Saturday, July 07, 2018

Al-Ijmaa’ (consensus) - Part 1

This is an extract from the book Al-Waadih Fee Usool ul-Fiqh by Muhammad Hussein Abdullah. 

Al-Ijmaa’ (consensus)
The meaning of Al-Ijmaa’:

Al-Ijmaa’ linguistically:

It is the determination or resolve upon a matter and agreement. This resolve is valid to emanate from one (person) and this meaning is found in the Qawl of the Messenger (saw):

مَنْ لََْ يََْمَعْ ال ي صِّيَامَ قَ بْلَ الْفَجْير فَلَ ي صيَامَ لَه “Whoever does not resolve (i.e. intend) the fasting before Fajr, then there is no fasting for him” (related by the compilers of the Sunan).

Just as it is valid to be used for more than one like in His Qawl Ta’Aalaa:
فَأَ يْ جَعُوا أَمْرَكُمْ وَشُرَكَاءكَُمْ
So resolve upon your plan along with your associates (Younus 71).

Which means resolve whilst being in agreement with your associates.

The meaning of Al-Ijmaa’ in accordance to the Istilaah of the Usooliyeen:

It is the agreement upon the Hukm of a reality from amongst the realities in respect to it being a Hukm Shar’iy after the passing of the Messenger of Allah (saw).

The Importance and Significance of Al-Ijmaa’ within the Ahkaam Ash-Shar’iyah
1 – Al-Ijmaa’ is the third Daleel after the Qur’aan and the Sunnah because it based upon a Daleel Shar’iy even though that Daleel did not reach us (directly) but rather only the Hukm deduced from it has reached us.
2 – The ‘Ulamaa of the Muslims have made Ijmaa’ (held a consensus) upon Al-Ijmaa’ representing a Hujjah (proof and evidence) even if they have differed in respect to those who are the people of Ijmaa’ and whose agreement indicates and guides to the convening of Al-Ijmaa’ (a consensus).
3 – The Fuqahaa dedicated special attention and care to identify and acquire knowledge of the areas and contexts of Ijmaa’ amongst the Sahaabah (rah) so as to follow them within them. This is whilst every Mujtahid dedicated special care and attention do not go outside of that which the Sahaabah (rah) had agreed and held an Ijmaa’ upon.
4 - The Hukm that has been established by Al-Ijmaa’ is not abrogated because it came after the death of the Messenger of Allah (saw) and after the Wahi had ceased to descend.
5 – The Sahaabah (rah) have transmitted the Usool ud-Deen to us by their Ijmaa’ as they have transmitted to us the Qur’aan Al-Kareem and the Sunnah An-Nabawiyah which indicates and guides to the importance and significance of Al-Ijmaa’.
6 – Ahkaam have been established by way of Al-Ijmaa’ which have had a major impact and influence upon the life of the Muslims, the continuation of their State and the preservation of their Deen. Some of these Ahkaam are as follows:
A – The Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah upon making a copy of the Qur’aan Al-Kareem in the time of the Khalifah ‘Uthmaan Ibn ‘Affaan (ra) and prior to that in the era of the Khalifah Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (ra) which facilitated and made it easy upon the Muslims to refer to the Masaahif (pl. of Mushaf) to safeguard their memorisation and preservation of the Qur’aan.
B – The Ijmaa’ of the Sahaabah upon Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (ra) assuming the post of the Khalifah (successor) to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and then after him ‘Umar and ‘Uthmaan (rah). This is what made clear the Shar’iy method for the Muslims, to pledge allegiance to a Khalifah in order to apply Islaam upon them internally and to carry it to mankind externally.
This is as the Sahaabah (rah) left the body of the Messenger of Allah (saw) lying in the house of ‘Aa’ishah (ra) for three days without burying him whilst they occupied themselves in choosing a Khalifah from amongst them and gave him the Bai’ah (pledge). (Translators note: This opinion has been later revised to two nights). This represented an Ijmaa’ indicating that it is Haraam for the Muslims to remain two nights or three days without appointing a Khalifah for them and this is because they delayed the Waajib of burying the Messenger of Allah (saw) due to being sinful as a result of the absence of a Khalifah. (Translators note: This has later been revised to the Ijmaa’ indicating the obligation to engage in the appointment of the Khalifah as soon as the position becomes vacant whilst the obligation to appoint the Khalifah within three days has been deduced from the Ijmaa’ upon the statement of ‘Umar (ra) when he gave a time limit of three days for a Khalifah to be appointed after him).

Hujjiyat ul-Ijmaa’ (the proof of its validity as a Daleel Shar’iy)
The Hujjiyah of Al-Ijmaa’ as a source for the Islamic Ahkaam is a place of agreement amongst the majority of the Fuqahaa and ‘Ulamaa of Usool ul-Fiqh in addition to what is built upon that in terms of the obligation to follow and not violate a ruling based upon it. However, they differed in respect to which Muslims the Ijmaa’ is taken from. The most well-known Ijmaa’s that the ‘Ulamaa of Usool ul-Fiqh and Fuqahaa adopted are:

Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah, Ijmaa’ Ahl ul-Madinah, Ijmaa’ Al-Ummah Al-Islaamiyah in a certain era or period, Ijmaa’ Al-Mujtahideen in a certain era or time and Ijmaa’ Ahl ul-Bait in the view of the Shee’ah.

I will first deal with the Hujjiyah of Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah because most of the ‘Ulamaa from the Usooliyeen and Fuqahaa counted it as a legitimate and valid Ijmaa’ and then I will address the Ijmaa’ of the Islamic Ummah.

Hujjiyah Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah
The Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah is regarded as a Hujjah (proof) due to the following evidences:

1 - Allah’s commendation and praise (Thanaa’) upon the companions (Sahaabah) of the Messenger of Allah (saw) in the Qur’aan:

Muhammad (saw) is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves (Al-Fat’h 29).

And in Soorah Al-Hashr Allah Ta’Aalaa said:
They seek a bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure and supporting Allah and His Messenger, [there is also a share]. Those are the truthful (Al-Hashr 8).

And He Ta’Aalaa said in the following Aayah of Soorah Al-Hashr:
It is those who will be successful (Al-Hashr 9).

And He Ta’Aalaa said:

And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajireen and the Ansar and those who followed them with good conduct - Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment (At-Taubah 100).

2 – The Sahaabah (rah) are those who gathered together the Qur’aan, they are those who preserved it, transmitted and made copies of it. And Allah Ta’Aalaa says:
Verily it is We Who revealed the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur'an) and verily We will safeguard it (Al-Hijr 9).
Therefore, in the case where it was the Sahaabah (rah) who (practiacally) attended to the Qur’aan through their Ijmaa’ whilst Allah Ta’Aalaa had assumed its preservation, then the Aayah guides to the truthfulness and veracity of their Ijmaa’.

3 – It is impossible in accordance to the Shar’a for the Sahaabah to have an Ijmaa’ upon an error. If that was permissible, then it would be permissible for there to be an error or mistake in respect to the Deen because they are those who have transmitted this Deen to us via their Ijmaa’ (consensus).

4 – The Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah discloses and is revealing of a Daleel Shar’iy. That is because they did not agree and hold a consensus upon a certain Hukm being a Hukm unless they had a Daleel from the statement, action or Taqreer (approval and consent) of the Messenger of Allah (saw). This reality does not apply to any other than the Sahaabah (rah) because they lived at the same time as the Messenger (saw), gathered around him and transmitted from him.

From these evidences above it becomes evident that the Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah is the Ijmaa’ which the Adillah (evidences) have guided to being Qat’iy Ath-Thuboot (established and proven decisively). That is because its evidences are from the definite Aayaat and they are Qat’iy Ad-Dalaalah in respect to the commendation and praise upon their truthfulness. This is also the case in respect to the fourth Daleel which is ‘Aqliy (rational).

In addition to the definite Adillah there are also Aahaad Al-Ahaadeeth that have been mentioned to us in respect to their praise like his Qawl (saw):

خَيرُ القُروي ن قَ رْنِ الذي ب عيثْتُ فييهم
The best generation is my generation that I have been sent amongst them
(Abu Daawood).

أَصْحابِ كَالنُّجويم يبِييِّيهيم اقْ تَدَيْ تُم اهْتَدَيْ تُم
My companions are like the stars. Any one of them you follow you are guided
(Al-Baihaqi and Ad-Dailamiy related it from Ibn ‘Abbaas).

Q&A: Are women obliged to keep long hair?


I’ve been asked this question and I want to raise it here for it to be answered if possible: are women obliged to keep long hair?   Is it not allowed for a woman to cut her hair?  Some have said that one points of reasoning behind this is, is that it would cover their awra’ on the day of judgement.


No on both counts.


The cited reasoning or justification mentioned, is a khurāfah – a superstition, as there is no textual evidence to substantiate this view.  Just as there is no text outlining an obligation for women to keep their hair long, there isn’t any prohibition contained within the Islamic texts concerning women cutting their hair, or even for that matter, keeping it short.   We know that there is a report that the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) had their hair cut short mainly for ease in washing as outlined by the mother of the believers, ‘Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her.   Imām Muslim records in his Ṣaḥīḥ:
و حدثني عبید الله بن معاذ العنبري قال حدثنا أبي قال حدثنا شعبة عن أبي بڪر بن حفص عن أبي سلمة بن عبد الرحمن قال دخلت علی عاٸشة أنا وأخوها من الرضاعة فسألها عن غسل النبي صلی الله علیه وسلم من الجنابة فدعت بإناء قدر الصاع فاغتسلت وبیننا وبینها ستر وأفرغت علی رأسها ثلاثا قال وڪان أزواج النبي صلی الله علیه وسلم یأخذن من  رءوسهن حتی تڪون ڪالوفرة
And ‘Ubaidullah ibn Mu’ādth al-‘Anbary narrated to me he said my father narrated to us he said Shu’ba narrated to us from Abu Bakr ibn Ḥafṣ from Abu Salamah ibn Abdar-Raḥman, he said:  I along with the foster brother of ‘Aisha went to her and he asked about the bath of the Prophet (peace be upon him) because of sexual intercourse.  She called for a vessel equal to a Sa’ and she took a bath and there was a curtain between us and her.  She poured water on her head three-times.  The wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to cut their hair until it came just below their ears.

We have no narratives on record that the Prophet (peace be upon him) ever forbade his wives and / or the general female populace from having their hair cut in this manner.  It is therefore not acceptable to invent something and then seek to argue that a prohibition should apply.  The view that women are prohibited from cutting their hair seems to be a unique, peculiar view from some in the Indian sub-continent. Their opposition seems to only be on the basis that women cutting their hair generally and / or having various styles is prohibited because it is imitating the non-Muslims and men.  Such a position though is ridiculous when considered against the narration we have from Imām Muslim as cited above as well as the general Sharī’ah evidences.

In relation to ajj, the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not oblige or recommend women to shave their heads following completion, but to merely clip it.   That is set out clearly in the following narration from the Sunan of Abu Dāwud:
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْحَسَنِ الْعَتَكِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ بَكْرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ جُرَيْجٍ، قَالَ بَلَغَنِي عَنْ صَفِيَّةَ بِنْتِ شَيْبَةَ بْنِ عُثْمَانَ، قَالَتْ أَخْبَرَتْنِي أُمُّ عُثْمَانَ بِنْتُ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ، أَنَّ ابْنَ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم‏ لَيْسَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ حَلْقٌ إِنَّمَا عَلَى النِّسَاءِ التَّقْصِيرُ
  Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-‘Ataki narrated to us Muḥammad ibn Bakr narrated to us Ibn Jurayj narrated to us he said I have heard from Ṣaffiya the daughter of Shayba ibn Uthmān, she said: Umm Uthmān bint Abi Sufyān reported to me that Ibn ‘Abbās said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Shaving is not a duty laid upon women; only clipping the hair is incumbent on them. 
Some have interpreted this ḥadith, as well as what Imām Bukhāri recorded concerning the praising of those who shave their head to mean that it is generally impermissible for women to shave their heads, but the language of the ḥadith does not indicate that.

On average women generally tend to have longer hair than men and taking care of it, including cutting and styling is part of beautification. The matter should be very clear based upon these narrations and the general evidences.

All success rests with Allah, and ultimately Allah knows best


Monday, May 21, 2018

Ramadan in the Ottoman Caliphate

All Elements of Ottoman Society Fasted during Ramadan
The fourth pillar of Islam is fasting during the month of Ramazan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, and requires that Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoke, snuff, and sexual activities every day from sunrise to sunset.
Fasting is not obligatory for children before the onset of puberty, people with an illness or medical condition, nursing and pregnant women, travelers, and those fighting on the battlefield. Despite these rules, children, pregnant women, travelers, and soldiers in the Ottoman era fasted during the entire month.
Though the duties of the holy month are arduous, members of all social classes in the Ottoman era observed them with exceeding devotion and zeal, and they condemned any open and public infraction with uncommon severity.
Decorating the mosques with lamps
The mosques were brilliantly illuminated, and they were crowded with worshippers. Cords were “slung from minaret to minaret,” to which lamps were attached and “the rising or lowering of these cords,” produced magical transitions. As a European visitor to the Ottoman capital observed, these unique lamps rendered “the illuminations of Istanbul unlike those of any European capital.”
Breaking the fast (iftār)
As the hour of sunset approaches, people prepare themselves for the sound of the cannon and the cry of the muezzin, calling the faithful to prayer. The second cannon discharge signals iftar, or breaking of the fast, with an evening meal that includes family and friends. The poor often ate a large meal at once, while the rich broke the fast with a light meal — a morsel of bread with yogurt, dates, fresh or dried fruit, especially watermelon, sweetmeats, and muhallabi, “a thin jelly of milk, starch, and rice flour,” washed down with water or lemonade.
The evening prayer is performed after breaking the fast. At times, the faithful smoked a pipe, drank a cup of coffee or a glass of sherbet before performing the evening prayer. Then he sat down with family and friends to the main meal.
Muslims in Sarajevo still observe the Ottoman tradition of firing a canon to mark iftar. Each night Muslims flock to Zuc hill in Sarajevo waiting for the ‘bang’ so they can open their fast.
The nights of Ramadan
After the meal, streets became crowded with throngs of people. Some spent their time in a coffeehouse smoking water-pipes filled with tobacco and listening to storytellers and singers, while others walked through gardens, sitting in the moonlight and enjoying cakes, toasted grains, coffee, and sugared drinks as they watched the performance of the Karagöz shadow puppet theater.
Many walked to a mosque and listened to prayers and recitations from the local imam, while others spent part of the evening with local dervises at a Sufi lodge (tekke) although during the holy month, zikrs (literally remembrance of God), or ecstatic worship through devotional singing, were rarely performed.
Pre-dawn Meal (suhūr)
Shortly before midnight came the call to prayer, at which time the late wanderers returned home to prepare for a morning meal. In the large urban centers such as Istanbul and Cairo, shortly after the arrival of midnight, the cannon sounded a warning to the faithful that it was time to eat their morning meal. In small towns and villages, drummers walked through narrow streets and alleys warning the faithful to eat their early morning meal before the sunrise.
The morning meal was usually eaten an hour before the morning prayer. In homes of the rich and powerful, the servants brought water for ablution, spread the leather cloth (sofra, Arabic: sufrah) — well tanned and generally of a yellow color bordered with black — and placed a meal on it which at times included remnants of the evening’s meal. Then sounded the salam, or blessing on the prophet, an introduction to the call of morning prayer. Many took the last puff on their pipes. A second gun was fired as a sign of imsak, or the order to abstain from eating and drinking.
Intention to Fast (niyet)
Then the faithful waited for the call to prayer, which was followed by a ceremony called “purpose” or “intention” (niyet niyat). For instance, the worshipper could say to himself, silently or audibly, that he intended to pray two bows of prayer to God. He then proceeded with his prayers and went to sleep immediately. Different schools of Islamic jurisprudence required different forms of niyet.
The generosity of Ottoman officials
Some among high government officials celebrated the arrival of the holy month by opening the doors of their homes and showering their dependents and servants with kindness and generosity. In his Book of Travels, Evliya Çelebi wrote that at the beginning of Ramazan, his patron, Melek Ahmed Pasa, distributed various precious goods from his treasury such as expensive garments, vessels, weapons, armor, jeweled muskets, swords, sable furs, and coral prayer beads to his servants and agas, in return for a complete Quran recital and their prayers and invocations. Every Monday and Friday evening during the month, the doors of his home were opened to the public, who were served fruit syrups and musky sweetmeats of pistachios and almonds, while they listened to recitations of prayers from the Quran.
The sultan and his officials used Ramazan as an occasion to sacrifice a variety of animals either at a mosque or at a public place such as an open street or the main gates of the city. The meat was distributed among ordinary people, particularly the poor and the needy.
Visiting the relics of Prophet Muhammad 
Numerous religious ceremonies and observances also took place throughout the holy month. On the fifteenth of Ramazan, the sultan and high government officials went to pay homage to the relics of the prophet Muhammad, which they held in great veneration. These included the prophet’s mantle, “a black woollen jacket, measuring 124 centimeters, with wide sleeves and cream-colored wool lining,” his flag and battle standard, the hair from his beard, a piece of his tooth, and his footprint set in a piece of stone. The ceremonial uncovering, display, and veneration of these relics followed the noon prayer. Though conducted privately, the ceremony was nonetheless an occasion of great religious significance.
Zakāt al-fitr
Even before the arrival of the bayram, the sultan — as well as the rich and powerful who surrounded him — demonstrated their devotion, charity, and piety by distributing alms to the poor. Some families prepared a variety of dishes and sent them to their neighbors, as well as to the poor and the needy.
Outside the palace, before the arrival of the new month, the faithful who had fasted for 30 days made their customary fast offering. Such an offering required them to distribute among the poor and the needy a certain amount of wheat, barley, dates, and fruit. This purified their fast for it was believed that until a Muslim had distributed these gifts, or their equivalent in money, god kept his fasting suspended between heaven and earth.
Among the wealthy and powerful families, every member of the household, including servants and slaves, received a valuable present according to their status, “the length and difficulty of their services,” or “the degree of favor in which” they “were held.”
In the Arab provinces of the empire, where this practice was called sadaqat ul-Fitr or zakat ul-Fitr, the alms were distributed one or even two nights before the end of Ramazan. The head of household was responsible to pay the alms on behalf of every member of his family. Approximately two kilograms of grains was distributed on behalf of each family member. Some among the rich and powerful chose to distribute money instead of grains or dates.
The Night of Power (Lailatul-Qadr)
The most important of all holy nights was the Night of Power, which was observed on the 27th of Ramazan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It celebrated the angels’ descent to earth with the Holy Quran and the Angel Gabriel’s revelation of it to the prophet Muhammad. The night was also significant because it was believed that special blessings were sent down to the truly devout from heaven. Upon the arrival of the Night of Power, a solemn and meditative spirit overcame every Muslim household.
From the large urban centers to the humblest village, young and old, men and women, state officials, merchants, artisans and peasant farmers, participated in night prayers, for they believed that on this night the fate of every devout Muslim was shaped for the following year.
Eid ul-Fitr
The end of Ramazan was marked with a three-day Islamic holiday called Ramazan Bayrami (Ramazan Festival) or Seker Bayrami (Sugar Festival) also known in Arabic as Eid ul-Fitr or Eid us-Sagheer, Minor Festival. The month of fasting ended and the festivities began with the first appearance of the new moon heralding the month of Shawwal. At times, the bayram was delayed if the weather was cloudy and the new moon did not appear in the sky. If the sky remained cloudy and the moon was obscured, it was simply presumed that the new moon was present and the month of fasting had ended. In Istanbul, the end of Ramazan was officially proclaimed with discharging of cannons at the imperial palace. The lights and lamps on the minarets were extinguished, and drums and trumpets were played in public places and the homes of high government officials and court dignitaries.
In the courtyards of the main mosques, markets were set up to sell meat, fruits, vegetables, sweets, clothing, fabrics, candles, toys, and a host of other popular goods. On the first day of Shawwal, the tenth month in the Islamic calendar, came the Ramazan celebration.
On the first day of the new month, men bathed, perfumed, and dressed in their finest clothing to attend congregational prayer. Having distributed their required alms, worshippers assembled outside their town or village in a large space especially set aside for the large congregation who attended the bayram prayer. There, led by an imam, they performed prayers. After the end of the prayer, the imam ascended the pulpit and delivered a sermon. 33 The prayer marking the new month had no call to prayer and no iqama, which was called to make all in attendance aware that the prayer was getting underway. Once prayers had ended, all worshippers embraced and wished one another a happy and healthy bayram. They then returned to their homes, taking a different road from the one they had taken coming to the prayer.
On the occasion of the arrival of the bayram, parents bought new clothes for their children, who proudly displayed them as they walked through the streets. Women wore their best jewelry and most splendid dress. The rich and powerful distributed presents among their servants, dependents, and the poor. During congratulatory visits, the young kissed the right hands of the older members of the family, who gave them sweets.
An important part of the bayram was the restoration of friendship between those who had quarreled or hurt each other’s feelings. After the mid-day service at the mosque and exchange of visits, some people set off for cemeteries, where temporary markets were set up to sell flowers, prayer books, and water for watering the plants around the grave. The rest of the day was spent in relaxation and amusement, such as listening to performances by the janissary marching band (mehtaran) or watching the popular Karagöz and Hacivat shadow theater.

Source: Daily Life in the Ottoman Empire by Mehrdad Kia