Misuse of Maqasid al-Shariah (4)

Taking disagreements as approvals by Abdullah b. Saleh al-Ujayri (pgs. 277 – 286)

What must be confirmed and considered while discussing the disagreements in jurisprudence is that a disagreement in a religious issue does not imply that the religious text can be neglected or reduced in importance. The existence of a disagreement is not considered a Hujjah (an established proof) that approves or allows the person to escape the rules and do whatever he thinks is right and what fits his needs. Many people think that if there are disagreements then the person can choose whatever he wants between the statements differed upon even if that statement is false. Some others say that the person is not required to do what is considered as the meaning from Allah (ﷻ) but that he is required to do what he thinks is right according to his own efforts (Ijtihad); if such a person is a scholar, then he has to look for the sources verified by the Deen and if he is not a scholar, then he can ask the scholars and do what he thinks is correct and what he thinks is the best match to what Allah (ﷻ) intended. However, Allah (ﷻ) says for situations where there is disagreement:

وَمَا اخْتَلَفْتُمْ فِيهِ مِن شَىْءٍ فَحُكْمُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ ذَلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبِّى عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ أُنِيبُ

And in anything over which you disagree – its ruling is [to be referred] to Allah (Q.42:10).

He also says:

وَلْيَخْشَ الَّذِينَ لَوْ تَرَكُواْ مِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّةً ضِعَـفاً خَافُواْ عَلَيْهِمْ فَلْيَتَّقُواّ اللَّهَ وَلْيَقُولُواْ قَوْلاً سَدِيداً

O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination (Q.4:59).

Allah (ﷻ) has not made disagreements as opportunities to leave aside the revealed rules, but He has said that one must return and refer to the revealed text to find the most correct opinion amongst the ones differed over. Imam Ibn Abd al-Bar said:

الاختلاف ليس بحجة عند أحد علمته من فقهاء الأمة إلا من لا بصر له ولا معرفة عنده ولا حجة فى قوله

Most of the scholars I know do not consider disagreements as hujjah except those who have no vision, no knowledge, and no argument in their opinion.[1]

While discussing this point, Abu al-Walid al-Baji said concerning the misconceptions that have taken place between the fuqaha:

وكثيرًا ما يسألني من تقع له مسألة من الأَيْمان ونحوها: لعل فيها رواية؟ أو لعل فيها رخصة؟، وهم يرون أن هذا من الأمور الشائعة الجائزة، ولو كان تكرر عليهم إنكار الفقهاء لمثل هذا لما طالبوا به، ولا طلبوه مني ولا من سواي، وهذا مما لا خلاف بين المسلمين ممن يعتد به في الإجماع؛ أنه لا يجوز ولا يسـوغ ولا يحل لأحـد أن يفتي في دين الله إلا بالحق الذي يعتقد أنه حق، رضي بذلك من رضيه وسخطه من سخطه.

وإنما المفتي مخبر عن الله تعالى في حكمه؛ فكيف يخبر عنه إلا بما يعتقد أنه حَـكَمَ به وأوجبه؟ والله تعالى يقول لنبيه – صلى الله عليه وسلم -:]وَأَنِ احْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ[، فكيف يجوز لهذا المفتي أن يفتي بما يشتهي، أو يفتي زيدًا بما لا يفتي به عَمْرًا لصداقة تكون بينهما أو غير ذلك من الأغراض!، وإنما يجب على المفتي أن يعلم أن الله أمره أن يحكم بما أنزل الله من الحق، فيجتهد في طلبه، وينهاه أن يخالفه وينحرف عنه، وكيف له بالخلاص مع كونه من أهل العلم والاجتهاد إلا بتوفيق الله وعونه وعصمته؟

Many people ask me to check again as there might be another narration/opinion or another license from Allah (ﷻ) to do such and such. They find this to be from the very common and allowed matters; had the jurists condemned or reprimanded them repeatedly for this type (of questioning) then they would not have been asked this nor would they ask me nor someone else. There is no doubt among all the scholars that one could have the right to give a ruling only if he was very certain about it and if he was sure of its truthfulness, then he has to see whether it is in accordance with the people’s circumstances or not. The Mufti only transforms what Allah (ﷻ) has ordered; then how can one ask such a question (of concessions) because asking so is like an attempt to get the scholar declare what Allah (ﷻ) did not say? How can the scholar say what Allah (ﷻ) did not say? Allah (ﷻ) says to his Prophet (ﷺ): [And this (He commands): Judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires] (Q.5:49). Therefore, the scholar has to remember that Allah (ﷻ) has told him to judge using what Allah (ﷻ) has revealed; he has to exert his best efforts to arrive at what Allah (ﷻ) meant and what Allah (ﷻ) has warned from.[2]

Al-Shatibi commented on this, saying:

وقد زاد هذا الأمر على قدر الكفاية ؛ حتى صار الخلاف في المسائل معدوداً في حُجج الإباحة ، ووقع فيما تقدم وتأخر من الزمان: الاعتمادُ في جواز الفعل على كونه مختلفاً فيه بين أهل العلم ! لا بمعنى مراعاة الخلاف ، فإنَّ له نظراً آخر ، بل في غير ذلك ، فربما وقع الإفتاء في المسألة بالمنع ، فيقال: لِمَ تمنع ؟ والمسألة مختلف فيها ، فيجعل الخلاف حُجَّة في الجواز لمجرد كونها مختلفاً فيها ، لا لدليل يدلّ على صحة مذهب الجواز ، ولا لتقليد من هو أولى بالتقليد من القائل بالمنع ؛ وهو عين الخطأ على الشريعة ، حيث جعل ما ليس بمعتمدٍ معتمداً ، وما ليس بحجّة حجّة

This matter has been very controversial; disagreements in opinions are being considered as hujjah for the approval of the act claiming that it is allowed and valid. Many scholars in the past and present have approved acts only because of disagreements and not because of the likelihood of one the opinions being stronger. In some occasions, they prohibit the act and when asked by some people about it for the reasons for prohibition when there is a disagreement, they established the hujjah based on the disagreement and not because of evidence that says whether it is valid or otherwise. This is incorrect according to the Shariah since such rulings are dependent on what is not acceptable; they consider as hujjah what is actually not hujjah.

Al-Khattabi said:

“إِنَّ النَّاسَ لَمَّا اخْتَلَفُوا فِي الْأَشْرِبَةِ، وَأَجْمَعُوا عَلَى تَحْرِيمِ خَمْرِ الْعِنَبِ، وَاخْتَلَفُوا فِيمَا سِوَاهُ؛ حَرَّمْنَا مَا اجْتَمَعُو عَلَى تَحْرِيمِهِ وَأَبَحْنَا مَا سِوَاهُ”.

قَالَ: “وَهَذَا خَطَأٌ فَاحِشٌ، وَقَدْ أَمَرَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى الْمُتَنَازِعِينَ أَنْ يردُّوا مَا تَنَازَعُوا فِيهِ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ”.

قَالَ: “وَلَوْ لَزَمَ مَا ذَهَبَ إِلَيْهِ هَذَا الْقَائِلُ لَلَزَمَ مِثْلُهُ فِي الرِّبَا وَالصَّرْفِ وَنِكَاحِ المتعة؛ لأن الأمة قد اختلف فِيهَا”.

قَالَ: “وَلَيْسَ الِاخْتِلَافُ حُجَّةً وَبَيَانُ السُّنَّةِ حجة على المختلفين من الْأَوَّلِينَ وَالْآخِرِين}. هَذَا مُخْتَصَرُ مَا قَالَ.

وَالْقَائِلُ بِهَذَا رَاجِعٌ إِلَى أَنْ يَتْبَعَ مَا يَشْتَهِيهِ، وَيَجْعَلَ الْقَوْلَ الْمُوَافِقَ حُجَّةً لَهُ وَيَدْرَأَ بِهَا عَنْ نَفْسِهِ، فَهُوَ قَدْ أَخَذَ الْقَوْلَ وَسِيلَةً إِلَى اتِّبَاعِ هَوَاهُ، لَا وَسِيلَةً إِلَى تَقْوَاهُ، وَذَلِكَ أَبْعَدُ لَهُ مِنْ أَنْ يَكُونَ مُمْتَثِلًا لِأَمْرِ الشَّارِعِ، وَأَقْرَبُ إِلَى أَنْ يَكُونَ مِمَّنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَهَهُ هَوَاهُ “.

Some people have the approach that goes something like this: The people differed regarding drinking; they agree on the prohibition of drinking grape-wine while disagree over other aspects of it; they say that we benefit from what is agreed upon and make other aspects Halal because there was disagreement over those things.

This is a major mistake because Allah (ﷻ) has ordered to refer back to the religious text to determine what Allah (ﷻ) and his Prophet (ﷺ) have said. And if we were to accept this, we would have to do the same with the usury, adultery, and muta’a (temporary marriage) as there were some disagreements over them between the scholars.

He also said: “the disagreement is not hujjah and clarifying the Sunnah is hujjah upon the recent and the past scholars”. This is a summary of what he said.

Whoever is inclined to this view (of benefitting from disagreements) follows his desires, and makes the difference as hujjah for himself; he takes the opinion which matches his desires and not that which makes him more righteous. This is very far of what Allah (ﷻ) has intended while it is very close to fulfillment of his own desires.[3]

To consider the disagreements as hujjah will result in severe faulty conclusions such as:

  1. The revelation and the religious text would not be valid unless every scholar agrees to it; this is absolutely wrong as Ibn Hazm stated:

و لو أن أمرا لا يأخذ إلا بما أجتمعت عليه الأمة فقط ويترك كل ما اختلفوا فيه مما قد جاءت فيه النصوص لكان فاسقا بإجماع الأمة

If one were to accept only that which the Ummah held a consensus on and abandon all those matters where there has been a disagreement regarding the textual evidence, then this person would be a fasiq according to the consensus of the Ummah.[4]

He also said:

وبالجملة فهذا مذهب لم يخلق له معتقد قط وهو ألا يقول القائل بالنص حتى يوافقه الإجماع، بل قد أصبح الإجماع على أن قائل هذا القول معتقدا له كافر بلا خلاف لرفضه القول بالنصوص التي لا خلاف بين أحد في وجوب طاعتها

In general, such a doctrine (mazhab) has never existed where the person does not affirm the text until there is a consensus on it. On the contrary, there is a consensus (ijma) that whoever says this is a disbeliever (kafir) without any disagreement because such a person refused to acknowledge the texts (nusoos) that no one disagreed over.[5]

  1. Considering things halal if there are some disagreements. Ibn Taymiyyah stated:

 جنس التحريم إما أن يكون ثابتا في محل خلاف أو لا يكون فإن لم يكن ثابتا في محل خلاف قط لزم أن لا يكون حراما إلا ما أجمع على تحريمه فكل ما اختلف في تحريمه يكون حلالا وهذا مخالف لإجماع الأمة وهو معلوم البطلان بالاضطرار من دين الإسلام

The forbidden category could be within a disagreement or not. If it wasn’t disagreed, then it is not haram unless if there is an Ijma. Since if there was a disagreement, it is halal; this contradicts the consensus of the Ummah and such (reasoning) is known to be nullified in the religion of Islam. [6]

If we take a deep look into this, we find that considering something to be halal depending on a disagreement is, in fact, following the concessions of the fuqaha; this is what the scholars have warned of and confirmed that it is haram. Sulaiman al-Taymi talks about this in his famous phrase:

إن أخذت برخصة كل عالم إجتمع فيك الشر كله

If you take concessions from each scholar, then you have all the evil.

Ibn Abd al-Barr commented on this:

هذا إجماع لا أعلم فيه خلافا

This is Ijma and I know no one who disagreed with it.[7]

Such has been known to us from the sayings of the scholars. Another statement regarding this point is as follows. Ibrahim b. abi Aliyya says:

من تبع شواذ العلم ضل

Following the shaaz (odd, irregular or exceptional views and opinions) leads one astray.[8]

Al-Awza’i also said:

من أخذ بنوادر العلماء خرج من الإسلام

Taking the concessions from the scholars (eventually) leads (one) to leave Islam.[9]

Yahya al-Qattan also says:

لو أن رجلا عمل بكل رخصة، بقول أهل الكوفة في النبيذ، و أهل المدينة في السماع، و أهل المكة في المتعة لكان فاسقا

If one takes every concession such as the concession of wine from the scholars of Kufa, listening to music from the scholars of Madina, and from the Makkans the concession of temporary marriage, then he will be an evil-doer (fasiq).[10]

Ibrahim b. Adham says:

إذا حملت شاذ العلماء حملت شرا كثيرا

If you will carry the irregular opinions of the scholars, then you carry plenty of evil.[11]

Abd al-Razzaq narrated from Mu’ammar that he said:

لو أن رجلا أخذ بقول أهل المدينة: في استماع الغناء، و إتيان النساء في أدبارهن، و بقول أهل المكة: في المتعة، و الصرف، و بقول أهل الكوفة: في المسكر، كان شر عباد الله

If one takes and confirms from the Madinan scholars their stance on listening to music and intercourse in the back passage, from the Makkans the stance of temporary marriage and sarf (riba al fadl), and from the Kufans, their stance on wine, then such a person is the most evil from the slaves of Allah.[12]

Isma’il b. Ishaq al-Qadi said:

دخلت على المعتضد، فدفع إلي كتابا نظرت فيه و كان قد جمع فيه الرخص من زلل العلماء، وما أحتج به كل منهم لنفسه، فقلت له: يا أمير المؤمنين! مؤلف هذا الكتاب زنديق، فقال: لم تصح هذه الأحاديث؟ قلت: الأحاديث على ما رويت، ولكن من أباح المسكر لم يبح المتعة، و من أباح المتعة لم يباح الغناء، و ما من عالم إلا وله زلة، و من جمع زلل العلماء ثم أخذ بها ذهب دينه. فأمر المعتضد فأحرق ذلك الكتاب

I went to al Mu’atadid and he gave me a book; when I looked at it and saw some of the concessions from the scholars taken as hujjah, I said to him: O leader of the believers! The author of this book is heretic. He asked: aren’t these statements authentic? I answered: They are authentic but those who say that some of the wine is halal are not the same as those who allow temporary marriage and nor the same as those who allow singing. Every scholar can make mistakes, and collecting and following these mistakes leads one to exit Islam. Al-Mu’atadid then ordered to burn this book.[13]

Ibn Hazm said:

و طبقة أخرى وهم قوم بلغت بهم رقة الدين و قلة التقوى إلى طلب ما وافق أهواءهم في قول كل قائل؟ فهم يأخذون ما كان رخصة من قول كل عالم مقلدين له غير طالبين ما اوجبة النص عن الله تعالى و عن رسوله

There are other people, with less taqwa, who accept what matches their desires; they take what the scholars say without looking back to what Allah (ﷻ) and his Prophet (ﷺ) said.[14]

Al-Ghazali said:

ليس للعامي أن ينتقي من المذاهب في كل مسألة أطيبها عنده فيتوسع

The lay people should not pick the best from each school what (they think) is appropriate and good for them.[15]

Al-Zarkashi said:

و في فتاوى النووي الجزم بأنه لا يجوز تتبع الرخص، و قال في فتاو له أخرى، وقد سئل عن مقلد مذهب، هل يجوز له أن يقلد غير مذهبه في رخصة لضرورة ونحوها؟ أجاب: يجوز له أن يعمل بفتوى من يصلح للإفتاء إذا ساله اتفاقا من غير تلقط الرخص ولا تعمد سؤال من يعلم أن مذهبه الترخيص في ذلك

In al-Nawwawi’s rulings (fatawa), he says that it is not allowed at all to follow the concessions. He said in another ruling (fatwa) when asked about someone who follows a school (mazhab) whether he is allowed to follow another school if required. He replied that he may do so but should not pick the concessions and should neither continue to ask for another school that has a concession for his case.[16]

Ibn Taymiyyah said:

الذي يدل عليه كلام أصحابنا وغيرهم أنه لا يجوز له تتبع الرخص مطلقا

What we get from the scholars is that is not allowed to follow the concessions from the scholars at all.[17]

Ibn al-Qayyim said:

وبلجملة فلا يجوز العمل والإفتاء في دين الله بالتشهي والتخير وموافقة الغرض، فيطلب القول الذي يوافق غرضه، وغرض من يحابيه، ويفتي به، ويحكم به، ويحكم على عدوه ويفتيه بضده، وهذا من أفسق الفسوق واكبر الكبائر،والله المستعان

Generally, it is neither allowed to work around or give a ruling in the religion by cherry-picking or looking for the benefit nor taking what matches the desire in order to judge with and refrain from what does not match the desires. This is one of the most evil of the evil things and one of the biggest faults. And Allah’s help is sought.[18]

Al-Zahabi said:

ومن تتبع رخص المذاهب، وزلات المجتهدين، فقد رق دينه، كما قال الأوزاعي أو غيره: من أخذ بقول المكيين في المتعة، والكوفيين في النبيذ، والمدنيين في الغناء، وشاميين في عصمة الخلفاء، فقد جمع الشر، وكذا من أخذ في البيوع الربوبية بمن يتحيل عليها، و في الطلاق و نكاح التحليل بمن توسع فيه، وشبه ذلك، فقد تعرض للانحلال، فنسأل الله العافية والتوفيق

Following the concessions and the faults of the scholars leads to fault in the religion as al-Awza’i and others said: one who takes Makkan scholars’ opinion regarding temporary marriage, the Kufan scholars’ regarding wine, Madinan scholars’ regarding singing, the Shamis’ (Syrians) in the infallibility of the Caliph, then he has collected the evil; this is the same as the one who takes usury by looking for concessions; he suffers from decay. We ask Allah (ﷻ) for wellness and success.[19]

Ibn al-Najjar said:

يحرم عليه تتبع الرخص ويفسق به

Following the concessions is forbidden, and doing it is evil (fisq).[20]

Ibn Abideen said:

والصحيح عندنا أن الحق واحد، وأن تتبع الرخص فسق

The reality is that the truth is one, and following the concessions is fisq.[21]

  1. This (i.e. choosing concessions) involves disposing the objectives of Shariah; al-Shatibi says:

المقصد الشرعي من وضع الشريعة إخراج المكلف عن داعية واه، حتى يكون عبدا الله إختيارا، كما هو عبدلله اضطرارا

The objective of the Shariah is to get the person to let go of his desires to become a worshiper of Allah (ﷻ) by his will, like he is a worshiper by necessity.[22]

  1. This (i.e. choosing concessions) involves dropping the rules of Shariah; al-Shatibi says:

فانه مو؛فانه مؤد إلى إسقاط التكليف في كل مسألة مختلف فيها؟ لأن حاصل الأمر مع القول بالتخيير أن للمكلف أن يفعل إن شاء، ويترك إن شاء وهو عين إسقاط التكليف، بخلاف ما إذا تقيد بالترجيح فانه متبع للدليل؟ فلا يكون متبعا للهوى ولا مسقطا للتكليف

This leads to dropping the ruling in each disagreed matter because the eventual conclusion is that the person does what he wants and lets go of what he wants; this implies following the desires and not dropping the rules.[23]

  1. Al-Shatibi addressed some disadvantages of taking concessions from disagreements; he said:

مما في إتباع رخص المذاهب من المفاسد، سوى ما تقدم ذكره في تضاعيف المسألة؟ كالانسلاخ من الدين بترك اتباع الدليل إلى اتباع الخلاف، وكالاستهانة بالدين إذ يصير بهذا الإعتبار سيالا لا ينضبط، وكترك ما هو معلوم إلى ما ليس بمعلوم؟لان المذاهب الخارجة عن مذهب مالك في هذه الأمصار مجهولة، وكانخرام قانون السياسة الشرعية، بترك الانضباط إلى أمر معروف، وكافضاءه إلى القول بتلفيق المذاهب على وجه يخرق إجماعهم، وغير ذلك من المفاسد التي يكثر تعدادها

The disadvantages of following the concessions are its dissociation from religion by abandoning the evidence and following disagreements, disrespecting the religion, which implies lack of discipline, abandoning what is known and following what is unknown. This is because the mazahib emerging out of the mazhab of Imam Malik in these respects are unknown. To add to this, other disadvantages are are invention of new doctrines that violate the Ijma; and there are many other evils.[24]

The summary of the matter is what Ibn Taymiyyah said:

فينبغي أن يكون اعتقاد الوجوب والتحريم بأدلة الكتاب السنة، وبالعلم لا بالهوى

Belief in something to be halal or haram should be according to the Quran and the Sunnah; with knowledge, and not based on desires.[25]

Indeed, Allah knows best.

References and footnotes:

[1] Jami’i bayan al-Ilm wa fadlih 179/2

[2] Al-Muwafaqat 90/5

[3] Al-Muwafaqat 92/5

[4] Al-Ahkam fi usul al-Ahkam 208/2

[5] Al-Ihkam fi usul al-Ahkam 367/3

[6] Raf’u al-Malam ‘an al-Aimati al-A’lam 63

[7] Jami’i Bayan al-‘Ilm wa fadleh 185/2

[8] Zail Muzakirat al-Huffaz 187

[9] Seyar A3lam Al nobala’a 7/125

[10] Ighatahtu al-Lahjan 229/1

[11] Al Jami’i li Akhlaq al-rRwi wa Adab Al-Samei 160/2

[12] Al talkhis al-Habir 398/3

[13] Al-Sunan al-Kubra 21449

[14] Al Ihkam fi Usul al-Ahkam 65/5

[15] Al-Mustasfi 469/2

[16] Al-Bahr al-Muheet 602/4

[17] Al-Muswada 929/2

[18] Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’a 90/8

[19] I’lam al-Muwaki’in 211/4

[20] Mukhtasar al-Tahrir fi usol fiqh al-Sada al-Hanabila 252

[21] Radul muhtar ala al-Dur al-mukhtar 147/3

[22] Al Muwafaqat 289/2

[23] Al Muwafaqat 83/5. Also see: Al-Majmu’ sharh al-muhazab 55/1

[24] Al Muwafaqat 103/5

[25] Majmu’ al-Fatawa 140/20

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