Sunday, September 26, 2004

Wikipedia-The Free Encyclopedia

An online encyclopedia...

Friday, September 24, 2004

The Four Imams-Notes from Sidi Gibril's Encyclopedia

Abu Hanifa

Ø Al-Nu’man ibn Thabit ibn Kawus ibn Hurmuz ibn Marzuban al-Taymi, al-Imam Abu Hanifa (80-150h).
Ø Called ‘the true Faqih’ by Malik, ‘the Imam’ by Abu Dawud, ‘Faqih al-Millah’ by by al-Dhahabi, and ‘one of those who have reached the sky’ by Ibn Hajar. Imam Shafi’I praised him saying: ‘people are the dependants of Abu Hanifa in Fiqh’ (Ibn Hajar, Tahdheeb al-Tahdheeb) Abu Asim al-Nabil said that his nickname was ‘the pillar’ (al-watad) because he stood a lot in prayer.
Ø First of the Mujtahid Imams and known as the ‘greatest imam’ in the schools of Sunni orthodox. Also, he is the only Tabi’I from the 4 mujtahids.
Ø Abu Mu’awiyah al-Dar (the trustworthy Hadith master) said: ‘Love of Abu Hanifa is part of Sunnah’.
Ø Imam al-Kawthari said: The imam is considered an Iraqi of Persian origin. (Ihqaq al-Haq p39)
Ø Ali Qari said Abu Hanifa is foretold by the Prophet (saw) in this hadith:

‘Were belief to be found at the Pleaides, a man from those people (pointing to Salaman al-Farsi) would go there and obtain it’. (Abu Hurayrah, al-Bukhari, Muslim, al-Tirmidhi)

‘Were knowledge hanging at the Pleaides, a man from Persia qould go there and obtain it’ (Ahmad in Musand from Abu Hurayrah, al-Dhahabi in Tadhkirat al-Huffaz)

Abu Hurayrah used pay special attention to the Persians and say to them:
‘Draw near, Banu Farrukh! For if knowledge wer hanging at the Pleaides, there would be, among you, one those who would take It’. (Muslim, Abu Huryrah, Ibn Masu’d in al-tabarani al-Kabir)

Ø Khatib narrates in Tarikh Baghdad that Abu Hanifa’s father carried him to Sayyiudna Ali ibn Abi Talib who supplicated for him. Isma’il ibn Hammad ibn Abi Hanifa said: ‘We hope that his supplication was answered’.
Ø Ibn Kathir (al-bidayah 10:23): His funeral prayer was performed 6 times over him due to the crowds in Baghdad.

Some of his famous positions:

q [His articulacy in inference of] the time of Asr [from a hadith]
q Facing the Grave of the Prophet (saw) during dua
q Cancellation of wudhu by laughter
q His precedence in dialect theology ‘kalam’
q Iman neither increases nor decreases
q Differentiation between Iman and Islam
q Preference of weak hadith over scholarly opinion ‘rai’y’ and legal analogical reasoning ‘qiyas’
q First to innovate the sub headings for fiqh, and the rest followed him.

His sayings and aphorisms:

q It may be a small action becomes great by its intention, and a great action becomes small by its intention.
q Whoever learns hadith without fiqh is like the pharmacist that assembles medicaments without knowing which applies to what until the physician comes. Thus remains the student of hadith; he does not know the application of his hadith until the faqih comes.

Malik ibn Anas

Ø Malik ibn Anas ibn Malik Amr, Abu Abd Allah al-Himyari al-Asbahi al-Madani (97-179h)
Ø Scholar of Madinah, predicted by the Prophet (saw), the Imam of the abode of emigration. Second of the major mujtahids
Ø Al-Qurtabi mentioned in his tafsir (s13 v8) that his mother gave birth to him after two years of pregnancy some said three.
Ø The Prophet’s prediction: ‘Very soon will people beat the flanks of camels in search of knowledge and they shall find no one more knowledgeable than the knowledgeable scholar of Madinah’ (Abu Hurayrah in Musnad Ahmad, al-Tirmidhi who said its hasan sahih, al-hakim with three chains declaring it sahih on the criterion of imam Muslim…)
Ø Abu Hanifa praised Malik (after meeting him on hajj): ‘if there is any excellence in them it lies in the fair haired, blue eyed youth’. (al-Gharnati in intisar al-Faqir)
Ø Malik relied upon the fiqh of Abu Hanifah: Shafi’i’s sheikh and Ahamd’s Grandshaykh, Abd al-Aziz ibn Muhammad al-Darawardi said: ‘Malik ibn Anas used to look into Abu Hanifa’s books and benefit from them’. (Abu Ghudda in al-Intiqa)
Ø Malik complied the soundest book ever after the Qura’n, as said imam Shafi’I (this was before the time of Bukhari and Muslim), and he was the first to do that, as said by Ibn abd al-Barr. Muwatta means: ‘the approved’ in which he gathered narrations of the sahabah and others from Hijaz. This masterpiece took 4o years to compose originally consisting of 40,00 hadith and then reduced to 2,000.
Ø Ibn Abd al-barr mentioned that the muwatta is all sahih, except for 4 narrations ‘that are not known’. Al-Iraqi and Ibn Hajar agreed with him. Sheikh Sakih al-Fulani said that Ibn Salah wrote an epistle in which he mentioned the 4 authentic chains and that he has the version of the author.


q To say I don’t know is part of knowledge. Ibn Jamil said that I saw the imam being asked 40 questions to from which he replied to 32 of them: ‘I do not know’.
q ‘The turbans should not be neglected. I wore the turban when I had not a hair on my face. I saw 30 men wearing a turban in Rabi’as circle’. (al-Kahtib, aljami li akhlaq al-rawi)
q ‘He who practices tasawwuf without learning sacred law corrupts his faith, while he who learns sacred law without practicing tasawwuf corrupts himself only he who combines the two proves to be true’. (Ali Qari, Mirqat)


Ø Muhammad ibn Idris ibn al-Abbas ibn Uthman ibn Shafi ibn al-Sai’b ibn Ubayd Abd Yazid ibn Hashim ibn al-Muttalib, Abud Abd Allah al-Shaf’i’ al-Makki. (150-204h)
Ø Praised by Ahmed: ‘like the sun over the world and good health for people –do these two have replacements or successors?’ He revise and read the risalah 80 times. Nawawi: he has 3 peculiar merits: 1-his family lineage 2- birth in Palestine and upbringing in Makkah 3- education at the hands of superlative scholars
Ø Al-Shafi’I was from the family of the Prophet (May Allah send abundandt peace upon him)
Ø Prediction of the Prophet (narrated by Abu Hurayrah in sunan Abi Asim): ‘Oh Allah! Guide Quraysh, for the science of the scholar that comes from them will encompass the world’.
Ø His father died while he was young. Mother took him to Hijaz when he was 2. They later moved to Makkah. Mother could not afford paper so he wrote on bones; shoulder bones.
Ø He memorized Qura’n at 7 and the Muwatta at the age of 10 (his teacher would deputize him to teach when he was absent!) and was given permission for fatwa at 15. (Ibn Abi Hatim, Manqib al-Shafi’I p39)
Ø Malik his teacher. Went to Madinah to Muhammad Hasan Shaybani and bought all his books for 60 dinars. Later, Hasan became the stepfather too.
Ø Most hadith masters follow him. He reconciled the schools of hadith and fiqh.


Thursday, September 23, 2004

Women's Voice-Is it Awrah?

The following is an answer to a question I was asked on Sunnipath ( regarding women’s voice. Sidi Faraz (akramahullah) has referred to this article but it is not on sunnipath. However, here is the answer. See link, too.

Wa alaiykum assalam wa Rahmatullahi wa maghfiratuh

Your question is related to whether the voice of a female is part of her Awra.

Here is a brief insight to what the schools have to say:

The correct opinion of the Hanafi madhab is that a woman’s voice is not part of her Awrah. That is, if her voice is not in a musical tone, soft and of incitement during speech.

The great later Hanafi jurist, Ibn al-Humam (May Allah have mercy on him) says in his 'Fath al-Qadir', quoting from 'al-Nawazil':

‘The melodious voice of a female and her singing is considered as Awra. This is the reason why it is better for her to learn the Qur'an from a female teacher rather than from a male who is blind, as her recitation in tune is Awra’. (Fat'h al-Qadir,1:260).

Allamah Ibn Abidin (May Allah have mercy on him), after quoting the same from ‘al-Nawazil’ comments in his 'Hashiya':

‘It is permissible for women to converse with non-Mahram men at the time of need (and visa versa). However, what is not permissible is that they stretch, soften and raise their voice in a melodious way’. (Radd al-Muhtar, Ibn Abidin)

Dr. Wahba al-Zuhayli, a contemporary faqih from Damascus, writes in his renowned 'al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu’:

‘It is unlawful (Haram) to listen to the voice of a female, which is in a melodious and musical tone, even if she is reciting Qur'an’(al-Fiqh al-Islami, 1:755)

As for the Shafi’i School, I have read that Imam Ghazali’s opinion in his Ihya is that listening to a woman’s melodious voice has the same ruling as looking at a young man’s face. If it leads to sexual appetite, it is prohibited, otherwise, permitted. On the contrary, complete segregation ‘khlawah’ with a woman, and looking at her figure is prohibited, whether that arouses one or not. (Ihya Ulum al-din 2:399)

Imam Qurtubi (May Allah have mercy on him) reports from Abu Tayyib al-Tabari, in his Tafseer, who said: ‘to listen to a singing woman is not permissible ‘la yajuwz’ in the Shafi’i Madhab’. (Tafseer Qurtabi 14:56)

Moreover, Allamah Ramli based this impermissibility on the effective cause ‘illah’ of fitna, but clearly remarked that it is Disliked (‘yukrah’ which partakes the Prohibitive type of dislikedness ‘makruh tahreeman’) even if the fear of fitna is absent. (Nihayat al-Muhtaj 8:280,281, al-Sama wa al-Ghina, Mulla Ali Qari, p50,51)

Allama Murtadha al-Zabeedi, a great Hanafi scholar, states in his commentary on the 'Ihya’:
‘Qadi Abu Tayyib al-Tabari said: If the singer is a non-Mahram female, then it will be unlawful for men to listen to her. This ruling will apply, regardless of whether the woman is with or without Hijab.’ (Ithaf al-Sadat al-Muttaqin,6:501).

In conclusion, a male should avoid listening to the melodious voice whether it is a Nasheed or Qira’ah of a non-Mahram female. Similarly, it is necessary that the females do not sing in front of non-Mahram men, whether in their presence or by recording their voice or picture i.e. radio, cassette (albums) and TV.

Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi
ps. Related answers can be found on Sunnipath, walhamdulillah.

A Source for Research Online...

A reliable source for research online. 'Feqh', has it all for fast research and referencing calssical Arabic books in Hadith, Tafseer, Fiqh and more...I hope it will be useful for Brother Sajjad, Israr, Yaseen, and others, Walhamdulillah.

Thanks again to Sidi Faraz, Allahumma zidna ilman wa amalan wa ikhlasan fi al-deen.

The Social Involvement of Women in Islam-Imam Zaid Shakir

Issues of equality, participation in polictics and emancipation all discussed with simplicity. It is extremely readable...

Flight From the Masjid-Imam Zaid Shakir

Why have the Muslims left the Mosques? Ever pondered?

Find out the secrets of our decline, and how we may overcome the problems in our mosque system...

Pride and Arrogance-What's allowed and what's not

Any type of pride which constitutes of one of the following two things is impermissible:
1- belittling others 'ihtiqar al-ghair' (which is classified as kibr 'inward arrogance'/takabbur 'outward arrogance')

2- the satisfaction of a result due to individual effort 'al-istirwah' (which is classified as ujb), without the manifestation of it being an ability given by Allah and a blessing (adm idhafati al-ni'mati nisbat al-mun'im).

Scholars mention that 'ujb' is usually the first step to arrogance and they are both forbidden.
(See: Sharh al-Tariqha al-Muhammdiyyah, al-Nabulsi. Al-Hadyat al-Ala'iyyah, Ala'uddin ibn Abideen)

However, if one expresses his/her pride in something, it will not be forbidden (1) if he/she does not intend to belittle another (2) and if he/she considers the result or work a ni'mah of Allah swt and his given ability. Hence, all injunctions regarding the impermissibility and undesirability are directed to the pride which constitutes of the two things mentioned above. If the pride is not due to any of them, it is allowed. For example, if somebody writes a book on fiqh and has pride over having completing it, it is allowed to show pride (1) if one does not contemptuously put down another (2) and if he affirms his dependency on Allah swt on completion of the book (not showing satisfaction with independent effort), stating that the work done is a blessing from Allah swt. Note that the latter can be done orally and can be practiced by the heart (Shar al-Tareeqah al-Muhammadiyyah, al-Nabulsi).

The Prophet saw said: "No one with the slightest particle of arrogance in his heart will enter paradise." A man remarked, "But a man likes his clothes to be nice and his sandals good." The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, "Verily, Allah is beautiful and loves beauty. Arrogance is refusing to acknowledge what is right and considering others beneath one." (Mishkat al-Masabih)

Moreover, Scholars mention that to outwardly show kibr is desirable to those who are arrogant. And Allah is most great.

Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi

Hadith Literature-Origin, Development & Special Features

'This book is the only introduction in English which presents all the aspects of the subject. It explains the origin of the literature, the evolution of the isnad system, the troubled relationship between scholars and the state, the problem of falsification, and the gradual development of a systematic approach to the material'. (Islamic Texts Society)

Book Extract

The history of the origin, development and criticism of hadith literature is a subject as important as it is fascinating. It is important because it serves as an astonishingly voluminous source of data for the history of pre-Islamic Arabia and of early Islam, and for the development of Arabic literature, as well as of Islamic thought in general and Islamic law in particular. It also played a decisive role in establishing a common cultural framework for the whole Islamic world, and continues to wield substantial influence on the minds of the Muslim community; an influence which, it seems clear, will continue for the foreseeable future. It is fascinating because it sheds so much light on the psychology of the hadith scholars—the Traditionalists—the devoutly scrupulous as well as the confirmed forgers, and on many of the key political and cultural movements which germinated and developed in the various regions of the Muslim world throughout its complex history. It portrays a brilliant medieval academic world which gave birth to many European scholarly institutions, including the doctorate and the baccalaureate. It also contains many of the basic ideas now current about democracy, justice among mankind and nations, the condemnation of aggression, and the ideal of global peace. All this, moreover, is linked resolutely to the sacred, to a consciousness of man’s exalted meaning and destiny, which seems to mark the Muslims out today more than ever before.

The Muslims (since the Blessed Prophet’s lifetime), and European orientalist scholars (for about the last two hundred years), have hence paid close attention to hadith and to its ancillary sciences. During the time of the Prophet, the Companions were zealous to learn and recall his words and the incidents of his life. Many of them wrote these ‘hadiths’ down, and distributed them for the benefit of their co-religionists. A large number of hadiths were thus collected in the first century of Islam, and were disseminated throughout the vast Islamic empire, partly in writing, and partly as an extensive oral tradition. During the subsequent centuries, efforts were made to compile more or less exhaustive collections of hadiths which were considered to be reliable by specific scholarly criteria, and long and arduous journeys were undertaken for this purpose. Thus, partly in the second century after the Prophet’s emigration (hijra) from Mecca to Medina, but largely in the third, important collections of such hadith were compiled and published. As some hadith were known to have been forged—some even during the Prophet’s lifetime—immense care had to be taken to ensure their credentials. To this end, the Muslim scholars introduced the system of the isnad, the chain of authorities reaching back to the Prophet which shows the historical status of a report. This was introduced at an early date, and by the first quarter of the second century was treated as a necessary part of every tradition. In time, too, branches of literature grew up to serve as foundations for the criticism of every individual hadith. As the isnad alone was not considered to be a sole and sufficient guarantee of a hadith’s genuineness, a number of other general principles were laid down as litmus tests for the authenticity of a text. It has hence been generally accepted by the traditionists that the validity of a tradition is sufficiently determined by the rigorous techniques of criticism which have thus been developed by the specialists. All these matters have been touched upon in this book.

See link above for orders...

Uderstanding the Four Madhhabs-Abdal Hakim Murad, Cambridge

A necessary reading for anyone who seeks to know why there are madhhabs and the problems of not following one. Short and sufficient.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

A Summary of 'Shams al-Hidaya'-Breaking the Grounds of Qadiyanism

During his fight against Qadiyanism, Sayyid Mehr Ali Shah (May Allah shower mercy on his grave) wrote several books in defence of the orthodox Muslim beleifs and refutation of the Ahmadiyah heresy and ill-claims. Amongst those was the ground-breaking ‘Shams al-Hidayah’ (The sun of guidance), in short, which established the Muslim beliefs as regards to the ascent of Isa (peace be upon him) ‘alive’ to the heavens ‘in person’. It was completed in 1899 and acclaimed by all Muslim schools of thought.

The copy that I have was published in 1985 which starts with an excellent forward by Faiz Ahmad Faiz, a renowned scholar at Gholra, Islamabad. The actual work starts with the author’s reasons why he wrote the challenging epistle and questions he asked Mirza Ghulam Ahamd Qadiyani, the founder of this movement, regarding the kalima, and meaning of the verse ‘bal raf’ahullahu ilaiyi’. With strong arguments against the interpretations of ‘bal rafa’aullah’ imposed by Mirza, and concise discussions on the lexical, rhetorical and technical usage of the word ‘bal’ in the Arabic language, the author establishes unbreakable conclusions. His observation of correct syllogisms, intensiveness in logic and study of the Arabic syntax reflects his depth in knowledge and breadth of study. It really is amazing how he encapsulates repleteness in a few words. That is what makes his work purely powerful. Moreover, his scholarly discussion on this verse (wa ma qataluhu yaqeenan bal raf’a hullahu ilaiyhi) spreads over seven pages. He then enriches his work with numerous hadith on the issue of the ascent of Isa and his descent. Refutations against the beliefs of Qadyani advance in depth; the meaning of ‘mutawaffeeka’ and ‘tawaffa’, meaning of ‘men from the son’s of Faris’, conciliation between the narrations which describes the appearance of Isa, true Muslim belief about the angels, answer to the verse ‘innaka mayitun wa innahum amayyitun’ as an objection to the life of Isa, prophecies of the Prophet, narrations reagrding the comming of Dajjal, and the meaning of the verse ‘qad Khalat min qablihi al-rusul’, are some of the issues he deals with in this work.

May Allah Almighty reward those men of great knowledge and give us knowledge, pratcie and wisdom to understand and defend our deen, ameen.

Anybody who wants to acquire knowledge of these issues must ask those who know!

‘And ask the people of remembrance, if you do not know’ (al-Qur’an)

Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi, 22nd September 2004.

The Order of Caliphate-An excellent inference from the Qur'an

Hazrat Sayyid Mehr Ali Shah (May Allah shower mercy on him) once made the following fine derivation about the sequential order of caliphate of the Four Righteous Caliphs (i.e., Sayyiduna Abu Bakr, Sayyiduna Umar, Sayyiduna Usman and Sayyiduna Ali) from the Qur'anic ayah, "Muhammad (May Allah send peace and blessings upon him) is the Messenger of Allah. And 'those with him' are 'hard against disbelievers' and 'merciful among themselves'. Thou (O Muhammad) seest them 'bowing and falling prostrate in worship' (XLVIII, 29).

The words “those with him”, he said, referred to Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (R.A) “ hard against disbelievers” to referred to Sayyiduna Umar (R.A), “merciful among themselves” to Sayyiduna Usman (R.A), and “bowing and falling prostrate” to Sayyiduna Ali (R.A).


Sayyid Mehr Ali Shah's Biography-The Translation of 'Mehr-e-Muneer'

An Excellent peice of work on life, works and teachings of India's 'Ibn al-Arabi', the Massive Scholar of Shari'ah, Sufi, and Master of Liberal Arts, Pir Sayyid Mehr Ali Shah (May Allah shower mercy on his soul).

Read about this amazing personality who shook the grounds of the Qadyani Movement with his knowledge and Wisdom.

'The 'Scholars' (fudhala) require a 'Teacher' to understand Ibn al-Arabi's books, but are there any around? Ok, so what about Seyyid Mehr Ali, is there anyone who reaches his sky, today?' (Walidi al-Muhtaram, al-Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah Ateeq, Hafizahullah)

Truly, wa fawqa kulli zi ilmin aleem...

The Email Adab-Etiquette Guides

Suffice to describe this link as 'A Picture of Professionalism and Efficiency'...
I Found it on Sidi Faraz's intresting Blog, A'azzahullah.

Shama'il al-Tirmidhi Online

The classical work composed in 'Virtues and Noble Character of The Prophet Muhammad' (May Allah shower abundant mercy and peace upon him). It's here with Mawlana Zakariyyah Kandehlvi's commentary in english and arabic. See link...

I don't know whether it's a reliable translation. I wonder if Sidi Faraz knows more...

Dan Kurland's Critical Reading

The Fundamentals of Critical Reading and Effective Writing.
Something for Brother Sajjad, Israr and freinds at Faizan-e-Rasul, Walhamdulillah.

Pearls in Praise-The Lover's Hope

Hassan bin Thabit (May Allah be pleased with him) said:

I say, and none can find fault with me
But one who lost all sense and is kept afar:
My love shall never cease to paraise him!
It may be for so doing I shall be forever in Paradise
With al-Mustafa for whose support in that I hope.
And to attain to that day I devote all my efforts.

Narrated by Ibn Hisham (6:91) cf. al-Kalai, al-Ikfa (2:465) and Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah (5:281).

Translation by: Ustadh Gibril Fouad Haddad al-Dimashqi, Albani and his freinds, pg 69, 1st print June 2004.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Science of

'Scientists are finding that, after all, love really is down to a chemical addiction between people'.
As time precedes, Man will discover what Allah has hidden inside him, but will he ever realise that it's a sign?

See link...

The Lost Tools of Learning-Dorothy Sayers

Is not the great defect of our education today--a defect traceable through all the disquieting symptoms of trouble that I have mentioned--that although we often succeed in teaching our pupils "subjects," we fail lamentably on the whole in teaching them how to think: they learn everything, except the art of learning. It is as though we had taught a child, mechanically and by rule of thumb, to play "The Harmonious Blacksmith" upon the piano, but had never taught him the scale or how to read music; so that, having memorized "The Harmonious Blacksmith," he still had not the faintest notion how to proceed from that to tackle "The Last Rose of Summer." Why do I say, "as though"? In certain of the arts and crafts, we sometimes do precisely this--requiring a child to "express himself" in paint before we teach him how to handle the colors and the brush. There is a school of thought which believes this to be the right way to set about the job. But observe: it is not the way in which a trained craftsman will go about to teach himself a new medium. He, having learned by experience the best way to economize labor and take the thing by the right end, will start off by doodling about on an odd piece of material, in order to "give himself the feel of the tool."

See link...

The Beard; A Sunnah

The Value of Sunnah

Muslim scholars are unanimous on the point that Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah (May Allah shower abundant mercy and peace upon him) or Prophetic Tradition, namely, his acts and teachings establish a binding proof. In more than one verse, the Qur’an enjoins obedience to the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah shower abundant mercy and peace upon him) and makes it a vital duty upon every Muslim to submit to his judgement and authority without question. The following are some verses of the Qur’an that are explicit on this theme, all which are quoted by the famous early Muslim Jurist, al-Shafi’i in his renowned work, al-Risalah.

‘And whatever the Messenger gives you take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain from it’ (al-Hashr, 59:7)

‘Whosoever obeys the Messenger verily obeys God’ (al-Nisa, 4:80)

‘Obey God and Obey the Messenger and those who are in charge of affairs among you. Should you happen to dispute over something, then refer it to God and the Messenger’ (al-Nisa, 4:58-59)

‘Should you dispute over a matter among yourselves, refer it to God and His Messenger, if you do believe in God and the Last Day’ (al-Nisa, 4:59)

In another verse, Allah Almighty states, ‘Surely you have an excellent example in the life of Allah’s Apostle’ (al-Ahzab, 33:21)

Moreover, numerous other verses in the Qur’an categorically stipulate the value and authority of Prophet Muhammad’s acts and teachings. I have found 18 verses of the Qur’an which all denote the same theme. I hope this point will draw the importance of Islamic rituals and shed light on the individual responsibility that falls on Muslims as regards to obedience and submission.

The Beard is a Sunnah

The issue of keeping a beard has been fully discussed in many epistles, expositions and commentaries on Hadith textual corpus, over the past 14 centuries. Muslim Jurists or fuqaha, have, however, composed books on the subject in question, such as Imam Ahad Raza (d.1921) who wrote the far-famed ‘lum’at al-Duha’. He supports the Muslim view regarding the necessity of a beard by 18 verses of the Qur’an, 72 narrations transmitted from the Prophet, and 60 verdicts of Muslim Jurists.

Here are a few of these narrations;

1- Ibn 'Umar relates from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that he said: "Do otherwise than those who ascribe partners to Allah (al-mushrikin): leave beards be, and trim moustaches." (Sahih al-Bukhari. 9 vols. Cairo 1313/1895. Reprint (9 vols. in 3). Beirut: Dar al-Jil, n.d., 7.206: 5892 and Sahih Muslim, 5 vols. Cairo 1376/1956. Reprint. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1403/1983, 1.222: 259).

2- Abdullah bin Umar Faruq relates from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that he said: ‘trim the moustache and make beards plenteous’. (Ref: Mu’atta Imam Malik, Musnad Ahmad, Abu Da’ud, Tirmidhi, Nisa’I, Ibn Majah & Tahawi)

3- Jabir bin Samrah, a companion of Prophet Muhammad, describes him as ‘one with a copious beard’ (Ref: Sahih Muslim & Ibn Asakir)

4- A similar report is narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri, another famous companion of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), in which the Prophet said: ‘It is not permissible for one to make short the beard length’.

Many other companions, as reported by the great scholars of hadith science and its textual corpus, have reported similar sound and rigorously authentic reports from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). To name a few, Hind bin Abi Halalah, Ali, Anas, Abu Hurairah, Abu Umamah al-Bahili, Abdullah bin Abbas, Abdullah ibn Umar, Ibn al-Abbas and Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri. Numerous reports can be found in the classical collections of the sunnahs or Prophetic traditions, such as Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Ibn Majah, Abu Da’ud, Nisa’i, Tirmidhi, Mu’atta Imam Malik, Musnad Imam Ahmad, Bayhaqi’s al-Sh’ab and Dala’il al-Nubuwah, Qadhi Ayyad’s al-Shifa, Ali Qari’s al-Mirqat and Sharh al-Shifa, Tabarani’s Mu’jamm(s), Ibn Asakir’s Tareekh (chronicle) and Tirmidhi’s Shama’il.

The issue exists in books of Islamic Jurisprudence

We find that the necessity of keeping a beard was discussed by a large number of Islamic jurists in the books of verdicts or fatawa as well as it exists in the books of Prophetic practices and traditions. To name a few, Tahtawi in Hashiyah Tanweer, Ibn Abideen in Radd al-Muhtar and al-Uqud al-Durriyah, Ibn al-Hummam in Fat’h al-Qadir, Abdal Haq Dehlvi in Lum’at, Ali Qari in al-Mirqat, Qurtubi in Ittihaf al-Sadat, and many more shed light on the subject. This explicitly suggests the importance of keeping a beard in Islam.

See also: Sheikh Nuh's article on the beard @, and search for 'beard' on

Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Contentions 7-Abdal-Hakim Murad

'Modernity deprives us of the most basic right of all: the right to be traditional'

Monday, September 13, 2004

A list of Compendiums and Expositions on Imam al-Nasafi's far-famed 'Matn al-Manar'

Matn al-Manar, alike other works of Imam al-Nasafi, has acheived popularity in all parts of the globe. It's clarity and comprehensiveness has proven to be the golden key to unlock the doors of Usul al-Fiqh. Moreover, it inclusively encapsulates the details of Hanafi legal methodology in a short but replete volume. This is why, many scholars have composed commentaries and written detailed footnotes on this work. Here is a list of some of these compositions which i gathered from various works.

1-Matn al-Manar fi Usul al-Fiqh/Manar al-Anwar fi Usul al-Fiqh
Author: Abu al-Barakat al-Nasafi (710h)
Publisher: (Not mentioned), India, 1870. It is published with 'Taqyeeydat Abd al-Gaffar'.
Also published in Istanbul, al-Matba'ah al-Uthmaniyah, 1908 & 1911. The 1911 edition was published with 'Hashiyah Musatafa Efendi'.

2-Kashf al-Asrar fi Sharh al-Manar/Sharh al-Musannif ala al-Manar
Author: Abu al-Barakat Abdullah bin Ahmad, al-Nasafi (d.710h)
Publisher: Matba'ah Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, 1986. It is published with Mulla Jeewan's 'Nur al-Anwar'. It has many editions.

3-Ifadhat al-Anwar ala Usul al-Manar/Sharh al-Manar fi Usul al-Fiqh
Author: al-Haskafi, Ala'uddin Muhammad bin Ali bin Muhammad bin Ali bin Abdurahman (d.1088h)
Publisher: Matba'ah Mustafa al-Babi al-Halabi, Cairo, 1979. It was published with Ibn Abideen's commentary entitled, 'Nasamat al-As'har'. It has many editions.
Also published in Cairo, Dar al-Kutub al-Arabiyah, 1910.
Also published in Aastana, Istanbul. Matb'aha Muhammad As'ad, 1883.
Also published in Damascus, Muhammad Barakat, 1992 with footnotes by Muhammad Sa'eed al-Burhani (d.1386h)

4-Taqreerat ala Matn al-Manar/ Taqreerat Abd al-Gaffar ala Nur al-Anwar/ Taqyeeydat ala-Manar al-Anwar
Author:Abd al-Gaffar bin al-Qhadhi Binyameen.
Publisher: Tab'ah Hajr, India, 1870 & 1989.

5-Hashiyah ala al-Manar/Hashiyah Mustafa Afendi ala al-Manar
Author: Mustafa Efendi.
Publisher: al-Matba'ah al-Uthmaniyah, Dar Sa'adat, Istanbul, 1911.

6-Fat'h al-Gaffar bi Sharh al-Manar/ Mishkat al-Anwar fi Usul al-Manar/Ta'leeq al-Manar
Author: Zayn al-Abideen bion Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin Mujaym al-Masri, Ibn Nujaym (d.970h) Revised by Mahmud Abu Daqeeqah
Publisher: Mustafa Albabi al-Halabi, Cairo, 1936. It is published with 'Hashiyah al-Bahrawi'.

7-Nasamat al-As'har ala Sharh Ifadhat al-Anwar/Hashiyah ala Sharh Ifadhat al-Anwar/Hashiyah Nasamat al-As'har ala Sharh Ifadhat al-Anwar/ Nasamat al-As'har ala Sharh al-Manar al-Musamma bi Ifadhat al-Anwar
Author: Muhammad Ameen bin Umar bin Abd al-Aziz, Ibn Abideen (d.1252)
Publisher: Matba'ah Dar al-Kutub al-Arabiyah al-Kubra, Cairo, 1979 (with the Taqyeeydat al-Tuwkhi). It has many editions.
Also published in Aastana, Istanbul. Matba'ah Muhammad As'ad, 1883.

8-Taqyeeydat al-Tuwkhi ala Hashiyat Nasamat al-As'har
Author: al-Tuwkhi, Muhammad bin Ahmad.
Publisher: Matba'ah Mustafa Albabi al-Halabi, Cairo. 2nd edition was published in 1979.

9-Hashiyah Azmi Zaadah ala al-Manar/Hashiyah ala- Sharh al-Manar/Nata'ij al-Afkar ala Sharh al-Manar
Author: Mustafa bin Muhammad Azmi Zaadah (d.1040h)
Publisher: al-Matba'ah al-Uthmaniya, Dar Sa'adat, Istanbul, 1897.

10-Sharh Manar al-Anwar fi Usul al-Fiqh
Author: Abd al-Jalil al-Rumi (d.1051h)
Publisher: (Not mentioned), Istanbul, 1896.

11-Sharh al-Manar fi Usul al-Fiqh
Author: Jamal al-Din Abu al-Fadhl, Ibn Manzur (d.711h)
Publisher: al-Matba'ah al-Uthmaniyah, Istanbul, 1901.

12-Mukhtasar al-Manar
Author: Zayn al-Din Abu al-Izz, Ibn Habib al-Halabi (d.808h)
Publisher: Maktabah al-Imam al-Shafi'i, Riyadh, 1989 & Maktabah Ibn Taymiyah, Cairo 1993. It was published amongst a collection of books in usul entitled, 'Mutun Usuliyah Muhimmah fi al-Mazahib al-Arba'ah'. It has many editions.

13-Mukhtasar al-Manar
Author: Ibn Qutlubugha (d.879h)
Publisher: Matba'ah Shukrah al-Sahafah al-Uthmaniyah, Dar Sa'adat, Istnabul, 1896.
It is published with 'Khulasat al-Afkar'.
It was also rendered into Ottomon by Muhammad Ameen Hafiz and published in Istanbul, 1881.

14-Mukhatasar al-Manar
Author: Abu al-Thana Ahmad bin Muhammad, al-Zayla'i (d.974h)
Publisher: Dowmera Fiski, Qazan, 'Tutristan'?, 1888. It has many editions.

15-Sharh Mukhtasar al-Manar/ Khulasat al-Afkar Sharh Mukhtasar al-Manar li ibn Qutlubugha/ Khulasat al-Afkar ala Mukhtasar al-Manar
Author: Hafiz Dhiya al-Din Ahmad Efendi bin Awliya al-Qistumuni (d.1306h).
Publisher: Matba'ah al-Sahafah al-Uthmaniyah, Dar Sa'adat, Istnabul, 1896.

16-Shams Sama' al-Asrar Sharh Mukhtasar al-Manar
Author: Muhammad Abd al-Baqi al-Afghani al-Hanafi
Publisher: (Not mentioned), Istanbul, 1897.

17-Zubdat al-Asrar Sharh Mukhtasar al-Manar li ibn Habib al-Halabi/Sharh Mukhtasar al-Manar li ibn al-Halabi
Author: Abu al-Thana' Ahmad bin Muhammad Abilbarakat al-Saywasi, al-Zayla'i (d.974h)
Publisher: Matba'ah Dowmera Fiski, Qazan, 'Tutristan'?, 1894.
Also published again in Qazan wihout publisher's name, 1900. It has many editions.

18-Hashiyah ala Zubdat al-Asrar/Sidq al-Usul Hashiyah ala Zubdat al-Asrar li al-Zayla'i
Author: Ata'ullah bin Muhammad al-Bulghari, al-Qawrsawi.
Publisher: Matba'ah Dowmera fiski, Qazan, 'Tutristan'?, 1894. It was printed with 'Hashiyah Ta'hseel al-Wusul'.

19-Manzumat Mukhtasar al-Manar
Author: Isma'il Saiyf and Abd al-Majid Efendi
Publisher: (Not mentioned), Astanah, Istanbul, 1881.

20-Nazm al-Manar fi Usul al-Fiqh
Author: Taha bin Ahmad, al-Kawrani (d.1300h)
Publisher: Matba'ah Mahmud bek, Istanbul, 1898.
Also published in Cairo with footnotes by Sha'ban Muhammad Isma'il. Matba'ah Dar al-Salam, 1987. It was published with 'Sharh Mukhtasar al-Manar'.

21-Manzumat al-Kawakibi fi Usul al-Fiqh al-Hanafi/Sharh Nazm al-Manar/Sharh Manzumat al-Kawakibi fi Usul al-Fiqh al-Hanafi/Nazm al-Manar fi Usul al-Fiqh
Author: Muhammad bin Hasan bin Ahmad al-Halabi, al-Kawakibi (d.1096h)
Publisher: al-Matba'ah al-Alamiyah, Caior, 1899.

22-Anwar al-Hilk/Hashiyah ala Sharh al-Manar
Author: Radhi al-Din Muhammad bin Ibrahim, Ibn al-Halabi (d.971h)
Publisher: al-Matba'ah al-Uthmaniyah, Dar Sa'adat, Istanbul, 1897. There are many editions of this hashiyah.

23-Sharh al-Manar wa Hawasheehi fi al-Usul
Author: Izzudin Abd al-Lateef, Ibn Malik (d.801h)
Publisher: al-Matba'ah alUthmaniyah, Dar Sa'adat, Istanbul, 1897.

24-Sharh Ibn al-Ayni ala Sharh Manar al-Anwar/Sharh ala Sharh Manar al-Anwar/Sharh ala Sharh al-Manar li ibn Malik
Author: Zayn al-Din, Abdal-Rahman bin Abi Bakr, Ibn al-Ayni (d.893h)
Publisher: al-Matba'ah al-Uthmaniyah, Dar Sa'adat, Istanbul, 1897. It has many editions.

25-Hashiyah al-Rahawi ala Sharh al-Manar li ibn Malik/Hashiyah ala Sharh al-Manar li ibn Malik.
Author: Sharf al-Din Abu Zakariyah Yahya, al-Rahawi al-Hanafi.
Publisher: Matba'ah Dar Sa'adat, Istanbul, 1897.

26-Nur al-Anwar ala al-Manar/Sharh Nur al-Anwar ala al-Manar
Author: Ahmad bin Abi Sa'eed, Mulla Jeewan (d.1130h)
Publisher: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, 1986.
Also published in India, 1876 and Kanfur (India), Matba'ah Nizami, 1881. It has many editions.

27-Hashiyah ala Nur al-Anwar/Da'ir al-Wusul
Author: Abu Abdillah Muhammad bin Mubarak Shah, al-Harawi (d.928h)
Publisher: (Not mentioned), Lakhnouw, India, 1924.

28-Qamar al-Aqmar ala Nur al-Anwar/Hashiyah Nur al-Anwar
Muhammad Abd al-Haleem bin Muhammad Ameenullah, al-Lakhnawi (d.1285h)
Publisher: (Not mentioned), India, 1876.
Also published in Kanfur, India. Matba'ah Nazami, 1881.
Also published in Cairo, al-Matba'ah al-Kubra, 1898.
Also published in Beirut, Dar al-Kutub al-Alamiyah, 1995. Revised by Muhammad Abd al-Salam Shaheen.

See also on this blog: 'Imam al-Nasafi-The Unforgotten Author'
Composed and completed by Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi on 19-09-04, walhamdulillah.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

An Introduction to the Renowned Dars-e-Nizami Course


For many people out there, the ‘Dars-e-Nizami’ course may sound alien. However, the educated masses from the subcontinent are quite familiar with the course in question. Mullah Nizam al-Din Muhammad Sihalwi (1677-1748), being the founder of this course, primarily aimed this course to compromise the study of religious sciences from step one to the highest levels of intellectual spheres. As well as the study of classical doctrine in Islamic theology, Hadith, Qura’n and their Principles, Jurisprudence and its principles, the students of this discipline pursued in the liberal arts which offered a canonical method of depicting the realms of higher education.

Evidently, the course is based on the founder’s name ‘Nizam al-Din’. His grandfather Mulla Jalal al-Din settled in Dehli, from which his children moved to ‘Sihali’; the area where Mulla Nizam al-Din was born. His father, Mulla Qutb al-Din bin Abd al-Haleem, was a great theologian, jurisprudent and Philosopher. Mullah Qutb al-Din was martyred on the 19th Rajab 1103 h or 27th March 1692 ce whilst his house was set fire. His notes on the commentary of Aqa’id Dawani were also found burnt in the very same incident.

From his works are:

1- Hashiyah Sharh Aqa’id al-Dawani (Commentary in Islamic theology)
2- Hashiyah al-Aqidah al-Nasafiyah (Commentary in Islamic theology)
3- Hashiyah al-Talweeh (Commentary in Principles of Jurisprudence)
4- Hashiyah Mutawwal (Commentary in Rhetoric)
5- Hashiyah Tafree’at al-Bazdawi (Commentary in Hanafi jurisprudence)
6- Risalah fi Tahqeeq Dar al-Harb (an epistle on the issue of Dar al-Harb)

Moreover, his four sons, Mulla Muhammad As’ad, Mulla Muhammad Sa’eed, Mulla Nizam al-Din Muhammad and Mulla Muhammad Radha on request to the king Awrang Zeyb moved to Lakhnauw.

The following course was designed by Mulla Nizam al-Din which is taught, until today, in the schools of the subcontinent.

The Study of Liberal Arts

Grammer: 1- Morphology (Books in Sarf): Mizan, Munsha'ib, Sarf Meer, Panj Ganj, Zubdah, Fusul-e-Akbari, Shafiyah.

Grammer: 2- Syntax (Books in Nahw): Nahw Meer, Sharh Mi'ata Amil, Hidayat al-Nahw, Kafiyah, Sharh Mulla Jami

Rhetoric (Books in Balaghah): Mukhtasar al-Ma'ani, Mutawwal, Ana Qultu

Logic (Books in Mantiq): Sughra, Kubra, Isa Guwji, Tahzeeb, Sharh Tahzeeb, Qutbi, Meer Qutbi, Sullam al-Ulum.

These three are known as the 'Trivium' amongst the Liberal arts.

Arithmetics and Geometry (Books in Riyadiyat):1- Khulasat al-Hisab, Tahreer Uqledas, Tashreeh al-Aflak, Risalah Qauwshijiyah, Sharh Chaghmeni.

Hikmat: Maibzi, Sadra, Shams-e-Bazighah

The prevous are the 3 types of 'quadrivium' amongst the liberal arts.

Relegious studies:

Jurisprudence (Books in Fiqh Hanafi): Sharh al-Wiqayah, Hidayah

Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence (Books in Usul al-Fiqh): Nur al-Anwar, al-Tawdheeh, al-Talweeh, Musallam al-Thubut

Islamic Theology (Books in Ilm al-Kalam): Sharh al-Aqeedah al-Nasafiyah, Sharh Aqa'id al-Jalali, Meer Zahid, Sharh al-Mawaqif.

Qura'nic exegesis (Books in Tafseer al-Qur'an): Jalalaiyn, Baidhawi

Hadith studies: Mishkat al-Masabeeh


Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi

Monday, September 06, 2004

Justice in Islam-How Islam conqoured hearts

Abu Ubayda bin Jarrah was the commander in chief of the Islamic army that routed the great armies of the Byzantine Greek Kaiser Heracleus. When he conquered a city, he would have someone shout out the Kahlifa Umar's commands to the Byzantine people. When he conquered the city of Humus in Syria, he said:

'O thou Byzantine people! By Allah's help, and obeying the command of our Khalifa Umar, we have taken this city, too. You are all free in your trade work, and worship. No one shall harm your property, lives or chastity. Islam's justice shall be practised equally on you, all your rights shall be observed. We shall protect you, as we protect Muslims, against the enemy. In return of this service of ours, we ask you to pay jizya once a year, as we receive zakat and ushr from Muslims. Allah Almighty commands us to serve you and to take jizya from you'.

The Byzantine Greeks of Humus delivered their jizya willingly to Habib bin Muslim, the superintendant of Bayt al-mal. When the Byzantine Greek Emperor Heracleus was recruiting soldiers throughout his country and making preperations for a huge crusading campaign against Antinoch, it was decided that the army in Humus must join the forces in Yarmuk. Abu Ubayda had his officials to announce the following satements;

'O thou Christians! I promised to serve you and protect you. And in return for this i collected jizya from you. But now, I have been commanded by the Caliph to go and help my bretheren who will be fighting jihad against Heracleus. I will not be able to abide by my promise to you. Therefore, take your jizya back from the bayt al-mal. Your names and amounts received are registered in our book.'

The same thing happened in most cities of Syria. Upon seeing this justice, Christians were delighted for having been saved from cruelty and oppression. Many of them volunteered to spy upon Byzantine armies for the muslim forces. However, we learn that spreading of Islamic states and their establishment was never based on agression or killing. It was the power of iman, justice and self-sacrifice that maintained power in the Islamic community.


Imam al-Nasafi-The Unforgotten Author

Abu al-Barakat, Abdullah bin Ahmad bin Mahmud al-Nasafi is known as 'hafiz al-deen'. He was born in the village of 'Nasaf' from the area of 'ma wara' al-nahr' known as 'saghd'. His home town 'Nasaf' was also known as 'Nakhshab'. A famous author, righteous and great Hanafi faqih, al-Nasafi studied under the prominent scholars of his era, such as Muhammad bin Abd al-Sattar Karwari known as 'the sun amongst the scholars', Ali bin Muhammad bin Ali Hameed al-Din Aziz and Badr al-Din Khawahir Zadah.

Did Imam al-Nasafi narrate the Ziyadat from Itabi?

The author of Jawahir Mudhee'ah mentioned that al-Nasafi took fiqh from Karwari and narrated the Ziyadat from Ahmad bin Utbi. Mulla Ali Qari concurs on this view. However, Kafawi mentions that it is not possible that al-Nasafi narrated the Ziyadat from Utbi since Utbi died in 589h and al-Nasafi died in 710h or 711h.

His status amongst the jurists

Ibn Kamal Pasha considered him a jurist of the sixth rank i.e. from those jurists who have authority to isolate the weak reports from the stronger ones. Others have however upheld that al-Nasafi was one step away from absolut ijtihad, namely, a 'mujtahid fi al-madhab'. Not just that, they considered him the final mujtahid in the madhab. In his commentary on the Musallam al-Thubut and on Tahreer al-Usul, Bahr al-Ulum mentions that the latter opinion is not correct thus not reliable.

His year of death

There is controvesy on this issue amongst the scholars. Shaykh Qawwam al-Din Ittifaqi, Mulla Ali Qari and the author of Kashf al-Zunun have held that al-Nasafi died in 701h. Allamah Qasim bin Qutlubugha held that he died after 710h [in his book entitled: al-Asl fi bayani al-wasl wa al-fasl]. Hamawi upheld that he died in 711h on a Fridayh night. Furthermore, Ittiqani mentioned that he passed away in a place called 'Ayzaj' and was buried in 'al-Jalal'. And Allah knows best.

His works
Imam Nasafi composed many works that are until today taught and studied worldwide. The renowned Dars-e-Nizami course has always contributed to the indespensible works of Nasafi. Here is a list of some of them;

1- al-Wafi, and its commentary al-Kafi in the branches of law 'furu'

2- Kanz al-Daqa'iq. This work proves to be an excellent contribution of Nasafi to fiqh. It is originally an abridgement of his 'al-Wafi'.

3- Matn al-Manar. Again, an undoubtedly comprehensive book unforgotten in Usul al-fiqh.

4- Kashf al-Asrar. His personal commentary on the Manar.

5- Sharh Muntakhab al-Hussami. A commentary on the famous text in Usul al-Fiqh.

6- Musaffa, his commentary on sharh Manzumah Nasafiyah

7- al-Mustasfa sharh al-Fiqh al-Na'fi

8- Sharh al-Fiqh al-Nafi'

9- I'timad al-I'tiqad, his commentary on al-Umdah

10- Fadha'il al-A'mal

11- Tafseer Madarik al-Tanzeel.

Did he compose a commentary on al-Hidaya?

The author of Kashf al-Zunun listed al-Nasafi to have written a commetary on the famous 'al-Hidayah' in the Hanafi school. Taqiy al-Din, in his Tabaqat, mentioned that Bakht ibn Shahnah stated, it is not known whether al-Nasafi has a commentary on al-Hidayah. Moreover, Allamah Ittiqani, in Gayat al-Bayan, mentioned that Imam al-Nasafi did intend to write a commentary on al-Hidaya but Taj al-Sharee'ah requested that he shouldn't. This is why he then composed the book al-Wafi similar to al-Hidaya and then wrote a commentary to it entitled 'al-Kafi'.

His discipline in Kanz al-Daqa'iq

Imam al-Nasafi sticks to two main points in this work;

1- sticking to the issues of the Zahir al-Riwayah,
2- and not surpassing the 'mufta biha' sayngs of the three imams i.e. Abu Hanifa, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani.

However, there are some sayings in the Kanz that are not from the Zahir al-Riwayah and are not from the 'mufta bihi' of the three imams. But, how is it exactly possible to find out that such and such issue is not from the Zahir al-Riwayah or the verdicts f the imams? A contemporary scholar, Muhammad Haneef Gangohi has collected those particular issues in the opening of his commentary on the Kanz entitled: 'Ma'din al-Haqa'iq'.

The commentaries on Kanz al-Daqa'iq

Over the centuries, many scholars such as Aiyni, Halbi, Kiramni and others have commented on the Kanz but the exposition, clarity and comprehensivenss of Ibn Nujaym's 'al-Bahr al-Ra'iq' is unique in this area.

A list of commentaries on the Kanz:

1- al-Bahr al-Ra'iq, Zayn al-Abideen, known as Ibn Nujaym, d.970h
2- Tabyeen al-Haqa'iq, Uthman bin Ali al-Zayla'i, d.743h
3- Ramz al-Haqa'iq, Badr al-Din al-Ayni, d.855h
4- al-Matlab al-Fa'iq, Badr al-Din Isa al-Diri
5- al-Nahr al-Fa'iq, Siraj al-Din, known as Ibn Nujaym, d.1005h
6- Mustakhlis al-Haqa'iq, Ibrahim bin Muhammad al-Qari
7- al-Fawa'id fi Halli al-Masa'ili wa al-Qawa'id, Mustafa bin Bali, known as Bali Zadah
8- Fat'h Masaliki al-Ramz fi Sharhi Manasiki al-Kanz, Abdurahman Isa al-Umri
9- Sharh al-Kanz al-Daqa'iq, Mulla Miskeen
10-Sharh al-Kanz, Ibn Shahnah al-Halabi, d.921h
11- Sharh al-Kanz, al-Khitab bin Abi al-Qasim al-Qurrah Hasari, d.730h
12- Sharh al-Kanz, Shams al-Din Hasari
13- Sharh al-Kanz, Zayn al-Abideen al-Ayni, d.864h
14- Sharh al-Kanz, Ibn Ganim al-Maqdisi, d.1004h
15- Sharh al-Kanz, Qawam al-Din Kirmani, d.748h
16- Sharh al-Kanz, Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Umar al-Salihi, d.950h
17- Sharh al-Kanz, Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Dhiya al-Makki, d.858h
18- Hashiyah Kanz al-Daqa'iq, Muhammad Ahsan Siddiqui Nanutwi, d.1312h
19- Multaqit al-Daqa'iq, Abu al-Ma'arif Muhhamd Inanyatullah shah
20- Hashiyah Kanz al-Daqa'iq, Muhmmad I'zaz Ali, d.1374h
21- Zaheer al-Haqa'iq, Zaheer Ahmad Sahwani, d.1361h (urdu)
22- Ma'din al-Haqa'iq, Muhammad Haneef (urdu)
23- Persion translation by Shah Ahlullah, abrother of waliyullah al-Dehlvi.
24-Tuhfat al-Ajam fi Fiqhi al-Imami al-A'zam, Muhammad Sultan Khan (urdu)
25- Ahsan al-Masa'il, Muhammd Ahsan Siddiqui (urdu)
26- Zaheer al-Haqa'iq, Zaheer Ahmad Zaheeri Sahswani (urdu)
27- Mi'yar al-Haqa'iq, Dhiya al-Din Muhammad al-Husayni (persian)

May Allah reward Imam al-Nasafi for each and every letter he has contributed to deen, ameen. And raise the ranks of those who conveyed to us knowledge of the deen.

A list of commentaries on Imam al-Nasafi's renowned text in Usul al-Fiqh, 'al-Manar' will be added shortly, God-willing.

Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Defining 'Usul al-Fiqh'-Prinicples of Islamic Jurisprudence

Usul is the plural of asl, which in the primitive sense [lughatan] renders ‘the foundation on which something is constructed’. This construction may either be physical [bi al-hiss], such as constructing a building on land, or logical [aqlan], such as constructing a conclusion from two premise. [Ref: al-Misbah al-Muneer & al-Tawdheeh]

Technically, it may denote any of the following meanings:

1- Proof [dalil], such as saying, ‘the asl for praying salah is this verse’. ‘Source’, ‘origin’, ‘root’ and ‘principle’ are its synonyms.

2- Original state or norm [mustas’hab], as in the following legal maxim [qa’idah kulliyah], ‘the asl in all things is permissibility’ [al-asl fi al-ashya’ al-ibahah] and ‘the asl is absence of liability’ [al-asl bara’at al-dhimmah].

3- Original case [maqees alaiyhi] i.e. the original case here is that which opposes the new case [far’] in analogical reasoning [qiyas]. An example is the saying that ‘the asl for narcotic drugs is wine’, since the rule [hukm] of impermissibility that governs the original case i.e. wine, is extended to the new case, i.e. narcotic drugs due to the effective cause or ratio decidendi [illah], namely, the intoxicating affect.

4- Preferable [rajih], such as the proverbial expression that ‘the literal meaning is the asl’ [al-aslu fi al-kalami al-haqiqah], precluding the metaphorical meaning.

5- Rule or legal maxim [qa’idah], such as in the following statement, ‘the following is an asl: Doubt does not prevail knowledge’ [al-ilmu la yazulu bi al-shakk].

Imam Ahmad Radha (May Allah have mercy on him) stipulates five other meanings, as well as these in his excellent compendium entitled ‘Inba al-Hayy’. [See also, Maqayees al-Lughah, Ibn al-Faris]

Asl, however, in the expression ‘usul al-fiqh’ implies the first meaning that is ‘proof’.


The word ‘fiqh’, in its primitive sense denotes ‘understanding’ or ‘fahm’. [Ref: al-Misbah al-Muneer]

In technical terms, there are divergent approaches to the word ‘fiqh’ from which the following definitions are most important:

1-‘The Recognition of oneself of that what is for him and what is against him’ (Imam Abu Hanifah)

The wide scope of this definition pertains to the combination of belief [i’tiqad], good character [akhlaq] and practices [a’amal]. This is why the early scholars divided fiqh into three categories; the first ‘al-Fiqh al-Akbar’, second ‘al-Fiqh al-Awsat’ and third, ‘al-Fiqh al-Asghar’. Moreover, the combination of all these three was the complete meaning of fiqh in the early generations. [Ref: al-Tawdheeh ala al-Tanqeeh]

2- ‘Knowledge of the practical rules of shari’ah acquired from the detailed evidence in the sources’ (Imam al-Shafi’i) [Ref: Musallam al-Thubut

An Explanation to Shafi’s definition:

Knowledge: denotes generally an unqualified perception [mutlaq al-idrak] whether it conveyed speculative knowledge [dhanni] or positive knowledge [ilm yaqeeni].

Practical: this condition precludes those rulings that are concerned with belief. Moreover, this word differentiates the two provided definitions, since the first definition includes belief and good-character, and this definition is on the contrary.

Rules [ahkam]: is the pl. of rule [hukm], which literally means ‘establishing one thing for another whether affirmative or negative’ and in its juridical [fiqhi] sense ‘to establish a certain law or value, such as an obligation [wujub], prohibition [hurmah], recommendation [nudb, istihbab], permissibility [ibahah] and dislikeness [karahah] in respect of the legally competent person [mukallaf]’.

According to the people of usul, a hukm is ‘Allah’s speech [khitab] that pertains to the action of the legally competent persons [mukallafeen] whether it is defining [taklifi], declaratory [wadi’i], or optional [takhyeer]’. [Ref: Ibn al-Hajib’s al-Munta’ah]

a- Defining law [al-hukm al-takleefi] is that which defines injunctions and rights. According to the majority view, this is on five types:

1- Obligation or ‘ijaab’
2- Recommendation or ‘nadb’
3- Prohibition or ‘tahreem’
4- Dislikedness or ‘karahah’
5- Permissibility or ‘ibahah’

However, the Hanafis have maintained that it is on seven types;

1- Obligation or ‘fardh’
2- Compulsory or ‘wajib’
3- Recommendation or ‘nadb’
4- Prohibition or ‘tahreem’
5- Prohibitive dislikedness or ‘karahah tahreemiyah’
6- Dislikedness or ‘karahah tanzeehiyah’
7- Permissibility or ‘ibahah’

b- Declaratory law [al-hukm al-wadi’i] is that which expounds on the conditions and qualifications of the defining law so that it is implemented properly. This is also on five types:

1- Cause or ‘sabab’
2- Condition or ‘shart’
3- Obstacle or ‘mani’
4- Valid or ‘sahih’
5- Corrupt or ‘fasid’

[Ref: Mustafa Sa’eed, al-Kafi]

A detailed discussion on these laws is not necessary at this stage. However, they can be found in the books of usul.

Detailed evidences [adillah tafseeliyah]: [cont description of Definition]

Evidences are of two kinds:

1- Detailed evidences [adillah tafseeliyah also known as adillah juzi’ayh], such as when we say, the obligation of salah is established from this verse: ‘and establish prayer’ (wa aqeemu al-salata) considering the actual text and source the given ruling is established from.

2- Basic evidences [adillah ijmaliyah], such as when we say, without mentioning the actual text from which the ruling is taken, ‘the obligation of prayer is established from the Qura’n’. Here no particular text is mentioned from which this injunction is taken; hence the statement forms‘basic evidence’.

Knowledge of the practical rules of shariah acquired from the detailed evidence in the sources and not from the basic evidences is ‘fiqh’. This is why; an adequate knowledge of fiqh requires close familiarity with its sources. Consequently, he who isolates fiqh from its sources is not a faqih. Hence, the faqih must not only know the rule that ‘prayer is an obligation’, but also the detailed evidence for it in its source, that is the ayah mentioned previously.
[Ref: Abu Zahrah, Ususl]

The technical definition of Usul al-Fiqh

Up until now, we have defined the word asl and fiqh in their own perspectives [this is known as hadd Idhafi]. As for a precise technical definition for the combination of both words [hadd laqabi], there are, again, various definitions stipulated in the books of usul.

The majority view from the Hanafi, Maliki and Hanbali schools is that, Usul al-Fiqh is ‘the methodology by which the rules of fiqh are deduced from their detailed source evidence’.

The shafi’ scholars define it as, ‘basic knowledge [ma’rifah ijmaliyah] of the evidences of fiqh, the state of the evidences and of the beneficiary [mustafeed[]’. [Ref:Ibn Subki’s Jam’ al-Jawami’, Baidhawi’s al- Minha and Amidi’s al-Ihkam]


Basic knowledge: That is to have knowledge that ‘consensus is a proof’, ‘a command implies obligation’, ‘the well known hadith may prevail the qur’anic text’ and so forth.

Evidences: They are the sources of legislation, namely, the sources upon which the scholars have unanimously agreed [muttafaq alaiyha] and the sources about which the scholars have disagreed [mukhtalaf fiha].

State of evidences: i.e. their state from the perspective of abrogation [naskh], confliction [mu’aradhah], prevalence [tarjeeh], and so forth.

State of the beneficiary [mustafeed]: the one benefiting may either be the mujtahid or the muqallid (imitator). This part of the definition refers to the conditions of ijtihad and the details of imitation or ‘talqeed’.

Consequently, we see two differences between fiqh and usul al-fiqh:

a- fiqh is the knowledge of the detailed rules and branches of law whilst usul al-fiqh is fundamentally the methods by which these rules are deduced from their sources. Hence fiqh, as a discipline, is the product of usul al-fiqh.
b- fiqh is the law itself whereas usul al-fiqh is the methodology of law.

In the process of forming the law or fiqh itself, the usul is applied considering three things:

1- wording [al-nazm]
2- legal maxim [qa’idah usuliyah]
3- ruling [al-hukm al-far’i]

To illustrate this we may say regarding the obligation of prayer, that it is proving from the wording ‘establish’ [aqeemu] in the ayah, its ruling is obligation [wujub] due to the legal maxim that is ‘a command implies obligation’ [al-amru li al-wujub].

An Incomplete work.
Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi

A Supplication-From Diwan Sidi Abd al-Musawwir

My longing for paradise is not for its pleasures
But I love them because then I will se you.

O life of all souls You are my healing
So heal me and treat me with your cure!

I do not have, my Lord, a door other than your door.
Then open the door that I may receive your good pleasure.

My God, may Master, my Owner!
I do not hope from this existence other than You.

Therefore, expand my breast, my God, be bountiful to me.
With your special munificence: You can well do so!

I am, of all creatures, weak and oppressed;
Strengthen my body and save me from your trials.

My God! I am the poor dependant in my true poverty;
I have nothing except Your acceptance, so open Your guidance

And heal my heart, and cure me, O my God!
You are my Lord, You are fit to do so.

Save my spouse and my children,
Cure my son, and heal them with Your medicine!

Grant victory to the Religion, my God, and strengthen,
The community of Truth and Right, destroy Your enemies!

Answer us, our Lord, in what we have just begged.
I hope nothing from your slaves-Only you.

From Diwan Sidi Abd al-Musawwir, Shaykh Abd al-Maqsud Faris al-Idrisi al-Misri al-Singapuri

[Trans: GF Haddad, ‘Mawlana’s open door in Jahore and Singapore’]

Friday, September 03, 2004

The Tools of a Mujtahid- A glance at the Hanafi Methodology

A mujtahid is he who infers details of islamic practices from the primary sources.

(A detailed discussion on defining 'ijtihad' and the categories of 'mujtahids' will be added).

There are four sources of Islamic jurisprudence:

1- Qur'an
2- Sunnah
3- Consensus of opinion
4- Analogical reasoning

These are also known as the 'principles' or 'usul'. The methodology study of deriving details of Islamic practices or fiqh is known as 'Usul al-Fiqh'. However, it is also concerned with regulating the excercise of Ijtihad.

The mujtahid, precluding he who excersises absolute ijtihad 'ijtihad mutlaq' such as the imams of the four orthodox madhabs, must orientate to one of the four disciplines in the scope of which he may excersise his ijtihad.

Moreover, at the time of dealing with the first two materials, the mujtahid is always in direct contact with texts and nothing more. Since his study of the provided texts, in respect to deducing a particular detail, is his main framework, he must consider the various rules of interpertation to draw an accurate ruling regarding the issue in question. Here we will discuss the rule of 'textual implications' or 'al-Dalalat'.

Textual Implications [al-Dalalat].

The Hanafi jurists distinguish the four levels of meanings provided in a text. It is vital that the ijtihad is regulated within the sphere of these meanings and does not surpass them.

1- Immediate meaning or 'Ibarah al-nass'
2- Alluded meaning or 'Isharah al-nass'
3- Inferred meaning or 'Dalalah al-nass'
4- Required meaning or 'Iqtidha al-nass'

The immediate meaning is the explicit meaning that represents the purpose 'maqsuwd' of the text, and may also impart a subsidiary meaning. More technically, the 'explici't [nass] and 'manifest' [zahir] words of the text.

The alluded meaning is not the obvious meaning of a given text, rather it is detected through the consideration of signs that are present in the text and not extraneous. However, it does not represent the main theme of a text yet it embodies a vital inference within it.

The inferred meaning is understood by rationale and not expressed in words of the text. It is derived by identification of an effective cause or 'illah', which is common in both the explicit meaning and the iferred meaning. The mujtahid is qualified to derive the effective cause and exercise the method of analogical reasoning.

The required meaning is an essential part of the text though not manifestly present in it. Eventhough the text is silent on this meaning, it is considered so that the meaning of the text is fulfilled, and if not so, the text may amount to falsehood.

In the event of conflict of meanings in texts, the muhtahid is obliged to follow the following stipulations:

1- If the conflict is between the immediate [ibarah] and alluded [isharah] meanings, the former prevails over the latter.

2- If the conflict occurs between the alluded [isharah] and inferred [dalalah] meanings of two texts, the former prevails.

[Examples for each meaning are yet to be added]

The rules put into practice; A cursory glance at the Hanafi methodology

If, however, a mujtahid sticks to the Hanafi methodology, he must follow their descipline and Legal maxims or 'qawa'id', so that his inference conforms to the teachings of their school.

Here are some stipulations:

1- The mujtahid investigating for a particular detail must turn to the Qur'an first and foremost.
2- If he does not manage to find a solution from the Qur'an, he must turn to the Hadith.
3- Third in priority are the reports 'athar' of the Sahabah. The Reports of the four Abdullahs are given priority over the rest.
4- Fourth is Ijma' or consensus of the scholars.
5- And finally, the mujtahid must rely on analogical reasoning or 'qiyas' unless he finds a weak hadith. [More to come on weak hadith]

A- The Qura'n

The mujtahid, as well as following the foregoing stipulations and 'textual implications', must also consider the following rules in methodology whilst dealing with Qura'nic texts:

1- If there are two texts, one absolute 'mutlaq' and the other qualified 'muqayyad', neither is qualified by the other and each one will operate independantly. [al-mutlaqu la yuhmalu ala al-muqayyad]. Detailed discussions on this issue can be found in the books of usul.

2- The 'general' [aam] or 'absolute' [mutlaq] rule cannot be qualified by a solitary report or analogy. Furthermore, the general cannot be qualified by any of the foregoing because it is decisive [qati'i] (prior to specification or 'takhsees') according to the Hanafi school, and the solitary report and qiyas are originally speculative [dhanni] evidences. However, a speculative [dhanni] evidence is not warranted to prevail the decisive [qati'i].

[khabr al wahidi wa al-qiyasu la tukhassisu al-aama wa la tuqayyidu al-mutlaq]

3- A 'well-known hadith' is warranted to qualify the 'abslolute' [mutlaq] and prevail the 'general ruling' [aam] of a Qur'anic text. [yajuzu ziyadatu khabri al-mash'huri ala al-nass]

4- A 'common noun' [nakirah] preceded by a particle of negation engenders 'generality' [umum]. If, on the contrary, it is preceded by an affirmative context [ithbat], the scope of the noun will be 'restricted' [khas]. [al-nakiratu fi hiyazi al-nafyi ta'ummu, wa fi hiyazi al-ithbati takhussu]

5- If the ruling of a given text depends on the fulfillment of an 'attribute' [wasf], or 'condition'
[shart], it will not necessarily lapse if they are not fulfilled.

6- The qualfication of a ruling in a specific noun, does not disaprove the qualification in question to exist elsewhere. [al-tanseesu la yadullu ala al-takhseesi]

7- A 'general ruling' [hukm aam] is not restricted to its cause [sabab], rather it is held general. [al-aamu la yukhassu bi sababihi]

8- A command [amr mutlaq] implies an emphatic demand and obligation [wujub], unless attended by circumstances and clues that suggest otherwise, such as permissibility [ibahah], recommendation [nudb] or threat [tahdeed], etc. [muwjabu al-amri al-ilzamu illa bi al-daleel]

9- Order [amr] of something heretofor prohibited implies obligation [wujub]. [al-amru ba'da al hazri li al-wujub]

Addition of the following is yet to be made:

1- Defining ijtihad, its scope, requisites of ijtihad and categories of mujtahids
2- The methodology in hadith
3- Ijma & qiyas
4- Secondary sources-Equity or 'Istihsan', custom or'urf/ta'amul', public interest or'masalah', presumption of continuity or 'istis'hab' and blocking the means or 'sadd al-zara'i'.

Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Subsequent articles on relegious sciences-A collection of Indispensible works for students of Knowledge

'Famous Jurists & their works', 'The value of Authentic hadith and a study of Legal Methodology', '10 reasons why there is dispute amongst the jurists', 'What do they say about the study of mantiq [logic]?', 'When can one follow another madhab?', 'Defining Usul al-Fiqh-Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence' and 'The tools of a mujtahid' are some of the issues i am currently working on as a spare-time pursuit.

In the commencing week, I will have finished an indispensible piece of work i am writing; a list of some of the great 'Hanafi Jurists and their works' which will be on this blog as soon as it is finished, God-willing.

'10 Reasons why their is dispute amongst the jurists' is a work i composed some months back for a discussion on Radio Takbeer. It is a short but replete study of why their are differences in the schools of fiqh. The work is primarily taken from Dr Mustafa Sa'eed al-Khann's Phd in the differences of the jurists (arabic).

The article on authentic hadith and Hanafi Legal methodology is a very important work that discusses the inner issues of why a mujtahid expertise may leave an authentic hadith. The work is primarily based on the famous idiom of Abu Hanifah, ' When the hadith is established, it is my madhab'. Moreover, the article itself is an exposition on an extraction from Imam Ahmad Ridha's famous epistle, 'The gifted excellence in explanation of the proverb, when the hadith is authentic it is my madhab' (arabic). Though its main theme is complete, it requires editing and a crystal finish. An incomplete version will be posted shortly.

'When can one follow another madhab?' is an article with over 15 examples from the branches of Hanafi fiqh [furu'] in which one may follow another madhab. Its fundamental purpurt is to outline the legal perspective of the subject in recourse. As of yet, this work is not on the blog

The following article, 'The tools of ijtihad; Methodology of infering details from the sources' concerns the discourse of of ijtihad and methods by which a mujtahid infers legal rulings from the fundamental sources, namely; Qur'an, Sunnah, Ijma' and Qiyas. The methodology in context is Hanafi orientated and is extracted from the classical works of the Hanafi Usul. This academic piece of work may take a few months before completion. Though not complete, it is posted on the blog.

'Defining usul al-fiqh- Principles of Islamic Juriprudence' another short work aimed to define usul al-fiqh and shed light on its contents. I have managed to get a fair bit done on it, but it requires editing and is still incomplete. This version is posted on the blog.

May Allah make these works a means of acheiving his eternal pleasure and beneficial for its readers and conveyers, Ameen.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Defining Islamic Economics

Islamic economics is economics in the political context of Islam. Because the Qur'an spoke against usury in the context of early Muslim society, it generally entails trying to remove or redefine interest rates from financial institutions. In doing so, Islamic economists hope to produce a more 'Islamic society'. However, liberal movements within Islam may deny the need for this field, since they generally see Islam as compatible with modern secular institutions and law.

For centuries Muslims have developed ways to integrate their religious beliefs with the external economic realities of the nations they live in. This has had varying degrees of compatibility with the empires and customs they encountered. Like most things in Islam, commerce adapts to al-urf, "the custom".

In the 1980s and 1990s Muslim bankers and religious leaders developed ways to integrate Islamic law on usage of money with modern concepts of investing and ethical investing. In parallel, a sophisticated economic discipline has emerged, almost an Islamic science, with its own categories, concepts, analytical tools and institutions. Some of these revived traditional micro-venture capital and ethical investing frameworks that thrived in medieval times. However, they incorporated many modern techniques and technologies. Some consider the emergence of these economic practices to be part of a revival of Islam and an Islamization of knowledge. Others see them simply as a practical and wise response to problems of global debt and debt slavery.

Islamic economic institutions, not just the Islamic bank but all those connected with Islamic banking, operate on the basis of zero interest. Most also advise participatory arrangements between capital and labor. Both of these rules reflect the Islamic norm that the borrower must not bear all the cost of a failure, as it is Allah who determines that failure, and intends that it fall on all those involved.

Conventional debt arrangements are thus usually unacceptable - but conventional venture investment structures are applied even on very small scales.

Definition of Islamic economics - wordIQ Dictionary & Encyclopedia

Islamic Commercial Law

The Islamic Texts Society

Islamic commercial law has often been singled out as the most important area of contemporary research in relevant Islamic studies and has, in terms of overall priority, been given an even higher rating than research in applied sciences and medicine. This is due to the critical importance of commercial transactions in the generation of wealth and the prospects of productivity in contemporary Muslim countries. New research on issues of the conventional law of commercial transactions (mu’amalat) is essential for the viability and success of economic development programmes in Muslim countries. In recent decades, research interest in the law of mu’amalat has increasingly focussed on specific themes and the development of new operative formulas to stimulate profitable business in the market-place. Futures trading is one such theme wherein original, independent juristic reasoning (ijtihad) is evidently required to enhance the prospects of economic success, especially in farming and agro-based industries, in developing Muslim countries.

Large-scale futures trading is a relatively new phenomenon which emerged in the early 1970s and has rapidly expanded ever since. New products and trading formulas in the various sectors of trading in commodities, options, financial futures and stock index futures, etc., have increased so much that futures contracts are currently available in over eighty commodities ranging from foodgrains, oil and oil seeds, sugar, coffee, livestock, eggs, orange juice, cotton, rubber, precious metals and currencies. In terms of trading volume, futures trading has far exceeded trading levels in conventional stocks, and it is currently the single most voluminous mode of commerce on the global scale.

Futures trading is economically beneficial because it facilitates better production planning in the agriculture and agro-based industries. In these sectors it is also utilised as a hedging device against violent movement in the price of commodities over a period of time which, in the case of agricultural produce, stretches over crop seasons, often from sowing to harvesting time. Futures trading is also used by food processors, merchants and manufacturers as a means of ensuring sales and purchases in advance, without them having to face the uncertainties of marketing at a later occasion, that is, after harvesting or production, as the case may be.

Furthermore, there is a manifest need for trading and investment vehicles in Muslim countries that could ensure that surplus funds are absorbed and utilised in local/regional markets. One of the most discouraging phenomena of recent decades, namely, that of a flow of surplus funds from the oil-rich countries of the Middle East to the West, is largely due to the absence of adequate investment facilities. In spite of recent developments that have already affected the financial situation of most Muslim/Arab oil-producing countries, such as the loss of revenues due to the decline in the price of oil and the enormous expense of the Gulf War on the countries of the Gulf, this flow of funds to the West continues to threaten the vitality and survival of Muslim economies. In a recent article in The Financial Times of London, Roula Khalaf wrote that ‘acceptance of Islamic banking is growing’, but that the Qur’anic prohibition against receiving or paying interest has meant that ‘about 75 per cent of Islamic banking funds are invested in short term commodity (futures) trades’. The same report estimated that ‘funds invested in an Islamic way in the Arab world may amount to $50 billion – much of it is used for commodity trades’. To give an indication of the place of investment and where the money goes, we further read that commodity trading is conducted ‘in return for a fee by a middleman—often a western bank, like Citybank—that arranges for a trader to buy goods on an Islamic bank’s behalf…and the western banks have always been happy to oblige’.

In view of this, and in the light of the Shari’ah principle of permissibility (ibahah) that renders all commercial transactions permissible in the absence of a clear prohibition, the verdicts of not only the Mecca-based Fiqh Academy but also of many Muslim scholars who have proscribed futures trading and declared it totally forbidden is a most discouraging form of imitation (taqlid). This body of opinion is mainly founded on the analysis that futures trading does not fulfil the requirements of the conventional Islamic law of sale—and turns a blind eye to the fact that futures trading is a new phenomenon which has no parallel in the conventional law of mu’amalat, and should therefore be governed by a different set of rules. This imitative approach also fails to relate the issues at hand to the normative guidance of the Qur’an and Sunnah which can support a different calibre research and an affirmative ruling on the subject. The title of Roula Khalaf’s article, ‘An Inherent Contradiction’, portrays the concern on the part of Islamic banks and investment institutions to observe the letter of the Qur’anic ruling on usury, but also underscores their failure to act for the benefit and prosperity of the Muslim masses. The nature of the problem must be that the Islamic legal advisors to these institutions have limited their understanding of the Qur’an to the literal meaning of the text alone, and have not applied any juristic insight or imagination to the task of alleviating the dismaying economic predicament faced by Muslims. In answer to the question of whether Islamic banks may invest in futures or not, Khalaf tells us that this ‘depends on the bank’s Sharia board, whose members are experts in the Koran but less so in the field of bank options ... It is up to each institution to say what is Islamic’. This is, of course, an expected result of what Khalaf called ‘the absence of a standard interpretation of the Sharia’ and if allowed to continue ‘will dampen further development of the industry’ as a whole and slow down efforts to enable financial institutions in the Muslim world to enhance and diversify their own resources.

This enquiry shall review the existing literature on the subject and then proceed to develop a fresh perspective on it. The central feature of this research will be to offer a different interpretation of the source materials of the Shari’ah as to how an issue of vital importance to the economic viability of the Muslim community should be tackled, namely, not through facile reliance on the negative positions of taqlid, but through bold yet upright approaches to research on issues of Islamic commercial law.

Muhammad Hashim Kamali

Mantiq [Logic]- The western approach to accurate arguments

'A Rulebook for Arguments'

This comprehensive books gives guidelines on how to articulate an accurate argument that is overall unbreakable and concinving. The author's unique method of approach to the subject proves to be an asset for anyone, in general, who wants to know 'how to think right' and put a strong argument forward, and for students, in particular.

For many centuries, scholars of the subcontinent have served the areas of philosophy and Logic in great deal. Students of the renowned Dars-e-Nizami Course, until know, are taught the art of debate, Logic and Philosophical doctrine that was transmitted by the prominent scholars of this domain in the early-mid century hijris after the demise of the Prophet (May Allah be pleased with him). Ghazali, Razi, Aristotle, Farabi, Ibn Sina and Taftazani are great names in this area. Books such as 'Qala aquwl', 'Isa Guwji', 'al-Mirqat', 'Tehdheeb', 'Sullam', 'Risalah Qutbiyah', 'Meer Qutbi', 'Mulla Hassan', 'Mantiq kubra', 'Sadrah', 'Hamdullah', 'Qadhi Mubarak', 'Umur-e-Aamah', 'Meibzi' and 'Risalah Rasheediyah' are popular names amongst the students of the traditional Dars-e-Nizami course. I, having studied some of these, for sometime was unclear about the usage and implemenation of these instructions in practical life. That was not the only problem. Usage of terminology and rendering the instructions into English was a negative facet to the whole story.

However, getting hold of books in English on the subject was very helpful, and i beleive it is more than imperative that western students of the sacred deen grab hold of texts that will help them use their classical methods of mantiq in a modern perspective. To name a few, 'Good Reasons for Better Arguments: Introduction to the Skills and Values of Critical Thinking' by Jerome E. Bickenbach and Jacqueline Davies, 'Argumentation: Understanding and Shaping Arguments' by James A. Herrick and Robert S. Iltis, and 'A rulebook for arguments' by Anthony weston.

How important is Mantiq?
More to come...