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The Fuqaha, Fiqah and Tasawwuf

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Imam Abu Haneefah’s insight is remarkable. Consider the view of Imam Abu Haneefah that it is not permissible for a waaiz (public-speaker) or anyone else to break musical instruments otherwise compensation will be liable. This is the prerogative of the ruler. He can investigate and break these instruments. He can mete out appropriate punishment for the use of such haraam items.

Consider how much peace there is in this ruling. Such forceful action taken by any one besides the ruler does not stop the actions of the guilty party; it only serves to inflame the situation and cause strife. The resultant friction and anarchy have wide-reaching consequences. Similarly, enacting penal punishments is the exclusive right of the Sultaan.

Fiqah is a difficult subject. The Faqeeh should be an all-rounder.

He should be a mufassir, muhaddith, faqeeh and mutakallim. (In other words, he should be a specialist in the fields of Tafseer, Hadeeth, Fiqah and Ilmul Kalaam which is the science of Islamic Scholasticism.) He should have an understanding of politics. In fact, there is a need for being aware of Tibb here and there. Even awareness of physiology is required for certain issues.



Fiqah is not an easy subject, yet in some quarters the gratitude shown to the Fuqaha is by reviling them. These revilers are extreme anarchists. They wilfully cause anarchy and fuel fires of trouble.

The ghair muqallids (those who make taqleed of their nafs instead of Taqleed of the Aimmah Mujtahideen) frequently call themselves ‘Ahlul Hadeeth’ whereas they have no clue what is Hadeeth. They only confine themselves to words. What is to be understood by the Hadeeth, alluded to in the narration: “Whoever Allah wishes well for (khair), He makes that person a Faqeeh of the Deen,” that is something else. If it was only a matter of understanding words, the kuffaar of Makkah understood the words and thus they would have been Faqeeh and among the Ahlul Khair.

Being a Faqeeh in Deen is to have acumen in the Deen together with the understanding of words of the Qur’aan and Hadeeth. Such persons are found in abundance among the Hanafiyyah.

Hazrat Haji Imdaadullah Saheb was a Shaikh of Tasawwuf. He wasn’t a complete textual Aalim but listen to his philosophy of the truth. A person from Bhopal came for Haj. He became bai’t to Haji Saheb. This person was accompanied by another person also from Bhopal who was an extreme ghair muqallid and who took his companion also to be a ghair muqallid. By his companion being accepted into bai’t the ghair muqallid assumed that there were no restrictions on ghair muqallideen being taking into bai’t by Haji Saheb and he therefore requested via his companion for bai’t stipulating however that he will remain ghair muqallid.

Hazrat accepted the condition. He then came personally and asked. Hazrat replied that there was no problem and he was accepted into bai’t. Allah Ta’ala alone knows what effect this bai’t had upon him that the first Namaaz thereafter he did not say Aameen aloud and nor did he make Rafa’ Yadain (raise his hands before and after Ruku’). Hazrat came to know of this. Hazrat was startled. Hazrat called him and said: “If your findings have changed then, fine. But if it is for my sake that you did so then I do not wish to bear the consequences of you forsaking the Sunnah.” Just consider this philosophy of the truth.

Our august elders and in particular Hazrat Haji Saheb were obsessed with the Sunnah. Isn’t it then absolute zulm (injustice) to brand such personages of being muta’assib (bigoted)? Yes, they were mutasallib (rigid), not muta’assib. Tasallub is one thing and ta’assub is something else. Mutasallib Fid Deen is he who is rigid in the Deen whilst a mut’assib is he who clings to wrong intransigently.

Imam Shaafi’ (Rahmatullahi alaih) says: “I desired Jannat when I learnt that it is the meeting place of friends.” This was a Faqeeh and a Soofi. Now people have distorted the meaning of Fiqah and Tasawwuf. They have declared the two to be opposites, whereas there is nothing contradictory between the two. Tasawwuf means: to build oneself externally and internally; externally with A’maal and internally with Akhlaaq.

Imam Abu Haneefah (Rahmatullahi alaih) has defined Fiqah as: “Understanding what is beneficial for one and what is harmful.” This definition is wide-ranging and covers external acts and internal traits. Thus, how can Tasawwuf and Fiqah be opposites?

Muslims of former times were endowed equally with Fiqah and Tasawwuf. This curse has spread only in these times where both are considered to be separate and the two have been corrupted, whereas both are harmonious.

Shah Waliyyullah (Rahmatullahi alaih) writes that one should keep the company of a person who is a muhaddith, a faqeeh and also a soofi. Equilibrium is in this. He stated this in Qaulul Jameel. The family of Shah Abdul Azeez Saheb, Masha-Allah, were paragons of this comprehensiveness. Among them was Shah Isma’eel Shaheed Saheb.

Some people think Shah Isma’eel Saheb was a ghair muqallid. This is absolutely false. An Ustaad of mine used to say that he met a person who was in the army of Hazrat Sayyid Saheb and asked him whether Moulana Isma’eel Saheb was a ghair muqallid. He replied: “I don’t know, but what I can tell you is that in the army of Sayyid Saheb it was common word that ghair muqallids are Little Raafzis (Shiahs).” From this you can judge whether there was any ghair muqallid in that army.

Once, someone asked Moulana Shaheed Saheb a mas-alah. Moulana replied that according to Imam Abu Haneefah the ruling was this… The person posing the question said: “Tell me what is your view?” Moulana responded: “What can I say in front of Imam Saheb?”

(Extracts from Adabul I’laam and Adabul I’tidaal of Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Quddisa Sirruhu)
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