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There is no doubt that the Ijtihad and Qiyas of the Aimmah is something which is amply proven from the Quran and the Ahadith and has been fully agreed upon. However, for certain people to consider these important institutions as false and bid’ah is only the belief and behavior of people who support corrupt individuals such Ibn Taymiyah, Ibn Qayyim etc. In fact, these corrupt individuals have such certainty in lunatics like Ibn Taymiyah and Ibn Qayyim that you would think it is part of the Quran. In fact, some of them have actually refuted clear and apparent laws of the Quran in preference to the opinion of Ibn Taymiyah and Ibn Qayyim. They are also people who have no shame and continue to try and corrupt the innocent Muslims who may not have much knowledge of Islam. Their purpose is to confuse the innocent Sunni Muslims by claiming that the opinions and statements of the Aimmah Mujtahideen and their Ijtihad is false, it is bid’ah and has no proper basis. They also claim to the innocent Sunni Muslims that this is not permitted in the Quran, the sunnah and is certainly not found in the time of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – or in the time of the Ashaab.
However, our purpose in this article is to prove to the innocent Sunni Muslims who possess the correct Aqeedah that even in the time of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – certain Ashaab did practice on Ijithad and were permitted to do so. They also certainly performed Ijtihad and the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – did not display unhappiness in this action but actually encouraged them further and if there was a mistake committed, he also corrected them but he never restricted Ijtihad.
There is a common misconception that Ijtihad and Qiyas is something which occurred after the era of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him. They believe that the reason that Ijtihad and Qiyas was not in existence in that period is because the Quran was still being revealed and the blessed Ashaab could find any answers to their questions and queries and they could immediately verify it. There is also no doubt that the need for Ijtihad though was official after the era of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him.
In other words, they created such rules and performed such Ijithad which made later Muslims free of trying to analyses certain issues. However, to think that Ijithad was not performed in the time of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – or to think that there was no need for this, is certainly an opinion which has no basis. Yes, at the same time, it must be understood that the basis and foundation is certainly the Quran and Ahadith and this is the precondition for Qiyas and Ijtihad. In the book, Musallam al-Thaboot, it is mentioned, “In other words, it is necessary to understand the words of the Quran, its proper meaning and command and in the same manner, it is necessary to understand the words of the Hadith, its meaning, its various sanads and these are some of the requirement for a Mujtahid. The reason for this is so that the decision of a Mujtahid does not oppose any specific command. Therefore, during the era of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – there was no need for Ijtihad because the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – was himself present and this was a source of Nass. Hence, if one had to choose any opinion contrary to his, then it would have created discord.”
After understanding this, another important point which should be understood that the Ijithad would have only been considered anything otherwise if there was a mistake found in this decision. However, if the Ashaab lived very far away from Madina shareef, then certainly, they had to act on certain Qiyas and Ijtihad and even if they made a mistake, this would not have harmed them. At the same time, it must also be understood that some of the blessed Ashaab were already well learned in Islamic law to be able to apply their own Ijitihad. This is certainly seen in blessed individuals such as Hadrat Sayyiduna Mu’az bin Jabal, Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Moosa Ash’ari, Hadrat Sayyiduna Amr bin Al Aas – May Allah have mercy on them.
(Al Usul Sarkhasi. 2/130)
Ijtihad of the blessed Ashaab
According to our knowledge, the education of the blessed Ashaab in regard to Ijtihad was divided into three segments or faculties. They were:
- Mutual consultation or Jurisprudential forum
- Ijithad in times of absolute necessity
- Being able to analyse and dissect certain specific commands and laws
- Mutual consultation or Jurisprudential forum. There were certain eminent companions who used to discuss certain issues among themselves under the guidance of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him.
The Holy Quran has also encouraged the mutual consultation n Surah Ale Imran, verse 159 as follows:
فَبِمَا رَحْمَۃٍ مِّنَ اللہِ لِنۡتَ لَہُمْ ۚ وَلَوْ کُنۡتَ فَظًّا غَلِیۡظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانۡفَضُّوۡا مِنْ حَوْلِکَ ۪ فَاعْفُ عَنْہُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَہُمْ وَشَاوِرْہُمْ فِی الۡاَمْرِ ۚ فَاِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَکَّلْ عَلَی اللہِ ؕ اِنَّ اللہَ یُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَکِّلِیۡنَ ﴿۱۵۹﴾
Then, it is of the mercy of Allah that O beloved! You became gentle for them and if you had been hot headed, hard hearted, then they certainly would have dispersed from your circle, so pardon them and intercede for them and consult them in the affairs; and when you have made up your mind for any thing, then put your trust in Allah. Undoubtedly the trustful are dear to Allah.
In other words, this proves that during this mutual consultation, the blessed Ashaab were allowed to present their thoughts, ideas and opinions. This is also a fact that perchance one of their opinions were accepted but it did not mean that the opinions of the others were considered as incorrect or false. If we look at the battle of Badr, we see an example of this. When the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – asked Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Hadrat Sayyiduna Umar – May Allah have mercy on them – what should be done with the prisoners. Remember, he was now asking for an opinion!
Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr – May Allah have mercy on him – replied that this was the nation of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – and therefore his opinion was that they be allowed to give Fidyah and then be released. In this manner, the power of Islam would also increase and perchance, they may also accept Islam. When Hadrat Sayyiduna Umar – May Allah have mercy on him – was asked his opinion, he replied, “I swear by Allah azza wa jall that my opinion is not the same as the opinion of Abu Bakr, O Prophet of Allah azza wa jall! These people are the leaders of the disbelievers and their patrons. It is my opinion that they should be turned over to us. Ali should behead Aqeel and a certain family of mine should be given to me and I will behead him.” However, the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – preferred the opinion of Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr – May Allah have mercy on him. In other words, they be allowed to give fidya and free themselves. However, we see that when the fidyah was given, then the 67th verse of Surah Anfal was revealed which is:
مَا کَانَ لِنَبِیٍّ اَنۡ یَّکُوۡنَ لَہٗۤ اَسْرٰی حَتّٰی یُثْخِنَ فِی الۡاَرْضِ ؕ تُرِیۡدُوۡنَ عَرَضَ الدُّنْیَا ٭ۖ وَاللہُ یُرِیۡدُ الۡاٰخِرَۃَ ؕ وَاللہُ عَزِیۡزٌ حَکِیۡمٌ ﴿۶۷﴾
It is not befitting to any Prophet that he should make captive to infidels, until he has immensely shed their blood in the land. You desire the goods of the world; and Allah desires the Here after. And Allah is Dominant, Wise.
In the same manner, Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar – May Allah have mercy on him – narrates that when the Muslims arrived in Madina shareef, the Muslims used to gather for Salah as per their discretion. In other words, there was no announcement made. One day there was a mutual consultation and various ideas of calling for congregation were presented; such as bells, drums etc. However, Hadrat Sayyiduna Umar – May Allah have mercy on him – suggested that there be a caller that would call people to Salah and this was agreed upon by the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him. The Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – then instructed Hadrat Sayyiduna Bilal – May Allah have mercy on him – to call people for Salah.
(Bukhari shareef. 1/85. Muslim shareef. 1/164)
During this occasion, the Ijtihad of Hadrat Sayyiduna Umar – May Allah have mercy on him – is clearly evident and it was his opinion which was accepted.
Ijtihad in times of necessity
There were also times when the Ashaab were on journeys and the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – was not presenct among them, and thus, they were forced to make Ijtihad on their own, as they were not near the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – so they could ask a certain question on a certain issue. At this time the Ashaab were also clearly permitted to make Ijtihad. When we look at the incident of Hadrat Sayyiduna Mu’az bin Jabal – May Allah have mercy on him – this also becomes clear. We will now look at a few examples when the Ashaab were forced to make Ijtihad on their own.
- Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar – May Allah have mercy on him – narrates that on the day of the battle of Ahzaab, the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – declared, “No one should perform their Asr except in (the valley of) Bani Quraydah. While they were on the journey, the time of Asr arrived, some among them said that they would perform the Asr Salah at this place and some others mentioned that they would perform their Asr Salah when they reach Bani Quraydah. Some among them felt that the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – did not mean that if the time of Asr arrived before that, they should not read their Salah. When this news reached the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him, he did not say anything or rebuke anyone.”
(Bukhari shareef. 2/591. Kitaabul Maghaazi)
Those companions who did not read their Salah while on the journey, felt that the prohibition was concrete in its meaning and therefore, there would be no harm even if the time elapses. In other words, they were divided into two in order to perform their Salah. The first was a warning that the Asr would be read when they were in the valley of Bani Quraydah and the second warning was the issue of time having elapsed. In other words, they felt that there was a specific time. As for those Ashaab who performed their Asr Salah while on the journey during the time of Asr, they were of the opinion that this warning was not based on strict prohibition but a mere indication.
Hence, they felt that if the time appeared for Asr Salah, it should be performed. At the same time, when the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – was informed about this, again, the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – did not rebuke anyone. From this, we come to understand that there is no sin upon a Mujtahid whether he is correct on incorrect in his opinion and decision. By virtue of the fact that he did not refute any of the two groups clearly proves that it is Waajib for a Mujtahid to practice on his opinion. Even though at times, there is a possibility of him having made a mistake. Also, bear in mind that in both of these groups, both of them could not have been correct in their decision. One might have erred. However, since this was specific to a certain time and occasion that specific time and occasion had elapsed, therefore the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – did not feel it necessary to reveal their error in Ijtihad. Therefore, the question also does not arise as to why the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – did not mention anything. Again, it was because the time had already elapsed.
- Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Saeed Khudri May Allah have mercy on him narrates there were two people who were on a journey. The time for Salah had arrived and they did not have any water. They then made Tayyammum with clean sand and performed their Salah. However, water suddenly appeared at that moment. One of them then made Wudu and re-performed his Salah and the other did not repeat his Salah. They then appeared in the blessed court of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – and mentioned what had happened. To that person who did not make Wudu and did not repeat the Salah, he mentioned, “You have attained the Sunnah and your Salah was correct.” As for that person who had made the Wudu and re-read his Salah, he mentioned, “You have attained double reward”.
The first person who did not make Wudu in spite of the fact that water had become available, he had practised on the law that Tayyummum was specific and there was no condition attached to it; whether one finds water or not. The other companion felt that this law was only applicable for the situation when the time of Salah appeared and if within that time period, water is found and the time of Salah is still valid, then it is more preferred that one makes Wudu and repeats the Salah. The Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – made it clear that both of them had acquired reward even though both had practised on their Ijtihad. From this we come to know that when a Mujtahid does not find evidence, then he would practise on the best option he feels correct. However, if he practises in a more cautious manner, then he would be entitled for two rewards. Both of these actions would then be acted upon using the intention.
- Hadrat Sayyiduna Ammar bin Yaasir – May Allah have mercy on him – states that once a person appeared in front of Hadrat Sayyiduna Umar – May Allah have mercy on him – and stated, ‘If I do not find water while I am in need of a bath, then what should I do?’ At that moment, I mentioned to Hadrat Sayyiduna Umar – May Allah have mercy on him, “O Ameerul Mo’mineen! both of us where on a journey and we needed to bath and you did not read the Salah but I continued to roll on the sand and then performed my Salah, and I had mentioned this to the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – and he stated, ‘This is sufficient for you and he slapped his hands on the ground, then blew on it and then passed this over his hand and face.’”
(Bukhari. 1/48. Muslim. 1/161. Abu Daud. 1/53. Tahaawi.1/72)
From this hadith shareef, it becomes clear that during the blessed era of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – the blessed Ashaab did practise upon Ijtihad and Qiyas. The opinion of Hadrat Sayyiduna Umar – May Allah have mercy on him – was that Tayammum was only a substitute for Wudu and not for when one required to have a bath. Hadrat Sayyiduna Ammar bin Yaasir – May Allah have mercy on him – was of the opinion and made Qiyas that Tayammum was a replacement for Wudu and therefore this was also applicable for when one needed a bath. In other words, the act of placing sand all over the body would be a substitute for water, hence he placed sand all over his body. However, the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – did not admonish him. This again proves that if the decision of a Mujtahid is incorrect, he will not be condemned and he also does not have to repeat his action.
(Fathul Bari. 1/33. Ash’atul Lam’aat. 1/263)
In the Sharah of the above Hadith shareef, Imam Asqalani – May Allah have mercy on him – explains that “Even in the era of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – there are instances of Ashaab practicing Ijtihad.”
(Fathul Bari. 1/303)
Changes to Shariah laws
The definition of Ijtihad is, “It is for a jurist to make immense effort in the interpretable command to acquire a command or verdict. This is called Ijtihad”.
(Musallamuth Thabut ma’a Fawaatihur Rahamut 603)
From this definition, we also come to understand that Ijtihad would include the interpretation and implication of certain Quranic verses as well.
We will now have to see whether this actually took place in the blessed era of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – or not. It must be borne in mind that even though they had the opportunity of inquiring about its implication and interpretation, still, there are examples to be found in this regard. One of the reasons is because they were also warned about asking questions in excess. In Surah Ma’idah, verse 101, a dire warning is given in this regard. The Quran states:
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَسْـَٔلُوۡا عَنْ اَشْیَآءَ اِنۡ تُبْدَ لَکُمْ تَسُؤْکُمْ ۚ وَ اِنۡ تَسْـَٔلُوۡا عَنْہَا حِیۡنَ یُنَزَّلُ الْقُرْاٰنُ تُبْدَلَکُمْ ؕ عَفَا اللہُ عَنْہَا ؕ وَاللہُ غَفُوۡرٌ حَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۰۱﴾
O believers! ask not such things which if disclosed to you, may displease you; and if you will ask while the Quran is descending then they would be disclosed to you. Allah has already pardoned them. And Allah is Forgiving, Forbearing.
Because of this warning, these blessed souls used to make Ijtihad, and at the same time, one of the objectives was for them to become proficient in this field as well. In other words, they were receiving a very important lesson and education as we will see later on in this article. Some of these Ijtihad decisions were corrected by the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – and some of them were commended. Some of them were left in that state and therefore, this came into the category of those actions which were rewarded.
We will present a few examples in this regard from the blessed Ashaab and through this, we will also come to realise whose interpretations or Ijtihad were considered as decisions which attained reward and which were considered as mistakes.
- Hadrat Sayyiduna Amar bin Al Aas – May Allah have mercy on him – narrates that during the battle of Zaat Salaasil in one very cold night, it became necessary for me to have a bath. I also had the fear that if I perform the Ghusl then I might die (with the cold). I then made Tayammum and performed the Salah with my friends”. (In other words, he was the Imam)
This was also brought to the attention of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him. The Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – then asked, “O Amar! You had performed the Jamaat with your friends in this state of impurity?” I then mentioned the reason why I did not make the Ghusl. I also mentioned that the Almighty azza wa jall had also declared:
وَلَا تَقْتُلُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَکُمْ ؕ اِنَّ اللہَ کَانَ بِکُمْ رَحِیۡمًا ﴿۲۹﴾
“And kill not yourselves. Undoubtedly, Allah is Merciful to you.”
(Nisaa 4, Verse 29)
The Holy Prophet peace be upon him then smiled and did not say anything.
(Abu Daud. 1/56)
In other words, he had taken the command to make Tayyummum in its common sense and the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – did not reject his Ijtihad but smiled and this clearly proves the Ijtihad of the blessed companions. This also proves that Ijtihad did in fact take place during the blessed era of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him. In the Sharah of this Hadith shareef, Imam ibn Hajr Asqalani – May Allah have mercy on him – explains, “This proves that during the era of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – Ijtihad was permissible.”
- Hadrat Sayyiduna Jabir May Allah have mercy on him narrates that, “We were once on a journey and one of (our companions) was severely hurt by a rock and he injured his head. At the same time, he was also in need of a bath. He then asked his companions whether they give him permission to make Tayammum. They said to him that they did not see the permissibility of him making Tayammum when he had water available. He then made Ghusl with water and passed away.” When we returned to the court of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him, we informed him about what had happened, “May Allah destroy them. They have killed him. When they did not know, why did they not ask. The remedy for not knowing is to inquire. Tayammum was sufficient for him. He should have placed a cloth over his wound and merely passed his hands over it and could have washed the balance of his body.”
(Abu Daud. 1/56)
As for those people who commanded this person to make Ghusl they mentioned the verse in Surah Nisa, 43 which is:
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَقْرَبُوا الصَّلٰوۃَ وَاَنۡتُمْ سُکَارٰی حَتّٰی تَعْلَمُوۡا مَا تَقُوۡلُوۡنَ وَلَا جُنُبًا اِلَّا عَابِرِیۡ سَبِیۡلٍ حَتّٰی تَغْتَسِلُوۡا ؕ وَ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ مَّرْضٰۤی اَوْ عَلٰی سَفَرٍ اَوْ جَآءَ اَحَدٌ مِّنۡکُمۡ مِّنَ الْغَآئِطِ اَوْ لٰمَسْتُمُ النِّسَآءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوۡا مَآءً فَتَیَمَّمُوۡا صَعِیۡدًا طَیِّبًا فَامْسَحُوۡا بِوُجُوۡہِکُمْ وَاَیۡدِیۡکُمْ ؕ اِنَّ اللہَ کَانَ عَفُوًّا غَفُوۡرًا ﴿۴۳﴾
‘O believers! approach not prayer while you are intoxicated, until you have so much sense that what you say, you understand, nor when you are unclean without taking a bath except when you are travelling; and if you are ailing, or on a journey, or any one of you comes from privy, or you have touched women and you do not find water, then take some pure earth and wipe there with your faces and your hands. Undoubtedly, Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving.
in its literal sense. In other words, Tayammum was only allowed when there is no water available and this was its condition and for as long as there was water available, there was no permission to make Tayyammum. If we look at the above verse also, we will find that the words are, “If you do not find water”. We see that the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – refuted this interpretation clearly indicating that Tayyammum was not only applicable if there was no water found, but also, if there was water but there was danger in using it because one could harm oneself or one could become very ill, then in this instance, one was allowed to make the Tayyamum. This was clearly understood by Hadrat Sayyiduna Amar bin Aas – May Allah have mercy on him – and we saw that the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – accepted his Ijithad.
There are many examples of this which can be found in numerous books. We will present two more Ahadith in this regard of how Ijtihad was used in determining a certain Shariah law.
- Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Abbas – May Allah have mercy on him – narrates that a female once appeared in the blessed court of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – and asked, “My mother had taken a vow to perform Hajj, but she could not perform the Hajj and she has passed away. Can I perform the Hajj on her behalf?” The Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – replied, “You may perform the Hajj on her behalf. Tell me, if there was a debt on your mother, would you repay this debt? Therefore, fulfil the duty to Allah azza wa jall and fulfilling this right on others is clearly apparent.”
(Bukhari shareef. 1/250)
The Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – have an example of how Hajj Badal becomes Waajib on someone else. In other words, as one deed or act is necessary upon someone, in like manner, it would be necessary for his substitute to fulfil this responsibility.
The story of Hadrat Sayyiduna Umar May Allah have mercy on him kissing his wife while he was fasting has also been presented. As we saw, the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him – did not command him to have a bath. In other words, he used this example and the example of someone gargling their mouth while fasting. As gargling the mouth would not break the fast as long as water does not enter the stomach, in like manner, kissing one’s wife would not break the fast. There are in fact many examples of new incidents and occasions which were presented to the blessed Ashaab and they were given an opportunity of using their Ijtihad and Qiyas so that this could also become a lesson to others on how to handle certain issues. If this was not the case then the doors of Ijtihad would have remained ceased and this would have certainly created major problems for future generations. The examples presented above gives us clear proof and evidence that Ijtihad was certainly practised in the blessed era of the Holy Prophet – peace be upon him. This became a set of rules which also guided future generations of Muslims on how to tackle arising issues they are faced with.