The Roots

S. Al - Bhnsawi

Quiet Dialogue Between Wrong and Right Intellect

A recent phenomenon in the Muslim communities is damaging the Islamic ideology as well as the Muslims. It is presented in some individuals who resort to unacceptable means in order to promote their beliefs. They proclaim that they alone are on the right path while all others are on the wrong one. Their poor argument is that  'Religion is one, the source is one, the right path is one and perception is one.' This phenomenon has been demonstrated through comments of young people in conferences and symposiums. They express their opinions by opposing the lecturers. The worst of all is that some of them oppose prominent theologians. Though this group is only a small one in the Muslim and Arab community, it is a methodology of an ideological school. These young men are the pioneers and the faithful soldiers of this school. Therefore it is necessary to correct their basic concepts.

The most important point in correcting the error is not the mere influence on this mentality, but on the method which is considered the basic source of the wrong results that are planted by this means. The methodical mistake is related to:

1 - The Discourse of Atonement.

2 - The False Infallibility.

The Discourse of Atonement.

Though this school does not consider those who disagree with it as infidels, it applies the speech of atonement in addressing them. Its young men, even some of its senior ones claim that they are the group treading the right path, while every other one or group is on the wrong path leading to fire a according to a prophetic narration.

Though they know that Islam is the right path and every other path is wrong, they claim they are the only saved sect and all other sects are the lost ones that will settle in Hell.

They are aware that the Almighty Allah only is He Who decides the destiny of the Muslims whether in paradise or in Hell. The Almighty says, "God does not forgive one who associates (others) with Him; He forgives beyond that. Any one who associates (others) with God has strayed far a field." (women: 116).

They try to forget the prophetic narration concerning the divisions of the community; which is narrated by many narrators. Some narrators relate the prophetic narration in the form of: "… all in fire except one faith," which means the faith of Islam, hence those who go astray return to infidelity. Another prophetic narration says:

"The greatest sedition is stirred by those who tackle affairs through their own opinions thus they legalize the unlawful and illegalize the lawful," which means a return to infidelity.

Therefore the theologian imam Al - Shattibi says, "Perhaps these sects leave the Muslim community because of their mischief hence they return to infidelity. "(Al - Itisam volume 4 page 190 and Al - Sunnah Al - Muftara Alaiha, p. 32 - 34).

They also try to forget that to accuse a Muslim of being an infidel or to curse him means the accusation or the curse may return to the one who utters it. Abu Dawood relates a prophetic narration which says:

When a person curses something, the curse goes up to heaven where the doors are closed in its face. It returns to the earth where the door are closed. It goes left and goes right, if it does not find away it returns to the one who has uttered it.     

Therefore applying the speech of atonement is the most dangerous slip performed by this group.

The false Infallibility.

I do confirm here that the believers of this trend do not claim their being infallible. However the big mistake in this school discourse is its claim that there is only one perception which is theirs and whoever rejects it will be misled and misleading. Thus they add a touch of infallibility. If they do that deliberately then their abode will be in a sanatorium. In order to convince others of their own one perception, they refer to some Quranic verses and prophetic narrations.

They keep hidden what the preceding righteous men, whom the majority of the community follow, had said. They as well use as evidence some of the communist vocabulary. For example:

A .. They indicate as evidence the Quranic verse"..what exists after Truth except errors?…" (Yunis: 32).

They keep hidden the Quranic context which indicates that error (going astray) is linked with the infidels who deny the Divine Authority in     legislations and ruling, while they recognize His Authority in creation and providence of sustenance, thus they associate (others) with Him. The Almighty says, "Say: 'Who provides for you out of Heaven and Earth? Who controls hearing and eyesight? Who brings the living from the dead and brings the dead form the living? Who regulates the affair?' They will say: 'God (alone),' so say: 'Will you not then do your duty?'

Thus is God your Rightful Lord, what exists except error after Truth, where to then you turn away?" (Yunis: 31 - 32).

Hence Truth here is the Almighty Allah, rather than the perception of this group. Going astray is to deny God's Authority rather than to disagree with this group or that party.

B. Some of them say that the caliphate is the only Islamic system and the only means to it is through oath of allegiance, since the prophet (pbuh) says, "If two caliphs were sworn allegiance the second of the two should be killed. "(related by Muslim volume 6 \ page 23).

They try to forget that choosing the caliph or the ruler comes ahead of swearing allegiance; swearing allegiance is a contract between the ruler and the people. It cannot be fulfilled except after choosing the ruler. Such a choice is presented in the prophet's words to Al - Ansar (the pioneer Muslims from Yethrib). He (pbuh) said to them:

"Choose from among you twelve leaders to represent their folk." (Al - Bukhari, Fatih Al - Bari volume 16\  page 113).

The prophet (pbuh) addressed the people who would be presented by someone.

Originally, in election to agree at one person is better, otherwise the one who enjoys the majority vote is the legal authority. Moreover it is not permitted to kill one of the two caliphs, though the narration seems to allow that. The notion is not killing but restraining. It is similar to the narration of burning the homes of those who do not attend the evening and dawn prayers in the mosque.

It needs no argument that having two rulers or two leaders leads to dispute then to war. Hence it is unlawful to swear allegiance to the two.

C . It is said that in Islam there is only the caliphate system and swearing allegiance is the only means to caliphate.

Here there is a confusion between swearing allegiance and means of choosing the ruler. Such confusion cancels the Muslims' history. Neither in the holy Quran nor in the prophetic narration there is a specific method of choosing a ruler; because this may change according to time and place. Hence election can be at two stages first to be performed by men of consultation then by the common people. Men of consultation can nominate someone for the people to choose whom they agree at, in conformity with the Quranic verse: «.. and these whose affair (is conducted) through consultation among themselves.» (Consultation: 38).

Thus oath of allegiance follows election of a ruler. The sociologist Ibn Khaldoun defines it: 'it is a promise to obey.' (Al - Muqadma Volume 2 page 542).

Hence allegiance is a contract between the caliph and the community, confirming he is its deputy and it can call him to account as well as depose him.

Abu Baker was called a caliph, but he declared, «I am not the caliph of Allah but of the messenger of Allah.» (Al - Ahkam Al - Sultania, Abi Yalli, p: 27).

In this regard, the prophet (pbuh) said, "I recommend the caliph who succeeds me to look after the pioneer emigrants." (Al - Bukhari p: 96). The second caliph was called: the caliph of the caliph of the messenger of Allah, but he did not approve of that because the word caliph would be repeated as many times as the number of succeeding caliphs. So he suggested to be called: leader of the believers, since they were believers and he was their leader.

As for the word democracy it does not indicate infidelity in its utterence but in its implication if it authorizes the parliament the right to legislate without consideration of the Divine Authority. If any Muslim state does not contradict the Divine laws (Islamic laws) it can perform Islamic democracy. However the caliphate had been a system with laws that contradict the Divine legislation thus it turned into a tyrannical authority.

The prophet (pbuh) accepted friendly terms with the tribe of Midlij though they did not pay Jizia (non - Muslim tax) and were not Muslims. He (pbuh) also promised the tribe of Thiera to live peacefully and enjoy his help if they were attacked by enemies.. He (pbuh) also promised the tribe of Khuzaa his help though they were not Muslims. When Quraysh killed a few of this tribe the prophet kept his promise and decided to fight Quraysh. The event led to Mecca invasion.

Difference in Jurisprudence.

The reasons for difference in jurisprudence can stem from the following:

1 - not knowing the prophetic narration,

2 - doubt in affirmation of a narration.

3 - difference in perceiving the context.

4 - not having a specific context.

5 - difference in grammar indication of words.

6 - mutual supposed indication.

7 - dispute at general indication.

8 - indication of commands and prohibitions.

9 - dispute at kinds of Al - Sunnah.

10 - dispute at approved indication.

11 - dispute because of different indication.

Only one of the up mentioned reasons will be discussed here. It is the reason of difference because of supposed indication or mutual utterance, to show that some of the issues of absolute indication are few while the majority of contexts are of supposed indication. Hence issues of differences amid the theologians are so many that they can not be counted. (Al - Fattaw, ibn Timmia  volume 24 / page 123).

As a result a ruler has no right to repel ruling of previous or other rulers regarding such matters. The theologian and the jurist can not force people to follow him in such matters. When the caliph Haroun Al - Rashid consulted the religion leader Malik (the Maliki sect) to make people write Malik's book: Al - Muwatta, he advised him not to do that, because the prophet's companions spread throughout the Muslims countries and each people followed that which had reached it through those companions.

It happened that a man categorized a book about differences and called it: Book of Differences. The theologian Ahmad ibn Hanbal (The Hanbali sect) ordered him to call it: Book of Wide Range (AL - Fattaw volume 30 / page 791).

The Supposed Indication

The Supposed Indication is related to an utterance in the language; which has more than one meaning, whether it is a verb, a noun or a preposition. For example the verb: Qadha means to decree some affair, fix a term, settle a matter… etc. Preposition: min (from) indicates a starting point as in the Quranic verse:

«Glory be to Him Who had His servant travel by night from the Hallowed Mosque to the Further Mosque whose surroundings We have blessed..» (The Night Journey: 11) This preposition sometimes has another meaning as in this Quranic verse:

"You will never attain virtue (righteousness) until you spend (min) something you are fond of.." (Al - - Imran: 92) .

In another Quranic verse the preposition has the meaning of instead of:

«… Are you more satisfied with wordily life (min) than with the hereafter?…» (Al - Tawba: 38).

The holy Quran and the prophetic tradition are full of words with different meanings hence indications are based on supposition which is a source of dispute amid the theologians.

Ethic For Dispute

The companions of the messenger of Allah (Pbuh) had a clear method dealing with issues of dispute. Each of them behaved according to his efforts of inference and never defamed the one who disagreed with them. They followed the prophet's footstep through such good morals of which he (Pbuh) was their good example. There were many situations that demonstrated such behavior. Abu Dawood and Al  Nisai related that Abu Said Al Khudri said, "Two men went on a journey when time for prayer was on while they had no water for ablution. They performed taymum (wiping face and hands with wholesome soil) then prayed. Later on they found water. One of them performed ablution and repeated the previous prayer while the other did not. They told the prophet (Pbuh) about the incident. He (Pbuh) said to the first, "You acted according to the tradition and your prayer is valid," he said to the other, "Your reward for prayer is doubled."

Ibn Al - Dihlwi briefed the companions' and their successors' stance in a book entitled: Al - Insaf Fi Asbab Al - Ikhtilaf (Justification for reasons of difference) p: 24 - 25 - 71. He wrote, "… some of the companions read Al - Basmallah (in the Name of Allah) in prayer and some did not. Some read it loudly some did not. Some stood in devotion in dawn prayer, some did not some performed ablution after nose bleeding and vomiting, some did not.

However, some of them prayed behind others such as Abu Hanifa and his followers, Al - Shafai and his followers would pray behind the prayer leaders of Al - Madina (of the Malikia) though they did not read Al - Basmallah whether in loud voice or silently. Al - Rashid (the caliph) led a prayer after a cup - bleed. The theologian Abu Yusuf prayed behind him and did not repeat.. the theologian Malik told Al - Rashid that he did not need to perform ablution. While the theologian Ahmad ibn Hanbal considered ablution after bleeding as a must. They said to him, "The prayer leader had bled but he did not perform ablution. Do you pray behind him?" Ibn Hanbal said, "Surely, I pay behind imam Malik and imam Said ibn Al - Musiab." Imam Al - Shafai prayed the dawn prayer near a graveyard of Abi Hanifa and did not stand in devotion, as a matter of politeness.

When the caliph Al - Mansour performed pilgrimage, he said to imam Malik, "I have decided to have your books copied and distributed in all Muslim countries, so all Muslims will follow your instructions. "Imam Malik said, "Oh, Leader of the believers do not do that. People have already got their narrations from preceding theologians and each nation has got its own way of belief as they chose" It means imam Malik refused to impose his book of jurisprudence: Al - Muatta, as a source of religious sciences for all Muslims. This very incident is related to Haroun Al - Rashid who consulted with Malik about imposing Malik's book on all Muslims during the pilgrimage season, but he asked him not to do that.

He said, "The companions of the prophet (Pbuh) have differed at such - issues. They have spread in different countries. So every tradition has taken its shape amid people."

Lack of Good Manners

Some of the reasons for lack of good morals in dealing with the theologians and religious scholars (ulema), are that some young men think they have the right to produce verdicts for religious matters, since they have learnt about the prophetic tradition (AL - Sunnah Al - Nabawia) what others do not know. Since such things have become clear to them they should stick to what they have learnt and discard what the sects' theologians say.

Such a belief made them wage wars against the Muslims on pretext of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil since the Almighty Allah curses those who do not enjoin the good and forbid the evil.

Yet in doing so, they in fact not only discard the theologian opinions or prefer the prophetic tradition, but also they prefer their immature and wrong perception to the prophetic tradition. They consider their understanding as if it were Allah's ruling, while the prophet (Pbuh) has prohibited such an act in a narration to: Buraidah.

The theologian ibn Timmia was asked about those who follow some theologians in matters of religious inference if they should be denounced - in private - or publicly. He said, «In matters of religions diligence (ijtihad), if some one follows a religious authority, he should not be denounced in private or publicly. If he chooses one of two rulings he should not be denounced if there are two rulings in that matter. If he finds one of the two rulings is better he can a act accordingly otherwise he can follow a theologian to show him which of the two is prefered».

Ibn Timmia also said , "If a person finds some theologian or religious scholar is better than some one else he can follow the one he considers better. The Muslims had disputed about such matters as: to utter call to prayer twice or not, to pray the dawn prayer early in darkness or at day break, to stand in devtion in dawn prayer or not to, to utter the Name of Allah loudly or silently… etc.

Such issues raised dispute and each of the righteous preceding theologians had his ruling and each of them accepted the other's ijtihad.  Whoever was at right got a doubled reward and whoever was at wrong got one reward, his mistake is forgiven. Whoever chose Al - Shafai  did not denounce the one who chose Malik, and whoever chose Ahmad (ibn Hanbal) did not denounce the one who chose Al - Shafiah.» (Al - Fattawa volume 20 / page 207, 292)

No Denouncement in Matters of Dispute

Those young men try to forget a sound principle in ethics of dispute amid the Muslim theologians. It confirms no denouncement in matters of dispute. Any issue of dispute indicating some disagreement should not be denounced, to the extent that even the ruler's reckoner can not denounce issues of dispute.

The following is some of what has been said in this regard:

1 - Ibn Timmai was asked, "Has the Muslims' ruler the right to prevent people from sharing animals' bodie's (usually scarified in pilgrimage season), in conformity with his own sectarian belief?"

He answered, "He has no right to do this and the like matters which can be decided through effort or diligence (ijtihad) unless he has a Quranic context or prophetic narration  or theologians' unanimity related to such prevention, specially when majority of theologians allow such an act and people in the Muslim countries do it. The ruler as well has no right to repel the rulings of others in such matters. Neither a theologian nor a religion scholar can force people to follow him in such situations.»

He also said, "Some of the theologians say that their unanimity is an absolute proof and their dispute is a wide ranging for mercy. The caliph Umar ibn Abdul Aziz used to say: 'It pleases me that the prophet's companions were at dispute, because if they agreed unanimously and one of them disagreed, that one would go astray. But if they disagreed then people would follow this man's or that man's ruling hence there was a wide range for the affairs.' More than one theologians say that the religion scholar has no right to impose his belief on people." (AL - Fattawa 30 / 79 - 80).

2 - The theologian imam Al - Nawawi explains the prophetic narration which says: 'Whoever sees mischief should change it with his hand…'

Al - Nawawi says, "Whoever enjoins the good and forbids the evil should know what to enjoin and what to forbid.

These commands and prohibitions differ according to different affairs. If it is one of the manifest rituals or the familiar lawful and unlawful such as fasting, praying, gambling, drinking… all the Muslims are quite aware of that. If it is related to precise matters that need effort of diligence (Ijtihad) the common people have no role to interfere or denounce, it is the theologians' duties. The denouncement is violation of issues that are considered of unanimity. Matters of dispute need not be denounced because the affair belongs to one of two sects and one is at right, but we do not know which of the two is; hence there is no sin. This is what most of the religion scholars believe in.»

He also said, "Dispute existed among the companions and their successors (Allah may bless them all) at sub - issues and no reckoner denounced the other. They also said: Neither a theologian nor a Qadhi (jurist) has the right to denounce the one who disagrees with him, if he does not contradict a Quranic context or an unanimity or a reasonable proof.» (Sharih Muslim, Al - Nawawi, P 2/13/23).

3 - The theologian ibn Rajab Al - Hanbali said in his book: Jama Al - Uloom was Al - Hikam, "What should be denounced is the issue of unanimity (if it is violated). The issue of dispute should not be denounced whether it is performed by a jurisprudent (Mujtahid) or a follower of a Muftahid."

He made exception of a jurist in the Sultania rulings and the poor dispute.

4 - The theologian ibn Qudamah siad, "One should not denounce actions of another who acts according to his own belief.

There is no denouncement regarding matters that result form efforts of diligence." (Al - Adab Al - Sharia, Ibn Muflih 1 / 186).

5 - The renowned Muslim theologian: Al - Ghazali said, "That which should be reckoned is every mischief in current manifest, the reckoner should not  spy into (private deeds), since the mischief is not subject of inference."

He said also, "The fourth condition to forbid the evil or the misconduct is that it should not need efforts of diligence.

Any action that needs efforts of diligence entails no reckoning, hence the Hanbli has no right to reckon Al - Shafai for eating a lizard or a hyena. Al - Shafai has no right to reckon Al - Hanbali for drinking wine or inheriting relatives or residing in a neighbouring house.. etc." (Ihia U loom Al - Din, Al - Gazali, 2 /23).

Finally the ethics of dispute between Muslims and Muslims should not be less than ethics of dispute between Muslims and non- Muslims, since the Almighty Allah commands us in many Quranic verses to act according to His guidelines:

"Say, 'You will not be questioned about what we have perpetrated nor shall we be questioned about what you have done.' Say, 'Our Lord will gather us in together; then things will be opened up in all Truth for us, He is the Opener, The Aware." (Saba: 25 - 26).

We hope all of us will have such good morals and surely Allah is Dominant in His affair though most people do not realize it.

 Al - Arabi Monthly Magazine No: 472

In the Name of Allah The Compassionate the Merciful