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Old October 3, 2007, 08:07 AM
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Default What is "Madhab" and Why?

There has been a plenty of discussion about Madhab or "schools of fqh" lately on this forum. It is very apparent that many are confused about this matter. Some even think that Madhab is a sect of Islam!!! I felt this warrent a thread of its own for definition and clarification of the subject. I hope everyone will find time to read the article below "understanding the four madhabs" as this is very important and a prerequisite for understanding the evolution of Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence/law).

UNDERSTANDING THE FOUR MADHHABS
the problem with anti-madhhabism


[revised edition]
© Abdal-Hakim Murad

The ummah's greatest achievement over the past millennium has undoubtedly been its internal intellectual cohesion. From the fifth century of the Hijra almost to the present day, and despite the outward drama of the clash of dynasties, the Sunni Muslims have maintained an almost unfailing attitude of religious respect and brotherhood among themselves. It is a striking fact that virtually no religious wars, riots or persecutions divided them during this extended period, so difficult in other ways.
The history of religious movements suggests that this is an unusual outcome. The normal sociological view, as expounded by Max Weber and his disciples, is that religions enjoy an initial period of unity, and then descend into an increasingly bitter factionalism led by rival hierarchies. Christianity has furnished the most obvious example of this; but one could add many others, including secular faiths such as Marxism. On the face of it, Islam's ability to avoid this fate is astonishing, and demands careful analysis.
There is, of course, a straightforwardly religious explanation. Islam is the final religion, the last bus home, and as such has been divinely secured from the more terminal forms of decay. It is true that what Abdul Wadod Shalabi has termed spiritual entropy has been at work ever since Islam's inauguration, a fact which is well-supported by a number of hadiths. Nonetheless, Providence has not neglected the ummah. Earlier religions slide gently or painfully into schism and irrelevance; but Islamic piety, while fading in quality, has been given mechanisms which allow it to retain much of the sense of unity emphasised in its glory days. Wherever the antics of the emirs and politicians might lead, the brotherhood of believers, a reality in the initial career of Christianity and some other faiths, continues, fourteen hundred years on, to be a compelling principle for most members of the final and definitive community of revelation in Islam. The reason is simple and unarguable: God has given us this religion as His last word, and it must therefore endure, with its essentials of tawhid, worship and ethics intact, until the Last Days.
Such an explanation has obvious merit. But we will still need to explain some painful exceptions to the rule in the earliest phase of our history. The Prophet himself (pbuh) had told his Companions, in a hadith narrated by Imam Tirmidhi, that "Whoever among you outlives me shall see a vast dispute". The initial schisms: the disastrous revolt against Uthman (r.a.), the clash between Ali (r.a.) and Muawiyah, the bloody scissions of the Kharijites - all these drove knives of discord into the Muslim body politic almost from the outset. Only the inherent sanity and love of unity among scholars of the ummah assisted, no doubt, by Providence overcame the early spasms of factionalism, and created a strong and harmonious Sunnism which has, at least on the purely religious plane, united ninety percent of the ummah for ninety percent of its history.
It will help us greatly to understand our modern, increasingly divided situation if we look closely at those forces which divided us in the distant past. There were many of these, some of them very eccentric; but only two took the form of mass popular movements, driven by religious ideology, and in active rebellion against majoritarian faith and scholarship. For good reasons, these two acquired the names of Kharijism and Shi'ism. Unlike Sunnism, both were highly productive of splinter groups and sub-movements; but they nonetheless remained as recognisable traditions of dissidence because of their ability to express the two great divergences from mainstream opinion on the key question of the source of religious authority in Islam.
Confronted with what they saw as moral slippage among early caliphs, posthumous partisans of Ali (r.a.) developed a theory of religious authority which departed from the older egalitarian assumptions by vesting it in a charismatic succession of Imams. We need not stop here to investigate the question of whether this idea was influenced by the Eastern Christian background of some early converts, who had been nourished on the idea of the mystical apostolic succession to Christ, a gift which supposedly gave the Church the unique ability to read his mind for later generations. What needs to be appreciated is that Shi'ism, in its myriad forms, developed as a response to a widely-sensed lack of definitive religious authority in early Islamic society. As the age of the Righteous Caliphs came to a close, and the Umayyad rulers departed ever more conspicuously from the lifestyle expected of them as Commanders of the Faithful, the sharply-divergent and still nascent schools of fiqh seemed inadequate as sources of strong and unambiguous authority in religious matters. Hence the often irresistible seductiveness of the idea of an infallible Imam.
This interpretation of the rise of Imamism also helps to explain the second great phase in Shi'i expansion. After the success of the fifth-century Sunni revival, when Sunnism seemed at last to have become a fully coherent system, Shi'ism went into a slow eclipse. Its extreme wing, as manifested in Ismailism, received a heavy blow at the hands of Imam al-Ghazali, whose book "Scandals of the Batinites" exposed and refuted their secret doctrines with devastating force. This decline in Shi'i fortunes was only arrested after the mid-seventh century, once the Mongol hordes under Genghis Khan had invaded and obliterated the central lands of Islam. The onslaught was unimaginably harsh: we are told, for instance, that out of a hundred thousand former inhabitants of the city of Herat, only forty survivors crept out of the smoking ruins to survey the devastation. In the wake of this tidal wave of mayhem, newly-converted Turcoman nomads moved in, who, with the Sunni ulama of the cities dead, and a general atmosphere of fear, turbulence, and Messianic expectation in the air, turned readily to extremist forms of Shi'i belief. The triumph of Shi'ism in Iran, a country once loyal to Sunnism, dates back to that painful period.
The other great dissident movement in early Islam was that of the Kharijites, literally, the seceders, so-called because they seceded from the army of the Caliph Ali when he agreed to settle his dispute with Muawiyah through arbitration. Calling out the Quranic slogan, "Judgement is only Gods", they fought bitterly against Ali and his army which included many of the leading Companions, until Ali defeated them at the Battle of Nahrawan, where some ten thousand of them perished.
Although the first Kharijites were destroyed, Kharijism itself lived on. As it formulated itself, it turned into the precise opposite of Shi'ism, rejecting any notion of inherited or charismatic leadership, and stressing that leadership of the community of believers should be decided by piety alone. This was assessed by very rudimentary criteria: the early Kharijites were known for extreme toughness in their devotions, and for the harsh doctrine that any Muslim who commits a major sin is an unbeliever. This notion of takfir (declaring Muslims to be outside Islam), permitted the Kharijite groups, camping out in remote mountain districts of Khuzestan, to raid Muslim settlements which had accepted Umayyad authority. Non-Kharijis were routinely slaughtered in these operations, which brought merciless reprisals from tough Umayyad generals such as al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf. But despite the apparent hopelessness of their cause, the Kharijite attacks continued. The Caliph Ali (r.a.) was assassinated by Ibn Muljam, a survivor of Nahrawan, while the hadith scholar Imam al-Nasai, author of one of the most respected collections of sunan, was likewise murdered by Kharijite fanatics in Damascus in 303/915.
Like Shi'ism, Kharijism caused much instability in Iraq and Central Asia, and on occasion elsewhere, until the fourth and fifth centuries of Islam. At that point, something of historic moment occurred. Sunnism managed to unite itself into a detailed system that was now so well worked-out, and so obviously the way of the great majority of ulama, that the attraction of the rival movements diminished sharply.
What happened was this. Sunni Islam, occupying the middle ground between the two extremes of egalitarian Kharijism and hierarchical Shi'ism, had long been preoccupied with disputes over its own concept of authority. For the Sunnis, authority was, by definition, vested in the Quran and Sunnah. But confronted with the enormous body of hadiths, which had been scattered in various forms and narrations throughout the length and breadth of the Islamic world following the migrations of the Companions and Followers, the Sunnah sometimes proved difficult to interpret. Even when the sound hadiths had been sifted out from this great body of material, which totalled several hundred thousand hadith reports, there were some hadiths which appeared to conflict with each other, or even with verses of the Quran. It was obvious that simplistic approaches such as that of the Kharijites, namely, establishing a small corpus of hadiths and deriving doctrines and law from them directly, was not going to work. The internal contradictions were too numerous, and the interpretations placed on them too complex, for the qadis (judges) to be able to dish out judgements simply by opening the Quran and hadith collections to an appropriate page.
The reasons underlying cases of apparent conflict between various revealed texts were scrutinised closely by the early ulama, often amid sustained debate between brilliant minds backed up with the most perfect photographic memories. Much of the science of Islamic jurisprudence (usul al-fiqh) was developed in order to provide consistent mechanisms for resolving such conflicts in a way which ensured fidelity to the basic ethos of Islam. The term taarud al-adilla (mutual contradiction of proof-texts) is familiar to all students of Islamic jurisprudence as one of the most sensitive and complex of all Muslim legal concepts. Early scholars such as Ibn Qutayba felt obliged to devote whole books to the subject.
The ulama of usul recognised as their starting assumption that conflicts between the revealed texts were no more than conflicts of interpretation, and could not reflect inconsistencies in the Lawgiver's message as conveyed by the Prophet (pbuh). The message of Islam had been perfectly conveyed before his demise; and the function of subsequent scholars was exclusively one of interpretation, not of amendment.
Armed with this awareness, the Islamic scholar, when examining problematic texts, begins by attempting a series of preliminary academic tests and methods of resolution. The system developed by the early ulama was that if two Quranic or hadith texts appeared to contradict each other, then the scholar must first analyse the texts linguistically, to see if the contradiction arises from an error in interpreting the Arabic. If the contradiction cannot be resolved by this method, then he must attempt to determine, on the basis of a range of textual, legal and historiographic techniques, whether one of them is subject to takhsis, that is, concerns special circumstances only, and hence forms a specific exception to the more general principle enunciated in the other text. The jurist must also assess the textual status of the reports, recalling the principle that a Quranic verse will overrule a hadith related by only one isnad (the type of hadith known as ahad), as will a hadith supplied by many isnads (mutawatir or mashhur). If, after applying all these mechanisms, the jurist finds that the conflict remains, he must then investigate the possibility that one of the texts was subject to formal abrogation (naskh) by the other.
This principle of naskh is an example of how, when dealing with the delicate matter of taarud al-adilla, the Sunni ulama founded their approach on textual policies which had already been recognised many times during the lifetime of the Prophet (pbuh). The Companions knew by ijma that over the years of the Prophets ministry, as he taught and nurtured them, and brought them from the wildness of paganism to the sober and compassionate path of monotheism, his teaching had been divinely shaped to keep pace with their development. The best-known instance of this was the progressive prohibition of wine, which had been discouraged by an early Quranic verse, then condemned, and finally prohibited. Another example, touching an even more basic principle, was the canonical prayer, which the early ummah had been obliged to say only twice daily, but which, following the Miraj, was increased to five times a day. Mutah (temporary marriage) had been permitted in the early days of Islam, but was subsequently prohibited as social conditions developed, respect for women grew, and morals became firmer. There are several other instances of this, most being datable to the years immediately following the Hijra, when the circumstances of the young ummah changed in radical ways.
There are two types of naskh: explicit (sarih) or implicit (dimni). The former is easily identified, for it involves texts which themselves specify that an earlier ruling is being changed. For instance, there is the verse in the Quran (2:142) which commands the Muslims to turn in prayer to the Kaba rather than to Jerusalem. In the hadith literature this is even more frequently encountered; for example, in a hadith narrated by Imam Muslim we read: "I used to forbid you to visit graves; but you should now visit them." Commenting on this, the ulama of hadith explain that in early Islam, when idolatrous practices were still fresh in peoples memories, visiting graves had been forbidden because of the fear that some new Muslims might commit shirk. As the Muslims grew stronger in their monotheism, however, this prohibition was discarded as no longer necessary, so that today it is a recommended practice for Muslims to go out to visit graves in order to pray for the dead and to be reminded of the akhira.
The other type of naskh is more subtle, and often taxed the brilliance of the early ulama to the limit. It involves texts which cancel earlier ones, or modify them substantially, but without actually stating that this has taken place. The ulama have given many examples of this, including the two verses in Surat al-Baqarah which give differing instructions as to the period for which widows should be maintained out of an estate (2:240 and 234). And in the hadith literature, there is the example of the incident in which the Prophet (pbuh) once told the Companions that when he prayed sitting because he was burdened by some illness, they should sit behind him. This hadith is given by Imam Muslim. And yet we find another hadith, also narrated by Muslim, which records an incident in which the Companions prayed standing while the Prophet (pbuh) was sitting. The apparent contradiction has been resolved by careful chronological analysis, which shows that the latter incident took place after the former, and therefore takes precedence over it. This has duly been recorded in the fiqh of the great scholars.
The techniques of naskh identification have enabled the ulama to resolve most of the recognised cases of taarud al-adilla. They demand a rigorous and detailed knowledge not just of the hadith disciplines, but of history, sirah, and of the views held by the Companions and other scholars on the circumstances surrounding the genesis and exegesis of the hadith in question. In some cases, hadith scholars would travel throughout the Islamic world to locate the required information pertinent to a single hadith.
In cases where in spite of all efforts, abrogation cannot be proven, then the ulama of the salaf recognised the need to apply further tests. Important among these is the analysis of the matn (the transmitted text rather than the isnad of the hadith). Clear (sarih) statements are deemed to take precedence over allusive ones (kinayah), and definite (muhkam) words take precedence over words falling into more ambiguous categories, such as the interpreted (mufassar), the obscure (khafi) and the problematic (mushkil). It may also be necessary to look at the position of the narrators of the conflicting hadiths, giving precedence to the report issuing from the individual who was more directly involved. A famous example of this is the hadith narrated by Maymunah which states that the Prophet (pbuh) married her when not in a state of consecration (ihram) for the pilgrimage. Because her report was that of an eyewitness, her hadith is given precedence over the conflicting report from Ibn Abbas, related by a similarly sound isnad, which states that the Prophet was in fact in a state of ihram at the time.
There are many other rules, such as that which states that prohibition takes precedence over permissibility. Similarly, conflicting hadiths may be resolved by utilising the fatwa of a Companion, after taking care that all the relevant fatwa are compared and assessed. Finally, recourse may be had to qiyas (analogy). An example of this is the various reports about the solar eclipse prayer (salat al-kusuf), which specify different numbers of bowings and prostrations. The ulama, having investigated the reports meticulously, and having been unable to resolve the contradiction by any of the mechanisms outlined above, have applied analogical reasoning by concluding that since the prayer in question is still called salaat, then the usual form of salaat should be followed, namely, one bowing and two prostrations. The other hadiths are to be abandoned.
This careful articulation of the methods of resolving conflicting source-texts, so vital to the accurate derivation of the Shariah from the revealed sources, was primarily the work of Imam al-Shafi'i. Confronted by the confusion and disagreement among the jurists of his day, and determined to lay down a consistent methodology which would enable a fiqh to be established in which the possibility of error was excluded as far as was humanly possible, Shafi'i wrote his brilliant Risala (Treatise on Islamic jurisprudence). His ideas were soon taken up, in varying ways, by jurists of the other major traditions of law; and today they are fundamental to the formal application of the Shariah.
Shafi'i's system of minimising mistakes in the derivation of Islamic rulings from the mass of evidence came to be known as usul al-fiqh (the roots of fiqh). Like most of the other formal academic disciplines of Islam, this was not an innovation in the negative sense, but a working-out of principles already discernible in the time of the earliest Muslims. In time, each of the great interpretative traditions of Sunni Islam codified its own variation on these roots, thereby yielding in some cases divergent branches (i.e. specific rulings on practice). Although the debates generated by these divergences could sometimes be energetic, nonetheless, they were insignificant when compared to the great sectarian and legal disagreements which had arisen during the first two centuries of Islam before the science of usul al-fiqh had put a stop to such chaotic discord.
It hardly needs remarking that although the Four Imams, Abu Hanifa, Malik ibn Anas, al-Shafi'i and Ibn Hanbal, are regarded as the founders of these four great traditions, which, if we were asked to define them, we might sum up as sophisticated techniques for avoiding innovation, their traditions were fully systematised only by later generations of scholars. The Sunni ulama rapidly recognised the brilliance of the Four Imams, and after the late third century of Islam we find that hardly any scholars adhered to any other approach. The great hadith specialists, including al-Bukhari and Muslim, were all loyal adherents of one or another of the madhhabs, particularly that of Imam al-Shafi'i. But within each madhhab, leading scholars continued to improve and refine the roots and branches of their school. In some cases, historical conditions made this not only possible, but necessary. For instance, scholars of the school of Imam Abu Hanifah, which was built on the foundations of the early legal schools of Kufa and Basra, were wary of some hadiths in circulation in Iraq because of the prevalence of forgery engendered by the strong sectarian influences there. Later, however, once the canonical collections of Bukhari, Muslim and others became available, subsequent generations of Hanafi scholars took the entire corpus of hadiths into account in formulating and revising their madhhab. This type of process continued for two centuries, until the Schools reached a condition of maturity in the fourth and fifth centuries of the Hijra.
It was at that time, too, that the attitude of toleration and good opinion between the Schools became universally accepted. This was formulated by Imam al-Ghazali, himself the author of four textbooks of Shafi'i fiqh, and also of Al-Mustasfa, widely acclaimed as the most advanced and careful of all works on usul usul al-fiqh fil madhhab (Ihya Ulum al-Din, III, 65) While it was necessary for the Muslim to follow a recognised madhhab in order to avert the lethal danger of misinterpreting the sources, he must never fall into the trap of considering his own school categorically superior to the others. With a few insignificant exceptions, the great scholars of Sunni Islam have followed the ethos outlined by Imam al-Ghazali, and have been conspicuously respectful of each others madhhab. Anyone who has studied under traditional ulama will be well-aware of this fact.
The evolution of the Four Schools did not stifle, as some Orientalists have suggested, the capacity for the refinement or extension of positive law. On the contrary, sophisticated mechanisms were available which not only permitted qualified individuals to derive the Shariah from the Quran and Sunnah on their own authority, but actually obliged them to do this. According to most scholars, an expert who has fully mastered the sources and fulfilled a variety of necessary scholarly conditions is not permitted to follow the prevalent rulings of his School, but must derive the rulings himself from the revealed sources. Such an individual is known as a mujtahid, a term derived from the famous hadith of Muadh ibn Jabal.
Few would seriously deny that for a Muslim to venture beyond established expert opinion and have recourse directly to the Quran and Sunnah, he must be a scholar of great eminence. The danger of less-qualified individuals misunderstanding the sources and hence damaging the Shariah is a very real one, as was shown by the discord and strife which afflicted some early Muslims, and even some of the Companions themselves, in the period which preceded the establishment of the Orthodox Schools. Prior to Islam, entire religions had been subverted by inadequate scriptural scholarship, and it was vital that Islam should be secured from a comparable fate.
In order to protect the Shariah from the danger of innovation and distortion, the great scholars of usul laid down rigorous conditions which must be fulfilled by anyone wishing to claim the right of ijtihad for himself. These conditions include:
(a) mastery of the Arabic language, to minimise the possibility of misinterpreting Revelation on purely linguistic grounds;
(b) a profound knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah and the circumstances surrounding the revelation of each verse and hadith, together with a full knowledge of the Quranic and hadith commentaries, and a control of all the interpretative techniques discussed above;
(c) knowledge of the specialised disciplines of hadith, such as the assessment of narrators and of the matn [text];
(d) knowledge of the views of the Companions, Followers and the great imams, and of the positions and reasoning expounded in the textbooks of fiqh, combined with the knowledge of cases where a consensus (ijma) has been reached;
(e) knowledge of the science of juridical analogy (qiyas), its types and conditions;
(f) knowledge of ones own society and of public interest (maslahah);
(g) knowing the general objectives (maqasid) of the Shariah; (h) a high degree of intelligence and personal piety, combined with the Islamic virtues of compassion, courtesy, and modesty.
A scholar who has fulfilled these conditions can be considered a mujtahid fil-shar, and is not obliged, or even permitted, to follow an existing authoritative madhhab. This is what some of the Imams were saying when they forbade their great disciples from imitating them uncritically. But for the much greater number of scholars whose expertise has not reached such dizzying heights, it may be possible to become a mujtahid fil-madhhab, that is, a scholar who remains broadly convinced of the doctrines of his school, but is qualified to differ from received opinion within it. There have been a number of examples of such men, for instance Imam al-Nawawi among the Shafi'is, Qadi Ibn Abd al-Barr among the Malikis, Ibn Abidin among the Hanafis, and Ibn Qudama among the Hanbalis. All of these scholars considered themselves followers of the fundamental interpretative principles of their own madhhabs, but are on record as having exercised their own gifts of scholarship and judgement in reaching many new verdicts within them. It is to these experts that the Mujtahid Imams directed their advice concerning ijtihad, such as Imam al-Shafi'i's instruction that if you find a hadith that contradicts my verdict, then follow the hadith. It is obvious that whatever some writers nowadays like to believe, such counsels were never intended for use by the Islamically-uneducated masses.
Other categories of mujtahids are listed by the usul scholars; but the distinctions between them are subtle and not relevant to our theme. The remaining categories can in practice be reduced to two: the muttabi (follower), who follows his madhhab while being aware of the Quranic and hadith texts and the reasoning, underlying its positions, and secondly the muqallid (emulator), who simply conforms to the madhhab because of his confidence in its scholars, and without necessarily knowing the detailed reasoning behind all its thousands of rulings.
Clearly it is recommended for the muqallid to learn as much as he or she is able of the formal proofs of the madhhab. But it is equally clear that not every Muslim can be a scholar. Scholarship takes a lot of time, and for the ummah to function properly most people must have other employment: as accountants, soldiers, butchers, and so forth. As such, they cannot reasonably be expected to become great ulama as well, even if we suppose that all of them have the requisite intelligence. The Holy Quran itself states that less well-informed believers should have recourse to qualified experts: So ask the people of remembrance, if you do not know (16:43). (According to the tafsir experts, the people of remembrance are the ulama.) And in another verse, the Muslims are enjoined to create and maintain a group of specialists who provide authoritative guidance for non-specialists: A band from each community should stay behind to gain instruction in religion and to warn the people when they return to them, so that they may take heed (9:122). Given the depth of scholarship needed to understand the revealed texts accurately, and the extreme warnings we have been given against distorting the Revelation, it is obvious that ordinary Muslims are duty bound to follow expert opinion, rather than rely on their own reasoning and limited knowledge. This obvious duty was well-known to the early Muslims: the Caliph Umar (r.a.) followed certain rulings of Abu Bakr (r.a.), saying I would be ashamed before God to differ from the view of Abu Bakr. And Ibn Masud (r.a.), in turn, despite being a mujtahid in the fullest sense, used in certain issues to follow Umar (r.a.). According to al-Shabi: Six of the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) used to give fatwas to the people: Ibn Masud, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Ali, Zayd ibn Thabit, Ubayy ibn Kab, and Abu Musa (al-Ashari). And out of these, three would abandon their own judgements in favour of the judgements of three others: Abdallah (ibn Masud) would abandon his own judgement for the judgement of Umar, Abu Musa would abandon his own judgement for the judgement of Ali, and Zayd would abandon his own judgement for the judgement of Ubayy ibn Kab.
This verdict, namely that one is well-advised to follow a great Imam as ones guide to the Sunnah, rather than relying on oneself, is particularly binding upon Muslims in countries such as Britain, among whom only a small percentage is even entitled to have a choice in this matter. This is for the simple reason that unless one knows Arabic, then even if one wishes to read all the hadith determining a particular issue, one cannot. For various reasons, including their great length, no more than ten of the basic hadith collections have been translated into English. There remain well over three hundred others, including such seminal works as the Musnad of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shayba, the Sahih of Ibn Khuzayma, the Mustadrak of al-Hakim, and many other multi-volume collections, which contain large numbers of sound hadiths which cannot be found in Bukhari, Muslim, and the other works that have so far been translated. Even if we assume that the existing translations are entirely accurate, it is obvious that a policy of trying to derive the Shariah directly from the Book and the Sunnah cannot be attempted by those who have no access to the Arabic. To attempt to discern the Shariah merely on the basis of the hadiths which have been translated will be to ignore and amputate much of the Sunnah, hence leading to serious distortions.
Let me give just two examples of this. The Sunni Madhhabs, in their rules for the conduct of legal cases, lay down the principle that the canonical punishments (hudud) should not be applied in cases where there is the least ambiguity, and that the qadi should actively strive to prove that such ambiguities exist. An amateur reading in the Sound Six collections will find no confirmation of this. But the madhhab ruling is based on a hadith narrated by a sound chain, and recorded in theMusannaf of Ibn Abi Shayba, the Musnad of al-Harithi, and the Musnad of Musaddad ibn Musarhad. The text is: "Ward off the hudud by means of ambiguities." Imam al-Sanani, in his book Al-Ansab, narrates the circumstances of this hadith: "A man was found drunk, and was brought to Umar, who ordered the hadd of eighty lashes to be applied. When this had been done, the man said: Umar, you have wronged me! I am a slave! (Slaves receive only half the punishment.) Umar was grief-stricken at this, and recited the Prophetic hadith, Ward off the hudud by means of ambiguities."
Another example pertains to the important practice, recognised by the madhhabs, of performing sunnah prayers as soon as possible after the end of the Maghrib obligatory prayer. The hadith runs: Make haste to perform the two rakas after the Maghrib, for they are raised up (to Heaven) alongside the obligatory prayer. The hadith is narrated by Imam Razin in his Jami.
Because of the traditional pious fear of distorting the Law of Islam, the overwhelming majority of the great scholars of the past - certainly well over ninety-nine percent of them - have adhered loyally to a madhhab. It is true that in the troubled fourteenth century a handful of dissenters appeared, such as Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim; but even these individuals never recommended that semi-educated Muslims should attempt ijtihad without expert help. And in any case, although these authors have recently been resurrected and made prominent, their influence on the orthodox scholarship of classical Islam was negligible, as is suggested by the small number of manuscripts of their works preserved in the great libraries of the Islamic world.
Nonetheless, social turbulences have in the past century thrown up a number of writers who have advocated the abandonment of authoritative scholarship. The most prominent figures in this campaign were Muhammad Abduh and his pupil Muhammad Rashid Rida. Dazzled by the triumph of the West, and informed in subtle ways by their own well-documented commitment to Freemasonry, these men urged Muslims to throw off the shackles of taqlid, and to reject the authority of the Four Schools. Today in some Arab capitals, especially where the indigenous tradition of orthodox scholarship has been weakened, it is common to see young Arabs filling their homes with every hadith collection they can lay their hands upon, and poring over them in the apparent belief that they are less likely to misinterpret this vast and complex literature than Imam al-Shafi'i, Imam Ahmad, and the other great Imams. This irresponsible approach, although still not widespread, is predictably opening the door to sharply divergent opinions, which have seriously damaged the unity, credibility and effectiveness of the Islamic movement, and provoked sharp arguments over issues settled by the great Imams over a thousand years ago. It is common now to see young activists prowling the mosques, criticising other worshippers for what they believe to be defects in their worship, even when their victims are following the verdicts of some of the great Imams of Islam. The unpleasant, Pharisaic atmosphere generated by this activity has the effect of discouraging many less committed Muslims from attending the mosque at all. No-one now recalls the view of the early ulama, which was that Muslims should tolerate divergent interpretations of the Sunnah as long as these interpretations have been held by reputable scholars. As Sufyan al-Thawri said: If you see a man doing something over which there is a debate among the scholars, and which you yourself believe to be forbidden, you should not forbid him from doing it. The alternative to this policy is, of course, a disunity and rancour which will poison and cripple the Muslim community from within.
In a Western-influenced global culture in which people are urged from early childhood to think for themselves and to challenge established authority, it can sometimes be difficult to muster enough humility to recognise ones own limitations. We are all a little like Pharaoh: our egos are by nature resistant to the idea that anyone else might be much more intelligent or learned than ourselves. The belief that ordinary Muslims, even if they know Arabic, are qualified to derive rulings of the Shariah for themselves, is an example of this egotism running wild. To young people proud of their own judgement, and unfamiliar with the complexity of the sources and the brilliance of authentic scholarship, this can be an effective trap, which ends by luring them away from the orthodox path of Islam and into an unintentional agenda of provoking deep divisions among the Muslims. The fact that all the great scholars of the religion, including the hadith experts, themselves belonged to madhhabs, and required their students to belong to madhhabs, seems to have been forgotten. Self-esteem has won a major victory here over common sense and Islamic responsibility.
The Holy Quran commands Muslims to use their minds and reflective capacities; and the issue of following qualified scholarship is an area in which this faculty must be very carefully deployed. The basic point should be appreciated that no categoric difference exists between usul al-fiqh and any other specialised science requiring lengthy training. Shaykh Said Ramadan al-Buti, who has articulated the orthodox response to the anti-Madhhab trend in his book: Non-Madhhabism: The Greatest Bida Threatening the Islamic Sharia, likes to compare the science of deriving rulings to that of medicine. "If ones child is seriously ill", he asks, "does one look for oneself in the medical textbooks for the proper diagnosis and cure, or should one go to a trained medical practitioner?" Clearly, sanity dictates the latter option. And so it is in matters of religion, which are in reality even more important and potentially hazardous: we would be both foolish and irresponsible to try to look through the sources ourselves, and become our own muftis. Instead, we should recognise that those who have spent their entire lives studying the Sunnah and the principles of law are far less likely to be mistaken than we are.
Another metaphor might be added to this, this time borrowed from astronomy. We might compare the Quranic verses and the hadiths to the stars. With the naked eye, we are unable to see many of them clearly; so we need a telescope. If we are foolish, or proud, we may try to build one ourselves. If we are sensible and modest, however, we will be happy to use one built for us by Imam al-Shafi'i or Ibn Hanbal, and refined, polished and improved by generations of great astronomers. A madhhab is, after all, nothing more than a piece of precision equipment enabling us to see Islam with the maximum clarity possible. If we use our own devices, our amateurish attempts will inevitably distort our vision.
A third image might also be deployed. An ancient building, for instance the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, might seem imperfect to some who worship in it. Young enthusiasts, burning with a desire to make the building still more exquisite and well-made (and no doubt more in conformity with their own time-bound preferences), might gain access to the crypts and basements which lie under the structure, and, on the basis of their own understanding of the principles of architecture, try to adjust the foundations and pillars which support the great edifice above them. They will not, of course, bother to consult professional architects, except perhaps one or two whose rhetoric pleases them nor will they be guided by the books and memoirs of those who have maintained the structure over the centuries. Their zeal and pride leaves them with no time for that. Groping through the basements, they bring out their picks and drills, and set to work with their usual enthusiasm.
There is a real danger that Sunni Islam is being treated in a similar fashion. The edifice has stood for centuries, withstanding the most bitter blows of its enemies. Only from within can it be weakened. No doubt, Islam has its intelligent foes among whom this fact is well-known. The spectacle of the disunity and fitnas which divided the early Muslims despite their superior piety, and the solidity and cohesiveness of Sunnism after the final codification of the Shariah in the four Schools of the great Imams, must have put ideas into many a malevolent head. This is not to suggest in any way that those who attack the great madhhabs are the conscious tools of Islams enemies. But it may go some way to explaining why they will continue to be well-publicised and well-funded, while the orthodox alternative is starved of resources. With every Muslim now a proud mujtahid, and with taqlid dismissed as a sin rather than a humble and necessary virtue, the divergent views which caused such pain in our early history will surely break surface again. Instead of four madhhabs in harmony, we will have a billion madhhabs in bitter and self-righteous conflict. No more brilliant scheme for the destruction of Islam could ever have been devised.

http://members.cox.net/arshad/newmadhh.htm
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Old October 3, 2007, 05:13 PM
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Thanks for sharing the information. It is a well-written article vigorously promoting the idea of self-preservation of Sunni Islam through the four schools of thought. For Sunni muslims already subscribing to any such schools this maybe more encouraging or supportive. For others I'm not sure how effective this type of approach would be. Allow me to present my points below regarding that and you feedback will be greatly appreciated.

1) This article is obviously geared toward Sunni Muslims. But while promoting the virtues of the Madhab I noticed the writer takes a biased approach toward other sects of Islam and puts them in a very negative light. I'm not sure why one has to put down other followers of Islam to prove their own point. Are there not enough benefits and virtues of following the Madhab that can be explained without being confrontational? Or is that the style promoted by the Madhab when a Sunni muslim discusses religion with a non-Sunni muslim?

2) While I don't dispute the large background of scholarly expertise being put here to bolster the article, I'll have to say the assumption that average muslims are not expert enough to interpret and understand the ways of Islam is not very logical. For example, the first scholars or proponent of the current Madhab had to interpret and formulate their school of thought from the Quran and other sources. If that is so then how can they claim to be the absolute authority of the Madhab and that a future generation will not be able to improve upon it? It almost appear to curtail free-thinking (within the guideline of Islam and the Holy Quran) which is the very root itself from which Madhab seem to have orginated from.
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Old October 3, 2007, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by cluster11
Thanks for sharing the information. It is a well-written article vigorously promoting the idea of self-preservation of Sunni Islam through the four schools of thought. For Sunni muslims already subscribing to any such schools this maybe more encouraging or supportive. For others I'm not sure how effective this type of approach would be. Allow me to present my points below regarding that and you feedback will be greatly appreciated.

1) This article is obviously geared toward Sunni Muslims. But while promoting the virtues of the Madhab I noticed the writer takes a biased approach toward other sects of Islam and puts them in a very negative light. I'm not sure why one has to put down other followers of Islam to prove their own point. Are there not enough benefits and virtues of following the Madhab that can be explained without being confrontational? Or is that the style promoted by the Madhab when a Sunni muslim discusses religion with a non-Sunni muslim?

2) While I don't dispute the large background of scholarly expertise being put here to bolster the article, I'll have to say the assumption that average muslims are not expert enough to interpret and understand the ways of Islam is not very logical. For example, the first scholars or proponent of the current Madhab had to interpret and formulate their school of thought from the Quran and other sources. If that is so then how can they claim to be the absolute authority of the Madhab and that a future generation will not be able to improve upon it? It almost appear to curtail free-thinking (within the guideline of Islam and the Holy Quran) which is the very root itself from which Madhab seem to have orginated from.
Spot on, from an anti-sectarian, pluralist and proud Muslim of Shia religious-cultural heritage (not faith). Eloquently written and a good read despite a plethora of disagreements with regards to the scholar's interpretations of historical events, including the beautiful picture of seamless harmony within his sect painted here. However to be fair to Abdal-Hakim Murad, the Shia too have their own share of "my-way-or-the-highway" scholars.

Also, I do not subscibe to the dubious and somewhat predictably paranoid notion than individual freedom of conscience and thought and the moral slash social responsibilities that come with those freedoms as ordained by Allah as per the Holy Quraan, lead to chaos or anything other than what is promised by our Creator in his revelation - namely peace, happiness and salvation in this world and the world to come. No Orwellian world view or "order" can mitigate that promise with sweet semantic twists and turns that may resonate inside hearts filled with fear and pain. One does not have to be a discrete mathematician to figure out that intolerant exclusions lead to sectarianisms, and those sectarianisms by definition lead to division, degeneration and eventual exploitation by the enemies of the faithful.

Anyway, here are a few excerpts from the Holy Quraan that maybe of relevance to the ideas of individual freedom of conscience and thought and the moral slash social responsibilities that come with those freedoms. The excerpts are subject to each individual's good faith interpretations which may as well vary greatly from mine.

Quote:
Whatever you have been given is but an enjoyment of this world. That which is with God is better and more lasting for those who believe, and place their trust in their Lord, and those who avoid the great sins and obscenities, and when they are angry they forgive, and those who respond to their Lord, and maintain prayer, and AMRUHUM (their decision, command, order, decree, authority) is by SHUWRA (consultation, deliberation) between themselves, and they spend from what we have provided them. (42:36-38)

O you who believe, when it is said to you, ‘TAFASSAHUW (make room, clear a space, provide an opportunity) in the MAJALIS (conference rooms, parliaments, councils, committees, gatherings)’ then make room. God will make room for you. And when it is said to you, ‘ANSHUZUW (get up, be elevated)’ then get up. God will promote in rank those of you who believe, and those of you who UWTUW AL-'ILM (possess knowledge, information). God is aware of what you do. (58:11)

‘There is no compulsion in the system. Good reason is already distinctly clear from error..’ (2:256).

And among them are those who annoy the Prophet and say, ‘UDHUNUN (he is all ears, lending his ear to everything)’. Say, ‘UDHUNU (his listening) is best for you. He has faith in God, and has faith in the believers, and is a mercy to those of you who have faith.’ And those who annoy the Messenger of God, there is a painful punishment for them. (9:61)

It was because of the mercy of God that LINTA (you were gentle, flexible, moderate) towards them. If you were FAZZAN (blunt, crude), GHALEEZ AL-QALB (hard hearted, inconsiderate) they would have LAANFADDUW MIN HAWLIKA (broken away, disassociated themselves from around you). FA’FU‘ ANHUM (so pardon, exempt, release, free them) and ask forgiveness for them, and SHAAWIRHUM (consult, deliberate with them) concerning AL-AMR (the decision, command, order, decree, authority). Then when you have made your decision, then put your trust in God. Certainly God loves those who trust. (3:159)

Certainly, believers are those who believe in God and His Messenger, and when they are with him concerning AMRIN (a decision, command, decree) , JAAMI’IN (comprehensive, broad, general, universal), they don’t hold a view until they are informed about it. Certainly, those who inform you are those who believe in God and the Messenger. So when they inform you about some of their concerns then listen to whoever you will of them and ask forgiveness for them. (24:62)

And don’t make the summons of the Messenger amongst you like your summons between each other. God knows those of you who sneak away covertly. So let those who stay away from AMRIHI (his decision, authority) beware that an affliction may befall them, or that a painful punishment may befall them. (24:63)

And don’t consume your wealth with futility and be suggestive with it to AL-HUKKAAM (the decision makers, legislators, judges) in order that you knowlingly consume a part of the wealth of the people with transgression. (2:188)

O Prophet, when believing women come to you and pledge to you that they won’t…nor disobey you concerning MA’RUWF (that which is good, beneficial, suitable), then accept their pledge and ask God to forgive them (60:12).
On setting-up imams and scholars as de facto partners with Allah: -

In Islam there is no 'Priesthood' no 'Hierarchy' no 'Church'...However, as soon as you ask any sectarian Muslim a question regarding his/her religion, he/she will refer you to the opinions of a particular school.

Quote:
"The followers will say to their leaders, "It was you who schemed night and day, then commanded us to be unappreciative of Allah, and to set up partners to rank with Him." They will be ridden with remorse, when they see the retribution, for we will place shackles around the necks of those who disbelieved. Are they not justly requited for what they did?" (34:33)
Allah tells us that the Quraan is clear to understand (54:17) and that ALL people are commanded to ponder and understand its words.

Quote:
"Why do they not study the Quran? Or are their locks on their hearts?" (47:24)
Yet too many Muslims have refused to 'study' the Quraan for themselves and insist on merely reciting its words like the parrot who does not understand...all the time leaving Allah's "partners" to do the understanding for them.

Quote:
"When they are told, "Follow what Allah has revealed herein," they say, "We follow only what we found our parents doing." What if their parents did not understand, and were not guided?. The example of those who reject is that of one who repeats what he hears of sounds and calls, without understanding. Deaf, dumb, and blind; they cannot understand." (2:170-171)
Thankfully there have been many others since the revelation of the Holy Quraan clearly understood the role Muslim scholars and luminaries must play as Muslims without appointing themselves de facto priests and intermediaries between Allah and man’s salvation, despite semantic claims to the contrary. The Holy Quraan itself warns of this phenomenon that can lead people astray by creating divisions with the “my way or the highway” approach, and assigning de facto partnerships to that salvation in a manner akin to the Catholic Church.

In an age where both literacy, access to information and more detailed, context and semiotics-based translations and transliterations of Quraanic Arabic are becoming more and more commonplace, the roles of scholars in Islam - already limited because of Islam’s prohibition of priesthood – must evolve accordingly in order to accommodate these Information Age realities very different from perhaps any other age in human history. On the other hand, those scholars intentionally and inadvertently benefiting from divisions, exclusions, seem ultimately interested in nothing other than the conviction of their vanity.

It is up to each individual Muslim to choose - according to all of their circumstances in this world and subsequent the intellectual and spiritual limitations they have placed upon themselves with regards to their individual abilities as ordained by Allah – what sort of role what kind of scholar is to play in his or her life and to what end as an individual Muslim living this life as an integral part of his/her community and the world.

As for myself, I do have immense respect for traditional scholars such as Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir as fellow Muslims who add value to my spiritual life - but I do not let them come as an intermediary between Allah and my desired happiness and salvation in this life and the life to come. I cannot and neither can they as my respected teachers and fellow Muslim brothers. They help me stay on the straight path, not define it as Allah aready has in the Holy Quraan.

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf


Imam Zaid Shakir


The straight path: -

Quote:
"Say: 'come let me recite to you what your Lord Has forbade for you:

that you should not set-up anything with Him.

And be kind to your parents;

and do not kill your unborn children for fear of poverty, We provide for you and for them;

and do not come near evil, what is openly of it, or secretly;

and do not kill the soul which GOD Has forbidden, except in justice. That is what He enjoined you that you may comprehend'.

'And do not come near the money of the orphan, except for what is best, until he reached his maturity;

and give honestly full measure and weight equitably. We do not burden a soul except by what it can bear.

And if you speak then be just even if against a relative;

and with pledges made to GOD you shall observe. This He Has enjoined you that you may remember'.

And this is *My path, a Straight One, so you shall follow it, and do not follow the other paths lest they divert you from His path. That is what He has enjoined you to that you may be righteous." (6:151-153)


*Please note that this is the SAME Straight Path that was revealed not only to Abraham, but to Moses and his people (the exception being the Sabbath which was made as a punishment for some of the Children of Israel 16:124).
My younger brother and I subscribe to the "Allah only", unitarian way of our recent forefathers since the 1870s not because we have had the benefit of being born into it, but because that is where we find ourselves as individuals in this existential journey. We read, get inspired by, think about and internalize the guidance revealed Quraan as a we pray, we fast, we serve our communities, we meet our financial, ethical and moral obligations, we endeavor to refrain from unkind acts to ourselves - meaning the indivisible unity of our spirit, intellect and body - and everyone and everything in the world around us, and we humbly struggle for justice as the extension of cultivating and nurturing that kindness.

For me personally as an anti-sectarian Muslim, the defining principle of being one is love of Allah, and the manifestation of that love through the diligent cultivation of kindness, and social justice as an extension of that kindness. Kindness starts with oneself by taking care of the self and discarding the ego by willfully submitting to Allah, by taking care of one’s family and community, and by understanding that Allah is the ONLY omniscient and omnipotent judge of all things, and nobody will escape HIS judgment in this world or the moment of our death.

Islam as per the Holy Quraan is also an "intellectual" Deen (Way) without priesthood - de facto or any other kind of intermediary between Allah and man's existential and other salvation - and every individual Muslim has the responsibility to exercise his or her Allah given faculties, nurture and enhance those faculties through discipline and scholarship, and apply the guidance of the divine revelation of the Holy Quraan in everyday life wholeheartedly and holistically.

PS: For those not duly familiar with Quraanic Arabic, here are a couple of links to the Holy Quraan translated in easy to understand English. Any useful, linguistic, semiotic or otherwise erudite critique is most welcome.

http://www.geocities.com/masad02/

http://www.free-minds.org/quran/

A gentle reminder: purely dogmatic jingoism masquerading as "debate" or "dispute" without proper erudition only leads to further embarrassment of all involved. It is sad to try and "refute" what one hasn't examined in detail or in good faith without angry and bitter preconceptions ...
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Old October 4, 2007, 11:05 AM
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Old October 4, 2007, 01:36 PM
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But why?
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Old October 4, 2007, 02:21 PM
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But why?
The answers to some questions, like yours, man was not meant to know
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Old October 4, 2007, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cluster11
1) This article is obviously geared toward Sunni Muslims. But while promoting the virtues of the Madhab I noticed the writer takes a biased approach toward other sects of Islam and puts them in a very negative light.

2) While I don't dispute the large background of scholarly expertise being put here to bolster the article, I'll have to say the assumption that average muslims are not expert enough to interpret and understand the ways of Islam is not very logical. For example, the first scholars or proponent of the current Madhab had to interpret and formulate their school of thought from the Quran and other sources. If that is so then how can they claim to be the absolute authority of the Madhab and that a future generation will not be able to improve upon it?.
Cluster11,

Thanks for raising these Qs. Firstly, I dont think the article or the learned writer puts the sects such as Shi'i, Kharajites or Isma'eelis in a negative light but a fair scholarly historical criticism from "Ahlus sunnah wa al-jama'ah" (Sunni) perspective. You will find overwhelmingly the majority of Sunni theologians, jurists and historians shares the same opinion. Sunni muslims makes up around 90% of the global muslim population and obviously has a few very good reasons for being the majority body. Interestingly, even with the decline of the Caliphate the number of Sunni muslims hasn't dwindled. You will find approximately 99% of the muslim converts both in the West and in the East choosing Sunni school over any other schools.

Secondly, you will not find any layperson (average man) interpreting international laws or delving into human genome research without a proper training or qualifications. Why the same shouldn't apply in interpreting Islamic jurisprudence which is as complexed and profound as those examples? The door of "Ijtihad" or Independent Reasoning in Islam is never closed. On the contrary, it is encouraged and a collective duty (Fardul Kifayyah). Having said that, like any other areas of expertise, it requires qualifications, has conditions and there are prerequisites:
(a) mastery of the Arabic language, to minimise the possibility of misinterpreting Revelation on purely linguistic grounds;
(b) a profound knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah and the circumstances surrounding the revelation of each verse and hadith, together with a full knowledge of the Quranic and hadith commentaries, and a control of all the interpretative techniques discussed above;
(c) knowledge of the specialised disciplines of hadith, such as the assessment of narrators and of the matn [text];
(d) knowledge of the views of the Companions, Followers and the great imams, and of the positions and reasoning expounded in the textbooks of fiqh, combined with the knowledge of cases where a consensus (ijma) has been reached;
(e) knowledge of the science of juridical analogy (qiyas), its types and conditions;
(f) knowledge of ones own society and of public interest (maslahah);
(g) knowing the general objectives (maqasid) of the Shariah; (h) a high degree of intelligence and personal piety, combined with the Islamic virtues of compassion, courtesy, and modesty.
Anyone who possess the above prerequisites are welcome and required to interpret the Shariah. In fact, they are not allowed to simply follow (Taqlid) the verdicts of other masters of Islamic jurisprudence.

Classical Ulama/Imams (scholars) were men of profound erudition, knowledge, insight, piety and encyclopedic minds. On one hand, they realized the intelectual activities pertaining to the Islamic Sciences (Usul, Fiqh) must not stagnate. On the other, they also realized the need to safeguard the Shariah from innovation (bid'ah) and distortion (tahlif). Hence, the rigorous condtions to Ijtihad so that no compromise is made in the standard of scholarship.
The challenge has been thrown at us. Are we ready to take it up?
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Old October 4, 2007, 06:43 PM
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http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=iMhgt3JRqeU
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Old October 4, 2007, 07:05 PM
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Not directly related but here he briefly touches upon "ulul albab" and Stephen Hawkings.
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=a0-k1z...related&search=
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Old October 4, 2007, 08:04 PM
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But why?
shaad is a genius.
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Old October 4, 2007, 08:30 PM
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The Four Imams: Their lives, works and their Schools of Thought
A book by Muhammad Abu Zahra
This book is a compilation of four books which deal with the lives and works of the four imams who founded the four great canonical schools of thought of Islamic fiqh. The book was originally written in Arabic by the great Egyptian scholar and theologian Muhammad Abu Zahra and is presented in English for the first time.
In this book, there is a comprehensive, in depth analysis of the four Sunni madhabs and their founders, giving details of their biography and the methods they used in reaching their legal conclusions. This is particularly important important in the world today when many thousands of Muslims find themselves in a situation where there is not enough knowledge and therefore, no traditional allegiance to a particular madhab. As a result of this ignorance, there is also a great deal of futile disagreements amongst the Muslims. This work therefore has been long overdue in the English language and will be a milestone in bridging the gap amongst the Muslims and uniting them. It makes a stimulating and enriching read for all who are interested in deepening their knowledge of Islam.
Brief Biographies of the Four Imams
Imam Malik - the first of the four great imams and founder of the Maliki school of thought. He lived his whole life in Madina where much of the Quran was revealed and most of the legal practices of Islam established. He spent his life studying, recording and clarifying the legal parameters and precedents which was passed down to him by the first two generations of Muslims who were the direct inheritors of the perfected form of Islam left by the Prophet (saw). This book not only gives the biographical details of the Imam's life but also puts it in its historical context and most importantly, shows us the methods he used in reaching his legal conclusions which played a vital part in preserving exactly the legacy of the pure Divine Guidance left by the Prophet and his Companions.
Imam Al Shafi - founder of the Shafi'i school of thought. He was remarkable in that he resolved the differences of opinion that arose in the still evolving Muslim community and brought them together in the most outstanding legal system in the whole history of mankind. This book looks at his life and traces the development of his thought. It talks of his teachers and his followers and shows how the system he devised grew out of the intellectual and political currents of his time. It also gives an in-depth historical analysis of the various movements and sects which formed the background to the Islamic world in which he lived.
Imam Abu Hanifa - died in 150 AH/767CE. He met the companions of the Prophet (saw) and is counted amongst the Tabi'un (followers). He is renowned for his piercing intellect as faqih, his scrupulousness, integrity of character and his resoluteness in the face of oppression. His school is historically associated with the rule in India and is the most widely followed school of thought. This makes his study particularly important for the English speaking readers since it gives them an in-depth appreciation of the school followed by the majority of the Muslims in the world. Imam Ahmad Abn Hambal - chronologically the last of the four imams and lived just after the first three generations of exemplary Muslims, thus confronting a slightly different situation from that faced by his three predecessors. This necessitated a fresh approach to the legal issues arising out of the situation of the rapidly expanding urban development and imperial government which had started to engulf much of the Muslim community. The book shows how Imam Ahmad through his incredible personal integrity and scrupulous adherence to sound tradition was able to chart a course through a story period in which he lived. His example provided his followers with the legal bases of what later became the Hanbali madhab.
http://www.themodernreligion.com/basic/madhab/bio.html
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Old October 4, 2007, 08:35 PM
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What is a Madhhab?
Why is it necessary to follow one?

© Nuh Ha Mim Keller 1995
The word madhhab is derived from an Arabic word meaning "to go" or "to take as a way", and refers to a mujtahid's choice in regard to a number of interpretive possibilities in deriving the rule of Allah from the primary texts of the Qur'an and hadith on a particular question. In a larger sense, a madhhab represents the entire school of thought of a particular mujtahid Imam, such as Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi'i, or Ahmad--together with many first-rank scholars that came after each of these in their respective schools, who checked their evidences and refined and upgraded their work. The mujtahid Imams were thus explainers, who operationalized the Qur'an and sunna in the specific shari'a rulings in our lives that are collectively known as fiqh or "jurisprudence". In relation to our din or "religion", this fiqh is only part of it, for the religious knowledge each of us possesses is of three types. The first type is the general knowledge of tenets of Islamic belief in the oneness of Allah, in His angels, Books, messengers, the prophethood of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), and so on. All of us may derive this knowledge directly from the Qur'an and hadith, as is also the case with a second type of knowledge, that of general Islamic ethical principles to do good, avoid evil, cooperate with others in good works, and so forth. Every Muslim can take these general principles, which form the largest and most important part of his religion, from the Qur'an and hadith.
The third type of knowledge is that of the specific understanding of particular divine commands and prohibitions that make up the shari'a. Here, because of both the nature and the sheer number of the Qur'an and hadith texts involved, people differ in the scholarly capacity to understand and deduce rulings from them. But all of us have been commanded to live them in our lives, in obedience to Allah, and so Muslims are of two types, those who can do this by themselves, and they are the mujtahid Imams; and those who must do so by means of another, that is, by following a mujtahid Imam, in accordance with Allah's word in Surat al-Nahl,
" Ask those who recall, if you know not " (Qur'an 16:43),
and in Surat al-Nisa,
" If they had referred it to the Messenger and to those of authority among them, then those of them whose task it is to find it out would have known the matter " (Qur'an 4:83),
in which the phrase those of them whose task it is to find it out, expresses the words "alladhina yastanbitunahu minhum", referring to those possessing the capacity to draw inferences directly from the evidence, which is called in Arabic istinbat.
These and other verses and hadiths oblige the believer who is not at the level of istinbat or directly deriving rulings from the Qur'an and hadith to ask and follow someone in such rulings who is at this level. It is not difficult to see why Allah has obliged us to ask experts, for if each of us were personally responsible for evaluating all the primary texts relating to each question, a lifetime of study would hardly be enough for it, and one would either have to give up earning a living or give up ones din, which is why Allah says in surat al-Tawba, in the context of jihad:
" Not all of the believers should go to fight. Of every section of them, why does not one part alone go forth, that the rest may gain knowledge of the religion and admonish their people when they return, that perhaps they may take warning " (Qur'an 9:122).
The slogans we hear today about "following the Qur'an and sunna instead of following the madhhabs" are wide of the mark, for everyone agrees that we must follow the Qur'an and the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). The point is that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is no longer alive to personally teach us, and everything we have from him, whether the hadith or the Qur'an, has been conveyed to us through Islamic scholars. So it is not a question of whether or not to take our din from scholars, but rather, from which scholars. And this is the reason we have madhhabs in Islam: because the excellence and superiority of the scholarship of the mujtahid Imams--together with the traditional scholars who followed in each of their schools and evaluated and upgraded their work after them--have met the test of scholarly investigation and won the confidence of thinking and practicing Muslims for all the centuries of Islamic greatness. The reason why madhhabs exist, the benefit of them, past, present, and future, is that they furnish thousands of sound, knowledge-based answers to Muslims questions on how to obey Allah. Muslims have realized that to follow a madhhab means to follow a super scholar who not only had a comprehensive knowledge of the Qur'an and hadith texts relating to each issue he gave judgements on, but also lived in an age a millennium closer to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his Companions, when taqwa or "godfearingness" was the norm--both of which conditions are in striking contrast to the scholarship available today.
While the call for a return to the Qur'an and sunna is an attractive slogan, in reality it is a great leap backward, a call to abandon centuries of detailed, case-by-case Islamic scholarship in finding and spelling out the commands of the Qur'an and sunna, a highly sophisticated, interdisciplinary effort by mujtahids, hadith specialists, Qur'anic exegetes, lexicographers, and other masters of the Islamic legal sciences. To abandon the fruits of this research, the Islamic shari'a, for the following of contemporary sheikhs who, despite the claims, are not at the level of their predecessors, is a replacement of something tried and proven for something at best tentative. The rhetoric of following the shari'a without following a particular madhhab is like a person going down to a car dealer to buy a car, but insisting it not be any known make--neither a Volkswagen nor Rolls-Royce nor Chevrolet--but rather "a car, pure and simple". Such a person does not really know what he wants; the cars on the lot do not come like that, but only in kinds. The salesman may be forgiven a slight smile, and can only point out that sophisticated products come from sophisticated means of production, from factories with a division of labor among those who test, produce, and assemble the many parts of the finished product. It is the nature of such collective human efforts to produce something far better than any of us alone could produce from scratch, even if given a forge and tools, and fifty years, or even a thousand. And so it is with the shari'a, which is more complex than any car because it deals with the universe of human actions and a wide interpretative range of sacred texts. This is why discarding the monumental scholarship of the madhhabs in operationalizing the Qur'an and sunna in order to adopt the understanding of a contemporary sheikh is not just a mistaken opinion. It is scrapping a Mercedes for a go-cart.

http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/nuh/default.htm

Last edited by BanCricFan; October 6, 2007 at 09:47 AM..
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  #13  
Old October 5, 2007, 02:11 PM
BD-Shardul BD-Shardul is offline
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BanCricFan Bhai,

You have done an excellent job. I would like to thank you from the core my heart.

Let me make people understand the necessity of Madhab by giving some examples:

Example 1: Salatul Wit'r

According to Hanafi madhab, the wit'r salat is three rakah and performed in one salaam. According to shafeyi madhab, with salat is three rakah, but performed in two salaam. They first say two rakah, and then say one rakah separately. If anyone wants to see how do shafeyi people performs wit'r salat, one can go to http://aswatalislam.com/ and see on of the traweeh video's of Makkah Al Mukarramh. Makkah Imams are shafeyi madhab follower, and hence they lead the wit'r salat accordingly.

Example 2: Salat Ul Eid:

According to hanafi madhab, the salatui eid is performed with six takbeer. Three said at the beginning of the first Salat, and three said before going to rukuh of the second rakah. But in shafeyin madhab, salatui eid is performed with 12 takbeer. 7 takbeer said at the beginning of the first rakah, and the remaining 5 said at the beginning of second rakah.

Now, the obvious question is, "Which one is correct?" The answer is both of them are correct. The second question: "Which style should I follow?" And here comes the necessity of the madhab.

Our holy prophet has performed same ibadah in different styles in different times. And these styles have correctly categorised and classified by four imams, and they are Imam Malik, Shafeyi, Abu Hanifa, and Ahmed ibn Hambal. Any other school except these four are void, and that is true like daylight of a mid day sun. That's why, to follow Islam properly, it is therefore strongly necessary to follow one of these four madhabs.

The four respected imams and their followers never accused followrs of other madhab wrong. That's why, say for example, if a hanafi follower goes to makkah, and saya saltul eid and salatul wit'r in shafeyi style while praying in congregation, his/her salat will be said properly.

Another important aspect that BanCricFan Bhai has noted is the qualifications to do ijtehad in Islam. The source of Islamic Shariah are the following:

(1) Quraan: The words of Allah, and it is the principal source.

(2) Hadeeth: The word, deed of the holy prophet or the silent support to any deed by the prophet is hadeeth. Following hadeeth is absolutely necessary for the correct interpretation of Islam.

(3) Ijma'h: The unanimous decision of Sahabae Keram on an issue. For example, salatut Taraweeh is 20 rakah, and it was unanimously decided by sahabae keram during the reign of Caliph Omar (R).

(4) Qiyas: This is the final souce of Islamic Shariah, and this source has established Islam as the most modern and progressive religion of all time.

As for qias, one has to do ijtehad. The meaning of ijtehad is research. Now of course general muslim like me and you are not eligible to do ijtehad. You have to have certain qualifications, and these qualifications will say wether you can do ijtehad or not. BanCricFan Bhai has properly explained those qualifications.

The rulings on TV, photography, and issues like that have come from ijtehad done by persons of Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia or Makkah/Madinah imam calibre.

The most regrettable fact is that so called intellectuals and liberal muslims now a days just by reading the english/bangla translations of Quraan even without looking into hadeeths think that they have achieved the qulaifications to do ijtehd. But actually, they are misinterpreting Islam for their own sake, and freemind.org is a great example of it.

Juktibadi in one of his waj mahfil said, "Koy numborer ladies hoisos, morar pore bhjhbi"

I wanna say, "Koi nobrer intellectual hoise, morar pore bujhbo ar ki"

Oh Allah! Please show us the right path of deen al Islaam.
Ameen.
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Old October 5, 2007, 06:30 PM
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Sohel Sohel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaad
The answers to some questions, like yours, man was not meant to know
Thank you ... also for the longer post which sadly I do not see here anymore ... you rock my brother ...
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"And do not curse those who call on other than GOD, lest they blaspheme and curse GOD, out of ignorance. We have adorned the works of every group in their eyes. Ultimately, they return to their Lord, then He informs them of everything they had done." (Qur'an 6:108)

Last edited by Sohel; October 5, 2007 at 07:50 PM..
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Old October 6, 2007, 10:03 AM
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The work of the mujtahid Imams of Sacred Law, those who deduce shari‘a rulings from Qur’an and hadith, has been the object of my research for some years now, during which I have sometimes heard the question: "Who needs the Imams of Sacred Law when we have the Qur’an and hadith? Why can’t we take our Islam from the word of Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), which are divinely protected from error, instead of taking it from the madhhabs or "schools of jurisprudence" of the mujtahid Imams such as Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi‘i, and Ahmad, which are not?"
It cannot be hidden from any of you how urgent this issue is, or that many of the disagreements we see and hear in our mosques these days are due to lack of knowledge of fiqh or "Islamic jurisprudence" and its relation to Islam as a whole. Now, perhaps more than ever before, it is time for us to get back to basics and ask ourselves how we understand and carry out the commands of Allah.
We will first discuss the knowledge of Islam that all of us possess, and then show where fiqh enters into it. We will look at the qualifications mentioned in the Qur’an and sunna for those who do fiqh, the mujtahid scholars. We will focus first on the extent of the mujtahid scholar’s knowledge—how many hadiths he has to know, and so on—and then we will look at the depth of his knowledge, through actual examples of dalils or "legal proofs" that demonstrate how scholars join between different and even contradictory hadiths to produce a unified and consistent legal ruling.
We will close by discussing the mujtahid’s relation to the science of hadith authentication, and the conditions by which a scholar knows that a given hadith is sahih or "rigorously authenticated," so that he can accept and follow it.
Qur’an and Hadith. The knowledge that you and I take from the Qur’an and the hadith is of several types: the first and most important concerns our faith, and is the knowledge of Allah and His attributes, and the other basic tenets of Islamic belief such as the messengerhood of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), the Last Day, and so on. Every Muslim can and must acquire this knowledge from the Book of Allah and the sunna.
This is also the case with a second type of general knowledge, which does not concern faith, however, but rather works: the general laws of Islam to do good, to avoid evil, to perform the prayer, pay zakat, fast Ramadan, to cooperate with others in good works, and so forth. Anyone can learn and understand these general rules, which summarize the sirat al-mustaqim or "straight path" of our religion.
Fiqh. A third type of knowledge is of the specific details of Islamic practice. Whereas anyone can understand the first two types of knowledge from the Qur’an and hadith, the understanding of this third type has a special name, fiqh, meaning literally "understanding." And people differ in their capacity to do it.
I had a visitor one day in Jordan, for example, who, when we talked about why he hadn’t yet gone on hajj, mentioned the hadith of Anas ibn Malik that
the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, "Whoever prays the dawn prayer (fajr) in a group and then sits and does dhikr until the sun rises, then prays two rak‘as, shall have the like of the reward of a hajj and an ‘umra." Anas said, "The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: ‘Completely, completely, completely’" (Tirmidhi, 2.481).
My visitor had done just that this very morning, and he now believed that he had fulfilled his obligation to perform the hajj, and had no need to go to Mecca. The hadith was well authenticated (hasan). I distinguished for my visitor between having the reward of something, and lifting the obligation of Islam by actually doing it, and he saw my point.
But there is a larger lesson here, that while the Qur’an and the sunna are ma‘sum or "divinely protected from error," the understanding of them is not. And someone who derives rulings from the Qur’an and hadith without training in ijtihad or "deduction from primary texts" as my visitor did, will be responsible for it on the Day of Judgment, just as an amateur doctor who had never been to medical school would be responsible if he performed an operation and somebody died under his knife.
Why? Because Allah has explained in the Qur’an that fiqh, the detailed understanding of the divine command, requires specially trained members of the Muslim community to learn and teach it. Allah says in surat al-Tawba:
"Not all of the believers should go to fight. Of every section of them, why does not one part alone go forth, that the rest may gain understanding of the religion, and to admonish their people when they return, that perhaps they may take warning" (Qur’an 9:122)
—where the expression li yatafaqqahu fi al-din, "to gain understanding of the religion," is derived from precisely the same root (f-q-h) as the word fiqh or "jurisprudence," and is what Western students of Arabic would call a "fifth-form verb" (tafa‘‘ala), which indicates that the meaning contained in the root, understanding, is accomplished through careful, sustained effort.
This Qur’anic verse establishes that there should be a category of people who have learned the religion so as to be qualified in turn to teach it. And Allah has commanded those who do not know a ruling in Sacred Law to ask those who do, by saying in surat al-Nahl,
"Ask those who recall if you know not" (Qur’an 16:43),
in which the words "those who recall," ahl al-dhikri, indicate those with knowledge of the Qur’an and sunna, at their forefront the mujtahid Imams of this Umma. Why? Because, first of all, the Qur’an and hadith are in Arabic, and as a translator, I can assure you that it is not just any Arabic.
To understand the Qur’an and sunna, the mujtahid must have complete knowledge of the Arabic language in the same capacity as the early Arabs themselves had before the language came to be used by non-native speakers. This qualification, which almost no one in our time has, is not the main subject of my essay, but even if we did have it, what if you or I, though not trained specialists, wanted to deduce details of Islamic practice directly from the sources? After all, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said, in the hadith of Bukhari and Muslim: "When a judge gives judgement and strives to know a ruling (ijtahada) and is correct, he has two rewards. If he gives judgement and strives to know a ruling, but is wrong, he has one reward" (Bukhari, 9.133).
The answer is that the term ijtihad or "striving to know a ruling" in this hadith does not mean just any person’s efforts to understand and operationalize an Islamic ruling, but rather the person with sound knowledge of everything the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) taught that relates to the question. Whoever makes ijtihad without this qualification is a criminal. The proof of this is the hadith that the Companion Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah said:
We went on a journey, and a stone struck one of us and opened a gash in his head. When he later had a wet-dream in his sleep, he then asked his companions, "Do you find any dispensation for me to perform dry ablution (tayammum)?" [Meaning instead of a full purificatory bath (ghusl).] They told him, "We don’t find any dispensation for you if you can use water."
So he performed the purificatory bath and his wound opened and he died. When we came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), he was told of this and he said: "They have killed him, may Allah kill them. Why did they not ask?—for they didn’t know. The only cure for someone who does not know what to say is to ask" (Abu Dawud, 1.93).
This hadith, which was related by Abu Dawud, is well authenticated (hasan), and every Muslim who has any taqwa should reflect on it carefully, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) indicated in it—in the strongest language possible—that to judge on a rule of Islam on the basis of insufficient knowledge is a crime. And like it is the well authenticated hadith "Whoever is given a legal opinion (fatwa) without knowledge, his sin is but upon the person who gave him the opinion" (Abu Dawud, 3.321).
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) also said:
Judges are three: two of them in hell, and one in paradise. A man who knows the truth and judges accordingly, he shall go to paradise. A man who judges for people while ignorant, he shall go to hell. And a man who knows the truth but rules unjustly, he shall go to hell (Sharh al-sunna, 10.94).
This hadith, which was related by Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and others, is rigorously authenticated (sahih), and any Muslim who would like to avoid the hellfire should soberly consider the fate of whoever, in the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), "judges for people while ignorant."
Yet we all have our Yusuf ‘Ali Qur’ans, and our Sahih al-Bukhari translations. Aren’t these adequate scholarly resources?
These are valuable books, and do convey perhaps the largest and most important part of our din: the basic Islamic beliefs, and general laws of the religion. Our discussion here is not about these broad principles, but rather about understanding specific details of Islamic practice, which is called precisely fiqh. For this, I think any honest investigator who studies the issues will agree that the English translations are not enough. They are not enough because understanding the total Qur’an and hadith textual corpus, which comprises what we call the din, requires two dimensions in a scholar: a dimension of breadth, the substantive knowledge of all the texts; and a dimension of depth, the methodological tools needed to join between all the Qur’anic verses and hadiths, even those that ostensibly contradict one another.
Knowledge of Primary Texts. As for the breadth of a mujtahid’s knowledge, it is recorded that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s student Muhammad ibn ‘Ubaydullah ibn al-Munadi
heard a man ask him [Imam Ahmad]: "When a man has memorized 100,000 hadiths, is he a scholar of Sacred Law, a faqih?" And he said, "No." The man asked, "200,000 then?" And he said, "No." The man asked, "Then 300,000?" And he said, "No." The man asked, "400,000?" And Ahmad gestured with his hand to signify "about that many" (Ibn al-Qayyim: I‘lam al-muwaqqi‘in, 4.205).
In truth, by the term "hadith" here Imam Ahmad meant the hadiths of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in all their various chains of transmission, counting each chain of transmission as a separate hadith, and perhaps also counting the statements of the Sahaba. But the larger point here is that even if we eliminate the different chains, and speak only about the hadiths from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that are plainly acceptable as evidence, whether sahih, "rigorously authenticated" or hasan "well authenticated" (which for purposes of ijtihad, may be assimilated to the sahih), we are still speaking of well over 10,000 hadiths, and they are not contained in Bukhari alone, or in Bukhari and Muslim alone, nor yet in any six books, or even in any nine. Yet whoever wants to give a fatwa or "formal legal opinion" and judge for people that something is lawful or unlawful, obligatory or sunna, must know all the primary texts that relate to it. For the perhaps 10,000 hadiths that are sahih are, for the mujtahid, as one single hadith, and he must first know them in order to join between them to explain the unified command of Allah.
I say "join between" because most of you must be aware that some sahih hadiths seem to controvert other equally sahih hadiths. What does a mujtahid do in such an instance?
Ijtihad. Let’s look at some examples. Most of us know the hadiths about fasting on the Day of ‘Arafa for the non-pilgrim, that "it expiates [the sins of] the year before and the year after" (Muslim, 2.819). But another rigorously authenticated hadith prohibits fasting on Friday alone (Bukhari, 3.54), and a well authenticated hadith prohibits fasting on Saturday alone (Tirmidhi, 3.120), of which Tirmidhi explains, "The meaning of the ‘offensiveness’ in this is when a man singles out Saturday to fast on, since the Jews venerate Saturdays" (ibid.). Some scholars hold Sundays offensive to fast on for the same reason, that they are venerated by non-Muslims. (Other hadiths permit fasting one of these days together with the day before or the day after it, perhaps because no religion venerates two of the days in a row.) The question arises: What does one do when ‘Arafa falls on a Friday, a Saturday, or a Sunday? The general demand for fasting on the Day of ‘Arafa might well be qualified by the specific prohibition of fasting on just one of these days. But a mujtahid aware of the whole hadith corpus would certainly know a third hadith related by Muslim that is even more specific, and says: "Do not single out Friday from among other days to fast on, unless it coincides with a fast one of you performs" (Muslim, 2.801).
The latter hadith establishes for the mujtahid the general principle that the ruling for fasting on a day normally prohibited to fast on changes when it "coincides with a fast one of you performs"—and so there is no problem with fasting whether the Day of Arafa falls on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
Here as elsewhere, whoever wants to understand the ruling of doing something in Islam must know all the texts connected with it. Because as ordinary Muslims, you and I are not only responsible for obeying the Qur’anic verses and hadiths we are familiar with. We are responsible for obeying all of them, the whole shari‘a. And if we are not personally qualified to join between all of its texts—and we have heard Ahmad ibn Hanbal discuss how much knowledge this takes—we must follow someone who can, which is why Allah tells us, "Ask those who recall if you know not."
The size and nature of this knowledge necessitate that the non-specialist use adab or "proper respect" towards the scholars of fiqh when he finds a hadith, whether in Bukhari or elsewhere, that ostensibly contradicts the schools of fiqh. A non-scholar, for example, reading through Sahih al-Bukhari will find the hadith that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) bared a thigh on the ride back from Khaybar (Bukhari, 1.103–4). And he might imagine that the four madhhabs or "legal schools"—Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i, and Hanbali—were mistaken in their judgment that the thigh is ‘awra or "nakedness that must be covered."
But in fact there are a number of other hadiths, all of them well authenticated (hasan) or rigorously authenticated (sahih) that prove that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) explicitly commanded various Sahaba to cover the thigh because it was nakedness. Hakim reports that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) saw Jarhad in the mosque wearing a mantle, and his thigh became uncovered, so the Prophet told him, "The thigh is part of one’s nakedness" (al-Mustadrak), of which Hakim said, "This is a hadith whose chain of transmission is rigorously authenticated (sahih)," which Imam Dhahabi confirmed (ibid.). Imam al-Baghawi records the sahih hadith that "the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) passed by Ma‘mar, whose two thighs were exposed, and told him, ‘O Ma‘mar, cover your two thighs, for the two thighs are nakedness’" (Sharh al-sunna 9.21). And Ahmad ibn Hanbal records that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, "When one of you marries [someone to] his servant or hired man, let him not look at his nakedness, for what is below his navel to his two knees is nakedness" (Ahmad, 2.187), a hadith with a well authenticated (hasan) chain of transmission. The mujtahid Imams of the four schools knew these hadiths, and joined between them and the Khaybar hadith in Bukhari by the methodological principle that: "An explicit command in words from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is given precedence over an action of his." Why?
Among other reasons, because certain laws of the shari‘a applied to the Prophet alone (Allah bless him and give him peace). Such as the fact that when he went into battle, he was not permitted to retreat, no matter how outnumbered. Or such as the obligatoriness for him alone of praying tahajjud or "night vigil prayer" after rising from sleep before dawn, which is merely sunna for the rest of us. Or such as the permissibility for him alone of not breaking his fast at night between fast-days. Or such as the permissibility for him alone of having more than four wives—the means through which Allah, in His wisdom, preserved for us the minutest details of the Prophet’s day-to-day sunna (Allah bless him and give him peace), which a larger number of wives would be far abler to observe and remember.
Because certain laws of the shari‘a applied to him alone, the scholars of ijtihad have established the principle that in many cases, when an act was done by the Prophet personally (Allah bless him and give him peace), such as bearing the thigh after Khaybar, and when he gave an explicit command to us to do something else, in this case, to cover the thigh because it is nakedness, then the command is adopted for us, and the act is considered to pertain to him alone (Allah bless him and give him peace).
We can see from this example the kind of scholarship it takes to seriously comprehend the whole body of hadith, both in breadth of knowledge, and depth of interpretive understanding or fiqh, and that anyone who would give a fatwa, on the basis of the Khaybar hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari, that "the scholars are wrong and the hadith is right" would be guilty of criminal negligence for his ignorance.
When one does not have substantive knowledge of the Qur’an and hadith corpus, and lacks the fiqh methodology to comprehensively join between it, the hadiths one has read are not enough. To take another example, there is a well authenticated (hasan) hadith that "the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) cursed women who visit graves" (Tirmidhi, 3.371). But scholars say that the prohibition of women visiting graves was abrogated (mansukh) by the rigorously authenticated (sahih) hadith "I had forbidden you to visit graves, but now visit them" (Muslim, 2.672).
Here, although the expression "now visit them" (fa zuruha) is an imperative to men (or to a group of whom at least some are men), the fact that the hadith permits women as well as men to now visit graves is shown by another hadith related by Muslim in his Sahih that when ‘A'isha asked the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) what she should say if she visited graves, he told her, "Say: ‘Peace be upon the believers and Muslims of the folk of these abodes: May Allah have mercy on those of us who have gone ahead and those who have stayed behind: Allah willing, we shall certainly be joining you’" (Muslim, 2.671), which plainly entails the permissibility of her visiting graves in order to say this, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) would never have taught her these words if visiting the graves to say them had been disobedience. In other words, knowing all these hadiths, together with the methodological principle of naskh or "abrogation," is essential to drawing the valid fiqh conclusion that the first hadith in which "the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) cursed women who visit graves"—was abrogated by the second hadith, as is attested to by the third.
Or consider the Qur’anic text in surat al-Ma’ida:
"The food of those who have been given the Book is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them" (Qur’an 5:5).
This is a general ruling ostensibly pertaining to all their food. Yet this ruling is subject to takhsis, or "restriction" by more specific rulings that prove that certain foods of Ahl al-Kitab, "those who have been given the Book," such as pork, or animals not properly slaughtered, are not lawful for us.
Ignorance of this principle of takhsis or restriction seems to be especially common among would-be mujtahids of our times, from whom we often hear the more general ruling in the words "But the Qur’an says," or "But the hadith says," without any mention of the more particular ruling from a different hadith or Qur’anic versethat restricts it. The reply can only be "Yes, brother, the Qur’an does say, ‘The food of those who have been given the Book is lawful for you,’ But what else does it say?" or "Yes, the hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari says the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) bared his thigh on the return from Khaybar. But what else do the hadiths say, and more importantly, are you sure you know it?"
The above examples illustrate only a few of the methodological rules needed by the mujtahid to understand and operationalize Islam by joining between all the evidence. Firstly, we saw the principle of takhsis or "restriction" of general rules by more specific ones, both in the example of fasting on the Day of ‘Arafa when it falls on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, and the example of the food of Ahl al-Kitab. Secondly, in the Khaybar hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari about baring the thigh and the hadiths commanding that the thigh be covered, we saw the principle of how an explicit prophetic command in words is given precedence over a mere action when there is a contradiction. Thirdly, we saw the principle of nasikh wa mansukh, of "an earlier ruling being abrogated by a later one," in the example of the initial prohibition of women visiting graves, and their subsequently being permitted to.
These are only three of the ways that two or more texts of the Qur’an and hadith may enter into and qualify one another, rules that someone who derives the shari‘a from them must know. In other words, they are but three tools of a whole methodological toolbox. We do not have the time tonight to go through all these tools in detail, although we can mention some in passing, giving first their Arabic names, such as:
—The ‘amm, a text of general applicability to many legal rulings, and its opposite:
—The khass, that which is applicable to only one ruling or type of ruling.
—The mujmal, that which requires other texts to be fully understood, and its opposite:
—The mubayyan, that which is plain without other texts.
—The mutlaq, that which is applicable without restriction, and its opposite:
—The muqayyad, that which has restrictions given in other texts.
—The nasikh, that which supersedes previous revealed rulings, and its opposite:
—The mansukh: that which is superseded.
—The nass: that which unequivocally decides a particular legal question, and its opposite:
—The dhahir: that which can bear more than one interpretation. My point in mentioning what a mujtahid is, what fiqh is, and the types of texts that embody Allah’s commands, with the examples that illustrate them, is to answer our original question: "Why can’t we take our Islamic practice from the word of Allah and His messenger, which are divinely protected, instead of taking it from mujtahid Imams, who are not?" ...

http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/nuh/madhhabstlk.htm

Last edited by BanCricFan; October 6, 2007 at 10:14 AM..
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Old October 6, 2007, 05:46 PM
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BanCricFan Bhai,

You have done an excellent job. I would like to thank you from the core my heart.

Oh Allah! Please show us the right path of deen al Islaam.
Ameen.
Ameen wa jazak Allahu khair! This is the least I could do. May Allah preserve traditional scholars such as Shaykh Said Ramadan Al-Bouti, Shaykh Abdullah Ibn Baiyya, Abdal Hakim Murad, Hamza Yusuf Hanson, Nuh Ha Mim Keller and others. They are like lighthouses in this very murky day and age of ours.

All the best with your studies! May Allah grant you enormous rewards for your efforts!
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Old October 7, 2007, 05:14 PM
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Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson on following the "people of knowledge" as he talks about his translation of Imam At-Tahawi's "Creed of Ahlus Sunnah Wa Al-Jama'ah". Its a must read book for all muslims.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=y3kyRC...related&search=
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Old October 7, 2007, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BanCricFan
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson on following the "people of knowledge" as he talks about his translation of Imam At-Tahawi's "Creed of Ahlus Sunnah Wa Al-Jama'ah". Its a must read book for all muslims.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=y3kyRC...related&search=
Thanks for the excellent dig ...

It is indeed heartwarming to see again that the Holy Quran can create common ground in the hearts of Muslims of differing views as it always has and always will. Such is the miracle of Allah’s divine revelation to His willful submitters.

I am intimately familiar with and extremely fond of the Sheikh's works, and as I have mentioned in another post, he alongside his Zaytuna colleague Imam Zaid Shakir play a very important part in my spiritual life with their scholarship and insights. It was great to revisit the videos again.

I am going to go ahead and post the whole series of videos here later, alongside other BC links to Zaytuna, for all interested in a close listening - meaning NOT 'inputting what one wants to hear' but 'what is being communicated by the speaker in good faith' as an inseparable part the whole for better contextual understanding – but first, let me invite all those interested in an even closer reading of the entire Surah in discussion in order to put the verse he talks about in the already posted part 6 of the interview within perhaps more detailed context.

Quote:
An-Nisa (Women)

Medina Period

THE TITLE An-Nisa’ has been given to this surah because many of its passages deal with the rights of women and with questions relating to family life in general, including laws of inheritance, prohibition of marriage within certain degrees of consanguinity, marital relations, and so forth. The opening verse stresses the essential unity of the human race and the mutual obligations, arising from this kinship, of men and women towards one another. A large part of the surah is devoted to practical legislation bearing on problems of peace and war, as well as to relations of believers with unbelievers, especially with hypocrites. Verses 150-152 refute the possibility of believing in God without believing in His prophets: and this, in turn, leads to the subject of the Jews, who deny the prophethood not only of Muhammad but also of Jesus, as well as of the Christians, who deny Muhammad and deify Jesus although he "never felt too proud to be God's servant" (verse 172). And, finally, as if to stress the inseparability of man's beliefs from his social behavior, the last verse refers, again, to laws of inheritance.

There is no doubt that this surah belongs in its entirety to the Medina period. In the order of revelation it either follows immediately upon Al ‘Imran or - according to some authorities - is separated from the latter, in point of time, by Al-Ahzab and Al-Mumtahanah. On the whole, however, it is most probable that it was revealed in the fourth year after the hijrah, although a few of its verses may belong to an earlier, and verse 58 to a later, period.

ومن يشاقق الرسول من بعد ما تبين له الهدى ويتبع غير سبيل المؤمنين نوله ما تولى ونصله جهنم وساءت مصيرا

4: 115 But as for him who, after guidance has been vouchsafed to him, cuts himself off from the Apostle and follows a path other than that of the believers - him shall We leave unto that which he himself has chosen,* and shall cause him to endure hell: and how evil a journey’s end!


*Lit., "him We shall [cause to] turn to that to which he [himself] has turned" - a stress on man's freedom of choice.

http://www.geocities.com/masad02/004

4:115 And whoever is hostile to the messenger after the guidance has been made clear to him, and he follows other than the path of the believers; We will grant him what he has sought and deliver him to Hell; what a miserable destination.

http://www.free-minds.org/quran/PM/4
Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Part 4


Part 5


Part 6 … already posted.


Links to BC threads on Zaytuna: -

http://www.banglacricket.com/alochon...ad.php?t=22135

http://www.banglacricket.com/alochon...ad.php?t=22263

Peace, Sohel …
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"And do not curse those who call on other than GOD, lest they blaspheme and curse GOD, out of ignorance. We have adorned the works of every group in their eyes. Ultimately, they return to their Lord, then He informs them of everything they had done." (Qur'an 6:108)

Last edited by Sohel; October 12, 2007 at 03:05 AM..
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Old October 9, 2007, 04:24 PM
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Another excellent explantion of the importance of following a Madhab by Shaikh Muhammed Yusaf Al-Kanadi (Canadian):

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=aqR7CV0CMB0
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Old October 11, 2007, 01:05 AM
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Can anyone please provide with a weblink where one can find The Quran (English) with reference of all the surah (i.e., the context of all the surah). Thanks a lot.
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Old October 11, 2007, 02:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nsd3
Can anyone please provide with a weblink where one can find The Quran (English) with reference of all the surah (i.e., the context of all the surah). Thanks a lot.
With commentary: -

http://www.geocities.com/masad02/

Without commentary but in easy to understand English: -

http://www.free-minds.org/quran/

I usually combine both in my studies ...

Peace, Sohel.
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"And do not curse those who call on other than GOD, lest they blaspheme and curse GOD, out of ignorance. We have adorned the works of every group in their eyes. Ultimately, they return to their Lord, then He informs them of everything they had done." (Qur'an 6:108)
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Old October 11, 2007, 06:48 AM
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Thanks a lot Sohel NR.
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Old October 11, 2007, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by nsd3
Thanks a lot Sohel NR.
My pleasure bro ...

Peace.
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"And do not curse those who call on other than GOD, lest they blaspheme and curse GOD, out of ignorance. We have adorned the works of every group in their eyes. Ultimately, they return to their Lord, then He informs them of everything they had done." (Qur'an 6:108)
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Old October 12, 2007, 06:33 AM
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Salaam to all,

This will be my last post in this thread.

The ‘Quranist’ tradition of my paternal family, a tradition started in the 1870s, has actually been deeply respected by most Sunni and Shia scholars and leaders we have across as a family for 130 plus years. Most traditional scholars, in my humble opinion, clearly understand piety in all forms to be a critical element of practicing Islam, and they do not have a problem when I testify that I am a Muslim, period.

There is obviously nothing wrong with the Hadith and the incredible erudition of the 5 traditional Madhabs, namely the Sunni Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali and the Shia Jafari schools of law. Knowledge can but does not always lead to faith. There are many non-Muslim Orientalists who are also experts in those schools.

How we deal with that formidable intellectual tradition in our hearts, how we choose to follow what we hear and why, and subsequently what kind of value we attach to their socio-political dynamics, can generate issues as they may lead to 'shirk' and impiety as they have since day one. There is nothing ambiguous in the Holy Quran about this critical matter.

Quote:
"...O people of the Scripture, let us come to a common agreement between us and between you; that 1) we do not serve except God, and 2) do not set up anything at all with Him, and 3) that none of us takes each other as patrons besides God...." (The Message 3:64)

“'Shall I seek other than God as a judge when He has sent down to you this Scripture fully detailed?'” Those to whom We have given the Scripture know it is sent down from your Lord with truth; so do not be of those who have doubt." (The Message 6:114 )

"Say: 'Which is the greatest testimony?' Say: 'God is witness between me and you, and He has inspired to me this Qur'an that I may warn you with it and whomever it reaches, that you bear witness that along with God are other gods!' Say: 'I do not bear witness!' Say: 'He is only One god, and I am innocent of what you set up!'” (The Message 6:19)

"And We have come to them with a Scripture which We have detailed with knowledge; a guide and a mercy to those who believe." (The Message 7:52)

"We have revealed to you the Scripture with truth that you may judge between the people by that which God has shown you, and do not be an advocate for the treacherous. " (The Message 4:105)

"And the Day We send to every nation a witness against them from themselves, and We have brought you as a witness against these. And We have sent down to you the Scripture as a clarification for all things, and a guide and mercy and good tidings to those who have surrendered." (The Message 16:89)

"And We have sent down to you the Scripture with truth, authenticating what is present of the Scripture and superseding it. So judge between them by what God has sent down, and do not follow their desires from what has come to you of the truth. For each of you We have made laws, and a structure; and had God willed, He would have made you all one nation, but He tests you with what He has given you; so strive to do good. To God you will return all of you, and He will inform you regarding that in which you dispute." (The Message 5:48)
Sadly, there are some Muslims, Shia and Sunni alike, who deal with their own pain, suffering, fears and other demons by seeking often false comfort in totalitarian and authoritarian structures often of their own making, irrespective of the detailed position of many scholars and their scholarship. Perhaps in their heartbreaking zeal for emotional comfort, they become proponents of a man-made 'order' to be pilots by the infallible few, at the expense of the divinely sanctioned freedoms and responsibilities of the many.

Personally, I do not subscribe to the dubious and somewhat predictably paranoid notion that individual freedom of conscience and thought, and the moral slash social responsibilities which come with those freedoms as ordained by Allah in the Holy Quran - lead to chaos or anything other than what is promised by our Creator in his revelation, namely peace, happiness and salvation in this world and the world to come.

No Orwellian world view or 'order' can mitigate that promise with either emotional violence of inducing irrational fear that prey on individual insecurities, or sweet semantic twists, turns and promises that may resonate inside those hearts filled with fear and pain. One does not have to be a discrete mathematician to figure out that intolerant exclusions lead to sectarianisms, and those sectarianisms by definition lead to division, degeneration and eventual exploitation by the enemies of the faithful.

In my humble opinion, problems start when perhaps driven by the unresolved fear, some individuals create absolutist and intolerant - meaning tolerant only on its own terms - de facto political movements and power relations that eventually lose sight of piety, that no longer remember that there is great indignity in speaking for others, and seek to unilaterally impose its views without the possibility of a role reversal for the sake of ‘the greater good’ irrespective of what the Holy Quran has to say.

Personally, I find it at once tragic and somewhat amusing when some Muslims only ‘accept’ the Quran within the context of ultimately their own understanding of a Hadith, instead of doing it the other way around.

By doing so, they perhaps inadvertently assign a ‘divine’ value to important scholarship and particular scholars, and create clearly misguided de facto partnerships that inevitably lead to more division and impiety as the clear line between the ‘important’ and the ‘divine’ become increasingly blurred in their individual minds. Things become ‘black and white’ and their way becomes the ‘only’ way for everybody – all in the name of ‘unity’ and ‘righteous order’ in a losing battle to lord over and judge what Allah alone has the power to create, preserve and destroy as per His divine Judgment and Will.

It is important to mention that proponents of Fascism in all of it forms have also historically used 'disorder' and 'chaos' to undermine civil liberties, and eventually lost after much bloodshed and suffering. Allah is indeed Just and guarantees final victory only to those who do not break their covenant with Him in their hearts and deeds.

A Madhab can does assist in consolidating that covenant IF and ONLY IF the individual Muslim allows himself to be rightly guided in his HEART by the ONLY divine and FINAL revelation that supercedes all previous revelations – the Holy Quran.

Quote:
"We have decreed that the believers will be victorious." (30:47)

"GOD will support with victory those who support Him. GOD is powerful, Almighty." (22:40)

"GOD will surely defend those who believe. GOD does not like any betrayer, disbeliever." (22:38)

"O you who believe, if you support GOD, He will grant you victory, and strengthen your foothold." (47:7)
It is not about following or not following a Madhab, but how and why we follow whatever we choose to in our hearts, and to what end. A Madhab can be a light that illuminates the Word of Allah, but NEVER assign itself as an intermediary between Allah in the minds of a Muslim who follows its erudite interpretations and norms. Then again, there is not much a Madhab can do when the individual Muslim is blinded by his own desire to seek ephemeral comforts of de facto idolatry in a private world where he/she hears only what reinforces their blindness. The ‘input’ always matches the ‘expectation’ as he/she perhaps inadvertently assigns 1) de facto ‘partners’ in the process, 2) has all of the thinking conveniently done for him by those ‘partners’ of his making, and 3) becomes too entangled in the ‘branches’ before neglecting the ‘root’ of the faith.

The Holy Quran provides clear guidance in this matter.

Quote:
"Say (O Muhammad), 'Whose testimony is greater?' Say, 'God is the witness between me and you that THIS QURAN was given to me to preach it to you, and to whomever it reaches.' However, you certainly bear witness that you set up other gods beside. Say, 'I will never do what you are doing; I disown your idol-worship.'" (6:19)

"When our verses are recited for them, those who do not expect to meet us would say, 'Bring a Quraan other than this, or change it.' Say (O Muhammad), 'I cannot change it on my own initiative. I simply follow what is revealed to me. I fear, if I disobey my Lord, the retribution of a terrible day.' ...Who is more wicked than one who invents lies about God, or rejects His revelations? The guilty never succeed. Yet, they idolize beside God those who possess no power to harm them or benefit them, and say, 'These are our intercessors with God.' ...such is idol-worship." (10:15-18)
Sadly, often such 'partnerships' are easily formulated in light of just the initial comments here from Maulvi Muhammed Yusaf. Only Allah knows what is truly in the hearts of His creations, but statements such as the one listed below from the video, can for all practical purposes, enable a Muslim to perhaps inadvertently create the type of 'partnership' with Allah and His words - a type of 'partnership' clearly prohibited in the Quran and repeatedly classified as the worst kind of 'shirk' - and lead to all subsequent real life pitfalls as revealed in the Holy Quran.

Quote:
We need to talk about the OBLIGATION to follow a mujtahid*. ... by mujtahid, we mean a person SUPREMELY QUALIFIED to REPRESENT the INTENT of the LAW GIVER ...

*Ijtihad (Arabic اجتهاد) is a technical term of Islamic law that describes the process of making a legal decision by independent interpretation of the legal sources, the Quran and the Sunnah. A person who applies ijtihad is called a mujtahid, and traditionally had to be a scholar of Islamic law, an Islamic lawyer or alim.
Once an individual allows him/herself to empower a scholar with the cloak of de facto infallibility, he/she can easily indulge in intellectual dishonesty by either hearing only what they with to hear, or by outright taking things out of their context. When that happens, that person finds him/herself perhaps inadvertently wallowing in ultimately the conviction of nothing other than his/her own vanity as reinforced by such self-induced dishonesty and dogma. At that point, there is nothing we can do but pray.

Quote:
"When they are told, "Follow what GOD has revealed herein," they say, "We follow only what we found our parents doing." What if their parents did not understand, and were not guided?. The example of those who reject is that of one who repeats what he hears of sounds and calls, without understanding. Deaf, dumb, and blind; they cannot understand." (2:170-171)

"And who is more wicked than one who is reminded of his Lord’s verses but he turned away from them, and he forgot what his hands had done. We have made veils upon their hearts from understanding them, and a deafness in their ears. And if you invite them to the guidance, they will never be guided." (The Message 18:57)

"And when God Alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter are filled with aversion; and when others are mentioned beside Him, they rejoice!" (The Message 39:45)
They forget that the Holy Quran is revealed for all of mankind, not just the elite few especially at this Information Age of higher literacy and better access to knowledge. They appoint partners and perhaps even believe in their hearts that it will be such partners, and not those who have benefited from their piety in intent and deeds, can 'intercede' on their behalf when the time comes.

Quote:
"Say, 'To God belongs ALL INTERCESSION. To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, then to Him you will be returned.' When GOD ALONE is advocated, the hearts of those who do not believe in the hereafter shrink with aversion. But when idols are mentioned along with Him, they become satisfied." (39:45)

"Spend from our provisions to you before a day comes wherein there will be no trade, no nepotism, and NO INTERCESSION." (2:254)

"Beware of the day when no soul will help another soul, no ransom will be accepted, NO INTERCESSION will be useful, and no one will be helped."
(2/123)
The Holy Quran is not rocket science, and can be understood at multiple levels by individuals irrespective of their faculties. We have a fundamental responsibility as Muslims use those faculties and allow ourselves to be happy in this world, as an integral part of this world, and not at the expense of others we so hastily judge.

Quote:
"...We have revealed to you this book to provide explanations for everything, and guidance, and mercy, and good news for the submitters/muslims." (16:89)

"Shall I seek other than GOD as a judge, when He revealed THIS BOOK FULLY DETAILED? (6:114)

"The word of your Lord is COMPLETE in truth & justice." (6:115)

"The followers will say to their leaders, "It was you who schemed night and day, then commanded us to be unappreciative of GOD, and to set up partners to rank with Him." They will be ridden with remorse, when they see the retribution, for we will place shackles around the necks of those who disbelieved. Are they not justly requited for what they did?" (34:33)

"Why do they not study the Quraan? Or are their locks on their hearts?" (47:24)

"That is because God was not to change anything He bestowed to a people, unless they change what is in themselves. God is Hearer, Knowledgeable." (The Message 8:53)
Luckily for us, perhaps a majority of Muslims and Muslim scholars do instinctively understand the Word of Allah in hearts, and a great traditional scholar such as Sheikh Hamza Yusuf can reiterate the supreme importance of genuine faith, and piety as an integral expression of that faith as revealed in the Holy Quran. I humbly suggest that we listen closely to what he has to say here and understand why inclusion and tolerance is perhaps better than exclusion and intolerance. The scholarly Sheikh knows that at the end of the day, he is perhaps as good a Muslim or ‘submitter’ as the illiterate Yusuf Mia who is also pious with perhaps just an ‘instinctive’ understanding of the word of Allah.

Peace, Sohel …
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"And do not curse those who call on other than GOD, lest they blaspheme and curse GOD, out of ignorance. We have adorned the works of every group in their eyes. Ultimately, they return to their Lord, then He informs them of everything they had done." (Qur'an 6:108)

Last edited by Sohel; October 12, 2007 at 06:43 AM..
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Old October 15, 2007, 05:44 PM
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"Then again, there is not much a Madhab can do when the individual Muslim is blinded by his own desire to seek ephemeral comforts of de facto idolatry in a private world where he/she hears only what reinforces their blindness. The ‘input’ always matches the ‘expectation’ as he/she perhaps inadvertently assigns 1) de facto ‘partners’ in the process, 2) has all of the thinking conveniently done for him by those ‘partners’ of his making, and 3) becomes too entangled in the ‘branches’ before neglecting the ‘root’ of the faith."

Sohel NR,

Madhab (following the correct and scholarly opinions in the matter of religions) = de facto idolatry (shirk)!!! ...How much more absurd can it get than this??!

I would rather not self-worship and super inflate my ego by pandering to my whims and vain desires. "Have you seen those who have taken their vain desire as their God". I would rather follow the opinions of experts/"men of knowledge" who have dedicated their entire life in pursuit of knowledge and understanding. I find much more comfort and security in their knowledge than my arm-chair "punditry"!

In my book people are innocent untill proven otherwise and would rather extend the benefit of doubt. Therefore, I don't assume all the empowered authorities are inherently corrupt- certainly not the PIOUS ulamas! Thanks Allah that the notion of TRUST still exists.

By the way, Ulamas are not infallible- not at least in Sunni Islam! But I assume it would be quite logical to think that a collective opinions held by a number of experts to be more sounder than a layperson's one.

"There is a real danger that Sunni Islam is being treated in a similar fashion. The edifice has stood for centuries, withstanding the most bitter blows of its enemies. Only from within can it be weakened. No doubt, Islam has its intelligent foes among whom this fact is well-known. The spectacle of the disunity and fitnas which divided the early Muslims despite their superior piety, and the solidity and cohesiveness of Sunnism after the final codification of the Shariah in the four Schools of the great Imams, must have put ideas into many a malevolent head. This is not to suggest in any way that those who attack the great madhhabs are the conscious tools of Islams enemies. But it may go some way to explaining why they will continue to be well-publicised and well-funded, while the orthodox alternative is starved of resources. With every Muslim now a proud mujtahid, and with taqlid dismissed as a sin rather than a humble and necessary virtue, the divergent views which caused such pain in our early history will surely break surface again. Instead of four madhhabs in harmony, we will have a billion madhhabs in bitter and self-righteous conflict. No more brilliant scheme for the destruction of Islam could ever have been devised. " - Understaning the four madhabs.



Equating Madhab with idolatry is like the delibirate equation of the noble concept of Hijab to oppression/suppresion by the Zionist media!







Last edited by BanCricFan; October 21, 2007 at 01:14 PM..
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