differences and his confirmation of them because he characterizes them as a mercy. Another benefit is that the legally responsible person can choose to follow whichever he likes among them. [After citing the saying of `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz already quoted (#3 above), Suyuti continues:] This indicates that what is meant is their differences in the rulings in the branches of the law.

    The muhaddith al-Samhudi relates al-Hafiz Ibn al-Salah's discussion of Imam Malik's saying concerning difference of opinion among the Companions: "Among them is the one that is wrong and the one that is right: therefore you must exercise ijtihad." Samhudi said:

    Clearly, it refers to differences in legal rulings (ahkam). Ibn al-Salah said: "This is different from what Layth said concerning the flexibility allowed for the Community, since this applies exclusively to the mujtahid as he said: "you must exercise ijtihad," because the mujtahid's competence makes him legally responsible (mukallaf) to exercise ijtihad and there is no flexibility allowed for him over the matter of their difference. The flexibility applies exclusively to the unqualified follower (muqallid). The people meant in the saying: "Difference of opinion in my Community is a mercy for people" are those unqualified followers. As for the import of Malik's saying "Among the Companions is the one that is wrong and the one that is right," it is meant only as an answer to those who say that the mujtahid is able to follow the Companions. It is not meant for others."

    Imam Abu Hanifa said in the shorter version of al-Fiqh al-Akbar:

    Difference of opinion in the Community is a token of divine mercy.

    Ibn Qudama al-Hanbali said in al-`Aqa'id:

    The difference in opinion in the Community is a mercy, and their agreement is a proof.

    Ibn Taymiyya in the Mukhtasar al-fatawa al-misriyya says:

    al-a'imma ijtima`uhum hujjatun qati`atun wa ikhtilafuhum rahmatun wasi`a -- The consensus of the Imams [of fiqh] on a question is a definitive proof, and their divergence of opinion is a vast mercy... If one does not follow any of the four Imams [of fiqh]... then he is completely in error, for the truth is not found outside of these four in the whole shari`a.

    al-Shatibi in Kitab al-i`tisam said:

    A large group of the Salaf deemed the differences of the Community in the branches of the Law to be one of the paths of Allah's mercy...

    The exposition of the fact that the aforesaid difference is a mercy is what is narrated from al-Qasim ibn Muhammad (ibn Abi Bakr al-Siddiq)'s words: "Allah has made us gain through the differences among the Companions of Allah's Messenger in their practice." No one practices according to the practice of one of them except he (al-Qasim) considered it to be within the fold of correctness.

    Dumra ibn Raja' narrated: `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz and al-Qasim ibn Muhammad met and began to review the hadiths. `Umar then began to mention things which differed from what al-Qasim mentioned, and al-Qasim would give him trouble regarding it until the matter became clearer. `Umar said to him: "Don't do that! (i.e. don't question the difference.) I dislike stripping the favors (of Allah) from their differences."

    Ibn Wahb also narrated from al-Qasim that he said: "I was pleased by the saying of `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz: I would dislike it if the Companions of Muhammad did not differ among them, because if there were only one view then the people would be in difficulty. Verily the Companions are Imams which one uses for guidance (innahum a'immatun yuqtada bihim). If someone follows the saying of one of them, that is Sunna."

    The meaning of this is that they (the Companions) have opened wide for people the door of scholarly striving (ijtihad) and of the permissibility of difference in striving. If they had not opened it, the mujtahids would be in a bind, because the extent of ijtihad and that of opinions do not generally agree: the people who exert striving would then, despite their obligation to follow what they are convinced of, be obliged to follow what differs with them, and this is a kind of unbearable legal obligation and one of the greatest binds.

    Allah therefore gave the Community generous leeway in the existence of disagreement in the branches of the law among them. This is the door that He opened for the Community to enter into this mercy. How then could they possibly not be meant by "those on whom thy Lord has mercy" in the verses "Yet they cease not differing, save those on whom thy Lord has mercy" (11:118-119)?! Therefore, their difference in the branches of the Law are like their agreement in them (in the fact that both consist in mercy), and praise belongs to Allah.

    Ibn `Abd al-Barr said in Jami` bayan al-`ilm:

    The ulama are in agreement that it is permissible, for whoever looks into the differing opinions of the Prophet's Companions, to follow the position of whomever he likes among them. The same holds for whoever looks into the positions of the Imams other than the Companions, as long as he does not know that he has erred by contradicting the text of the Qur'an or Sunna or the Consensus of the scholars, in which case he cannot follow the above position. However, if this contradiction is not clear to him in any of the three respects mentioned, then it is permissible for him to follow the saying in question even if he does not know whether it is right or wrong, for he is in the realm of the common people (al-`amma) for whom it is permissible to imitate the scholar upon asking him something, even without knowing the bases of the answer...

    al-`Uqayli mentioned that Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Rahman al-Sayrafi said: I asked Ahmad ibn Hanbal: "If the Companions of the Prophet differed regarding a certain question, is it permissible for us to check their positions to see who among them is right so that we may follow him?" He replied: "It is not permissible to check on the Prophet's Companions (la yajuz alnazar bayna ashabi rasulillah)." I said: "Then what is the procedure in this?" He replied: "You follow whichever of them you like."

    Abu Dawud narrates that Ibn Mas`ud had censured `Uthman for completing the prayer while travelling (i.e. rather than shortening it to two cycles instead of four), yet when he prayed behind `Uthman he performed four cycles and did not shorten it. When this was pointed out to him he said: "Dissent is an evil" (al-khilafu sharr). (That is: dissent in the lines of prayer, or in the unity of Muslims.) Abu Dawud mentioned al-Zuhri's explanation that `Uthman had prayed four rak`at at Mina instead of two because that year the beduins had come in great numbers and he wished to teach them that the prayer consisted in four cycles.

    Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani related in his Jami` fi al-sunan that Ibn Mas`ud said:

    Whoever wishes to follow the Sunna, let him follow the Sunna of those that died (i.e. keep to the practice of the Companions). Those are the Prophet's Companions. They were the best of this Community, the purest of heart, the deepest in knowledge, and the scarcest in discourse. They were a people Allah chose for His Prophet's company and the establishement of His Religion. Therefore be aware of their superiority and follow them in their views, and hold fast to whatever you are able from their manners and their lives. Verily they were on a straight path.

    Ibn Qudama in al-Mughni relates the following examples of the great Imams' occasional practice of positions contrary to their ijtihad:

    Abu Hanifa, Muhammad al-Shaybani, and Abu Yusuf's position is that ablution is nullified by bleeding. Yet when Abu Yusuf saw that Harun al-Rashid stood for prayer after being cupped without performing ablution, based on Malik's fatwa for him -- since bleeding does not annull ablution in Malik's view -- he prayed behind al-Rashid, and did not repeat his prayer. That is: he considered the prayer valid, and that therefore the ablution is not nullified for one who follows Malik's fatwa.

    Another time Abu Yusuf performed ghusl and prayed Jum`a in congregation, then he was told that a dead mouse had been found in the tank of the bath water. He did not repeat the prayer but said: "We shall follow in the matter the opinion of our brothers from the Hijaz (i.e. school of Malik): If the quantity of water is more than two pitchers' worth, the water is still pure (if a dead mouse is found in it)."

    When Shafi`i prayed the dawn prayer with the Hanafis at the grave of Abu Hanifa in Baghdad, he did not make the supplication after rising from bowing in the second cycle of prayer as is required in his own school but not in the Hanafi.

    Imam Ahmad's opinion is similar to the Hanafis' concerning the necessity of ablution after cupping. Yet when he was asked: "Can one pray behind the Imam who stands up to lead prayer after being cupped without having renewed his ablution?" he replied: "How could I not pray behind Malik and Sa`id al-Musayyib?" and, in another narration: "Can I forbid you from praying behind So-and-so?" That is: behind the Imams who do not consider it necessary to renew ablution.

    read full article here:

    Ijma - consensus of scholars

    Salaam
     
  19. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Thank you brother that was a very interesting read.

    However after all that we still come down to picking and choosing what suits our desires. At least it finally answers my question, if a woman belongs to the school that says she cannot place conditions on her marriage contract and get a divorce if it is broken, she can just jump ship to the school that says it's ok. Then of course back again when that school says something she/he doesn't like. Of course it will get complicated when the husband, who doesn't want to keep the conditions of his marriage contract jumps ship to the school that says conditions on a marriage contract aren't allowed. Wow we could go in circles forever. Forgive me but I think I will just keep reading the Quran.

    Salaam
     
  20. Abdullah

    Abdullah Well-Known Member

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    Wa alaikum Salam Wr Wb.

    You have failed to read that statement in it's correct context sister.

    All it means is that, we the Muslims are free to choose whatever madhab we like [out of the four] and it is not saying that once we have chosen a madhab, that we can pick and choose out of all four, as the Ulema have prohibbited such picking and choosing, and they have prohibbited it for the exact reasons you have mentioned above.

    Salaam
     

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