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Islamic Law

We want Islamic law to conform to our liking, so much so that we will find some Fatwa (Islamic ruling) to justify our actions.

The ordinary laymen, and so too, many who are highly qualified in the secular field, read the Qur`aan Shareef and authentic Hadeeth kitaabs[1] such as Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, and find some Ayah (verse) or Hadeeth to justify their actions.

Often, the Ayah or Hadeeth is taken out of context and expounded to justify grave and major sins.

Each Ayah and Hadeeth has an explanation and commentary. If there was no need for explanations, we would not have had Allama Sayyid Mahmood Baghdadi (rahmatullahi alaih ِ ), Ibn Katheer (rahmatullahi alaih ِ ) and other Mufassireen (commentators of the Qur`aan Shareef), or Hafez Asqalani (rahmatullahi alaih ِ ), Mulla Ali Qaari (rahmatullahi alaih ِ ) and other Muhadditheen[2] writing volumes in commentary. Therefore, to just read and present an Ayah from the Qur`aan Shareef or a Hadeeth from a kitaab is not sufficient to justify one’s actions.

Despite the fact that there are so many law books and medical journals at the disposal of the layman, not everyone is qualified to understand or explain and interpret these. One has to spend many years in study and research under one already qualified in the field of law, medicine, etc. before one can do so. …If some quack has to give a wrong opinion or an incorrect diagnosis, he would be sued for malpractice.

So in the field of Ifta[3], only those qualified in the science of Qur`aan and Hadeeth may issue verdicts. No matter how many certificates, degrees and other qualifications and titles a person may have acquired in the secular field, these do not then give him (or her) the license and authority to issue Fatwas (rulings) in the sphere of religion.

…Then there are so many who have a superficial knowledge of just the Arabic language but consider themselves qualified to interpret the Qur`aan Shareef and Ahaadeeth.

The Sahaba-e-Kiraam (ُradiyallahu anhum ْ ), who were perfectly acquainted and versant in the language of Arabic, were still required to formally learn the Qur`aan Shareef from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam). It would therefore be false and arrogant of a person, with a basic study of Arabic, to lay claim to having more knowledge and understanding than the noble Sahabah (radiyallahu anhum) by presenting his own commentary of the Qur`aan.

There are so many who have not studied Shariah under the guidance of Ulama-e-Haq, who reject the teachings of the Mujtahideen[4] and present their own concocted theories and commentaries; others are quick to quote Ayaah and Ahaadeeth in support of their sinful actions, or misinterpret the same. Such people should seriously heed the warnings of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) in regard to their careless and erroneous statements and ignorant behaviour.

Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said : “Whosoever, in interpreting the Qur`aan, says therein anything of his own opinion commits a mistake even if he is correct.”[5]

In another narration, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) mentioned : “Whoso interprets the Qur`aan without knowledge, let him seek his abode in the Fire.”[6]

And: “Whoso interprets the Qur`aan according to his opinion, let him seek his abode in the Fire.”[7]

In regard to misquoting Ahaadeeth, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) stated explicitly : “Be careful of (narrating) traditions from me except what you know. Whoso imputes falsehood to me intentionally, let him then seek his abode in the fire.”[8]

Yes, when it comes to etiquette, character, the stories of the Ambiyaa (عَليْهِمُ السَّلام ) and nations of the past, the causes of rise and decline; paradise and hell, reward and retribution, then read and quote authentic Tafseer or translation; but when it comes to the laws of Shariah, Fatawa (Islamic rulings), commentary of Qur`aan and Hadeeth, leave it to those who have spent years mastering these sciences and are experts in these fields.

Nowadays, the title of ‘Mufti’[9] has also become very cheap. Some spend a few months or a year in a Darul Ifta[10] and become rubber stamp “Mufti so and so”.Before enquiring about matters pertaining to Deen, verify the person’s qualifications, just as we do in worldly matters.

…Women have a weakness, that if a woman gives a powerful speech on a subject, having read some Islamic books, she is asked questions on all subjects. The speaker too, will sometimes reply to all questions, even though unaware or ignorant.

Just giving a good speech is no qualification to answer all questions on the Qur`aan Shareef and Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

We should be cautious and selective regarding whom we acquire Ilm-e-Deen[11]from. …There is a famous statement of Muhammad bin Sireen (rahmatullahi alaih ِ ): “This knowledge is a matter of Deen, so be careful who you take your Deen from.”

We should keep these points in mind and we should also not lay claim to qualifications we do not possess.

[1] kitaabs : books
[2] Muhadditheen : Scholars of Hadith
[3] Ifta : Legal Shar’i injunctions
[4] Mujtahideen : Scholars certified as capable to interpret Islamic Law
[5] Abu Dawood
[6] Tirmidhi
[7] Tirmidhi
[8] Tirmidhi
[9] Mufti : Muslim Jurist
[10] Darul Ifta : Institution offering a course concentrating on Islamic Law and passing verdicts.

Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel Saheb (rahmatullah alayh)

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