Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Muqallid/ Ghair Muqallid Controversy (Part 1)

Ok, so this controversy, I’m going to work my way towards it, inshaAllah, instead of giving you the final verdict. Also, this discussion isn’t just about people, it’s has a lot to do with understanding the principles of our religion. 

I got this advice from a friend not too long ago. ‘Stay away from the Ghair Muqallids’. A couple years back, I read a book about how one should not do Taqleed (the book wasn’t really impressive by the way.) Just the other day, I was talking to another friend, and he talked about his cousin was pressuring him to not become a Ghair-Muqallid. He didn’t even know what the term meant. Yeah, so this controversy is all the rage here in Pakistan. But what do these terms even mean? Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Why? Let’s take a step back and reexamine this issue.

What’s Taqleed?

So the first question, what is Taqleed?

In the Arabic language, Taqleed literally means placing something around the neck. The word for necklace in Arabic is Qilaadah. Technically speaking, however, it means following a qualified scholarship. Some add to this “uncritical following of a qualified scholarship”.

The Four Madhabs

Taqleed stems from the concept of following the four Madhahib, schools of thought. To summarize this whole concept, in the early days of Islam, starting from the era of the Tabi’een, the generation after the Sahabah, there were huge scholars of our religion whom people would listen to and learn from. Each scholar had his own way of understanding the religion. (Which is normal really, we all think differently, no two people think alike in all circumstances.) All of these scholars each had many, many students and so they formed their own ‘schools’ in a sense where they would teach the religion in a particular way and their students would follow them. These different ways were very similar and in fact the scholars agreed on more things than they differed.

There were about a dozen of these scholars (some were contemporaries, others were of different generations), but in the end only 4 (in some senses 5) of these schools survived. (A side note, as Imam Shafi said the reason for the survival of some of them and not of others was because of their students. Those who had students zealous in spreading the Madhab caused the Madhab to prosper. ) And they are the schools of Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Each of these schools has its own set of rules with regard to Ibadah and Ma’llamaat (dealings). Though these rules and regulations differ from each other to some extent, they are all based upon each scholar and his students’ understanding of the Quran and Sunnah.

To explain, how these scholars differed let’s take an example which inshaAllah, if you study properly you’ll be able to learn a lot from it.

Issue: Are you allowed to face the Qiblah when relieving yourself?

The scholars had three major (note the word major here) opinions concerning this issue:
  1. One is forbidden to face or turn ones back to the Qiblah.(Imam Abu Haanifa’s Madhab, One narration of Imam Ahmed’s Narration, Abu Ayub Al-Ansari (R) )
  2. It is permissible to face the Qiblah while answering the call of nature.
    (Imam a-Dhaahiri’s opinion – his Madhab is non-existent these days but still codified, Urwa Ibn Zubayr (R) )
  3. It is permissible if you are inside, and there is a partition between you and outside. If you are not inside then it is not allowed. (Imam AshShafi’s Madhab, Imam Malik’s Madhab, Abdullah Ibn Umar (R), and a stronger narration of Imam Ahmed).

Proofs used by the Scholars on this Issue:

1.       Proof used by the scholars who supported the first opinion:
Abu Ayoub Al-Ansaaree(R) reported from Allah’s Messenger (SAW ) that he said:
“When you go to relieve yourselves or urinate, then do not face the Qiblah nor turn your back to it. Instead turn (your direction) to the east or the west.” (AlBukhari and Muslim)
This hadith is of an extremely high level of authenticity. Furthermore, this hadith was directed to the people of Madinah because to them the Qiblah was facing the direction of the south. In the first hadeeth of Abu Ayoub (R), turning towards the east or west was specified because Madinah was located towards the south. So facing East or West would be away from the Qiblah.
2.       Proof used by the scholars who supported the second opinion:
Ibn ‘Umar (R) narrated:
“I ascended the roof of the house of Hafsah (R) and saw the Messenger of Allah (SAW) sitting on two bricks facing Jerusalem (Bait al-Maqdis) for relieving himself.” (alBukhari and Muslim.)
Another Hadith that has a very high level of authenticity.
3.       Proof used by scholars who supported the third opinion:
Abdullah Ibn Umar(R) narrated:
Marwan al-Asfar (R) said: “I saw Ibn Umar make his camel kneel down facing the Qiblah, then he sat down urinating in its direction. So I said: Abu Abdur Rahman, has this not been forbidden? He replied: Why not, that was forbidden only in open country; but when there is something between you and the Qiblah that conceals you, then there is no harm” (Abu Da’wood).
As you can see, all 3 opinions with regards to this matter have proof established from the Quran and Sunnah. In other words, all of them are correct to follow. But here’s the real question. What should I do? Which one is strongest? First of all, let us look at critically look at the issue,

Reasons for Disagreement and Conclusions

The Prophet’s (SAW) actions in the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (see above) contradict his saying in Abu Ayub’s (R). To resolve this, the majority of scholars state that if one is within the confines of one’s home, it is okay to face the Qiblah. Those who say that it’s not permissible at any place say that while the Prophet (SAW) was urinating, he did not know that anybody else saw him. This was done in private. He wasn’t expecting anybody to see it. So, this could specifically be just for the Prophet (SAW). For example, the tahajjud prayer was obligatory on the Prophet (SAW), but not on us.
The Companions themselves (Abu Ayub Al-Ansari, Abdullah Ibn Umar and Urwah ibn Zubair) differed on this issue. If they differed, and it is not from the four khulafah (the four great successors), then we need to go back to the Sunnah.
If there is an order from the Prophet (SAW) “to do” and “not to do,” then the order “not to do” takes over.
We should try to follow the order as much as we can, but we should never come even close to a prohibition.

The Strongest Opinion

According to Shaykh AbdulBary Yahya (who taught me about this issue), his verdict was that Imam Abu Hanifa’s opinion is the strongest. Why? Because of the following established principle of Islam:
Whenever the actions of the Messenger (SAW) contradict his sayings, we take his sayings over his actions. The Messenger’s (SAW) sayings always take precedence over his actions.
Why? Because the Messenger’s (SAW) sayings are directed to us, the Muslim Ummah. His (SAW)’s actions might be applicable and permissible only to him alone. For example, the tahajjud prayer was compulsory for the Messenger (SAW) but not for us. Allahu'alam.

End of this part for now. InshaAllah, I'll try to finish the discussion in the next part.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Du’a – The Network Link to the Creator

This was an article I published in my university web tech magazine 5 months ago, forgot to put it on my blog. 

Think about this. What if you had a 1000 Gbps dedicated connection with Allah, one that would reach the highest heaven instantaneously. No monthly bandwidth, unlimited use and absolutely free. With that connection, you could ask him anything you want, and he guaranteed that he would either fulfill it, or give you something better in return. All you would have to do is type in the correct URL by directing your hands and heart up to Allah (SWT). Would you avail it? How much would you avail it? Would you be stingy in using your free connection? Leaving it for once every week, or once daily before you go to sleep? We all have that special connection, Du’a, yet many of us utilize it so rarely that it seems as if it is a burden for ourselves. Here is a list of 7 reasons why you shouldn’t procrastinate in making Du’a.

An act of Worship

What if there existed this website that every time you visit it, you get some bonus, some credits, or some other perks? Irrespective of whether you sign up to a special offer, browse a few pages or simply look at the homepage. Well that’s the exact case with Allah. Every time, you make du’a, you utilize your free connection, you are rewarded with the currency of the Akhirah.  Yes, you heard that right. When you hold your hands up to Allah (SWT) asking something for yourself or for others, irrespective of whether you get it or not, Allah (SWT) rewards you for it. It is an act of worship like Salah, Fasting, obeying your parents, helping your neighbor, etc.  The Prophet (SAW) said, “The best form of worship is du’a”.

The weapon of the weak and the wronged

Internet companies have an unspoken rule. The more you pay, the better connection you have. So, usually what happens is that the rich, powerful people have extremely fast internet connections while the poor, weak people have a slow internet speeds (maybe not even broadband). This rule doesn’t apply with Allah at all. In fact, many times the opposite happens. Two determining factors in a Du’a’s acceptance is a person’s sincerity and his humble appearance. The more you are sincere with Allah (SWT) while making du’a, the higher is the acceptance rate. One of the Ulemah of the past stated: “It is said a du’a is never responded to quickly except for a person who is sincere, or one who has been wronged.”
Through many examples in the Quran and the Sunnah, Allah (SWT) has taught us that the weapon of those who have been oppressed and have nothing is Du’a. When Musa (A), whose people were oppressed and tortured by Fir’aun, made Du’a, Allah (SWT) caused their means of sustenance (the Nile) to kill them. When Jurayj, a pious individual who had been accused of committing adultery and his house destroyed, made Du’a, Allah (SWT) redeemed his reputation and reconstructed his house. When a young man, sent for execution in the middle of the sea, made Du’a, Allah (SWT) caused those with him to be killed yet he remained alive.

One of the Most Noble Acts in the Sight of Allah

Ever wonder why this connection works? I mean why do we have this free hotline? It’s because of what you are doing when you are asking Allah. When a person makes Du’a, he submits himself to his Lord. It is as if he is saying, O Allah (SWT), I am incapable of having my request fulfilled, I cannot control my own affairs without your Will. So I ask you and you only, who is All-Powerful, to fulfill my request. This is one of the reasons why the Prophet (SAW) said: “There is nothing that is more noble in the sight of Allah than Du’a”.

The Only Cause of Allah’s Concern for us

FaceBook offers its services free because it gets all its money from advertisements. In other words, it makes money off people looking at advertisements and clicking on the ads. FaceBook wants you to visit their page, so it can implicitly get money from you. With Allah, Al-Karim (the Most Generous), it’s the exact opposite. Allah (SWT) wants you to make du’a to him, visit His URL, so that you can ask Him and he can respond to you demands. Moreover, du’a is the only reason that Allah (SWT) cares about us. As Allah (SWT) states in the Qur’an:
“Say (O Muhammad): My Lord only pays attention to you because of your du’a towards Him. But now you have rejected (Him), so the (torment) will you yours permanently.”

A Dialogue with the Creator

Du’a is communication with Allah (SWT), not that Google stuff where you type in a few keywords and get algorithm-based results. And so though you won’t be getting any verbal response from Allah (SWT), you are in a dialogue with the Creator. So what does this mean?
You believe that Allah is hearing you, hoping for Allah’s response, and fearing its delay. You call upon Allah with His most beautiful Names and Attributes. Your eman increases, as do your hopes and fears increase and your Love of Allah increases. At the same time, you remembers your sins, for sins are like closed doors which prevent the du’a from being responded to, and you fear that, because of these sins, your du’a will be rejected. So you repent to Allah, and changes your life, striving to please Allah, realizing that only Allah can change your situation, and thus in the process, you develop a new relationship with Allah. [1]

Guaranteed Return

Ever spent so much time on something and then found out that all your hard work was going to waste? With du’a, the opposite is true, there is no du’a that is left unanswered.[2] So if you’re asking for that Lamborghini, either you’ll be getting that or something similar (or even better) or you’ll be averted from some similar evil that was predestined for you. So why wait? Open up that browser, click go and start making du’a right away. Jabir bin ‘Abdillah stated that the Prophet (SAW) said :
“There is no person who asks Allah for anything except that Allah gives it to him, or keeps away from him a similar evil, as long as he does not ask for something evil or for breaking the ties of kinship”. At this, a person said to the Prophet (SAW): “In that case, he will ask for plenty!” The Prophet (SAW) responded: “Allah (is even) more plentiful!”

Hassle-free Connection – One of the Easiest Acts of Worship

What do you require to make Du’a? Hardly any energy is required, hardly any time. Even hands and a tongue are not necessary, all you need is an attentive heart and a humble soul.  No need for a WiFi settings, internet connection, routers and all that other stuff. This is one of those hassle-free things that just simply work, no delay, no-downtimes, pure 100% reliability. On the other hand, leaving Du’a is a sign of laziness. The Prophet (SAW) said,
“The most incapable (or lazy) person is he who does not make du’a, and the most miserly is he who does not give salam.”

This article is inspired from Yasir Qadhi’s Du’a: Weapon of the Believer. Though the theme of the article is entirely different, all of the reasons for making du’a are derived from the book. Also the Quranic ayaat, ahadith, and statements of the scholars mentioned in this article are listed in the book with their proper references. For more reasons, further proofs, a more detailed explanation and references consult the book.

[1] This paragraph was copied almost verbatim from the Du’a: Weapon of the Believer by Yasir Qadhi.
[2] Provided you fulfill its conditions of which are mentioned in the above hadith. It is however possible that your Du’a is responded to even if you don’t fulfill these conditions.