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Posts Tagged ‘al Haafidh Ibn Rajab al Hanbali’

The Dislike of the Salaf with Regards to Giving Religious Verdicts

By al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali رحمه الله

بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم

الحمد الله

This is similar to the hatred of the Salafus-Saalih (the Pious Predecessors) that a person should put himself forward to give religious verdicts (fataawaa) and to crave them, and to hasten to it, and to do it in excess. Ibn Lahee`ah reports from `Ubaydullaah ibn Abee Ja`far in mursal form from the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam that he said, “He who is boldest from you in giving religious verdicts, will be the boldest in proceeding to the Fire” [It is reported by ad-Daarimee 1/57 and its chain of narration is weak since it is mursal (i.e. there is a missing link or links between the last narrator and the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam)]. `Alqamah said, “They used to say, ‘The boldest of you in giving religious verdicts is the one having the least knowledge.'”

Al-Baraa’ said, “I met a hundred and twenty of the Ansaar from the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam and when one of them was asked about a matter there was not a single man amongst them except that he wished that his brother would suffice him (by answering).” [This saying is reported by ad-Daarimee (1/53) and Ibn `Abdul-Barr in Jaami` (2/163). However it is the saying of `Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Abee Laylaa and not the saying of al-Baraa`, and its chain of narration is saheeh. As for the saying of al-Baraa`, then it is, “I saw three hundred of the people of Badr, there was not a single one of them except that he loved that someone else should take his place in answering.” It is reported by Ibnul-Mubaarak in az-Zuhd (no. 58), ibn Sa`d (6/11) and others and its isnaad contains Aboo Ishaaq as-Sabee`ee who is acceptable (sadooq) except that he was mudallis and reports it without stating that he heard it directly.]In a narration there occurs the addition, “…so this one would refer it to another, and he would refer it to someone else until it would eventually return to the first one.” From Ibn Mas`ood, radiyallaahu `anhu, who said, “The one who gives a religious verdict to the people about everything that he is asked is indeed insane.” [Reported by Ibn `Abdul-Barr (2/164-165), al-Khateeb in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (2/197-198) and Aboo Khaithamah in al-`Ilm (no. 10) and its chain of narration is saheeh.]

`Umar ibn `Abdul-`Azeez was asked about a question and replied, “I am not one who is bold about giving religious verdicts.” He also wrote to one of his governors, “By Allaah I am not one who craves after giving religious verdicts, as long as I can find a way to avoid it.”

Ibn Yameenah said, “This affair is not for those who love that the people should have need of them, rather this affair is only for those who love that someone can be found to take their place.” It is also reported from him that he said, “The most knowledgeable of people concerning religious verdicts is the one who is most often silent, and the most ignorant of people about them is the one who speaks the most with regard to them.” [Reported by al-Khateeb in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (2/166) and its isnaad is weak.]

Sufyaan ath-Thawree said, “We reached the scholars and they used to hate answering questions and giving religious verdicts until they could find no way out except to give a verdict, but if they were relieved of having to do so then that was more beloved to them.”

Imaam Ahmad said, “He who puts himself forward to give religious verdicts has put himself forward to something very serious, unless he is forced through necessity.” It was said to him, “Then which is better: for him to speak or to remain silent?” He said, “It is more beloved to us that he should withhold.” It was said, “But if there is a necessity?” So he started saying, “Necessity! Necessity!” And he said, “It is safer for him to withhold.”

So those who give religious verdicts should realise that they are transmitting Allaah’s orders and prohibitions and that he will be made to stand to account and be questioned about it. Ar-Rabee` ibn Khaitham said, “O giver of religious verdicts! Look and see how you are giving verdicts.” `Amr ibn Deenaar said to Qataadah when he sat to give religious verdicts, “Do you realise the affair that you have fallen into? You have come between Allaah and His worshippers and say, ‘This is correct and this is not correct.'” [Reported by al-Khateeb in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (2/168)]From Ibnul-Munkadir who said, “The scholar enters between Allaah and His creation, so let him look and see how he enters between them.” [Reported with variations in wording by ad-Daarimee (1/53), and al-Khateeb in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (2/168) and its isnaad is saheeh.]

When Ibn Seereen was asked about anything pertaining to the permissible and forbidden his colour would change and he would alter so that he would not seem to be the same person. [Reported by ibn Sa`d (7/195), al-Khateeb in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (2/167) and its isnaad is saheeh]. When an-Nakhaa`ee was asked about something then hatred would be seen upon his face and he would say, “Could you not find someone else to ask other than me?” He also said, “I spoke and if I had found any way out I would not have spoken, and indeed a time when I am the scholar of Koofah is an evil time.” [Reported in meaning by Aboo Khaithamah in al-`Ilm (no. 131).]

It is related that Ibn `Umar, radiyAllaahu `anhumaa, said, “You ask us for religious verdicts in such a manner that it is as if we are people who are not going to be questioned about the verdicts that we give you.” [Reported by al-Fasawee (1/490) and al-Khateeb in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (2/168) and its isnaad is weak.] Also from Muhammad ibn Waasi` who said, “The first of those who will be called to account are the scholars.” It is reported about Maalik, radiyAllaahu `anhu, that when he was asked about a matter it was as if he were standing between the Paradise and the Hell-Fire. [Reported by al-Khateeb in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (2/167) and its isnaad is weak.]

One of the scholars also said to a person who used to give religious verdicts, “When you are asked about a matter then do not let your concern be to release and find a way out for the questioner, but rather to release and save your own self.” [The one who said this was `Umar ibn Khaldah az-Zurqee and he was speaking to Rabee`ah ibn Abee `Abdir-Rahmaan. This narration is reported with very close wordings by al-Fasawee (1/556-557), Aboo Nu`aym in al-Hilyah (3/260-261) and al-Khateeb in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (2/169) and its isnaad is saheeh.]Another said, “If you are asked about a matter then consider – if you find a way out of it then speak, otherwise remain silent.” The sayings of the Salaf about this are too many to quote and gather.

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The Evil Scholar

By al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali رحمه الله

بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم

الحمد الله

Know that craving after status and position inevitably causes great harm before its attainment due to the striving necessary to attain it, and also afterwards due to the person’s strong desire to hold onto it which produces injustice, haughtiness and other evils.

Aboo Bakr al-Aajurree, who was one of the wise scholars and teachers at the start of the fourth century, wrote a treatise about the manners and the sentiments of the scholars and it is one of the best works on this topic. One who studies it will know from it the way of the scholars of the Salaf, and will know the innovated ways contrary to their way. So he describes the evil scholar at length, from this description is that: ‘He has become infatuated with love of this world, and with praise, honour and position with the people of this world. He uses knowledge as an adornment just as a beautiful woman adorns herself with jewelry for this world, but he does not adorn his knowledge with action upon it.” He then mentions a lengthy speech and then says, “So these characteristics and their like predominate in the heart of one who does not benefit from knowledge, so whilst he carries these attributes his soul will come to have love of status and position – so that he loves to sit with kings and the sons of this world. Then he loves to share in their opulent lifestyle, sharing their lavish attire, their comfortable transport, servants, fine clothing, delicate bedding and delicious food. He will love that people throng to his door, that his saying is listened to, and that he is obeyed – and he can only attain the latter by becoming a judge (qaadee) – so he seeks to become one. Then he is unable to attain it except at the expense of his Religion, so he debases himself to the rulers and their helpers, serving them himself and giving them his wealth as a tribute. He remains silent when he sees their evil actions after entering their palaces and homes. Then on top of this he may praise their evil actions and declare them good due to some false interpretation in order to raise his position with them. So when he has accustomed himself to doing this over a long period of time and falsehood has taken root in him – then they appoint him to the position of judge (qaadee) and in so doing slaughter him without a knife.” [Alluding to the saying of the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, “He who is appointed as a judge has been killed without a knife,” Reported by Ahmad, Aboo Daawood (transl. 3/1013/ no.3564) and at-Tirmidhee who declared it hasan. I say: its isnaad is saheeh.]

Then they have bestowed such a favour upon him that he is obliged and has to show his gratitude to them – so he takes great pains to make sure that he does not anger them and cause them to remove him from his position. But he has no concern about whether he angers his Lord, the Most High, so he misappropriates the wealth of orphans, widows, the poor and the needy, and wealth bequested as waqf (religious endowment) for those fighting Jihaad and the nobles of Makkah and al-Madeenah, and wealth which is supposed to be of benefit to all the Muslims – but instead he uses it to satisfy his clerk, chamberlain and servant. So he eats that which is haraam and feeds with that which is haraam and increases that which is a proof against him. So woe to the one whose knowledge causes him to have these characteristics. Indeed this is the knowledge which the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, sought refuge from and ordered us to seek refuge from. This is the knowledge which the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, mentioned, saying, “Those amongst the people receiving the severest punishment on the Day of Resurrection is the scholar who is not given benefit through his knowledge by Allaah.” [Reported by Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr in Jaami’ Bayaanil-`Ilm (1/162) and al-Aajurree (pp.93-94) and at-Tabaraanee in as-Sagheer (1/1831) and others and its chain of narration is very weak since it contains ‘Uthmaan ibn Miqsarn al-Burree who was accused of lying and fabrication. It is however reported as being the saying of Abud-Dardaa only, with an authentic chain of narration. It is reported by ad-Daarimee (1/82) and others.]

He, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, used to say,

Allaahumma innee a`oodhubika minal arba`i, min `ilmin laa yanfa`u, wa min qalbin laa yakhsha`u, wa min nafsin laa tashba`u, wa min du`aain laa yusma`u

“O Allaah, I seek Your refuge from knowledge which does not benefit; from a heart which does not fear; from a soul which is never satisfied; and from a supplication which is not heard.” [Reported by Ahmad, Aboo Daawood (transl. vol. 1/p.401/no. 1543) and others, all with the wording, “O Allaah I seek Your refuge from four: from knowledge which does not benefit…” The hadeeth was declared saheeh by al-Haakim and adh-Dhahabee agreed, and it has supports from a number of the Companions.]

And he, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, used to say,

Allahumma innee as’aluka `ilman naafi`an, wa a`oodhubika min `ilmin laa yanfa`u

“O Allaah, I ask you for beneficial knowledge, and I seek Your refuge from knowledge which does not benefit.” [Reported with this wording by Al-Aajurree (p.134) and Ibn Hibbaan (no.2426). It is also reported by Ibn Maajah (no.3483) and Ibn `Abdul-Barr (1/162) with the wording, “Ask Allaah for beneficial knowledge and seek Allaah’s refuge from knowledge which does not benefit.” Its chain of narration is hasan (good) and there is a similar narration from Umm Salamah reported by Ibn Maajah and others.]

That was said by Imaam Aboo Bakr Al-Aajurree, rahimahullaahu ta`aala, who lived at the end of the fourth century (he died, in the year 360H) and corruption increased and multiplied greatly since his time – and there is no might and no strength except by Allaah’s will.

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