Two Categories of People

It is commonly witnessed that two categories of people experience problems in regard to the acquisition of knowledge. The first category of people, are those who are hasty in disseminating the information they receive whether obtained through the internet, radio stations or self-study. They are totally disconcerned about verifying the authenticity of the information or fully comprehending it in its correct perspective. Generally mass confusion is created amongst the general public on account of the hastiness of this category.

 

Story of a scholar

There was once a scholar who forbade his neighbours from using his water to irrigate their gardens. When questioned regarding this, he presented the following Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) in substantiation:

Laa_Yahillu

It is not permissible for one who believes in Allah and the Last Day to irrigate someone else’s crop with his own water.

The Hadith actually implies that, if someone receives a pregnant captive woman in booty, then he is prohibited from copulating with her until she gives birth.

The serious blunder caused by the scholar was squarely due to not understanding the Hadith in its correct perspective.

 

The second category of people, are those who remain satisfied and content with the little knowledge they possess. They do not perceive the need to increase their knowledge of Deen, nor to refer to the Ulama. They feel quite complacent with the basic knowledge they have. Furthermore, due to their knowledge being unsound and incomplete, they perpetually remain in doubt.

The Need for Understanding Deeni Issues in their Correct Perspective

Once Hadhrat Imaam Abu Hanifa (Rahmatullahi Alayh) came across a person studying Ahaadith (of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). Imaam Abu Hanifa (Rahmatullahi Alayh) then questioned the man whether he had first acquired the four fundamental sciences that are a prerequisite for understanding the Ahaadith in their correct perspective. The man inquired from Imaam Abu Hanifa (Rahmatullahi Alayh) regarding the four fundamental sciences.

The Imaam told him; the first science is that of Ilmut-Taqaddum Wat-Ta’akkur i.e. the knowledge which enables one to correctly reconcile between apparently contradictory Ahaadith relating to injunctions of Shari’ah. This process entails examining the historic background of each Hadith as well as the period it was reported in. Thus one will understand that the former injunctions were abrogated through the latter.

The second science relates to Ilmut-Tashreeh i.e. presenting the correct explanation and purport of the Ahaadith through referring to the works of the leading scholars and experts in the field of Hadith.

The third science is the science which enables one to contextualize the Hadith in the context Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) mentioned it.

The fourth aspect is understanding which category of people the Hadith relates to.

Imam Abu Hanifa (Rahmatullahi Alayh) further explained to the man that without studying these four foundational sciences, one will not succeed in fully understanding the true purport of the Ahaadith, and knowledge acquired in such a manner will be a source of calamity for its bearer if he attempts to practice upon it.

The History of the Taqleed of the Four Imaams

A common question posed by many people is: “If the Ahaadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) are a commentary of the Noble Qur’an, then what is the need for making Taqleed of an Imaam?”

In order to understand the answer to this question, a brief discussion of the history of the Mazaahib (schools of thought) is necessary.

It is the divine system of Allah Ta’ala that he provided means for the fulfilment of every need of man. Furthermore, in proportion to the need, adequate means have been provided for its fulfilment. Consider the need for water and air. Besides raining down water from the skies, Allah Ta’ala made it possible to acquire water from many sources with relative ease. As for air, since man requires air every second, it has been provided free everywhere. All one needs to do is breathe. Thus Allah Ta’ala has provided for all the physical needs of man.

More important than every physical need is the spiritual need of man. He needs to recognise his creator and worship him. This is the purpose of his existence on earth. Hence Allah Ta’ala instituted divine measures to fulfil this greatest need of every human being.

Allah Ta’ala declares in the glorious Qur’an:

Ayah_15_9Certainly We are the ones who revealed the Qur’an and surely we have taken the responsibility of safe guarding it. (Surah Hijr 15/9)

In this verse Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala explicitly and emphatically declares that He himself has taken the responsibility of protecting the Qur’an. For the enactment of this divine responsibility, of protecting the greatest book “Al-Qur’an”, Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala utilized the greatest of His creation after the Ambiyaa (Alayhimus Salam), who were none other than the auspicious Sahabah (Radiyallahu Anhum).

Then came the time for the compilation and preservation of the commentary of the Qur’an (i.e. the Ahaadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)). For this mammoth task Allah Ta’ala utilized the Sahabah (Radiyallahu Anhum) as well as the Taabi’een and the Tabe-Tabi’een (Rahmatullahi Alaihim).

Thereafter the need arose for the laws of the Qur’an and Hadith. Systemizing the laws of Shari’ah required discerning and differentiating between the previous abrogated laws and the latter laws which replaced them, deciphering between the authentic and unauthentic narrations, categorizing the status of injunctions and prohibitions (Farz, Wajib, Sunnat, Mustahab, Mubaah, Haraam, Makroo-e-Tahrimi, Makrooh-e-Tanzihi, Kilaaf-e-Awlaa) and finally formulating principles in the light of Qur’an and Hadith which govern the deduction of non-textual situations. All of the above needed to be accomplished in order to correctly practice upon each law of Shari’ah in the manner it was revealed by Allah Ta’ala upon Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

The accomplishment of such a tremendous task was only possible by a selected class of Allah’s servants, whose phenomenal expertise and unparalleled proficiency cover every science of Deen. This class of people are classified in the terminology of the jurists as Mujtahideen. Continue reading The History of the Taqleed of the Four Imaams →

Referring to the Qur’an without the Medium of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)

Amongst the many duties of prophet-hood assigned to Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), one of his duties was to verbally explain as well as physically demonstrate to the ummah the details and particulars of the shar’ee laws contained in the Noble Quran. Allah Ta’ala says:

Ayah_16_44And We have sent down the Qur’an (the reminder) to you so that you explain to the people what has been revealed for them, and so that they reflect. (Surah Nahl 16/44)

For example the Noble Qur’an declares:

Ayah_2_43Establish Salaah (Surah Baqara 2/43)

If one has to study the Quran in depth he will not find any details mentioned of the five faraaidh; viz. Fajr, Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Esha nor will he find the exact number of the rakaats for each Salaah. Other related aspects such as the sunan, wajibaat, faraidh, or the factors which invalidate or decrease the spirit of the Salaat are also not mentioned. One will be compelled to refer to the Sunnah [1] for these details since it is in reality a commentary of the Quran. Similar is the case of Zakaat, Saum, Haj and the remainder injunctions of shariah. Hence we understand that following the Ahadeeth of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is akin to obeying Allah Ta’ala, as mentioned in the Ayah:

Ayah_4_80He who obeys the Rasool (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) obeys Allah Ta’ala. (Surah Nisa’ 4/80)

Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) himself directed our attention to this point in the following Hadith:

Every_ummati

It is reported from Abu Hurairah (Radiyallahu Anhu) that Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “My entire ummat will gain entry into paradise except those who reject.” Sahaba enquired: “And who are those who reject (O Nabi of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)).” Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) replied: “Those who follow my Sunnah (way) will surely enter paradise and those who disobey me are the rejectors.” (Bukhari 2/1081)

This statement of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) clearly establishes the fact that one cannot gain salvation without the medium of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). Continue reading Referring to the Qur’an without the Medium of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) →

The Qur’an

The primary source of guidance revealed to mankind from Allah Ta’ala is the Qur’an. The Noble Qur’an in its entirety is a means of guidance for mankind at large. It (Noble Qur’an) comprises of incidents and events of the past nations, scenes of the hereafter, admonishments for the evil-doers and glad-tidings for the pious, etc. Similarly it also comprises of laws and injunctions of Shariah.

With regard to the verses of the Qur’an that explain stories and events of the past nations, scenes of the hereafter, etc., Allah Ta’ala declares:

Ayah_54_40And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and seek advice, then is there anyone to seek advice? (Surah Qamar 54/40)

As far as these verses are concerned (i.e. stories and events of the past nations), they are easily comprehendible to any person conversant in the Arabic language or even those who refer to the translations of the Holy Qur’an. As for those verses of the Qur’an which discuss shari’ee laws and injunctions, let alone those who are well conversant in the Arabic language, even the Sahabah (Radiyallahu Anhum) were unable to fathom the meanings of such verses or unravel their hidden secrets without the intermediary of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).