WHEN THE DESCRIPTION IS NO BIG DEAL

When the judgment of acts is based on principles, it is easy to know when those acts deviate, but when judgment is haphazard, confusion happens in judging the correctness of acts.
What did Allah name believers?
هُوَ سَمَّىٰكُمُ ٱلۡمُسۡلِمِینَ مِن قَبۡلُ وَفِی هَـٰذَا
It is He (Allah) Who has named you Muslims both before and in this (the Quran) [Quran 22:78].
If the scholars of the Deen ever understood that by Allah naming us “Muslims”, no other name or description can ever be right for followers of the Messenger besides the word “Muslims”, they certainly would condemn all other references like Ahlussunnah, Maalikee, Shaafi’ee, Hanbalee, Hanafee, Ash’aree, Shee’ite etc. The fact that they do not is proof enough that they consider those names to be mere descriptions necessitated by the evolvement of different shades of understanding in latter generations of Muslims which did not exist when the Messenger was alive.
However, the particular understanding and creedal leaning represented by a particular name may be right or wrong, the mere act of describing its followers by the name is considered a linguistic necessity to differentiate this from that. In his book, موسوعة الألباني في العقيدة, vol 1, page 252, Sheikh Naasiruddeen Al-Albaanee elaborated on the evolvement of names and how “Salafee” is merely a description like any other.
If we were all just “Muslims” once before bid’ahs appeared to make description as “Ahlussunnah” a necessity, then when everyone claimed to be on the Sunnah too, “Salafee” became necessary to indicate according to whose understanding of the Sunnah, then it is logical that there could be need for further specifications (by the principle of naming for identification) when heretics like Jabata and Usaamah also claim they are “Salafee”. If anyone disagrees, we should be interested in knowing what makes the evolvement of further names wrong if “Maalikee”, “Shaafi’ee” and the rest are right by natural evolvement.
However, whoever desires any evil within him by his self-description, with Allah is his reward, and humility is certainly a great virtue. Therefore, whether the tag “serious” or any other is what anyone chooses to attach to his description is certainly not the matter as long as some basic facts are preserved:
1) That the one who does not describe himself as Salafee at all is as much a Salafee as the one who does if his creed and methodology is.
2) That the one who does not describe himself as Salafee does not make an unnecessary issue of describing oneself as Salafee since he accepts all other descriptions in the books of earlier scholars.
3) That the individual strives not to make his self-description a mere slogan. It is this which the erudite scholars of Salafiyyah warn us against; otherwise, any description at all, including “Maalikee”, “Ahlussunnah”, etc. could also be empty self-praise (تزكية النفس) as much as “serious Salafee” is.
However, that there are debates on this matter is not strange to students of ‘aqeedah who know that some people before us even argued strongly that referring to oneself as a believer (مؤمن) is self-praise.

Ustaadh Murtala Alade Adedokun

ONLY A WEAK HADITH TO FORBID BOWING?

Refering to the hadith of Anas on which the Permanent Commitee for Fatwah (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and the other great scholars of Islam based the prohibition of bowing in greeting, a brother posted the following comment to me:

“Fatawa Lajna also quoted the Hadeeth and made a comment that the Hadeeth is weak, even though its position is that the act is Haram.”

I answered: “Do you not think it is most absurd and disappointing for those eminent scholars to judge an act haram as you say, warn against it both at commitee level and as individuals and still grade the sole hadith on which their verdict is based ‘weak’?”

The seeming confusion is resolved by going through their detailed commentary on the hadith in question. The Lajnah wrote:

رواه الترمذي وقال: حديث حسن، كذا قال، وإسناده ضعيف، لأن فيه حنظلة السدوسي، وهو ضعيف عند أهل العلم، لكن لعل الترمذي حسنه لوجود ما يشهد له في الأحاديث الأخرى” (فتاووى اللجنة الدائمة ج١،صفحة ٢٣٢).

“Attirmidhee reported it and said it is a good hadith. So he said, and its chain of narration is weak because it contains Hanzalah Assadoosee and he is a weak individual by the reckoning of the scholars, but it is possible that the reason Attirmidhee graded the hadeeth “good” is that there are other ahaadeeth which attest to its correctness [in content]”( The Permanent Commitee for Fatwah, vol 1, page 232).

If this statement of theirs still has any ambiguity as to where precisely they place the hadith, that ambiguity is banished by their verdict that the act is prohibited and their reference to this same hadith as their basis.

Students of hadith (may Allah make me one) know that a hadith with some weakness in its chain of narration can still be judged صحيح المعنى ( sound of content) when its content is confirmed correct by other ahaadeeth. That is the case with this particular hadith – according to the Permanent Commitee. It explains their verdict on bowing.

And by the way, how often have we students of knowledge been warned to beware of hastening to make our independent judgment disagreeing with the trusted scholars when their preponderant view on a matter points in a particular direction, not to talk of unanimity! That precisely is what they refer to as self-conceit in us. May Allah purge us of every bit of it.

Written by: Sheikh Murtado Adedokun, Hafidhahullah.

MOSQUES TO REOPEN?

When we vacated our mosques a few months ago to curb the spread of Covid-19, for Muslims, it was not just to obey the government but also because the directive agreed with the prescribed measures in our Deen to handle such challenges. The right time to return to the mosques must therefore also not be determined solely by government permission to return. Fundamental questions to first ask must include:

  1. What has now changed in the cases of infection to justify our return logically, apart from the government permitting us to return? The government may permit it for unspoken reasons. Be wise!
  2. How well can we observe the mandatory precautionary measures imposed on any mosque that chooses to reopen (go and read about those).
  3. If the pandemic persists for too long, will Allah complain and stop accepting prayers said in our houses or stop to reward us for the congregation we used to attend and sincerely desire to attend but can no longer do so due to the pandemic?

On the first question, I know of sceptics who dismiss the pandemic as a myth. I’m not talking to those. Those ones are wired differently from the rest of us.

There are also those who believe it is real but the risk is grossly exaggerated. For this once perhaps, the entire globe has succumbed to the Nigerian factor; otherwise, how do we explain the fact that countries which had relaxed the initial strict measures they had once introduced to flatten the Covid-19 infection curve, are experiencing a second wave of attack and are on the verge of reintroducing those measures.

There are those whose argument for a return to the mosque will be nothing but sentiments and emotions: the markets are open, the banks are open, the churches are open, why not mosques? Because mosques are different! What takes place in them is different. The people who use them are supposed to think differently too!

Written by: Sheikh Murtado Adedokun, Hafidhahullah.