Sheikh ‘Abdul Rahmaan as Sudais
Rabee ath Thaani 26, 1429 ~ May 2, 2008
All praise is due to Allah, the Creator of the worlds and the Only One who knows them all. He gave us the Shari’ah out of His mercy and bounties, with which we gain benefits and pleasure. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah alone who has no partner and is worthy of submitting to His will and obeying his commands, and believing in His Oneness. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the last messenger and servant of Allah the Almighty. He showed us the goals and the teachings of the religion and how to deduce the rulings from it. Oh Allah, send your peace and blessings on him and upon his household, companions, the successors, and those who follow in his footsteps until the day of Judgment seeking seeking success in the hereafter.
Oh servants of Allah, the best advice and warning is to fear Allah, Lord of the Creation. So fear Allah, oh servants of Allah! And know that Allah has mercy on you. Taqwa is the best bond you can have, the best hope, and the best of all provisions. It is the peak for those who are looking forward to attaining a high status in the hereafter. Allah the Almighty says: “…And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness). So fear Me, O men of understanding!” [Surah Baqarah: Ayah 197]
Oh Muslims! In a world which is controlled by changes, our faith that Allah has chosen to be the last message for humanity and the message that comprehends all aspects of life is the blessed message that includes flexibility and development. Its principles are suitable for the changes that continually take place. The Shari’ah comprehends all forms of change without any inefficiency or misguidance. This is the Shari’ah of Islaam as Allah says: “…And We shall bring you (O Muhammad SAW) as a witness against these. And We have sent down to you the Book (the Qur’an) as an exposition of everything, a guidance, a mercy, and glad tidings for those who have submitted themselves (to Allâh as Muslims).” [Surah Nahl: Ayah 89]
Brothers and sisters in imaan, there is a characteristic of this faith that contains an important point upon which all of our interests are based, and a point upon which all forms of dangers are repelled. Only those who have understanding can comprehend it. With this characteristic anything that threatens the Ummah will be warded off. This characteristic is ijtehaad. It is given great importance in Shari’ah and it is something we should resort to first in relation to any issue. The religion of Islaam talks about the importance of ijtehaad and encourages those who seek knowledge to follow it and depend on it.
Oh Muslims, ijtehaad is one of the principles of Islaam. There are many proofs to support this. Trustworthy scholars know its limits and conditions. It means to strive in order to deduce the Islaamic rulings when there is no clear proof (in the Quran and Sunnah). Imaam al Shafi’i (Rahimahullah) stated “Every matter that befalls a Muslim has a ruling which has been revealed in the Shari’ah. And if he did not find it in the Shari’ah then he should find it through ijtehaad.” The one who does ijtehaad and makes a mistake will be pardoned. This is based on the hadith where it has been narrated by ‘Amr ibn Aas that the Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said “When a judge gives judgment and strives to know a ruling and is correct, he has two rewards. If he gives judgment and strives to know a ruling, but is wrong, he has one reward.” [Saheeh Bukhari and Muslim] Scholars understand from this that anyone who makes ijtehaad on secondary matters and gives a correct verdict that he will receive two rewards and if he makes ijtehaad and he is mistaken he will then receive one reward. In the hadith, even if the scholar is wrong, the Prophet (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) promised him a reward. This reward is for ijtehaad without any punishment. There is not even any form of blame on him. And this is a manifestation of the principle of ease in the religion and it is a true meaning of mercy. Imaam ash Shatibi (Rahimahullah) said “Islaamic law came to achieve people’s needs and interests in this life and in the hereafter and to ward off harm from them.”
Brothers and sisters in Islaam, when we talk about ijtehaad in a matter that does not have any clear proof in the authentic sources, we are talking about the scholars and those in authority amongst the Muslims deducing a ruling. We are talking about those who are qualified and understand the correct situation in order to give religious rulings concerning contemperary issues. Such people depen in their ijtehaad on the guidance of Islaamic Shari’ah and Islaamic principles and goals while fearing Allah the Almighty with insight and ability to deduce the ruling from the sources of the Quran and Sunnah. They must have the ability to analyze the matter. In this way, they will not be blamed as Allah the Almighty says: “…and [He] has not laid upon you in religion any hardship.” [Surah Hajj: Ayah 78]
What we have mentioned is the basics of sound ijtehaad by which the Ummah is able to resolve many of its issues and free itself from blind imitation and lagging behind. However, if ijtehaad is available for everyone, people follow their wishes and desires as those who are weak in knowledge will make their own ijtehaad. This is what we reject and we should ignore such people and their opinions. It is narrated that some of the companions (Radiallahu Anhum) said “Whoever gives a fatwa out of his own desires or based on his own opinion, he misguides and is misguided.” May Allah protect us from being like such people.
Oh believers, as we have learned, ijtehaad is one of the characteristics of Islaam that allows space for all scholars to have their opinion. But unfortunately there are a lot of people who use ijtehaad just to disagree with each other and they try to reveal faults and mistakes of others. Some of them talk negatively about trustworthy, righteous scholars. They try to put them down and degrade their position, making others doubt them and fruitlessly debating with the words of one scholar against another. They also make the common people dislike scholars and doubt their opinions, and this only spreads chaos within the society. Moreover, such people call others to check these scholarly opinions before taking and using them and they call others to beware of such scholars and go as far as to publisize their mistakes. This kind of attitude is blameworthy for the public. So what about the scholars? Such people do not know how to disagree with others and they do not know how to make dialogue. Moreover they forget the importance of glorifying people’s knowledge and giving their due right. Being generous to fellow scholars is necessary, especially when they make ijtehaad where there are no original sources for that issue. Sheikh al Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah) said “The one who does ijtehaad, whether he was a scholar, a judge, or a ruler, and does his best according to his ability, than this is what Allah Almighty had entrusted to him. For his obedience to Allah, he deserves a reward as long as he fears Allah according to his capabilities.”
So what is the benefit for those people who try to advise others with their good intentions but they only misguide them? This is like the proverb: “He intended to do good, but unfortunately he harmed.” Imaam adh Dhahabi said a wonderful saying “When the verdicts of a great scholar are known to be sound and correct, then he is known to be a mujtahid, then his minor mistakes should be overlooked. We do not consider him to be as one misguided and forget about his goodness and his other sound opinions.” Perfection is difficult to attain but the scholar is praised for his sound opinions and good works. Imaam Allamah Ibn al Qayyim (Rahimahullah) said “There should be forms of disagreement between people because their understanding and intentions differ. The only thing that is blamed is when they oppress each other and transgress the limits.” Ibn ‘Abideen (Rahimahullah) stated “You have to know that disagreement a part of mercy. When there are lots of disagreements, then there is a lot of mercy.”
One of the fiqhi principles of ijtehaad is that hardship brings ease. When matters become difficult, this indicates that things will soon be resolved. We say that the darkest hour is just before the dawn. The basic principle of the Shari’ah is to attain the peoples interests and ward off harm from them. In this time of hardship and complexity, the ummah needs ijtehaad to solve its problems and to comprehend disputabil matters and to find solutions for them. Also, to comprehend the laws and purpose of the Shari’ah, that can be understood by those who have deep insights and those who seek positive results that lead to unity. When laymen talk about the disagreements between the scholars in the media, including the forums, internet satellite channels, and so on, involving themselves in Shari’ah and fatwa, it is very dangerous. Taking the disagreements between scholars a means of poisoning people’s hearts against each other and thus renders those who do this as being guilty of harming Islaamic principles and the Shari’ah. They do this while they claim the Shari’ah does not fit the changes that are taking place in the world. There are other people who try to show discord between the scholars. Some of them spead trials and tribulations between scholars and those who follow them. Others give religious opinions without having the correct knowledge. Such behavior saddens the heart of the relgious people. But the wrongdoers prefer this attitude and when the scholars disagree, they are pleased. May Allah give them what they deserve. Allah the Almighty says “Or do those in whose hearts is a disease, think that Allâh will not bring to light all their hidden ill-wills?” [Surah Dhariyaat: Ayah 29] Allah the Almighty is the only one to give us help!
Oh Muslims, if the ummah understands the fiqh of ijtehaad and knows the ettiquete of disagreement and realizes that diagreement is natural, they will establish brotherhood amongst themselves and the community will be united. Allah the Almighty says: “..but they will not cease to disagree,” [Surah Huud: Ayah 118] By doing this they will be far removed by splitting into parties which leads to corruption. Allah the Almighty says: “Truly! This, your Ummah is one religion, and I am your Lord, therefore worship Me (Alone).” Haafidh Imaam adh Dhahabi narrated that Younus as Sadafi said: “I did not see any saint or reasonable man like Shafi’i. One day I debated with him and we disagreed. Later on we met, and he took my hand and said Oh Abu Moosa, isn’t it possible that we are still brothers after disagreeing about this matter?” Then adh Dhahabi commented saying “This is proof that ash Shafi’i has a mature mind and good understanding.” The debaters still disagreed with each other. This is ash Shafi’i, the one whose his name means “one who cures you from stammering.” The more knowledge we have, the more we tolerate others. These are the principles of love and tolerance, co relation and coexistance. Allah the Almighty says that “Indeed the Muslims are brothers.” I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Shaytaan.
Do not argue with one another, lest you loose courage and become weak. Be patient, surely Allah is with the patient. May Allah bless the Quran and Sunnah, and benefit us from its guidance. I seek Allah’s forgiveness for myself, you, for all Muslims, and our parents. So seek His forgiveness and turn to Him in repentance, indeed our Lord is oft Forgiving, most Merciful, most Beloved.
All praise is due to Allah, the One who guides to everything. Glory be to Him, for whom we seek His pleasure and for whom we exert our efforts. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah who has no partner. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His prophet and messenger, the best of mankind. He is the most sincere one in giving the ummah advice. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him and his family, companions, and those who follow in his footsteps until the day of Judgment.
Oh servants of Allah, fear Allah wherever you are, keep yourselves busy in doing righteous deeds, and you will attain Allah’s pleasure and forgiveness and you will attain the highest rank.
Oh Muslim ummah, amongst the issues that are subjected to ijtehaad, about which many people get involved without sound knowledge is an issue related to one of the pillars of Islaam. An act of worship, not an issue related to people or society. It is an issue that is related to religion, the divine laws, and the universal message. This is the issue of the area between Mount Safa and Marwa that needed to be reformed and redesigned. This was so that would be more spacious and safer for the people who perform Hajj while they are making sa’ee between the two mounts. This blessed work was done after the scholars had performed ijtehaad. They also conducted a lot of research and referred to the Islaamic sources to derive their ruling. Not only scholars, but historians also took part in this work as well as those specialized in geography. These people proved that this work was acceptable. This area is part of the valley between al Safa wal Marwa and this is the focus of the ruling. They did this in a way so that the hearts of the believers would be satisfied and that they would accept and follow this ruling.
All the scholars in the country (of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) agreed to this, and the ruler started his work depending on the religious principle that says the ruling of the judge is binding. He did this for the benefit of the people and in accordance of the Shari’ah and Islaamic sources and in accordance to the correct proofs from the four schools of thought. This act is related to the public interests because it is a means of establishing ease and lifting hardship. The Prophet (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said “The best of your religion is that which is easiest.” [Ahmad] Sayyida ‘Aysha (Radiallahu Anha) stated “If the Messenger of Allah had two choices, he would take the easiest one as long as there was no harm in it.” It is a blessed work with a blessed decision that deserves two rewards, the first a reward for ijtehaad and the second a reward because people will make dua for them. They were guided to this by Allah’s guidance and help. We thank the Islaamic leaders who are the Custodian of the Haram’ain and seek to serve the pilgrims and make everything easy for them and remove any hardship. This is important because of the huge crowds that perform Hajj and ‘Umrah. This is the blessing of the Shari’ah, which gives us space to excercise ijtehaad to make things easy for people. The ummah should be pleased with this achievement, particularly those who perform Hajj. Allah is the best one to help and support the Custodian of the House. We should also consider and respect the status of the scholars and trust them and overlook their mistakes because disagreements amongst the scholars is normal throughout history, yet their hearts remain sound and love and brotherhood remains between them because they all rely on the Sunnah of Prophet (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam).
Oh Allah, we love our scholars for your sake and we revere them out of respect for you.
Oh Allah, gather us with them in the hereafter, along with the anbiya, trustworthy, shuhada, and the saaliheen.
Oh Allah, make our intentions sincere and honor us with that which you honored them.
Oh Allah, grant us guidance in our words and deeds and save us from the mistakes and sins and guide us to the truth upon which people disagree. Indeed you guide whomever you will to the straight path. You are the Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.
Know, may Allah have mercy on you, that you have ordered to do something which He the Almighty started Himself and then His angels as He says: “Allâh and His angels send Salât on the Prophet. O you who believe! Send your Salât on him, and greet him with the Islâmic way of greeting.” [Surah Ahzaab: Ayah 56]
Oh Allah, send your peace and blessings upon Prophet Muhammad, our leader and guider and the most beloved prophet, and upon his rightly guide khulafa, family members, and those who follow them in righteousness until the day of Judgment, and upon us with them out of your generosity and mercy. Oh the most Merciful of the merciful.
Oh Allah, honor Islaam and Muslims. Oh Allah, honor Islaam and Muslims.
Oh Allah, make this land and all Muslim lands secure…