Translated by Abdullah Rashid and Sufyan Tihami Preface In my Yemen trip journal — published…
Author Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani
Translated by Ismaeel Nakhuda (Translator’s Introduction: We live in challenging times with incessant efforts underway…
Ma‘mar reported to us: from Ibn Tawus from his father from Ibn ‘Abbas, he said: “Divorce, a divorce with three [issuances], in the time of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and Abu Bakr and two years of the caliphate of ‘Umar was [counted as] one. Then ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said: ‘Verily, the people have hastened in a matter in which they used to have patience, so if only we were to enforce it on them.’ So he enforced it on them.” (Sahih Muslim)
Know that Allah (Exalted is He) created man for His worship.
Thus, Allah (Exalted is He) states in the Noble Qur’an:
“I have not created jinn and humankind but to worship Me.” (Qur’an 51:56)
Meaning, I created jinn and man only for one purpose, which is My worship. The original purpose of man’s life and the original purpose of his coming into this world and residing in the world is that he worships Allah (Magnificent is His Glory).
Are not Angels Sufficient for Worship?
If this question arises in one’s mind, that Allah (Exalted is He) had already created Angels previously for this purpose, so what need is there now to create another creation, meaning mankind? The answer to this is that although Angels were created for the purpose of worship, they were created in such a fashion that by their nature they were compelled to worship, because only the substance of worship was placed in their innate natures. Besides worship, the substance of sin, disobedience and rebellion were not placed in them. However, humankind were created in such a fashion that the substance of disobedience was also placed within them, the substance of sin was also placed within them, and thereafter, they were given the command to worship. This is why it is easy for Angels to worship. But within people there are desires, emotions, temptations, and needs, and incitements to sin, and after this they were given the command to save themselves from those inclinations to sin and to control those urges and suppress those desires and worship Allah (Exalted is He).
It behooves us, before commencing on the commentary of the hadiths on the emancipation of slaves, to produce here a short essay in which we discuss the reality of slavery and its place in Islam, because a lot of commotion has been caused amongst the Muslims by the westerners and their devotees for allowing slavery, and the people of this age claim it is a blemish on the forehead of religion and a reason to doubt Islam. And there is no power, nor might, except with Allah, the Mighty, the Great.
The cause of the error in this respect is that the westerners and their devotees analogise the slaves of Islam to the slaves of Greece, Rome and Europe who would live in the utmost debasement, difficulty and desolation. Their humanity was not recognised and no rights were afforded them and they hadn’t the slightest share in social intercourse.
The truth is that the slave in Islam differs from these slaves completely, and we ought to begin this study with the testimony of a well-known European Orientalist, Professor Gustave Le Bon, who wrote in his famous book known as The Civilisation of the Arabs:
It behooves us, before delving into discussions [on the hadiths of buying and selling], to produce a short study in which we explain some of the economic principles based on which the Shari‘ah operates, and which have become the foundations of Islamic economics, because ignorance of them often leads to terrible ideological errors, especially in this time of ours which has made livelihood and economics its greatest concern and the limit of its knowledge and the peak of its ambition, such that the topics of economics have become a stimulus for inquiries and a battleground between the modern theories of capitalism and communism.
The default rule for a mufti who is a muqallid is that he does not issue fatwa but on the madhhab of his Imam, according to the principles we discussed from ‘Uqud Rasm al-Mufti. However, that which we outlined in the discussion on taqlid and adopting a madhhab – that [the obligation of] taqlid of a specific Imam is a fatwa based on blocking the means and the interests of the Shari‘ah, in order that people do not fall into following desires, since collecting the concessions [i.e. the easiest positions] of the madhhabs due to desire and whim is prohibited – should not be forgotten. Otherwise, the truth is that all the madhhabs of the mujtahids are interpretations of the Shari‘ah itself, and there is no room to vilify any one of them, because every mujtahid expended all that is in his capacity of effort in arriving at the intent of the texts, and deriving the rules from them.
Al-Shafi‘i said: “Allah (Glorified is He) singled out the Messenger of Allah by obligating on him things which He alleviated from other than him, in order to increase his (Allah bless him and grant him peace) sanctity, and He permitted for him things which He made unlawful for other than him, in order to increase his honour and his exaltation.”
From this category is [the permission of] having more than four [wives]. This was permitted [for him] so that he ascends in the hearts of the Arabs in esteem and glory, because they would boast over sexual prowess. Furthermore, in terms of perfect power and moderate constitution, he was at the level of perfection attested to by the reports, and whoever was such, the precursors to this door [of perfection] would be dominant over him.
Is it permissible, on the basis of the Speech of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace), to perform Salat and Salam audibly after Salat al-Jumu‘ah in front of the dais and mihrab of the mosque, giving importance [to it] and with persistence [on it]? Honour us with the correct response, while being rewarded by Allah, and appreciated by the people.
People would seek fatwa from ‘ulama’ since the earliest of times in matters which they were in need of, because the majority of people are not able to derive the rulings of the Shari‘ah from their original sources. Thus, it would be necessary for them to refer to those who have knowledge of these rulings. This is what Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) ordered in His noble saying: “So ask the people of remembrance if you do not know.” (16:43) And as long as a mufti is trusted in his knowledge and his piety, they would not demand evidence for what he said – and this is the technical meaning of taqlid, since they defined it as: “Acting on the opinion of another without knowing his evidence or demanding proof.”
However, in the best of generations, they would not restrict themselves to taking fatwa from a single scholar, such that they would not permit seeking fatwa from another scholar, although when individuals had a particular affinity with a scholar of a certain land, their reliance on him would be greater than others, so by virtue of that affinity, they would refer to that scholar in all matters or most of them.
Our master, the scholar of great learning, Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Shafi‘ (Allah Almighty have mercy on him), is counted amongst the leading ‘ulama of India and Pakistan who carried the banner of the pure religion in these lands and spent their lives and their strength in elevating its word, and lit in Deoband, India, the lamps of renewal with splendid flames and bright lights, so that the caravan of Islam continues to proceed, while eliminating the darknesses of disbelief and heresy and bringing life, by means of hope, to the souls caused to die by despair and hopelessness.
The Shaykh (Allah Almighty have mercy on him) was born on the 21st of Sha‘ban in the year 1314 H (January 1897 CE). He grew up in the embrace of knowledge and gnosis, for he was devoted to acquiring knowledge from the great ‘ulama from a young age, and he maintained the companionship of the gnostics early on in his life.
The Noble Qur’an is a scripture from Allah (Exalted is He) which is distinguished from other heavenly books in that it is the Seal of the Scriptures, just as the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is the Seal of the Prophets, and in that it is the only scripture which Allah (Glorified is He) assured would remain protected to the Final Hour (Qur’an 15:9), no word from it changing and no letter from it being disturbed. Indeed it is the only book which will remain till the establishment of the Hour fresh and unsullied in its text and its meaning, its guidance and its import, its wonders never ending and its marvels never finishing; its expressions never being disliked despite the development of different [literary] styles and its meanings never wearing out despite the passage of time. Every time you look carefully at it with the eye of reflection and guidance, you find in it a new message and an instructive directive – “A book the verses of which have been made firm, and then elaborated by the All Wise, All Aware.” (Qur’an 11:1)
‘Allamah Muhammad ibn Abi Jamrah (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) is from amongst the renowned scholars and sufis of seventh century (Hijri) Spain who adhered to the Sunnah. He authored a commentary of Sahih al-Bukhari, entitled, Bahjat al-Nufus, which was written in a completely unique and rare style. In this commentary, the ‘Allamah has derived rulings of tasawwuf and ihsan in a wonderfully in-depth manner, from which it is made clear that tasawwuf is not a separate entity to the Shari‘ah, but is an important part of the religion (din), and is essentially derived from the Qur’an and Sunnah. The subtleties, inner dimensions, delicate academic points of the hadiths and, in particular, the guidance given to the one traversing the path of tasawwuf, in this book by ‘Allamah Ibn Abi Jamrah (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) are so great and valuable that at times during the read the soul becomes ecstatic. The beauty of it is that these subtleties and inner dimensions are not expounded by the author with any formality or special preparation but are derived from the hadiths in a spontaneous and informal manner.
What does the shaykh, may Allah protect him, say regarding the Barelwi group, as this group is not found in our lands and I have not found a book in Arabic on them except a book by one of the ‘ulama of Najd. I found him unjust with those who are not Barelwi and so I have not relied on his judgment and what he has quoted. Hence, it is hoped their situation is explained, for people are among those who are in extreme love or extreme hatred. Allah is the one who guides to what is correct.
“People are subservient to Quraysh in this matter: the Muslims among them [being subservient] to the Muslims among them, and the disbelievers among them [being subservient] to the disbelievers among them.” (Sahih Muslim)
His statement “from Abu Hurayrah”: this hadith was transmitted by al-Bukhari in the beginning [chapters] of Kitab al-Manaqib (no. 3495) and it was also transmitted by Ahmad in his Musnad (2:243, 261, 395, 433).
His statement “People are subservient to Quraysh in this matter”: the ‘ulama adduced this as proof that Qurayshi [lineage] is a condition for the Imam, to the extent that some of them claimed ijma’ (consensus) on this. Hence, al-Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) said, “These hadiths and those similar to them are clear proof that the caliphate is specific to Quraysh and its contraction is not permissible for any beside them, and on this ijma’ convened in the time of the Companions and also after them. So whoever disagrees in this [matter] is amongst the heretics (ahl al-bid’ah), or alludes to a disagreement from other than them, he is confuted by the ijma’ of the Companions and the Successors, and those after them with the authentic hadiths.”
What becomes evident from studying the rules of the Shari’ah on politics, and what is mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah on this subject, is that Islam does not specify a particular “form of government” in the technical sense this phrase is used today, and it does not specify for it a particular methodology with all its particular details. It only provided us with basic foundations and principles, and general laws that must be observed and preserved in every age and place. As for the particular details in organising the government, the Islamic nation is given the option to choose of them what is appropriate for its [prevailing] conditions in every age and country, with the condition that in all of this it adheres to the foundations, principles and the rules which Islam has legislated in the Qur’an and Sunnah and in the example of the rightly guided caliphs.
Hence, the system of government in Islam adheres to these foundations, principles and rules and it does not adhere to a particular form or a specific methodology. We wish here to summarise those principles and foundational rules. And Allah Most High grants success.
As regards to the ruling of entertainment and sports in general, my teacher and my father ‘Allamah Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ (may Allah have mercy on him) compiled an independent treatise on it, published in his book Ahkam al-Qur’an. I will summarise in what follows the conclusions that he reached after enumerating the texts narrated on the subject, by quoting certain of his different statements:
Know that the pure and magnanimous Shari’ah of the Chosen One does not prohibit gains and benefits which the human nature is disposed to, and it does not approve of monasticism (rahbaniyyah) and absolute asceticism (tabattul), rather it demands civilisation and proper social intercourse. Yes, it prohibits extremism in entertainment and total immersion in it whereby one is distracted from the necessities of religion and livelihood. From what is acknowledged is that one of the needs man is disposed to is [the need to] exercise the body and relax the heart and give it enjoyment from hour to hour. Hereof, he (upon him be blessing and peace) said, “relax the hearts from hour to hour.” Abu Dawud transmitted it in his Marasil from Ibn Shihab in mursal form, and Abu Bakr al-Muqri’ in his Fawa’id and al-Quda’i from him from Anas (al-Jami’ al-Saghir). And hereof the practice of joking occurred in his (Allah bless him and grant him peace) sayings and actions.
Writings on the topic of the veiling and unveiling of women have proliferated in our time. The best that I have seen on this subject is a treatise by my late father Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ (Allah have mercy on him) which he called Tafsil al-Khitab fi Tafsir Ayat al-Hijab, which is a section from his Ahkam al-Qur’an (3:393-483), in which he examined the verses and hadiths cited on the subject and exhausted the positions of the fuqaha (jurists) and the statements of the exegetes regarding the limits of hijab and its description. The sum of what he concluded after an extensive study is that the hijab that is legislated and commanded in the Book and the Sunnah has three levels, each above the other in hiddenness and concealment. All of them are mentioned in the Book and the Sunnah and none of them have been abrogated, but they have been prescribed for different circumstances.
It has become well-known of Christians that they distinguish between religion and politics by their well-known dictum “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s”. It is thus as though religion has no relationship with politics and politics has no connection with religion. This worthless concept has slowly advanced to its ugliest form in recent times in the name of “secularism” (al-‘almaniyah) or “secularisation” which expelled religion from all matters of life until it did away with it completely. Truly this concept in reality is one category from the categories of association with Allah [i.e. shirk (polytheism)] whereby religion’s authority in the material world is not recognised and the authority of religion is restricted only to rituals and worship which one practices in his private [life] or in his place of worship. It is thus as if God is not god except in [matters of] worship and ritual, and as far as worldly matters are concerned, they have another god. And refuge is [sought] from Allah.
Some people adduce the poem of Labid (Allah be pleased with him) as proof that the doctrine of the Oneness of Being (Wahdat al-Wujud) is correct. This doctrine along with its corresponding doctrine of the Oneness of Perception (Wahdat al-Shuhud) is not among the doctrines that are necessary in the religion to know or to believe in their validity or invalidity. Rather it is best not to be preoccupied with it and not to discuss it, because it is a dangerous subject, discussion of which may lead to heresy (zandaqah) and apostasy (ilhad).