Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Madhab and Ijtihad

My Muhammad Allie Khalfe

Why are we bound to follow a Madhab? One must have deep respect for all four Madhahib

Our shaykhs are Sahfi'I scholars

What is the hukum of following a certain Madhab?

Dhahaba means to go a certain way

Madhab: teachings/sayings/fatwas of one of the four Imams

All are collected: sayings/opinions/writings etc…of a Particular Imam of the Madhab

After the Nabi (saw), there emerged the founders of the Madhahib.

Why follow a madhab?

These four were not the only four madhahib

Amongst them (other Madhahib) are Sufyan al-Tahuri, 'Auzai, Sufyan bin 'Uyayna, Layth, Tabri etc.

It is stated By Allah (Most compassionate) in Surah Nahl 43

فَاسْأَلُواْ أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنْتُم لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

Ask those (those who recall) of knowledge if you do not know.

In here, we find two categories of people

Those who know

Those who do not know

One who knows: A mujtahid, of ijtihad, an expert

One who knows not: Muqallid/taqlid, a non-expert

Ijtihad: Research a jurist makes, one who is qualified, he searches and finds out things that we do not know the knowledge of.

Taqlid: to follow the advice of the expert.

You tell someone, take this medicine, but you are not a doctor. The doctor has the license to say, take this.

Whoever makes ijtihad without being qualified is a criminal. The proof of this is the hadith that the Companion Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said:

We went on a journey, and a stone struck one of us and opened a gash in his head. When he later had a wet-dream in his sleep, he then asked his companions, "Do you find any dispensation for me to perform dry ablution (tayammum)?" [Meaning instead of a full purificatory bath (ghusl).] They told him, "We don't find any dispensation for you if you can use water."

So he performed the purificatory bath and his wound opened and he died. When we came to the Prophet (saw), he was told of this and he said: "They have killed him, may Allah kill them. Why did they not ask?—for they didn't know. The only cure for someone who does not know what to say is to ask" (Abu Dawud, 1.93).

We need to know the criteria for one to make Ijtihad. Ijtihad can also mean "striving to know a ruling"

As for the breadth of a mujtahid's knowledge, it is recorded that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal's student Muhammad ibn 'Ubaydullah ibn al-Munadi

heard a man ask him [Imam Ahmad]: "When a man has memorized 100,000 hadiths, is he a scholar of Sacred Law, a faqih?" And he said, "No." The man asked, "200,000 then?" And he said, "No." The man asked, "Then 300,000?" And he said, "No." The man asked, "400,000?" And Ahmad gestured with his hand to signify "about that many"

(Ibn al-Qayyim: I'lam al-muwaqqi'in, 4.205).

If you see an aya that says, 'this or that is haram.' The wise one will consult (Taqlid) with an expert.

Blind following is a sad/bad/incorrect translation of Taqlid.

If your pipes burst, ask the plumbers advice.

The non-plumber might mess things up more.

Ibn al-Jauzi says that only 110 sahaba out of all of those who knew the prophet (saw) were Mufti's/gave fatwa.

110 out of the 20/30 000.


What basis/conditions make the Mujtahid?

The Quran says, 'Fas'alu (ask those who know), some 'Ulama say its Wajib for a Non-Mujtahid to ask/consult the Mujtahid

Even if he knows 100 ayat and is hafidh, the natural way of the Muslim is to ask the expert.

He must be a Muslim

He must give his fatwa with complete ikhlas

He must not be of the ahlul bida, meaning he follows his hawa, he has no basis for his rulings or those who follow worldly needs, this is who is referred to as the ahlul bida.

You must know/master the Arabic language

You must have maximum knowledge of the Quran, khas 'Am, Sabab Nuzul, Haqiqi Majaz, Nasikh Mansukh etc.

Must have a deep and wide 'ilm of the sunnah, you must be able to read the sunnah as a whole, you must have looked at the whole Sunna, which is very difficult.

Knowledge of the Maqasid of the Sharia – general purposes, the customs and ways and interests of the people around you.

A working basic rules of interpretation of usulu fiqh, which is the heart of Ijtihad.

According Imam Ghazali: one must be mentally disciplined to think correctly. One must have a Good strong mind. You never rush but take your time by getting solid evidence before ruling.

Sayyid as-Saqqaf says: these conditions did not exist in the past 700 years in anyone; there we must follow one of the imams who possessed these qualities.

Look at the humility over the past 800 years. We find gaunlets of knowledge like Imam Nawawi, Imam Ghazali, Ibn Hajar, Imam Suyuti etc we are not even at their shadows, yet even they never caimed Ijtihad, they humbled themselves and followed one of the four Imams. Are we any more knowledgeable than any of these Imams? What shouldn't our degree of humility be?

We respect all the madhahib. You do not need a reason to swop between a madhad, but you need to know the adab and the rules.

When following a madhab, a person is in 1 of 7 categories:, I will mention only three

1 mujtahid mutlaq – founder of the madhab

6 muqallid 'Ami – he makes himself fastened in a madhab

7 muqallid 'Ami – who does not fasten himself to a madhab

Bukhari and Muslim relate that Rifa'a ibn Rafi said, "When we were praying behind the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and he raised his head from bowing and said , "Allah hears whoever praises Him", a man behind him said, "Sami 'Allah hu liman hamidann, rabbana walakal Hamdan Kathiran Tayyiban Mubarakan fih - Our Lord, Yours is the praise, abundantly, wholesomely, and blessedly therein." When he rose to leave, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) asked "who said it", and when the man replied that it was he, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, "I saw thirty-odd angels each striving to be the one to write it."

Ibn Hajar says in Fath al-Bari that the hadith indicates the permissibility of initiating new expressions of dhikr in the prayer other than the ones related through hadith texts, as long as they do not contradict those conveyed by the hadith [since the above words were a mere enhancement and addendum to the known, sunna dhikr].

Ibn Hajar Asqalani was a gauntlet of ilm, he wrote an entire explanation of Sahih Bukhari, he is one of the main lamps to access Imam Shafi'is works. This was the efforts they put in, enterpreting the Sunnah for us. May Allah allow us to avoid arrogance and humble ourselves to those who were select to be authorities of knowledge in the Din

Muhammad Allie Khalfe

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