“Say, Are those who know equal to those who do not know”
The Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:
“Seeking knowledge is a duty upon every Muslim.” (Ibn Majah)
And He (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:
“The angels lower their wings in approval of the seeker of knowledge, and everyone in the heavens and on earth prays for forgiveness for the seeker of knowledge, even the fish in the sea. The superiority of the scholar over the worshipper is like the superiority of the moon above all other heavenly bodies. The scholars are the heirs of the Prophets, for the Prophets did not leave behind a Dinar or Dirham, rather they left behind knowledge, so whoever takes it has taken a great share.” (Ibn Majah)
May Allah raise the rank of our scholars and reward them well, and may Allah grant us benefit in what He have taught us, and provide us with knowledge that will benefit us.
Knowledge in Islam
Islam is the religion of Knowledge, and Islam made the virtue of Knowledge comes before the virtue of action, and there are lot of verses, Prophetic traditions and sayings of our Righteous Predecessors that esteem the Knowledge and the knowledgeable people.
The first verse of the Qur’an to be revealed enjoined reading which is the key to knowledge. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists). He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.” [6:1-5]
And almighty Allah made warns every Muslim against speaking without knowledge, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): “And follow not (O man, i.e., say not, or do not, or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge. Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of those ones will be questioned (by Allah).” [17:36]
Muslims (especially the ordinary muslims and the beginner seekers of knowledge) need knowledgable people at all times and in all places. The Nation without knowledge and scholars will live in illusions and sink in darkness. If a person knows what Allah has prescribed conceals this knowledge and deprives the Nation of it, he will be cursed by Allah except for he who repents.
But the most important questions that should be questioned now are:
The Muslim nowadays may be able to reach to and collect many knowledgable information that were attributed to Islam by being seen or heared on the widespread media and social media channels, or being read in a book, or even being collected directly from any person; so are all these information correct?
Are all the sources which were attributed to Islam reliable?
And is it acceptable to take actions and to have complete faith on any information collected from these sources?
Imam Muhammad bin Seereen (may Allah have mercy on him) said : “Indeed this knowledge is faith, so carefully consider as to whom you take your faith from.” [Muslim]
And it was narrated that our Righteous Predecessors said: “Your Religion! Your Religion is indeed your meat and blood, so carefully consider from whom you take it! Take from those who remained on a right course not from those who gone far astray.”
So the answer is clearly NO! For the muslim may behave towards one of the deflected paths that were falsely attributed to Islam, and may lead him to have preverted beliefs in his religion for following such preverted knowledge! We seek refuge with Allah from that!
How can the ordinary Muslim know who the scholars are?
Following are the signs and indications that will help to know who are the scholars whom one can take fatwas from:
1. The sign of the scholar and faqeeh who is qualified to issue fatwas is that he is able to use as evidence the verses of the Qur’an and the hadiths of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), distinguishing what is sound from what is not, what abrogates and what is abrogated, what is specific in meaning and what is general in meaning, and who understands the meaning and the context of revelation, and also well versed in the Arabic language.
2. Another sign of the scholars is that they are very religiously committed and have a good attitude, and they are also keen to follow the example of the righteous of the early generations, namely the Companions and the follwers, and the leading scholars. So in general they do not drift away from their path, and every fatwa or word that they utter they attribute to one of the earlier leading scholars such as Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, Sufyaan, al-Awzaa‘i, Abu Haneefah, Maalik, ash-Shaafa‘i, Ahmad, al-Ghazaali, al-‘Izz ibn ‘Abd as-Salaam, an-Nawawi, Ibn Taymiyah, Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Katheer, Ibn Hajar and other scholars of Islam concerning whose prominence in knowledge, devotion and sincerity the Muslims do not differ.
But if you find anyone nowadays who does not refer to these scholars or show any pride in them, and does not follow their general methodology in understanding the Islamic texts, then you should realise that he is not one of those who follow (the earlier generations) in truth; rather he is one of those who drifted away from their path and chose innovation.
3. One of the most prominent signs of the true scholar and sincere mufti, which we tell people about, is that they do not attribute themselves to a small group and they do not call themselves by a name or claim to follow something that is not part of the ummah; rather they attribute themselves to this ummah and regard themselves as part of it, past and present, throughout the entire history of Islam.
4. There is nothing wrong with taking academic certification into account. But that does not mean that everyone who has a degree in sharee‘ah from any university has reached the right level of knowledge that qualifies him to issue fatwas concerning religious issues.
5. One of the most important signs of the mufti or scholars that we advise people to pay attention to is that this mufti or scholar should be someone who became famous for his sincerity and knowledge among the academic elite and specialised circles, not only among ordinary people. Rather scholars and specialists should testify to his understanding and skill, and they should acknowledge that he is well versed and his views are well-founded.
What do the scholars say about Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen and Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on them)?
Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen and Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on them), they are very famous and well known among the scholars and those who specialise in Islamic knowledge, and they are among the best examples that explain the signs discussed above. They combined all the characteristics of knowledge, goodness and virtue, by Allah’s leave, and many people attested to that.
Among the most important reference books which give detailed biographies of them, and highlight the praise of the scholars for them and their high status in the current era are: Al-Injaaz fi Seerat al-Imam ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz by ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan ar-Rahmah, Hayaat al-Albaani wa Athaaruhu wa Thana’ al-‘Ulama’ ‘alayhi by Muhammad Ibraaheem ash-Shaybaani , Ibn ‘Uthaymeen al-Imam az-Zaahid by Naasir az-Zahraani, and others.
See Biography of Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (RA)
See Biography of Shaykh Al-Albani (RA)
Does the Muslim excused for his ignorance in any of religious issues?
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) has issued detailed Fatwas regarding this matter, they can be summed up in the following points:
1. Ignorance is an excuse, and no one can produce evidence to prove that the one who is ignorant is not excused. And there is no difference between ignorance in issues of belief and practical issues.
2. Disbelief that puts a person beyond the pale of Islam may be connected to beliefs, words uttered, actions done, or something that one fails to do. but the point of the discussion here is how to apply the description of disbelief to a particular person, because he may be excused, in which case he is not to be regarded as a disbeliever.
3. A person who does an act of disbelief is not a disbeliever if he is ignorant and unaware of the shar‘i ruling concerning his action, or if he asked a scholar who gave him a fatwa saying that his action was permissible.
However he does become a disbeliever if proof is established and presented to him, and any confusion or misunderstanding on his part was dealt with.
4. The excuse of ignorance cannot be accepted from everyone who claims to be ignorant, because he may have been negligent about learning or careless about asking and finding out, or he may be stubborn and not accept the truth or try to seek it. In all these cases, the individual is not excused.
5. The ignorant person among those who are originally disbelievers is to be dealt with as a disbeliever according to shar’i rulings in this world, and in the hereafter his fate will be decided by Allah. The correct view is that he will be tested (in the hereafter).See Full Fatwa – islamqa.info
What should be our attitude towards differences among the scholars?
The answer of this important question is that if the Muslim has enough knowledge to enable him to compare the views of the scholars based on the evidence and to decide which is more likely to be correct, and he can tell what is more correct and more likely to be correct, then he must do that, because Allah has commanded us to refer disputed matters to the Qur’an and Sunnah, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“(And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.” [4:59]
So he should refer the disputed matter to the Qur’an and Sunnah, and whatever appears to him to be more correct, based on the evidence, is what he should follow, because what is obligatory is to follow the evidence, and he may refer to the words of the scholars to help him understand the evidence.
But if the Muslim does not have sufficient knowledge to enable him to decide which of the scholarly opinions is more likely to be correct, then he should ask the people of knowledge whose knowledge and religious commitment he trusts and then follow the advice or fatwas they give.
If their opinions differ, then he should follow the one who is most trustworthy and most knowledgeable.
It is not permissible for the Muslim to follow whatever scholarly opinion suits his desires if it goes against the evidence, or to seek fatwas from those who he thinks are going to be lenient in their fatwas.
Rather he has to be on the safe side when it comes to his religion, and ask the scholars who have the most knowledge and are most fearing of Allah.
Fatwas Bank / Islam Q&As
If you have any Islam question reagrding any religious matter you can visit the Fatwas Bank / Islam Q&As page of the site:
Fifteen selected Fatwas regarding knowledge & Scholars
1) What is ‘Aqeedah?
‘Aqeedah refers to those matters which are believed in, with certainty and conviction, in one’s heart and soul. They are not tainted with any doubt or uncertainty.
The Arabic word ‘aqeedah stems from the root ‘aqada, which conveys meanings of certainty, affirmation, confirmation, etc. In the Qur’an, Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Allah will not punish you for what is unintentional in your oaths, but He will punish you for your deliberate oaths (bimaa ‘aqqadtum al-aymaan)…” [5:89]
‘Aqeedah in Islam refers to the matters which are known from the Qur’an and sound ahaadeeth (Hadiths), and which the Muslim must believe in his heart, in acknowledgement of the truth of Allah and His Messenger.
Islamic ‘Aqeedah sciences are known as Basic tenets of Faith.
Since the honor of any science is directly linked to the honor of what it informs about, the scholars agreed that the sciences of ‘Aqeedah are the best of all sciences, because they are concerned with knowledge about Almighty Allah, His Oneness and His Divine Names and Attributes.
2) The meaning of Tawheed and its categories
Tawheed in Arabic means attributing Oneness to Allah and describing Him as being One and Unique, with no partner or peer in His Essence and Attributes.
With regard to the shar’i definition of Tawheed, it means believing in Allah alone as God and Lord and attributing to Him alone all the attributes of Lordship and divinity.
Tawheed is the essence of the testimony that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and that this is Islam with which Allah sent His Prophet to the two races of mankind and the jinn, other than which Allah will not accept any religion from anyone.
The scholars have divided Tawheed into three categories; Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah (Oneness of Divine Lordship), Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah (Oneness of Divinity) and Tawheed al-Asma’ wa’l-Sifaat (Oneness of the Divine Names and Attributes).See Full Fatwa – islamqa.info
3) Definition of sharee‘ah (sharia), fiqh and usool al-fiqh
In linguistic terms, sharee‘ah refers to a water source, which is the source to which people who want to drink come.
In shar‘i terminology, sharee‘ah refers to the entire religion (Islam), which Allah has chosen for His slaves to bring them forth thereby from the depths of darkness into the light. It is what He has prescribed for them and what He has explained to them of commands and prohibitions, halaal and haraam.
In linguistic terms, fiqh means understanding.
And in shar‘i terminology, fiqh refers to knowledge of the practical, minor shar‘i rulings which are derived from detailed evidence and proof.
With regard to usool al-fiqh, the word asl (singular of usool) refers to the origin of a thing and what it is based on.
Usool al-fiqh is knowledge of shar‘i evidence and the way in which that evidence is interpreted in order to reach a ruling, in general terms or in detail.
The first one to write about usool al-fiqh as an independent branch of knowledge was Imam ash-Shaafa‘i, Muhammad ibn Idrees (may Allah have mercy on him); then he was followed in that by scholars who wrote various books on this topic.
4) The science of hadith is based on reason and shar‘i guidelines
The science of hadith is basically and in principle founded on rational guidelines, with a methodology based on an accumulation of experience attained by the hadith scholars on the basis of many years experience of narrating reports and checking their authenticity and soundness. They attained the basis of this knowledge through lengthy involvement in checking reports, seeking them out, conveying them, examining them and determining whether there were any faults in them, thus gradually developing the general guidelines and framework of the science of hadith.
Some of these general shar‘i principles are as follows:
1- The stern prohibition on lying about hadiths (narration from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)), as the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Lying about me is not like lying about anyone else. Whoever tells a lie about me deliberately, let him take his place in Hell.” [Agreed Upon]
2- Not accepting the report of an evildoer.
3- Stipulation that the narrator should be of good character, by analogy with the requirement for a witness to be of good character.
4- Constant verification and checking.
5- Warning against odd and weird reports.
6- Refraining from knowingly narrating a report that is a lie, as the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever narrates a hadeeth from me knowing that it is false is one of the liars.” [Muslim]
7- Precise memorisation is the basis of trustworthiness.
8- Warning against putting oneself under suspicion by narrating a lot of weird reports and not being selective in what one narrates.
9- Seeking evidence and proof.
10- Seeking certain knowledge, far removed from speculation and illusion.
The methodology of the hadith scholars is a Qur’anic methodology that is derived from the Qur’an and Sunnah, and that it is a critical methodology that deals with historical reports; in other words, it does not accept a reported text without examining it critically, and it is not sufficient for this text to be narrated from a scholar or a person of respectable standing in order for it to be accepted. Rather it is essential that the attribution of the report to the one who said it should be proven, and it should be examined thoroughly and carefully to make sure that it is in harmony with the proven principles and general guidelines.
All Muslims are advised to look into “books of men” i.e., narrators (kutub al-rijaal) and the books which state which narrators are sound or otherwise (kutab al-jarh wa’l-ta’deel), in order to get a brief about the great efforts exerted by the scholars to serve the Holy Prophetic Sunnah.
5) How can the Muslim begin to seek knowledge?
The seeker of knowledge should begin by attaining some general knowledge of the texts of revelation (the Holy Qur’an), because they are the main source for the religion of Allah, may He be exalted.
At the same time, the seeker should strive hard to study ‘aqeedah (belief) and fiqh (jurisprudence); he cannot delay that because the seeker has a need for that for himself, and so that he can advise and guide the people around him.
With regard to fiqh, the best is for the seeker to begin with the madhhab that is most widespread in his own environment.
The Muslim can look for a shaykh in his local environment who is trustworthy in terms of his knowledge and religious commitment, and start studying with him, with the easiest text of the madhhab which will give you the view that is regarded by the scholars of that madhhab as more correct.
Then the Muslim can begin to study the second source, which is the prophetic Sunnah beginning with the most important, then the next most important.
Afterwards, he can prepare himself for deeper study of the laws of Allah, learning about differences of opinion and how to determine which view is more likely to be correct, as there are specific tools for this task that he cannot do without, the most important of which are ‘ilm an-nahw was-sarf (study of Arabic language and grammar), ‘ilm usool al-fiqh (the funadamentals of fiqh) and ‘ilm al-hadith (study of hadith).
With regard to usool al-fiqh, the best is for the student to acquire knowledge thereof gradually, according to the books of usool of the madhhab that he is studying.
As for ‘ilm al-hadith, the Muslim should start with memorising the texts of the Prophet’s Sunnah, and then memorise different types of isnaads and whatever he can memorise of the names and biographies of narrators.
Then he starts to examine these texts more closely, finding out about ambiguous or difficult texts (ghareeb al-hadeeth) and the different ways in which they are interpreted.
The seeker of knowledge is advised to obtain copies of the books on the sciences of hadeeth terminology (mustalah al-hadeeth), books on ‘ilal wa takhreej; which represent the practical application of hadeeth sciences, and books on Contemporary studies by specialists in the area of hadeeth and specialist academic essays.
Over and above all that, he has to remind himself to fear Allah, may He be exalted, for this is the purpose of all knowledge and the one who is distracted by the pursuit of knowledge from acting has gone astray and is doomed.See Fatwa 1 – islamqa.info
See Fatwa 2 – islamqa.info
6) Etiquette of the seeker of knowledge
There is a certain amount of etiquette for seeking knowledge which the seeker of knowledge should follow : Patience, purity of intention in action, acting upon what he knows, always being aware that Allah is watching, making the best use of time, be cautious, precision and focus, studying books, choosing companions, and finally, good manners towards the shaykh.See Full Fatwa – islamqa.info
7) The followers of the madhhabs (schools of jurisprudence) are not all imitators
The followers of the madhhabs are not all the same. Some of them are mujtahids (qualified for issuing Fatwas) within their madhhab, and some are followers (muqallids) who do not go against their madhhabs in any regard.
Al-Buwayti, al-Muzani, al-Nawawi and Ibn Hajr were followers of Imam al-Shaafa’i, but they were also mujtahids in their own right and differed with their imam when they had evidence. Similarly Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr was a Maaliki but he differed with Maalik if the correct view was held by someone else. The same may be said of the Hanafi imams such as Abu Yoosuf and Muhammad al-Shaybaani, and the Hanbali imams such as Ibn Qudaamah, Ibn Muflih and others.
The fact that a student studied with a madhhab does not mean that he cannot go beyond it if he finds sound evidence elsewhere; the only one who stubbornly clings to a particular madhhab (regardless of the evidence) is one who lacking in religious commitment and intellect, or he is doing that because of partisan attachment to his madhhab.
The advice of the leading imams is that students should acquire knowledge from where they acquired it, and they should ignore the words of their imams if they go against the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
Imaam Maalik said: “I am only human, I may be right or I may be wrong, so measure my words by the Qur’an and Sunnah.”
8) Are all the ahaadeeth in Saheeh al-Bukhaari & Saheeh Muslim saheeh (sound)?
There is no doubt that al-Bukhaari and then Muslim are superior to the people of their own era and the imams of this branch of knowledge who came after them in finding out what is saheeh or sound and what is mu’allal or faulty.
The Saheeh of Imam Abu ‘Abd-Allah Muhammad ibn Ismaa’eel al-Bukhaari is the soundest book of narration after the Book of Allah. The scholars, muhaddithoon (scholars of hadeeth) and hafizes all bear witness to its high status in terms of authenticity and precision.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: “There is no book beneath the canopy of heaven that is more sound than al-Bukhaari and Muslim, after the Qur’an.” [Majmoo’ al-Fataawa]
Most of the scholars and muhaddithoon think that Imam al-Bukhaari is in the right with regard to matters for which he was criticized.
The number of ahaadeeth in Saheeh al-Bukhaari, including repetitions – according to the numbering of Muhammad Fu’aad ‘Abd al-Baaqi (may Allah have mercy on him) – is 7563. So when we realize that the number of criticisms is less than twenty, and that most of these criticisms have to do with matters concerning the isnaads, or whether the hadeeth reaches the highest level of saheeh, or they have to do with one or two words in a hadeeth, and that the criticisms which have to do with matters affecting the soundness of the matn (text) are rare and affect no more than one or two or three ahaadeeth – when we know all that, we realize that applying the label of saheeh to everything that is in al-Bukhaari, texts and isnaads, is correct and cannot be denied.
See a brief Biography of the two great imams in the science of Hadith (Al-bukhari & Muslim) – islamqa.info
9) Categories of Hadeeth, the Conditions of a Saheeh Hadeeth
The scholars have various ways of categorizing different types of Hadeeth, in each of which they examined the Hadeeth from a specific angle.
When they looked at the issue of who the Hadeeth was attributed to, they divided the Hadeeth into: Marfoo‘, Mawqoof, Maqtoo‘.
When they looked at the isnaads of the Hadeeth, which are the chains of narrators who transmitted the Hadeeth from the one who spoke it, they divided the Hadeeth into: Mutawaatir and Ahaad (or ghareeb)
When the Hadeeth scholars looked at the ruling on the Hadeeth, and whether it was to be accepted or rejected – and perhaps this is the main point of the question – they divided them into: Maqbool (accepted), Mardood (rejected)
Then they divided the accepted hadeeths into: Saheeh and Hasan.
In many cases the hadeeth scholars used other terms in addition to the terms mentioned above. For example, they sometimes call a hasan isnaad “jayyid”; sometimes they describe a saheeh hadeeth as “in accordance with the conditions of the two shaykhs (al-Bukhaari and Muslim)”; and other similar phrases.
The conditions of a Saheeh Hadeeth can be summed up as follows:
1- Good character of all its narrators.
2- Good memory and precision on the part of narrators with regard to what they are narrating.
3- Continuous isnaad from beginning to end, meaning that each narrator heard the hadeeth from the one before him.
4- The hadeeth is free from any oddness in its isnaad or text. What is meant by “odd” is anything in which the narrator narrates something that contradicts the narration of a sounder narrator.
5- The hadeeth is free from faults in its isnaad and text. A “fault” is a subtle problem that undermines the soundness of the hadeeth, which can be detected only by the well versed scholars of Hadeeth.
The hadeeth scholars divided the rejected hadeeths into: Da‘eef (weak) and Mawdoo‘ (fabricated).See Fatwa 1 – islamqa.info
See Fatwa 2 – islamqa.info
10) The fundamentals of Tafseer (interpretation) of the Holy Qur’an
It should be noted that the Tafseer of the Holy Qur’an has fundamentals in a science known as ‘ilm usool al-tafseer.
The scholars have written in the fundamentals of interpretation, and they have explained the difference between the Tafseer on the basis of narrated texts and Tafseer on the basis of understandable interpretation, and they explained when the man can say in his opinion, and they divided between the good and the indignant opinion.
The scholars said that the Qur’an is explained by: the Qur’an itself, the Sound Sunnah, the Sayings of the Righteous Predecessors (As-salaf As-Salih), knowledge in Arabic language, knowledge in some of the narrated texts of the people of the scripture, and knowledge in the reasons for revelation of the Qur’anic Verses.
So if an explanation of a verse or a word in the Qur’an has reached us from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), it is obligatory for us to adhere to it and be content with it.
But if the mufassir (the scholar of Tafseer) cannot find any explanation for a verse in the Sunnah, he should look at the sayings of the Sahaabah (Companions).
If in any case the tafseer of the Sahaabah was based on their own ijtihaad (judgment) and understanding, and their ijtihaad takes precedence over that of those who came after them, because they accompanied the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and were aware of the circumstances in which the verses of the Qur’an were revealed, such as the reasons for revelation and the place where revelation came down.
If the mufassir does not find anything in the words of the Sahaabah to explain the meaning of the verse, then he should look at the tafseer of the Taabi‘een (Followers), who acquired their knowledge from the companions of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon them), because in their circumstances, words, deeds and time they were – naturally – closer to the Sahaabah and to their teachings and were able to learn from them directly.See Fatwa 1 – islamqa.info
See Fatwa 2 – islamqa.info
11) What should one do when there is a conflict between shar‘i texts?
It should be noted that there is no real conflict between any two verses of the Holy Qur’an or between any two sound hadiths or between a verse and a sound hadeeth, and if there seems to be a contradiction between two of these texts, it is ostensibly opposed to what appears to be our minds, not a real contradiction.
It is well known that many shar‘i rulings were introduced in stages, paying attention to people’s circumstances at the time of the revelation. So something may have been mustahabb at the beginning, then it became obligatory, or it may have been permitted then it was forbidden, or vice versa.
If two shar‘i texts contradict one another, the first thing we must do is try to reconcile between them in an acceptable manner. If that is not possible then we should follow the later of the two texts. If it is not known which is the later one, we should examine them to find out which report is more credible and adopt it.
It is essential to note that the methodology of the fuqaha’ in reconciling between shar‘i texts may differ in application from one faqeeh to another. Some of them may find a way to reconcile the texts, whilst others may think that reconciling between two hadeeths is farfetched, so they may decide that one abrogates the other or they may examine them in order to determine which is more credible, and so on.See Full Fatwa – islamqa.info
12) Abrogation in the Qur’an, and the order of its soorahs and verses
Naskh (abrogation) in Arabic means lifting and removing. In Islamic terminology it means lifting a ruling indicated by a shar‘i text, on the basis of evidence from the Qur’an or Sunnah.
The concept of abrogation is based on the Qur’an and Sunnah, and on the consensus (ijmaa‘) of Ahl as-Sunnah, and there is great wisdom behind it. In most cases the abrogation was for the purpose of making things easier for the Muslims or increasing the rewards.
Allah, may He be exalted, said (interpretation of the meaning):
“Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is able to do all things? Know you not that it is Allah to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth? And besides Allah you have neither any Walee (protector or guardian) nor any helper.” [2:106,107]
The types of Abrogation in the Qur’an are:
– Abrogation of the verses and the ruling.
– Abrogation of the verses but not the ruling.
– Abrogation of the ruling but not the verses.
Abrogation of the Sunnah by the Qur’an is possible.
With regard to the issue of the Sunnah abrogating texts of the Holy Qur’an, the scholars differed concerning it, the view of the majority of scholars of usool is that it is not possible for the Sunnah narrated in aahaad reports to abrogate the Holy Qur’an.
With regard to the Sunnah limiting the general meaning of Qur’anic texts, the majority of scholars of usool are of the view that it is possible.
With regard to the order in which verses appear, the scholars are unanimously agreed that the order in which they appear in a single soorah is a tawqeefi matter (i.e., as determined by Allah and His Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)), and the matter was not subject to the ijtihaad of the Sahaabah (Companions).
With regard to the order in which the soorahs appear, there is a difference of scholarly opinion concerning this matter. The majority are of the view that it resulted from the ijtihaad of the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them), although they that the order of some of those soorahs was determined at the time of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).
With regard to the naming of the soorahs, some of them were named by the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and some were named by the ijtihaad of the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them).See Fatwa 1 – islamqa.info
See Fatwa 2 – islamqa.info
13) The ‘aqeedah of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah and the praise of the imams for him
Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Haleem ibn Taymiyah is regarded as one of the prominent mujaddids (renewers and revivers) of Islam. He was born in 661 AH and died in 728 AH (may Allah have mercy on him). If the efforts of a mujaddid bear fruit in his own time and generation, the efforts of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah began to bear fruit in his own time and have continued to do so until the present, affecting scholars and seekers of knowledge and Islamic groups that belong to Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah.
Scholars still refer to his books to refute the enemies of Islam.
His achievements in the fields of fiqh, hadeeth, tafseer and sulook (ways of drawing close to Allah) are too well known for us to need to give any examples here. His books and writings bear witness to that and he does not need anyone to praise him, rather his knowledge and fiqh are extant and bear witness that no one can deny except one who is ignorant or stubborn.
The testimony of the imams of his own and subsequent eras makes clear to any fair-minded person the falseness of the claims that have been fabricated by the enemies of Islam and the enemies of the Sunnah against this prominent imam, and highlight his knowledge, understanding and strength of argument.
These words of praise and testimony in favour of this imam did not come only from his students and supporters, but even his opponents testified that he surpassed others in knowledge and understanding.
Among the imams who have praised him were: Imam al-Dhahabi, al-Haafiz ‘Imaad al-Deen al-Waasiti, al-Haafiz Jalaal al-Deen al-Suyooti, al-Mulla ‘Ali Qaari, Imam al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar, and many others.
Imam al-Dhahabi said: “He is our Shaykh, the Shaykh of Islam, unrivalled in our time in terms of knowledge, courage, intelligence, spiritual enlightenment, generosity, sincerity towards the ummah, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and learning hadeeth – he put a great deal of effort into seeking it and writing it down, and he examined the different categories of narrators and acquired knowledge that no one else acquired.”See Full Fatwa – islamqa.info
14) Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab – a reformer concerning whom many malicious lies have been told
Shaykh al-Islam Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab (may Allah have mercy on him) suffered the same as other sincere scholars and daa’iyahs, but in the end the message of truth that he brought prevailed. How could it be otherwise? How could the light of truth be extinguished? Think about this man and how Allah helped him to sow the seeds of Tawheed throughout the Arabian Peninsula and put an end to all kinds of shirk. If this indicates anything, it indicates that he was sincere in his call and made sacrifices for that cause as far as we can tell, and of course his efforts were supported and helped by Allah.
But the enemies of this call have spared no effort to make false accusations concerning it.
And anyone who examines these claims will realize for sure that they are all lies and fabrications. The books of the Shaykh which are widely circulated bear the greatest witness to that, and his followers who answered his call never mentioned anything to that effect. If the matter were as they claim, his followers would have conveyed the same ideas, otherwise they would have been disloyal to him.
15) Shaykh al-Albaani (RA) was a great Scholar of Hadith and a Scholar of Fiqh (Faqeeh) as well
Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him) was one of the prominent scholars the field of ijtihaad and fatwas. He is one of the imams of our era in this regard. His books, tapes and halaqahs bear witness to that. The imams of fatwas and ijtihaad praise his knowledge and refer to him, and quote his words as evidence.
The one who says that he was a muhaddith but not a faqeeh is mistaken. Rather he was an experienced faqeeh who adhered to the rules and guidelines of knowledge. It is not known that he had his own principles on which he based his understanding of Islam, rather he followed the same path as the imams of knowledge among the righteous salaf, and his knowledge of hadeeth qualified him to base his determination of which view is more correct on the ahaadeeth which he believed to be saheeh (sound).
Everyone who is fair minded knows that Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him) was well versed in fiqh and ijtihaad, and we evidence for that can be seen in the testimony of the scholars to that effect, His well-written books of fiqh and His tapes which are widely available worldwide, of which one thousand are in circulation; those which have not yet been produced contain 5000 hours of audio material. All of these tapes are recordings of just some of his halaqahs (circles of knowledge), so how about if all of his halaqahs had been recorded!?
But it should be pointed out that Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him) was a human being, who got things right and made mistakes. No one should believe that his words are infallible.
And It is not permissible for any follower of Shaykh al-Albaani to continue to follow the shaykh’s view if it becomes clear to him that the opinion of another scholar of virtue is stronger; rather he must follow the truth wherever it is and whoever it is with.
Our Greatest Contemporary Scholars
Shaykh Mohammad Nasir Al-dein Al-Albani (RA)
1332-1421 AH / (1914-1999)
He was Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Ibn Nooh Ibn Aadam Najaatee, al-Albaani by birth, Ad-Dimashqee by residence and Al-Urdunee (from Jordan) due to his migration and place of death. He was born in Ashkodera, the capital of Albania, and it is to this country that he ascribes himself.
He was a Muhaddith (scholar of hadeeth), a Faqeeh (scholar of Fiqh), a caller to the Book and the Sunnah with the understanding of the Salaf As-Saalih (righteous predecessors). And he was a proficient writer and an expert scholar.
Shaykh Mohammad Ibn Saalih Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (RA)
1347-1421 AH / (1929-2001)
He was, may Allah have mercy on him, Al-‘Allaamah Al-Faqeeh Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Saleh Ibn Muhammad Ibn Al-Uthaymeen At-Tamimi An-Najdi. Shaykh Uthaymeen, as he was most known, was born in the city of Unayzah, Qaseem Region, Saudi Arabia, on 27th Ramadhan 1347H in a famous religious family.
He received his education from many prominent scholars like Shaykh ‘Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Naasir As-Sa’di, Shaykh Muhammad Ameen Ash-Shanqeeti, and Shaykh Abdul-Azeez Ibn Baz.
Shaykh `Abdul-`Aziz Ibn Baz (RA)
1330-1420 AH / (1912-1999)
He (may Allah have mercy on him) was born in 1330 A.H. in Dhul-Hijjah, in Riyadh. He enjoyed normal eyesight until his eyes were inflicted with a disease in 1346 AH This weakened his eyesight, which he later lost in 1350 AH.
Ibn Baz memorized the whole Ever-Glorious Qur’an before reaching the age of puberty and then sought knowledge from the scholars of Riyadh. When he excelled in his knowledge of the various branches of the Shari`ah and the Arabic language, he was appointed to the judiciary in 1357 AH.
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