و اجمل منك لم تلد النساء

Salam

I found the above whilst looking through a manuscript of a sirah work authored by the notable Hanbali scholar:  Shaykh Mari bin Yusuf al-Karmi.  A rough translation would be as follows:

“And in reality the daughters of Adam have not given birth to anyone more handsome and beautiful than him.  As if he (Upon him be peace) was created as he wished.  May Allah reward the one who said:

My eye has not seen anyone more handsome than you

No woman has given birth to anyone as beautiful as you

You were created free of any blemish

As if you were created as you wished”

Allah bless and give peace to light that emanated in the month of Rabi.

Wassalam

Benefits of Making Mention of the Noble Shamail

Salam

A blessed Rabi al-Awwal Mubarak to visitors to the blog.  I have posted a fair bit on the Mawlid and matters related to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give peace) on the blog which readers may refer to.

I wished to post the following from a Shaykh Yusuf al-Nabhani, a scholar who needs no introduction regarding his dedication to praise of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give  him peace).   It is taken from his work Wasail al-Wusul p.8 onwards,  and it relates to the benefits obtained from the mention of the noble Shamail, something which  inshAllah many of us will be involved in during this month and the rest of our lives.  Shaykh al-Nabhani said regarding the intended benefits from the compiling of his Shamail (Allah bless him and give him peace):

“The aim from the compiling of his Shamail (Allah bless him and give him peace) is not the mere historical knowledge which peoples selves incline towards and hearts are attracted to, and are mentioned in gatherings…Rather the aim from the compiling of his Shamail (Allah bless him and give him peace) are other important benefits in the religion.

From them [important benefits] is the feeling of delight in his lofty attributes and pleasing characteristics (Allah bless him and give him peace).

From them [important benefits]  is drawing closer to him (Allah bless him and give him peace) and attaining his love and pleasure by making mention of his perfect attributes, and excellent character.  Just as a poet draws closer to a generous one by making mention of his beautiful attributes and characteristics.

There is no doubt that the compiling of his Shamail (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the disseminating of them is superior and more perfect than praising him with odes (qasaid).  This is even though he expressed his pleasure regarding those who praised him with them (qasaid) such as Hassan, Abdullah bin Rawaha and Kab bin Zuhayr (Allah be pleased with them all), and he rewarded them for this.  Thus there is no doubt that he is pleased with those who are involved in the compiling of his Shamail and their dissemination (Allah bless him and give him peace).  And from this is that we are attempting to respond to him (Allah bless him and give him peace) for his kindness towards us and his saving us from the darkness of misguidance to the lights of guidance and from perpetual wretchedness to everlasting felicity.  This immense blessing cannot be equalled to and it is not possible to repay him for this except Allah (Most High)…

And from them [important benefits] is the knowledge of his Noble Shamail leads to love of him (Allah bless him and give him peace), because man is naturally disposed to love beautiful attributes and those who possess them.  And there is nothing more beautiful and perfect than his attributes (Allah bless him and give him peace).  There is no doubt that he who comes across them and his heart is not imprinted with misguidance will love the possessor of them (Allah bless him and give him peace).  And by the increase and decrease of his love there will be an increase or decrease of faith (iman).  Rather the pleasure of Allah (Most High) and everlasting felicity and pleasures of the people of paradise and their ranks with it, all of these will be in proportion to the increase and decrease of love a slave has for him (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Just as the wrath of Allah (Most High) and perpetual wretchedness, and punishment of the people of the fire and their drowning in it will be in proportion to their large or small amount of hatred of him (Allah bless him and give him peace).

And from them [important benefits] is obedience and following of him for the one whom Allah has given success in that which he is able to follow him in.  Such as his generosity, forbearance, humility, zuhd, worship and other than them from his fine character traits and noble states (Allah bless him and give him peace).  And this necessitates the love of Allah (Most High) which contains felicity in both worlds.  He (Most High) said:  ‘If you love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you’.

May Allah make us from the followers of him (Allah bless him and give him peace) in his upright sacred law, and straight path, and gather us beneath his banner in the company of the people who love him (Upon him and them all blessings and peace).”

Taking Ones Fiqh From Hadith Books

Salam

Continuing on from the previous post, please find below a brief summary taken from Shaykh Abd al-Fattah al-Yafi’s work Al-Manhajiyyah al-Aamah in regards to taking fiqh from hadith books, not least when we see courses springing up teaching beginners texts like ‘Bulugh al-Maram’ etc.

Even when courses are designed to faithfully teach beginners the views of the four schools the discussion can only be superficial and not a detailed study of the madhab according to traditional methods, reminding me of the phrase “Jack of all trades, but master of none”.  Readers are referred to the detailed posts on the blog which examine common misconceptions about the relationship between fiqh and hadith.  Please find below a summary of what the Shaykh has written in regards to this:

The Error Of Taking Fiqh From Books of Hadith

Some people think that they will achieve an understanding of fiqh by the mere reading of books of hadith and their commentaries, rather some suffice themselves with the books of hadith without even making recourse to their extensive commentaries.  Thus they proceed and take from them legal rulings according to their “Ijtihad”.  Both of these approaches are incorrect, the second of them more severely flawed and dangerous, the reasons for it being so are:

1- That which is contained in the books of  hadith and their commentaries are only selected legal rulings which are by no means comprehensive.  As for the books of fiqh then they deal with the legal rulings in a detailed manner, from A-Z. That which is in the books of hadith commentaries (in terms of legal rulings) is very small in comparison to that which is contained in the books of fiqh.

2-The books of hadith and their commentaries do not usually mention the conditional clauses and exceptions for the legal ruling.  The reason for this is that the books of hadith are not written to be specialised fiqh manuals.

3-The books of hadith often contain the personal views of the commentators themselves, and not a relaying  of the views of the legal school (madhab) that they themselves follow.  This in turn leads to misunderstandings.

What has been mentioned above is in no way intended to detract from importance of the books of hadith and their commentaries, indeed Imam al-Suyuti said as in al-Hawi (2/398):

“The earlier scholars said:  The hadith expert (Muhaddith) without fiqh is like a pharmacist who is not a doctor, the medicines are available in his shop but he does not know for that which they are to be used.  The jurist (faqih) without hadith is like a doctor who is not a pharmacist, he knows which medicines will be appropriate except that he does not possess them”

Rather it is intended that it be understood that fiqh is not taken from the books of hadith and their authors, rather it is to be taken from the books of fiqh and their authors.  This is the Sunnah of Allah in His specifying specialists for each science, thus it should be taken from its specialists.

Contemporary Chaos In The Study Of Fiqh

Salam

I was writing up some material taken from Shaykh Abd al-Fattah al-Yafi’s excellent  book Al-Manhajiyyah al-Aamah which pretty well summed up mine and some other individuals observance regarding the teaching of fiqh.

U-Turn?

In the past we would hear some groups’ condemnation of the ‘blind following’ of madhabs and enjoinment of the ‘following of evidences’.  To their credit this has been tempered somewhat to a more milder ‘We accept madhabs/study according to them but do not do so fanatically’

Teaching From A Text And Going Against It

Upon closer examination of this new approach we find (as mentioned below) not all is at it seems.  Yes, books of the madhabs are being used, but more as a structure/skeleton giving the teacher prompts from which he discusses the ‘evidences’ and then declares which one he believes to be the ‘strongest’.  For them the teaching of fiqh is just discussing and weighing up of the evidences for any particular issue.  Those who have had any taste of the traditional methods of study know how far removed this approach is from that which the they have experienced.

The following is a summary of what Shaykh al-Yafi mentions in his book:

Examples Of Contemporary Chaos in The Study of Fiqh
1-The abandoning of the books of the legal schools (madhabs) which have been traditionally studied, and focussing upon the books of the Zahiri school  or the fiqh of Imam al-Shawkani.  What is intended is not a criticism/mocking of the Zahiri school or Imam al-Shawkani (Allah have mercy on them) but what is meant is the exchanging of superior works for those which are of a lesser quality.

2-The abandoning of the books of the madhabs and a focussing on the deducing of legal rulings from books of hadith, such as the two Sahih’s, Sunan works, Bulugh al-Maram, al-Muntaqa and their like.  The good amongst these people is the one who looks at the commentaries.  Rare is that they refer to an issue in the books of fiqh.  As for the one studies fiqh of a madhab from A-Z then he is indeed rare to find.

3-Some of them when they saw that the study of fiqh without recourse to a madhab was not beneficial moved to teach some of the books of the madhabs, however they did not teach them as they should be taught and thereby fell in to a number of errors such as the following:

i) They did not proceed in their teaching as the previous scholars did, meaning by gradually taking the student through an increasingly difficult set of works.  This is by beginning with a brief/short text, then one of medium length, and then a detailed one.  Rather they jumped to the top of the ladder, whereas one who does not climb a ladder gradually will fall.  This approach results in the student not benefitting as he should, not completing the detailed book, nor fully understanding what he studies from it, because it is lengthy, detailed and above his level.  Its wording is often very precise and nuanced which requires the study of the medium length and brief works before it, in addition to someone to unpack it.

ii) When teaching a text of a madhab the teacher does not impart to the student knowledge of the madhab, rather in each issue he tells the student:  ‘The strongest opinion in this issue is such and such’.  Thus according to this teaching method there is no difference between the teaching of the books of al-Shawkani and books of the madhabs.

iii) That the teacher of the madhab work possesses no expertise in fiqh, nor has he studied the madhab which he is attempting to teach.  He is not fully qualified to teach and therefore many of the legal issues are difficult for him to decipher much less the students.  How can the students understand the legal issues if the teacher himself does not?

iv) Each of the four madhabs includes principles (usul) branches (furu) and maxims (qawaid).  A mistake is to mix between these three area’s for the student.  For example the student is taught fiqh according to a madhab, usul according to another madhab, and qawaid according to yet another, or not according to a madhab at all.