Sunday, November 04, 2018

An examination of the miraculous quality or inimitability of the Qur’aan

The following is the translation of an Arabic article.

The miraculous matter is that matter which breaks or exceeds the norm or what is usual in any time and place. The new invention breaks the norm however it is caught up with by something similar to it or better than it and as such is not considered to be miraculous. Therefore, for the matter to be miraculous or inimitable, it is necessary that the people be incapable of reproducing the like of it in every time and place. This is a matter which is not realised in anything present or existing within all that exists, except in the Qur’aan which Allah Ta’Aalaa revealed upon our Sayyid Muhammad .

Allah ‘Azza Wa Jalla has made it the eternal proof of the Muslims to establish the correctness or validity of their Deen and to prove that it is from Allah alone and not the production of any human being. The people’s realisation of the existence of Allah is a matter which is possible by way of the ‘Aql (mind). However, the people cannot comprehend what Allah has required or demanded from them as that does not happen except via an address from Allah to mankind where it is established by a Daleel Qat’iy (definite) evidence that it is from Allah alone.

Allah has addressed his slaves with the Qur’aan to explain to mankind what is required for them and He made the Qur’aan itself a miracle for as long as the heavens and earth remain (i.e. until the Day of resurrection). In the absence of the miraculous nature or inimitability the proofs for the correctness of the Deen collapse. For that reason, it became obligatory upon the Da’wah carriers to apply an extreme amount of care and concern to this miraculous nature; to explain it to the people and establish the evidences for it as much as they can and are able. The unresponsiveness of the people to Islaam is often a result of the people not comprehending or realising this miracle and the lack of concern with it in origin. That is because the majority of those who have studied the miracle of the Qur’aan have complicated the matter more than they have simplified it. That is to the point that it became perceived by the people to be a mysterious matter which could not be fully comprehended except by someone who has an extensive knowledge of the Arabic language. For that reason, the miracle of the Qur’aan became a matter which didn’t mean anything to the majority of the Muslims and even if they say with their mouths that the Qur’aan is a miracle for all of the people.

The miraculous aspect in the Qur’aan is only found in the linguistic formulation of the intended meaning and whoever wishes to sense or touch upon the miracle, then he must define the meaning which the Qur’aan is addressing whilst leaving the form used by the Qur’aan to bring that meaning, and then attempt to bring a formulation of his own to express the same reality. And so, for example, in respect to the Qawl of Allah Ta’Aalaa:

يَا أَبَتِ إِنِّي رَأَيْتُ أَحَدَ عَشَرَ كَوْكَبًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ رَأَيْتُهُمْ لِي سَاجِدِينَ
O my father, indeed I have seen [in a dream] eleven stars and the sun and the moon; I saw them prostrating to me (Yousuf: 4).

This represents an expression about a particular meaning and its reality is that a particular person slept and saw in his dreams 11 stars prostrating to him, in addition to the sun and moon. And then he spoke to his father about that. This is the reality.

For us to touch upon and sense the miraculous nature, we bring a new formulation other than the formulation brought in the Qur’aan which expresses the same meaning. If we were to do that we would touch upon a huge difference between our formulation and the formulation of the Qur’aan, whilst the matter would never require experts to say that. This is a natural matter and that is because the first form is from Allah whilst the second is from the human and it is natural to sense the difference between them both and even the one who is not proficient in the sciences of the Arabic language. If we were to try the following formation for instance:

يا أبي إني حلمت بأن أحد عشر نجما ومعهم الشمس والقمر ساجدين لي
O Father, verily I dreamt that 11 stars alongside the sun and the moon prostrated to me

And then we were to present the two forms upon someone and even upon the one who does not possess knowledge of Arabic, he will be able to easily judge that the form of the Qur’aan is one thousand times better than the other formulation or usage of wording. Even if we were to gather the literary experts upon the face of the earth to bring a form composed by themselves, the judgement would remain the same.

It is natural and inevitable for the difference to be vast and easily noticeable between the two as one of them is from Allah and the other is from man, as we have previously stated. When the difference between two matters is vast then it does not require experts to differentiate between them. Experts in language are only required if the two forms are similar or close to each other exactly like any other discipline from amongst the disciplines of the world. As such it is possible for someone who does not have expert knowledge in construction to distinguish between the crooked and straight building, just as any person is capable of distinguishing between a new vehicle and an old rusty one. However, if the two buildings, for example were equal in respect to quality, then it would not be possible for other than the expert to distinguish or differentiate between them … and so on.

Whoever wishes to live with the miracle, then when he reads an Aayah from the Kitaab of Allah, he should specify its meaning and attempt to bring a new formulation (of wording) for the same meaning and at that time alone he will be able to touch upon or sense the miraculous nature. As for comparing the text of the Qur’aan with a line of poetry here and there or with some prose here and there, then that by its nature will not make the person realise the miraculous nature of the Qur’aan. Indeed, it is possible that it will complicate the matters and unintentionally give the impression to the one listening that the miracle is a mysterious matter which none but the knowledgeable (in certain areas) can fully comprehend.

It is for you to contemplate upon the Qawl of Allah Ta’Aalaa:

يُوصِيكُمُ اللَّـهُ فِي أَوْلَادِكُمْ ۖ لِلذَّكَرِ مِثْلُ حَظِّ الْأُنثَيَيْنِ
Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females (An-Nisaa’: 11).

If you were to gather the literary experts of the earth to bring a form other than this expressing the same meaning, then what they bring will represent nothing but a corrupt scribble when compared to the form of the Qur’aan. The same applies in respect to His Qawl Ta’Aalaa:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ ۚ أُحِلَّتْ لَكُم بَهِيمَةُ الْأَنْعَامِ إِلَّا مَا يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ غَيْرَ مُحِلِّي الصَّيْدِ وَأَنتُمْ حُرُمٌ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَحْكُمُ مَا يُرِيدُ
O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts. Lawful for you are the animals of grazing livestock except for that which is recited to you [in this Qur'an] - hunting not being permitted while you are in the state of ihram. Indeed, Allah ordains what He intends (Al-Maa’idah: 1).

And also His Qawl:

وَإِمَّا تَخَافَنَّ مِن قَوْمٍ خِيَانَةً فَانبِذْ إِلَيْهِمْ عَلَىٰ سَوَاءٍ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْخَائِنِينَ
If you [have reason to] fear from a people betrayal, throw [their treaty] back to them, [putting you] on equal terms. Indeed, Allah does not like traitors (Al-Anfaal: 58).

And the same applies in respect to most of the Aayaat of the Qur’aan as the result will be the same regardless of how much the one who attempts that attempts to do that.

It is true and correct that the lowest challenge set by Allah was to bring a Soorah:

وَإِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِّمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَىٰ عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ
And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant [Muhammad], then produce a Surah the like thereof (Al-Baqarah: 23).

However, that does not prevent many of the Aayaat being miraculous like the Aayaat we have mentioned and those similar to them. As for His Qawl Ta’Aalaa: “الرَّحْمَـٰنُ” (Ar-Rahmaan) and his Qawl Subhaanahu: “عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ” (‘Allama l-Qur’aan) etc. Then, it is perfectly clear that Aayaat such as these are not miraculous (in themselves) and as such the lowest challenge set by Allah for man was a Soorah and not an Aayah.

The issue of the miracle or inimitability, as stated previously, must be given the greatest amount of care and attention by the Da’wah carriers because it alone represents the evidence that this Deen is from Allah whilst the removal of this from within the people represents a fundamental reason for the distance of the people from their Deen and their unresponsiveness to the one calling to Allah. The human being, by his nature, follows the strong and possessor of miracles. The disbelievers have been given a great share of power and accomplishments in an unprecedented manner historically and for the people to be diverted from them it is necessary for there to be a material power to meet their power, or spiritual power or both combined together.

That is like what happened with the Nabi . That is because when he came with a great spiritual power it settled within the Nufoos (pl. of Nafs) of the people and they were diverted away from following the Persians and Romans. Indeed, they came to see them as being insignificant, confronted them and broke their strength and power. The days rotate; today they are in favour of the disbelievers and not us, and that is because we left the spiritual power which can our realisation of the miracle bestows upon us and so we came to face the most insolent and (materially) strongest people of the earth, that history has known, whilst being stripped without a weapon. The result was therefore decisive in their favour just as has been the case since the last one hundred years.
Sheikh Abu Islam Yusuf Shaqeero, Palestine

Thursday, October 11, 2018

An examination of the issue of the ideal or idealistic example or model

The following is the translation of an Arabic article.

Allah ‘Azza Wa Jalla has made every Nabi from the Anbiyaa’ (Prophets) whom He sent, the highest example or model for his people. After the death of the Prophets and the death of their miracles along with them, the Hikmah (wisdom) of Allah ‘Azza Wa Jalla willed that He send our master Muhammad and made him the seal of the Prophets. He made his miracle everlasting as long as the heavens and earth remain and made him the high model or example for all the people, during his life and after his death. Allah created the human and created within him the tendency towards perfection. He is therefore constantly striving towards elevation and towards nearing perfection. For that reason, he likes to see upon the earth an example or model to follow. Allah did not efface this tendency in a manner that would conflict with his Fitrah (nature). Rather, He designated for him an example and obliged him to follow him. That was by making our master Muhammad the highest model for all of mankind. Allah Ta’Aalaa said:

لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّـهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّـهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ
There is certainly for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent model for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day (Al-Ahzaab: 21).

In the case where the Messenger is no longer a living example before the people, then that drives them to seek an example that is present so as to imitate or follow him. They draw from such a model the resolve and determination to do that which is demanded or requested from them to do and they make the one who resembles the conduct of the Nabi or the Sahaabah, may Allah Ta’Aalaa be pleased with them, the measure in respect to him being a high model or example for them. Therefore, whoever resembles the conduct of the Nabi and the Sahaabah, is from the people of righteousness or uprightness in their view and someone like him is suitable to be a model. As for the one who’s conduct is in conflict with them, then no, he will not be taken as a model by them.

And from among them, there are those who scratch out or write off an example from their list due to the simplest of violations whilst others are lenient in respect to that and do not write him off unless his violations are numerous. This is the type of example or model that is being examined in this chapter’s discussion. That is because when the people say that so and so a person is my example or model, it means that he does not accept for himself or others except to be like the one he has taken as a high model or example.

The matter of having examples or models is like other issues which the person must subject to the Hukm Ash-Shar’iy. Is the person right when he erases people from the lists of the people of virtue, just because they have erred or sinned here and there? And is the person right who is more lenient in respect to the setting of examples and accepts some errors from himself and others and only removes such a person from the list of ideal examples if these errors were many?

The answer to that is that when idealising a model is within the limits of the tendency towards perfection, then this is a matter which Allah has made natural within the creation of the people and it is commended or praiseworthy. If such an example did not exist, then the human would not attempt to imitate anyone towards elevation ever. If, however, this idealising of a model meant that people sifted upon the idealistic basis, where they would write off those who are contrary to the ideal model and not give credence except to the one who matched the example, then this is blameworthy and indeed very dangerous. If this was to take over a particular person, then he has been taken over by the most dangerous of that which can take him away or remove him from his Deen.

That is because it is Allah ‘Azza Wa Jalla who created the humans and it is He who revealed to them a Deen and made it obligatory upon them to adhere to. It is therefore He who accepts and does not accept from Zaid what he did or did not do. And it may be the most obvious of statements that it is obligatory upon the people “all of the people” to accept what Allah has accepted from other than them. That is so that they do not make themselves appear to have even greater concern than Allah for His Deen and His creation.

From the truths that are not open to discussion or debate is that Allah has specified the Anbiyaa’ (Prophets) alone from amongst mankind with Al-‘Ismah (infallibility), above the fact that he specifically chose and selected them in origin. If the possibility or capability to commit errors was not possible in respect to them, then they would not have been in need of their infallibility or protection granted to them to prevent them from sin. And if the possibility of sin was possible in respect to those whom Allah had selected and chosen specifically from the people and they were those who had the greatest Imaan, then by greater reason it is possible, on a wider scale, for this to be possible in respect to other than them. The Shar’a has established and affirmed this truth and it has been indicated to in the many Aayaat which discuss the matter of seeking forgiveness and requests that from the believers. If the matter of error (or sin) did not exist then there would be no need for seeking forgiveness and discussing it as much as it has been.

Even clearer than that is the speech of the Messenger : “Every son of Adam errs (or sins) and the best of those who err (or commit sins) are the Tawwaabeen (those who turn regularly or often in repentance)”. The errors mentioned here means many errors or sins and it comes from the verb Khati’a, Yakhta’u, Khit’an and not from the verb Akhta’a, Yukhit’u, Khata’an. The first means the deliberate error whilst the second refers to the opposite of being right, like the one who targets a matter but does not hit it or misses it. The evidence for that is the Qawl of the Messenger : “And the best of those who err or sin are the Tawwaabeen” and Taubah only occurs in respect to the sin and the one who commits the Khit’an a lot is called Khattaa’ (i.e. someone who often commits sin).

Therefore, the texts of the Shaari’ (Legislator) have indicated in a manner leaving no doubt that the Insaan (person) makes a lot of sins and that this is Maqbool (acceptable) to Allah, even if the person’s sins are numerous, as long as he does not persist upon the sin. Based upon this it is obligatory upon the Muslim, in obedience, to accept that which Allah ‘Azza Wa Jalla has accepted from His slaves. If he does not do that and remains measuring in an idealistic manner, then he will spend his whole life searching for an ideal model to follow and never find him. That is particularly when the formation of the ideal model is based upon his own imagination, whether some of it or part of it. That is because angels do not walk upon the earth and those upon it are humans who act rightly and commit sins.

Based upon this the danger of setting idealistic models or examples is apparent because the one who does that is subject or exposed to be taken away from his Deen when he does not find within the people that which he was expecting to find. It also paralyses the person from engaging in the work as he spends his time searching for that which does not exist and does not undertake actions unless he finds a model to emulate. At the end of all of this he will never find anything other than despair and frustration.

Idealism does not assist the spread of the virtuous acts within the society. That is because the one who does not accept the sin and Taubah of others only represents a source of problems for them. The Saheeh Hadeeth from the Nabi , which mentions within about a man who killed ninety-nine people, is well-known and it observed how when the man learned that there was no Taubah (repentance) for him, that he killed the one he asked, due to his feelings that there was no difference between killing one hundred and killing one thousand. Then when he learned that Taubah was open to him after asking another, he moved in the direction of the believers and ceased his killing. As such, the acceptance of the Taubah plays a part in the spread of the virtuous acts and goodness, whilst the opposite brings an opposite result.

This idealism also plays a part in respect to fragmenting the Ummah if it was able to take a hold over the collective. That is because the majority of its individuals would employ this idealism and naturally each would see the corruption of the other upon that basis leading to the division of the hearts and splitting apart of the people.

It is necessary to turn attention to the fact that most of the people say with their tongues that the ideal model, according to the concept of the one who searched for, is an incorrect concept. However, even though they have said that with their tongues, they nevertheless go against their statement by their actions. So, for instance, if a particular Zaid from the people committed a sin, they don’t find it enough to just remove his name from the list of the people of virtue and good, but rather they make themselves appear as if they wear the cloak of prophethood and infallibility, in exaggeration and fraudulently, as if they do not sin greater than his sin. That is because, as we have stated earlier, they in the search for Ar-Riyaa’ (i.e. to be praised by others), get taken over by it, to repel the deficiency within them and to draw fake praise and commendation amongst the people. As they are bankrupt in their own actions, then a particular Zaid from amongst the people committing a particular sin, represents a golden opportunity for them to prove themselves, in the case where the self of such a person cannot be proven through correct or valid causes (or means).

The Sahaabah, may Allah be pleased with them, understood the danger of this idealism and they would keep as far away from it as possible. They used to embrace the one who erred, exhort him and remind him in a kind and mild manner without exaggeration or seeking praise (Riyaa’). That was due to their knowledge that something even greater in sin could possible happen from them. Contraventions from them in their capacity as individuals is a well-known matter and yet despite that, these contraventions, including some which were great, did not malign the fact that they were from the people of virtue and that they were the best of generations of man, as has been verified in the speech of Allah ‘Azza wa Jalla related to them. If they were the best of generations and yet as individuals they perpetrated major sins, then the possibility of sin, by greater reason, is possible in respect to those who live in the generations which are lesser than theirs.

The correct view which must dominate over the individual within the collective, is his feeling that he is less than other than him and not better than them. That is because every individual is aware of his own flaws whilst he is not aware of what someone else may have in terms of deficiencies or flaws. As such, we see such a person viewing others as being better than him. If this viewpoint dominated over the individuals within the collective, you would inevitable see a society in which every individual strives to catch up to others from one perspective and from another perspective you would see a society that does not pounce upon the flaws of people, and if the flaw of a certain Zaid or ‘Amr was discovered, then kindness and gentleness would be dominate over the society, and they would take him by the hand so that he stands upright upon the path, without them attempting to find self-satisfaction in chiding him and exaggerating his faults.

In summary, when the person sins, whatever his situation was, it is not permissible to disavow or repudiate him unless he is insistent upon that. Judgment is not passed upon him in that his Nafs is corrupt but rather he is accounted according to the level of his sin. He is advised and taken by his hand so that he does not sin again and so that his Nafs elevates and draws as close as possible towards perfection. Whoever claims that he does not err or sin, or indeed that he does not sin much, then he is not truthful in his claim, and whoever seeks the infallible upon the face of the earth, then he will never find them through his whole life.

Therefore, whoever is taken over by idealism, has been taken over by the most dangerous of that which can take him away from his Deen, because he will never find upon the earth that which he aspires for; neither within himself nor in others. And if believes that his envisaged or conjured model exists within some people, then it will quickly become apparent to him that he is wrong when the one whom he viewed to be a model sins or errs. He will then keep moving from one model to another until he is overcome by despair whilst he will not be protected from that except by the correct concepts emanating from the Islamic Aqeedah, so that Islaam becomes his mentality by which he reasons or comprehends, and his desires proceed according to what the Ahkaam Ash-Shar’iyah have brought. He would then not formulate from his imagination an angelic picture of humans, because they cannot possibly be angels. He would realise that every human sins or errs and that the virtue is not negated from the one who errs. If he was to negate virtuousness or merit from the one who errs and then went to look at history and Seerah, he would find many errors and sins coming from the Sahaabah and those who followed them, which would oblige him to negate or remove the Fadl (favour, merit or virtue) from them, and in doing so he would be in opposition to the testimony of Allah ‘Azza Wa Jalla in respect to them.

The stating of these words and repeating of them, as we have previously stated, is not an unprecedented art, as all the people repeat them. However, the problem lies in the practical application of this understanding or concept. So how do we pass judgement upon the one who is confirmed to us that he has lied or committed Zinaa or stole or cheated? This is the art which the Nafs has to be conditioned upon, and it represents the ground which is virtually inaccessible.

Sheikh Abu Islam Yusuf Shaqeero, Palestine

Saturday, October 06, 2018

The opinions of the ‘Ulamaa in respect to the Hujjiyah of Al-Ijmaa’ and the possibility of its occurrence

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

Most of the ‘Ulamaa and Fuqahaa and the vast majority have stated that Al-Ijmaa’ represents a Hujjah (a source of evidence and proof for the Ahkaam Ash-Shar’iyah) and that it represents a Masdar (source) for the Islamic legislation. However, they have differed in respect to upon whom the Ijmaa’ occurs and they have also differed in respect to the possibility of the occurrence of the different kinds of Ijmaa’. The following represents some of the opinions of those ‘Ulamaa and Fuqahaa:

1 – The opinions of Al-Imaam Ash-Shaafi’iy:

Ash-Shaafi’iy (rh) said: “Ruling (judging) is by the Kitaab and the Sunnah” and then he said: “And we rule with Al-Ijmaa’ and Al-Qiyaas”.

Al-Ijmaa’ in Ash-Shaafi’iy’s view is manifested in the Ijmaa’ of the Mujtahideen of the Ummah in a certain era. However, he did open up some discussion in respect to the possibility of it occurring due to the separation and distance between the lands, the absence of the Fuqahaa meeting together and the existence of differences amongst the Fuqahaa in every land, in addition to the absence of an agreement upon defining the attributes or description of the ‘Ulamaa who would take part in such an Ijmaa’.

It appears that the concept of Ijmaa’ was not crystallised by Ash-Shaafi’iy because he considered that the Ijmaa’ could take place in respect to that which is known from the Deen by necessity and he brought examples of that including: The four Raka’aat of Zhohr prayer and the prohibition of Khamr. This is despite these matters having been established and proven by definite evidences from the Kitaab and the Sunnah and have not been established by way of Ijmaa’ but rather transmitted to us by way of Tawaatur. Even if the whole Ummah and its Mujtahideen have agreed upon the legal legitimacy of these rulings this legal legitimacy however originated from evidences other than the Ijmaa’ as they came from the Kitaab and the Sunnah Al-Mutawaatirah.

2 – The opinion of Al-Imaam Abu Haamid Al-Ghazaaliy Ash-Shaafi’iy:

Al-Ghazaaliy took the opinion of Ash-Shaafi’iy in respect to Al-Ijmaa’ however he discussed the opinions of those who held contrary opinions. He did not permit the adoption of Al-Ijmaa’ As-Sukootiy and he accepted the Hujjiyah (evidential validity) of Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah in addition to the Hujjiyah of the Ijmaa’ Al-Mujtahideen in every era.

3 – The opinion of Daawood Az-Zhaahiriy:

He did not take other than Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah (rah).

4 – The opinion of Al-Imaam Abu Haneefah:

Al-Imaam Abu Haneefah (rh) said: “If the Sahaabah have held an Ijmaa’ upon a matter we submit to that and if the Taabi’een have held an Ijmaa’ we argue with them about it”. Consequently, he did not take other than Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah.

5 – The opinion of Al-Imaam Maalik Bin Anas:

Al-Imaam Maalik (rh) accepted the Hujjiyah of the Ijmaa’ of Ahl ul-Madinah Al-Munawwarah. Maalik said: “It is a Hujjah because Al-Madinah is the source of knowledge, the place of the descent of the Wahi and it contains the children of the Sahaabah (rah). As such it is impossible for them to agree upon anything else – i.e. other than the Haqq”.

6 – The opinion of Al-Imaam Muhammad Abu Zahrah (from the recent Scholars):

Abu Zahrah said in his book ‘Usool ul-Fiqh’: “The Fuqahaa have not agreed upon an Ijmaa’ apart from Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah. That is because their Ijmaa’ in respect to the Ahkaam Ash-Shar’iyah has been proven and established by way of Tawaatur. For that reason, no one has disagreed and differed in respect to their Ijmaa’. Even those who viewed the occurrence of Ijmaa’ to be a far off or unachievable matter submitted to and conceded to the Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah”.
He then said: “And in truth, after the Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah no other Ijmaa’ has been established upon a Mutawaatir path and as such the Fuqahaa have disputed the claims of Ijmaa’ amongst those who took and left it”.

I say that the Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah is a Hujjah and it represents the third Daleel Ash-Shar’iy after the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. That is because their Ijmaa’ reveals and discloses a Daleel from the Sunnah in the case where the text of that Sunnah did not reach us. They knew this Daleel but did not transmit its text to us but rather transferred and transmitted the Hukm based on a Daleel through their Ijmaa’. This type of Ijmaa’ does not occur to anyone other than them from humankind because they were the ones who lived at the time the Messenger (saw). They lived with him, met with him, accompanied him, listened to him, went to battle with him and they transmitted the Islamic Deen to us from him (saw).