Friday, March 18, 2011

The Difference Between Al-Illah and Al-Sabab

The following is a translation from the Usul Al-Fiqh masterpiece of the Arabic book “The Islamic Personality Volume 3” by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani. Please refer to the original Arabic for accurate meanings.

Al-Sabab is a sign whose presence necessitates the existence of a Hukm and that which, if absent, necessitates an absence of that Hukm. It is not the motive behind the legislation of the Hukm. Hence, al-Sabab is related to the existence of the Hukm in reality. It is not related to the legislation of the Hukm to deal with reality. The sighting of the month of Ramadhan is the Sabab for the obligation of fasting upon those who sight it: “So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting.” [2-185]

Hence, al-Sabab indicates the presence of the obligation, not the motive nor the reason for the obligation. The presence of the obligation is different to the reason for the obligation. Al-Sabab is contrary to the Illah, which is the matter for whose sake the Hukm has come into being – in other words, it is the motive behind the legislation of the Hukm. Thus, it is related to the legislation of the Hukm and not related to its effective presence. Hence, al-Illah is the reason for the obligatory nature of the Hukm and not the reason for its existence.

Al-Sabab comes before the existence of the Hukm. If it materialises, the execution of the Hukm becomes compulsory. Before the existence of al-Sabab, the Hukm is obligatory on the liable; however, the presence of this obligation depends on the existence or the materialisation of al-Sabab. This is contrary to al-Illah, which accompanies the legislating of the Hukm, for it is the motive behind its legislation. For instance, the sighting of the moon of Ramadhan is al-Sabab for the existence of the obligation of fasting; thus it precedes the fasting. This is contrary to the public waterfalls that generate electricity, which represent al-Illah to make electricity a public property; it accompanies the legislating of the Hukm. The fact that the waterfalls are public property accompanies the Hukm of the electricity generated from them, that being public property, which is the motive behind the Hukm.

Moreover, al-Sabab is specific to the reason for its existence and it does not go beyond it to other matters, thus no analogy can be made. Al-Illah, however, is not specific to the Hukm that has been legislated for its sake; it exceeds it to other matters and analogy can also be made on al-Illah itself. For instance, the time of Salat al-Maghreb is al-Sabab for the existence of Salat al-Maghreb and not the reason for obligating it. Also, it is not valid as al-Sabab for other than Salat al-Maghreb; thus no analogy can be made on it. However, the fact that distraction from Salat acts as al-Illah for the legislating of the Hukm prohibiting trade during the Athan of Salat al-Juma’a, as indicated by Allah’s (swt) saying: “If the call for prayer…”, this is not specific to trading but can also extend to other matters, in which case the Hukm goes beyond it to include this other matter. Hence, it is through al-Illah that analogy is made on the Hukm of trading, making for instance hiring, swimming and writing prohibited during the Athan of Salat al-Juma’a. Hence, al-Illah is the motive behind the legislating of the Hukm, whereas al-Sabab is the motive behind the effective occasioning of the rule, i.e. when to perform it.

Therefore, Allah’s (swt) saying: “Establish prayer according to the movement of the sun” is not an Illah but rather a Sabab, because the movement of the sun is al-Sabab for establishing the Salat and not al-Illah. It was also reported that Aisha (ra) said: “The sun eclipsed during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (saw), so he ordered someone to call for a collective prayer and then he stood and prayed four Raka’at (bowings) in two Raka’at and four Sajdat.” This is not an Illah but rather a Sabab, because the eclipse of the sun is a Sabab for establishing prayer and not an Illah for it. It has been also reported on the authority of Salama Ibnul Akwaa that “We used to pray the Maghrib prayer with the Prophet when the sun disappeared from the horizon”, which is not an Illah but rather a Sabab, because the disappearance of the sun behind the horizon is a Sabab to establish the Maghrib prayer and not an Illah for it. All this and the like is part of the Sabab(s) and not the Illah(s) because the descent of the sun from its highest point in the sky, its eclipse and its disappearance from the horizon are each a Sabab for the effective materialisation of the Hukm and not a reason for its obligation; i.e. a Sabab for its execution by the Mukallaf (liable) and not a reason for its legislation. Hence, it transpires that what has been mentioned about the rituals in terms of being Sabab(s) and not Illah(s) makes the rituals rigidly subject to text (tawqifiyah): they cannot have an Illah and no analogy can be made on them. This is because the Sabab is specific to what it has been designated to be a Sabab for, which is in order to establish the rule and not to legislate it.

6 comments:

Visionary said...

assalamu alaikum brother,

can you please clarify the difference between al-sabab and al-manaat? they seem to be the same but why is then it is necessary to distinguish them with illah separately?

jazakallahu khair

Islamic Revival said...

Salam, sorry for the delay in responding as explained elsewhere on the blog it is difficult for us to respond to all questions.

The following is a draft translation from Shaksiyah Vol 3 by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani that answers your question, we will split it as multiple comments as there is a word limit on the comments:

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE 'ILLAH AND
THE MANAAT (THE OBJECT OF THE VERDICT)

The 'illah is the matter for which the verdict got legislated and it is inevitable to have a daleel that denotes it. As for the manaat, it is the object that the legislator made the verdict for it and related it to it, it is the issue upon which the verdict is applicable, it is not the daleel nor is it the reason of the verdict. And the word manaat means the place of something, and the verbal noun (inaadtah) means relating and attaching, the poet Habeeb Al Dtaa'I said:
بِلادٌ بِها نِيطَت عَلَيَّ تَمَئِمي وَأَوَّلُ أَرضٍ مَسَّ جِلدي تُرابَها
A country in which my charms were put on me
And the first land my skin had touched
That means the charms (the word nidtat is passive past tense verb of the infinitive word manaat) were hanged on me in it, and this linguistic meaning of the word al manaat is what is considered, since no Shari'ah meaning other than this came for it, so it must be explained by its linguistic meaning. Accordingly, what is meant by the word al manaat is: the object to which the verdict is related, so the manaat of the Shari'ah verdict is the object for which the verdict is brought, so the verdict is related to it. This is the explanation of the manaat, and it has no other meaning at all. Accordingly, (tahqeeq al manaat) verifying the manaat is scrutinizing the reality of the object for which the verdict came, to know its actuality, i.e. the daleel and the 'illah of the verdict that came are known, but does it apply on a specific object or it does not? So studying the applicability of the known verdict upon an individual of the objects is the verification of the manaat, so the manaat of the verdict is the non transmitted area of the Shari'ah verdict. So it is other than what is transmitted, it is the object upupon which the verdict is applied. When you say the intoxicant is forbidden, the Shari'ah verdict is the forbiddance of the intoxicant, so the examination of a certain drink whether it is an intoxicant or not, so that it takes the verdict of forbiddance or it doesn't is the verification of the manaat, so it is inevitable to examine the drink is it an intoxicant or not to be able to say that it is forbidden, and this scrutiny in the reality of the drink whether it is intoxicant or not is the verification of the object (tahqeeq al manaat) of the Shari'ah verdict. And when you say the water by which the wudhoo' is valid is the absolutely pure (mutlaq) water, the Shari'ah verdict is that the mutlaq water is the water permissible to use for the wudhoo'. So examining the water whether it is mutlaq or it is not, so that it can take the verdict whether it is permissible to make wudhoo' from it or it is not is the verification of (al manaat) the object of the verdict, so it is inevitable to examine the water whether it is mutlaq or not to be able to say that it is permissible to make wudhoo' from it or it is not, and this examination of the actuality of the water is the verification of the manaat...

Islamic Revival said...

Continued:

And when you say that the (muhdith) person who loses his wudhoo' must make wudhoo' for the prayer, the Shari'ah verdict is that the muhdith must make wudhoo' for the prayer, so assuring whether the person is muhdith or not is the verification of the manaat, and so on. So the verification of (al manaat) the object of the verdict in these examples is making sure whether a certain drink is an intoxicant or not, and making sure whether the water is absolutely pure or not, and making sure whether the person is muhdith or not, so the manaat of the verdict in them are the drink, the water and the person. And verifying the manaat in knowing the reality of these things with regard to whether their related Shari'ah verdicts are applicable on them or not applicable. So verifying the manaat is knowing the existence of the Shari'ah verdict in the individual figures after knowing it from its Shari'ah evidence or from the Shari'ah reason ('illah). The direction of the Qiblah is the object (manaat) of the obligation of facing it (in the prayer), and the obligation of facing it is the Shari'ah verdict, and it is previously known from the saying of Allah (SWT): {فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَحَيْثُ مَا كُنْتُمْ فَوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ شَطْرَهُ} {so turn your face in the direction of Al Masjid Al Haraam. And wherever you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction} 144 Surat Al Baqarah, and the manaat here is that this direction is the direction of the Qiblah, so achieving this direction in the situation of ambiguity is the verification of the manaat. Accordingly, verifying the manaat is making sure of the object that it is the place of the verdict. Accordingly, the manaat is different to the 'illah, and verifying the manaat is different to the 'illah; because verifying the manaat is the scrutiny in the reality of the thing upon which the verdict is wanted to be applied, like the examination of the drink, is it intoxicant or not? And the examination of the water is it absolutely pure or not? And the examination of the person is he muhdith or not? And the examination of the direction is it the Qiblah or not? And so on...

Islamic Revival said...

Whereas the verification of the 'illah is the scrutiny in the reason of the verdict, like the scrutiny in the saying of the Prophet (SAW): "هَلْ يَنْقُصُ الرُّطَبُ إذَا يَبِسَ؟" "Do rudtad become lighter when they dry?" when he was asked about selling ripe dates for dried dates and he said: "فَلاَ إِذَنْ" "…then no" compiled by Al Daaraqudtny, does it imply reasoning (ta'leel) or it doesn't? And like the scrutiny in His (SWT) saying: {كَيْ لَا يَكُونَ دُولَةً بَيْنَ الْأَغْنِيَاءِ مِنْكُمْ} {…in order that it (the wealth) may not become a fortune used by the rich among you…} 7 Surat Al Hashr, does it imply reasoning or it doesn't? And like the scrutiny in His (SWT) saying: {إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلاةِ مِنْ يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَى ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ} {When the call is proclaimed for the (Friday) Jumu‘ah prayer, come to the remembrance of Allah} 9 Surat Al Jumu'ah, together with His saying: {فَإِذَا قُضِيَتِ الصَّلاةُ فَانْتَشِرُوا فِي الأَرْضِ} {Then when the prayer is ended, you may disperse through the land} 10 Surat Al Jumu'ah, could a 'illah be derived from them or it could not? And like the scrutiny in His (SWT) saying: {وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ} {…and to those whose hearts are attracted (to make them incline to Islam)…} 60 Surat Al Tawbah, does it denote an 'illah or it doesn't? And so on… so the verification of the manaat is referred to the knowledge in that which the object cannot be known without it, it is referred to other than the transmitted evidences, it is referred to the sciences, the technologies and the various knowledge that verify that thing; therefore it is not a condition for whoever wants to verify the manaat to be a mujtahid, but it is enough to have knowledge in that thing. Whereas the verification of the 'illah is referred to the understanding of the text that came reasoned (with an 'illah), it is referred to what has been transmitted (al daleel al naqly) and to the knowledge in the Kitaab and the Sunnah; therefore it is conditional for whoever wants to verify the 'illah to be a mujtahid. This is the difference between the 'illah and the object of the verdict (almanaat), and consequently the difference between the verification of the 'illah and the verification of the manaat.

Islamic Revival said...

When the ijtihaad is concerning (about) the verification of the manaat it doesn't need a mujtahid that fulfills the Shari'ah conditions of the ijtihaad to be able to verify it, that means it doesn't require knowledge in the Shari'ah evidences, nor does it require knowledge in the Arabic language; because what is meant by this ijtihaad is the knowledge in the actuality of the subject as it is, i.e. the knowledge in the thing upon which the Shari'ah verdict is wanted to be applied, but it requires the knowledge in that which that subject could not be known without it whenever the knowledge in it is required, so it is inevitable for that person to be knowledgeable in the knowledge that are related to that thing so that the Shari'ah verdict applies in accordance with that requisite (actuality). And whether that person is the mujtahid himself or a different person to whom that mujtahid refers to know that thing or whether it is a book that explained it, so the knowledge in the Shari'ah matters and in the Arabic language that is a condition for the ijtihaad is not a condition for the verification of the manaat, but it is sufficient that he knows the subject upon which the verdict is wanted to be applied, even if he is totally ignorant in other knowledge, like the narrator of the Hadeeth (Al Muhaddith) who knows the situations and the ways of the chains of narrations and their straight from their weak, and he knows the good proof of their bodies (texts) from that which is not a proof, such a knowledge is considered in what is related to the Hadeeth science, whether he is knowledgeable in the Shari'ah matters and in the Arabic language or he is not, like the doctor in the knowledge of the diseases and the failings, like the tradesman in knowing the failings of the industries, like the experts of the markets in knowing the valuable goods and the entrances of their defects, like the land surveyor in knowing the estimation of the lands etc., like the linguist in knowing the expression and its meaning, like the inventor of the machines, like the nuclear scientist, and like the expert in the space sciences, thus are all these knowledge and their similar by which the manaat of the Shari'ah verdict can be known, it is not a condition for the knowledgeable person in them to be a mujtahid, and not even to be a Muslim; because the aim of verifying the manaat is understanding the actuality of the thing, and this has nothing to do with the ijtihaad, nor with the Shari'ah knowledge, nor with the Arabic language, but the aim of it is specifically limited to knowing the thing.

Islamic Revival said...

Verifying the manaat of the verdict, i.e. the thing upon which the verdict is wanted to be applied is an inevitable matter before knowing the verdict, and it is impossible to know the verdict before verifying the manaat, indeed every Shari'ah evidence (verdict) is based on two bases: one of them is due to the verification of the manaat, and the other is due to the Shari'ah verdict itself. The first one is absolutely mental, i.e. it is proven by sought and scrutiny and that is other than what is transmitted. And the second one is transmitted, i.e. it is proven by understanding the Shari'ah text that is straightly transmitted, and that is the Kitaab, the Sunnah and the consensus of the Sahaabah. So the mujtahid is obliged to firstly understand the actuality of the incident, or the fact or the thing that he wants to verify the Shari'ah verdict of it, and after he understands it he moves on to the transmitted evidences, i.e. to understand the Shari'ah text from which the verdict will be derived for the incident, the fact or the thing (if it is by derivation), or to understand the Shari'ah verdict that is meant to be applied on the incident, the fact or the thing (if it is by Qyaas), i.e. during the derivation and the adoption of the verdicts it is inevitable to understand the reality and have (fiqh) comprehension in it, then to understand what the Shari'ah evidence necessitates to treat this reality, and that is the verdict of Allah (SWT) that He issued concerning this reality, then he applies one of them on the other, in other word he achieves the knowledge of the verdict of Allah by understanding the reality and having fiqh in it.