Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lebanon Burns…

The following is translation from the Arabic of a leaflet that was circulated in the Muslim world by the workers for Khilafah, with some slight ammendment:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Lebanon Burns…
And the Muslim Rulers see its burning as a heating stove, happy that it is alight!

O Muslims,

Enough is enough! There is no excuse here for the one seeking an excuse, nor any justification for the one seeking to justify. He who turns a blind eye to the treachery and betrayal of Palestine and Lebanon by the (Muslim) rulers is in reality one of them. He who does not expend his effort in mobilising the armies and removing the barriers placed in front of these armies by the rulers, his is a portion of their betrayal.

He who does the above indeed supports the debasing of the Ummah at the hands of these rulers who have their hands on its neck, whilst at the same time they support and protect its enemies, and participate in its slaughter day and night! He also indeed assists in the degrading of the armies by these rulers who sit on their thrones, safe and secure, using the armies to prop up their decisions and maintain their oppression, whilst at the same time they protect the borders of the enemy, establishing its presence.

The soldiers are you sons, O Muslims, and it is obligatory that you urge them resolutely to change the munkar of the rulers and to move in support of Palestine and Lebanon, and the rest of the Muslim Lands.

O Muslims,

You see and you hear the massacres of the Israelis against the civilians: women, children and the elderly, and you see and hear their savage crimes that have reached the general organisations, the infrastructure, the trees and the mountains. With this, you have also seen the evil stance of the rulers; the best of them take a neutral stance and call to peace! Similarly you have seen and heard the result of the meeting of their ministers, then you saw and heard their announcements on the television screens where instead of being ashamed in front of Allah and the servants of Allah, they justified the aggression of the Israelis, and referred to the resistance as frivolous and foolhardy. Do not these rulers deserve to be flung away as the date seed is flung? Nay, they are even lower than that!

O Muslims,

The Israeli state, in spite of all its weaponry and military might, is like a glasshouse about to fall. If it were not for the protection its gets from its surrounding states, it would be gone without a trace. For strength is not in weapons alone, but in the men who carry them. As for the Jews, humiliation and misery has covered them, and they drew upon themselves the wrath of Allah. Every time they ignite the flames of war, Allah extinguishes them. Says He, the Exalted,

وَإِن يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ يُوَلُّوكُمُ الأَدُبَارَ ثُمَّ لاَ يُنصَرُونَ
“If they come out to fight you, they will show you their backs, and no help shall they get.” (al-Imrān: 111).
The examples of this are observable. What is happening in Lebanon too speaks of this. The resistance is small in numbers and weapons when compared to that which Israel owns and to the supports it receives from the colonialist kafir states, with America at their head. When considered in material terms, the resistance would appear extremely limited, yet it has reached the depths of Israel, afflicting the Israeli State with a vertigo, causing a loss of all ability to think. So how would it be if this resistance were supported by the Muslim armies; nay even only by the neighbouring armies?

O Muslims,

The continuation of the resistance is from the signs of victory, and victory is only with patience and perseverance. Even though the crimes of the Israelis, which have resulted in destruction, massacres and wholesale wreckage, give us pain and suffering, the fighting also confers upon the enemy pain and suffering. Yet the Muslim looks forth to one of the two good outcomes (victory or Jannah), whilst the enemy looks forth to nothing except one of the two evil outcomes (loss or Jahannam). Allah the Exalted says,

وَلاَ تَهِنُواْ فِي ابْتِغَاء الْقَوْمِ إِن تَكُونُواْ تَأْلَمُونَ فَإِنَّهُمْ يَأْلَمُونَ كَمَا تَأْلَمونَ وَتَرْجُونَ مِنَ اللّهِ مَا لاَ يَرْجُونَ وَكَانَ اللّهُ عَلِيماً حَكِيماً
“Relent not in pursuit of the enemy: if ye are suffering, lo! they suffer even as you suffer and you hope from Allah that for which they cannot hope. Allah is Knowing, Wise.” (al-Nisā: 104)
Just as the continuation of the fighting is from the signs of victory, the stopping of the fighting on the condition of the enemy is the loss of victory. It is indeed better, a thousand times, for the pure blood which is split that pure white pages of martyrdom and courage are written from it, and it is indeed worse, a thousand times, if black pages of negotiations and surrender are written from it.

The movement of the United Nations, the European Union and the G-8 Nations is now (finally) visible on the horizon, and all their initiatives call, openly and loudly, to ways wherein lie the benefits of the enemy, and to solutions which involve the wasteful spilling of the blood of the Muslims. The talks about these solutions have moved from being secretive and allusive to being open and clear, lead by the colonialist kafir states, with America at their head, and supported and applauded by the agents of these colonialist states and their associates and followers.

The ‘asl is that these delegates, who come with the conditions of the Israelis, not be received, and that they be expelled with the worst of expulsions, for they are selling the solutions which benefit (only) the Israelis, and they want treacherous humiliating solutions, and the Muslim does not accept humiliation. Nay, he is honoured by his deen, strengthened by his Lord; the Exalted says,

وَلِلَّهِ الْعِزَّةُ وَلِرَسُولِهِ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلَكِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
“But honour belongs to Allah and His Messenger, and to the Believers; but the hypocrites know not.” (al-Munāfiqūn: 8)

O Muslims,

We call out to every possessor of strength in the Muslim armies to move with his strength to the battlefield, destroying the barriers placed in front of him by the rulers, and moving forth in his jihad and courage. As for him who is content with their oppression and holds back, and bargains with them and gives up, then his strength will take him to humiliation in this world and an awful disgracing torment in the hereafter.

إِلاَّ تَنفِرُواْ يُعَذِّبْكُمْ عَذَاباً أَلِيماً وَيَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْماً غَيْرَكُمْ وَلاَ تَضُرُّوهُ شَيْئاً وَاللّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
“If you do not go forth, he will punish you with a severe punishment, and will bring in your place a people other than you, and you will not harm Him in the least; and Allah is over all things powerful.” (al-Tawbah: 39)

22 jumada al-thani

Friday, July 28, 2006

Understanding the Method of the Islamic Ideology


An ideology can generally be defined as a set of related concepts and beliefs that constitutes the basis of the political, economic, social system. Upon further scrutiny of the fundamentals and essence of any ideology and application, one arrives at the understanding that an ideology invariably includes a method or technique by which its ideas can be realised. Hence, we understand that an ideology consists of two main elements: Idea and Method.

In light of this, we must seek to confine all out actions, in the pursuit of the revival, to the method which emanates from our ideology. Failure to do this will result in our carrying out actions which do not emanate from the Islamic ideology, thus negating the Islamic goals and objectives.

In order to comprehend the realm of actions considered as part of the Islamic method, we must understand the nature and distinction of what constitutes Means, Style, and Plans as well as the concept of Strategy and Tactics.

IDEA (Fikrah)

The term Fikrah can be translated as an idea or thought. The most fundamental thought, the doctrine of creed, is termed the 'Aqeeda. The resultant thoughts and a system dealing with all aspects of life emanate from the 'Aqeeda.

Thus, the Idea - in the sense of it being one of the two elements of an ideology - can refer to the 'Aqeeda, and the resultant thoughts.

1. 'Aqeeda or doctrine itself is the fundamental thought about the universe, man and life.

" Say, Allah is One." ( Al Ikhlas; 112:1 )

This ayah is an idea directly related to the 'Aqeeda.

2. Resultant rules ( Ahkam ) are derived from the doctrine and used for solving the issues of life in general.

" ...Allah has permitted trading and forbidden Riba. " ( Al Baqara; 2:275 )
This ayah results in thoughts related to specific relationships, i.e. the economy and
acts of worship. Other ayat have thoughts related to the conditions for and conformation of the Khalifa, the Islamic viewpoint towards men and women, rules related to business transactions, food, clothing, etc.

METHOD (Tareeqah)

The method is the material manifestation of the idea which seeks to bring the ideology into application. The method addresses the following subjects;

A) Implementation of the solutions.
B) Preserving the 'Aqeeda ( creed ).
C) Conveying the ideology.

The Islamic method for the implementation of Islam in the society is through the Khalifa. The Khilafa is a complete structure of the state, tasked with over seeing the implementation of Islam in the affairs of life, including the Khalifa, his Executive and Delegated Assistants, the Judiciary, and the rest of the system.

To categorise an action as part of the method, it has to be validated by Daleel or evidence. Additionally, any action which is part of the method has to be validated by a Daleel to categorise it as such. For example, Jihad is a method from which many actions branch off. Each one of them is based on an evidence. For example, initiating combat of how Islam is to be presented to those whom we are to fight with, are all based on evidences. Other evidences specifically describe and clarify the circumstances in which fighting is allowed to be temporarily suspended. It becomes quite clear that these actions are part of the method which have to be adhered to by performing the acts exactly the way they were performed by the Prophet ( saaw ). Hence, it is totally forbidden to modify ( add, delete, or alter ) any of these acts. It is totally forbidden to deviate even slightly from these acts because they all stem from the method.

From the aforementioned, it is clear that the Idea and the Method comprise the Ideology. Therefore, both should be adopted and adhered to with a full and strong conviction because it is forbidden to adopt the Idea and relinquish the Method just as it is forbidden to adopt the Method and relinquish the Idea. Consequently, discarding the Salah is just as forbidden as forsaking the penalty of cutting the hand of the thief, and abandoning the payment of Zakah is just as forbidden as neglecting Jihad, and committing cannibalism is not any worse than conspiring against the Muslims, and drinking alcohol is just as forbidden as the political disunity of the Muslim Ummah. All of these thoughts and concepts are a coherent part of Islam which have to be adopted comprehensively because Allah, The Most High, says:

" And you who believe is a part of The Book and disbelieve is a part. The punishment of those who do that among you is the humiliation in this life, and they will be subjected to the most severest chastisement in The Hereafter. And Allah is not unaware of what you do." ( Al Baqara; 2:285 )

Thus, Islam clarifies both the Idea and the Method and commands us to uphold and adhere to both of them and prohibits us from abandoning either one.
Now that the Idea and Method have been expounded upon, we will elucidate the Style, the Means, and the Plan of the 'Aqeeda. These three concepts may sound synonymous in meaning, but in reality they differ from one another. Each one of these terms has to be clearly defined so that we can deliver Islam in the correct manner, and the clarity of these terms has to maintained at all times to safeguard ourselves against any deviation from the correct path. One may question the importance of clarifying the differences amongst these terms and to define them separately.
The importance of realising these differences becomes quite relevant when we look in retrospect to the recent annals of Islamic history, where the Muslim Ummah could not distinguish between technology and culture. The Ummah imported and adopted many cultural elements from the Western civilisation.
The lack of understanding and awareness of the differences amongst the Style, the Means, and the Plan have led Muslims to the weakest and darkest period of their history and the Ummah is still suffering from the consequences of this lack of awareness. The Muslims took from the Western civilisation what Islam prohibited and renounced and left what Islam allowed them to adopt from it. Thus, it is important for the Muslims to fully understand the Style, the Means, and the Plan of the 'Aqeedah and to clearly distinguish between them.

THE STYLE ( Usloub )

The Style is an act which branches from the Method. However, it differs from the Method in that no Daleel is specifically prescribed for this type of action. In this instance, the Daleel for the fundamental act is considered as an enactment and reinforcement of the Style.
For example, in Jihad, there is evidence that compels us to prepare as much power as possible to fight the enemy.

"...And prepare as much power for them ( the enemy ) as possible. "
( Al Anfal 8:60 )

This preparation entails many acts of preparation, such as using a specific style for manufacturing weapons, adopting certain military techniques styles and so on. All of these acts are implicitly included within the word 'prepare', so there is no need for evidence to prescribe each act since the general evidence that ordains the preparation is considered adequate for all of the acts.

Similarly, selecting one Khalifah for all Muslims is an act from which branches out several acts such as adopting certain procedures of election and tallying votes. Adopting certain styles to prepare a force against the enemy, and a certain procedure to select the Khalifah are all acts that do not need specifically prescribed evidence. The Style, which is a set of branching acts, assumes the same verdict or ruling as the one for the fundamental act without the need for a specific evidence. Adopting certain martial arts, a certain procedure of tallying votes, a certain traffic system and dividing the military forces into subdivisions are all considered styles adopted to accomplish a certain objective and allowed for adoption. The exception is when a specific style has to be adopted, in which case this specific style becomes obligatory because the legal rule states:

" That which is required to accomplish the obligation, is itself obligatory."

From this we can see that no one is obliged to follow a certain style ( except when a specific style is obligatory ) because it is considered to be a natural part of an individual's personality. For this reason, the style may differ from one person to another, such as in writing a letter, a book, or expressing oneself. Styles take on different forms and shapes and are receptive to changes from one situation to another.

Moreover, it is not prudent to be confined to a certain style as a standard upon which all other styles are evaluated. This is because one style may be very successful in a given situation and a total failure in some other situations. The Style is dictated by the nature of the action. For this reason, it is not accepted to be stagnant and depend upon certain styles in refusal of adopting and other style.

`Moreover, it is obligatory that we relentlessly search for the most effective styles. In many instances, effective styles led to marvellous outcomes, like the manoeuvring of Khalid Bin Al-Walid when he withdrew his army in the Mut'ah battle. The outcome was that he saved the army from immanent destruction.


Throughout the history of the Da'wah, one can see that there are many circumstances that clarify the differences between the Method and the Style, and that we are obliged to adopt and uphold the Method without any deviation. It should be made clear that we are not obliged to adopt a specific style. The Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammed (saaw) is considered to be an inseparable and coherent part of Islam. The Sunnah explains and describes in detail, many thoughts and rules that are ordained in the Qur'an. The explanation and illustration of a certain thought has the same verdict and ruling as the thought itself. For example, how to pray is an illustration and enactment of the order of Allah to pray. Allah, The Most High ordained the performance of prayers and Hajj and its details. All of these acts carry the same verdicts as the thought itself because these acts only illustrate how these thoughts are to be enacted.

However, some of the acts of the Prophet Muhammed (saaw) were not an illustration of a thought. In this case, these acts need to have supporting evidences to prove that they are either obligatory, recommended, permissible, or are exclusively reserved for the Prophet (saaw). To know whether a given act of the Prophet (saaw) is obligatory, recommended, or allowed, rules outline in Usul ul Fiqh need to be considered.

By investigating the acts of the Prophet (saaw) throughout the different phases of the Islamic Da'wah, certain acts are part of the Method and others are part of the Style. The Prophet (saaw) conveyed Islam following a method and initiated some acts through the course of conveying Islam. It is obligatory to follow the Prophet Muhammed (saaw) when his (saaw) acts are considered to be a Method and recommended to follow when his (saaw) acts are only recommended.

For example, the method of the Prophet (saaw) in conveying Islam and moving from one phase of the Da'wah to the next and his initiation in every phase of a new act that was not done in the previous phase, and his persistence and perseverance to carry out the same acts despite the potential dangerous outcomes are all considered to be an abundant number of supporting evidences that these types of acts are obligatory and part of the method. Specifically, the fact that the Prophet (saaw) was relentlessly persistent in concentrating his effort on culturing individuals in sessions and educating the general public and his steadfastness and endurance in this act undoubtedly presents a mountain of supporting evidence that educating the public and the individuals is part of the Method. Consequently, it has to be adopted. The initiation of the second phase of the Islamic Da'wah by the Prophet (saaw) involved two acts which were not initiated in the first phase:

A) Addressing the abominable practices of the society in the manner mandated by Islam as when the Prophet (saaw) attacked fraud, cheating in the scales and burying of young girls.

B) His initiation to uncover the plots of the pagans against the Muslims as occurred during the war between the Romans and the Persians.

All of these acts indicate that uncovering the plots of the non-Muslims and addressing the issues of the society on the basis of Islam are part of the Method. The fact that the Prophet (saaw) initiated these kinds of acts in the second phase of the Da'wah, but not in the first, indicates that these specific acts are necessary and obligatory in that particular phase.

Also, the initiation of the Prophet (saaw) of seeking the protection for the conveyance of Islam and his persistence in doing so and his sending of Mus'ab Bin Umayr to Al-Madina indicates that seeking the protection for conveying Islam is part of the Method as well. Thus, to convey the Islamic Call, it is necessary to implant the Islamic thoughts into the life of the general public in the first phase of the Islamic Call. It was also necessary to uncover the plots of the non-Muslims and address the issues of society on the basis of Islam in the second phase of the Islamic Call. Subsequently it was necessary to establish the Islamic State, which is considered the third phase of the Islamic Call. Additionally, it was required to confront the ideology of the pagans and persevere in doing so. All of these are part of the Method. The persistence of the Prophet (saaw) and the initiation of these acts was to illustrate the obligation of these acts in conveying Islam. The evidence that these acts are obligatory is the ayah:

" Indeed, there is an exemplary character in the Messenger (saaw) for you."
( Al-Ahzaab 33:21)

Following the steps of the Prophet (saaw) is accomplished by the initiating the acts which are performed by the Prophet (saaw) in the exact manner that the acts are carried out. This is an issue that is discussed in detail in the books of Al 'Usool. Imaam Al Qurafi dedicated one chapter in his book Al Furooq, in which he explained that what the Prophet (saaw) did as an Imaam or Qadi cannot be performed by anyone else unless he is an Imaam or Qadi, and what the Prophet did as a Caller to Islam is obligatory upon us as carriers of Islam.

Thus, it is not allowed, when we carry the message of Islam, to initiate any material actions prior to establishing the Islamic State, since only the Islamic State conducts a material struggle. This is because the Prophet (saaw) initiated material actions only when he became the Imaam of the Islamic State. For this reason, the Prophet (saaw) did not initiate any material actions in Makkah because he (saaw) was not ruler in Makkah.

In addition, we find that the Prophet (saaw) initiated some acts when he (saaw) was conveying the Message of Islam. The actions of educating the public took on different forms while the intensified education delivered in the private arena took on the forms of study circles ( like the sessions of Al Khabab). The speech addressed to the general public assumed different styles such as when the Prophet (saaw) invited some people to a meal with the objective of delivering the Message if Islam or when he stood on Al Safa and broadcast the call of Islam.

All these acts are to be considered branches from a fundamental concept, which in this case is public education. Here, the obligatory issue is public education but the but the style that were employed differed, and thus we are not obliged to follow the same styles adopted by the Prophet (saaw). We can speak to the people where people gather, such as the mosque, weddings, or funeral; through the media, such as buses, trains, planes, etc. Similarly, the Prophet (saaw) initiated a number of acts what he (saaw) was seeking protection. He (saaw) sought protection only from Muslim tribes and strong Muslim individuals.

Consequently, we can seek the protection of tribes, military commanders, or the masses as long as they are Muslim. These are classified as styles, which take on many forms and shapes according to the circumstances. Seeking protection from the positions of power does not change but the positions of power themselves may change. In summary, the style is defined as how a given obligatory issue is executed, not requiring a specific Daleel since it is already substantiated by the evidence for the main or root action and objective that may be pursued. For example, the preparation of forces to confront the enemy is an obligatory act that can be accomplished through many styles, that can be effectively used to accomplish the objective.

THE MEANS (Waseelah)

The Means are the physical tool that are permitted for adoption when initiating a particular act. Using a sheet of paper for writing, or a radio station for talk, or the sword as a means of fighting are all classified as a Means. The Qa'idah in 'Usul al Fiqh states that all objects are allowed except those that are specifically forbidden by textual evidence. For example, we can utilise ballot boxes as a means for election, we can adopt certain means of fighting such as possessing intercontinental ballistic missiles, or use satellites as a means for communication. Furthermore, we can address the people through a pamphlet, leaflet, or periodicals. All of these means are allowed. The Prophet (saaw) once sent someone to Yemen to master the manufacture of swords and adopted this new technology.

THE PLAN (Khittah)

The Plan is a general policy directed towards accomplishing a particular goal dictated by the 'Aqeedah and the Method. The Prophet (saaw) viewed this world from a specific perspective. He (saaw) conveyed the Message of Islam to the society at large. The Quraish in Makkah were the first State in Arabian Peninsula and a major obstacle in the path of the Islamic call. For this reason, we find that the Prophet (saaw) engineered the appropriate plan to deal with this obstacle. The plan reveals that the Prophet (saaw) sought to isolate the Quraish from the other tribes. So he (saaw) had the Quraish surrounded with tribes who submitted to Islam or who had peace treaties with the Muslims. Following this, the first task that the Prophet (saaw) performed after he (saaw) settled in Al Madina was to establish a treaty with the tribes who inhabited the are between Al Madina and the Red Sea, such the tribes of Johinah and Bani Doomarah and Ghaffar, and monitored the movements of the Quraish.

As a result of this plan, the battles of Badr, Uhud and Al Ahzaab occurred. Subsequently, when the Prophet (saaw) became aware of the communication between the tribe of Khaibar and Quraish, he (saaw) devised anther plan that established a treaty between the Muslims and the Quraish. This way, the Prophet (saaw) poured all his efforts to subdue Khaibar after he (saaw) could not establish any treaty with them. Then, the Prophet (saaw) initiated acts that would help accomplish the goal of this plan until it materialised in the treaty of Hudaybiah. Then, when he (saaw) subjugated Khaibar, Makkah was next, so he (saaw) engineered another plan that dictated the suppression of the Quraish. As a result, the conquest of Makkah took place.
The Prophet (saaw) devised another plan, to carry Islam outside as a universal Call. He (saaw) sent a letter to the Kings in the Arabian Peninsula and all the Kings of the surrounding lands. Letters were sent to the King of Egypt, Muqawqas; Emperor of Rome, Hercules; and the King of Persia, Kisrah. Thus, we find that the Prophet (saaw) devised plans to accomplish certain goal and changed the plans when the goal changed. In addition, the Prophet (saaw) adopted certain styles to accomplish a certain plan which he (saaw) initiated. Suppressing the Quraish dictated the monitoring of the Quraish and establishing communications with the tribes around Quraish. Also, establishing a treaty with the Quraish dictated certain acts that happened in the treaty of Al Hudaibiya, and certain manoeuvres performed by the Prophet (saaw) immediately prior to and after the ratification of the treaty. When a state implements plans, it does so to accomplish certain goals that are dictated by the policy of the state. When it is needed to change the plans, the state has to change them and it is forbidden not to abandon plans because it is necessary for the Islamic State to function as the leading state in the world.

Abandoning the execution of adopted plans means abandoning the message of Islam, which in turn means abandoning the leadership position which translates into the suppression of the State's power as was characterised by the Ottoman State towards its end. Planning is necessary for the State and for the Da' wah carriers because the Prophet (saaw) laid out plans in Makkah and in Madina. He (saaw) did not abandon planning any at any phase of the Islamic Call. Every phase of the Islamic Call may dictate a certain plan. For example, gaining the public support for the Islamic thought dictates interaction with the society, which in turn dictates living with the society. Living with the society does not happen until we enter the society. For this reason, entering the society is a necessary plan that dictates many styles and public speech and political struggle.

Two additional terms that one ought to be aware of are strategy and tactics. Initially, strategy and tactics were used as military terms. However, today they have a broader connotation. The relationship between the strategy and tactics is similar to the relationship between the plan and style.

THE STRATEGY (Estrateegya)

The strategy is defined as the art of employing the political, economic, psychological, and military forces of a nation or a group of nations to afford the maximum support to adopted policies in peace or war. The policies are built on the ideology of the nation. Some people also refer to this as the grand or higher strategy to distinguish it from the original purely military use of the word strategy. Since the war is nothing but an action to accomplish a goal, which the state could not accomplish by diplomacy, it is appropriate to discuss strategy in its broader meaning. The strategy deals with the entire theatre of operations of a state, at the diplomatic, economic, and military level. It is concerned with determining which resources the state will use and to what extent in order to achieve the objective. In other words, the strategy is the global plan to the State.

As an example, the Prophet's (saaw) objective was to carry Islam to the Arabs and non-Arabs. This required a strategy to enable the Islamic State to first, survive in and then dominate the Arabian Peninsula. In the regard, Muhammed (saaw) sought to isolate the major tribe, the Quraish, be entering into a series of treatise with her neighbours. The he (saaw) sought to politically and militarily engage the Quraish. As a result of this engagement, Muhammed (saaw) was able to neutralise Quraish. This enabled him (saaw) to dominate the arabian peninsula, after which the state continued to carry Islam to the rest of humanity.
The Prophet's (saaw) objective was to carry Islam to the Arabs and non-Arabs. This required a strategy to enable the Islamic state to first dominate the arabian peninsula. First, in this regard, Muhammad (saaw) sought to isolate the major tribe, Quraish, by entering into a series of treaties with her neighbours. Then he (saaw) sought to politically and militarily engage the Quraish. As a result of this engagement, Muhammad (saaw) was unable to neutralise the Quraish. This enabled him (saaw) to dominate the arabian peninsula, after which the Muslims continued to carry Islam to the rest of humanity.


The tactics, in warfare, is the art of fighting battles on land, on sea, and in the air and the execution of movements for attack or defence. In general, it is the art or skill employing available means to accomplish an end. It is concerned with the handling of one or more strategic resources in a specific manner to serve the object of strategy. Similar to a style, the tactics too will be based on what is thought to be effective at a particular time. It does not need a Daleel to make it permissible, unless if a specific tactic or style involves haram actions. If that is the case, then the tactic will be haram, i.e. sitting with people who are drinking wine with the objective of carrying the dawah to them.

The tactic requires creativity, as it will be a function of the situation that one is faced with. It should also be flexible, such that one would be able to adapt to the changing situation. For example, the Prophet (saaw) knew about the communications between the tribes of Khaibar and the Quraish. He (saaw) tried to cut off these communications. This was the tactic he adopted initially. When this failed, the Prophet (saaw) changed to a new plan, which was to establish a treaty with the Quraish. For this, he initiated new tactics, such as the Umrah to Mecca, and the stance he took during the campaign at Al-Hudaibiyah, near Mecca. Thus, the tactic changed during this campaign according to the new plan and circumstances.
For example, the Prophet (saaw) knew about the communications between the Khaibar and Quraish tribes, so he (saaw) tried to cut off these communications. He (saaw) first made contact with Khaibar to establish a treaty, but his attempts were of no avail. The Prophet (saaw) then changed his tactic to establishing a treaty with the Quraish. He (saaw) initiated actions or tactics to accomplish this goal. Thus, the tactic changed according to the circumstances.

These are the conventional meaning of these concepts that should be upheld and advocated by Muslims and especially the callers to Islam. Also, since the callers of Islam are future statesmen, they should develop and increase their awareness of all the issues that are related to these concepts. We should live up to the statement of Umar Bin Al-Khattab (ra), when he said: " I am not a deceiver and the deceiver cannot deceive me."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Imam Shafi And Al-Risala


As Muslims, obeying Allah and His messenger is a must. Muslims have the obligation to know what Allah wants in order to fulfill this obedience. This knowledge must cover the entire problem that Muslims face. To fulfill this need, a specific knowledge is required in order to reach the correct answer. This includes knowledge of the Qur'an and Sunnah, an understanding of the Arabic language, and an understanding of the method to interpret the Qur'an and Sunnah in order to derive rules for new problems.

Initially, Muslims had the ability to derive rules for problems they faced during their time. Later, Muslims started to abandon and neglect this issue. They became unable to derive new rules for new problems, thus becoming stagnant as a result of acquiring more problems and no solutions. Many reasons caused this stagnation and decline, which is going on until now. This decline resulted in the misunderstanding of Usul-ul Fiqh. Therefore, studying Usul-ul Fiqh is a must in order to move from the stagnation and to make sure that the answer for the problem is Islamic. Without Usul-ul Fiqh the process of deriving rules will never be defined.

In the past, many Muslim scholars wrote books about Usul-ul Fiqh. Imam Shafii is the first scholar who laid down and documented rules of Usul-ul Fiqh. His book, Al-Risala is considered the first written book about this field that exists today. This article will review and analyze the book that Shafii wrote.

In any legal system, the impact of any book of law is measured by its influence on the course of law historically and presently. A distinguished book is one which sets a landmark renowned for how it turned the course of the legal system forever. By that standard and by any other, The Risala is perhaps the most influential book in Usul-ul Fiqh.

Imam Shafii

Abū ‘Abdu’llah Muhammad ibn Idrīs ash-Shāfiī was born in Gaza in the year 767 AD / 150 AH. At an early age, he left Gaza and moved to Mecca. By the age of seven, he memorized the entire Qur'an and afterwards began studying the Arabic language in Mecca. He developed full command in Arabic language with all of its various styles used by the major tribes. Later, he moved to Medina where he studied under Imam Malik and learned from him Al Muwatta by the age of ten. He eventually went to Iraq and came in close contact with Imam al-Hasan al-Shaybani and Qadi Abu Yusuf, the student of Abu Hanifa. There he refined his legal thinking in constant debates with Hanafi jurists where he took Malik's position in defence of tradition. This experience had a tremendous impact in moulding his own legal thinking since it brought to light the weaknesses in the Maliki school of thought. After moving back to Makkah for a short time and then returning to Baghdad, he finally decided to leave for Egypt where he could finally settle down to do more work in Fiqh and its methodology.

It is here where he produced a final version of Al-Risala and eventually died on the last day of Rajab 204 A.H. (820 CE). The original version of Al-Risala was produced in Baghdad and was probably less complete than the new version produced in Egypt. The progress of the Risala shows how Imam Shafii himself progressed from a strict follower of the Maliki school to becoming the founder of the Shafii school of thinking. His thoughts and method were tested by scholars of both the Hanafi school and the Maliki school through many debates where he not only excelled but refined his own thinking.

In summary Shafii went through three stages:
1. The first stage in Medina where he encountered with Malik.
2. The second stage in Baghdad where he was exposed to the Hanafi school. In this stage he wrote the first version of Risala.
3. The final stage in Cairo where redefined his own method and wrote the final version of Al-Risala.

Factors of changing his method

Some think that Shafii changed his Fiqh because of the change in time and environment. This is very often taken as a justification to keep changing Fiqh. It is very obvious that Shafii changed his Usul and not just the Fiqh. By changing his Usul, the Fiqh was changed automatically.
There could only have been two possibilities for changing The Risala:

Either Imam Shafii may have had a preset mind and wanted to change the Usul into the new one that would serve him with the predetermined conclusion, or Imam Shafii discovered that the old Usul was wrong and thus found it necessary to abandon it.

The first possibility would imply that Shafii twisted the procedure of Ijtihad because in Ijtihad, the Usul precedes the Fiqh. This possibility assumes that Shafii first decided on the Fiqh and then searched for a new Usul that would serve him, after which he tailored his Usul to accomodate the Fiqh he already decided on. While this could happen from those who lack objectivity, such an action cannot be imagined or expected from Imam Shafii, who was very sincere and objective. Therefore, the only possible reason for the change is the fact that Imam Shafii discovered, after extensive debates with many schools, that his own Usul was wrong. After all of these debates, Shafii became more mature in his thinking and realized that he could not confine himself to the old Usul which he had previously adopted.
The Arrangement of the Risala

The Risala is arranged into a series of sections with general titles. The complexities of each subject are then explored either directly or by way of a third-party questioner who asks questions about various aspects of an issue such as abrogation. The chapters are, in order: Al-Bayan (explicit declaration), Legal Knowledge, The Book of Allah (Qur'an), Obligation of Man to accept the authority of the Prophet, Abrogation of Hukm Sharii, Duties, Nature of Allah's Orders of Prohibition and the Nature of Messenger's Orders of Prohibition, Traditions (Sunnah), Khabar Ahad (single individual traditions), Ijma (consensus), Qiyas (Analogy), Ijtihad, Istihsan (juristic preference), and finally Ikhtilaf (disagreement). Some, like the chapter on the Book of Allah, have many different subtopics, like the Arabic nature of the Qur'an, while others, such as Qiyas, are small and discussed more thoroughly in Imam Shafii's other books, such as Kitab-ul-Umm or Ikthilaf Al-Hadith.

A) Al-Risala

The book starts with a overview of the different types of Bayan (explicit declaration or explanation of a principle) by Allah (swt). When Allah (swt) obligated or prohibited certain things, He did so in a variety of ways. The first involves a command from the Qur'an, with the details also mentioned in the Qur'an:

"One of these (categories) is what He has declared to His creatures by texts in the Qur'an, such as the collection of duties they owe to Him: Performing the prayer, paying the Zakat, performing the Hajj, observing the fast. And He has forbidden disgraceful acts, both visible and hidden, such as the textual prohibition of Zina, wine, Eating blood, pork and the flesh of dead things. Also, He has made clear to them how to perform the duty of Wudu as well as other matters stated precisely in the Qur'an."

"A second category consists of [those duties], the obligation of which He established in His Book, but the modes of which He made clear by Qur'an and the tongue of the Prophet. The number of the prayers and the amount of the Zakah are cases of this point". [pg. 68]

The last two categories do not involve the Qur'an at all:

"A third category consists of that which were explained by the prophet of Allah, such as the details of the prayers, and the amount of Zakat as well as their time."

"The fourth includes what Rasulullah (saaw) established without having an origin for it in Qura'n. The obedience in this is a must, and he who accepts what the Prophet obligated is indeed obeying Allah." [pg. 68]

Although Imam Shafii did not mention an example for this type, a clear example is the Hadith in which the Prophet (saaw) said "People share in 3 things. The water, the graze (kala), and the fire (includes power resources)." [Reported by Abu Dawuud]

Then Shafii proceeds to give more elaboration of each of the cases. An example of his elaboration of the second category is when he quotes:

"Allah (swt) said, 'Verily the Prayer has become for believers a thing prescribed for stated times [4 : 104].' Then He clearly specified the required number of prayers, their times, and the method of performing them by the tongue of His Messenger.'" [pg. 75]

Imam Shafii clearly outlines the basis of Usul in these four types of Bayan. A clear warning for Muslims trying to interpret Allah's word is given just a few pages later:

"No one at all should [give an opinion] on a specific matter by merely saying it is permitted or prohibited, unless he is certain of [legal] knowledge and this knowledge, must be based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah, or derived from Ijmaa' (consensus) and qiyas (analogy)." [pg. 78]

B) Types of Ilm (conclusive knowledge)

The next chapter is a short one discussing the types of knowledge and who should possess which one. Shafii puts Islamic knowledge into categories. The first type is that which every Muslim should know, which is found textually in the Qur'an and it is well known by the common people. No one can ignore it or has an excuse to neglect it. This type of Ilm contains no error in either transmission or authenticity of narration. The second type is knowledge where no clear text from the Qur'an or the Sunnah exists. However, if there exists a Hadith then it will be from the Sunnah that is not well known (such as Khabar Ahad, which are Hadiths that are reported by fewer number of persons). Also, this type of Ilm includes issues based on Qiyas (Analogy). This knowledge is obligatory on some but not on others. If some individuals learn and practice this knowledge, then the Ummah is not sinning; however, if no one seeks to learn it then the entire Ummah is in error. An example given in the book is joining the army, which is considered a Fard Kifayah (collective duty) and is derived from the following two ayahs:

"Such believers who sit at home, unless they have an injury, are not the equals of those who fight in the path of Allah with their possessions and their selves. Allah has given precedence to those who fight with their possessions and their selves over those who sit at home. Allah has promised the best of things to both. And He has preferred those who fight over those who sit at home by granting them a mighty reward" [An-Nisaa 4: 95]

"If you do not go forth He will inflict upon you a painful punishment" [At-Tauba 9: 39]

The first ayah indicates that both the choice of fighting and sitting at home are acceptable since Allah has promised the best to both. However, fighting is preferred because there is a promise of "a mighty reward." The second ayah indicates that if Muslims do not fight, then the Ummah will be in error. The acceptable conclusion is that if a certain amount of people fulfill the obligation of fighting, then they fulfil the obligation for the Ummah.

The following ayah verifies this concept:

"It is not for the believers to go forth all together, but why should not a party of every section of them go forth to become learned in religion, and to warn their people when they return to them? Perhaps they will beware" [At-Tauba 9: 123]

This ayah mentions a group of people going forth to perform a task rather than the whole Ummah and fulfilling it for the Ummah.

C) Kitab Allah (Qur'an)

The next section of The Risala is of utmost importance in any interpretation of the text. In this section Shafii provides a glimpse into defining the process of interpreting the Qur'an and Sunnah. Many of the sources for differences of opinion in analyzing the text are addressed. A serious look will show that a concise interpretation of the Qur'an requires a clear mastery of the Arabic language in the Qur'an's style. Translations are useless for legal purposes. The section has such topics as "The Explicit General Declaration of the Book in Which the General and the Particular are Included" and "The General Declaration which the Sunnah Specifically indicates is meant to be Particular." The level of understanding required does not stop at speaking Arabic at a common level, but includes the more sophisticated Arabic used in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. The section discusses the sources of differences in opinions based on the language whereas other sections discuss the source of differences of opinions based on the sources themselves. Another aspect which is addressed is the Arabic nature of the Qur'an and Sunnah, as a result, the Arabic nature of Islam. In multiple ayahs in the Qur'an, Allah addresses the nature of the Qur'an as "an Arabic Qur'an." In one ayah He says:

"Thus We have sent it down as an Arabic Law" [Ar-Rad 13: 37]

Thus, understaning the Qur'an in addition to the entire Deen of Islam requires understanding the Arabic tongue. Imam Shafii further emphasizes this issue:

"Every Muslim is obligated to learn the Arabic tongue to the utmost of his power in order [to be able] to profess through it that "There is no Ilah but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger" and to utter what is mandated upon him, the takbir, and what is commanded, the tasbih, and the tashahhud and others." [Risala pg. 93].

Why does Imam Shafii state this? It is obvious from the text of the Qur'an that the Arabic nature cannot be separated from the Deen. Arabic is associated with every act of worship and all aspects of the Deen. Thus, a Muslim must know the language not only in order to worship but also in order to understand the Deen enough to perform Ijtihad. Understanding Islam without understanding Arabic will be incomplete and cannot lead to a creative understanding of Islam through Ijtihad. Therefore, every Muslim is obligated to call the public's attention to the fact that the Qur'an was communicated specifically in the Arabic tongue and that all Muslims should learn it to the highest degree which they are able.

Today, some people undermine the Arabic language, to the extent of claming that just reading the translation is sufficient to make an Ijtihad. And others claim that one can perform prayers by reciting in English. If adopted by the Muslims, such notions will not elevate the Ummah but will further degrade it.

D) The Authority of the Sunnah

This chapter is important due to both the numerous attacks on the Sunnah as a source of guidance as well as the confusion that exists among the Muslims in general on whether the Sunnah is less valid Qur'an. Imam Shafii leaves no doubt by clarifying the role of the Sunnah. Here is but a selection of the numerous ayahs he mentions in his clarification:

"O you who have believed, obey Allah and His Messenger" [Al-Anfal 8: 20]

"Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah" [An-Nisaa 4: 80]

"Allah has sent down to thee the Book and the Hikmah (Sunnah)" [An-Nisaa 4: 113]

The first two ayahs prove that obeying the Messenger is as much a duty as obeying Allah and is not secondary to obeying the Qur'an. The third ayah is a proof that the Sunnah is also a revelation sent by Allah, because He states that He sent the Book [Qur'an] and the Wisdom [Sunnah]. The chapter is full of other proofs which conclusively indicate that whoever rejects the Sunnah should reject the Qur'an as well because they are integrally joined and one is not less worthy of being obeyed than the other.

However Muslims in the past and the present witness people who reject the Sunnah as a source. Rejecting the Sunnah could be done openly, which is an act of clear Kufr. However rejecting the Sunnah could also be done implicitly. This type is worse than the open rejection because it is not apparent and it happens through indirect approaches, such as claiming that one Hadith is not enough to derive a rule, or claiming that the Prophet's experience is a human experience which was determined by his environment and circumstances. These claims ignore the fact that the Prophet (saaw) received revelation from Allah Who knows the best. Thus, the Sunnah is not his own experience.

E) Abrogation

The chapter on Abrogation brings to mind the difference between other religious texts and the Qur'an. There is no contradiction in any of the Islamic text, whether in the Qur'an or between the Qur'an and the Sunnah. In contrast, books such as the Bible, have entire books written describing their contradictions in addition to other books that "apologize for them. The Qur'an and the Sunnah have situations in which a later text abrogates an earlier text. Abrogation is the revoking of an earlier command with a newer command. The revelation of the Qur'an occurred over a period of 23 years, and some of the commands revealed earlier in the revelation were later abrogated through other revelations. One example that Imam Shafii uses is the example of the Qiblah. Allah (swt) says:

"The fools (disbelievers, hypocrites, Jews) among the people will say, 'What has turned them (Muslims) from their Qiblah to which they were used to face in prayer?' Say (O Muhammed), 'To Allah belongs both east and west. He guides whom He wills to a Straight Way.'" [Al-Baqarah 2: 142]

This ayah mentions that Muslims used to pray toward another Qiblah and later the direction changed towards another Qiblah, which was mentioned in the ayah:

"Verily! We have seen the turning of your face towards the heaven. Surely, We shall turn you to a Qiblah that shall please you. So turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid al-Haram." [Al-Baqarah 2: 144]

This ayah obligated the Muslims to pray toward the Kabah. Thus, it abrogated the previous command.

What is important to mention is that Shafii pointed out the importance of having evidence to decide that any previous rule was abrogated by the later rule. Simply looking at the ayahs is not enough to decide that there is abrogation.

1) Qur'an can only abrogate Qur'an

One of the first rules regarding abrogation put forward in the Risala is that only the Qur'an can abrogate Qur'an. Imam Shafii cites many evidences, such as:

"When Our signs are recited to them as evidences, those who do not look forward to meeting Us, say, 'Bring a Scripture other than this or change it.' [You O Muhammad] say, 'It is not for me to change it of my own accord; I only follow what is revealed to me. Verily, I fear if I go against my Lord, the punishment of a mighty day'" [Yunus 10: 16-17]

Allah (swt) did not empower Muhammad (saaw) to change the Qur'an on his own accord but commanded him to follow what was revealed. In the above ayahs, the statement "It is not for me change it of my own accord" proves that only Qur'an can abrogate Qur'an. None of Allah's creations can abrogate His Book.

The proof of this are the following ayahs:

"For whatever We abrogate or delay, We bring something better or the like of it. Do you not know that Allah is powerful over everything?" [Al-Baqarah 2: 100]
"Allah repeals what He wills, or confirms; with Him is the Mother of the Book." [Ar-Rad 13: 39]
Even the Hadith Mutawatir can not abrogate the Qur'an, and this is one of many outstanding conclusions that Shafii reached.

2) Only Sunnah can abrogate Sunnah

Imam Shafii also extracted the rule that only Sunnah can abrogate Sunnah. The Sunnah is unlike anything else from mankind because he who obeys it does so based on an order in the Qur'an. Therefore nothing else from mankind could come to abrogate it. Someone might then ask if the Sunnah could be abrogated by the Qur'an since they both come from the same divine source. Such a statement, while on the surface looks feasible, is ultimately impossible. If anyone were permitted to take such a stance then he could endanger the entire Sunnah. However, if the Qur'an abrogated a specific Sunnah, then another Sunnah must exist which mentions that the previous one is abrogated. Otherwise one would start claiming that all the details mentioned in the Sunnah regarding cutting the thief's hand are abrogated by the ayah, "Cut off the hand of the thief, male or female," on grounds that this ayah did not mention any restrictions in implementing this rule. Based on this line of argument, any restrictions in any Sunnah should be abrogated. Shafii disagreed with this argument, and he did not want anyone to use this argument at all. Otherwise, a person would come and claim that certain prohibitions such as the prohibition of gharar sale (a type of cheating), which was established by the Sunnah, were also abrogated by the Qur'anic ayah:

"Allah has permitted sale and forbidden usury." [Al-Baqarah 2: 275]

Such a claim could be based on the following argument: This ayah permitted all types of sale in general; thus, any other type of prohibited sales mentioned in the Sunnah must be abrogated. This is another example Shafii brings to prove his points and invalidate these false arguments. He ended with the point that the Qur'an cannot abrogate the Sunnah. In all of these examples which opponents bring forth, no abrogation exists. In the example of cutting the thief's hand, the ayah was mentioned without restriction and the Hadith added more restrictions, while in the example of Gharar sale the ayah was general and the Hadith was particular and excluded one item.

The issue of abrogation is clear, as Shafii says:
"If Allah were to reveal to His Messenger a rule on which Muhammad had provided a Sunnah different from what the Qur'an addressed, then Muhammad would immediately provide another Sunnah in conformity with whatever Allah had sent to him." [Al-Risala, p.125].

Another question which Shafii addresses is the question of whether there was a Sunnah abrogated by another Sunnah that did not reach us. Shafii says that this is impossible to happen. If one could hold this opinion then one could reject the whole Sunnah claiming that it was abrogated and the abrogated Sunnah did not reach us either. It is also incorrect to claim that the abrogated Sunnah reached us while the binding one was missed.

3) Examples of Abrogation

One example of Abrogation by Sunnah and the Ijma is on the matter of assigning a will to any of those who have established share in the inheritance. The following Hadith was narrated by the Prophet in the year of the capture of Makkah:

"No will [is valid] to an inheritor" [Abu Dawud, Vol. III p.113]

The Hadith is reported by a large amount of people and is further agreed upon by the scholars. The will to relatives entitled to inherit was already abrogated by the laws of inheritance. The example is further explained in The Risala, and it illustrates the case of abrogation involving the Sunnah.

Imam Shafii did not mention what some scholars referred to as Naskhu tilawah (abrogation based upon recitation). In this type of claimed Naskhu, some mentioned that there are two types of abrogation. The first type, abrogation of the rule mentioned in the text, is well explained in The Risala. The second type is when the rule stays but the ayah will be no longer considered an ayah because its recitation is abrogated while the rule remains enacted. An example of this type is the abrogation of the so-called "ayah" (if an old man or woman committed Zina, stone them to death). The rule is still applicable, but the ayah is abrogated and is no longer in the Qur'an. What is important to notice is that stoning is established by the Sunnah and there is no abrogation in this issue at all. Also, the Riwayah (chain of narration) of the Qur'an must be Tawatur (definite). This so-called ayah was not narrated through the Tawatur Riwayah; therefore the entire claim has no basis. This may be the reason why Shafii did not include this type of abrogation in Al-Risala. Thus, all reports which mention this type of abrogation must be re-evaluated.

F) Khabar Ahad

The proof behind the acceptance of Hadiths related by a single person revolves around two major points. First, the Companions of the Prophet accepted the word of a single individual when applying the Hukm Sharii. Second, the Prophet sent single individuals to carry, to teach and implement the Sharii rules. In both of these cases, if it were acceptable to dismiss the rules on the basis that they were related by a single individual, then the Prophet would never have spread rulings in this manner and the Companions would never have accepted the rulings through this method. The examples of applying Sharii rules narrated by a single reporter are numerous in The Risala.

In one example Ibn Umar said,
"We used to practice mukhabara (leasing the agricultural land based on a specific amount or based on share-cropping), seeing no harm in it until [Rafii b.Khadij] claimed that the Messenger had prohibited it. So we gave it up because of what [Rafii] had said" [Risala pg. 272].

One of the most important proofs in this regard is the order to change the Qiblah from Jerusalem to Mecca. The order came to the men of Quba [some of the first Muslims in Quba near Madina] by way of a single reporter, and they immediately changed the direction of prayer towards the Kabah [Bukhari vol. I pg.480].

The example of the Qiblah is clear proof that the earliest Muslims relied on the individual narrator as sufficient proof of a Hukm Sharii.

The second aspect to this matter is that the Prophet (saaw) sent people of worthy credentials with regard to their character and sincerity as individual messengers, and he expected the people to respect the word of these individuals. If the Prophet (saaw) did not expect them to follow these individuals on their word alone, he would have stated in the case of the Qiblah that: "It was not up to you to abandon it [Qibla] unless the proof for it were established by the public or from more than one person [on my authority]" [Risala, p.255].

However, the Prophet (saaw) never said any such thing and often used highly respected individuals as single messengers to people concerning some aspect of Hukm Sharii. An example of this is the case where the Prophet sent twelve messengers simultaneously to twelve different rulers to invite them towards accepting Islam. If he felt that one was not enough he could easily have sent more to confirm the message, however he did not. It is a proof for us that one messenger whose sincerity and character are documented and confirmed is sufficient to transmit the message. Shafii also states the unanimous agreement among the scholars regarding the authenticity of single Hadiths.

Imam Shafii goes into the basis upon which this authentication should be based. First, the transmitter of the Hadith should be someone well known to be qualified and not someone whose qualifications are unknown. The case is given by Shafii where a scholar would encounter a Hadith that may appear to contradict another, and both of them are Hadiths reported by a single individual. The greater regard of one over the other is determined by a variety of rules. First, the scholar might view the chain of narrators as being generally more trustworthy than the chain of the second Hadith. Second, people in the second chain may have had insuffient memories. Finally, the wording of one Hadith may be more clear than the other, and the scholar could give the former more weight because of its clearer language. However, Shafii is clear that one should not accept one Hadith from a trusted source and then reject another from the same source except for among the previous reasons. Shafii gives a comprehensive statement on the transmitter by stating:

"He who relates a Hadith must merit confidence in his Deen. He must be known as reliable in his transmitting, comprehending what he transmits, aware of any pronunciation that might change the meaning of the Hadith, and capable of transmitting the Hadith word for word as he heard it, not merely transmitting its meaning." [pg. 239]

If this level of character is expected of the transmitters, then the minimum amount of transmitters required is one at each level of transmission all the way back to the Prophet (saaw). The difference between transmission and testimony must remain clear. It is permissible to accept a Hadith transmitted by one man or woman in the form "So and so related to me from so-and-so." However, it would not be acceptable as a testimony in a trial unless the witness actually heard or saw the act directly. Also there are people who are reliable witnesses but are not reliable transmitters because their transmission may contain changes in meaning or may omit certain words affecting the meaning. In this manner a just person's testimony may be accepted while his tradition is rejected because he is a poor transmitter. The correlation to testimony is given only so that the reader may relate something he understands to traditions which may be foreign. However, the differences between the two are many. A testimony varies in the number of people needed. For instance, adultery requires four witnesses to prove , and any less will result in punishing the witnesses. In other cases such as murder, only two witnesses are required. Tradition is the same in that it should be accepted just like testimony; however, the number of transmitters required in transmission is different.

The proof for varying witnesses and the acceptance of Khabar Ahad is based on the same criterion: The Narration (Sunnah) and inductive reasoning (Istidlal). Other differences are that testimony from a person regarding something in which his own personal affairs are directly involved, such as defending his son or relatives, would be considered weak or suspicious. However, in tradition the Muslim is not acquiring any personal or material gain, and all Muslims are on the same level. The authenticity of his relation can be rejected or accepted based on the rules of the authenticity of the Sunnah, which are his character and the character of the chain of narrators.

Shafii then examines the various degrees of proof. If a proof comes from a clear text of the Qur'an or a generally accepted Sunnah then no one should be excused from belief in it because it is free from doubt. This is mentioned clearly in page 278. It is very clear that this is applicable to the Mutawatir because the term he used (Khabr al aamah) is a synonym for the Mutawatir. However, if the Sunnah comes from a narration of only a few people, which Shafii called Khabr al khaasah (another synonym for Khabr Ahad) and there is disagreement over the language since it is open to multiple interpretations, and it also originates from a single transmitter from the Prophet, then it becomes a different case altogether. No one who is informed about the arguments regarding the Hadith should reject anything mentioned in the Hadith because it is similar to accepting the testimony of a trustworthy. As Shafii mentions:

"However this acceptance should not be taken in the sense of the first category. That is, if a person were to cast doubt upon it ( the second type ) we would not ask him to repent while in the case of the first type of proof the person would be asked according to Shafii to repent.". (See Ar-Risalah, Arabic edition pg 460-461, English edition pg. 278).

It is very obvious from this that Imam Shafii distinguished between two kinds of reports, the Khabr al aamah and Khabr al khaasah. Because he stated that he who denies the second type will not be asked to repent, then Imam Shafii did not consider Khabr Ahad as part of the Aqeedah. However some people claim that Imam Shafii accepted Khabr Ahad. What they fail to recognize is that all evidences he mentioned are talking about accepting Khabr Ahad in the legislation and not in the Aqeedah. However, rejecting Khabr Ahad as a source of Hukm Sharii is condemned.

There is not enough time or space that could be devoted to studying The Risala, and this review only covers a few of the topics it touches. The Risala covers many things in a clear manner, and it is considered the first work in the field of Usul ul-Fiqh. The only topics that the book does not discuss are Ijma (consensus) and Qiyas (analogy), and Imam Shafii discusses both of these topics in other literature such as in his book Kitab-ul-Umm. If he had gone into every aspect of Usul-ul-Fiqh in detail the book would have been many volumes long rather than some fifteen chapters which are already quite detailed. The book has the capability of clearing the Muslim of any doubt that the Qur'an and Sunnah are without contradiction and free from the many problems which trouble other religious texts such as the Torah or the Bible. Another amazing aspect of the book is that it offers useful information both for the average Muslim as well as for the scholar of Usul-ul-Fiqh. A student of Shafii claimed to have read the Risala 500 hundred times and each time received a fresh thought from it.

At the time when studying Shariah was at its infancy, this book laid down the basis of how to interpret the Qur'an and Sunnah. Imam Shafii did not invent these rules. Similarly, the rules of Arabic grammar were not invented by the great scholars of Arabic grammar such as Asmaii, Kesaee and others. The rules of Arabic grammar were practiced naturally by Arabs even before Islam. All that these later scholars did was to compile these rules and styles used by the Arabs and to document them in writing. The fact that the rules of Arabic grammar were written later is not an excuse to claim that the rules are not binding. Otherwise the entire language will be abandoned. Allah (swt) described the Qur'an as an Arabic book, which means that the Arabic language should be preserved while having the creativity to apply it to new situations and maintain its relevance.

Similarly, the Shahabah (raa) were Arabs. They mastered the Arabic language naturally, witnessed the revelation and lived and interacted with the Prophet (saaw). All of these factors gave them the natural capability to understand the text and derive rules from it. This process was done by them naturally based on specific rules and not in a haphazard way. They did not need to write down these rules because the knowledge of the styles and rules of Arabic and Usul-ul Fiqh naturally to them. Afterwards, for many reasons beyond the scope of the review, scholars realized the necessity of writing down the rules of Usul-ul Fiqh, Arabic grammar, Arabic poetry, and other topics. Thus, the rules of Usul-ul Fiqh were not invented by them; they were simply written by them.

The scholars did not write and compile these rules for people to ignore them, but unfortunately today many claims seem to indicate otherwise. First, there is the claim that Usul-ul Fiqh was not necessary at all, and it was a Bidah that complicated the process of understanding the text. The second claim which is very often repeated is that Muslims are not bound to it and that these rules must change in order to evolve Usul-ul Fiqh. Another claim states that the Usul-ul Fiqh developed after the Sahabah, and each of the different Madhabs invented a new source. Thus the Tabi'een carried the existing legacy of the Sahabah and carried it to another level leading to Ijma. And following them, Ahlul Ra'ee developed Qiyas, and the Hanafi school developed Istihsan.

All of these claims are wrong. The Sahabah were bound to specific rules, and these rules are similar to the rules of Arabic grammar that cannot be ignored. Furthermore, these rules cannot be changed to accomodate any Fiqh pre-determined by the mind. The Usul is the first step needed to take the second step of understanding and shaping Fiqh, and the first step cannot be defined by the second. Finally, claiming that each school invented a new source to serve their purpose is absurd. All of these Imams believe in Allah and the message He sent. They realized that their role was to understand the text, and none of them could adopt a source based upon their own preset judgment. Thinking otherwise would mean that those Imams are not worth consideration and the entire issue of Ijtihad, Fiqh and Usul-ul Fiqh was a game.

Thus it is very important to study Usul-ul Fiqh in order to define and to shape our thinking. And studying Usul-ul Fiqh necessitates studying the original books that deal with this branch of Islamic culture. The Risala is among those books that deserve the highest consideration.

shafi'i shafi

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Shariah rules relating to mixing between the sexes

In Islam, the basic principle of the interaction between men and women is segregation. This means that in all areas of life and in all places whether private or public, contact between men and women is generally prohibited. Many evidences establish the principle of not mixing between the sexes, and there are many ahadith which clarify that this is the case in both public and private areas:

Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "The best rows for the men are the first rows and the worst rows for them are the last rows. The best rows for the women are the last rows and the worst for them are the front rows." The last rows are the best for the women because they are farther away from the men as against the first rows that are nearest to men's rows. [This is related by the group except al-Bukhari] 

In Abu Dawud, p.284, Hadith No. 4931, it is narrated upon the authority of Aisha (ra) that she said: "I used to play with my friends and whenever the Prophet (saw) entered they would leave and whenever he (saw) went out they would come back in."

This means that the Muslims should avoid contact with members of the opposite sex, whether Muslim or not, as a general rule. However, there are exceptions to this general rule, where the mixing or interaction between men and women is permitted in certain situations.

For example, it is permitted for men and women who are mahram to each other to mix freely for any purpose that Islam permits. As well, there are certain areas where it is permitted for non-mahram men and woman to interact with each other, such as for the purpose of da‘wah (invitation to Islam). However, the type of mixing that can occur here is not free, and is restricted by the Shari‘ah to be within certain guidelines and boundaries, and the Muslim must be sure to understand these before any type of mixing takes place.

The ahkam (rules) to do with mixing also vary with regard to the kind of place in which the mixing occurs.

In an Islamic society, there are two types of areas where men and women come into contact with each other, which are quite different in their descriptions and in the ahkam (rules) which relate to them. The nature of the interaction between people in them may involve the mixing among men, among women, and between men and women. These are:

The Public Areas - These consist of areas wherein anybody can be present without permission, e.g. the mosque, the streets etc.

The Private Areas - These are areas where permission is required to enter them, such as houses. In such areas, it is forbidden to enter without permission, or even to look inside. Sahl ibn Sa’ad narrated, “A man peeped through a round hole into the dwelling place of the Prophet (saw) while he had an iron comb with which he was scratching his head. He (saw) said, ‘Had I known you were looking (through the hole) I would have pierced your eye with it (the comb). Verily, the order of taking permission to enter (a dwelling place) has been enjoined because of that sight (that one should not look unlawfully at the state of others)’. ” [Bukhari]

Allah (swt) says:

“O you who believe, don’t enter houses other than your own until you have asked permission and saluted those in them, that is best for you, in order that you may heed (what is seemly). If you find no one in the house, don’t enter until permission is given to you; if you are asked to go back, go back; that makes for greater purity for yourselves, and Allah knows well all that you do).” [TMQ An-Nur: 27-28]

It was deduced from these verses that the place which is considered a house and upon which the rules of the private life apply is the one no one from outside is allowed to enter it except with a permission. In such place, the woman has special rules, to which the term of private life was given. This applies to that known as house or home. It was compared to it, by analogy, the places that are closed to the public i.e. in those areas which nobody is allowed to enter unless he had a special permission. However if those areas can be seen by people outside of them for example if they were made of transparent glass, where their inside is exposed to the public, then they are considered public places. Similarly, the places open to the public, wherever anybody has an enquiry or a transaction can enter, such offices are not subject to the rules of the private life.

Islam defines rules and laws which regulate the relationships between men and women in each of these spheres.
The Private Life
This concerns the conduct of people when they are in the private areas. Here, the principle is that mixing between unrelated (non-mahram) men and women is forbidden as a general rule. However, the Shari‘ah gives permit for mixing to occur under certain special circumstances. In all these cases, a woman cannot be in Khalwa (seclusion) with another man alone. These areas include:

1) Medicine: It is allowed for men and women to mix for the purpose of seeking medical treatment. The Sahabiyat used to treat the Sahaba and the Prophet (saw) consented to that.

2) Da’wa: It is allowed for men and women to be present in the same class if the purpose of their mixing is learning about Islam or other types of education permitted by the Shari‘ah. The sister of Umar (ra) was being taught from the Quran by Khabab ibn Arrat (ra) with her husband when Umar entered upon them. It has been narrated that Umm Salamah and Aisha (ra) who used to do da'wa to men and women

3) Marriage: If a man is looking to marry a woman then he is allowed to talk to her about issues related to finding out about her and related to the marriage. A man came to the Messenger Muhammad (saw) to ask about marrying a girl and the Prophet (saw) told him to go and see her i.e. see her in her Mahram’s presence.

4) Duress or Compulsion: At times of absolute necessity or emergency, such as earthquakes, war or hurricanes, the necessary mixing is permitted for men and women in order to remove any danger or threat.

5) State arrest: The evidence for this is from Uthman and Umar (ra) said, "O women, cover yourselves we are entering" and he entered a house to arrest someone with his army and there was Ijma of the Sahaba (consensus of the companions) on this.

6) Eating: In Surah Nur Allah (SWT) says:
“The blind is not to be blamed, the crippled is not to be blamed, nor is the handicapped to be blamed, just as you are not to be blamed for eating at your homes, or the homes of your fathers, or the homes of your mothers, or the homes of your brothers, or the homes of your sisters, or the homes of your fathers' brothers, or the homes of your fathers' sisters, or the homes of your mothers' brothers, or the homes of your mothers' sisters, or the homes that belong to you and you possess their keys, or the homes of your friends. You commit nothing wrong by eating together or as individuals. When you enter any home, you shall greet each other a greeting from Allah that is blessed and good. Allah thus explains the revelations for you, that you may understand.” [TMQ 24:61]

For men and women to eat together is permitted in the places mentioned in the verse such as the home of your fathers or your friends as it says, “You commit nothing wrong by eating together or as individuals”.

However people should be careful that even though eating together with the women at a friends house is permitted that they should leave once they have eaten and beware of socialisation with the opposite sex which would be exceeding the permit.

7) Silat ar-rahm (maintaing the relationship between kith and kin): It is allowed for non-maharam relatives to sit with their non-maharam (people to whom marriage is permitted) for the sake of silat ar-rahm as long as it is without khalwah (privacy). There exist a number of hadith concerning the keeping of good relations with the relatives.

It was narrated by Anas b. Malik that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "Whoever loves that he be granted more wealth, and that his lease of life be prolonged, then he should keep good relations with his kith and kin". It is narrated by Abu Hurayra that the Prophet (saw) said: "Allah created His creation, and when He finished it, the womb got up and said, I seek refuge with you from Al-qatia (ties being severed with me)". On that Allah (swt) said: "Don’t you accept that I bestow my favours on him who keeps your ties, and withhold My favours from him who severes your ties?" On that it said, "Yes, Oh my Lord!" Then Allah (swt) said: "That is for you".

The Public Life 
This concerns the conduct of people when they are in the public areas. Here again, the principle is that mixing between unrelated (non-mahram) men and women is forbidden as a general rule. However, the Shari‘ah gives permit for mixing (in the sense of presence in the same area) to occur under certain special circumstances. In all these cases, it is not a condition that a woman has a mahram in her presence. The areas can be broadly categorised to include:

1) Hajj: Through the Prophets (saw) consent.

2) Trade/hiring: This includes markets/shops, buying, selling, hiring, borrowing and lending. Tirmidhi narrated that the Messenger Muhammad (saw) traded with women, and Abu Bakr saw the Messenger Muhammad (saw) trade with a woman.

3) Work: If the nature of the work means that one needs to mix then there is a permit. Work involves looking for work e.g. interviews, etc. The Messenger Muhammad (saw) permitted Zubayr Ibn Awwam's wife to work. She carried water both to men and women. The Messenger even offered his camel to assist her.

4) Every day life affairs: This involves the unavoidable interaction between men and women in areas like streets, markets, restaurants, etc.

Special cases within the Public life

There are private places upon which the rules of private life apply, such as houses. There are public places upon which the rules of the public life apply, such as the markets. There are public places with special rules like separating men from women, such as the mosques and attending the public talks at lecture theatres and the like which are compared by analogy.

The Prophet (saw) said, “The best row for men is the front row, (furthest from the women’s row) and the best row for women is the back row and the worst is the front row (just behind the men).” [Abu Dawud]
In Abu Dawud Kitab Al Salat, V.1, in the Chapter on Segregation, it is narrated that Umar bin Al Khattab (ra) said: "Make a special door for women in the mosques."

So in the markets, it is not a condition that men separate from women during trading. But in the mosque and the lecture hall, the separation of men from women is a condition. The Messenger Muhammad (saw) used to address men and women in the mosque in medina, men in front and women behind. Similarly, in the hospitals the sections of men should be separated from the sections of women.

In all these cases, where men and women are present at the same time, there must not be free mixing, where both sexes are mingling with each other. The general rule is that any contact between members of the opposite sex is minimised as much as possible, so any contact between members of the opposite sex must be necessary to the business at hand. Thus in the Islamic State, for example, in the trains or buses there would be separate areas for men and women.

In any case, the activities which are occurring must be halal (i.e. permitted) in nature. Accordingly, mixing between non-mahram men and women for the purpose of amusement, leisure-activities or entertainment is strictly prohibited. Thus issues such as boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, dating, or enjoying leisure and company with unrelated women is haram. However, Islam does see these types of activities as acceptable, but only when regulated within the framework of marriage.

Mixing (ikhtilaat) is not allowed unless it is for a need recognised by the Shariah for which there is a text in the Book of Allah or the Sunnah of His Messenger (saw) such as buying, selling, silat rahm (maintaining relations with kith and kin), etc.

There is no text regarding the mixing of men and women in halls for wedding celebrations. Rather what has been mentioned in the time of the Messenger of Allah and his Sahabah is that the women used to sit with the bride on their own and the men used to sit on their own. Thus, mixing in halls is Haraam and no exception is made for it.

In Abu Dawud Hadith No.4933, it is narrated that Aisha (ra) said: "The Prophet married me at seven and we had relationship at nine and when I moved to medina some women prepared me for the wedding and they nor I ever mixed with men in a house of women. The women received me and men received the Prophet and then we went to the house."

What has been reported with respect to the wedding feasts is the wedding procession when the woman is taken to her husband’s house. It is allowed for men and women to take her to her husband’s house and then the men should separate form the women since this has been the established during the time of the Messenger of Allah (saw) and he approved of it. This occurred outside and therefore falls under the rules of the public place.
Khalwa (Seclusion)
Khalwa relates to the presence of a non-mahram man and woman being on their own together without the presence of a mahram or any other person. This could happen in a private place, or a public place. In either case khalwa is forbidden from Islam, and both the man and woman involved are sinful.

Khalwa in a Private Place: This could occur in any place that requires permission for entry, such as a house or bedroom in a residence building.

Khalwa in a Public Place: This could occur in any public place whose nature is that no other people would be likely to pass by or come there. An example of such a place would be in a forest or an isolated room in an office.

Muhammad (saw) said, “If a man and a woman are alone together in an isolated place, then the third is Shaitan.” Bukhari narrated that the Prophet (saw) said, “No man should stay with a lady in seclusion except in the presence of a mahram to her.” A man stood up and said, “O Rasul Allah! My wife has gone out intending to perform the Hajj and I have been enrolled in the army for such and such a campaign.” The Prophet (saw) said, “Return and perform the Hajj with your wife.”

Modesty and Lowering the Gaze

Part of the provision of maintaining the dignity and honour of men and women in Islam is in the regulation of the way they are regarded by each other. It is forbidden for the Muslim man to look at any woman with lustful intentions, except for his wife. The same is true for a Muslim woman with regard to other men.

Rather, the emphasis is on lowering the gaze away from members of the opposite sex at times when they are present, like in the streets or the market place. Allah (swt) says,

“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty, that will make for greater purity for them, and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty.” [TMQ 24:30-31]

Jarir ibn ‘Abdullah reported, “I asked Allah’s Messenger about the sudden glance (that is cast) on the face (of a non-mahram). He commanded me that I should turn away my eyes.” [Muslim]

This reflects the principle that the way that Muslim men and women view each other is completely different to the way of the West, where women are seen as sex objects, and respect of both men and women in this context is almost non-existent. Indeed, if it does exist at all, the criteria upon which it is based mainly concerns the superficial physical attributes. Allah (swt) says:

“And the believers, the men and women, are protecting friends of one another, they bid to honour and forbid dishonour, they perform the prayer, and they pay the alms, and they obey Allah and His Messenger. Upon them Allah will have mercy.” [TMQ 9:71]

This aspect of the Social System of the Islamic State will prevent exploitation of women in pornography, or the use of their bodies as an enticement for people to buy products. Additionally, in the media as a whole, whether on television, magazines, newspapers or films, neither men nor women will be portrayed in roles where they reveal their awrah, or involve in activities that are forbidden in Islam.

Thus the sexual bombardment from the media that is faced by people in the West, and the distorted image of men and women that this builds in the mind, will be absent in the Islamic State.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

How to view the Bombay blasts?

The following are some important points regarding the recent tragic bomb blasts in which many innocent lives were lost:

1. It is not clear who were behind the recent blasts. As with any crime people shouldn't lay the blame on anyone without clear evidence. Unfortunately it is common practise today especially by the media to point the finger at blame without clear proof, trial by media should not be accepted.

2. It should be clear that Islam condemns the killing of innocent civilians wherever they may be whether in Bombay, London or Madrid. Islam prohibits the targeting of civilians even during legitimate wars. This is established by clear evidences in the Islamic texts:

Ahmad narrated from Safwan bin ‘Asal who said: The Messenger of Allah (saw) sent us in an expedition and said: “Travel in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight those who do not believe in Allah. Do not mutilate, deceive or kill a child.”

Al-Bukhari narrated from ibn Umar who said: “A woman was found killed in some of the battles of the Messenger of Allah (saw), so the Messenger of Allah (saw) prohibited the killing of women and children.”

Ahmad narrated from Al-Aswad bin Sar’i who said: The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “What is wrong with the people whose killing exceeded today until they killed children? A man said: O Messenger of Allah (saw) they are merely the children of polytheists. He said: Verily the best of you are the children of polytheists.”

Abu Dawud narrated from Anas that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Go forth in the name of Allah, with Allah and in the creed (millah) of the Messenger of Allah. Do not kill a perishing (fani) old man (shaykh), a child or a woman and do not betray. Gather together your booties and be righteous as Allah loves the righteous.”

Ahmad and Abu Dawud narrated from Rabah bin Rabi’ that he left together with the Messenger of Allah (SAW) in a battle which was fought with Khalid bin Walid at its front. Rabah and the Sahabah of the Messenger of Allah (saw) passed by a woman killed in what the front (group) had struck. They stopped to look at her and were astounded by her beauty, until the Messenger of Allah (saw) met them upon his mount so they made a place for her. The Messenger of Allah (saw) stopped over her and said: “This is not one to fight. Go meet Khalid and say to him: Do not kill children nor the hireling.” So the hadith made the reason for the prohibition of killing her that she does not fight.

3. The killing of all innocent people should be remembered and should be condemned including the civilians being killed as we speak in Gaza and Lebanon by the Israeli state, the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and all other places.

4. The causes behind acts of violence against innocent people on a wide scale in the world need to be scrutinised in an honest manner. Some of the questions that need to be asked are: What are the factors causing violence against innocents by states, groups and individuals? How do countries and their policies contribute towards this? Does occupation and state oppression lead to a backlash?

5. Even Muslims who live under oppression should realise that we must not react in a manner that contradicts the rules of Islam. It is not legitimate for even the oppressed to kill innocent people. They must speak out against the oppression and work against it according to the shariah method. Our emotions must be brought in line with Islam. The Prophet (saw) said in a well known narration, “No one of you is a true believer until his emotions are in line with what I have brought.”

We must also take heed from the words of our beloved Prophet (saw):

Hazzam bin Hakeem narrated from his uncle from the Messenger of Allah (saw) who said: “You are in a time of many jurisprudents (fuqaha), few speakers, many who give and few who ask; so action in this time is better than knowledge. There will soon come a time of few jurisprudents, many speakers, many who beg and few who give; so knowledge in this time is better than action.”

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mantuq & Mafhoum

Allah (swt) sent Islam as a final message until the Day of Judgement. Furthermore He (swt) states that is message is complete and contains everything.

“It (the Qur’an) is not a forged statement but a confirmation of Allah’s existing books and a detailed explanation of everything” [TMQ Yusuf: 111]

“And we have revealed to you the Book explaining all matters” [An-Nahl: 89]

However, one sees that the size of the Qur’an and the Sunnah are limited whereas the scope of problems and issues that mankind faces seem endless. Thus, one may ask the question: How can a text that is limited contain solutions to all the problems that mankind from the time of revelation until the Day of Judgement?

In order to answer this we must understand the nature of the text of the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

1. Firstly, the Islamic texts are not like the Church views the Bible (i.e. as holy text, not a legal text) which is rigid and its scope limited, rather it is viewed as a comprehensive legal code, enabling rules to be derived from the text which are not explicitly mentioned in the text using a methodology known as Usul ul-Fiqh.

2. Secondly, the Islamic texts addresses the human being who has instincts and needs, providing them with solutions as the nature of the human being never changes leaving room for the Mujtahid to extract rules from the text by extending the original rule mentioned in the text to any new situation that arises.

3. Finally, the connotation of the texts is phrased in such a way that it provides the basis of extending a ruling o other rulings, and this process covers many issues. This article will address two of these issues, the Mantuq and the Mafhoum.


Mantuq is derived from the word ‘nataqa’ which linguistically is the past tense of ‘to utter’ and the word Mantuq means ‘the uttered’ in the past tense. Mantuq from the Shari’ah refers to what is understood directly from the uttered words of the text. For example, Allah (swt) says:

“He who witnesses the Shahr (Month) let him fast” [Baqarah: 185]

The text establishes the obligation to fast.

In addition Allah (swt) says:

“Establish Salah”.

This ayah establishes the obligation of Salah. Also the Messenger of Allah (saw) says: “Pray as you see me praying”.

This hadith states that Muslims have to pray the way the Messenger of Allah (saw) did. In addition to this, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “The Imam of the Salah is established in order to be followed. Thus, make ruku due to his ruku”

This hadith states that the Imam must be followed in the Salah, and Muslims have to make ruku after the Imams ruku, not before. In the above examples the meanings are taken from the words of the texts. Thus, these meanings are taken from the Muntuq, or the uttered words (i.e. literal meaning), which are either uttered by the Messenger of Allah (saw) or revealed in the Qur’an.


Mafhoum is derived from the word ‘fahima’ which linguistically is the past tense of ‘to understand’ or ‘to comprehend’. Here the Mafhoum does not refer to what is taken directly from the uttered words but what is taken from the meaning of the text i.e. the implicit or indirect meaning and the word Mafhoum means ‘the understood’ in the past tense. Mafhoum from the Shari’ah refers to what is understood directly from the meaning words of the text, not from the literal meaning behind the uttered words. For example, Allah (swt) says:

“Do not say to them ‘Uff’” [TMQ Isra: 23]

The direct meaning is the prohibition of saying ‘Uff’ to ones’ parents. However, the connotation gives the understanding of prohibiting the verbal and physical abuse, although this is not mentioned directly in the text. Thus, the prohibition of uttering this word is taken from the Mantuq, while the prohibition of directly abusing and beating the parents is taken from the Mafhoum. The text speaks directly about prohibiting the use of this word against ones’ parents, while the meaning indicates the prohibition of any form of abuse, verbal or otherwise. The Mafhoum is further divided into two categories:

• Mafhoum al-Muwafaqah
• Mafhoum al-Mukhalafah

Mafhoum al-Muwafaqah

The word Muwafaqah means ‘The agreement with something’. Thus, Mafhoum al-Muwafaqah when put together literally means, ‘The understood meaning which is in agreement with something’.

If the rule is taken from the meaning of the text is in agreement with the Mantuq of the text, then it will be called Mafhoum al-Muwafaqah. An example of this is the prohibition of beating the parents mentioned above. The Mafhoum, which is prohibition of physically abusing the parents, is in line with the Mantuq, which is prohibition of saying ‘Uff’ to them. Both the Mafhoum and the Mantuq prohibit something. Thus the Mafhoum in this case is called Mafhoum al-Muwafaqah.

Another example is when Allah (swt) says:

“Those who unjustly eat the wealth of the orphans” [Nisa’:10]

The Mantuq prohibits unjustly taking the wealth of the orphans. The Mafhoum of the ayah is the prohibition of destroying their wealth, not just taking it unjustly. Both the Mantuq and the Mafhoum establish prohibition. Since the Mafhoum is in the line with the Mantuq, then it is Mafhoum al-Muwafaqah.

Mafhoum al-Mukhalafah

The word Mukhalafah means ‘The something is NOT in agreement with something else’. Thus, Mafhoum al-Mukhalafah when put together literally means, ‘The understood meaning which is in NOT agreement with something else’.

If the rule is taken from the meaning of the text is NOT in agreement with the Mantuq of the text, then it will be called Mafhoum al-Mukhalafah, for example, when a Mantuq establishes an obligation and the Mafhoum establishes a prohibition, as both the obligation and the prohibition are not in line with each other. This can also occur when either the Mantuq or Mafhoum establishes an obligation or prohibition and the other does not.

For example, Allah (swt) says in Surah al-Ahzab,

“And those who harass believing men and women undeservedly, bear (on themselves) calamity and a glaring sin” [Ahzab:58]

The Mantuq of this ayah prohibits inflicting any harm or harassment to any Muslim without a just reason. However, if there exists a just reason to inflict harm on him then it is halal to inflict this harm. For example if a Muslim stole his hand will be cut, and this is a physical harm on him. The Mafhoum establishes something as halal, whereas the Mantuq establishes something haram. Since halal and haram are not in line with each other the Mafhoum is known as Mafhoum al-Mukhalafah.

Another example is also in Surah an-Anfal,

“If you divorce a believing woman before you consummate the marriage, then there is NO Idda’” [Ahzab:49]

The Mantuq establishes a rule saying that if such a woman is divorced, she can re-marry without the Idda’ period. The Mafhoum states that if there is a divorce after the marriage is consummated, then Idda’ is obligatory. The Mantuq does not establish the Idda’, and the Mafhoum establishes the Idda’. Hence this is Mafhoum al-Mukhalafah. This is an example of a hukm linked to a specific condition.

This Mafhoum can only apply in four situations:

1. If the hukm is linked to a specific description
2. If the hukm is linked to a specific condition
3. If the hukm establishes limits either in space or time
4. If the hukm is linked to a specific number

1. If the hukm is linked to a specific description

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “If the rich person keeps delaying the payment of his debts, then this will be unjust”

The Mantuq of the hadith establishes the prohibition of continuing to delay payments of the wealthy. The Mafhoum is that it is permissible for a poor person who cannot pay to ask for more time. The Mantuq establishes the prohibition and the Mafhoum establishes the permissibility.

In this example, the rule in the original text is linked to a description and not a name or noun. The word “Ghany” means wealthy, which is the description for a person, this description may exist or not exist.

2. If the hukm is linked to a specific condition

Allah (swt) says:

“If they are pregnant, then spend on them until they deliver” [Talaq:4]

The Mantuq of the ayah establishes the obligation of spending on divorced women until they give birth. The Mafhoum, however does not establish the obligation of support if they are not pregnant. The Mantuq is not in line with the Mafhoum, hence it is Mukhalafah.

3. If the hukm establishes limits either in space or time

Allah (swt) says:

“Continue fasting until the night” [Baqarah: 187]

The Mantuq of the ayah orders Muslims to fast until sunset. The Mafhoum, however prohibits fasting after the sunset. The Mantuq is not in line with the Mafhoum, hence it is Mukhalafah.

4. If the hukm is linked to a specific number

Allah (swt) says:

“Those who commit zina, male and female, lash them 100 lashes”

The Mantuq of the ayah establishes the obligation of lashing 100 times (specifically). The Mafhoum, prohibits going below of above 100. The Mantuq is not in line with the Mafhoum, hence it is Mukhalafah.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “If three people set off on a journey, they should appoint one of them as an Amir” and “It is forbidden for any three people to be anywhere on earth without having appointed one Amir from amongst them”

The word one means just that, and refers to a number one and no more. This is deduced from Mafhoum al-Mukhalafah. In this instance, no text has come to nullify it, thus is applicable. This stipulates the application of: “they should appoint one as Amir” and no more, or “without having appointed one Amir” and no more. Hence, the Mafhoum al-Mukhalafah in the two ahadith indicates that it is absolutely forbidden for the Imarah to be conferred to more than one man.

When Mafhoum al-Mukhalafah does not apply

If the hukm is not linked to any of the above it does not apply. For example, if the hukm is linked to a thing (noun - ism) as opposed to a description (adjective - sifat). To illustrate this we know that monopolies are haram in Islam, as the Messenger of Allah said: “Only the wrongdoers do monopolies” [Muslim]. Thus collecting a commodity and waiting for the price to rise then selling it is haram, but if the supply is large and collecting the commodity will not put a burden on the people, then it is permitted.

In another hadith the Messenger of Allah (saw) condemned monopolies on food items. The Mantuq of this hadith is that monopolies on food items are haram, and the Mafhoum al-Mukhalafah is the permissibility on items other than food. However, since the prohibition is linked to the word ‘Ta’aam’ – which is according to the rules of Arabic grammar an Ism (noun) and not a Sifat (adjective), the then Mafhoum al-Mukhalafah does not apply and the prohibition will includes monopolies of all items, whether food or not. The meaning of this hadith mentions one item (food), which is included in the prohibition.

In another example, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Fulfil the bay’ah to the imams, one after another” and “The imams are all from the Quraysh” [Muslim]

The first hadith establishes the appointing of the imam or Khaleefah. The second hadith links the obligation of giving the bay’ah mentioned in the first hadith to the word Quraysh, which is an Ism – noun, in the Arabic language. Thus Mafhoum al-Mukhalafah, which would prohibit an imam who is not from the Quraysh, does not apply.

It also does not apply if there is another text that clearly contradicts the Mafhoum as when Allah (swt) says:

“And those who harass believing men and women undeservedly, bear (on themselves) calamity and a glaring sin” [Ahzab:58]

The ayah prohibits harming Muslims, from the Mafhoum al-Mukhalafah it implies that is it permitted to harm non-Muslims, this is incorrect, as it does not apply where another daleel prohibits inflicting harm to anyone unjustly, even if they are non-Muslim. Also when Allah (swt) says:

“If you divorce a believing woman before you consummate the marriage, then there is NO Idda’” [Ahzab:49]

The ayah links the Idda’ to the divorced believing woman – the ayah implies that this does not apply to non-Muslims, and they have not Idda’.

This is incorrect for two reasons:

“Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three periods” [Baqarah:228]

This ayah does not add any description to the divorced woman, except her being divorced – thus the Mantuq of this ayah overrules the Mafhoum al-Mukhalafah of the ayah in Surah al-Ahzab.

The description in the ayah of Surah al-Ahzab (believer vs. non-believer) does not warrant the rule being applied. Whether a woman is a believer or not does not have any relation to whether or not a waiting period would be implemented. Thus the rule will remain general, and the description does not restrict the rule. If a teacher were to give a reward to an outstanding student, this is an example of a description of a student who warrants whether or not the reward should be given. If a reward was given to the fattest student in the class, this has no relation to his performance. Similarly in the ayah mentioned there exists no basis for applying the waiting period for a woman based on her belief.


In summary, two things must be kept in mind:

• Firstly, not discussing these issues has a devastating consequence on the mind of the Muslim Ummah, as they can abuse the Islamic texts for their own gains and interests. As an example, the so-called rulers in the Islamic lands could use their scholars to justify monopolies on food, raping the resources on the Ummah, using the principle. Thus a good understanding of these principles of essential to the revival of the Muslim Ummah as they relate to the methods of understanding the Islamic texts which shape the course of the lives of the Muslim Ummah.

• Secondly, the process of understanding text is very precise like any process; therefore it should be regulated by strict protocols and procedures. This is akin to conducting a scientific experiment without any knowledge of materials, methods, formulae and equations. This is totally unacceptable.