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Undoubtedly, I Say The Same Thing As Imaam Ash-Shaatibee

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Source: Imaam Muhammad Naasiruddeen al-Albaanee

Question:

May Allaah reward you with good. In Imaam ash-Shaatibee’s book “Al-Muwaafiqaat” he has the following statement, he says: “The ruling given by the scholar in relation to the common person who is aware of it, is like or has the similar standing of the evidence which is known to the scholar who capable of deriving independent rulings from the sources, meaning it must be followed.”

So we need a clarification of this statement. Is the common person sinning if he deliberately differs with the ruling given to him by a leading scholar, just as it is known that a scholar is considered to have transgressed if he contradicts the clear evidence from the sources which he is aware of?

Answer:

Undoubtedly, I say the same thing as Imaam ash-Shaatibee. There is no doubt that the common person who opposes the ruling of the scholar who issues a rulings for him without a valid excuse from the Sharee’ah, then firstly he is following or adhering to his desires, and secondly he contradicts what is required and obligated from the statement of our Lord the Blessed and the Most High, Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know ﴿-(Surah Nahl:43). Our Lord the Blessed and the Most High, has clearly commanded the general people in this verse to ask the people of knowledge. So do you think that anyone who is has been given understanding by His Lord the Blessed and the Most High, of what He has commanded in this verse: Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know ﴿-(Surah Nahl:43) can then say that what is intended is that after a common person asks a scholar for a ruling, he is then free to choose to follow or act upon what the scholar directed him to or free if he wishes to not follow or act upon it?!!

   Is there anyone who holds such an understanding or is the correct understanding of the verse Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know ﴿-(Surah Nahl:43) that one must act upon and comply with the rulings which the people of knowledge give you? Is there anyone who differs that indeed this is correct understanding of this verse? Certainly, this is its correct and proper meaning.

   As if the common person asks a scholar and he gives him a ruling then it is obligatory to comply and act upon this ruling, except for in the case where he has some significant doubt about the accuracy of the ruling. And this is something which happens often especially in these later times, when those who are taken as people of knowledge are often actually people of ignorance as was indicated would happen by the Prophet, may Allaah’s’ praise and salutations be upon him, in his saying as found in the hadeeth of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar Ibn al-‘Aas, which is found in both the collections of Imaam al-Bukharee and Imaam Muslim when he says: The Messenger of Allaah, may Allaah’s praise and salutation be upon him and his family, { Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge from people directly but he takes away the scholars and consequently takes away (knowledge) along with them and leaves amongst persons the ignorant as their leaders who deliver religious verdicts without knowledge and themselves go astray and lead others astray. }- 1 

   So if the common person is tested and put to the trial by asking an individual he believes is a scholar, yet that individual gives him a questionable ruling, similar to the ruling given by Tantaawee that it is permissibility to saving your money in a saving account of a bank. If a common person is put to trial through the likes of this questionable ruling which was issued by this Egyptian, meaning Tantaawee, and he then has doubts about the validity of the ruling; then he should not act upon it until have has asked several other people to see if they have knowledge of other statements from the scholars, until he is personally satisfied and his heart is comfortable that a specific ruling is indeed sound, then it is obligatory to act according to that ruling he is confident is sound.

   But as for the situation where he does not has any doubts or reservations about what he is informed of in a ruling from a scholar, then the situation is what we have previously stated of what the mentioned verse: Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know ﴿-(Surah Nahl:43) intends and correctly means. Thus, this understanding indicates to us the validity and soundness of that significant statement made by Abu Ishaaq as-Shaatibee, that the ruling given- in relation to the common person is like the evidence presented to another who is from the people of knowledge – otherwise the deen simply becomes a situation of chaos, and likewise becomes simply the following of ones desires. And there would be no true benefit is statements of Allaah the Exalted, such as Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know ﴿-(Surah Nahl:43).

   Therefore I would like to take this opportunity to direct our attention towards the way of some of our brothers, meaning those who stand upon our same methodology and path of acting upon the Book of our Lord and the Sunnah of our Prophet and the way of the first three righteous generations, who go to extremes when they make it obligatory upon the all the various general Muslims, who are both incapable and lack the ability; they make it obligatory upon the common Muslims to know the evidence of every matter and issue. Such that they claim that it is not permissible for someone, meaning every single Muslim, to accept a ruling of the scholar regarding what is permissible, prohibited, or obligatory, except that it is put forth along with its relevant evidences.

 

 

   This is going to extremes and exceeding what is correct by making obligatory upon the common people that which has not been made obligatory for them. And from here we come to a point of having to turn our attention to the necessity of stating that important condition or qualification what has always being the focus of our call, that it is not sufficient to only call to the Book of Allaah and to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah alone. We must join and connect along with that the condition -according to the way and methodology of the righteous predecessors from the first three generations. This is because their methodology will clarify for us a significant number of matters and issues which are not clear to the majority of the people of knowledge, especially the students of knowledge. And as such then that especially applies to those people below the students of knowledge even more so. So this issue should be approached from this perspective.

 

   As what is found by the one who researches the historical narrations from the first three generations of Muslims in those instances for example when someone who requiring a ruling would ask for a ruling from ‘Abdullah Ibn Umar or ‘Abdullah Ibn Masood or from someone else who was from the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah, may Allaah praise and salutations be upon him. In these cases did the scholar giving the ruling according to his position and efforts of independently reasoning and then say “…and its evidence it such and such.”?

   No, although this does sometimes occur, however they did not always adhere to this practice. Due to this we understand that, as this reality from them is transmitted to us in a way that there is no doubt concerning, that it is not from the methodology of the first three generations to be required to give rulings the general people in that way.

 

   Taking for example a case related to that inheritance which is to be divided between the remaining inheritors. They would say so and so receive a third and so and so receives a fourth and so on. I swear by Allaah, I confess that I personally am not able to fully grasp even until today, the various evidences regarding of these various detailed divisions, so how about the common people from among the Muslims, who are clearly not capable of comprehending the evidences of those detailed divisions!!

   But the first generations did not act or follow this extreme way, meaning that every ruling given by every scholar who issues rulings must be accompanied by his evidence. And that every individual who asks the scholars regarding a matter that it is upon him to request the specific evidence for everything he desires a ruling about. This is the point that I wanted to direct your attention to.

   And I think that now we should stop for a while, because I see that our brothers have begun to get drowsy, and are rubbing their eyes. So we will move on to other subjects, especially since the forehead of our companion seems to be sweating. So we will break for a while.

The questioner: May Allaah reward you with good, perhaps we can pray Salat al-‘Isha’ during the break?

Sheikh Al-Albaanee, may Allah have mercy upon him: This is the best this for us, please go ahead and call the adhan. 2 

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Footnotes

  1.   (Narrated in Saheeh al-Bukharee: 100, 7307\ Saheeh Muslim: 4829 \ Sunan at-Tirmidhee: 2576\ Sunan Ibn Maajah: 51\ Musnad Of Ahmad: 6222, 6498, 6602 \Sunan ad-Daramee: 239 from the hadeeth of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar Ibn al-‘Aas)
  2. From audio lecture no.382 of the “Guidance and Light Audio Tape Series

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