Rule of rituals (ibadat) is invalidity, till an evidence be established to confirm their veracity. And rule of muâ€™amalat and contracts is veracity, till a proof be presented showing their invalidity, and prohibition (tahrim).
The difference between these two, being that Allah, the Glorified, cannot be worshipped but only through what He decreed and legislated by means of His apostles (with their tongues), as worship is only His obligation upon His bondmen, and His right that He Himself has warranted, legislated and been pleased with.
Concerning the contracts, provisions (shurut) and transactions, they are valid till introducing an evidence proving their invalidity. So Allah â€“ Subhanahu â€“ has forbidden the polytheists (mushrikun) from contradicting these two principles, which is prohibiting what He hasnâ€™t prohibited, and seeking His pleasure through what He has not decreed. Because the halal being verily that which Allah regarded lawful, and the haram (unlawful) being that which He has prohibited, and whatever He left (with no express hukm) being â€˜afw.
There may be a narrator deemed thiqah by Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi, and suspected (majruh) in view of Yahya ibn Saâ€™id al-Qattan, or vice versa. And these two were leaders (imams) and pivot of criticism in naql (transmission), and upon them depend most of the traditions.
Whatever was of decisive indication in the texts, is the general sharâ€™, that should be followed and adopted in acts and adjudication. Whereas that which was conjectural denotation, is in fact entrusted to the exertion of opinion (ijtihad) by some individuals in regard of acts of worship and prohibited acts (muharramat), and to the ulu al-amr (authorities) in the adjudication rules.
The rule whose indication on tahrim (prohibition) being conjectural (zanni) not definite, can never be considered a universal law for which all the Ummah being answerable and asked to follow. But each one can apply it according to his ijtihad, and whoever conceiving of its indication to prohibiting anything, would abstain from it, while that who couldnâ€™t comprehend that, he would follow the rule of ibahah (permission).
In Maâ€™alam usul al-Din, al-Fakhr al-Razi writes: The naqli (traditional) evidences can never indicate certainty (yaqin).
Aâ€™ishah used to refute and disapprove every hadith contrary to the Qurâ€™an, holding the narration of the truthful with mistakenly hearing or misunderstanding.
Al-Sayyid Rashid Rida says: I never believe in veracity of the sanad of any hadith or utterance of any Companion contradicting the exterior of the Qurâ€™an, even if his rijal be authenticated. As there may be a narrator that is deemed thiqah out of being deceived by his outward complexion, while he being of bad inward. He added: Had the narrations been criticized in respect of import of their texts, as they are criticized with regard to their sanad, the texts would have judged many of the asanid with incongruity. We can say for certain that we have forgotten and lost a large number of the Prophetâ€™s traditions, due to the fact that the Sahabah ulamaâ€™ have not committed to writing whatever they heard (of traditions). But these (lost) traditions do not include those ones exposing and explaining the Qurâ€™an, or any of the issues related to the Din as they are recognized from the Qurâ€™an, and manifested in the practical Sunnah. Whatever is other than the traditions can only increase in the guidance and manifestation.783
1. The people were not charged with what is correct near God, as that cannot be done on His part and He never tasks or imposes what cannot be endured, but they were tasked with what they thought to be right. The Usulis defined ijtihad as the faqihâ€™s doing his best and exerting what he possesses of power on a conjectural acquisition with a legal hukm. Their expression: conjectural acquisition with a legal hukm, â€œsince the definite ahkam of religion can never be subject to ijtihad whatsoever.â€
2. Among the rules widely known among them is that their supposing the veracity of the khabar does not necessitate its veracity in reality.
Following are some of the established Shariâ€™ah rules, and their definite principles:
â€“ The rules of relieving of the haraj (interdiction) and distress and confirming and preponderating of easiness.
â€“ The rule that the origin being innocence of guilt.
â€“ The rule that primarily all the evils and adversities are prohibited, and for all dainties the rule is permission.
â€“ The rule that necessity knows no law.
â€“ The rule that neither detriment nor adversity784 (la darar wa la dirar).
Al-Imam Abu Hanifah says: â€œMy opposition to every man relating from the Prophet anything disagreeing with the Qurâ€™an, is not to be taken as a refutation or negation to the Prophetâ€™s speech, but it is a refutation to that who falsely reporting from him, and he will be charged with the offence not the Prophet. And we respect the Prophet, and believe in whatever he said and uttered, witnessing that it is actually as said by him. We also witness and admit that he has never commanded to do anything contrary to Godâ€™s commands, nor innovated or claimed other than what Allah said, nor has he been among the feigning forgers (mutakallifun).â€ (P. 99, of Manaqib Abi Hanifah).
Al-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal is reported to have said: Be careful in taking the rules of your Din, as imitating other than the maâ€™sum (infallible) is an abominable act, causing blindness for insight and perception.785
At this point I will put aside my pen and stop writing, after presenting an effort and research which Allah succoured and helped me to do, having recourse to Allah to bringing it out for all people, in a sincere way supported by the most established proofs and strongest asanid. Pleasing God was my aim from the work on which I spent long years going through hundreds of references, and exerting that effort in selecting from them that which fits my book. The hardship I faced in preparing its material, and arranging its chapters, specially because this compilation which had neither example in the past to follow, nor a way, paved for us by someone of those who went before us, so that to tread and proceed on. And as is said, classifying and arranging any book is the most important step on the way of compiling it.
If my this work can gain the pleasure and approval of the enlightened and educated intellectuals, this being in fact what I look forward, and it is sufficient for me. But if some people be annoyed and wearied of it (the book), this would be of no concern on my part and of no importance, as such people can never be of any peril against us, or taken into consideration on our part.
Through the work I produced, I wish I had managed â€“ as I said before â€“ to reflect and manifest honestly all the traditions reported from the Messenger of Allah, showing them (to readers) as they are in reality. Also I hope that I could give those who seeking to be guided to the roots of these narrations, a luminous light, divulging what is true and what is false among them.
And as long as my work is dedicated purely for the sake of God, so I seek no recompense for it, nor expecting any praise or flattery from anyone. As He, Subhanahu, is alone sufficient for us, and Most Excellent is He in Whom we trust, in Whose hand being the good… He guides to the straight path whoever He wishes, recompensing him of His county abundant reward. And all praise belongs to Allah, in the beginning and the end. And we seek from Him permanence of success…He is Hearer and He is Responsive.
783. Tafsir al-Qur’an al-hakim, of al-Imam Muhammad Abduh and al-Sayyid Rashid Rida, vol.VI, p.288.
784. In his exposition of this hadith al-Imam al-Thukhi said: In the transactions the convenience is given priority over nass (text) and ijma’ (unanimity).
785. Al-Islam al-sahih, p.297.
Adapted from: “Lights on the Muhammadan Sunnah” by: “Mahmud Ali Riyyah”