Al-Illah is the matter for which the rule comes into being. In other words, it is the motive behind the rule, i.e. it is the matter that indicates the intention of the Legislator for legislating the rule. It is imperative to have Shari’ah evidence that indicates it in order to perceive that it is the purpose of the Legislator behind the legislating the rule.
As for al-Manat, it is what the Legislator has related the rule to, and linked it to the rule. In other words, it is the matter which the rule applies to and conforms with, however it is neither its evidence nor its illah. Al-Manat in Arabic is the noun that means the place of al-Inata, which means ‘the suspending and the attaching’. Since there is no Shari’ah meaning for the term al-Manat, this linguistic meaning is the one intended from it, in respect of the rule; thus the word must be explained by its linguistic meaning and must be the intended gist. Therefore, al-Manat means the matter to which the rule is attached. The Manat of the rule is what the matter has been attached to, which the rule has been brought for it; thus the rule is linked and attached to it. This is the interpretation of al-Manat and there exists no other meaning for it whatsoever. Consequently, establishing al-Manat means exploring the reality of the matter for which the rule has come for, in order to establish its essence. In other words, once the evidence of the rule is recognised and once its illah is also recognised, does it however conform to this matter in question? Hence, establishing or achieving al-Manat is exploring whether the Hukm, whose evidence and whose illah have been recognised, conforms to a particular matter or not. Therefore, the Manat of the rule is the non-textual aspect in the Shari’ah rule. Al-Manat is other than the textual(s); it means the reality upon which the Shari’ah rule is implemented.
If one states: “intoxicants are Haram”, then the Shari’ah rule is the prohibition of intoxicants; thus establishing that a specific drink is an intoxicant or not, so that one may judge it to be Haram or not is referred to as establishing al-Manat. Hence, it is imperative to investigate whether the drink is an intoxicant or not before judging it to be Haram; this investigation of the reality (of the drink) is known as establishing al-Manat. If one also states: “The water with which wudu’ can be performed must be the absolute (pure) water”, then the Shari’ah rule stipulates that pure water is the only liquid with which wudu’ would be permitted. Hence, establishing the fact whether the water is pure or not, in order to judge if it is allowed to perform wudu’ with or not, is known as establishing the Manat. Hence, it is imperative to explore whether the water is pure or not before saying whether it is permitted to perform wudu’ with it or not. Looking into the reality of the water is establishing the Manat. If one also states: “the Muhdith must perform wudu’ for Salat, the Shari’ah rule is that the Muhdith must perform wudu’ before praying; so ascertaining whether the person is Muhdith or not is known as establishing the Manat, etc.
Hence, establishing the Manat in these examples is ascertaining whether the drink is intoxicant or not, whether the water is pure or not and whether the person is Muhdith or not; so the Manat in the examples is the drink, the water and the person. Establishing the Manat, is exploring the reality of these things and determining whether the relevant Shari’ah rule conforms to them or not. Therefore, establishing the Manat is looking into the cognisance of the Shari’ah rule’s presence in the specific realities, once it has been recognised from the Shari’ah evidence or from the Shari’ah reason i.e. al-Illah. Hence, the direction of the Qiblah constitutes the Manat related to the obligation of facing it and the obligation of facing it is the Shari’ah rule; it is known beforehand and it is indicated by Allah’s saying: “So turn your face towards the Sacred Mosque and wherever you are, turn your face towards it.” The fact that this direction is that of the Qiblah is the Manat and determining this in case of doubt is establishing the Manat. Hence, establishing the Manat is pinpointing the matter that is the subject of the Shari’ah rule.
Hence, the Manat is other than the Illah and establishing the Manat is also other than the Illah, because establishing the Manat is looking into the essence of the matter upon which one wants to implement the Shari’ah rule, such as looking into the liquid to determine whether it is intoxicant or not, looking into the water to determine whether it is pure or not, ascertaining whether the person is Muhdith or not and identifying the direction of the Qiblah, etc.
As for establishing the Illah, it is looking into the motive behind the rule, such as looking into the saying of the Messenger of Allah (saw) to establish whether it denotes Illah or not: when he was asked the purchase of dates with Rutab (ripe dates), he (saw) said: “Would the Rutab become lighter if it dried?” They said: “Yes.” So he (saw) prohibited such sale. It is also like looking into the saying of Allah (swt): “In order that it may not merely make a circuit between the wealthy among you.” [59-7], to establish whether it denotes Illiyah (causality) or not; it is also like pondering over the saying of Allah (swt): “When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah” [62-9], coupled with His saying:“And when the Prayer is finished, then may you disperse through the land” [62-10], to determine whether a Illah can be deduced or not; it is also like contemplating the saying of Allah (swt): “for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth)”, to determine whether it indicates a Illah or not; and so on.
Hence, establishing the Manat is related to the cognisance of what the relevant matter cannot be identified except through it; thus it is part of other than the texts, such as sciences, arts and knowledge that define that matter; this is why it is not necessary for the person who establishes the Manat to be a Mujtahid; it would be sufficient for him to be well versed in the relevant matter. As for the ascertaining of al-Illah, it is related to the perceiving of the text that denotes al-Illah, thus it is related to the texts and to the knowledge of the Qur’an and the Sunnah; hence, it is imperative for the one who identifies al-Illah to be a Mujtahid. This is the difference between al-Illah and al-Manat and consequently the difference between identifying al-Illah and establishing al-Manat.
When the Ijtihad is related to establishing the Manat, it would not be necessary to have a Mujtahid that fulfils the Shari’ah conditions of Ijtihad, in order to obtain from him the establishing the Manat, i.e. in order for him to establish the Manat. In other words, he does not need to be well versed with the Shari’ah evidences, nor with the Arabic language, because the aim of this specific type of Ijtihad is to cognise the essence of the topic as it is, i.e. the matter upon which the Shari’ah rule is to be implemented; thus he needs to have the cognisance which the topic can only be identified through it when knowledge about the topic is sought. Hence, it is imperative for the person to be well versed with these facts, which are related to the topic, so that the Shari’ah rule could be implemented upon it, according to the appropriate requisite, irrespective of whether the person is the Mujtahid himself or any another person, the Mujtahid has consulted to cognise the topic or a book that explains the topic.
Hence, establishing al-Manat does not stipulate the same requirements of Ijtihad, such as knowledge of Shari’ah matters and the Arabic language; it would be sufficient to be well versed with the topic upon which one wants to implement the Shari’ah rule, even if he lacked knowledge in other issues. This would be like the Muhaddith who knows about the ascriptions and their paths, as well as the sound and weak, and what can be used as evidence and what cannot. Hence, his knowledge would be in the science of Hadith, regardless of whether he is well versed in Shari’ah matters, or fluent in Arabic. It would also be like; the surgeon who knows about illnesses and diseases, the manufacturer who is an expert in detecting defects in manufactured commodities, the market expert who is well versed with the value and quality of goods, the surveyor who is well acquainted with the value of estates, the linguist who knows the expressions and their denotations, the inventor, the nuclear scientist, or the space scientist; all these and other experts, through whom al- Manat of the Shari’ah rule is established, need not be Mujtahid(s) or even Muslims, because the aim from establishing al-Manat is to pinpoint the reality of the matter, and this has nothing to do with Ijtihad, knowledge of the Shari’ah, or the Arabic language; the aim is rather confined to one specific issue, namely cognising the essence of the matter.
Establishing al-Manat of the rule, i.e. the matter upon which one wants to implement the rule, must precede the identifying of the rule; and it is impossible to ascertain the rule before establishing al-Manat, because every Shari’ah evidence is built upon two premises: one is related to establishing al-Manat and the other is related to the Shari’ah rule itself. The first one is purely rational, i.e. it is established through thought and contemplation, this is other than the transmitted texts. The second however is textual, i.e. it is determined through perceiving the Shari’ah text, whose transmission has been ratified, namely the Book, the Sunnah and Ijma’a al-Sahaba. Therefore, the Mujtahid must first conceptualise the reality of the event, or the situation, or the matter which he aims to inform of its relevant Shari’ah rule; once he has perceived the reality, he moves to either perceiving the transmitted texts, i.e. the Shari’ah texts from which he aims to deduce the rule for that event or situation or matter, or to perceiving the Shari’ah rule he aims to implement upon the event or the situation or the matter. In other words, the Mujtahid must take into consideration the understanding of the reality and then perceive the appropriate action to tackle that reality by referring to the Shari’ah evidence, which involves perceiving the judgement of Allah that He has decreed on that reality, then he implements one upon the other; i.e. he perceives the rule of Allah through the perceiving of the reality.