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rami
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Quote rami Replybullet Topic: Fiqh al-Shafi`i or Fiqh al-Sunna?
    Posted: 25 August 2007 at 8:05am
Bi ismillahi rahmani raheem

assalamu alaikum

Fiqh al-Shafi`i or Fiqh al-Sunna?

Posted by Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher on August 24th, 2007

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

The FAQ

In recent times, various Muslim circles have discussed whether we should follow the fiqh of one of the four Imams, such as the fiqh of Imam al-Shafi`i, the fiqh of Imam Abu Hanifa, etc., or whether we should follow the fiqh of the Sunna, or, better still, the fiqh of the Quran and Sunna. This dichotomy comes into high relief when a position documented in the fiqh of Imam al-Shafi`i, for example, is seemingly contradicted by the outward meaning of a hadith of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Should we, in such cases, follow the fiqh of Imam al-Shafi`i, or should we be faithful to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and follow the sahih hadith?

The way that this question is phrased only allows for one answer. The problem, however, is that the question isn’t phrased correctly in the first place. To understand why, we need digress briefly into the field of Arabic Grammar.

Grammatical Digression

Two weeks ago in my Intermediate Arabic 1 class, we learned the difference between the two kinds of idafa in the Arabic language: the idafa ma`nawiyya and the idafa lafdhiyya. Mastering this simple concept gives remarkable insights into the Arabic language.

An idafa, for those unfamiliar with the term, is an “X of Y” association between two words. So, for example, rasulu Llahi (رسولُ اللهِ), meaning “the messenger of Allah,” is an idafa, as is kitabu zaydin (كتابُ زيدٍ), which means, “the book of Zayd.”

In post-Ajurrumiyya grammar manuals—such as the Qatr al-Nada of Ibn Hisham—scholars of Arabic grammar explain that an idafa is either a real idafa that actually associates one word to another—this is termed an idafa ma`nawiyya—or a “cosmetic” idafa that conceals something else going on behind the scenes—this is termed an idafa lafdhiyya.

In kitabu zaydin (“the book of Zayd”), for example, we have associated a “thing”—a book—to another “thing”—Zayd. This is a real idafa and is straightforward to understand. When, however, the associated (i.e., the first word in the idafa, often called the mudaf) is not a mere “thing” but rather an “action-word”, then we need to put our minds on high alert and be a little smarter in order to figure out what’s really being said.

There are many kinds of “action-words” in the Arabic language, but this post will restrict itself to the verbal noun (masdar). Examples of verbal nouns are: qira’ah (“reciting”), ta`allum (“learning”), and hifz (“memorizing”). Note that each of these words doesn’t merely signify a “thing”; rather, it signifies an action that is being done. When such words are associated to other words, we need to inquire further about the nature of the association: have we associated the action to its doer (i.e. the subject), or to its done-to (i.e. the object)?

For example, if I say qira’atu L-qurani (قرائةُ القرآنِ), then I have associated the action of recital to its done-to—the Quran is the object of the recitation, the thing that is recited. If, however, I say qira’atu Zaydin (قرآئةُ زيدٍ), then I have associated the action of recital to its doer—Zayd is not the thing that is being recited, but rather the doer of the recitation, the one who is doing the recitation.

Returning to the FAQ

After that quick grammatical digression—necessarily superficial in the interests of blog-post length—we can now revisit the question asked at the top of the post.

Fiqh, as it turns out, is a verbal noun that means “understanding”. Fiqh al-Shafi`i—“the understanding of Shafi`i”—is an idafa lafdhiyya where the action-word fiqh (“understanding”) has been associated to Shafi`i. The question that the grammarians will ask at this point is, “Has the verbal noun been associated to its doer, or to its done-to?” In other words, is Imam al-Shafi`i the one who is doing the action of understanding, or is he the one who is being understood?

We then ask the same question of the other idafa lafdhiyya in the question: in Fiqh al-Sunna—“the understanding of the Sunna”—has the action-word fiqh been associated to its doer or its done-to? In other words, is the Sunna the thing that is doing the action of the understanding, or is it the thing that has been understood?

The answers, as well as the conclusions that I’m about to mention should already be obvious to those of you who have been following the discussion thus far.

When we use the term Fiqh al-Shafi`i, we are associating the verbal noun to its doer and omitting mention of the done-to. In other words, Shafi`i is the one who is doing the action of understanding, and the object of his understanding is the Sunna, but this is not mentioned for reasons of brevity and obviousness (what else would Shafi`i be trying to understand?).

Those who use the term Fiqh al-Sunna are associating the verbal noun to its done-to and omitting mention of the doer. In other words, the thing that is being understood is the Sunna, but the one who is doing the understanding has not been mentioned. Why has the doer not been mentioned?

The reason why the doer has not been mentioned is to give the misleading impression that someone who is following Fiqh al-Sunna is following the understanding of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself, whereas someone who is following Fiqh al-Shafi`i is merely following the understanding of a fallible human being. In other words, we are being made to believe that in the idafa, Fiqh al-Sunna, the verbal noun has been associated to its doer instead of its done-to.

The answer to the question at the top of the post is eloquently summarized by Shaykh Nuh Keller in his wonderful introduction to his book Al-Maqasid: Nawawi’s Manual of Islam, where he says,

To follow the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was a simple matter for the Companions (Sahaba); they knew and loved him, and when he would tell them something, they said, “We hear and obey.” When he passed from this world, the Quranic imperative remained, …

… we have been ordered to follow the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and he is no longer alive to personally teach us. All that has reached us of it [i.e., Sacred Law, or Sharia], has reached us through men. And this is why Muslims from the earliest times have relied on the most knowledgeable of these men to take their religion from—whether in hadith, tenets of faith (`aqida), Quranic exegesis (tafsir), or the other Islamic sciences. The foremost of them were termed Imams, or “leaders”, in view of their position in each field, so their knowledge could be accepted and followed. (Al-Maqasid: Nawawi’s Manual of Islam, ix,x)

The question, in other words, is not whether we should follow Imam Shafi`i or the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)—any Muslim who has a single brain cell knows the answer to that question. The question is whether to follow the Sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) as understood by Imam Shafi`i, or to follow the Sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) as understood by the mysterious, unnamed person, who is probably the author of the book that you’re holding in your hands.


Source :http://blog.sunnipath.com/?p=173


Rasul Allah (sallah llahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Whoever knows himself, knows his Lord" and whoever knows his Lord has been given His gnosis and nearness.
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rami
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Quote rami Replybullet Posted: 25 August 2007 at 8:07am
Bi ismillahi rahmani raheem

Sunnipath blog, interesting reading, posts are done by various shaykhs and sunnipath personnel.

http://blog.sunnipath.com/


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Rasul Allah (sallah llahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Whoever knows himself, knows his Lord" and whoever knows his Lord has been given His gnosis and nearness.
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Quote rami Replybullet Posted: 25 August 2007 at 8:09am
Bi ismillahi rahmani raheem

The Effect of Hadith on the Disagreement of the Jurists (Allah be pleased with all of them)

Posted by Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher on August 18th, 2007

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

This morning, in preparation for the Hadith or Fiqh course that begins this weekend, I was flipping through Shaykh Muhammad `Awwamah’s (Allah preserve him) priceless book, Athar al-Hadith al-Sharif Fi Ikhtilaf al-A’imma al-Fuqaha, and came across the following quote,

Ibn Wahb said, “Had Allah not rescued me through Malik and Layth, I would have gone astray.” He was asked, “How come?” to which he replied, “I heard many, many hadiths (akthartu min al-hadith) and that confused me. I then presented [the hadiths that confused me] to Malik and Layth, and they would tell me, “Accept this one and ignore that one.”" (Athar al-Hadith al-Sharif, 3rd ed., p. 58, quoted from Qadi `Iyad’s Tartib al-Madarik)

The Malik mentioned in this quote is the famous Medinan faqih and muhaddith, Imam Malik b. Anas (eponymn of of the Maliki school), and the Layth is the famous Egyptian faqih and muhaddith, Layth b. Sa`d (a mujtahid imam in his own right whose knowledge was lost because of lack of students).

Hadith literature is a double-edged sword. For top-notch scholars who are steeped in both hadith and fiqh, it is a goldmine of guidance from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace); for non-scholars who “go it alone”, it is a minefield waiting to lead them astray.

Proof isn’t hard to come by: just do a survey of the websites that talk about Islam and you will find a confusing array of conflicting opinions, all clinging to hadiths as their justification. A single hadith is a snippet, a snapshot, a moment out of the 23-year period of divine revelation. Putting this snapshot into its proper context is not an easy task, especially when there are thousands and thousands of snapshots, some real, some forged; some clear, some fuzzy.

Shaykh Muhammad `Awwamah’s book shows the complexity of interpreting hadith, and that the reason why the great jurists differed in their conclusions are more complex than simply, “he wasn’t aware of the hadith,” or, (worse still) “he ignored this hadith and decided to invent his own opinion instead.”

I was speaking to a young scholar here in the U.A.E. last night and he told me that this book “deserves to be written in gold,” and that every student of knowledge should memorize it (not just read it). My own teacher, Shaykh Talal Ahdab, gave me this book to read many, many years ago, and told me that the late Shaykh `Abdul Fattah Abu Ghudda (Allah have mercy on him) used to urge people to read this book repeatedly. Shaykh Talal himself said he read this book no less than 50 times.

Hamza.


Rasul Allah (sallah llahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Whoever knows himself, knows his Lord" and whoever knows his Lord has been given His gnosis and nearness.
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