Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The significance of Muharram and ‘Ashoora

The following is a transcript of a talk delivered on this subject:

The day of ‘Ashoora is approaching us on the tenth of the month of Muharram. This sacred month of Muharram is a blessed and important month for the Muslims.

It is the first month of the Hijri calendar, and is one of the four sacred months concerning which Allah (swt) says in Surah al-Tawbah:

“Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them, four are sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein…” [TMQ al-Tawbah: 36]

In this ayah, Allah says, “so wrong not yourselves therein…” means do not wrong yourselves in these sacred months, because sin in these months is worse than in other months.
It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbas (ra) said that this phrase, “so wrong not yourselves therein…” referred to all the months, then these four were singled out and made sacred, so that sin in these months is more serious and good deeds bring a greater reward.
It was narrated by al-Bukhari (2958) that Abu Bakrah (ra) reported that the Prophet (saw) said:

“The year is twelve months of which four are sacred, the three consecutive months of Dhu’l-Qa’dah, Dhu’ l-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab Mudar which comes between Jumaadil-akir and Sha’ baan.”

In these days of Muharram the Prophet (saw) recommended for us to fast on the 9th and the 10th of this month.

Al-Bukhari narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas (ra) who said: “The Prophet (saw) came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashoora’. He said, ‘What is this?’ They said, ‘This is a righteous day, it is the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies, so Musa fasted on this day.’ He said, ‘We have more right to Musa than you,’ so he fasted on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day.” [Bukhari, Hadith No: 1865].In a report narrated by Imam Muslim, that the Jews said, “This is a great day, on which Allah saved Musa and his people, and drowned Pharaoh and his people.”Muslim also reported that, “Musa fasted on this day in thanksgiving to Allah, so we fast on this day.”
Mu'awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan relates: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say, "It is the day of 'Ashoora. Allah (swt) has not made fasting obligatory for you. But I am fasting. He who likes to observe fast among you should do so, and he who likes not to observe it (does not have to) observe it." [Sahih Muslim] Abu Qatada (ra) relates that the Holy Prophet (saw) said that, “the fast on the 10th of Muharram atones for the sins of the preceding year.” [Sahih Muslim] Abu Huraira (ra) reports that the Holy Prophet (ra) said, “after Ramadan, the fasts of Muharram have the greatest excellence.” [Sahih Muslim] In addition to the keeping of the fast on the 10th of Muharram we should also aim to fast on the 9th as well as stipulated in the following ahadith:Ibn Abbas (ra) relates that when the Holy Prophet (saw) said, "If I survive till next year, I will definitely observe fast on the 9th of Muharram (as well)." [Sahih Muslim] Hakam ibn Al-Arat (ra) relates: I went to Ibn Abbas (ra). I said to him: Tell me about fasting on 'Ashura. He said, "When you seen the new moon of Muharram count the (days) and (begin to) observe fast on the 9th." I said to him: "Is it how the Messenger of Allah (saw) observed the fast?" He said, "Yes." [Sahih Muslim]

These days also remind us of the story of Musa (as) and his struggle against the Pharaoh. Allah (swt) said in Sura al-Qasas:

“These are Verses of the Book that makes (things) clear. We rehearse to you some of the story of Musa and Firawn (Pharaoh) in Truth for people who believe. Truly Firawn elated himself in the land and broke up its people into sections depressing a small group among them: their sons he slew but he kept alive their females: for he was indeed a maker of mischief. And We wished to be gracious to those who were being depressed in the land to make them leaders and make them heirs. To establish a firm place for them in the land and to show Firawn and Haman and their hosts at their hands the very things against which they were taking precautions.” [TMQ 28:1-6]

Indeed brothers the story of Musa (as) is a great story that Allah (swt) related to us in the Quran.

Allah (swt) told us of how the Firawn oppressed the people, how Firawn broke the people into sections depressing a small group among them, how Firawn killed the new born sons of the people and how he ruled the people with his tyranny and oppression.

And we all know how Allah Azza wa Jal raised Musa (as) to liberate the people from this tyranny and oppression.

Allah Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem mentioned in the in Surah al-Qasas how he protected Musa (as) from his campaign of killing the children. Allah (swt) tells us of how when Musa (as) was born Allah (swt) inspired his mother to cast him into the river. Look how she obeyed this command of Allah (swt) with no resistance, imagine casting your child into the river, this is the meaning of having Tawakkal in Allah (swt).

Firawn and his wife found Musa (as), upon seeing Musa (as) Firawn’s wife felt joy and convinced Firawn not to slay him. Allah (swt) reunited Musa (as) with his mother when he would not take the milk from others, so eventually the wife of Firawn employed Musa (as)’s mother as a maid to look after him. Allah (swt) explains this beautiful story,

“And We ordained that he refused suck at first until (his sister came up and) said: "Shall I point out to you the people of a house that will nourish and bring him up for you and be sincerely attached to him?"...Thus did We restore him to his mother that her eye might be comforted that she might not grieve and that she might know that the promise of Allah is true: but most of them do not understand.” [TMQ al-Qasas: 12-13]

When Musa (as) grew up he stood against Firawn and challenged his corruption and tyranny, he led the Children of Israel (Bani Israel) against the Firawn and made them disbelieve in him and his tyranny. Firawn believed he was a god and that he had the power of life and death in his hands.

Allah Azza wa Jal said in Surah Yunus:

“Firawn was an arrogant tyrant on the earth indeed he was one of the Musrifeen (transgressors)” [TMQ 10:83]

Brothers today we have many modern day Firawn’s, many Musrifeen (transgressors) and tyrants.

Today Bush and his America is one of these modern day Pharaoh’s. We know America thinks it is the God of this world, how it bombed the Muslims in Iraq, how it bombed the Muslims in Afghanistan and Sudan in the past for no reason and how it continues to impose it’s policies all over the Islamic lands. It is the arrogant tyrant of the world today. The arrogance of these people is apparent, as one Time magazine title put it 'America Rules: Thank God’.

Brothers, America is not the only Firawn in this world today, America has many assistants in the world as Firawn had his assistants like Haman.

Today the rulers in the Muslim world are these assistants and Firawn’s who carve up the people as Firawn did and oppress them as Firawn did and kill them as Firawn did.

Today brothers although there are many tyrannical agents of Firawn and the side of Baatil (falsehood) is clear, we must realise that the side of Haq (truth) is also clear and gaining momentum. The people on the side of truth, carrying the call of liberation from the rules of man to the rule of Allah (swt), from darkness of the Firawn’s to the light of the Khilafah, even if they face all types of persecutions and hardship in the pursuit of this.
Brothers! Musa (as) liberated the Children of Israel from the Firawn, we to need to liberate the Muslim Ummah from the oppression of Capitalism. The method to achieve this is taken from the well known Hadith,

"Banu Israel used to be looked after by the Prophets; when one Prophet died, another one would succeed him, and there will be no more Prophets after me. There will be Khulafah and they will number many."

Firawn’s end came even though he believed he had all power in his hands. Indeed the time will come when America and its agents in the Muslim world will drown in the ocean of history as Firawn and his men were swallowed by the ocean and drowned.

Musa (as) and all the other Prophet’s (as) relied upon non other than Allah (swt) to fulfil their mission. Musa (as) sought help and support from his Lord, Allah (swt) says in Surah Ta-Ha ,

"Musa said: 'O my Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence, contentment, and boldness). And ease my task for me; And loosen the knot (the problem) from my tongue, (i.e. remove the impairment in my speech), that they understand my speech, And appoint for me a helper from my family, Haroon, my brother; Increase my strength with him, And let him share my task (of conveying Allah's message), That we may glorify You much, And remember You much, Verily! You are of us Ever a Well-Seer” [TMQ Ta-Ha: 25-35]

Today in our pursuit of re-establishing the Khilafah to dethrone the Firawn’s of this world we must rely on Allah (swt) alone, He is As-Samee’a, Al-Mujeeb.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The importance of seeking knowledge

The following is a transcript of a talk delivered on this subject:

The Prophet (saw) said: "Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim"

Today unfortunately we see many Muslims who when it comes to their education, work or even entertainment they would gain a lot of knowledge regarding these areas, however when it comes to the Deen they have very little. Indeed the Prophet (saw) mentioned this time:

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.”

What type of knowledge is Fard ul Ayn?

Firstly, It is obligatory upon us all to believe in Islam definitively without a doubt and therefore this knowledge must be known to us. This is the knowledge of the fundamentals of Aqeeda

He (swt) says: “And verily guess is no substitute for the truth.” [TMQ 53:28]

And He (swt) said: “They have no (certain) knowledge. They follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not (‘Isa).” [TMQ 4:157]

"Do you have Ilm for that which you claim so that you provide us with? You follow nothing but conjecture (Zann)." [TMQ 6:148]

"These are nothing but names which you have devised, you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. They follow nothing but conjecture and what their Nafs desire. Even though there has already come to them the Guidance from their Rabb" [TMQ 53:23]

Jalaluddin as-Suyuti, a Mujtahid Imam of the Shafi madhab has commented on this verse, that the people had zann (conjecture) which is opposed to knowledge (ilm) i.e. certain knowledge. He also stated that Allah had sent down definitive proof (Burhan Qati) for the truth of the Islamic Aqeeda. [Tafseer al Jalalayn page 627. It is stated in Reliance of the Traveller Ahmed ibn Naqib al misri (ra) (769/1368) Book of Qada (Judiciary)]
In all of these and other ayaat (verses) to do with beliefs Allah (swt) censures those who take the beliefs through conjecture (Zann) and decisively prohibits them from this.

Therefore it is prohibited for us to have emotional belief or belief based on imitation. We must know for ourselves that Allah (swt) exists, that Muhammad (saw) is His last Messenger, the Quran is the word of Allah and whatever is contained in it is the truth such as the belief in the angels, previous books, previous prophets, the day of Judgment, Jannah, Jahannam, etc.

Secondly, it is an individual obligation for us to know the Shariah rules related to our own lives and actions.

Allah (swt) has addressed us directly in the Quran on so many occasions:

“O you who believe, obey Allah and His Messenger”

We know that our purpose in life is to worship Allah (swt) as Allah said:

“I have not created Jinn or mankind except that they worship me” [TMQ 51:57]

Allah (swt) has also clearly ordered us to take from the Messenger (saw):

“And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad [saw]) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it).” [TMQ59:7]

Therefore we must at least know the Shariah rules relating the Fara’id (obligations) and Muharramat (prohibitions) from our actions such as:
- The ahkam (rules) of Salah
- The ahkam of relationships with the opposite sex
- The ahkam of responsibility to parents
- The ahkam of buying
- The ahkam of replying the to the Salam
- The ahkam of backbiting
- The ahkam of working for Khilafah
- The ahkam of Riba (usury)

Whatever actions we undertake we need to know the hukm before performing the action, there is a principle in Usul: Every actions requires a hukm and every hukm requires an evidence

Therefore it is Fard for a doctor to know the ahkam relating to his field, e.g. is post-mortem allowed, rules relating to treating the opposite sex, using intoxicants for medical purposes, etc.

For an Imam of the Masjid it is Fard to know the ahkam relating to leading the prayer, the obligations of the Khutba, the responsibility towards the Muslims, the obligations of speaking the truth from the Minbar, etc.

It is Fard for the teacher to know whether it is permitted to teach subjects that contradict Islam and promote Kufr, the ahkam of teaching members of the opposite sex, the ahkam of disciplining the student.

It is Fard for the husband to know his obligations towards his wife, what are the prohibited actions to undertake with her, how can he discipline her if she is disobedient, etc. Similarly for the wife to know her responsibilities towards her husband, parent towards the child, child towards the parents and so on.

It is Fard for the Khalifah of the Muslims to know ahkam relating to his responsibility, etc.

We must ensure that we follow the Shariah and not rules invented from the mind

In the Hadith in Sahih of Bukhari, on the authority of 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr who said: 'Abd Allah b. 'Amr b. al-'As overcame us with proof. I heard him say: “Allah will not deprive you of knowledge after he has given it to you, but it will be taken away through the death of the learned men (Ulema’a) with their knowledge. There will remain ignorant people who, when consulted, will give verdicts according to their opinions whereby they will mislead others and themselves go astray.” i.e. they give Fatwas according to their own opinions which are not derived from the Islamic evidences.

In the authentic Hadith the Prophet (saw) said: “The best speech is the Book of Allah and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (saw). And the evil matters are the newly invented issues and every Bida’a (innovation) is a misguidance.” The 'newly invented issues' are the Bida’a (innovations), they are whatever contradicts the Islamic evidences.

Hadith narrated by Al-Daraqtuni in Al-Afrad, of Anas of the Prophet (saw), where he said: "Whomever cheats my Ummah has the curse of Allah, the Angels and the people combined, upon him. They asked: What is cheating, Oh Prophet of Allah? He said: If he invented an innovation for them, and they acted upon it".

“Whoever speaks about the Quran without any knowledge, then let him seek his place in the fire of hell.” [Tirmidhi , Abu Dawud]

Islam has forbidden us from following any path other than the path of ‘Ilm: “And follow not that of which you have no knowledge. Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those you will be questioned (by Allah).” [TMQ 17:36]

Even if we are not aware of the evidence, we must know that the hukm is derived from the Islamic texts by legitimate Ijtihad

“So ask the people of the Reminder (ahl al-zikr) if you do not know.” [TMQ 21:7]

He (swt) has ordered the one who does not have the knowledge to ask the one who is more knowledgeable than him.

It has also been narrated on the authority of Jabir (ra): “a man was struck by a stone that fractured his skull. Then he had a wet dream. He asked his companions - do you know of a permit (Rukhsa) for me to perform Tayammum (dry ablution)? - They said - we do not find any permit for you and you can use water. He then had a bath and died. The Prophet (saw) said: “Verily, it would have sufficed for him to make Tayammum, so tie a piece of cloth around his head and wipe over it and wash the rest of his body.' And the Prophet (saw) said: 'why did they not ask when they did not know. Indeed, the cure for inability and lack of knowledge is to ask.” [Abu Dawud: 275, Ibn Majah: 565, Ahmad: 2898] The Messenger (saw) instructed them to ask about the Hukm Shar'ai.

We have to be careful from whom we take our knowledge in relation to the Shariah rules, they should be someone we trust and someone who basis their opinions upon the Islamic evidences.

A narration of Imam Zuhri springs to mind, "Be careful from whom you take your knowledge, because that is your Deen."

We should beware of all government Mufti’s, scholars and Imams – also those who have openly violated the Shariah or given verdicts that contradict the Qati (definitive) matters.

Abu Hanifah said, “If you see the scholar at the gates of the ruler then accuse him in his Deen”.

True scholars never compromise the truth. Let us take the example of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimallah), the master of Hadeeth, the Mujtahid of Makkah and to whom the Hanbali Madhab is attributed. In his time Ma’moon became Khaleefah who had adopted the Mu’tazilla belief that the Quran was created and attempted to force this belief upon the masses.

He started with the Ulema as they were the ones who had the leadership over the Ummah. Amongst the Ulema was Imam Ahmad who refused to accept this corrupt doctrine. His uncle went to him and asked him to say with his tongue what he does not accept in his heart, to this he responded, “If the Alim stays silent in the face of falsehood when will the truth become manifest”.

The recommended knowledge

Gaining knowledge in the other areas of Islam which is beyond the knowledge of the fundamentals of Aqeeda and direct ahkam for our lives is mandub (recommended. Such as knowing the evidences for the ahkam, knowledge of the Seerah, Islamic history (Tarikh), Tafseer, Arabic language, Ilm al-Hadith and Usul ul-Fiqh.

We should strive to achieve this knowledge continuously

The rewards of gaining knowledge

Al-Bukhari narrated through Mu’awiyya bin Abu Sufyan: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:
“The one for whom Allah wills good (khayr), He grants him fiqh in the deen.”

It was narrated that Umar bin al-Khattab said: “The death of one thousand worshippers who pray at night and worship in the day is less serious than the death of one intelligent knower (baseer) of the halal and haram of Allah.”

All these narrations indicate to us as Muslims, and emphasise the importance of seeking knowledge.

Abu Huraira said, The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "The word of wisdom is the lost property of the believer, so wherever he finds it he has a better right to it." (Tirmidhi).

Abu Dardaa' (ra) said: "To learn of one issue (in deen) is better for me than to pray the entire night"

He also said: "The scholar and the seeker of knowledge are the partners in the sharing of good. Other men are hungry and there is no good in them."

Fath Al Musilee (radhiallahu anhu) said: "Would the sick person who is not fed or given anything to drink or given any medicine, not die?" The people replied: "Surely!" He said: "It is the same with the heart, it would die if knowledge and wisdom is withheld from it."

Narrated Abdullah bin Masud (Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Do not wish to be like anyone except in two cases. (1) (The first is) A person, whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it righteously; (2) (the second is) the one whom Allah has given wisdom and he acts according to it and teaches it to others." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol 1).

Abu Huraira said, The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "People are like mines of silver and gold; the more excellent of them in the days of Ignorance are the more excellent of them in Islam when they attain knowledge.” (Muslim, Mishkat).

Status of people of knowledge

The people of knowledge have a special status in Islam, we should respect them

“Say: "Are those who know equal to those who know not?" It is only men of understanding who will remember.” [TMQ az-Zumar:9]

Jabir (ra) reported: After the battle of Uhud, the Prophet (saw) arranged the burial of two of the martyrs in one grave. In each case he would ask, “Which one of them had learnt more Qur'an by heart?” He placed whichever was thus pointed out to him, first in the Lahd (type of grave). [Bukhari]

'Ubaadah b. as-Saamit (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “He is not from my Ummah who does not acknowledge the honour due to our elders, who shows no mercy to our younger ones and nor recognises the right of our scholar.” Al-Munziri said: reported by Ahmad with a hasan chain. Al-Haythami said: reported by Ahmad and at-Tabaraani and its isnad is hasan.

Abdullah b. al-Mas'ud (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Let those be nearest to me in Salah (prayer) who are mature and possess (religious) knowledge, then those who are nearest to them in these respects.” He repeated this three times and then added, “Beware of indulging in the loose talks of the markets (when you are in the mosque).” [Muslim]

Abu Musa (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “It is out of reverence to Allah that we respecting an aged Muslim, and the one who commits the Qur'an to memory and does not exaggerate pronouncing its letters and nor forgets it after memorising, and to respect the just ruler.” Reported by Abu Dawud. An-Nawawi said the hadith is hasan. Ibn Muflih said the isnad is jayyid.

May Allah (swt) enable us to gain the correct knowledge and apply it.

Abu Ismael

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Evidences for Ijtihad

Extract from my upcoming book, 'Ijtihad & Appying Islam in the 21st Century':

The Messenger’s approval of Sahabas ijtihad in his age:

The Sahabah (ra) used to make ijtihad in the time of the Messenger of Allah (saw) and differ in their deduction of ahkaams and the Messenger (saw) accepted this. This can be seen in the following incidents:

1- Bukhari narrated from Aisha that when the Prophet (saw) returned from the battle of khandaq (ditch) and laid down his arms and took a bath. Jibrail came and said “You have laid down your arms? By Allah, we angels have not laid them down yet. So set out for them.” The Messenger (saw) asked, “where to go?” so Jibrail pointed towards Banu Quraiza. The Prophet (saw) instructed the mu`azzin to give azan and so he announced to the people: “Whosoever hears and obeys he should not pray Asr except in Bani Qurayzah.” So they headed towards the fortresses of Bani Qurayzah, however they had different understandings of what the Messenger (saw) had said to them. Some took the literal meaning and they did not pray until they reached Bani Qurayzah after maghrib. And others took it to mean that they should go there quickly, so they prayed Asr in Madinah or on the way. When the Messenger (saw) heard about this he accepted the action of all them. [Bukhari: 894, 3810 Muslim: 3317]

2- The saying of the Prophet (saw) when he sent Mu’az as Qadi to Yemen: “By what will you pass judgement?’ He said: By the Book of Allah. The Prophet (saw) said: If you do not find it there? He said: By the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saw) .He said: And if you do not find it ? He said: 'I will exercise my own ijtihad’ He (saw) said: ‘Praise be to Allah who has made the messenger of the Messenger of Allah to accord with what Allah and His Messenger loves.” [Ahmad: 5/230, Abu Dawud:3592, at-Tirmizi:1327, al-Hafiz said in his Talkhees: Ibn Tahir said: it has two lines of transmission both of which are not authentic. At-Tirmizi said: he does not know of this hadith except from this line of transmission. The isnad is not muttasil (connected throughout) but it has become well known amongst the people and their acceptance of it has strengthened it.]

3- The hadith of the Messenger (saw): “If a judge passes judgment and makes Ijtihad and he is right then he will have two rewards. And if he makes a mistake he will have one.” [Agreed upon (muttafaq a’alayh) from the hadith of ‘Amr b. al-‘Aas and Abu Hurayrah. Bukhari: 7352, Muslim: 1716.]

4- The Messenger of Allah (saw) made Sa’d b. Mu’az to judge over Bami Qurayzah so he gave the judgment that they should be killed and their offspring to be taken prisoners. The Messenger (saw) said: “You gave have given a judgment that is from above the seven arki’ah.” [Muslim:1761, Ahmad: 2/22]

From these examples we can see that the SaHabah used to make ijtihad in the time of the Messenger (saw) and that he used to accept their ijtihads and tell them that the one who got it right will get two rewards while the one who got it wrong will get one.

From Ijma as Sahaba (Consensus of the companions)

After the Messenger (saw) there are numerous and elaborate ijtihads in the time of the Sahabah. Even amongst the general masses ijtihad was widespread and that was not considered strange because they were the original arabs who spoke the pure Arabic. Once while giving a khutbah Umar b. Khattab tried to limit the dowry (mahr) but a women responded from behind the lines by quoting the ayah: “But if you intend to replace a wife by another and you have given one of them a Qintar (of gold i.e. a great amount) as Mahr, take not the least bit of it back…” [TMQ 4:20] She told him from her understanding of the word Qintar which denotes many without restriction that it is not allowed for him to restrict the doweries. He (may Allah be pleased with him) said: ‘The woman is right and Umar is wrong.’

An Ijma'a (consensus) of the Sahaba has taken place on the question of judging by an opinion which has been deduced from the Shar’ai evidence i.e. they agreed on the use of Ijtihad for any incidents that took place for which no (clear) text had been found. This is what reached us in successive reports in which there is no doubt. One such report is the saying of Abu Bakr when he was asked about the Kalala. He said: 'I will speak about it according to my opinion. If it is correct then it is from Allah. If it is a mistake then it is from me and from Shaytan and Allah has nothing to do with it. Kalala is the one who has no children or parents left.' [Amidi, Ihkam, IV, 187; Ibn al-Qayyim, I`lam, I, 177.] His statement: 'I will speak about it according to my opinion' does not mean this opinion is from him. Rather it meant Abu Bakr would express his opinion according to what he understood from the expression 'Kalala' in the verse. Kalala in the Arabic language applies to three people; the one who did not leave a child or parent, the one who is neither a child or parent (in terms of the left people), and the relatives from other than the child or father. Which of these meanings apply to the word Kalala in the verse? Abu Bakr (ra) understood it to have one of those meanings in the saying of Allah (swt):

“If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question has left neither ascendants nor descendants…” [TMQ 4:12]

Kalala is the predicate (khabar) of the verb 'to be' (kana), in this case if the man leaves no ascendants or descendants to inherit after him. Abu Bakr (ra) probably understood this also from a second verse:

“Say: "Allah directs (thus) about al-Kalala (those who leave neither descendants nor ascendants as heirs). If it is a man that dies leaving no child…" [TMQ 4:176]

From the Hadith which has been reported about the cause of the above-mentioned verse, it has been reported that the Messenger (saw) visited Jabir b. 'Abd Allah who was ill. He said: ‘I leave no ascendants or descendants (inni kalala). What shall I do with my wealth?’ Thus this verse [4:176] was revealed. This opinion stated by Abu Bakr (ra) is an Ijtihad which he did not invent from his own mind.

Another example of Ijtihad is that Abu Bakr (ra) gave a share of the inheritance to the mother’s mother and not the father’s mother. Some of the Ansar said to him: ‘you give inheritance to a woman from a deceased woman who would not inherit from her if she died. Yet you ignored a woman, who if she had died, would have inherited everything she left behind.’ So Abu Bakr (ra) gave both grandmothers equal share in the inheritance.

Abu Bakr (ra) also used to give equal grants to the Muslims. Umar (ra) said to him concerning this matter: ‘do not put those who emigrated for the Prophet and left their homes and wealth behind on an equal footing with those who embraced Islam under duress.’ Abu Bakr (ra) answered: ‘they embraced Islam for the sake of Allah, and the Dunya is nothing but a message (Balagh).’ Likewise Umar (ra) said: ‘I judge concerning the paternal grandfather (father’s father) by my opinion and say concerning it according to my opinion.’ i.e. according to his understanding of the texts. In the time of Umar (ra)’s rule a woman passed away leaving behind a husband, mother, two maternal brothers and two paternal brothers. Umar first thought that the maternal brothers should have the third as their right, but this left nothing to the paternal brothers. They approached Umar (ra) and said to him: ‘assume that our father is but a donkey (in other narrations, a stone) – are we still not of one mother?’ So Umar (ra) changed his mind and gave all the brothers an equal share in the third. This is despite the fact the Sahaba had judged differently. They had given the husband one half of the inheritance, one sixth of the inheritance was given to the mother as decreed in the text, and the final third was given to the maternal brothers, as also determined in the text, thus leaving nothing for the paternal brothers. Umar (ra) understood that the maternal brothers were brothers of the man from his mother’s side, and this applied not just to the maternal brothers but also to the paternal brothers. The mother was the common factor between them all, so when there was nothing given to the paternal brothers, their right to them was of what they deserved from the maternal brothers. The rest of the Sahaba saw it differently and they understood the text so they were able to make their own Ijtihad.

Consider the situation of what was said to Umar (ra) when a Muslim, Samra took from a Jewish merchant a tenth portion of alcohol, bottled and priced it and then sold it. So Umar (ra) said: ‘May Allah (swt) fight Samra. Does he not know that the Prophet (saw) said: ‘May Allah (swt) curse the Jews. The fat was made Haram upon them, so they ornamented it and sold it.’” In this case, Umar (ra) made the analogy between the alcohol and the fat, and that prohibition of it meant prohibition of its price.

A further example of Ijtihad is what Ali (ra) said regarding punishment (Hadd) for the crime of drinking alcohol. He said: ‘Whoever drinks it will speak nonsense, and who did so would fabricate lies, so I see that he must be punished like the fabricator of lies.’ Like Umar (ra) in the previous example, Ali (ra) made an analogy between drinking and fabrication because he understood from Shar’a that it could be considered that which is likely to happen to be the same as that which actually happens. All these are examples of Ijtihad from the time of the Sahaba and Ijma’a as-Sahaba on the issue of Ijtihad. The fact that the Companions resorted to ijtihad in the absence of a text is established by continuous testimony (tawatur). [Ghazali, Mustasfa, II, 106; Ibn al-Qayyim, I'lam, I, 176; Kassab, Adwa', p. 19.]

The need for Ijtihad in every age

Allah (swt) addressed the whole of mankind through the Prophethood of our master Muhammad (saw). He (swt) said:

“Say (O Muhammad (saw)): “O mankind! Verily I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah…”’ [TMQ 7:158]

And He (swt) said:

“O mankind! Verily, there has come to you a convincing proof (Muhammad [saw]) from your Lord” [TMQ 4:174]

And He (swt) said:

“O mankind! Verily, there has come to you the Messenger (Muhammad [saw]) with the truth from your Lord.” [TMQ 4:170]

And He (swt) addressed the people and the Muslims with the Ahkam of Islam. He (swt) said:

“O mankind! Fear your Lord and be dutiful to Him! Verily, the earthquake of the Hour (of judgment) is a terrible thing.” [TMQ 22:1]

He (swt) said:

“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person...” [TMQ 4:1]

He (swt) said:

“O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you, and let them find harshness in you…” [TMQ 9:123]

And He (swt) said:

“O you who believe! Approach not As-Salat (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state.” [TMQ 4:43]

And He (swt) said:

“O you who believe! When you go (to fight) in the Cause of Allah, verify (the truth)...” [TMQ 4:94]

And He (swt) said:

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves...” [4:135]

From these verses and others similar we understand that Allah (swt) has addressed humanity directly. Therefore for the one who has heard the address of the Legislator, Allah (swt) - it becomes incumbent on him to believe in it and understand it. It also becomes incumbent on him to act upon it, because it is Hukm Shar'ai (Shari'ah rule). So in principle a Muslim should understand the Hukm (rule) of Allah from the speech of the Legislator directly. This is because the speech has been directed at all people by the Legislator and not only at the Mujtahidin or the 'Ulama but all the Mukallafin (those who are legally responsible). Thus it became an obligation on the Mukallafin to understand this speech so as to be able to act upon it, since it is impossible to act upon the speech without comprehending it. Therefore, the inference (Istinbat) of Allah's Hukm became Fard on all the Mukallifin i.e. Ijtihad became Fard on all the Mukallafin (legally responsible). Consequently, the basis of a Mukallaf (legally responsible) should be that he adopts the Hukm of Allah himself from the speech of the Legislator because he has been addressed by this speech.

However, the reality of the Mukallifin (legally responsible) is that there is a disparity in their understanding and comprehension and in their aptitude for learning. They also differ in terms of knowledge and ignorance. Therefore, it is impossible for all of them to deduce Shar’ai rules from the evidences i.e. it is impossible for all Mukallafin to be Mujtahidin. Since the objective is to understand the speech and act upon it then the understanding of the speech i.e. Ijtihad is Fard on all the Mukallafin (legally responsible). However since it is impossible for all Mukallafin to understand the address for themselves due to the disparity of their understanding and the disparity in learning, then the obligation of Ijtihad becomes one of sufficiency ('ala al-Kifaya). If some undertake it the rest are absolved of the sin. Therefore, it became obligatory on those Muslims legally responsible that there should be Mujtahidin amongst them who would derive the Shar’ai rules. There is a similarity in this respect to other sciences, not everyone can become a doctor, physasist or chemist due to the disparity of people’s aptitude for learning.

The reality of the Mukallafin and the Hukm Shar'ai means that there would be two categories amongst the Muslims: the Mujtahidin and Muqallidin. This is because the one who adopts the Hukm himself directly from the evidences is a Mujtahid, and the one who questions the Mujtahid about a Hukm Shar'ai is a Muqallid; irrespective of whether or not the questioner asked about the Hukm to learn and act upon it, to learn and teach it to others or just to learn it. The Muqallid is considered as one when he asks someone who is not a Mujtahid but knows the Hukm Shar'ai and is able to tell others, whether the one who was asked is knowledgeable or just a layman. Thus, they are all followers (Muqallid) of others in this Hukm even if they do not know the one who deduced the Hukm, because the Mukallaf is required to adopt the Hukm Shar'ai and not follow any particular person. Being a Muqallid means he has adopted a Hukm Shar’ai, which he did not deduce himself. It does not mean he followed a particular person, since the subject matter is the Hukm Shar’ai and not the person. The difference between the Muqallid and the Mujtahid is that the Mujtahid deduces the Hukm Shar’ai from the Shari'ah evidence himself and the Muqallid is the one who adopts the Hukm Shar’ai irrespective of whether or not he knew the one who derived it, as long as he trusts the Hukm to be a Shari’ah rule. It is not a permissible Taqleed to adopt the opinion of any person as a personal opinion or the opinion of such and such scholar, thinker or philosopher without it being derived from the Islamic evidences. None of this is legitimate Taqleed. It is tantamount to adopting something other than Islam and this is prohibited by the Shari'ah. Also, Allah has ordered us to adopt from the Messenger Muhammad (saw) and not from anybody else whoever he may be. He (swt) said:

“And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad [saw]) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it).” [TMQ59:7]

A prohibition has been mentioned with regards to adopting an opinion originating from the peoples own minds without being based on the Islamic evidences. In the Hadith in Sahih of Bukhari, on the authority of 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr who said: 'Abd Allah b. 'Amr b. al-'As overcame us with proof. I heard him say: “Allah will not deprive you of knowledge after he has given it to you, but it will be taken away through the death of the learned men (Ulema’a) with their knowledge. There will remain ignorant people who, when consulted, will give verdicts according to their opinions whereby they will mislead others and themselves go astray.” i.e. they give Fatwas according to their own opinions which are not derived from the Islamic evidences. The opinion that has been deduced from the Islamic evidences is not considered as an opinion originating from the one who deduced it, on the contrary it is considered as a Hukm Shar’ai. As for what is regarded as mere opinion, it is just hearsay which emanates from a person. That is why the Messenger (saw) called it a Bid'aa (innovation). In the authentic Hadith the Prophet (saw) said: “The best speech is the Book of Allah and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (saw). And the evil matters are the newly invented issues and every Bida’a (innovation) is a misguidance.” The 'newly invented issues' are the Bida’a (innovations), they are whatever contradicts the Kitab, Sunnah or Ijma'a in terms of the Ahkam whether by action or speech.

Thus the Taqleed allowed by Shari’ah is for the person unable to deduce Hukm Shar’ai themselves to ask the scholar about the particular Hukm Shar’ai so as to learn and adopt it. To summarise, it is allowed for anybody unaware of a Hukm Shar’ai to ask one who does know the Hukm so he may learn and take it. The subject and evidences for the permissibility of Taqleed are elaborated further in the section concerning Taqleed.

The fact that Ijtihad is an obligation of sufficiency (farD kifaayah), means that no age should be devoid of the presence of a mujtahid, otherwise the Muslims will be sinful.

This has been mentioned by numberous ulema in the past including Sadr al-Shariah who said:

If one or more mujtahid is present then the sin is removed from the Muslims of that age and this is proven from two angles:

Firstly: The texts of the Islamic Sharee’ah requires the Muslims to undertake ijtihad because these texts did not come in an elaborate manner. Even the ones that did come in detail regarding some matters did not cover all the details with a definite text. For example, the ayat of inheritance have come in a detailed manner. However in terms of partial rules they still require scrutiny and deduction such as the issue of Kalaalah and Hajab. The Mujtahidun take the view that the child (Walad) whether male or female, takes precedence in inheritance over the brothers of the deceased because the word ‘Walad' (child) refers to children of both sexes. Despite this Ibn 'Abbas holds the view that the girl does not inherit because the word 'Walad' refers to a male only. This shows that even some texts that treat in detail have come as ambivalent (Mujmal), and understanding and deducing a Hukm from them requires Ijtihad.

This is from the angle of the texts.

Secondly: the newly occurring incidents of life are continuous and so if effort is not expended to deduce the rules relating to them, then it will not be possible apply the Sharee’ah rules on them, knowing that there are numerous texts obliging the application of the Sharee’ah rule on every issue:

He (swt) said: “And so judge (you o Muhammad [saw]) between them by what Allah has revealed.” [TMQ 5:49]

He (swt) said: “But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad [saw]) judge in all their disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” [TMQ 4:65]

He (swt) said: “And We have sent down to you the Book (the Qur’an) as an exposition to everything.” [TMQ 16:89]

Thus, ijtihad is fard on those who have the ability in every age i.e. it is a farD kifayah if some have already performed it the rest are absolved of the obligation. This is from the angle whatever is necessary to fulfill a waajib is itself a wajib. Ijtihad is waajib because we cannot refer to what Allah ahs revealed in every issue without ijtihad.

Thus, Islam has encouraged ijtihad by giving the one who gets an ijtihad right two rewards and the one gets it wrong he gets one reward. The Muslims practiced ijtihad from the beginning of Islam. The Sahabah had many ijtihads and their differences in certain issues are well known. They used to deduce rules according to their own ability because they were proficient in the language, they lived which the Qur’an was being revealed. And they learnt directly from the Messenger of Allah (saw).

Then they were succeeded in the following ages by people from whom many mujtahideen emerged such as the Imaams of the mazhabs and their students.

The ages of Islam continued to flourish until the weakness in the ijtihad creped in and its was banned and taqleed became widespread. And the deduced rules of Allah could not keep up with the new emerging issues.

Ijtihad must continue so that there are able mujtihadeen in the Ummah and Islam can lead the world in solving their problems and bring them out from the darkness into light.

The Messenger (saw) gave us the glad tidings that this goodness will not stop and that in the last ages there will from this Ummah those who will work to apply the laws of Allah on the earth and make ijtihad to keep Islam the highest. He (saw) said: “There is will always be a group from my Ummah who will remain in the Haqq (truth) until the Decree of Allah comes and Dajjal appears.”

To say that the doors of Ijtihad are closed is completely incorrect, this was a serious error that some ulema mistakenly called for in history and clearly contradicts the Shari’ah. The Shari’ah texts exist today as they existed in the past, therefore Ijtihad is not only possible, it is necessary and a Fard ul Kifaya (duty of sufficiency), as was proven earlier. Al- Shawkani (d.1255/1839) articulated this brilliantly when he said: 'It is utter nonsense to say that Allah Almighty bestowed the capacity for knowledge and ijtihad on the bygone generations of ulema but denied it to the later generations.' ‘What the proponents of taqlid are saying to us is that we must know the Qur'an and the Sunnah through the words of other men while we still have the guidance in our hands. Praise be to Allah, this is the greatest lie (buhtanun 'azim) and there is no reason in the world to vindicate it.’ [Shawkani, Irshad, p. 254] The doors of Ijtihad are open but not for the ignorant, they are open until the day of judgement for the people of knowledge who have the capability to perform it.