February 2010


By the time   × Indeed man is in loss × Except those

who have eemaan and do righteous deeds ×

And who advise and recommend one another to the

Truth and who advise and recommend one another

to be patient. ×

Soorah al-’Asr

Secondly: Passing a religious verdict without sound knowledge.

Passing religious verdicts is a great rank; with it, one who is qualified is able to deal with issues that are uncertain for the general public in matters of their religion, that which guides them to the straight path. Since this is such a great rank, no-one should put themselves forward for it unless they are qualified to do so. Therefore, it is obligatory for the servants of Allaah to fear Him and not speak except upon sound knowledge.

Know that He is the Creator and all matters are at His disposal. So there is no creator except Allaah, there is no planner for the creation except Allaah, and there is no law for the creation except the law of Allaah. So it is He who obligates and prohibits things, just as He is the one who permits things. Allaah has rebuked those who make things halaal (permissible) and haraam (impermissible) based upon their whims and desires as He (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) says:

Say: “Tell me, what provision Allaah has sent down to you! And you have made of it lawful and unlawful.” Say: “Has Allaah permitted you, or do you invent a lie against Allaah?” And what think those who invent lies against Allaah, on the Day of Resurrection?104

And He (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) also says:

And say not concerning that which your tongues put forth falsely: “This is lawful and this is forbidden,” so as to invent lies against Allaah. Verily, those who invent lies against Allaah will never prosper. A passing brief enjoyment, but they will have a painful torment.105

Certainly from amongst the greatest sins is for a person to say something is halaal or haraam while he does not know Allaah’s (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) judgment upon it. Or he says something is waajib (obligatory) while he does know that Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) has made it waajib, or he says something is ghayr waajib (not obligatory) while he does not know that Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) has made it ghayr waajib. Certainly, these are serious offenses and ill-manners towards Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala).

How is it O servant of Allaah, that you know the judgment is for Allaah alone and you put yourself forward before Him and say about His religion and His Law that which you do not know? Allaah has linked such a statement without knowledge to shirk (associating partners with Him), as He (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) says:

Say: “The things that my Lord has in deed forbidden are al-Fawaahish (great evil sins) whether committed openly or secretly, sins, unrighteous oppression, joining partners with Allaah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allaah of which you have no knowledge.”106

Many amongst the general Muslims pass religious verdicts about that which they do not know. So you find them saying such-and-such is halaal or haraam, or waajib or ghayr waajib, while they know absolutely nothing about it!

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There are mistakes which some of the students of knowledge fall into; and amongst them are:

Firstly: Jealousy and envy.

It is to dislike that which Allaah has blessed one of his servants with. It is not just a desire for the cessation of that which Allaah has blessed other than him with, rather it is absolute dislike of the person for that which Allaah has blessed him with over and above someone else. And this is jealousy and envy, irrespective of whether it is a desire for its cessation or for it remaining whilst he dislikes him.

Just as has been affirmed by Shaykh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah (rahimatullaahi ta’aala ‘alayhi) who said: “Jealousy and envy is disliking a person for that which Allaah has blessed him with over and above others.”

Often jealousy will not leave the inner soul, meaning that it becomes compulsive within the soul. However, it has been mentioned in a hadeeth: “If you become jealous, then do not intend it; and if you become suspicious, then do not seek it out.”99

Meaning, that it is obligatory upon a person, should he notice jealousy in his heart for another, that he does not offend him with any statement nor any action, for certainly that is from the practice of the Jews, about whom Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) says:

Or do they envy men for what Allaah has given them of His Bounty? Then We had already given the family of Ibraaheem the Book and al-Hikmaah (as-Sunnah), and conferred upon them a great kingdom.100

Then the jealous one falls into many prohibitions:

Firstly: His disliking that which Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) has decreed, for certainly, disliking that which Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) has blessed someone with is to dislike that which Allaah has decreed. This constitutes opposing the ruling of Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala).

Secondly: Jealousy devours the good deeds, just fire devours wood, for in most cases the jealous one is prepared for his victim with mention of that which he dislikes by frightening the people away from the victim, and putting him down in that which he is able. And this is from amongst the major sins which could possibly outweigh one’s good deeds.

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From that which is known, is that if a person wanted to get to a place, then it is imperative he knows the way to reach it, and if there are many ways, then he will search for the shortest and easiest way. Because of this, it is important for the student of knowledge to base his search for knowledge on principles and not to beat around in the darkness (of ignorance), for he who is not well-versed in the principles is prevented from reaching his goal, as the poet says:

To proceed: Knowledge is a vast ocean,
(and) the seeker will never attain all of it.
However, in
(learning) the principles there is ease…
…in attaining it, so take care and you will find a way.
Learn the rules and principles,
since he who does not is prevented from arriving at the goal.

So the principles are the knowledge, and the issues are the branches, just like the foundation of the tree and its branches. If the branches are not upon a firm foundation, they will wither and ultimately perish. However, what are the principles? Are they the authentic proofs? Or are they rules? Or are they both?

The principles are the proofs from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah and the rules that are obtained by following and studying them. These are from amongst the most important for the student of knowledge. For example, “hardship gives way to ease,” and this is from the principles that are extracted from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah.

From the Qur’aan, Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) says:

…and He has not laid upon you in religion any hardship, 96

And from the Sunnah, the saying of the Messenger (salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) to ‘Imraan ibn Husayn: “Perform your prayer standing, and if you are unable to do so, then sitting down, and if you are unable to do so, then lying down on your side.”97

And the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) also said: “If I have ordered you to do something, then do that which you are able to do.”98

If a thousand different issues were put forward for you to pass judgement upon, then it is possible for you to do so based upon this principle. However, if you did not have knowledge of this principle, and a couple of issues were put forward to you, then they would both be a cause of difficulty for you.

So there are two ways to acquiring knowledge:

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