The Removal of Blame from the Great Imams

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English Translation of Raf'ul-Malaam 'anil-A'immatil-A'laam | Syaikhul Islam Ibnu Taimiyyah rahimahullah

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The Removal of Blame from the Great Imams

  1. 1. Islamic Studies 46:3 (2007) pp. 317-380 The Removal of Blame from the Great Imams: An Annotated Translation of Ibn Taymiyyah's. Raf al Maldm 'anal-A 'immatal-A 'lam AHMAD IBN 'ABD AL-HALIMIBNTAYMIYYAH Tr. andAnn. ABDUL HAKIM AL-MATROUDI I INTRODUCTION Ahmad b. 'Abd al-Halim b. ?Abdal-Salam b. 'AbdAllah b. Abi '1-Qasimal Khidr b. Muhammad b. Taymiyyah1 (661-728/1263-1328) is arguably the most distinguishedand influential and perhaps one of medieval Hanbali jurist2 was born in He Harran (presentday Turkey) themost prolific among them.3 and livedduring the era of thefirst Mamluks (648-784/1250-1382).However, he was forced to move from his native region and take up residence in Damascus due to the Mongol onslaught fromtheEast.4He lived in turbulent 1 For a discussion of the possible reasons forhim being given thename Taymivyah/ see,Abdul Hakim Ibrahim al-Matroudi, The Hanbali School of Law and Ibn Taymiyyah: Conflict or Conciliation (London: Routledge Curzon, 2006), 199-200 f. 2 'Abd al-Rahman b. Ahmad Ibn Rajab, al-Dhayl 'old Tabaqat al-Handbilah (Beirut:Dar al Ma'rifah, n.d.), 2:388-91; 'Umar b. 'Ali al-Bazzar, al-A'lam al-'Altyyabft Manaqib Ibn Taymiyyah (Beriut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1400ah), 18-20, 40,77. 3 The total number of works written by Ibn Taymiyyah are not known exactly but there is agreement thathe was a prolific author. See, 'Abd al-Hayy b. Ahmad Ibn al-'Imad, Shadharat al Dhahab fi Akhbar Man Dhahab pamsacus-Beirut: Dar Ibn Kathir, 1992), 8:147. See also, Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Dhahabi,Dhayl Ta'rikh alhtam (Riyadh:Dar al-Mughni, 1990) 326; Muhammad b. Ahmad Ibn 'Abd al-Hadi, al-Vqudal-DurriyyahminManaqibShaykh al-Islam Ibn Maktabat al-Mua'yyad, n.d.), 64-66; al-Bazzax, al-A'lam, 25-28;Muhammad Taymiyyah (Riyadh: b. 'Abd Allah Ibn Rushayyiq, Asmd'Mu'allafat Shaykhalhlam Ibn Taymiyyah (Beirut:Dar al Kitab al-Jadid,1983), 8, (it is attributed mistakenly toMuhammad b. Abi Bakr Ibn al-Qayyim, d. 751/1350); Mar'i b. Yusuf al-Karmi, al-Kawakib al-Duriyyahfi Manaqib alMujtahid Ibn Taymiyyah (Beirut:Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, 1986), 78; and cf. al-Matroudi,TheHanbali School of Law, 4 23-30. Ibrahim b. Muhammad Ibn Muflih, al-Maqsad al-Arshadfi Dhikr Ashab al-Imdm Ahmad Maktabat al-Rushd, 1410ah), 1:133. (Riyadh: This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  2. 2. AHMAD IBN 'ABD IBN AL-HALlM TAYMIYYAH 318 was times when Muslim political fragmentation clearlyvisible.Moreover, legal fanaticismand doctrinal laxityprevailed in Muslim lands and he ishistorically as someone who sought to rectifyboth religious and portrayed political disparities and deviancies which led to open encounters with his contemporariesaswell as to long spells inprison.5 Ibn Taymiyyah is often seen through a simplisticanti-rationalist prism, and literalinclinationstowards that is, as someonewith strict Hadith which he over emphasised and preferred to acceptance of broader legal theories and principles. The present textwould sufficeto undermine that view. Raf al Malam 'anal-A'immat aUA'ldm is a short text inwhich the readerobserves Ibn In which has a balanced tone par excellence. this treatise, Taymiyyah as a jurist to argue as towhy a mujtahid and is couched in erudite language,he proceeds might depart from directly acting upon a hadith text and follow insteadhis methodological principles (usiil).This forms the basis of his delineating the reasons underlying the disagreementsfound among fyluslimjurists in general and theirholding differinglegal opinions and proffering divergentarguments in supportof those opinions. It is interesting that Ibn Taymiyyah turneddown the request of some of to compose a treatisein the Science of Jurisprudence his students (usiilalfiqh) which would contain all of his jurisprudential and preferences in opinions order to be used as a basis for issuing legalverdicts (fatawa). He justified his out that rulingson jurisprudentialissues are based upon refusalby pointing independentreasoning (ijtihad)and there is no harm for the subjectof the law (mukallafito imitatea mujtahid for thatpurpose.6Thus, Ibn Taymiyyah did not see the existence of various jurisprudential approaches to be problematic; he rather, believed that the real problem lay in intoleranceand fanaticism.In the Raf al-Malam, Ibn Taymiyyah pleads for toleranceby identifying different causes for jurisprudential and seeks to absolve disagreements(ikhtilafj possible themujtahid of any blame in committingan error and/or in departing froma hadith inhis judgment. No doubt, Ibn Taymiyyah's espousal of thispositionwas an outcome of various contributoryfactors.In what follows, I hope to give to the reader a which would hopefully provide glimpse of Ibn Taymiyyah's lifeand thought some insightinto the reasonsunderpinningthis sensitivity. The firstsectionof of this Introduction will focus on some of the statements his contemporaries as mentioned in the biographical sources, which reflect their opinions The next section regardingIbn Taymiyyah's "naturaland acquired attributes." of will present some of theunique features Ibn Taymiyyah's scholarship,such 5 Sec, al-Matroudi,TheHanbali School ofLaw, 13-16. 6 Al-Bazzar, alA 'lam, 35-37. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  3. 3. THE REMOVALOF BLAMEFROMTHE GREATIMAMS 319 as his distinguishedknowledge ofHadith and jurisprudenceand some of his will The last section opinionswith regardto legal imitation(taqlid)and ijtihdd. draw attention to some of the salientpoints inRaf al-Maldm in the hope of the sense and context to the reader presenting of this treatise before finally a of Arabic text. offering full translation theoriginal sources extol the virtues of Ibn Taymiyyah and The biographical biographicalworks are repletewith praise by his contemporaries,especially his students,7 and also his successors.8 He was fortunate that his father Shihab al-Din ?Abdal-Halim b.Abd al-Salam (d. 682/1283) and his grandfather Majd al-Din Abd al-Salam b. Abd Allah (d. 652/1254)?both distinguished legal scholars in their times?greatly contributed to his early learning. So thorough was his early trainingthatby the age of twentyor even earlier,he and intense was issuing legal opinions within theHanbali School and according to the statement the great of Hanbali jurist, Muhammad b. Ahmad Ibn 'Abd al-Hadl was also Ibn Taymiyyah's student, the people of (d. 744/1345), who were dazzled by the intensity his of Damascus, where Ibn Taymiyyah lived, while hewas stilla child,hewas intelligenceand acumen.9It isno wonder that as a described "precocious genius."10 Ibn Taymiyyah had a phenomenal and prodigious memory and there Often he would be very littlehe would read and fail to commit tomemory.11 would a memorize of works large number in various branches of learning,12 was rare to finda and 'Umar b. 'All al-Bazzar (d. 749/1348) remarked that it not know about.13 His sharp and systematic book which Ibn Taymiyyah did enabled him to acquire knowledge of encyclopaedic proportions and memory when Ibn Taymiyyah Muhammad b.All al-Zamalkanl (727/1327)notes that would answer a in one question of the traditional the listener disciplines, would think thathe did not know any other discipline due to the depth and comprehensive nature of his answer.14 Even a cursory reading of Ibn 7 most pre-eminentfiguressuch as IbnKathir, al-Dhahabi, IbnQayyim His students include the al-Jawziyyah, 8 al-Bazzar and Ibn 'Abd al-Hadi. Indeed, the sources also document themore controversial episodes of Ibn Taymiyyah's life that have been discussed and treated especially his doctrinal conflicts and legal interpretations elsewhere. See, Al-Matroudi, TheHanbali School ofLaw, 20-23 for an account of his admirers and detractors. 9 Ibn 'Abd al-Hadi, alVqiid, 3. 10 53. 18-19 and al-Karmi, al-Kawdkib, al-A'ldm, Al-Bazzar, 11 8: 144. Ibn al-'Imad, Shadhardta al-Dhahab, See, 12 6 and al-Bazzar, al-A'ldm, See, Ibn 'Abd al-Hadi, al-'Uqud, 19. 13 Ibid. 14 details of the testimonyof leading scholars regarding the breadth of his Ibid., 7. For further knowledge, see, Ibn 'Abd al-Hadi, al-'Uqud, 3-26; al-Bazzar, al-A'ldm, This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 22-31 and al-Karmi, al
  4. 4. 320 AHMAD IBN *ABD AL-HALIMIBNTAYMIYYAH Taymiyyah's works reveals a thoroughnessand an encompassing attention to detail, possible only on the basis of extensive knowledge and sharp As a understanding of the various Islamic and non-traditional disciplines.15 scholar repliedwhen asked about him, "I saw aman as though all the leading sciences [were laid] open beforehis eyes and he took as hewished.'916 Arabic grammarand semanticsas Ibn Taymiyyah not only read theology, as exegesis (tafsir), he also became proficientinAlgebra, logic,history but well and philosophy. As a result,he wrote polemical treatisesrefuting Aristotelian Although it philosophy that had seeped into the academic lifeof his day.17 must be mentioned that thanks to his studies in logic, there are undeniable traces of its influenceespecially in his systematic presentation of arguments and his use of explicitreasoningfromestablishedpremises. Aside from the tributes paid to Ibn Taymiyyah's intellectual and scholarly qualities, the biographical sources also mention the strengthand resolve of his character. Al-Bazzar, for example, describes Ibn Taymiyyah as most courageous people who he had not seen the likesof."18 "one of the This courage is reflected in his long periods of detention in both Cairo and Damascus. Although Ibn Taymiyyah's detentionswere extremelydistressing for him, it is obvious that he was able to turn them to his advantage by This is perhaps concentratingon scholarlypursuitsof teachingandwriting.19 Kawakib, 55-72, 80-82. 15 See, Al-Karmi, al-Kawakib, 71, 79; al-Bazzar, al-A'lam, 32; Ibn Rajab, Dhayl, 2: 389-393 and min al-Asha'irah (Riyadh: Maktabat 'Abd al-Rahman b. Salih al-Mahmud, Mawqiflbn Taymiyyah 1: 262,294. al-Rushd, 1995), 16 d-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah Khildl Sab'at Muhammad 'Aziz Shams, et al, al-Jami'fi StrutShaykh Qurun (Makkah: Dar 'Alam al-Fawa*id, 1420ah), 258. See also, Ibn al-'Imad, Shadharat al Dhahab, 8:146. 17 Dar al-Kutub al-'flmiyyah, See,Muhammad b. 4Alial-Dawudi, Tabaqat alMufassirin (Beirut: most notable being 1:49. Ibn Taymiyyah composed several Greek logic, works to refute 1983), his,Naqd al-Mantiq (Cairo:Maktabat al-Sunnah al-Muhammadiyyah,n.d.) and volume 9 of his, Majmu* Fatawa Shaykh allslam Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah (Riyadh: Dar 'Alam al-Kutub, 1991), [henceforth referred to as *Faiawa". It is not difficult to see the reason underpinning his Greek logic that Islamic philosophers espoused the scathing attack as itwas through inheriting doctrine of the eternityof theworld; an incongruentaccount of the nature and attributesof with mediatory roles of the 'Intelligences'; a deficient God; thePlatonic cosmological hierarchy notion of prophethood; the creation of theQur'an, etc.All these teachings,as espoused by the philosophers, stood in stark contrast to what Ibri Taymiyyah perceived to be the Sunni or orthodox position thatwas dictated by the text of theQur'an and the Sunnah. See,Wael B. Greek Logicians (Oxford:Clarendon Press, 1993), xii. Hallaq, Ibn Taymiyyahagainst the 18 al-A 'lam,69 and al-Karmi,al-Kawakib, 91. Al-Bazzar, 19 This can be seen clearly through the vast number of extant treatises.Ibn 'Abd al-Hadi, al majority of Ibn Taymiyyah's books Vqiid, 51; Ibn Rajab, al-Dhayl, 2:403, he observes that the were written in prison oftenwithout any referencesto consult and use. See also, al-Bazzar, al This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  5. 5. THE REMOVAL BLAMEFROMTHE GREATIMAMS OF 321 what Ibn Taymiyyah meant when he declared, "There is great benefit in it," when he was informed of his imprisonment.20 Indeed, apart from the these detentions to concentrate on scholarly opportunity provided by pursuits, there isno doubt that thesedetentions also added to his fame.21 Important for the comprehensionof the present text is the fact that Ibn Hadith andfiqh.With Taymiyyah was especially noted forhis knowledge in who had just a smattering of Hadith, Ibn Taymiyyahwas not a jurist regardto it. Far from that,he had studied it under several eminent Hadith specialists was his knowledge ofHadith that it of his time. So extensive (muhaddithun) most distinguished Hadith scholars. evoked the admirationof the Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Dhahabi (d. 748/1348), for example, remarked that if someone claimed that if any particular hadithwas not known to Ibn Taymiyyah, it In could not be counted as a hadith,his claimwill be true.22 addition,Yusuf b. *Abd al-Rahman al-MizzI (d. 742/1341) asserts that he had not seen anyone more knowledgeable than Ibn Taymiyyah in Qur'an and SunnahP Ibn Taymiyyah's vast knowledge ofHadith had a significantimpact on his opinions.24It enabled him to declare in plain termsthat a correct textdoes not conflict and that several opinions in some of the with correct reason,25 or were supported schools of law had "no supportingproofs,"26 at best, they A 'lam, 24;Muhammad b. 'All al-Shawkani,al-Radr al-Tali' hi Mahasin man ba'd al-Qam al-Sdbi' Matba'at al-Sa'adah, 1348), 1:72, he states that if Ibn Taymiyyah had not been (Cairo: confrontedby all the excessive trials (mihan)he would have presentedmore research. It could be also safely concluded that if Ibn Taymiyyah had not faced all thesemihan, he would have to other areas such as jurisprudence and its probably directed more of his attention fundamentalsorHadith. 20 Al-Karmi, al-Kawakib, 149. 21 Al-Bazzar, alA Ham,78. 22 See, Ibn al-'Imad, Shadharat al-Dhahab, 8:145. ' 23 See, Ibn Abd al-Hadi, */-' Uqiid, 7. 24 to hold the opinion thatwhen thewater is less than qullatayn, it For instance, he used becomes impure as soon as itmeets dirt even if its smell, colour or tastehas not been changed. However, lateron he changed his opinion concerning this issue aswe findhim denying the use of qullatayn as a measure. This change in Ibn Taymiyyah's opinion seems to reflectthe change in his knowledge of hadith, as he later arrived at the conclusion that the hadith of qullatayn is not correct, going furtherto say that itwas attributed incorrectlyto the Prophet (peace be on him), and these are instead thewords of one of the companions. For other examples, see, Ibn Taymiyyah, Fatawa, 21: 512-518,22: 71-72 and for another example, see, 'All b.Muhammad al min Fatawa Shaykhal-IsldmIbn Taymiyyah (Riyadh:Maktabat al Ba'li, al-Ikhtiyarat al-Fiqhiyyah to Riyadh al-Hadithah, n.d.), 16, [henceforthreferred as "al-Ikhtiyarat"]. 25 Ahmad b. 'Abd al-Halim Ibn Taymiyyah deals with this issue in various parts of his treatises; see, for instance,his work Dar* Ta'arud al-'Aql wa 'l-Naql (Beirut:Dar al-Kutub al-'Dmiyyah, 1997). 26 For some examples of thispoint, see, Ibn Taymiyyah, Fatawa, 22: 595-596 and 26: 270. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  6. 6. AHMAD IBN 'ABD AL-HALIM TAYMIYYAH ffiN 322 by "weak evidences. "27 On severaloccasions, Ibn Taymiyyah's knowledge ofHadith helped him to deal with the problem of the existence of conflicting jurisprudential opinions.He assertsthat in some cases, all thedifferent opinions have "correct i.e. they are grounded in Hadith and therefore of theseopinions are all bases," accurate but all of them ought not to be simultaneously acted upon.28He of perceived differences opinion on legal issues as instancesof legaldiversity ratherthanof conflict. Moreover, Ibn Taymiyyah's knowledge of the terminologyofHadith influencedhis legal judgements in several disputes involving jurisprudential specifics.Ibn Taymiyyah asserts that the reason behind these disputes lay in themisunderstanding of some of the complex and ambiguous terminologies related to and found in Hadith texts.29 With regard to fiqh> Ibn Taymiyyah possessed a broad and detailed understanding of the statements and jurisprudential terminology of the Hanball School of law,Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241/855). There eponym of the for instance, several rulings issued by Hanball scholars which Ibn are, Taymiyyah has argued to be "incorrect."He attributes this to "the misunderstanding of Ahmad ibnHanbal's statementsand words"30 and his discussions and clarificationswere to have a lasting influence on the subsequentdiscussionswithin the school.He does add, however, thatat times 27 For instance, in theHanbali School there is an opinion which states that the recommended prayer before the obligatory zuhr prayer is four rak'at.This opinion is attributedtoAhmad ibn Hanbal and held and mentioned by several leadingHanbali scholars, such as Abu 'l-Khattab Mahfud b. Ahmad al-Kulwac&ani and Muhammad b. al-Husayn al-Ajurri (d. 360/971). This opinion is based on the hadith reportingthat the Prophet used to pray four raka'at before the 'Asr prayer. See, 'All b. Sulayman Al-Mardawi, al-Insafft Ma'rifat al-Rajih min al-Khilaf *ala Mu'assasat al-Ta'rikh al-'Arabi, n.d.), 2:177. Ibn Madhhab al-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Beirut: He asserts that Taymiyyah states that this ruling is not accurate as it is based on a weak hadith. no correcthadithwhich supports this ruling.For other examples of thispoint, see, Ibn there is Taymiyyah, Fatawd, 21: 512. 28 Ibn Taymiyyah gives various examples of this point, see for example, his, Fatdwa, 22: 335 355. 29 For example, in the issue of the typeof hajjwhich was performedby theProphet (peace be on him), Ibn Taymiyyah attributes the existence of the conflictingopinions in this issue to a number of factors,one ofwhich is themisunderstanding of some terms mentioned in hadiths with this point. See, Ibn Taymiyyah, Fatdwa, 22: 292-293 and 26: 61-79. For further dealing examples of thispoint, see, ibid., 21:122. 30 For examples of thispoint, see, al-Ba'li, allkhtiyarat, 54, 76, 211-212. Another point to note is that Ibn Taymiyyah thinks that thisproblem i.e. the misunderstanding ofAhmad's words, was not only confined to Hanbali scholars,he points out thateven some Imams, such as Ibn 'Abd al Barr of theMaliki School also misunderstood some of Ahmad's texts. See for example, Ibn Taymiyyah, Fatdwa, 22: 589. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  7. 7. THE REMOVALOF BLAMEFROMTHE GREATIMAMS 323 Hanbali scholarswho did correctlyunderstand the statements and words attributedtoAhmad, nevertheless failed to correctlyapply them to the legal issuesunder consideration.31 He furtheradds that internaldiscussions in the matters thatwere presumably school were conflated with newly introduced ascribed to Ahmad ibn Hanbal but on later scrutinywere not entirely accurate32and conversely, Ibn Taymiyyah asserts that there are some issues was thathe where it is claimed that Ahmad did not referto thembut the fact didmake such reference.33 matters of After a scrutiny Ibn Taymiyyah's discussions of jurisprudential it becomes evident that inmost cases he would follow a particular method to reach his jurisprudentialpreferences,or what is known as aUkhtiydratal fiqhiyyah. Ibn Taymiyyah would investigate the various narrations and opinions of his school in a meticulous and comparativemanner and would thereafter preferto a particularopinion. within Hanbali jurisprudenceprovided the Ibn Taymiyyah's preferences scholars of his school with the platform upon which they could still be identified as Hanbalis and at the same time adhere to "the most correct issues.Thus, on account of opinion" in relation to thevarious jurisprudential his extensiveknowledge in Hadith andfiqh> Ibn Taymiyyah was ideallyplaced to critically examine conflicting reports and/pass judgements on internal conceptual andmethodological disputesof the school Ibn Taymiyyah's opinions with regard to taqltd and ijtihad also had a This influence is evident in thought. significantimpact on his jurisprudential his position towards thedifferent schools of law. Ibn Taymiyyah had reservations about having excessive bias towardsone to that it is difficult argue forone particular scholar particular scholar, stating as being "the best scholar" because every scholar has strengths where his those of others.34 he mentions that any strict Also, opinion outweighs for a single scholar is no more than a generalisation which is often preference on presumption ifnot mere caprice. This, according to him, leads to based contentious disagreements in theMuslim community which is eipressly forbiddenin Islam.35 Instead of such preferencebetween scholars,Ibn Taymiyyah insists upon tolerance between the various schools of law.He cites the example of the Prophet's Companions who accepted differentviews, declaring that the 31 See, for instance, ibid., 23: 280. 32 See, for instance, ibid., 23:278. 33 See for instance, ibid., 21:179, 300, 407, and 22: 588-590, 621,622, and 25: 241. 34 Ibid., 22: 293. 35 See, ibid., 22: 291-292. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  8. 8. AHMADH3N 'ABD EBN AL-HALIM TAYMIYYAH 324 various parties would be rewarded for their independent reasoning.36 Therefore, Ibn Taymiyyah concludes, the same principlemust be applied to the opinions of other scholars.Those who prefer to imitate al-Shafi'i, for instance, should not disapprove of thosewho prefer to follow Ahmad ibn He assertsthatno one can impose the opinions of his Hanbal and vice versa?7 on others.38 school Furthermore,he insists thatpartial conversion fromone school of law to another in some situationsis even obligatory.For instance,if the imitator (muqallid) knows that certain opinions in his school are in opposition to clear textsand thatcorrectopinions are held by another school of law, he must followwhat is correct even though it is not fromhis own school.39 Similarly, Ibn Taymiyyah asserts that the existence of these "incorrect opinions" in a school of law should not be used as an excuse to attack those scholars.As he explains, this is because those scholarswere mujtahids. In were targets strongattacks from laypeople of reality,however, these scholars and even some scholars. In an attempt to counter this antagonism, Ibn Taymiyyah composed Raf al-Malam in which he defends the mujtahid which were thought scholars and clarifiesthe reasonsunderlying theirrulings to be in opposition to the texts. Ibn Taymiyyah argues that the leading scholars did not deliberately intend to oppose the sunnah of the Prophet his (peace be on him) in anymanner. It is clear thathe is limiting assertion to those scholars whom he describes as "generally accepted by theMuslim He justifies assertion in arguingfurther his that the leading scholars ummah."40 not deliberately oppose the sunnah of theProphet (peace be on him) by did the fact that "they are in definiteagreementon theobligation of following the while it is allowed that the words of anyone other Prophet (peace be on him),, be than theProphet can [either] accepted or rejected."41 In his attempt to absolve a mujtahid from any blame of contravening most likely reasons direct textual evidences, Ibn Taymiyyah proposes three which lead to disagreementand at times even conflictamong jurists:the first restsupon themujtahid's belief in the non-existenceof a hadith text cited as evidence by his opponent. The second is that themujtahidmay have thought that the implication of the hadith (textualor otherwise) had no connection 36 See, ibid., 22:292-293. 37 Ibid. 38 Ibid., 27: 300. 39 See, ibid., 27: 210-216. Cf. also, al-Matroudi,TheHanbali School ofLaw, 84-9. 40 Ahmad b. 'Abd al-Halim Ibn Taymiyyah, Raf al-Malam 'analA'immat al-A'lam (Riyadh: al Ri'asah al-'Ammah li Idarat al-Buhuth al-'flmiyyah,1413ah), 8. 41 Ibid., 9. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  9. 9. THE REMOVALOF BLAMEFROMTHE GREAT IMAMS 325 with that aspect of thequestion thathewas investigating. Finally, the mujtahid have thought that the ruling contained in the hadith had actually been may abrogated.42 Ibn Taymiyyah argues that the firstreason for the conflict can exist in severalways. Firstly, itmay have been the case that the scholar had no knowledge of the hadith text.According to Ibn Taymiyyah, this is the predominant reason for thedivergencebetween the textand the rulingderived by a mujtahid. This, as he explains, is because of the vastness of the Sunnah. Ibn Taymiyyah does not think that this reasonwas confined to the era before the canonical collections ofHadith as these collections do not contain all of for the Sunnah.Moreover, it is difficult every scholar to know all the hadiths containedwithin thesecanonical collections,for theirnumber isvery large.43 Secondly, a scholarmay believe that the hadith thatwas citedwas not actually uttered by the Prophet (peace be on him) because themujtahid had received the hadith through an unreliable chain of transmission (isnad).This second case, as Ibn Taymiyyah observes, existedmore widely after the first generation of Islam, because during the firstcentury therewas no need for where contrary to the successive generations studyingchains of transmitters theneed for caution and rigorous evaluative methods were required owing to was extensive fabricationof thehadiths.4* Thirdly, it is possible that the hadith known to themujtahid but he did not base his rulingon it either because he or forgotthehadith itself did not consider it to be relevant.45 The second cause of disagreement,according to Ibn Taymiyyah, is that themujtahidmay have failed to know the indicationsof the text relevantfor the ruling. This may be because of the existence of some "strange'' and words or complex and ambiguous terms in that text anomalous (gharib) which themujtahid from comprehending the intended prevented meaning. It may also be due to the fact that the mujtahidmight have concluded that there is in no indication thatexists in the textrelevantfor the correspondingruling.46 fact The differencebetween this last point and the previous one, as Ibn Taymiyyah explains, is that in the lattercase the scholar did not extract the ruling on this text because of his understanding and his application of the whereas in the formercase what prevented the principles of jurisprudence, scholar from implementingthe relevant text is his failure to grasp the full 42 See, 43 See, 44 See, 45 See, 46 See, ibid. ibid., 948. ibid., 18-19. ibid., 22-25. ibid., 25-29. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  10. 10. AHMAD EBN 'ABD AL-HALIMIBN TAYMIYYAH 326 extractionof a ruling.47 implicationof the textrequired foran informed The thirdand finalcause forconflict,according to Ibn Taymiyyah, is that themujtahid did not act upon a hadith text because itwas in conflict with weakness or thathe thought that the that led him to believe in its something ruling it containedhad been abrogated.48 Ibn Taymiyyah is aware that a mujtahid unquestionably has the right to apply his legal principles (usut)whereby all legal texts are cumulatively understood and assessedwithin a dynamic frameworkof interpretation and a staticapproach ofmerely takingthehadith text prima analysis as opposed to This constitutesan additional cause for facie without any other consideration. a hadith text to be discarded in favour of methodological principles. The additional factorsthat Ibn Taymiyyahmentions are, firstly, thatone mujtahid as evidence by another mujtahid on the may discard the hadith cited consideration of the locality of transmitters within the corresponding isndd. or Thus, some scholars from Hijaz reject transmitters narrations fromparts of as legitimateevidence unless they initially originated from Iraq or Sham Hijaz. Ibn Taymiyyah comments that "mostpeople, however, do not use this as a basis fordeeming such a hadith asweak (dallf).So whenever the chain of transmitters sound, the hadith is authoritative,regardlessof whether it is is Hijazi, 'Iraqi, Shami or fromother regions."49 The second additional cause of disagreement is generatedby thedifferent conditions stipulatedby differentscholars for the acceptance of the singular reportedhadith (khahar al-wahid).50 The third additional factorfor creatingconflict iswhat Ibn Taymiyyah characterises as "perceived consensuses." He defines this form of consensus as "not being aware of any dissenting view." This, according to Ibn Taymiyyah, led to the reluctanceof some scholars in following some of the textualproofs due to the fearof opposing this "perceivedconsensus."51 More importantly, Taymiyyah deals inRaf alMalam with the result Ibn of ijtihadand its link to thepromise of a rewardor the threatof a punishment. He asserts that evenwhen thereexistgood reasons to necessitate that a person deserved that the threatof punishment be applied, itmight still not come about due to the existence of a legal or justifiableimpediment (mani), and which he regards as unlikely to be there are various types of impediments lackingas faras themukallaf is concerned, such as repentance (tawbah),asking 47 See, ibid., 29. 48 See, ibid., 31. 49 Ibid., 21-22. 50 See, ibid., 22. 51 See, ibid., 31-33. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  11. 11. THE REMOVALOF BLAMEFROMTHE GREAT IMAMS 327 for forgiveness(istighfar), good deeds thaterase sins (alhasandt al-mahiyahli 7 tribulations(bald* sayyi'dtjy al-dunyd)and calamities (masd'ib).52 Ibn Taymiyyah argues that the functionof a threat is to clarifythat the deed associatedwith the threat is a reason for the punishmentmentioned in the threat and thereforethe prohibition of that deed and its reprehensible nature could be inferredfrom the threat. However, he thinks that it is not justified to conclude that if the reason for the threatwas to be found in would necessitate the occurrence of its effect which is the someone, then this He relates this to the fact that the effect depends on the existence punishment. of itsconditions and the removalof all of its impediments.53 These opinions of Ibn Taymiyyah regardingthe issues of ijtihdd,taqlld have undoubtedly influenced his and jurisprudential disputes(ikhtildj) with theHanbali school understandingof Islamic law aswell as his relation and other schools. This can be seen clearly from his use of independent reasoning and his "corrections" of various rules and rulingswithin these schools, especially the Hanbali school. Also, these opinions led to Ibn Taymiyyah's readiness to acknowledge his own mistakes54 and to have a forgivingattitude towardshis opponents.55It is likely that this consideration and sensitivitystems from the fact that Ibn Taymiyyah had studiedunder a who belonged to various schools and thus acquired a greatnumber of scholars This cumulative experience,no doubt, diverse legal trainingand education.56 on Islamic law, one which calls formore shaped Ibn Taymiyyah's legacy manifest fromthe intellectualtolerance among juristsand one which is clearly following text. Raf( al-Maldm should, however be read in the context of the time in which Ibn Taymiyyah lived. This was an era of staunch taqlld in which were and even a degree of fanaticism entrenched allegiances and affiliations not only among the lay public but also in the circlesof the quite widespread, learned. in 52 See, ibid., 42. 53 See, ibid. 54 See, for instance, al-Ba'li, al-Ikhtiyarat,16, 22, 23-24, 107, 121; Ibn Taymiyyah, Fatawd, 21: 512-518 and 22: 71-72. 55 See, al-Karmi,al-Kawdkib, 139, 174. 56 wa 'l-Ijtima"(Cairo: See,Henri Laoust, Naptriyydt Shaykhal-IsldmIbn Taymiyyah al-Siydsah ft Dar al-Ansar, 1977), 204. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  12. 12. AHMAD IBN 'ABD AL-HALIM TAYMIYYAH EBN 328 n TRANSLATION of RapalMatam an al-A'immataUA'tarn In the Name ofAllah, theBeneficent,the Merciful His bounties. I testify Praise is due toAllah for that there is no deity except Him; He has no associates in the heavens and the earth.And I testifythat Muhammad isHis slave andMessenger57 and the seal ofHis Prophets?peace be on him and his familyand Companions, continuous prayers and blessings untilwe meet him. To proceed: It is obligatoryupon Muslims, afterbeing loyal toAllah theExalted and His Messenger (peace be on him), to be loyal to the believers, as theQur'an declares, especially to the scholarswho are the inheritorsof the Prophets whom Allah made like stars that serve as guides through (peace be on them], the darkness of the land and the oceans. The Muslims are in agreement as regards their guidance and understanding.For prior to the advent of our ProphetMuhammad (peace be on him), the scholarsof the earlier [Prophets'] communitieswere less inclined to good, whereas the scholars of the Muslim were deemed to be the finestas they carried the mantle community (ummah) on him) and theyare the of knowledge bequeathed by theProphet (peace be reviversofwhatever was forgotten his Sunnah.Through them the of Qur'an is established, and they act upon it; theQur'an speaks through them, and they articulate whatever the Qur'an contains. It should be known thatnone of the Imamswho are generally accepted Muslim ummahwould intentionally oppose theProphet (peace be on by the 57 It should be indicated that the two terms (al-Nabi and al-Rasut),have been both rendered into English as "Prophet" due to the fact that inRaf al-Malam the author uses them interchangeably as inmost cases in the text they are both used in association with the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) and thereforethe discussion regardingthe differencebetween al-nabl and al to rasul among theologianswould not arise in this case. Also, the term (al-kitab) referring the has been rendered intoEnglish as the rather than 'theBook' as the latter Qur'an Qur'an might lead to confusion especially if the reader isnot aware of such technical terminologies. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  13. 13. THE REMOVALOF BLAMEFROMTHE GREAT IMAMS 329 him) in any aspect of his Sunnah,whether small or great.This is because they are in profound agreementregardingthe obligation of following theProphet (peace be on him).58They believe that thewords of anyone other than the Prophet (peace be on him) may be accepted or rejected. If any of their must opinions was found to be in opposition to an authentichadith, then there be a just excuse for that and these excuses fall under one of the three categories: Firstly,that the scholardid not believe that theProphet (peace be on him) uttered hadith. the [actually] was [actually] did Secondly,thatthescholar not thinkthatthe issue inquestion to intended be covered the hadith. by Prophetic Thirdly, that the scholarbelieved the ruling[containedin thehadith]to have been abrogated. These three categories can be further divided into a number ofmore specific reasons: The firstreason: that thehadithdid not reach the concerned scholar; and whoever is not aware of a hadith, is not held responsible fornot knowing its ruling. Thus, if the hadith did not reach him and he gaVe a jud|ement regardinga particularquestion on the basis of the apparent meaning of a verse or anotherhadithor on the basis of analogy or thepresumption of continuity thenhis opinion might fortuitously with thehadith in one case agree (istishab), while opposing iton another. most likelyreason for most ofwhat is found in theopinions of This is the thePious Predecessors (alsalaf alsalih) thatoppose certainhadith. Indeed, it is simply not possible for any singlemember of the ummah to know all the hadith of theProphet (peace be on him). The Prophet (peace be on him) used to speak, issue legal verdicts (fatawa),pass judgement,or perform an action which was heard or seen by thosewho were present at the time and they,or some of them,would convey it to otherswho would in turn convey it to would reach whomever Allah (the Most High) willed among the othersuntil it scholars from amongst theCompanions of the Prophet, theirFollowers and those who came afterthem. And in another assembly, suchmatterswould be heard or seen by those who were absent from the firstgatheringand they [too]would convey it to were able to.As a result, the firstgroup would know what whomever they was not known by the other and vice versa and so the scholars among the 58 See,Muhammad b. Idris al-Shafi%al-Risalah (Cairo:Matba'at al-Halabi, 1939), 74,104. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  14. 14. 330 IBN AHMADffiN *ABD AL-HAIJM TAYMIYYAH would surpass each other in the Companions and thosewho came afterthem relative levelsof the extentof their knowledge or thequality of it. [Aswe have said], it is absolutely impossible to claim that any one person could encompass all of the hadtthsof theProphet (peace be on him) and this can be illustratedthrough the example of theRighteous Caliphs, who were most knowledgeable regardingthe affairs theProphet (peace be on him), his of Sunnah and othermatters relatingto him, especially [Abu Bakr] al-Siddlq (may Allah be pleased with him), who was never far from theProphet whether at home or on his travels.In facthe was with himmost of the time to the extent This with him at night to deal with the Muslims' affairs.59 thathe used to stay is also true of cUmarb. al-Khattab (mayAllah be pleased with him) and you will find many hadiths inwhich theProphet (peace be on him) said, "I entered with Abu Bakr and 'Umar" and "I went out with Abu Bakr and 'Umar."60 Despite this,when Abu Bakr (mayAllah be pleased with him) was asked he about the grandmother's share of inheritance, replied, "There is nothing foryou inAllah's Book, nor do I know anything foryou in the prescribed Sunnah of theProphet ofAllah (peace be on him), but Iwill ask people [about it]." So he did ask them and al-Mughirah b. Shu'bah and Muhammad b. that theProphet (peace be on him) had Maslamah came forwardand testified This sunnahwas also reported by 'Imran b. Husayn.62 given her a sixth.61 Thus, even thoughnone of these three Companions was of the same statureas Abu Bakr and the other caliphs, theywere the only ones who knew this particular sunnahaboutwhose practice theummahhas since agreedupon.63 Similarly, 'Umar b. al-Khattab (mayAllah be pleased with him) did not know the sunnah relatingto "seekingpermission" (isti'dhdn)[beforeenteringa 59 Ahmad b. Muhammad Ma'am 'l-Athdr al-TahawI, Sharh (Beirut:Dar al-Kutub al-'flmiyyah, 1399ah),4:330. 60 See for instance, Muhammad b. Isma'il al-Bukhari,Sahih al-Bukhdri [henceforthreferredto as Kitab al-Sulh, Bab al-Sulh bayn al-Ghurama' and Kitab Fada'il al-Sahabah, Bab "Sahib"], Manaqib 'Umar, aswell as the testimonyof the caliph 'All regardingthis in al-Bukhari,Sahih> Kitab Fada'il al-Sahabah, Bab Manaqib 'Umar. 61 al-Mukhtasar min al-Sunan [henceforthreferredto as Muhammad b. 'Isa al-Tirmidhi,al-Jami* Bab ma Ja' fi Muhammad b. Yazid Ibn Majah, Mirath al-Jaddah; "Sunan^ Kitab al-Fara'id, Sunan Ibn Kitab al-Fara'id,Bab Mirath al-Jaddah. Majah, 62 Muhammad b. 'Ali al-Shawkani, See, for a discussion about the authenticityof these reports, Nayl al-Awtarmin Ahadith Sayyid al-AkhyarSharh Muntaqd 'l-Akhbar(Beirut:Dar al-Jil,1973), 6:175-177. 63 See for the discussion about the share of the grandmother, 'Abd Allah b. Ahmad Ibn Ahmad b.Hanbal al-Shaybani (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1405ah), Qudamah, al-Mughrii Fiqh al-Imdm ft 6:189; Muhammad b. Ahmad Ibn Rushd, Biddyat aUMujtahidwa Nihdyat al-Muqtasid (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr]n.d.), 2: 262-263 for. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  15. 15. THE REMOVALOF BLAMEFROMTHE GREAT IMAMS 331 dwelling] until he was informedabout it by Abu Musa al-Ash'ariwho cited and this iswhile 'Umar was more theAnsar in support of his narration,64 one who related this sunnah to him. Likewise, 'Umar knowledgeable than the did not know that thewife inheritsfrom the blood money of her deceased husband. Instead, he thought that the blood money belonged to the 'aqilah65 until al-Dahhak ibn Sufyan al-Kilabi,who was appointed by the Prophet wrote to 'Umar informing (peace be on him) as a governorof certainregions, him that the Prophet (peace be on him) gave thewife of Ashyam al-Dibibl (mayAllah be pleased with him) [a share] of her deceased husband's blood money. As a result, 'Umar abandoned his opinion in favourof thishadithand said: "If I had not heard thishadith,Iwould have judgedcontraryto it."66 'Umar also did not know the rulingof jizyah for the Magians [followers of a fire-worshipping until he was informedby 'Abd al-Rahman b. religion] ' withhim)that Prophet the Awf (may Allah be pleased be (peace on him)said, "Treat them as you treat thePeople of theBook."67Moreover, when 'Umar reached Sargh [nearTabuk] and was informedthat a plague had strickenal Sham [the region of greater Syria], he consulted the earlyMuhajirun68who were with him at the time. He then asked theAnsar,69 then he asked those who accepted Islam at the time of the conquest ofMakkah, and every one of them told himwhat they thoughtand none of themwas able to inform him of a sunnah from the Prophet (peace be on him) until 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf came and told him of the sunnahof theProphet (peace be on him)with regard to plagues,when he said: "If the plague appears in a landwhile you are in it, 64 See, al-Bukhari,Sahih,Kitab al-Isti'dhan,Bab al-Taslimwa '1-Isti'dhan Thalathan; Muslim b. to to referred as "Muslim "1,Sahih Muslim [henceforthreferred al-Hajjaj al-Naysaburi [henceforth as "SahifKitab al-Adab, Bab al-Isti'dhan. 65 meant by 'aqilah in Islamic law.One of the opinions is that There is a discussion aboutwho is it is the paternal uncles and theirchildren,however distant they are in descent.Another opinion states that 'aqilah includes the father,sons, brothers and every agnatic heir. Ibn Taymiyyah holds a different opinion from these two.He assertsthat 'dqilah is "every individualwho helps and supports the person at the time and the place." See, al-Matroudi,TheHanbali School ofLaw, 118-119. 66 See,Malik b. Anas al-Asbuhi,Muwatta* al-ImamMalik (Egypt:Dar Ihya' al-Turath, n.d.), 2: 866; Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Hanbal, Musnad al-ImamAhmad b.Hanbal (Cairo:Mu'assasat Qurtubah, n.d.), 3:452 and Sulayman b. al-Ash'athAbu Dawud al-Sijistani,Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Fara'io!,Bab fi1-Mar'ah Tarith min Diyat Zawjiha. 67 See,Malik, Muwatta 1: 278; also see, 'AbdAllah b. Yusuf al-Zayla'I,Nash alRayah liAhadith al-Hidayah (Cairo: Dar al-Hadith, 1357), 3:448-449 andMuhammad b. Ahmad Ibn 'Abd al Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, 1998), 3: 364. Hadi, Tanqih Tahqlq Ahadith al-Tatiq (Beirut: 68 to Madman. Makkah The emigrants from 69 The Madman followers of the Prophet (peace be on him) who granted him refugeafter the Madinah. hijrah to This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  16. 16. AL-HALIM TAYMIYYAH EBN AHMAD IBN 'ABD 332 fromit and if do not depart in flight you hear that ithas smittena land,do not go towards it."70 another occasion, 'Umar discussedwith Ibn 'Abbas (mayAllah be pleased with both of them) the problem of one who has experienceddoubts concerninghis prayer [i.e.whether he hadmissed an elementof it or not] and 'Umarwas not aware of any sunnab pertaining to thismatter.He was then informed by 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf that theProphet (peace be on him) said On that "the one performing the prayer should ignore his doubt and base his on action on whatever is certain to him."71 Finally, 'Umarwas once travelling a particularlywindy day. He asked: "Who can tell us [from the Prophet] with regard to thewind?" Abu Hurayrah (mayAllah be pleased something while Iwas at the back of of with him) said: "Iwas informed 'Umar's request the group so I spurred my ridingcamel to hasten forwarduntil I reachedhim to him what the Prophet (peace be on him) orderedwhen the and narrated wind would rage."72 were not known to 'Umar until he was Thus, thesewere the issues that informedabout themby thosewho were not his equal in rank. Indeed, there were other issues inwhich 'Umar knew nothing from the sunnab as a resultof which he pronounced a judgement,or issued afatwd on them in a way that with the Sunnab. An example of might not have been in [direct]conformity is his judgementon the blood money for fingers, this namely that they are whereas both differentfrom one another based on theirdifferent functions, Abu Musa and Ibn 'Abbas (mayAllah be pleased with them),both ofwhom were lesser in degree of knowledge than 'Umar, knew the Prophet's saying, This sunnab "This and this are equal,"73 meaning the thumb and littlefinger. Allah be pleased with him) during the time of his reachedMu'awiyah (may rule, and he judged in accordancewith it and theMuslims felt that itwas incumbentupon them to follow it.The fact that 'Umarwas not aware of this on was not considered a shortcoming his part. hactith Another example is 'Umar and his son 'AbdAllah (mayAllah be pleased with both of them) aswell as othernotable scholarsprohibiting the wearing of one who is about to enter into a stateof ritual consecration perfume by the (ihram) and by the one who is about to go toMakkah for circumambulation 70 See, al-Bukhari,Sahih,Kitab al-Tibb, Bab man Kharaja min Ard laTulayimuh; Muslim, Sahih, Kitab al-Salam,Bab al-Ta'un. 71 For the hadtths attributed to 'Abd al-Rahman ibn 'Awf regarding this, see,Muhammad b. Jariral-Tabari, Tahdhlb al-Athdr(Damascus: Dar al-Ma'mun li 1-Turath, 1995), 33. 72 See Ahmad, Musnad, 2: 267 and 'Abd al-Razzaq b. Hammam al-San'ani, al-Musannaf (Beirut: al-Maktab aUslaml, 1403ah), 11: 89. 73 See al-Bukhari,Sahlh,Kitab al-Diyat,Bab idha 'AddaRajulan fa Waqa'at Thanayah. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  17. 17. THE REMOVALOF BLAMEFROMTHE GREATIMAMS 333 of theKa'bah (tawdfiafter throwing the stones at Jamarat al-'Aqabah, not A'ishah (may Allah be pleasedwith her) in which being aware of thehadithof she said: "I perfumed theProphet (peace be on him) forhis ihrdmbeforehe entered into the stateof ihrdm, and I also perfumedhim beforeperformingthe circumambulation (tawdfatifadah) (i.e. after the first state of ihrdm hajj elapses)."74 'Umar used to allow the one who wears leathersocks towipe over them without any restriction[as to time].This was adhered until he takes them off to by a group of the early pious predecessorsbecause the hadith regardingthe was authenticatedby some of those on time restriction wiping that who were not theirequal inknowledge had not reached them.75 was narrated This hadith from the Prophet (peace be on him) throughvarious authentic channels of transmission.76 The same holds for 'Uthman (mayAllah be pleased with him) who did not know that a woman should spend thewaiting period following thedeath of her husband in thehouse where she livedbeforehis death, until al-Furay'ah bintMalik?Abu Sa'ld al-Khudrfs sister (mayAllah be pleased with both of when her husband passed away theProphet (peace them)?related to him that be on him) told her "Remain inyour house until you fulfiltheperiod statedin matter [four theQur'an for this months and ten days]." 'Uthman (mayAllah be pleasedwith him) thenactedupon thishadith J7 He was also once givenmeat [i.e.while he was in a stateof ihrdm] froma was hunted speciallyforhim as a giftand upon sitting down to eat huntwhich him that theProphet (peace it 'All (mayAllah be pleasedwith him) informed meat [froma hunt] given to him as a present."78 be on him) rejectedthe And likewise 'Ah (mayAllah be pleased with him) who said: "When I used to hear a hadith from the Messenger ofAllah (peace be on him), directly He desiredme to benefit from, whereas if Allah made me benefit fromall that elsewould relate somethingtome, I would make him swear an oath anyone and if he did, I would believe him. Abu Bakr toldme?and he was being truthful?and he mentioned thewell-known hadith related to the Prayer of al-tawbah).79 Repentance (saldt 74 Muslim, ?ahih, Kitab al-Hajj, See, al-Bukhari, Sahih, Kitab al-Hajj, Bab al-Tib *indal-Ihram; Bab al-Tib li 'l-Muhrim 'ind al-Ihram. 75 See, Yahya b. Sharaf al-Nawawi, SahihMuslim bi Shark al-Nawawi (Beirut:Dar Ihya' al Turath, 1392), 3:176. 76 See forexample, Muslim, Sahih,Kitab al-Taharah,Bab al-Tawqit fil-Mash. 77 Abu Dawud, Sunan, Kitab al-Talaq, Bab fil-Mutawaffa'Anha. See, 78 See,Ahmad, Musnad, 1:100. 79 Ibn See,Abu Dawud, Sunan, Kitab al-Salah,Bab fi 1-Istighfar; Majah, Sunan, Kitab Iqamat al This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  18. 18. AHMAD IBN 'ABD AL-HALIMIBN TAYMIYYAH 334 'All and Ibn 'Abbas (mayAllah be pleased with them), among others, issued a fatwa that thewoman whose husband died while shewas pregnant, must observe the longerof the two specified waiting periods. The sunnahof of Allah (peace be on him) regardingSubay'ah al-Aslamiyyah the Messenger Allah be pleasedwith her) had not reached them. Upon thedeath of her (may husband Sa'd b. Khawlah, the Prophet (peace be on him) told her thather waiting period continues to thepoint of the child's delivery.80 Finally, 'All, Zayd, Ibn 'Umar and others (mayAllah be pleased with them all) issued afatwa regardingthewoman who authorizes her husband to determineher dower (almufawwidah) that,"ifher husband passes away, she is not entitled to any dower." The sunnahof the Messenger ofAllah (peace be on him) pertaining to Barwa* bintWashiq (mayAllah be pleased with her) had however not reached them.81 This is a vast subject area inwhich a tremendousamount of narrations is related from theCompanions of theProphet (peace be on him). As for that which is related from those other than the Companions it runs into the thousands.This was the position with regard to theCompanions who were the most knowledgeable, the most grounded in jurisprudence, the most mindful of Allah and the best among the Muslim community.As for those came after them, they are lesser in rank and it goes without saying that who some of the corpus of the Sunnah was hidden from each and every one of them.Therefore,whoever believes that every authentichadith reached each and every one of the Imams or indeed any one specific Imam, commits and abhorrent error. a grave It should not be said that the hadiths have all been documented and compiled and thereforeit is unlikely that theywould have been unknown. This is because thewell-known collections ofHadith were compiled afterthe demise of the Imamswho are followed (mayAllah have mercy on them all). Also, it isnot acceptable to claim that thehadithsof theProphet (peace be on Hadith. Moreover, him) are limitedto those found in the specificcollections of even if this were to be the case, not everythingin these collectionswould be known by a single scholar, and this is highlyunlikely to be the casewith any Salah, Bab ma Ja' fi ann al-SalatKaffarah; al-Tirmidhi,Sunan, Kitab Abwab al-Salah,Bab ma Ja' fi 'l-Salat 'ind al-Tawbah; Ahmad, Musnad, 1:2. 80 Bab wa Ulat al-Ahmal;Muslim, Sabih, Kitab al-Talaq, See, al-Bukhari,Sahlh,Kitab al-Tafsir, Bab Inqida' al-Tddah. 81 man Tazawwaja wa lamYusami See,Abu Dawud, Sunan, Kitab al-Nikah,Bab fi Sidaqan hatta Mat; IbnMajah, Sunan, Kitab al-Nikah,Bab al-RajulYatazawwaj wa laYafrid laha; al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, Kitab al-Nikah, Bab ma Ja' fi 1-Rajul Yatazawwaj al-Mara'ah faYamut 'Anha qabla an Yafrid laha. The ruling according to thesenarrations is that thewidow will be grantedher full dower. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  19. 19. OF THE REMOVAL BLAMEFROMTHE GREATIMAMS 335 person; indeed it is possible that a scholarmight possess a large number of collections ofHadlth and yet not be aware of all of the hadiths contained Hadlth within them. In fact, thosewho came before the emergence of these more knowledgeable in the Sunnah than thosewho collectionswere by far came after them.This is because a largepart of the Sunnah thathad reached them and had been authenticatedby them might not have reached us except or throughunknown transmitters a severed chain of narration or might not have reached us at all. Thus, it can be said that their "Hadlth compilations" were preserved in theirhearts, which contained several times asmuch as that which is found in the physical collections and the one who iswell versed in this issue will have no doubts about this [point]. whoever does not have knowledge of all of the Nor should itbe said that we were to not be considered a mujtahid. This is because if hadiths should stipulate as a condition of themujtahid thathe must be aware of all of the would not be a Prophet's words and actions relevantto legal rulingsthen there singlemujtahid in theMuslim community.Rather, themujtahid's objective should be to know most of the hadiths so that only a few of the detailswill escape him and hence he might only contradictthe fewdetails thathad [not]82 reachedhim. The second reason: that the hadlth had reached the mujtahid but its authenticity, in his opinion, was not established.This may be because the of [direct]transmitter the hadlth to him or the one before him or any one of in the transmitters thathadlth's chain of transmissionis considered by him to be unknown [or unidentifiable],or of doubtful reputation (muttaham),or deficient in memory. It may also be because the hadlth did not reach the a severed chain of mujtahid with a continuous chain but rather with transmitters, or that the transmitter was not precise when transmitting the was transmitted other to wording of the hadlth even though the same hadlth with an uninterrupted isnad.This might transmitters scholars by trustworthy be because the one whom themujtahid consideredunknown was known by was narratedby other than thosewhom he or others to be trustworthy that it considered to be impugned authorities (majriihun),or that the hadlthwas narrated through another uninterrupted chain, or that some of the memorizers among scholars ofHadlth narrated the wording of the hadlth were shawahid [i.e. otherCompanions transmitting meticulously, or that there narrations] andmutaha'dt [i.e. thehadlthbeing narratedby another supporting chain of transmittersreaching back to one of the transmittersafter the of Companion] indicatingthe authenticity thatnarration. ' 82 The word (not) ismissing from the printed text of all available published editions ofRaf al Maldm 'anal A Hmmat al-A 'lam. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  20. 20. 336 AHMAD IBN 'ABD AL-HALIMIBN TAYMIYYAH This [second reason] was also very common at the time of the first generation of Successors (tdbi'in) and the second generation of Successors up to the time of thewell known Imams,more so than the (tdbi% %tdbi%ri) reason. more common than the first first Hadiths were generation. Indeed, it is widespread by then and well known but they reachedmany of the scholars through weak channels, even though they had reached others through were considered to be an comparatively authentic channels.Therefore, they authoritative source (hujjah) because theywere transmittedthrough these were not known to those who opposed them authentic channels, and yet they to them.This iswhy we find that available because of theweak transmissions scholars suspended judgement on account of a hadith until its many was properly established,so they would say: "my opinion in this authenticity a hadithnarratedwith regard to issue is such and such.However, if there is was to be established, this [containing another ruling],and if its authenticity would be in accordancewith it."83 then my ruling was deemed to be weak on the basis of The thirdreason: that the hadith one scholar while others disagreed with him, regardlessof the ijtihddof whether the narration of the hadith arrived through another channel or whether the correctopinion was thatof this mujtahid, his opponents, or both to those who say that "every of them,according mujtahid is correct." There can be various causes for this: One of them is that one scholar believes that a transmitterof the concerned hadith is weak whereas the other believes him/her to be And the science related to identifying transmitters a vast one. is trustworthy. one who believes that the It is possible that the correctmujtahid is the transmitter weak, because he was aware of an impugningfactor. is Also, it is possible that the correctopinion iswith the othermujtahid because he knew that the causewas not an impugningfactor,eitherbecause it did not actually fall into a valid class of impugning factorsor that the transmitter had an of upon him. exemptionwhich precludes the effect the impugnment vast subject area and the scholars specialising in the This is another and their conditions [i.e. the study of the reportersofHadith] transmitters with regard to this issue, just as the have their agreementsand disagreements scholars specialisingin all of theother sciencesdo. Another reason is that themujtahid does not believe that the transmitter heard the hadith from the narrator on the authority of whom he is did transmittingitwhereas anothermujtahid believes that the transmitter 83 Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Dhahabi, Siyar A'ldm al-Nubala" (Beirut:Mu'assasat al-Risalah, 1413ah), 10: 35 and 'Ali b. al-Hasan ibnHibat Allah Ibn 'Asakir,Ta'rikhMadinat Dimashq wa Dar al-Fikr, 1995), 51: 389. DhikrFadliha wa Tasmiyatman Hallaha min al-Amathil (Beirut: This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  21. 21. THE REMOVALOF BLAMEFROMTHE GREATIMAMS 337 indeed hear the hadlth [from the narrator on the authority of whom he is it]. transmitting And the causes bringingthisabout arewell-known. Yet another reason is that the transmitter has two states: a state of soundness and a stateof confusion (idtirdb), when a transmitter becomes e.g. confusedorwhen his books are burntdown. Therefore, all thathe transmitted while in a sound state is [considered]correctand all thathe transmitted while in a state of confusion is [considered] weak. As a result, itmight not appear was transmitted clear to one mujtahid as regardsthe state inwhich the hadlth was certain that the transmitter whereas anothermujtahid related thathadlth while inhis sound state. Another reason is that the transmitter forgetsthathe related the hadlth and ishence unable to remember it at a laterdate or he actuallydenies thathe ever related the hadlth. Hence, one mujtahidmight believe that this is a defect whereas anothermujtahidmight necessitating the abandonment of the hadlth believe that it is acceptable to cite that hadlth as evidence?and this topic of well-known. dispute [too] is A furtherreason is that many of the Hijazi scholars hold the view that the Iraqi or Sham! hadlth should not be cited as an evidence unless it originated inHijaz, to the point where some of them remarked: "Give the hadlthsof thepeople of Iraq the same statusas thenarrationsof thePeople of themnor disbelieve them."And another [Hijazi] was theBook; neither affirm asked: "Is the following chain of transmission authoritative: Sufyan from Mansur from Ibrahim from 'Alqamah on the authority of 'Abd Allah b. was: "If itdid not originate in Mas'ud?" The reply Hijaz, thenno." This is due to the fact that they believed that the people ofHijaz had mastered the Sunnah, so that none of it had escaped them, whereas there was confusion regarding the hadlths of Iraq which necessitated a suspension of judgementon them. Some of the Iraqis, on the other hand, think the same about thehadlthof thepeople of Sham.Most people, however, do not use this as a basis forweakening a hadlth. So whenever the chain of transmitters is or from whether it isHijazi, Iraqi, Sham! sound, the hadlth is authoritative, other places. Abu Dawud al-Sijistanl (may Allah have mercy upon him) compiled a book on the narrations of hadlthsknown to be related only by in individuals from certain regions (mafdrld), which he clarified those hadlths which could only be foundwith continuous chains of transmission in those particular regions and not in other regions. This includes hadlths from Madlnah, Makkah, Ta'if, Dimashq, Hims, Kufah, Basrah and others.There are reasons other than these as well. The fourth reason: that the scholar stipulates some conditions for the memorizer acceptance of hadlthwhich was transmitted one trustworthy by This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  22. 22. AL-HALIMIBN AHMADffiN 'ABD TAYMIYYAH 338 but is opposed by others [who do not accept such conditions]. For instance, must be compared towhat is in the some stipulate that thehadith Qur'an and or that the transmitter must be a jurist if his the established Sunnah?4 narration happens to oppose that which can be deduced from textual principles (qiyasal-usul)?5or the stipulationby some that thenarration of the hadith needs to be widespread and known if it deals with an issue known to have occurred frequently at the time of the Prophet.86 There are other well-known within theirrespective conditions, places [ofdiscussion]. fifth reason: that the hadith has reached the scholar and its has been established to him, but he forgetsthenarration.This can authenticity occur with regard to theQur'an and the Sunnah. For instance, there is the well-known hadith related on the authorityof 'Umar (mayAllah be pleased with him) thathe was asked about thepersonwho is in a stateofmajor ritual but findsno water while he is traveling.'Umar saidhemust not pray impurity water. 'Ammar b. Yasir (mayAllah be pleased with him) then until he finds when you and I said, "O Commander of theFaithful!Do you not remember were [herding]camels andwe were both in statesofmajor ritual impurity and not performyour I rolled in the dust and performedprayerwhile you did prayer?And [do you not remember] that I mentioned this to the Prophet way" (peace be on him) and he replied, "Itwas enough foryou to do it in this The and then he struck the groundwith his hands and thenwiped his face and Allah!" So 'Ammar handswith his palms?" 'Umar then said: "O 'Ammar, fear said, "If you so wish, I will not narrate it," upon which 'Umar remarked, "We hold you responsible for what you claim."87 Thus, this is a sunnahwhich was witnessed by 'Umar (mayAllah be Moreover, he even issued a pleased with him) and one which he later forgot. evenwhen Ammar (mayAllah be pleased with him) fatwa opposing it and sought to remindhim he failed to remember. Despite this,he did not accuse Ammar of lyingbut instead [implicitly] orderedhim to narrate thishadith. 84 See, Ahmad b. al-Husayn al-Bayhaqi, al-Qird'ah Khalf allmam (Beirut:Dar al-Kutub al 'Ilmiyyah, 1405ah), 203; 'Umar b. 'All Ibn al-Mulaqqin, Tadhkirat al-Muhtdj ildAhddith al Minhdj (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1994), 27 and 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr al-Suyuti, Miftdh al-Jannah ft 'l-Ihtijajbi 'l-Sunnah (al-Madinah al-Munawwarah: Madinah University, 1399ah), 10. 85 See, Ibn Rushd, Biddyat al-Mujtahid,2: 216; al-Shawkani, Nayl, 5: 332. 86 for instance, 'Ali b.Muhammad al-Amidi,al-Ihkdm Usiilal-Fiqh (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al See, ft 'Arabi, 1404ah), 2: 124; 'All b. Ahmad Ibn Hazm, al-Ihkdm Usul alAhkdm (Cairo: Dar al ft Dar al-Afaq al-Jadidah, Hadith, 1404ah), 2: 151; Idem, al-Muhalld (Beirut: n.d.), 4: 117,Yahya b. Dar al-Fikr, 1997), 5: 221. Sharaf al-Nawawi, al-Majmu":Sharh al-Muhadhdhab(Beirut: 87 See,Muslim, Sahih,Kitab al-Hayd, Bab al-Tayammum. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  23. 23. THE REMOVALOF BLAMEFROMTHE GREATIMAMS 339 More illustrative thispoint is [the occasion] when 'Umar delivered a of speech to the people inwhich he stated,"No one must exceed thedowry paid by theProphet (peace be on him) to hiswives and thedowry of his daughters [and ifhe does] Iwill returnit [to thepayer]."A woman then said to him: "O Commander of theFaithful! Why do you deny us what was given to us by a Allah?" Then she recited{... and you have given one of them heap ofgold, then takenotfrom it anything}}*Following this 'Umar retractedhis opinion and accepted hers for he had memorised the verse but had forgotten [its relevance].89 This is similar towhat was narrated about 'Allwho reminded al-Zubayr which theProphet (peace be on during the battle of al-Jamalabout something him) had entrusted to them; so al-Zubayr remembered and gave up the because of it.90 fighting Incidences of thiskind [i.e. of learninga text and then forgetting are it] both the early and laterscholars. frequentamong The sixth reason: that the scholardoes not know the implicationof the mentioned in the concernedhadith.This can be due to the fact that a term was considered by him to be unfamiliar (gharib)y such as [the terms]:al hadith muzabanahy almukhabarah, al-muhaqalah, al-muldmasah, al-mundbadhah, al of gharar and other such unfamiliar terms about the interpretation which scholarsmight disagree. An example is the hadith transmittedby a chain attributed back to the Prophet (peace be on him): "No divorce and manumission [of a slave] in a state of ighldq"91 Ighldqwas interpreted[by were not [fully]aware of who disagreed some] tomean 'coercion'while those this [linguistic]interpretation. It may sometimes also be because themeaning [of the hadith"]in the scholar's dialect and customaryusagewhich was not [in conformity with] that language employed by the Prophet (peace be on him), so the scholarwould 88 Qur'an 4: 20. 89 Mansur (India: al-Dar See, 'Abel al-Razzaq,Musannaf 6:180; Sa'id ibn Mansur, Sunan Sa'id ibn 1:195. It is also quoted byMuhammad b. Futuh al-Humaydi, al-Jam'bayn al-Salafiyyah,1982), wa Dar IbnHazm, 2002), 4: 324. See also, 'All b. 'Umar al-Sahihayn:al-Bukhdri Muslim (Beirut: al-'Ilal al-Waridahfi 'l-Ahadith al-Nabawiyyah (Riyadh:Dar Taybah, 1985), 2: 232; al-Daraqutni, wa 'l-Athdral-Waqi'ahfi 'AbdAllah b. Yusuf al-Zayla'i, Takhrijal-Ahddith Tafsir al-Kashshafli *l Zamakhshari (Riyadh:Dar IbnKhuzaymah, 1414ah), 1: 294-297. 90 See,Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak 'aidal-Sahihayn (Beirut:Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, 1990), 3: 412-414. See also,Ma'mar b. Rashid al-Azdi, al-Jdmi* published with al Musannaf of 'Abd al-Razzaq (Beirut:al-Maktab al-Islami, 1403 ah), 11: 241. 91 See, IbnMajah, Sunan, Kitab al-Talaq, Bab Talaq al-Mukrahiwa al-Nasi; Ahmad, Musnad, wa 'l-Athar 6: 276; 'AbdAllah b.Muhammad IbnAbi Shaybah, alKitdb al-Musannaffi i-Ahddith Maktabat al-Rushd, 1409ah), 4: 83; 'All b. 'Umar al-Daraqutni, Sunan al-Daraqutni (Riyadh: Dar al-Ma'rifah, 1966), 4: 36. (Beirut: This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  24. 24. AHMADffiN 'ABD AL-HALIMIBN TAYMIYYAH 340 correlate it to what he understood from the term in accordance with his tongue, basing this on the principle that a word retains its originalmeaning [untilproven otherwise]. This is like some of the scholars who heard some reports (dthdr) which to allow a concessionwith regard to nabidh, so they thought it referred some types of intoxicants;due to the fact that this term (i.e. nabldh)was used for those [intoxicants]in theirnative tongue, whereas in realitythis termrefersto thatwhich was left in thewater to sweeten it and was consumed before it attained any intoxicating made clear throughseveral qualities. This meaning is authentichadiths92 Similarly, some scholars encountered the term 'khamr' in theQur'an and to Sunnah and they thought it referred intoxicants made fromgrapes only on the basis that thiswas themeaning of the term in theirdialect, but there are authentic hadithswhich confirm that the term khamr is a name for every drink.93 intoxicating Sometimes the scholardid not know the implicationof thehadithbecause was eithera homonym, ambivalent in its the term [used in that text] meaning, or one thathovered between the literalandmetaphorical sense, so the scholar tookwhat he thought is thenearest [to the intended meaning] even thoughthe turnout to be theothermeaning of the term. intended meaning may Again, some of theCompanions understood the "white thread and the to black thread" [in the verse dealingwith the time for beginning the fast]94 refer to an actual rope (habl)95 Others also understood 'hands' in the verse with dry ablution] {and rub therewith faces and hands}96to cover your [dealing the entire arm up to the armpit.97 [The scholar] sometimes [did not know the implication of the hadith] because its importwas obscure (khafi).This is due to the fact that the indications that can be drawn from a statement are often very diverse and so people naturally differin theirability to comprehend them and to grasp their meaning depending on what Allah has bestowed upon them. Then a personmight know the general implicationof a textbut hemight not recognise that this specificcase is included within thatgeneral context. It is 92 See, for instance, Muslim, Sahih, Kitab al-Hajj, Bab Wujub al-Mabit bi Mina; Abu Dawud, Kitab al-Ashribah,Bab Sifat al-Nabidh. Sunan, 93 See,Muslim, Sahih,Kitab al-Ashribah,Bab Bayan annaKull Muskir Khamr. 94 Qur'an 2: 186. 95 This versewas revealed in the context of settingthe time forbeginning the fasting which is at dawn time. 96 Qur'an 4: 43. 97 This versewas revealed in the context of dry ablution (al-tayammum). This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  25. 25. THE REMOVALOF BLAMEFROMTHE GREAT IMAMS 341 possible thathe might recognise that this specificcase is included under that this lateron. This is such a vast subject that general contextbut thenhe forgets can be encompassed by none but Allah. It is also possible that a person commits a mistake by deriving from a statement what is not conceivable within theArabic languagewhich the Prophet (peace .be on him) was sent with. The seventh reason: that the scholar thoughtthat thehadithdid not carry anyspecific (daldlah). implication The differencebetween this reason and the one before it is that in the whereas previous [instance] the scholardid not know that specific implication in this reason he knows the specificimplicationbut believes that it ought not to be applied based on some principles he had which invalidated that of implication,regardless whether he was in realityrightorwrong. of those principles include: that the scholar believes the Examples specified general text (al- (dmmalmakhsus) is not a valid proof, or that the implication (al-mafhiim) is not a valid proof,98or that a general ruling established fora specificcause is applied onlywhere that cause exists,or thata does not necessitateobligation or immediatecompliance, or general imperative of that thealifznd 1dm[constituents the Arabic definite article]do not denote or generality, thatnegated verbs neithernegate its essencenor all of itsrulings, or that the required meaning (alfnuqtada) does not necessitate a general importand as a resulthe would not claim the existenceof a general import in cause [al-ma'ani].99 and the effective theomitted elements (al-mudmardt) with other examples which would need a lengthy discussion And likewise were we to delve into them, as indeedhalf of the disputes thathave arisen in mid al-fiqh come within this field [i.e. the implications]; even though the absolute principles [i.e. Qur'an and Hadith] do not encompass all of the disputed implications.One of the questions in this topic iswhether certain sub-categoriesof classes of implicationsare included under themain class or not. For instance, a scholarmight believe that a certain term is ambivalent (mujmal) due to the fact that it is a homonym (mushtarak),and there is nothing to indicate the preferenceof one of its twomeanings over the other, or other [such] examples. 98 For details related to the discussion on the authorityof the implications, see, 'Abd atMaUk b. 'Abd Allah al-Juwayni,al-Burhdn Usul al-Fiqh (Cairo: al-Wafa', 1418ah), 1:298; Idem, al fi Dar al-Basha'ir al-Islamiyyah,1996), 2:184; 'Abd Allah b. Ahmad Talkhisfi Usul al-Fiqh (Beirut: Ibn Qudamah, Rawdat al-Nddirwa Junnat al-Munazir (Riyadh: The Imam University, 1399), 262; al-Amidl, al-lhkam, 3: 73. 99 See,Al Taymiyyah: 'Abd al-Salam b. 'AbdAllah, 'Abd al-Halim b. 'Abd al-Salam andAhmad b. 'Abd al-Halim, al-Musawwadahfi usul al-Fiqh, ed.Muhammad Muhyi '1-Dln 'Abd al-Hamid (Cairo:Matba' al-Madani, 1964), 81. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  26. 26. 342 AHMAD IBN 'ABD AL-HALIM ffiN TAYMIYYAH The eighth reason: that the scholardeems that implicationof the text to be opposed by something indicatingthat it could not have been so intended. Examples include a general termbeing opposed by a specificone, an absolute an term (al-mutlaq)by a qualified one (al-muqayyad), absolute imperativeby that which negates it,or the literal (al-haqiqah)one by that which indicatesa metaphor (al-majaz), and so on. This is also a vast subject; for indeed the conflictbetween thenumerous implicationsof a phrase and the taskof giving preferenceto some of themover others is like awide ocean. The ninth reason: that the scholar thinks that the hadith is opposed by contraryevidencewhich is accepted by all scholars, such as a Qur'anic verse, another hadith, or consensus, thereby indicating the hadith's weakness, This is of two if abrogation,or interpretation, it is amenable to interpretation. types: First: that the scholar believes that the contrary evidence is preferable (rajih) in general, leading to one of the three possibilities [that is, the away from the weakening of the hadith, its abrogation, or its interpretation undesirablemeaning] without specifying any one of them. one of the three,so he believes that the that the scholar specifies Second: away. There is thepossibility,however, that proof is abrogated or interpreted he might commit a mistake regardingthe abrogation by considering the later evidence to be the earlierone. Alternatively,he might err in interpretation by understanding the hadith in a way which itswording does not permit, or which rulesout that interpretation. where there is somethingextraneous And if the new evidencewas to oppose the earlier evidence in general terms, there might be a possibility that the opposing evidence does not give rise to themeaning which the scholar understood. It is also possible that the opposing hadith is not equal in strengthto the firstone in terms of the and the clarityof its text (matn).The authenticityof its chain of transmitters same points and others apart from them could of course also be said for the hadith. first In most cases the claim of a consensus is actually no more than the absence of knowledge about any opposing opinion. And we have found who arrivedat certainopinions on the among the distinguishedscholars those basis of the non-existenceof any contraryopinion, even though the apparent meaning of the evidence necessitates, according to them, other than that opinion. Itwas unthinkable,however, for that scholar to espouse an opinion which was not known to have been held by any earlier scholar, despite knowing that the people disagreewith that view, to the extent that some scholarsqualify theiropinion by saying,"If there is a consensus on this issue then it is themost deserving to be followed. If not, I think the ruling with This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  27. 27. THE REMOVALOF BLAMEFROMTHE GREATIMAMS 343 regardto this issue is such and such."100 An example of this is the statement the one who says, "I do not know of a slave"whereas the acceptance of it is anyonewho allowed the testimonyof Another is the saying,"It is narrated from 'All,Anas, Shurayh, and others.101 whereas this rightof agreed that the partially freed slave does not inherit" All and IbnMas'ud (mayAllah be pleased with inheritance is narrated from and there is a hasan hadith from theProphet (peace be on him) to that them) And finally, "I do not know of anyone who made obligatory the effect.102 prayer upon the Prophet (peace be on him) in the prayer" whereas its Abu Ja'faral-Baqir.103 obligation isnarrated from This is due to the fact that theultimate aim for many scholars is to know the opinions of the scholarswho were their contemporarieswithin their We also find many regionwhile not knowing the opinions of other scholars. of the early scholarswho only knew the opinions of theMadinans and Kufans, and many later scholars only knew two or three opinions from amongst those of the reputed scholars,while anything outside this was considered by them to be opposed to the consensus because theydid not know of any statement to the contrary [froma reputed scholar] even though they always heard views opposingwhat theyknew. Itwill not be possible for such a person to use a hadith opposed to this will lead to opposing consensus alleged consensus, because of his fear that this or that he believes that it does actually oppose the consensus,whilst [in his mind] consensus is the greatestof evidences.This is the extenuatingreason of many people inmany caseswhere theydid not adhere to the obvious import whereas others cannot of the evidence. Some of them in realitycan be excused, truewith regard to the aforementioned and later be excused. This is also reasons. The tenth reason: [the scholar thought that] the hadithwas opposed by evidence indicating the hadith's weakness, abrogation, or contrary whereas his view that this is a contraryevidence is not shared interpretation, by other scholars,or even by thosewho belong to his group, or the contrary evidence isnot in realitytheprevalentone. 100 See,Muhammad ibnMuflih al-Maqdisi, al-Furu'fi 'l-Fiqhal-Hanbtt (Beirut:Dar al-Kutub al 1418 ah), 5: 447 andMuhammad ibnAbl Bakr b. Ayyub known as Ibn al-Qayyim, 'flmiyyah, Ahkam Abl al-Dhimmah (Dammam- Beirut:Ramadi, 1997), 2: 747,793. 101 wa 'l-'Abid. See forexample, al-Bukhari,Sahih,Kitab al-Shahadat,Bab Shahadat al-Ima* 102 See, Ahmad b. Shu'ayb al-Nasa'I, al-Sunan al-Kubrd, Kitab al-Qisamah, Bab Diyat al Mukatab. 103 See, al-Tabari, Tahdhib al-Atbar, 257; Ismail b. 'Umar Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qur'an al-'Azim Dar al-Fikr, 1401ah), 3: 509; al-Shawkani, Nayl alAwtar, 2: 321-326; al-Zayla'I,Nasb al (Beirut: 1: 427. Rayah, This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  28. 28. 344 AHMAD IBN 'ABD AL-HALIM ffiN TAYMIYYAH An example of this is of the approach ofmany of theKufans who, when an authentic hadith is opposed by the apparentmeaning of a Qur'anic text, believe that the apparentQur'anic text, such as one expressinggenerality,is meaning of a hadith. givenpreferenceover the explicit which isnot in reality A scholar might consider somethingto be apparent apparent; this is because therearemany potential implicationsof a statement. was rejectedby the So, as a result, the hadith of "thewitness and the oath"104 Kufans [on the basis that itwas in opposition to an apparentQur'anic text], even though other scholars know that there is nothing in the apparent Qur'anic text to prevent giving judgementin favourof someone on the basis of one witness and the claimant'soath.And if it should be the case [i.e. even if an apparent Qur'anic text opposing this hadith was to be found], then, of according to these scholars theSunnah is the 'interpreter' theQur'an. And arewell known statements fromal-Shafi'iregardingthisprinciple.Also, there Ahmad [ibn Hanbal] has his well known book on the refutationof the of Qur'anic texts (zahir opinion of thosewho claimed the sufficiency apparent to interpretsuch texts with the Sunnah of the al'Qur'an) without the need be on him).He mentioned in it evidences which the limitation Prophet (peace of space preventsus from mentioning here. And another example of this is to reject the hadith (al-khabar) which the general of aQur'anic text,orwhich qualifies an absolute meaning specifies The belief of thosewho say this text,or adds to the Qur'anic ruling. Qur'anic is that adding to a text, as well as qualifying an absolute text, is a form of a abrogation, and specifying general text is also [a formof] abrogation. Another example concerns a group of the Madinans who oppose authentic hadiths in preference to the practice of the people ofMadinah, on must have been in agreementnot to act the basis that they (i.e. ahl al-Madinah) upon those hadiths, and their agreement is a proofwhich is given preference over thehadith.For instance,theydid not act upon the hadiths related to the on rightofwithdrawal from transactions(khiyar al-majlis)105 the basis of this Most scholars,however, affirm existenceof disagreementamong the principle. theMadinans on this issue [that is, regardingthe rightof withdrawal from Madinans were in agreementand they transactions]but state that even if the were opposed by other scholars [who are supportedby Hadith evidences],then most authoritativesource would be the Hadith. the 104 See,Malik, Muwatta', 2: 721; Ahmad, Musnad, 3: 305;Abu Dawud, Sunan, Kitab al-Aqdiyah, wa l-Shahid; al-Tirmidhi,Sunan, Kitab al-Ahkam, Bab ma ja' fi '1 Bab al-Qada' bi '1-Yamin Yamin ma* al-Shahid; al-Nasa'i, al-Sunan al-Kubra,Kitab al-Qada', Bab al-Hukm bi al-Yamin wa 'l-Shahid. 105 See,Muslim, Sahih,Kitab al-Buyu',Bab Thubut Khiyar al-Majlis. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  29. 29. THE REMOVAL BLAMEFROMTHE GREAT IMAMS OF 345 Another example is that of some people of the two cities (Madinah and with explicit analogy (qiyasjail) arguing that Kufah) opposing some hadlths cannot be refuted suchhadiths. generalprinciples by And so on with similarareas of dispute regardlessofwhether the scholar or opposing thehadith is right wrong. So, these ten reasons are clear. It is possible inmany cases that the scholar has a proof for not acting which we are not aware of because theways of comprehending upon a hadith knowledge aremanifold andwe cannotknow all ofwhat is in theheartsof the scholars.The scholarmight havementioned his proof or might not have, and was ifhe were tomention it, it may ormay not have reachedus; and even ifit to reach us we may or may not comprehend the thrustof his argument, of irrespective whether his proofwas in realitycorrector not. However, if we allow this possibility [that the proof supporting a mujtahid's argumentisunknown to us], it isnot permittedforus to turnaway from an opinion whose authority is establishedby an authentichadith and is followed by some people of knowledge for another opinion proclaimed by another scholarwho might possibly have an answer to thatproof, even ifhe was more knowledgeable [than the firstscholar].This is due to the fact that theopinions of scholars aremore prone to error then the shar% evidence itself. The shar%evidences areAllah's proof againstall of his servantsand this isnot the casewith regard to the opinion of the scholar. Indeed, it is impossible for the shar%evidences to contain error if they are not contradicted by other similarevidence and thiscannot be said fortheopinion of a scholar. And ifpracticingthis [i.e. followingthe opinion of a scholar in the faceof an opposing shar%evidence]were to be allowed, thennone of the evidences which accept thispossibility [i.e. being open to ijtihdd] will remain as such. what we mentioned earlier] is that the scholar However, the purpose [of a valid excuse fornot followingthe shar% evidence, andwe are might have had excused for not following his opinion. And Allah (Glorified and Exalted is havepassed away; they shallhavewhat they earned He!) says: {This isa people that and you shallhavewhat you earn,and you shallnot he called upon toanswer for what they did.}106 And Allah (Glorified He!) also said, (And ifyou have a dispute is any matter, referit toAllah and the concerning Messenger ifyou are (in truth) believersin LastDay.}107 Allah and the It is not permitted for anyone to oppose an authentic hadith of the Prophet (peace be on him) and give preferenceto the opinion of any human Allah be pleasedwith him and being.On one occasion,when Ibn 'Abbas (may 106 Qur'an 2:134. 107 Qur'an 4: 59. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  30. 30. 346 AHMAD BBN 'ABD AL-HALIMIBN TAYMIYYAH was asked by aman about an issue,he answeredwith a hadith.The his father) man responded, "[But]Abu Bakr and 'Umar said such and such [with regard to that issue]," IbnAbbas said: "You are about to be struckby stones from the sky! I say to you that theProphet (peace be on him) said such and such, and you reply, "[But]Abu Bakr and 'Umar said such and such!""108 If it is accepted that some of the reasonsmentioned above could cause a scholar to not follow a shar%evidence, and if an authentic hadith is found which contains permissibility, prohibition or another ruling, it is not permissible to believe that a scholarwho did not adhere to it (whose reasons fordeparting fromthe texthave been given above) should be punished because on he made theprohibitedpermissibleor vice versa, or thathe gave judgement the basis ofwhat was not revealed byAllah. Similarly, if a hadith contains a mention of a la'n,109 threat, the angeror punishment,or somethingsimilar, by it is not permitted to say that the scholar, then who permitted such an action or undertook it, We know of no would fall within thepurview of that threat. disagreement among the scholars of the ummah with regard to this issue except something narrated from some of the Baghdad! Mu'tazilites such as and Bishr al-Marrisi110 his likewho alleged that those among themujtahids who make a mistake would be punished on account of this mistake. This is one who commits a prohibited action would be liable for the because the threatonly ifhe was aware of theprohibition or ifhe was able to obtain that who are broughtup in thebadiyah knowledge and failed to do so.As for those or are new converts to Islam andwho [remoteplaces away fromcivilisation], commit a prohibited actionwithout being aware of itsprohibition, they will not be sinning, and they cannot be punished with prescribed punishments (hudiid)even if theydid not base theiraction on shar%evidence. Therefore, a fortiori, thosewho were not aware of the prohibiting hadith and based the permissibility of an action upon shar% evidence are more deserving to be 108 Dar Adwa* al-Bayan (Beirut: See,Muhammad al-Amin b.Muhammad al-Mukhtar al-Shanqiti, al-Fikr li 1-Tiba'ah wa '1-Nashr,1995), 7: 328. 109 What ismeant by la'n here, according to the classicalMuslim literature,is to pray or state that a person be rejected from the mercy ofGod permanently or temporarily.But it could also mean in some instances censure and condemnation of the action with which the la'n was associated. See,Muhammad b. Jariral-Tabari,Jami' al-Bayan 'an Ta'wil Ayy akQur'an (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1405 ah), 1: 408; IbnQudamah, al-Mughnl,8: 39; al-NawawI, SahVp Muslim hi Sharh al-Nawawly 9:140-141; Muhammad b.Makram IbnManzur, Lisan al-'Arab (Beirut:Dar Sadir, Maktabat Lebanon, n.d.), 13: 387;Muhammad ibnAbi Bakr al-Razi,Mukhiar al-Sihah (Beirut: 1995), 250. 110 Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, See,Ahmad b. 'All al-Khatib al-Baghdadi,Ta'rikh Baghdad (Beirut: Mu'assasat al-A'lami, 1986), n.d.) 7: 56-66; Ahmad b. 'All Ibn Hajar, Lisan al-Mizdn (Beirut: 2: 29. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  31. 31. OF THE REMOVAL BLAMEFROMTHE GREATIMAMS 347 excused. This iswhy such a scholar is rewarded and praised because of his David and independent reasoning.Allah (theExalted) says: {And remember matter of the into in the which thesheep Solomon,when they gave judgement field certainpeople had strayedby night:We did witness theirjudgement To of We SolomonWe inspiredthe(right) of matter: to each (of them) understanding the andKnowledge} .U1 gave Judgement So Solomon was distinguishedforhis understanding [in this case] while both were praised for [having] sound judgementand knowledge. In the two Sahihs of al-Bukhari andMuslim it is narratedon the authorityof 'Amr b. al be 'As (may the withhim)that Prophet Allah be pleased (peace on him)said, "When a judge exercises independentreasoningand gives the right judgement, he will have two rewards,but ifhe errs in his judgement,he will stillhave earned one reward."112 Therefore, it is clear that themujtahid, despite his error, is rewarded at due to the fact thatarriving because of his ijtihadand hismistake is forgiven correctopinion on everyoccasion is either impossibleor highly unlikely. the Allahhasnotlaidupon Exaltedsays, AndAllah the {And any you inreligion hardship} andHe said, {Allah desiresease for for you, andHe does not desire you difficulty}}14 Muslim it isnarrated that theProphet In the two Sahibs of al-Bukharland Year of theTrench, "None of (peace be on him) said to his Companions in the prayeruntil you reachBanu Qurayzah" and sowhen you should pray the fAsr itwas time forAsr prayer and the companionswere stillon their way, some of them said. "We will not pray (Asr prayer) until we arrive at Banu prayer elapses]."Others said that this Qurayzah [i.e. even if the time for fAsr was not the intended and theyprayed Asr prayerwhile on theway meaning with eitherof the two groups.115 and theProphet foundno fault to the generalityof the communication ('umum The firstgroup held al-khitab) and thereforethey considered the lapse of the appointed time [for The other group feltthey thePrayer] as being includedunder thatgenerality* had the evidence necessitatingthe exclusion of this [the lapse of the appointed time] from the general importof the communication. They understood the command to be an encouragement to them tomake haste in reaching those 111 Qur'an 21: 78-79. 112 Al-Bukhari, ?abihtKitab al-Ftisam,Bab Ajr al-Hakim idha Ijtahada;Muslim, Sahib,Kitab al Aqdiyah, Bab Bayan Ajr al-Hakim idha Ijtahad. 113 Qur'an 22: 78. 114 Qur'an 2:185. 115 Bab $allt al-Talibwa 1-Matlub Rakiban wa Ima'an; See, al-Bukhari,Sahih,Kitab al-Jumu'ah, Bab al-Mubadarah bi 'l-Ghazw. Kitab al-Jihad, Muslim, Sahih, This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  32. 32. 348 AL-HALIM TAYMIYYAH EBN AHMADBN 'ABD that theProphet (peace be on him) had takenunder siege. This is an issue upon which there is a well known disagreementamong the jurists,namely, "Can the general be particularised by analogy?" (hal who prayed on al-umum hi 'l-qiyds). However, [myview is that] those yukhass what theydid. the way were more correct in Allah be pleasedwith him) sold two sd'of one when Bilal (may Similarly, type of dates for one sd' of another type of dates, the Prophet (peace be on [on the basis that thiswas a transaction him) ordered him to return it116 Bilal camewithin the sphereof the involvingribd]but he did not indicatethat such as depravity (tafsiq),condemnation (al-la'n) rulings for consuming ribd and sternness(taghliz);because Bilal had not been aware that this transaction was prohibited. Also, 'AdI b. Hatim and a group of the Companions (may Allah be the Qur'anic verse {...untilyou can identify pleasedwith them) thoughtthatthe referredto [the literal white thread meaning of the from theblack thread)117 would word al*khayt]i.e. thewhite rope and the black rope. So one of them near his pillow, one white and theother black, andwould eat two strings leave one fromtheother. of until he could identify Upon learning this,theProphet (peace be on him) said to 'Adi, "Your pillow seems to be very large!It is only whiteness of thedawn and theblacknessof thenight."118 the Therefore, theProphet (peace be on him) indicatedby this that 'Adi had not correctlycomprehended the meaning of theverse,yet theProphet did not to him the censure of one who did not observe the fastingof attribute Ramadan, even though it isone of the major sins. are thosewho gave a fatwd to a man who had a In contrast [to this] whole of his body [i.e. due to head-injury (in the skull) thathe had towash the so being in a stateofmajor ritual impurity] he did.He died as a resultand the Prophet(peacebe on him) said,"Theykilledhim;may Allah kill them! Should not they have asked if they did not know? Indeed, the cure for ignorance is inquiry."119 as Hence thesepeople committedamistake without [proper] ijtihdd they were not fromamong thepeople of knowledge. 116 See, al-Bukhari,Sahih,Kitab al-Wakalah,Bab idhaBa* al-Wakil Shay'an Fasid; Muslim, Sahih, Kitab al-Musaqah, Bab Bay' al-Ta'amMithlan biMithl. 117 Qur'an 2:187. 118 See, al-Bukhari, Sahih, Kitab al-Tafsir,Bab wa Kulu wa'shrabu; Muslim, Sahih, Kitab al Yahsulu bi Tulu* al-Fajr. Siyam, Bab Bayan ann al-Dukhul fi 'l-Sawm 119 See, 'Abd al-Razzaq,Musannaf, 1: 223; Ahmad, Musnad, 1: 330;Abu Dawud, Sunan, Kitab al Taharah, Bab fi 'l-MajruhYatayammam; IbnMajah, Sunan, Kitab al-Taharah, Bab fi '1-Majruh Tusibuh al-Janabah. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  33. 33. THE REMOVAL BLAMEFROMTHE GREATIMAMS OF 349 Another example is that theProphet (peace be on him) did not impose retaliation,blood money or expiation upon Usamah b. Zayd when he killed thepersonwho had testified that "There is no God butAllah" in the battle of was permissible to kill him on the basis Usamah believed that it al-Huraqat.120 thathis Islamwas invalid,even though it is clear thathis killingwas unlawful. The salaf and the when theyconcluded majority of the juristsacted upon this that the rebelswould not be liable for retaliation, blood-money or expiation, in cases such as shedding theblood of innocentpeople, which they legitimated on grounds of some plausible reason (ta'wtl sa'igh), they [rebels] will not be held responsible even though the killing and fightingthey engaged inwere prohibited.121 The aforementionedcondition for the applicabilityof a threatdoes not need to be repeated in every communication because the knowledge of it is well known and established in thehearts. This is just like the promise [of reward] for carryingout a good deed is for the sake ofAllah and that the prefacedupon itsbeing done with sincerity deed was not rendered void by apostasy. This condition, also, is not mentioned in everyhaditb which promises a reward foran action. And evenwhen the conditions necessitatingthe applicabilityof a threat are present, the threatmight be removed through the existence of an impediment (mdni). There are various typesof such impediments,including repentance,asking for forgiveness, good deeds thaterase sins, tribulationsand of calamities, the intercession someonewhose intercessionis accepted and the Most Merciful. mercy of the are lacking?and this It is onlywhen all of these impediments will not be the case exceptwith regard to the one who was arrogant,rebellious and fled from Allah in a way similar to thatof a camel strayingfrom itspeople?that the threat will be duly applicable to him. This is because the main functionof a threatis to emphasise that thedeed inquestion is a cause for thepunishment mentioned in the threat,thuscreatingthe inference that thedeed isprohibited and reprehensible. However, to say that the existence of the reason for the threat in any personwould necessitate the occurrence of the consequence (i.e the punishment) is indeed an absolutely invalid conclusion. [As we have of explained], the effect a threatdepends upon the presence of its conditions to and the removal of all of the impediments it. 120 See, al-Bukhari, Sahih, Kitab al-Diyat, Bab Qawl Allah Ta'ala wa man Ahyaha; Muslim, ba'd anQal La Qah ilia 'Hah. Kitab al-Iman,Bab Tahrim Qatl al-Kafir Sablhy 121 Ibn Taymiyyah is discussing here is the issue of giving amnesty to rebels and, as he What assertssomewhere else, non-belief isnot a legitimatereason forkilling. This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  34. 34. 350 AHMAD IBN 'ABD AL-HALIMIBN TAYMIYYAH To clarifythis further, thereare threepossibilities with regardto theone did not actupon a givenbadith: who First: thathis leaving thehadith is permissibleaccording to the agreement of allMuslims. An example of this is thepersonwho did not act upon a badith because he was not aware of it, although he had sought to the best of his ability to findout about it in view of his need for afatwa or a judicial ruling, as we mentioned in the case of the rightlyguided Caliphs and others (may Allah be pleased with them).There is no doubt in anyMuslim's mind that such a personwill not be liable for the sin resultingfrom theneglect of a deed [due to ignoranceof the existenceof theobligation/prohibition]. Second: that the leaving of the badith is not permissible. It is highly unlikely thatwe will find the Imams not acting upon a hadithwithout a reason,God (theExalted) willing. legitimate [Third:]What might be possible, however, is that some scholarsmay sometimesgive an opinion on an issuedespite the fact that theydid not fully would give theiropinion without comprehend the issue in question, so they fulfilled proper requirementsforgiving a rulingon that issue,even the having though theyhave some understandingand capacity for ijtihadon it. [It is also possible that] the scholar is deficient in his deduction, so he would conclude with an opinion without an evidence for such conclusion or even thoughhemight have used some formof ijtihad he would arriveat his opinion before having takenhis reasoning to its appropriate conclusion, even where he is basing his opinion on some evidence,or hemight be influenced by a custom or predisposition which preventshim froman exhaustive treatment of the issue which would include a studyof that which opposes his view, even ifhe based his opinion on some ijtihadand reasoning.This is due to the fact that the [precise] limit [or extent] towhich it is necessary to determine ijtihad might not be precisely identified the by mujtahid. This is the reason that the scholarsused to fear that the recognised form of ijtihad (al-Ijtihadal-Mu'tabar) might not have been achieved on a given issue. indeed a sin but the punishment for the sin is only applicable if its This is performer did not repent.Moreover, the sin can be erased by asking for forgiveness, doing good to others, [undergoing]tribulation,intercession,and Allah's Mercy. However, not includedunder this [i.e. the one who is pardoned] is the one who is overcome and defeatedby his desire to the extent thathe supports what he knows to be false, or the one who asserts authoritatively the correctnessor errorof an opinion without knowing the evidence for what he or either in affirmation negation. Indeed, these two are in the claims, Hellfire, as theProphet (peace be on "The judges are of three types: two in him) said, This content downloaded on Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:11:43 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

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