The Need of Scholars for the Society

Date: 11th September, 2015

The need of scholars in Islam is not a modern day talk. It has been a major concern for the Muslim Ummah ever since the death of our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). Throughout ages, Allah (Subḥānahu Wa Ta’Ala) has blessed us with Islamic scholars so that even after the lifetime of his beloved Prophet, his Sunnah lives and continue to leave a legacy for the entire Muslim Ummah.

It was Angel Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām) who brought the verses of the Quran and he was the one to encourage our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), who was terrified at that time, into spreading Islam when the very first verse of the Quran was revealed. This signifies that we don’t only need Islamic scholars for preserving and spreading the Sunnah but we also need them for gaining motivation towards thinking about the truth and the Hereafter at times we feel “derailed” from the Straight Path. Allah taught the Quran to our Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) through Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām). To the Sahabahs, Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was the scholar and to us we need people who has been blessed with the knowledge of the Deen.

The most valuable place in this world is the Masjid. This has been proven through the following Hadith:

The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “A mosque is the best of places. It is more blessed and virtuous than all other places.”

Reference: Sahîh Muslim

We need to go to the Alems in order to understand Hadiths better. We need Madhabs so that we don’t get the various versions of prayers mixed up and know what is ideal for us. Islam is such a religion, it can’t be practiced with our own thoughts and beliefs, it is so vast that it is always going to serve incomprehensible if we only rely on ourselves, individually. Islam calls in for interdependence- a religion based on living, helping and serving others their rights.

Sometimes, our Nafs goes against the rules set by Allah, the great Islamic scholar, Imam Al-Ghazali (Rahmatullah Allaih) once said, “Never have I dealt with anything more difficult than my own soul, which sometimes helps me and sometimes opposes me.” It is the people of the Deen who guides us along the Straight Path by making us remember our Lord.

We primarily have 4 major fiqhs- Hanafi, Shafi, Maliki & Hanbali and it is our duty to look into the schools of their thoughts and understand the Masla as Hadiths can sometimes sound contradictory and conflicting unless we consult with the various views given by the scholars.

Being an ordinary person, we are incapable of making up fatwas and interpretations of our own and living 1,400 years apart from the timeline of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), it is quite natural that won’t always be in the most versatile position of understand everything on our own. That’s where the interpretations given by classic scholars come in handy.

We have mentioned about the four major schools of Sunni Muslims and it is highly recommended that we don’t go beyond these four walls, the reason being for the fact that apart from these 4 Mazhabs, we don’t possess well documented Sunnahs of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). Furthermore, notice that any authentic Hadith quoted will always stem out from the branches of any of the major schools of thoughts. Going beyond the Mazhabs mean you are voluntarily moving yourself in Sunnahs which don’t always falls under the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). Thus in the end, we get into a fanaticism of “creating” or “envisioning” our own Deen which ultimately leads to either extremism or even agnosticism.

Many people deny the Mazhab, deny the original teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), innovate their own amals and Ibadah and market those in the name of Salafism or Sufism. They tend to deceive people into their own ways of thinking for the sake of receiving attention and also keeping hidden thoughts of monetary return in mind. Let’s not get deceived by them and just stick with the Sunnah.

Variation in the views of the scholars may exist and it does not mean that one scholar is more or less knowledgeable than the other. It only means that Islam is a religion which gives us a lot of options even within the Sunnah. We choose the ones we feel more compatible with and it can vary from people to people. For example, according to the Shafi fiqh, we need to maintain the steps of the Wudu one after the other specifically, otherwise Wudu won’t get properly completed. The other schools of thoughts say that maintaining the sequence is not a priority, making the niyah is all that is needed. Both these views are alright based on their scholarly references. However, maintaining a consistency is the most important aspect here. A person cannot hover around from one school to another. Our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has emphasized on the importance of consistency. This can be understood from the following Hadith:

Abu Huraira (Radi Allahu Anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.”

Reference: Sunan Ibn Mājah, Hadith 4240. Graded Sahih according to Shaykh Al-Albani (Rahmatullah Allaih).

Now for an example, most scholars believe that during ablution, the washing must be done from the elbows to the fingertips even if the hands has been washed before at the start of the wudu.

According to Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (Rahmatullah Allaih), who said: “Here we should point out something that many people neglect, as they wash the arm from the wrist to the elbow, thinking that they had finished washing the hands before washing the face, but this is not correct. It is essential to wash the arm from the fingertips to the elbows.”

Reference: Al-Liqa’ Ash-Shahri, 3/330

However, according to the Hanafi scholar, Imam Sayyid Muhammad Amin ibn Abidin ash-Shami (Rahmatullah Allaih), who said, “If you have washed your hands at the beginning of wudu, and then only have washed from yours wrists when washing your arms, your wudu would be valid–as the initial Sunnah of washing your hands fulfills the obligation related to the hands.”

Reference: Radd al-Muhtar ala ad-Dur al-Mukhtar

But it is recommended that we let the water pour down from the elbow to the fingertips even when we have washed our hands beforehand. Let’s not judge which scholar is right or wrong, let’s just follow the Sunnah of the ablution process which has been denoted by the Sahabah. The following Hadith perfectly illustrates the ablution process.

Narrated ‘Ata’ bin Yasar: Ibn ‘Abbas (Radi Allahu Anhu) performed ablution and washed his face (in the following way): He ladled out a handful of water, rinsed his mouth and washed his nose with it by putting in water and then blowing it out. He then, took another handful (of water) and did like this (gesturing) joining both hands, and washed his face, took another handful of water and washed his right forearm. He again took another handful of water and washed his left forearm, and passed wet hands over his head and took another handful of water and poured it over his right foot (up to his ankles) and washed it thoroughly and similarly took another handful of water and washed thoroughly his left foot (up to the ankles) and said, “I saw Allah’s Apostle (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) performing ablution in this way.”

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 4, Hadith Number 142

Let’s now discuss about more scholarly views on the ablution process.

Regarding when washing the face, the hands need to be wet, if it dries off before the face has been washed, it means sufficient water has not been used to wash the hand, thus wudu would be considered invalid. This has been ruled by the Maliki fiqh which is in fact the most correct view.

When we wash our feet, we need to rinse it carefully with our hands and let water pour in between the toes. This can be interpreted from the following Hadith:

Al-Mustaurad (Radi Allahu Anhu) said, “When the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) made wudu he would enter the water between his toes with his little finger.”

References: Sunan Abu Dawood, Jami At-Tirmidhi, & Sunan Ibn Maajah. This Hadith has been graded Sahih.

All the schools have agreed upon the fact that we need to remove our socks when we go into washing our feet during the ablution.

However, Shias just wipe their feet, they don’t wash it and we all know that the religion followed by the Shia is the not proper religion ordained by Allah, so best is we ignore their rulings.

Washing the relevant body parts once is a Fardh but washing them thrice is Sunnah, this has been agreed by all the schools. Hadith states:

Narrated: Amr bin Yahya (on the authority of his father): My uncle used to perform ablution extravagantly and once he asked ‘Abdullah bin Zaid to tell him how he had seen the Prophet performing ablution. He asked for an earthen-ware pot containing water, and poured water from it on his hands and washed them thrice, and then put his hand in the earthen-ware pot and rinsed his mouth and washed his nose by putting water in it and then blowing it Out thrice with one handful of water; he again put his hand in the water and took a handful of water and washed his face thrice, then washed his hands up to the elbows twice, and took water with his hand, and passed it over his head from front to back and then from back to front, and then washed his feet (up to the ankles) and said, “I saw the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) performing ablution in that way.”

References: Sahih Bukhari, Chapter No 4- Ablutions (Wudu’), Hadith 198.

However, variation exist regarding the wiping of the head.

The fuqaha’ are agreed that it is best to wipe the entire head, but they differed as to whether doing so is obligatory or not.

The Malikis and Hanbalis are of the view that it is obligatory to wipe the entire head. The Hanafis and Shafis are of the view that it is sufficient to wipe part of the head.

The Malikis and Hanbalis quoted a number of things as evidence:

Allah says “O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles. (5:6)” They argue that the verse includes the entire head.

This verse – “rub (by passing wet hands over) your heads” – refers to the entire head and it is like the phrase in which Allah says concerning tayammum: “then perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands”. The entire face must be wiped in tayammum, and the same applies to the head in this case.

Reference: Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 21/125.

Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (Rahmatullah Allaih) said: The fuqaha’ differed concerning the one who wipes part of the head. Malik said: What must be done is to wipe the entire head, and if he omits part of it then he is like one who fails to wash part of his face. This is the well-known view in the madhhab of Malik, and it is also the view of Ibn ‘Uliyyah. Ibn ‘Uliyyah said: Allah commanded us to wipe the head in Wudu’ as He commanded us to wipe the face in tayammum and to wash it in Wudu’. They are unanimously agreed that it is not permissible to wash only part of the face in Wudu’ or to wipe only part of it in tayammum. The same applies to wiping the head.

Reference: Al-Tamheed, 20/114

2 – They quoted as evidence the actions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), for there is a proven report of him wiping only part of his head.

The Hanafis and Shafa’is also quoted evidence, including the following:

1 – Allah says “rub (by passing wet hands over) your heads [wa’msahu bi ru’oosikum]” – the ba’ (before the word ru’oosikum (heads)) indicates something partial, as if He were saying: “Wash part of your heads.”

My response to that is to note that the ba’ does not indicate something partial, rather it refers to making something stick, i.e., it is obligatory to make some of the water with which one is wiping the head stick to the head.

Reference: Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 21/123.

2 – The report narrated by Muslim (247) from al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah (Radi Allahu Anhu) who said that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) wiped his forelock and his turban. They said: He only wiped the forelock, which is at the front of the head.

The response to that is that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wiped his forelock and completed the wiping over his turban, and wiping the turban took the place of wiping over the head.

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (Rahmatullah Allaih) said in Zaad al-Ma’aad (1/193): There is no Sahih report in a single Hadith that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) ever wiped over only part of his head. But if he wiped over his forelock, he completed the wiping by wiping over his turban.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (Rahmatullah Allaih) said: Wiping over the forelock was sufficient here because he also wiped over the turban at the same time. So this does not indicate that it is permissible to wipe over the forelock only.

Reference: al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 1/178

Thus it seems that the more correct of the two views is the view that it is obligatory to wipe over the entire head when doing Wudu.

With that being stated, this the end of this week’s Khutbah. Let’s all understand the value of Islamic scholars in our society and maintaining all the due respect towards all the Sunni school of thoughts, let’s all aim towards consistency when we maintain our Deen and not get overwhelmed with our own whims when practicing Islam. May Allah protect us, Ameen.

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