The Objectives of the Revealed Law (Maqāṣid Ash-Sharīʿah)

The Objectives of the Revealed Law (Maqāṣid Ash-Sharīʿah)

A Brief Introduction

In the Name of Allah, The All Merciful, The Most Merciful

In the Arabic language, the word maqāṣid comes from the word maqṣid or maqṣūd. The maqṣid is the place that it is intended while the maqṣūd is the objective that is intended. In the terminology of Uṣūl Al-Fiqh, the maqāṣid are the objectives and wisdoms that the Lawgiver has laid down for every ruling of the Revealed Law, realising advantages for His slaves in the life of this world and the Hereafter by bringing about that which benefits them and warding off that which harms them. 

The foundational purpose behind the legislations of Islām is consideration for the benefits of Allah’s slaves in terms of their Dīn as well as the life of this world in that which facilitates their task as vicegerents and enables them to inhabit and develop the earth.

Whenever Allah’s slaves seek benefit there is the risk of them moving away from the truth, due to those benefits mixing with harms, or going beyond moderation and balance and falling into neglect or excess, or the risk of following vain desires by giving precedence to worldly matters over matters of the Hereafter, or bringing something forward that should be delayed and delaying something that should be brought forward, or these benefits are subjected to opinions and vain desires…The Wise Lawgiver has laid down the foundations for procuring benefits and their limits by way of clarifying the general and comprehensive objectives of legislation, then ordering what branches out from these objectives in a precise manner such that no scope is left for vain desires to intervene or interfere and thus become the arbiter therein. Indeed, everything that brings about an objective of the Revealed Law is a sought-after benefit, and everything that contravenes the objective of the Lawgiver is a harm that must be averted and the means to it must be blocked.

The Lawgiver’s general objective behind legislating rulings:
Indeed whoever examines the rulings of the Revealed Law and follows their development will find that legal responsibility (at-taklīf) is entirely about averting harm and bringing about benefit, and thus the rulings of the Revealed Law have only been established out of consideration for the benefits of Allah’s slaves and realising the utmost goodness for them in the life of this world and the Hereafter, or both of them together.

The reasoning behind The Lawgiver’s rulings and legislations is shown in the Noble Qurʾān and the Prophetic Sunnah; benefits for the slave in this world and in the Hereafter. This is what affirms His intention towards realising the welfare of His slaves and their success in both worlds. The Lawgiver’s consideration for the benefits of His slaves is not restricted to the scope of customs, transactions and punitive measures. Rather, they also include acts of worship that are considered to be the prime objective of worship…because Allah the Exalted has no need of His creation. Their obedience does not benefit him and their disobedience does not harm him. Rather, the objective of their worship is to return the benefit therein to them. Allah the Exalted has said, concluding the āya on wuḍūʾ (ablution): “Allah does not want to make things difficult for you, but He does want to purify you and to perfect His blessings upon you so that hopefully you will be thankful.” [Al-Māʾidah 5:6] Thus, Allah, Mighty and Majestic, has explained the objective behind legislating wuḍūʾ, which is purification from dirt, uncleanliness and sins. Likewise, He the Exalted explained the objective behind legislating the prayer in His statement: “The prayer precludes indecency and wronging.” [Al-ʿAnkabūt 29:45] The one who performs the prayer properly will be protected from committing blameworthy statements and actions. He the Exalted explained the objective behind legislating zakāt in His statement: “Take zakāt from their wealth to purify and cleanse them.” [At-Tawba 9:103] Thus, He has clarified that the objective behind legislating zakāt is to purify the wealthy from all forms of uncleanliness, material and spiritual.

The āyāt that show that the objectives of the Lawgiver are consideration for the benefit of His slaves, in their transactions, customs and punitive measures, include His, The Exalted’s, statement: “Among His Signs is that He created spouses for you of your own kind so that you might find tranquility in them. And He has placed affection and compassion between you.” [Ar-Rūm 30:21] Thus, the objective behind legislating marriage is tranquility, affection and compassion between the two spouses. The objective behind prohibiting intoxicants is in His, The Exalted’s, statement:“You who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, stone altars and divining arrows are filth from the handiwork of Shayṭān. Avoid them completely so that hopefully you will be successful.” [Al-Māʾidah 5:90] These things are filth. The objective behind legislating retaliation (al-qaṣāṣ) is in His, The Exalted’s, statement: “There is life for you in retaliation, O people of intelligence, so that hopefully you will have fear of Allah.” [Al-Baqara 2:179] i.e. preventing criminals from transgressing against life. From these āyāt it is clear that the Lawgiver’s general objective behind legislating rulings is consideration for the benefit of His slaves in both worlds, and it is the general objective behind all of legal responsibility and all states. The scholars have divided these benefits into three degrees: indispensible benefits (maṣāliḥ ḍarūriyyah), necessary benefits (maṣāliḥ ḥājiyyah) and refining benefits (maṣāliḥ taḥsīniyyah), and each of these degrees has that which perfects it (mukammilāt).

The objective behind maintaining these benefits is represented in preserving the five comprehensives (al-kulliyāt al-khams): Ad-Dīn (the religion), an-nafs (life), al-ʿaql (intellect), an-nasl (lineage), and al-māl (wealth and property). Therefore, preserving the foundations of these comprehensives is considered part of the indispensible benefits, while preserving other than them is considered part of the necessary or refining benefits.

Preserving the foundation of the Dīn requires faith in the pillars of the creed and establishing its acts of worship, such as the prayer, zakāt, fasting and the Ḥajj. The demand for these to be carried out is from the indispensible benefits, because the foundation of the Dīn cannot be established without them. As for demanding that which perfects this foundation, such as dispensations that makes things easier for those who are legally responsible, these are from the necessary benefits. As for demanding that which perfects supererogatory acts, etiquettes and virtues, this is from the refining benefits.

[Translated from Uṣūl al-Fiqh: As-Sanah Ath-Thāniyah min Salak Al-Bakālawriya, Shaʿbah At-Taʿlīm Al-Aṣīl, Maslak Al-ʿUlūm Ash-Sharʿīyyah by Ustadh ʿAli Filālī and colleagues at the Qarawiyyin High School, Fes, Morocco, p.11-12]

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New Book: The Practical Guidebook Of Essential Islamic Sciences, From Ibn Ashir’s Al-Murshid Al-Muʿīn

The Practical Guidebook Of Essential Islamic Sciences, From Ibn Ashir’s Al-Murshid Al-Mu’īn

By Shaykh Ali Laraki

The Practical Guidebook of Essential Islamic Sciences is a commentary on the three essential sciences that have characterised the Islam of the West – Andalus and North and West Africa – from the earliest days: fiqh, ‘aqida and tasawwuf. It is refined and distilled from Shaykh Ali Laraki’s teaching the justly famed al-Murshid al-Mu‘in of ‘Abd al-Wahid ibn ‘Ashir to students, young and old, while imam of communities in Madrid, Norwich, Newark (US) and Cape Town.

Beliefs, Fiqh, Purification, Salat, Zakat, Fasting, Hajj, Tasawwuf & Gnosis

Al-Murshid al-Mu‘in by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahid (d. 1040 AH / 1631 CE) summarises the deen as outlined in the hadith of Jibril on Islam, Iman and Ihsan in 317 verses
The original text of Ibn `Ashir as it stands does not take into account many of the life situations of the contemporary man. And in order for someone to apply such a medieval text to his life (which no longer resembles the common man’s life one thousand years ago), he will have to engage in a type of deciphering which only the qualified are capableof carrying out successfully


About The author
Shaykh Ali Laraki al-Husaini whose family, including a long line of noted scholars, stem from Fez, the capital city of knowledge forNorth Africa. He grew up between Morocco and Spain, and is bi-lingual in Arabic and Spanish, as well as being almost equally fluent in French and English. He studied fiqh in the traditional manner with distinguished scholars such as Shaykh Muhammad an-Naifar and Shaykh Muhammad al-Lakhwa (ex-professors in the Jami‘ az-Zaituna of Tunis) and the late Sidi Muhammad al-Wazzani of Melilla, may Allah show mercy to them all. He is currently resident in Leicester (UK) and is Senior Lecturer at the Meem Institute (www.meeminstitute.com).

About Ibn Ashir
Abu Muhammad i ‘Abdul-Wahid ibn Ahmad ibn ‘Ali ibn ‘Ashir was a Maliki scholars of Morocco. His lineage can be traced back to the ancient tribe from Madina known as the ‘Ansar’ . His most immediate descendants can be traced back to Islamic Spain (Andalusia). But they would later take up residence in the Moroccan city of Fez where Ibn ‘Ashir grew up and spent most of his life.

Click on the link to purchase this book:

Buy: The Practical Guidebook Of Essential Islamic Sciences A Commentary on Ibn Ashir’s Al-Murshid Al-Mu’in

 

 

The Chapter on Fasting from the Risālah of ʿAbdullah ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī (310/922 – 386/996)

From The Risālah : A Treatise on Mālikī Fiqh  by ʿAbdullah ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawānī (310/922 – 386/996)

Translated by Alhaj Bello Mohammad Daura, MA (London)

(Including commentary from ath-Thamr ad-Dani by al-Azhari) Abu Muhammad ‘Abdullah, a Maliki faqih known as “Shaykh al-Faqih” and “little Malik”. He was the head of the Maliki school in Qayrawan. He wrote ar-Risala and an-Nawadir and several other books. (His biography in the Tartib al- Madarik)

Note: The quoted text of the Risālah is in bold print and the explanation of the text is below in brackets [].

Chapter Twenty-Four: On Fasting

{This also deals with things connected to it like the Tarawih prayer. Linguistically “siyam” means to restrain and abandon. Whoever forgoes something is said to be fasting. Allah Almighty says in the story about Maryam, “I have vowed a fast to the All-Merciful,” (19:26) meaning a silence, which is withholding from words. In the Shari’a, it is to restrain the appetites of the stomach and genitals from dawn to sunset with an intention before or at dawn except in days of menstruation, lochia and ‘ids.

Fasting is divided into the obligatory and non-obligatory.] [Khalil: tobacco is also avoided in the fast.]

23.1 Its Ruling

Fasting the month of Ramadan is obligatory.

[It is obligatory by the Book, the Sunna and consensus. Whoever denies that it is obligatory to fast Ramadan is an unbeliever by agreement. Whoever affirms its obligation and refuses to fast it is a rebel and is compelled to do it.

It is affirmed that the fast of Ramadan begins by one of two things, either by the month of Sha’ban lasting 30 days or by sighting the new moon.]

23.2 Beginning the Fast

23.2a. When the fast begins

You start fasting when the new moon is sighted and you stop fasting when the new moon is sighted, whether this is after thirty or twenty-nine days. If the new moon cannot be seen because of clouds you count thirty days from the beginning of the preceding month and then begin fasting. The same applies to ending the fast.

[His literal words are whether the sighting is exhaustive, when a group sight it so that impossible to accuse them of lying because their report gives information, or with two witnesses of good character only, with clouds or clear skies, meaning there is no difference between the large and small town.

Similar to the two witnesses of good character is one whose report is trusted, even if a slave or a woman, when the place does not pay attention to the business of the new moon in respect of the people of the seer and others. If the place is concerned with the business of the new moon, the seeing of one does not affirm it, even for his family, and even if they believe him, but he must present his business to the ruler. It is not permitted for him to break the fast. If he breaks it, he disbelieves, even if by interpretation because the interpretation is unlikely. The fast is also broken by seeing the moon of Shawwal. If there are clouds, then you count from the beginning of the month of Sha’ban. The basis for this is what is in the two Sahih collections that he said, “Fast when you see it and break the fast when you see it. If it is cloudy, then complete the number.

There are seven preconditions for the fast.]

23.2b. 1. The intention

You should make an intention to fast the whole month at the beginning of the month and it is not necessary to make a new intention every night for the rest of the month.

[He should formulate the intention with his heart the first night of Ramadan after sunset and before dawn or at dawn as an act of nearness to Allah Almighty by performing what is obliged of him during the day of refraining from eating, drinking and intercourse. It is not an obligation to make the intention on the rest of the days. Malik says that the intention is must be made at night, and that is stated by ash-Shafi’i and Abu Hanifa, because the days of the month are individual acts of worship separate from one another. The invalidation of one does not invalidate another, and they are not impaired by what is contrary to them at night, like eating, drinking and intercourse. So the days become like the five prayers during the day. It is obliged to give day an intention for the fast as it is obligatory to have an intention for every prayer. The evidence of the Maliki School is the words of the Almighty, “So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting..” (2:185) This command is transferred to one fast, which is the fast of the month. The intention is made in the nightbased on what the authors of the Sunan reported of the words of the Prophet: “Whoever does not intend the fast before dawn has no fast.” Advancing it is overlooked in the fast because of the difficulty. Ibn Naji said,” The literal words of the shaykh is that it is not obliged for someone who breaks the fast, like the menstruating women, to renew the intention. That is the case according to Ashhab and others. There remain the sick person and traveller when they continue to fast. They are obliged to make the intention every night beause it is not oblgiatory for them to continue. When the sick person becomes well and the traveller arrives, the intention for what is remains is enough for them, like the menstruating woman who becomes pure, the child who reaches puberty in the fast, and the kafir who becomes a Muslim during the month.

The other preconditions are:

2. Islam.

3. Sanity.

4. Being free of menstruation and lochia.

5. Refraining from things that break the fast.

6.The ability to fast.

7. Adulthood.]

23.2c. Duration of the fast

You fast until night comes

[Based on the ayat and because the Prophet said in the Sahih, “When night advances from there and the day retreats from here and the sun sets, the faster breaks the fast.”]

and it is sunna to break the fast as soon as possible

[When you are certain the night has come. There is disagreement about continuing after sunset. Some say that it is unlawful as it is unlawful on the Day of the ‘Id. Some say it is permitted and he has the reward of the faster. The fiqh of the question that he he has the reward of the faster is weak. The statement that it is unlawful is more likely unless his intention is that it is obliged for him. Otherwise, it is disliked when it is without necessity.]

23.2d. Delaying suhur

and to delay your suhur.(1) If you are not sure if the time of fajr has come or not you should not eat.

[Sahur means what is eaten and suhur is the act of eating. The amount of the best delay after finishing eating and drinking there remains until Fajr the amount of time it takes to recite 50 ayats. The basis for this is the words of the Prophet, “My community will continue to be all right as long as they hurry to break the fast and delay the sahur.” (Ahmad) If he is unsure of the time of Fajr, he should not eat or drink or have intercourse. This can mean prohibition or dislike. The well-known position is that it is a prohibition. If he is unsure about sunset, it is unlawful to eat and otherwise break the fast by agreement.]

23.2e. Not fasting the Day of Doubt

You do not fast the ‘day of doubt’, [2] fasting on the grounds that it might be part of Ramadan.

[This prohibition is one of dislike according to the probable text of the Mudawwana. Ibn ‘Abdu-s- Salam said, “What is probable is that it is a prohibition based on what at-Tirmidhi related in a hasan sahih hadith: ‘Ammar ibn Yasir said, “Whoever fasts the Day of Doubt, has rebelled against Abu’l- Qasim (the Prophet).” We consider the Day of Doubt which is forbidden to fast to be the day when it was cloudy on the night of the 29th and vision was not established, and so the morning of that night is the Day of Doubt.]”

23.2f. Its judgement when it is fasted

If you do this it is not counted even if it turns out to have been Ramadan.

[If you fast the Day of Doubt out of caution and then it is established to be Ramadan, it is not counted because the intention was not firm.]

If you want to fast that day as a voluntary fast, however, you can do so.

[i.e. this is when it is his custom to fast.]

23.2g. When you discover it is Ramadan in the morning

If you get up in the morning and discover, before having eaten or drunk anything, that Ramadan has begun you must fast the rest of the day but you cannot count it as one of the days of your Ramadan and you have to make up a day.

[If this happens, you have to make it up by the lack of the intention. Nevertheless you must avoid food and drink and anything that would invalidate the prayer for the rest of the day. It is also obligatory for him to fast if he has eaten or drunk or the like. He makes it up, but there is no kaffara since he forgot or it was intentional by interpretation. If it is something else, then he must do kaffara.]

23.2h. When someone returns from a journey or stops menstruating

If someone returns from a journey and they are not fasting or if a woman finishes menstruating during the day then in both these cases it is alright for them to eat and drink during the remainder of that day.

[This in the daytime. It is not recommended for them to refrain. It is the same in the case of the child who reaches maturity, the madman who recovers his senses, the sick person who starts out not fasting and then becomes well. It is the same for the one who faints and then regains consciousness, the one compelled by the necessity of hunger or thirst, and the nursing woman whose child dies in the day. It is the same for an unbeliever who becomes Muslim, although it is recommended for him to refrain which is not the case with the others. As for the one who breaks his fast by forgetfulness or on the Day of Doubt or is forced to break it, and their excuse is removed, then it is obligatory for them to refrain.

When the one forced breaks his fast after the compulsion is removed, he must make it up with kaffara unless there was a valud interpretation.]

23.3 The ruling on breaking a voluntary fast

23.3a. Breaking it intentionally

If you are doing a voluntary fast and break your fast intentionally, or if you start off on a journey and break your fast because of it, you must make up that day.

[Without compulsion or excuse, or because you set off on a journey while observing a voluntary fast and then break it because of it: it is obligatory to make it up in both cases. Ibn ‘Umar said that there is disagreement about when he breaks it intentionally: is it recommended to fast for the rest of it or is that not recommended as al-Uhjuri said? ]

23.3b. Breaking it unintentionally

If in a voluntary fast you break your fast unintentionally you do not have to make up a day but if this happens in the obligatory fast you have to make up a day.

[There is no disagreement that it is not obligatory to make it up if it is unintentional, but there is a disagreement about whether it is recommended and there are two positions. Ibn al-Qasim heard that it is recommended. When the obligatory fast is unintentionally broken, it must be made up. Zarruq said, “The literal meaning of his words is that the obligatory is in Ramadan or elsewhere.”]

23.4 Things which break or do not break the fast

23.4a. Siwak

There is no harm in using a siwak at any time during the day while you are fasting

[This is stated in the Mudawwana. It means it is permissible, as Ibn al-Hajib stated, “The siwak is permitted every day as long as nothing splits off from it. It is disliked to moisten it.” Some of them said that it is permitted after midday for the one who does not have a legal requirement. As for a legal requirement like wudu’, the prayer, recitation and dhikr, it is recommended. That is correct as the hadith shows in the words of the Prophet, “If it were not that it would be hard on my communtiy, I would comamnd them to use the siwak for every prayer.” So this includes the person who is fasting. When he says, “during the day while you are fasting” that alludes to the words of ash-Shafi’i and Ahmad ibn Hanbal that it is preferred before midday and disliked after it based on what is in the Sahih where the Prophet said, ‘The odour of the the mouth of the faster is sweeter with Allah than the scent of musk.” That is because of Allah’s pleasure with him and His praise for the faster.]

23.4b. Blood-letting

and blood-letting is not disliked except if doing it will cause over-exhaustion.

[i.e. illness. In the dictionary, it means to expose oneself to death. Therefore cupping is only disliked when illness is feared because he is unsure about health and its absence. If he knows it is safe, there is no dislike.]

23.4c. Vomiting

If you vomit involuntarily while fasting in Ramadan you do not have to make up a day

[If it is in Ramadan or another day, there is no obligation or recommendation to make it up, whether it is for a reason or simply on account oif fullness, and whether the food has been altered or not. This is when he knows that none of it went back to his stomach after reaching his mouth. If he knows that some of it went back after it reached his mouth, then he must make it up when it is unintentional.

Otherwise he owes kaffara. He must also make it up if he is unsure about that. Undigested food is like vomit. It is what emerges from the mouth of the intestines when they are full. As for phelgm which reaches the end of the tongue and he swallows it deliberately, there is no making up. It is the same with spit which he collects in his month and then swallows. He does not have to make anything up.]

23.4d. Swallowing vomit

but if you make yourself vomit you have to make up a day.

[There are two statements about whether this is obligatory or recommended. Ibn al-Hajib says that the first is well-known, and it is preferred. Ibn al-Jallab preferred the second. The literal words of the Shaykh is that there is no kaffara for the one who makes himself vomit in Ramadan. There is some disagreement in the question about whether or not there is kaffara. ‘Abdu’l-Malik said that he makes it up and does kaffara. Ibn al-Majishun says that the one who makes himself vomit intentionally without illness must make it up and do kaffara. Abu’l-Faraj says that if Malik had been asked about the like of it, he would have obliged kaffara. It is related from Ibn al-Qasim that he just makes it up.

Know that breaking the fast in Ramadan is obligatory in certain cases and permitted in some. The first category is when a woman menstruates during the day: she must break the fast for the rest of the days.]

23.5 Pregnant and nursing women

23.5a. Pregnant women

If a pregnant woman is afraid on account of the child in her womb she should break the fast.

She does not have to feed anyone in expiation. It has also been said that she should feed people.

[If she fears for her child or herself or that she will become ill, she breaks the fast and that is obligatory. According to the well-known position, she does not feed people, but simply makes it up. It is said that she should feed as related by Ibn Wahb. What is understood from his words is that it is when she does not fear, she does not break it even if the fast exhausts her. That is not the case. If the fast exhausts her, she can choose to break it. What is derived from what Ibn ‘Arafa says is that the pregnant woman, nursing woman and sick person can break the fast when fasting if it is difficult for them, even if they do not fear illness or its increase. The healthy person cannot break the fast when it is difficult. There are two statements about whether he breaks the fast out of fear of illness. Part of the second, which is that illness permits it in some cases, is when he fears increased or continuing illness.

If he fears death or great harm, then he must break it. In the fear which permits breaking the fast, the person relies on the the doctor’s statement, or his own personal experience, or the experience of someone with a constitution like him. Travel has its preconditions which will be discussed.]

23.5b. Nursing women

Similarly, if a nursing mother fears for her child and cannot find a wet nurse, or if the child will not accept to be fed by anyone else, she can break the fast but she must feed people in expiation.

[This is permission if she fears for her child or herself on account of fasting. In such a case she must feed people. It is also said that it is an obligation to break the fast and feed people.]

23.6. The old

If an old man cannot fast, it is recommended for him to feed people.

[If he is unable to fast at any time, he is permitted to break the fast by the words of Allah, “No self is charged beyond what it can bear,”(2:233) and “He has not placed any constraint on you in the deen.” (22:78) The literal text of the Mudawwana is contrary to what he mentioned of the recommendation to feed. He says that there is no fidya. However, the Mudawwana relates that he is not obliged to feed and so that is not contrary to the recommendation.]

23.7. Feeding people (Fidya)

23.7a. Its amount

Feeding people in this context consists of giving away one mudd for each day which has to be made up.

[Feeding is done by the pregnant woman fearful for what is in her womb, the nursing mother who fear for her child, and the very old man who cannot fast is a mudd, by the Prophet’s mudd.]

23.7b. Its ruling

Someone who fails to make up missed days before the following Ramadan should also feed a poor person for each day they still owe.

[The ruling varies because the feeding done by an old person, as was said, is recommended. The feeding of a nursing woman is obligatory. The literal sense of his words is that making up Ramadan is at leisure, and it is what is indicated by the hadith of ‘A’isha in the Muwatta’. She said, “I used to have to make up days from Ramadan and not be able to fast them until Sha’ban came because I was busy with the Messenger of Allah.” So it is evident that it it permissible to delay it until Sha’ban, even if what was delayed becomes immediately obligatory. That shows that the obligation is wide. Malik said that it should be immediate, but that is weak. According to the first statement, he is considered to be lax in Sha’ban when he is healthy and at home, and so they must feed. When he owes 15 days, then residence and health are considered at the last half of Ramadan and feeding is obligatory if he is sound and resident. If he is ill in it or on a journey, there is no feeding. According to the second, laxity is considered in Shawwal according to what he owes of fasting based on analogy with what we said about Sha’ban. If Ramadan is 30 and he fasts a month to make it up and it is 29, then he completes the 30. It is permitted to make it up at any time in which it is permitted to fast voluntarily. It is not made up in days when it is forbidden to fast.]

23.8 Children

Children are not obliged to fast until such time as a boy has his first wet dream or a girl her first menstrual period because it is when children reach physical maturity that all the physical acts of worship become obligatory for them. Allah ta’ala says, “When your children reach physical maturity they should seek permission (to enter).” (24:59)

[One of the preconditions for the fast is being an adult. It is neither obligatory nor recommended for children to fast. Maturity is by ejaculation or age which is 18 in the well-known position. This is different from the prayer. It is recommended to command them to do it. Maturity is what brings the person from childhood to manhood and sense. All acts – prayer, fasting, hajj and raiding are obligatory for them, as well as actions of the heart, like the obligation of intentions which are obligatory because the intention is one of the actions of the heart, and creeds like the belief that Allah is One, for example. Evidence that obligations become incumbent children when they reach maturity is in the words of Allah Almighty. Asking permission is obliged then and is connected to maturity.]

23.9 Defilements

If someone who has not done ghusl wakes up after fajr in a state of janaba or if the period of a woman who has been menstruating finishes before fajr and she does not do ghusl till after fajr, then fasting that day is valid in both these cases.

[This is either from intercourse or an intentional or unintentional wet-dream in an obligatory or voluntary fast, or a woman has her period stop and sees that she is pure before fajr. If they do not have a ghusl until after dawn, even if they are able to do, their fast is still allowed and they owe nothing.

The validity of the fast of the person in janaba is that it is confirmed that the Prophet was in janaba at fajr in Ramadan and he had a ghusl and fasted. As for the validity of the menstruating woman whom becomes pure before fajr in Ramadan, it is agreed that that is when she is pure before fajr with the amount in which she could wash. According to the well-known position that also applies to the amount of time in which it is not possible to wash. If she becomes pure after fajr, her fast is not valid.]

23.10 On Feast days

23.10a. Not allowed on the ‘id Fasting is not permitted on the day of ‘Id al-Fitr or the day of the ‘Id al-Adha nor should anyone fast the two days after the ‘Id al-Adha unless he is doing Hajj Tamatt’a and does not have an animal to sacrifice.

[As it is not permitted, it is not valid since it is forbidden by the Prophet to fast them.]

23.10b. The fourth day

There should be no voluntary fasting on the fourth day either but if someone has vowed to fast or has previously broken off a consecutive fast, they should fast that day.

[The fourth day after the Day of Sacrifice is not made a voluntary fast. It is fasted by someone who has fasted Shawwal and Dhu’l-Qa’da for kaffara for a dhihar divorce or murder and then becomes ill and regains his health in the fourth night. He can fast it.]

23.11 Making up the fast

23.11a. Breaking the fast out of forgetfulness

If you break the fast in Ramadan out of forgetfulness you only have to make up that day.

[You are obliged to continue to fast and to abstain through the rest of day of Ramadan. You are obliged to continue to fast when you break it by forgetfulness in an obligatory fast other than Ramadan. There is no making up in the well-known position. One should be careful about forgetting.

When you break it intentionally you owe kaffara as well as making up. That is why he says “only” since he has he owes no kaffara because which differs from Ibn al-Majishun and Ahmad who say that there is kaffara if he breaks it through intercourse based on the hadith of the bedouin who came to the Prophet beating his chest and pulling his hair, saying, “I am destroyed! I am destroyed!” The Prophet asked him, “What is the reason for this?” He replied, “I had intercourse with my wife in Ramadan” He commanded him to do kaffara. The reply to that by the Mālikī masters is that the circumstances of striking himself and pulling his hair indicate that the intercourse was intentional.]

23.11b. Breaking the fast because of illness

The same applies if you are forced to break the fast due to illness.

[When the fast is too difficult with it, or when he fears that the illness will continue longer, or increase, or healing will be delayed, he only has to make it up without kaffara. If it is an illness in which it is not difficult to fast or in which increased illness or delay of health is not feared, and he breaks his fast, then he must make it up and do kaffara.]

23.12. A traveller

23.12a. Length of journey

If you are on a journey for which you can shorten the prayer you are permitted to break the fast even if there is no particular need to do so, making up any days missed later, but according to us it is better to fast.

[If you go on a journey at the time of the intention such that you will reach a limit where shortening the prayers begins before dawn. So the distance is four or more mail stages of a return journey, and it should not be a journey involving disobedience of Allah. You are permitted to break it, eat, drink and have intercourse. This is even if the journey is not necessary. There is no disagreement that he must make up the fast by the words of the Almighty, “the prescribed number should be made up from days later,” (2:184) The Malikis prefer that the one one who is strong enough should fast because the Almighty says, “It is better for you if you fast.”]

23.12b A journey of less than the minimum

If anyone travels less than four mail stages (48 miles) and breaks the fast thinking it is permissible to do so, they do not have to do kaffara although they must make up the day. [Anyone who breaks the fast through an interpretation does not have to do kaffara.]

[Because he followed an interpretation. He is only obliged to make it up without dispute. The literal words about the one who uses interpretation not owing kaffara are unrestricted, but there is a well known disagreement. The interpretation must be a likely one. There is no kaffara because he is excused by relying on a strong reason. If the interpretation is unlikely, which is when its reason is not strong, then there is kaffara. One of the cases in which is the reason is strong is the case we mentioned about the old man, and the one who breaks the fast out of forgetfulness and then breaks it intentionally that it is permitted: he owes no kaffara. There is also the case of the person in janaba or menstruating before dawn who only had a ghusl for that after fajr and thought that the fast for that day was not obliged and deliberately did not fast: he has no kaffara. There is the case of someone who who has suhur at fajr and thinks that the fast for that day is not binding and so he breaks it after that intentionally: he owes no kaffara. There is the one who arrives after a journey at night in Ramadan and thinks that he does not have to fast the morning of that day and that one of the preconditions of the obligation of the fast is that he come from the journey before sunset. and so he breaks it deliberately: he owes no kaffara.

Unlikely cases are those in which the cause is weak. If he sees the moon of Ramadan and his testimony is not accepted and he thinks that the fast is not binding for him and so he breaks it – he owes kaffara. Part of it is the person who normally has a fever every three days and so when the day he comes he breaks the fast and then the fever comes to him on that day. He is obliged to do kaffara, and even more so if it does not come. One is the woman who normally menstruates on a particular day and so she does not fast that day and then she menstruates later in the day. One of them is the one slanders a person in Ramadan and thinks that that invalidates his fast because he ate the eat of his the flesh of his brother and so he breaks it intentionally. He must do kaffara, and make it up.]

23.13 Kaffara

23.13a. Who owes kaffara

Kaffara only applies to people who break the fast deliberately either by eating, drinking, or sexual intercourse.

[If he resolves to eat and drink or have intercourse, but does not do it, he owes nothing, either making it up or kaffara. It is same for someone who resolves to break wudu’ by breaking wind, for instance, and does not do it- he does not have to do wudu’.

In the case of intercourse, one distinguishes the deliberate from the forgetful and the ignorant, i.e. the one who was ignorant of the prohibition and the one who did not rely on anythng, like someone who is a new Muslim who believes that fasting does not forbid intercourse, for instance, and so does it -he owes no kaffara.]

23.13b. Making up the day

The actual day when the kaffara was incurred must also be made up on top of the kaffara itself.

[Making it up is obliged as well as the kaffara.]

23.13c. What kaffara consists of:

[The kaffara on account of eating, drinking, or intercourse deliberately in Ramadan by abuse or unlikely interpretation is one of three things from which one can choose.]

23.13d. 1. Feeding sixty people

The kaffara for breaking the fast consists of feeding sixty poor people with one mudd for each person using the mudd of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. This is the preferred way of doing kaffara according to us.

[It is taken from the normal food of the one who expiates or from the dominant food of the people: there is disagreement on that. Al-Lakhmi said: “That proceeds according to the disagreement about kaffara,” i.e. the kaffara of the oath, and the zakat al-fitr. The preferred position is that it is the food of the people of the land. It is understood from in his words about ‘sixty’, as in the Mudawwana, that it is not satisfied by giving 30 poor people two mudds each. If he gives to less than sixty, he takes back from each of them what is more than a mudd if it is in his possession and completes the sixty. If that has been consumed, he cannot take it back because he is the one who gave them power over that. What is meant by the poor person here is not what is meant by it in zakat, i.e. the one who does not have anything. What is meant is the one in need of it and the poor person who does not have food for that year. There disagreement about which of the three types is best. The well known position is that it is feeding and that is what is stated here. It is preferred by some of the people of Malik because it has more benefit.]

23.13e. 2. Freeing a slave

However, it is also possible to carry out kaffara by freeing a slave

[The second is freeing a slave. It is a precondition that it be a believer free of defects – like blind, dumb, or mad.]

23.13f. 3. Fasting two months

or fasting for two consecutive months.

[The third is to fast for two consecutive months. Kaffara is counted by the days.]

23.13g. Eating while making up

Someone who breaks the fast deliberately while making up a day of Ramadan does not have to do kaffara.

[This is because kaffara is one of the special things of Ramadan, and there is no disagreement in what we mentioned according to Ibn Naji. The disagreement is whether one or two days are made up. It is preferable that he makes it two, as ibn ‘Arafa said.

NOTE: Making up Ramadan is valid on separate or consecutive days, but doing it consecutively is better.]

23.14 Unconsciousness

23.14a. When someone regains consciousness after fajr

If someone becomes unconscious during the night and recovers consciousness after fajr he should make up a day.

[Ibn Habib said he is not commanded to refrain from eating for the rest of the day. Loss of consciousness is the removal of sense by an illness which afflicts him, as stated in at-Tahqiq. That which he relied on is the commentator of Khalil. The relied-on position is that if he is unconscious for all or most of the day, he must make it up, whether he is sound at the beginning of it or not. If he is unconscious for less than half of it, and is sound in the beginning of it, it is allowed. Otherwise it is not. We said ‘sound at the beginning,’ meaning conscious at the time of the intention, even if it he was unconscious before it and recovers before fajr for the amount of time in which he could do it, even he did not, according to the relied on position. This is when he made the intention in the night before it so that it is included in the intention for the month. Otherwise it is not, because there must be an intention since it is not valid without the intention. The one intoxicated by something lawful is like the unconscious person in the details mentioned, but the one who becomes intoxicated by something unlawful at night and remains drunk must make it up. If a sleeper makes the intention at the beginning of the month and then sleeps for the entire mouth, his fast is valid and he is free of responsibility.]

23.14b. Prayers which must be made up

He only has to make up a missed prayer if he comes to during the time it is due.

[If he fainted at night and wakes up after dawn. This was covered in the Chapter of Prayer. He repeats it here to point out that the fast is different from the prayer. The menstruating woman makes up the fast but no the prayer because of the difficulty of repeating it.]

23.15 Other Prohibitions in the Fast

23.15a. Guarding the tongue and limbs

When you are fasting you should guard your tongue and limbs

[That is recommended, and some say it is obligatory, and there is no contradiction between the two positions. The one who says it is obligatory applies to to refraining from the forbidden, and the one who recommends it applies it to refraining from what is not forbidden, like excessive permissive speech.

He mentions the limbs which are seven: hearing, sight, tongue, hands, feet, belly and genitals. The tongue is mentioned specifically because it results in the greatest calamities. It is said that there is not a morning but the limbs complain to the tongue, “We ask you by Allah, go straight and we will be straight. If you are crooked, we will be crooked. ‘Umar visited Abu Bakr and found him pulling his tongue. He said, “What, Abu Bakr!” He said, “Leave me. It has brought about things.” People should curtail what they say in Ramadan.]

23.15b. Honouring the month of Ramadan

and honour the month of Ramadan as Allah has honoured it.

[Allah says “the month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was revealed.” (2:185) It is honoured by the recitation of Qur’an, dhikr, fasting, praying, sadaqa, and other acts of worship. It is disliked to esteem it by decorations and delegations and the like.]

23.15c. Avoidance of sexual pleasure in the day

A fasting man may not have sexual intercourse during the daytime in Ramadan nor may he touch a woman or kiss her to gain pleasure.

[Intercourse is forbidden by agreement. Other things are said to be haram or disliked. It is possible to say that there is no contradiction, and it is possible that the illicitness is applied when he does not know that there is security and dislike when he knows it. In short, it is disliked for the old and young, male or female, to kiss his spouse or slave girl while he is fasting, or to touch or dally. It is the same for looking or remembering when he knows that he is safe from sperm and prostatic fluid. If he knows that he is not safe or is unsure about it, it is unlawful. It is not unlawful for him in the night unless he is doing i’tikaf or fasting for the kaffara of a dhihar-divorce. In such a case the day and night are the same. If he does any of that while fasting and is safe, he owes nothing. If he ejaculates, he must make it up and do kaffara.]

23.15d. Sexual pleasure allowed at night

None of these things, however, is haram for him during the night.

[This is because the Almighty says: “Lawful to you on the night of the fast is going to your wives…” (2:187) Night and day are the same for the one doing i’tikaf and fasting the kaffara for dhihar.]

23.15e. Waking up in janaba

It does not matter if you wake up in the morning in a state of janaba because of having had sexual intercourse.

[Here he repeats this point to clarify that the fast is valid if you are in janaba.]

23.15f. Emission of madhy in Ramadan

If you do get sexual pleasure during the daytime by touching or kissing and this results in the emission of madhy (prostatic fluid) you must make up that day.

[Or through looking or thinking, then he must make up the day for the emission of madhy, whether it lasts or not. For the emission of madhy for any reason, there is only making up, which is obligatory. If there is no madhy, there is no making up, even if there is an erection. It is what Ibn Wahb, and Ashhab related from Malik in al-Mudawwana. It is the preferred position.]

23.15g. Emission of sperm in Ramadan

If you do it deliberately and the result is the ejaculation of many (semen) you have to do the kaffara.

[According to the well-known position. He is silent about looking and remembering. Al-Fakhani say that if he continues to look until he ejaculates, then he must make it up and do kaffara. If he does not continue to do it, then he must only make it up according to the well-known position Al-Qabisi says that if he looks once deliberately, he must make it up and do kaffara. Al-Baji said that it is sound and gave remembering the same judgement as the glance. If he continues to remember until he ejaculates, then he must make up and do kaffara. If he does not continue to do it, then he makes it up without kaffara.]

23.15h. The reward for fasting

Anyone who fasts Ramadan with belief and with awareness of the reward for doing it is forgiven all his previous wrong actions.

[He believes in the reward if he fasts with the awareness that its reward has been stored up for him by Allah in the Next World and he does not fast in order to show off or for reputation. The wrong actions forbidden are the minor ones between him and his Lord. Major wrong actions are only expiated by repentance or Allah’s forgiveness.]

23.16. The Tarawih Prayer

23.16a. The reward for praying at night

If you stand up in prayer during the night, to the extent that you able to do so, you can expect great good from it and pardon for your wrong actions.

[The reward for standing in prayer is not limited to all the night, but is obtained by anyone who stands for part of it according to his state without limit.]

23.16b. Tarawih are performed with an Imam in a group

These night prayers are done with an imam in mosques where the prayer is normally done in jama’a.

[It is permitted to do these prayers in the mosque in groups with an Imam. This is an exception from the dislike of praying the nafila in group which is indicated by the words of Shaykh Khalil, added to the dislike of gathering for nafila or in a known place since the action to gather for them continued from the time of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab. Part of his sunan is to do this and the time they are done is after ‘Isha’ ]

23.16c. They can be done at home

If you want to you can do these night prayers at home. Indeed this is considered better if your intention is strong enough for you to do them by yourself.

[It is considered better to do them at home on you own if you are not too lazy.]

23.16d. How the Salaf first did them

The righteous people of the first community used to do these prayers in the mosque. They did twenty rak’as followed by three rak’as – two for shaf’i and one for witr with a salam in between.

[These are the Companions, peace be upon all of them. They did them in the time of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab in the mosque with 20 rak’ats. That is preferred by a group, including, Abu Hanifa, ash-Shafi’i and Ahmad, and the action now does that followed by the shaf’i and witr. Abu Hanifa says that there is no salam between the two, and ash-Shafi’i says that there is a choice.]

23.16e. The later practice of the Salaf

Later they began praying thirty-six rak’as not including the shaf’i and witr. Both of these are acceptable.

[Then the Salaf other than the first Salaf, namely the Tabi’un, increased it. ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdu’l-‘Aziz commanded that to do that since it contained benefit because they were making the recitation long which caused boredom and weariness, and so he commanded them to shorten the recitaiton and increase the rak’ats. That which ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdu’l-‘Aziz did was preferred by Malik in the Mudawwana.]

23.16f. Done in groups of two rak’ats

You say the salam after each two rak’as. ‘A’isha, may Allah be pleased with her, said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, never did more than twelve rak’as followed by a single rak’a of witr, either in Ramadan or out of it.

[Then he explains how the Messenger of Allah did them according to ‘A’isha which differs from what is in the Muwatta’ where she says that he did not exceed twelve at any time, Ramadan or not. It also differs from what is related from her that he prayed 15 and 17. Other things are related from his wives and they can be combined if the Prophet first prayed two to greet the msoque and then stood to do tahajjud with two quick ra’kats to start. When he left for the Subh prayer he prayed the two rak’ats of Fajr. So they can be added together.]

1. Suhur is the meal eaten before fajr prior to a day’s fasting.

2. Thirtieth of Sha’ban if the new moon has not been seen the previous night.

The Chapter About الصِّيَامِ (Fasting) from the Matn Al Ashmaawiyyah

The Chapter About الصِّيَامِ (Fasting)

وَصَـوْمُ‮ ‬رَمَـضَانَ‮ ‬فَرِيضَةٌ (The fast of Ramaḍaan is an obligatory duty) يَـثْبُتُ‮ ‬بِكَمَالِ‮ ‬شُعْبَانَ‮  ‬ (which is fixed to the completion of the month of Shaʿbaan) أَوْ‮ ‬بِـرُؤُيَـةِ‮ ‬عَـدْلَـيْـنِ‮ ‬لِلْهِلاَلِ (or the sighting of the crescent moon by two reliable witnesses) أَوَ‮ ‬جَـمَاعَةٍ‮ ‬مُسْـتَفِيضَة (or the spread of the news among a large portion of the community) وَكَـذَالِـكَ‮ ‬فِي‮ ‬الفِطْرِ (and it is the same as this with the ending the fast). وَيُـبَيِّتُ‮ ‬نِـيَّةَ‮ ‬الصِّيَامَ‮ ‬فِـي‮ ‬أَوَّلِـهِ‮ ‬ (The one who is fasting makes the intention to fast at the beginning of Ramaḍaan), وَلَـيْسَ‮ ‬عَـلَيْهِ (but it is not incumbent upon him) الْـبَيَاتُ‮ ‬فِـي‮ ‬بَـقِيَّتِهِ‮ ‬ (to do so for the rest of Ramaḍaan).

يُـتِمُّ‮  ‬الصِّيَامَ‮ ‬إِلَـى اللَّيْلِ (He should maintain the fast until nightfall), وَمِـنَ‮ ‬السُّنَّة تَعْجِيلُ‮ ‬الْـفِطْرِ (while it is the Sunnah to hurry to break the fast) وَتَـأْخِـيرُ‮ ‬السُّحُورِ (and to delay the Suḥuur).  وَحَيْثُ‮ ‬ثَـبُتَ‮ ‬الشَّهْـرُ‮ ‬قَـبْلَ‮ ‬الْفَجْـر (If the arrival of the month of Ramaḍaan is confirmed before Fajr (dawn), وَجَـبَ‮ ‬الصَّوْمُ (the fasting will become obligatory), وَإِنْ‮ ‬لَـمْ‮ ‬يَـثْبُتُ‮ ‬ (however, if it is not confirmed) إِلاَّ‮ ‬بَـعْدَ‮ ‬الْفَجْـرِ (until after Fajr, وَجَـبَ‮ ‬الإمْـسَاكُ (observing the fast will become [immediately] obligatory)). وَلاَ‮ ‬بُـدَّ  (That undoubtedly) مِـنْ‮ ‬قََـضَاءِ‮ ‬ذَالِـكَ‮ ‬الْـيَوْمِ (it is obligatory to make up that day).

 وَالنِّيَّة (The intention to fast [which has been made]) قَـبْلَ‮ ‬ثُـبُوتِ‮ ‬الشَّهْـرِ‮ ‬(before the arrival of the month of Ramaḍaan has been confirmed) بَـاطِـلَةٌ‮ ‬(is invalid), حَـتَّى لَـوْ‮ ‬نَـوَى (like when the individual who made the intention) قَـبْلَ‮ ‬الرُّؤْيَةِ (before the sighting of the hilaal), ثُـمَّ‮ ‬أَصْـبَحَ (then), وَلَـمْ‮ ‬يَـأْكُـلْ‮ ‬وَلَـمْ‮ ‬يَشْـرَبْ (and he didn’t eat nor drink), ثُـمَّ‮ ‬تَـبَيَّنَ‮ ‬لَـهُ (and then it became clear to him) أَنَّ‮ ‬ذَالِـكَ‮ ‬الْيَوْمَ‮ ‬مِـنْ‮ ‬رَمَـضَانَ (that that day was the first day of Ramaḍaan), لَـمْ‮ ‬يُجْزِهِ‮ ‬(that day is not permitted to him [as one of his fasting days of Ramaḍaan]). وَيُـمْسِكُ‮ ‬عَـنِ‮ ‬الأَكْـلِ‮ ‬وَالشُّرْبِ‮ ‬فِـهِ (however, he must  continue to abstain from eating and drinking in it), لِـحُـرْمَـةِ‮ ‬الشَّهْـرِ (because of the sacredness of the month), وَيَـقْضِيهِ (and he must make it up [the day’s fast as well.]).

وَلاَيُـصَامُ (There should be no fasting) يَـوْمُ‮ ‬الشَّكِّ (on the Day of Doubt),  لِيُحْتَاطَ‮ ‬بِهِ‮ ‬مِنْ‮ ‬رَمَضَانَ (in order to make sure it is not the first day of Ramaḍaan). وَيَـجُوزُ‮ ‬صِـيَامُـهُُ‮ ‬لِـلتَّطَوُّعِ‮ ‬وَالنَّذْرِ‮ ‬ (Performing voluntary fast and the fast that one has pledge to do is allowed), إِذَا صَـادَفَ (if it coincides with [the Day of Doubt]). وَيسْـتَحَبُّ‮ ‬الإمْسَاكُ‮ ‬فِي‮ ‬أَوَّلِهِ (It is recommended however, to refrain from eating at the beginning of the day [the Day of Doubt]), لِــيَتَحَقَّقَ‮ ‬النَّاسُ‮ ‬الرُّأْيَةَ  (in order to allow the people to confirm the sighting [of the crescent moon of Ramaḍaan]). وَإِنَ‮ ‬ارْتَـفَعَ‮ ‬النَّهَـرُ (If the day passes) وَلمْ‮ ‬تظْهَـرْ‮ ‬رُؤْيَـةٌ‮ ‬ (and a sighting is not clear), أَفْـطَرُ‮ ‬النَّاسُ‮ ‬(the people must eat).

وَلاَ‮ ‬يُـفْطِرُ‮ ‬مَـنْ‮ ‬ذَرَعَـهُ‮ ‬قَـيْءٌ (The person who vomits does not break his fast), إِلاَّ‮ ‬أَنْ‮ ‬يُـعَالِـجَ‮ ‬خُـرُوجَـهُ‮ ‬ (unless he caused himself to regurgitate). فَعَلَيْهِ‮ ‬الْقَضَاءُ  (In that case, he must make up the fasting day). وَلاَ‮ ‬يُـفْطِرُ‮ ‬مَـنِ‮ ‬احْـتَلَمَ (The one who emits seminal fluid while dreaming doesn’t break his  fast) وَلاَ‮ ‬مَنِ‮ ‬احْتَجَمَ (nor does the one who is cupping break his fast), وَتُـكْرَهُ‮ ‬الْـحِجَامَـةُ‮ ‬لِلْمَرِيضِ‮ ‬خِـيفَة التَّغْرِيرِ (but cupping is disliked for a sick person who fears exhaustion / feeling faint).

وَمِـنْ‮ ‬شُـرُوطِ‮ ‬صِـحَّةِ‮ ‬الصَّوْمِ (Among the conditions of a sound fast is) النِّيَّةُ‮ ‬السَّابِـقَةُ‮ ‬لِـلْفَجِـرِ (the intention to fast which is made before dawn), سوَاءُ‮ ‬كَـانَ‮ ‬فَـرْضًـا (whether the fast is an obligatory) أَوْ‮ ‬نَـفْلاً (or a non-obligatory one which is being performed for additional reward from Allah). وَالنِّيَّةُ‮ ‬الْـوَاحِـدَة كَـافِـيَةٌ (One statement of intention is sufficient for [the entire] fasting period]). يَـجب تَـتَابُـعْهُ (The fast must be done immediately after the statement), كَـصِيَامِ‮ ‬رَمَـضَانَ (like the fast of Ramaḍaan), وَصِـيَامِ‮ ‬كَـفَّارَةِ‮ ‬الظِّهَارَةِ‮ ‬ (the fast of reparation for ḍhihārah) وَالْـقَتْلِ (killing someone by mistake), وَالنَّذْرِ‮ ‬الَّذِي‮ ‬أَوْجَـبَهُ‮ ‬الْـمُكَلَّفُ (and the vow that al-mukallaf who swears an oath which he  makes binding) عَـلَى نَـفْسِهِ (upon himself).  فَـأَمَّا الصِِّـيَامُ‮ ‬الـمَسْـرُودُِ (as for the [voluntary] fast that is done for a consecutive number of days),‮  ‬وَالْـيَوْمُ‮ ‬الْـمُعَيِّنُ (the [fast done on a] fixed  day), لاَ‮ ‬بُـدَّ‮ ‬مِنَ‮ ‬التبْيِيتِ‮ ‬فِِـيهِ‮ ‬كُلَّ‮ ‬اللَّيْلَةٍ (undoubtedly, the niyyah is made for it nightly / every night.)

وَمِـنْ‮ ‬شُـرُوطِ‮ ‬صِـحَّةِ‮ ‬الصَّوْمِ (Among the conditions of a sound fast is) النَّقَاءُ‮ ‬مِـنْ‮ ‬دَمُ‮ ‬الْـحَيْضِ‮ ‬وَالنِّفاسِ (purity from the  blood of menstruation and the blood after childbirth). فَـإنَ‮ ‬انْـقَطَعَ‮ ‬دَمُ‮ ‬الْـحَيْضِ‮ ‬وَالنِّفاسِ (If the  blood of menstruation and the blood after childbirth stops flowing)‮ ‬قَـبْلَ‮ ‬الْفَجْـرِ (before dawn), وَلَـوْ‮ ‬بِلَحْـظَةِ (at that moment), وَجَـبَ‮ ‬عَـلَيْهَا صَـومُ‮ ‬ذَالكَ‮ ‬الْيَوْمِ (the fast of that day becomes incumbent upon the woman),وَلَـوْ‮ ‬لَـمْ‮ ‬تَغْتَسِـل (even if she did not bath) إلاَّ‮ ‬بَـعَدَ‮ ‬الْفَجْـرِ (until after fajr). وَتُــعَادُ‮ ‬النِّيَّةُ (The intention [to fast] should be repeated)  إِذَا انْـقَطَعَ‮ ‬التَّتَابِـعُ‮ ‬بِـ‮ ‬(when the following comes to an end): الْـمَرضِ‮ ‬وَالْـحَيْضِ‮ ‬وَالنَّفَاسِ‮ ‬وَشِـبْهِ‮ ‬ذَالِـكَ (sickness, menstruation, and parturition, and what is similar to these).

وَمِـنْ‮ ‬شُـرُوطِ‮ ‬صِـحَّةِ‮ ‬الصَّوْمِ (The other conditions of a sound fast that are): والْـعَقْلُ (full intellectual consciousness). فَـمَنْ‮ ‬لاَ‮ ‬عَـقْلَ‮ ‬لَـهُ (As for those who doe not have full intellectual consciousness), كَـالْـمَجْنُونِ (like the insane person) وَالْـمُغْمَى عَـلَيْهِ (and the person who is unconscious), لاَيَـصِحُّ‮ ‬مِِـنْهُ‮ ‬الصَّوْمُ‮ ‬فِـي‮ ‬تِـلْكَ‮ ‬الْـحَالَـةِ (fasting is not sound for them in that condition), وَيَـجِبُ‮ ‬عَـلَى الْـمَجْنُونِ‮ ‬إِذَا عَـادَ‮ ‬إِلَـيهِ‮ ‬عَـقْلُهُ‮ ‬ (It is requisite, for the insane person who regains his full intellectual consciousness) وَلَـوْ‮ ‬بَـعْدَ‮ ‬سَـنِيينَ‮ ‬كَـثِيرَةٍ (even if it is after a many of years) أَنْ‮ ‬يَـقْضِي‮ ‬ (to complete) مَـا فَـاتَـهُ‮ ‬مِنَ‮ ‬الصَّوْمِ (the fasting that he didn’t do) فِي‮ ‬حَالِ‮ ‬جُنُونِهِ (while he was in his state of insanity), وَمِـثْلُهُ‮ ‬الْـمُغٌمَى عَلَيْهِ (and it is the same for the unconscious person) إذَا أَفَاقَ (when he regains his consciousness).

وَمِـنْ‮ ‬شُـرُوطِ‮ ‬صِـحَّةِ‮ ‬الصَّوْمِ (The other conditions of a sound fast that are): تَـرْكُ‮ ‬الْـجِـمَاعِ‮ ‬ (to refrain from sexual intercourse), وَالأَكْـلِ‮ ‬(eating) وَالشَّرْبِ (and drinking). فَـمَنْ‮ ‬فَـعَلَ (The one who does) فِـي‮ ‬النَّهَارِ‮ ‬رَمَـضَانَ‮ ‬شَـيْئًا مِـنْ‮ ‬ذَالِـكَ (any of these things during the day during Ramaḍaan) مُتَعَمَّدًا (intentionally), مِـنْ‮ ‬غَـيْرِ‮ ‬تَـأْوِيلٍ‮ ‬قَرِيبٍ (and it is not from his own understanding (interpretation) وَلاَ جَهْـلٍ (nor out of ignorance), فَـعَلَيْهِ‮ ‬الْـقضَاءُ‮ ‬ (then he must make up the fast day) وَالْـكَفَّارَةُ (and do reparation for it). الْـكَفَّارَةُ‮ ‬فِـي‮ ‬ذَالِـكَ‮ ‬كُـلِّهِ (The reparation required for each of these cases) إِطْـعَامُ‮ ‬سِـتِّيـنَ‮ ‬مِـسْكِيـنًا‮ ‬ (is the feeding of sixty destitute people) مُـدًّا لِـكُلِّ‮ ‬مِـسْكِيـنٍ‮ ‬(with one mudd for each destitute person) بِـمُدِّ‮ ‬النَّبِيِّ (using the mudd of the Prophet), صَـلَّى اللَّهف عَـلَيْهِ‮ ‬وَ‮ ‬سلَّمَ‮ ‬(may Allah bless him and grant him peace). وَهُـوَ‮ ‬أَفْـضَلُ (It is what is most preferred). وَلَـهُ‮ ‬أَنْ‮ ‬يُـكَفَّرَ (The person who must do reparations can also do it) بِـعِتْقِ‮ ‬رُقْـبَةٍ‮ ‬مُـؤْمِـنَةٍ (by freeing a believing slave) أَوْ‮ ‬بِـصِيَامِ‮ ‬شَـعرَيْـنِ‮ ‬مُـتَتَابِـعَيْـنِ (or by fasting two consecutive months).

مَـا وَصَـلَ‮ ‬مِـنْ‮ ‬غَـيْرِ‮ ‬الْـفَمِ‮ ‬إِلَى الْـحَلْقِ (As for what arrives in the throat through a place other the mouth), مِـنْ‮ ‬أُذُنٍ (like the ear) أَوْ‮ ‬أَنْـفٍ (or the nose) أَوْ‮ ‬نَـحْوَ‮ ‬ذَالِـكَ (or what is similar), وَلَـوْ‮ ‬كَـانَ‮ ‬بَـخُورًا (even if it is incense), فَـعَلَيْهِ‮ ‬الْـقَضَاءُ (the person fasting only has to make up the fast). وَمِـثْلُهُ‮ ‬الْـبَلْغَمُ‮ ‬ (It is the same with regards to phlegm) الْـمُمْكِنُ‮ ‬طَـرْحُـهُ (which he can spit out), وَالْـغَالِـبُ (and what went down the throat beyond control)  مِـنَ‮ ‬الْــمَـضْمَضَةِ (from rinsing the mouth with water), وَالسِّواكِ (and the siwaak), وَكُـلُّ‮ ‬مَـا وَصَـلَ‮ ‬إِلَى الْـمَعِدَة‮ ‬ (everything that goes into the stomach), وَلَـوْ‮ ‬بِـالْـحُقْنَةِ‮ ‬الْـمَائِـعَةِ (even if by colonic iirigation), وَكَـذَا مَـنْ‮ ‬أَكَـلَ‮ ‬ (and similarly, the one who ate) بَـعَدَ‮ ‬شَـكِّهِ‮ ‬فِي‮ ‬الْفَجْرِ (after having doubted that the dawn had come in), لَـيْسَ‮ ‬عَـلَيّهِ‮ ‬فِـي‮ ‬جَـمِيعِ‮ ‬ذَالك (he is not required to do anything in regards to any of these previously mentioned things)‮ ‬إِلاَّ‮ ‬الْـقَضَاءُ (except the making up the fast day).  وَلاَ‮ ‬يَـلْزَمُـهُ‮ ‬الْـقَضَاءُ (He is not required to complete the fast however), فِـي‮ ‬غَـالِـبٍ‮ ‬مِـنْ‮ ‬ذُبَـابٍ‮ ‬(if he is overcome by flies {enter his throat]),‮ ‬أَوْ‮ ‬غُـبَارِ‮ ‬طَـرِيقٍ (dust of the road), أَوْ‮ ‬دَقِيقٍ (flour), أَوْ‮ ‬كَيْلِ‮ ‬جِبْسٍ (or plaster) لِصَانِعِهِ (used by his workman), وَلاَ‮ ‬فِي‮ ‬حُقْنَةٍ‮ ‬مِنْ‮ ‬إِحْلِيلٍ (or an injection of a lawful substance into the penis), وَلاَ‮ ‬فِي‮ ‬دُهْنِ‮ ‬جَـائِفةٍ (nor putting any substance in the stomach).

وَيَجُوزُ‮ ‬لِـلصِّيَامِ  is lawful in regards to the fast):1. السِّواكُ‮ ‬([the use of] Siwaak) فِـي‮ ‬جَمِيعِ‮ ‬النَّهَارِ (the entire day) 2. وَالْــمَـضْمَضَةُ (as well as rinsing the mouth with water) لِـلْعَطْشِ‮ ‬(because of thirst) 3. وَالإصْـبَاحُ‮ ‬بِـالْـجَنَابَـة (major impurity if it occurs). 4. وَالْـحَامِلَةُ‮ ‬ (If the pregnant woman) إِذَا خَـافَـتْ‮ ‬عَـلَى مَـا‮  ‬فِي‮ ‬بَـطَنِهَا‮ ‬(fears for what is in her stomach), أَفْطَرَتْ (she should break her fast). وَلَـمْ‮ ‬تُـطْعِمْ (and she does not have to feed anyone because if breaking her fast), وَقَـدْ‮ ‬قِـيلَ (It has also been said), تُـطْعِمُ (that she should feed people), وَالْـمُرْضِـعُ (and the nursing mother), إِذَا خَـافَـتْ‮ ‬عَـلَى وَلِـدِهَا (if she fears for her child), وَلَمْ‮ ‬تَـجِدْ‮ ‬مَـنْ‮ ‬تَسْـتَأْجِـرُهُ‮ ‬لَـهُ‮ ‬ (and she can’t hire a wet nurse for him) أَوْ‮ ‬يَـقْبَلُة (or the child doesn’t accept [being breast fed]) غَـيْرَهَـا (by anyone other than her), أَفْـطَرَتْ‮ ‬وَأَطْـعَمَتْ (she should break her fast and she must feed people). وَكَـذَالِـكَ‮ ‬الشَّيْخُ‮ ‬الْهَرِمُ (It is the same with the elderly person), يُـطْعِمُ‮ ‬إِذَا أَفْـطَرَ (it is recommended that he feed people, if he breaks his fast). وَمِـثْلُهُ‮ ‬مَـنْ‮ ‬فَـرَّطَ‮ ‬فِـي‮ ‬قَضَاءِ‮ ‬رَمَـضَانَ (and similar is someone who fails to make up missed days) حَـتَّى دَخَـلَ‮ ‬عَـلَيْهِ‮ ‬رَمَـضَانَ‮ ‬آخَرُ (until another Ramaḍaan comes). وَالإطْـعَامُ‮ ‬فِـي‮ ‬هَـاـذَا كُلِّهِ (The feeding in all of these cases) مُـدٌّ (is a mudd) عَـنْ‮ ‬كُـلِّ‮ ‬يَـوْمٍ‮ ‬يَـقْضِيهِ (each day that has to be completed).

وَيَستَحَبُّ‮ ‬لِـلصَّائِـمِ (It is highly recommended for the one fasting) كَـفُّ‮ ‬لِـسَانِـهِ (to guard his tongue), وَتُـعْجِيلُ‮ ‬قَـضَاءِ (to quickly complete), مَـا فِي‮ ‬ذِمَّتِهِ‮ ‬مِـنَ‮ ‬الصَّوْمِ (what he owes from the fast), and وَتَتَابُعُهُ (to do what’s owed in the correct order).

وَيَستَحَبُّ‮ ‬صَـوْمُ‮ ‬يَوْمِ‮ ‬عَرَفَةَ (Fasting is highly recommended on the Day of ʿArafat)لِـغَيْرِ‮ ‬الْـحَاجِّ (for those who are not performing the Ḥajj), وَعَـاشُـورَاءَ (alsoʿĀshūrā’), وَصَوْمُ‮ ‬عَشَـرِ‮ ‬ذِي‮ ‬الْـحِجَّةِ (the Fast of the 10 days of Dhū-l-Ḥijr), والْـمُحَـرَّمِ (al-Muḥarram), وَرَجَـبٍ (Rajab), وَشَـعْبَانَ (and Shaʿbān),  وَثَـلاَثَـةِ‮ ‬أَيَّامٍ‮ ‬مِنْ‮ ‬كُـلِّ‮ ‬شَهْرٍ‮ ‬(and three (3) days every month).

وَكَـرِهَ‮ ‬مَـالِـكَ‮ ‬‮ ‬(Mālik disapproved) أَنْ‮ ‬تَـكُونَ‮ ‬الْـبِيضَ‮ ‬لِـفِرَارِهِ (them [the fasting days] to be the “Bright  Days” )‮ ‬لِـفِرَارِهِ‮ ‬مِـنَ‮ ‬التَّحْـدِيدِ (in order for them [these fasting days] avoid the limiting of them).

وَكَـذَا كَـرِهَ‮ ‬صِـيَامَ‮ ‬سِـتَّةِ‮ ‬مِنْ‮ ‬شَـوَالِ (Similarly, he disliked fasting the 6 days of Shawaal) مُـحَافَـةَ‮ ‬أَنْ‮ ‬يُحلْحِقَهَا الْـجَاهِـلُ‮ ‬بِـرَمَـضَانَ (fearing that the ignorant person would join them with Ramaḍān).

وَيَـكْرَهُ‮ ‬ذَوْقُ‮ ‬الْـمِلِحِ‮ ‬لِلصَّائِمِ (Tasting salt is disliked for the person whose fasting). إِنْ‮ ‬فَعَلَ‮ ‬ذَالك (If he does that) وَمَـجَّهُ (and spits it out), وَلَمْ‮ ‬يَـصًلْ‮ ‬إِلَى حَـلْقِهِ‮ ‬مًـنْهُ‮ ‬شَـيْءٌ (and none of it goes down his throat), فَلاَ‮ ‬شَىْءَ‮ ‬عَلَيْهِ (he is not required to do anything).

وَمُـقدِّمَـاتُ‮ ‬الْـجِـمَاعَـةِ‮ ‬مَـكرُوهَـةٌ (Sexual foreplay is disliked) لِلصَّائِمِ (for the person who is fasting), كَـالْـقُبْلَةِ (for example: kissing), وَالْـجَسَّةِ (touching), ‮ ‬النَّظَرِ‮ ‬مُسْـتَدَامِ (continuous gazing [with lust]), وَالْـمُلاَعَـبَةِ (and playing around) إنْ‮ ‬عُلِمًتِ‮  ‬السّلْاَمَةُ‮ ‬مِنْ‮ ‬ذَالك (when it is know how to prevent it), ‮ ‬إلاَّ‮ ‬حُـرِمَ‮ ‬عَـلَيْهِ‮ ‬ذَالك‮ ‬(unless the foreplay is unlawful for him), وَلَـكِنَّهُ‮ ‬إِنْ‮ ‬إِمْـذَى (but if he emits prostatic fluid) مِـنْ ذَالك (as result of it), فَـعَلَيْهِ‮ ‬الْـقَضاءُ‮ ‬فَـقَطْ (he only has to make up that fast day),   وَإنْ‮ ‬إِمْـنَى (but if he emits sperm), فَـعَلَيْهِ‮ ‬الْـقَضاءُ (then he must make up the fast day) وَالْكَفَّارَةُ (and do reparations as well).

قِيَامُ‮ ‬وَمَضانَ (Standing during Ramadān) مُسْـتَحَابٌ (is highly recommended). قَالَ‮ ‬رَسُولُ‮ ‬اللهِ (The Messenger of Allah صَـلَّي‮ ‬اللهُ‮ ‬عَـلَيْهِ‮ ‬وَسَـلَّمَ said), مَـنْ‮ ‬قَـامَ‮ ‬رَمَـضَانَ‮ ‬ (“Whoever stands in Ramaḍān) إِمَانًا (with belief) وَإِحْـتِسَابًا (with anticipation of his reward from Allah) غُفِرَ‮ ‬لَهُ‮ ‬مَا تَقَدَّمَ‮ ‬مِنْ‮ ‬ذَنْـبهِ (will have his prior sins forgiven).” ويَسْـتََبُّ‮ ‬الاَنْـفِرادُ‮ ‬بِهِ (It is recommended do it alone [at home]), إِنْ‮ ‬لَـمْ‮ ‬تُـعَطَّلْ  (if does not lead to the masjids being empty). وَاللهُ‮ ‬أَعْـلَمُ (Allah is the best Knower).

AlMaliki22’s Channel: Course: Matn Al Ashmaawiyyah Taught in English by Ustadh Abdush Shakur Brooks


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The Sakwatto Model

THE SAKKWATO MODEL 

A Study of the Origin, Development and Fruition of the Jihad of Uthman b. Fodye)

(1754-1817) 

by

USMAN M. BUGAJE 

This booklet was originally a paper presented at an International Islamic Conference held at Bayero University  KANO – NIGERIA  (16th to 22nd April 1980)

INTRODUCTION 

A lot has been said and written on the Jihad of Uthman b. Foduye, initially and adequately by the mujahidun themselves (1) and their contemporaries. To this day, the products of the Sakkwato intellectual tradition continue to write on this subject.(2) Sequel to the fall of the Sakkwato Caliphate to British colonialism another tradition was born. This is a tradition initiated by colonial officers and their clique. Their purpose is very clear: to discredit the Jihad and portray it as a racial and at best a religious fanaticism that has seized power only to perpetrate injustice and oppression. By portraying the ‘dreadfulness’ of the old order and the benevolence of their government, the Imperialist hoped to create a fertile ground for colonial propaganda and justify their imperialism. Later academicians mostly trained by the colonial “pioneers” came to study the Jihad through the spectacles of the secular west, playing down aspects incomprehensible to the Western minds and emphasising only those aspects important to them. For many of them this is the only way to get their degrees and be accepted as members of the learned academic community. Recently, however, there began to emerge some scholars, few though they are, daring to break from the established western Euro-Christian standards and seeking to interpret the Jihad in it’s own context.

Yet another concern for this Jihad has, rather quite recently appeared. This is a concern which was born out of an awareness in the Muslims of the need to return to Islam. This paper is part of this concern and its objectives is to analyse the origin, development and fruition of Uthman b. Foduye’s Jihad with a view to laying down a theoretical framework for Muslim movements in the Fifteenth century of the Hijra. Hence this paper seeks to adopt an indigenous approach which as of necessity must depart from the alien conventional western standards, an approach whose framework is perhaps still to be found.

The only constraint to the realisation of this objective, I must say, is the inadequate knowledge and skill of the author. The most the author can do therefore is to present something that can form a basis for discussion, in the hope that through contribution of other brothers during discussion, the objective of the paper may be realized.

THE SETTING

The Hausaland, where Shaykh Uthman b. Foduye was destined to emerge, was located in the Central Bilad al-Sudan, an extensive Savannah grassland area starting from the Nile Valley in the east to the Atlantic ocean in the west. Sandwiched between the Sahara and dense forest, enriched with fertile soil, the Bilad al-Sudan was particularly suitable for the development of complex civilisations. This land came to be made up of a variety of Black peoples with a variety of languages and cultures. Chief among these were the Fulani, Jolof Bambara, Wolof, Mandigo Kanuri and Hausa. In the course of time group incorporation and integration became regular and massive.(3) Through migration, settlement, intermarriage and trade, inter-ethnic communities with complex social patterns of alliance emerged all over this vast region.

The emergence of the Hausas dates back to the tenth century. According to the popular Kano chronicle they seemed to have migrated from the north, settled and mixed with indigenous hunters and eventually established mastery over them.(4) The Hausas shared a common language and never formed a tribal group as such. By the first half of the fifteenth century the Hausas were controlled by the Borno empire. This lasted up to the end of the century. By the sixteenth century the seven Hausa states, some of which came under the conquest of the Songhai Empire had emerged. The fall of the Songhay in the same century was followed by upheavals in the Hausa states. These upheavals which lasted up to the eighteenth century, saw the rise of independent Hausa city-states. Unlike their eastern neighbors (Kanem Borno) the Hausa states never formed an empire and their history was characterised by inter-state conflicts and wars, which quite naturally had adverse effects on security and commerce in the area.

Until the appearance of Islam in the early part of the fourteenth century, the dominant religion in the Hausaland had been what has now come to be known (rather prestigiously) as ‘traditional’ religion. This is, essentially, a belief system widespread in the then tropical Africa, involving belief in a high distant god not actively connected with every day life of men, supplemented by a chain of supernatural forces directly in touch with men and controlling their destiny in everyday life. Ubangiji was the Hausa’s high god while Iskoki (singular Iska) the variety of those near spirits, and it is the maintenance of good relationship with the latter which formed the object of the rituals. Communication with the Iskoki was achieved through sacrificial procedures or possession. The possession of a human being by any of the Iskoki is called Bori; the Bori-cult is still to be found among the few non-Muslim Hausas today. This belief system naturally supported a class of priests (called Bokaye) skilled in the mysteries of the Iskoki and in addition played a significant political role. The ruler (Sarki) seems also to have occupied a leadership position especially in public rituals.(5)

I. Islamisation. Despite the efforts of some vicious scholars such as Trimingham and Le Chatelier, it has now been established that Islam began to permeate the western Sudan as early as the eighth century. This Islamisation was calmly carried out by traders, merchants and itinerant Ulama, mostly from north Africa, whose trade contacts with western Sudan started long before Islam spread to North Africa itself. As north Africa itself became Islamised, the zeal of spreading Islam across the African Sahara increased the number of caravan traders travelling from the north to the south and vice versa. As a result of this, the influence of Islam in western Sudanese society grew rapidly and spread considerably, integrating groups, forging a stronger socio-economic and political life based on a superior culture.(6)

Though historians are not certain of the time Islam began to permeate the Hausaland it seems obvious that Islam spread into this region from the western Sudan through the deliberate activity of Muslim traders and itinerant scholars as well as natural processes such as migrations, as early as the eleventh century. For by this century Ghana had been so Islamised that there were about thirteen mosques one of which belonged to the King. By the twelfth century Ghana was described as Islamic and the next century saw the rise of the great Muslim empire of Mali which was followed by Songhay.

In Hausa land, until the later part of the fifteenth century, Islam did not assume any political dimension, although the Ulama with their superior culture and rare ability of literacy, must have been involved in administration. Associated with the emergence of Islam as a political force in Hausa land were governmental changes which brought new leadership. This leadership especially in Zaria, Kano and Katsina, affected a number of reforms that were to further Islamise the Hausa land. Notable among these leaders was Muhammad Rumfa of Kano, who went as far as inviting a jurist of international repute, Muhammad al-Maghili, to advise him.

As Islam gained more foothold in the Hausa states, its significance as a pilgrimage route and centre of learning increased. By the sixteenth century the reputation of some Hausa state capitals as Muslim metropolises was already high enough to attract many students and scholars. This coupled with the pilgrimage tradition served as a link with the rest of the Muslim world and a source of continuous flow of Islamic thought and ideas into the Hausaland. The eighteenth century saw the Hausaland further Islamised, with Islam conspicuously enjoying a superior position, many rulers professing Islam and employing more Ulama in their courts. Despite the Islamic identity of the administration, total application of Islam – especially its system of law and morality – was not obtaining. This situation naturally attracted the attention of some of the Ulama and posed as a potential area of conflict between the increasing number of committed Muslim subjects and the nominal Muslim rulers. That the rulers often paid tribute to unIslamic traditional practices must have helped to make this conflict more probable. Worse perhaps was that the rulers often forced the Muslim subjects to also pay tribute to pagan practices or undertake such unIslamic obligations.

Official corruption, heavy taxation, confiscation of subject’s properties, oppression of the poor in general and slavery which instilled perpetual fear, was as much a source of discontent to the Muslim as to the non-Muslim subjects. This state of affairs led to tension and frustration especially to the Muslim subjects, as Smith quite rightly observed:

“The position was frustrating for Muslims were generally conscious of being culturally far superior to the pagans. Their religion, of course, left them in no doubt about this, and on the practical level they were likely to be superior citizens, knowing much more about the world than did the pagans, and conserving a vital monopoly of literacy.”(7)

During the course of this state of affairs in Hausaland, the Ulama were becoming deeply influenced by Islamic ideology through the growth of Islamic literature. As their concern for Islam grew so did their disapproval of paganism or ‘mixed Islam’. Their passive attitude was slowly but perceptibly changing such that by the later part of the eighteenth century a number of local Islamic literature, pointing accusing fingers to paganism and violation of Islamic law especially of food and drink, marriage and inheritance, promiscuity and excessive praise for rulers, were already in circulation. It was in this period that Shaykh Jibril b. ‘Umar a revolutionary and severe critic of this society, (one of the most influential of Shaykh Uthman’s teachers) attempted to wage a Jihad and reform his society. Why Jibril’s efforts failed to materialise is still to be clear, but his extreme position about takfir must have denied him accessibility to the masses of the people as well as fellow scholars making his reform out of tune with his society. Such tension and frustration which led to mounting dissatisfaction in Gobir as much as in other Hausa city-states was to usher the emergence of Uthman b. Foduye.

II. The Emergence of the Shaykh. Shaykh Uthman was born on 15th December 1754 to a learned scholar Muhammad Foduye at Maratta, a town in the Hausa state of Gobir. Not long after his birth, his family moved to Degel, a town still within the state of Gobir, where Uthman spent his childhood learning the Qur’an in addition to reading and writing from his father. Uthman’s youth, like his childhood, was totally given to learning, fitting like some of his contemporaries into an already institutionalised system of education in his society. Uthman studied quite a variety of subjects. Starting with the Arabic language, tafsir, Hadith, and Sirah, through Fiqh to astronomy, arithmetic and tasawwuf. Uthman’s teachers, as his brother Abdullah reported, were too many to be recorded.(8) This only reflects the intellectual background of Shaykh Uthman as well as his brother ‘Abdullah. Prominent however, among many of his teachers, after his father were Shaykh Abd al-Rahman b. Hammada, Muhammad Sambo and Uthman Binduri who was in fact Shaykh’s uncle and influenced him remarkably. Others were Hajj Muhammad b. Raji, Ahmad b. Muhammad, both Shaykh’s uncles, and Shaykh Jibril b. ‘Umar, a scholar of high learning and revolutionary zeal who also influenced the Shaykh tremendously.

Shaykh Uthman’s teachers not only imparted knowledge, but as was usual in this system of education, influenced him profoundly. Of these influences, those of his uncle Uthman Binduri and Jibril b. Umar were the most vivid. Of course, most influential on Shaykh Uthman was Jibril. This however did not prevent disagreement on certain issues, What is interesting is that this disagreement never affected in any way Shaykh’s respect for this teacher of his. As Shaykh Uthman advanced his knowledge and entered his early adulthood his piety and extreme simplicity, exceptional intellectual ability and charismatic personality began to attract disciples from his immediate society. He gradually gained prominence among young Muslim scholars – including his junior brother Abdullah who he in fact taught – sharing some revolutionary idea.

THE PRELUDE 

It is perhaps a trite remark to say that in any revolution there is always in interplay of many factors. This I think is always necessary if the revolution is to be worth it’s name. This is particularly true of Islamic revolutions – such as that of Uthman b. Foduye – for it is the nature of Islam to guide man in all aspects of his endeavours, be they economic, social, political, moral etc. To understand and appreciate the role played by the personnel of this revolution we have to explore the nature and depth of the problems that characterised their society and hence gave their movement its character and dimension. We are however limited in the extent to which we can go in this for, until quite recently, much of the research done has tended to obscure rather than elucidate this point.

By the second half of the eighteenth century Borno was declining and the Hausa city states were plunged into inter-state devastating rivalry and warfare, with its effects on society ranging from forced conscription into the army, and low

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agricultural output, to decline in internal and external trade. Internally, the contempt in the Muslim-pagan relationship, the mistrust and suspicion in the relation of Muslim subjects (especially the non-court scholars) and nominal Muslim rulers and the fear in the oppressed subjects of their tyrannical rulers, were breeding discontent of increasing magnitude. Thus the economic and political crisis was reinforced simultaneously by social and moral ones. While the court Ulama were advising the rulers and praying for success in military adventures the other Ulama (who form the majority) were busy teaching their small groups of students as well as the public. The role of the Ulama in the social life of the people – in teaching, leading Islamic social rituals, settling disputes etc – was growing in prominence in towns and villages. There was thus, in this eighteenth century Hausa society, a strong tyrannical political power base in the hands of the rulers and their court officials (including some Ulama), though ridden with crisis, and a growing intellectual power base in the hands of the Ulama whose position was growing to a level which can no longer be ignored by the political power base.

By 1774, Shaykh Uthman, who was now qualified to teach, was filled with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm for reforming his ailing society. The question which has often been raised was whether the Shaykh was aware of his role as a reformer from the beginning of his teaching? Or was he like most other scholars of his time, concerned only with teaching (often as a means of livelihood) and quite unaware let alone commmitted to any form of reform? It is now very clear that the Shaykh. perhaps through his intimate contact with Shaykh Jibril b. ‘Umar, a severe critic of the society who had earlier attempted to carry out a Jihad but failed, was aware of the dire need for reform and saw himself more than just a teacher/preacher but as a reformer with a clear sense of mission and commitment. In his own word, in one of his early writings – Ifli-am al-Munkirin: 

“Allah, the Exalted, has ordained to send forth to the Umma at the end of every century a scholar, Alim, who would revive her religion for her. Such a scholar or Mujahid, would take upon himself the duty of enjoying the good and forbidding the evil. He would call for the regulation of the affairs of the people and the establishment of justice amongst them. He would support the truth against falsehood, revive the sunna, suppress innovation, and denounce bad customs. As a result of his activities his conditions will be different from those of the Ulama’ of his age and he will find himself a stranger amongst them, because his qualities are different from their own and men like him are few…”(9)

Convinced of his role in reforming his society Shaykh Uthman devoted his full time right from the onset to teaching, preaching and writing. The content and method of his preaching were geared towards achieving the desired results – reforms. Of course during the cause of his preaching a number of events occurred which influenced Shaykh’s thinking and ultimately directed his course of action.

By teaching and preaching, Uthman was not doing anything new in this society for this tradition has for centuries been practiced in Hausaland. What was actually new was the content and the approach. The Shaykh who was committed to changing his society must have studied its problem and work out a strategy that was most fitting for, the circumstances. What seems to have taken the Shaykh’s immediate concern was the ignorance of the mass of the people about Islam despite the presences of many scholars. True there were many scholars with knowledge but most of them preoccupied themselves in teaching their very few students in their ivory towers neglecting the mass of the people and even their families. The few Ulama who were engaged in mass preaching were very rigid in their views, anathematizing (takfir), the masses and engaging in all sorts of venality. Local customs and beliefs were so mixed with Islam that the issue of what is Islam and what is not Islam was the talk of-the day. Thus at the onset of his mission Shaykh focused his attention on these problems; the mass ignorance of Islam; the rigidity and venality of the Ulama the issue of sycritism and the question of belief and unbelief, Kufr. 

At the early age of twenty (1774) Shaykh Uthman started his teaching and preaching in his home town Degel. In the same year he started moving around Degel, accompanied by his brother Abdullah, teaching and preaching. Later in the company of his disciples he began to travel out of Degel, to the east and west, Birnin Kebbi (to the west) being his first station of call.

With Degel as his base, Shaykh Uthman and his group travelled to other towns in Gobir teaching and preaching with remarkable success. As Abdullah himself reported in his Tazyin al-waraqat:

“Then we rose up with the Shaykh helping him in his mission work for religion. He travelled for that purpose to the east and to the west, calling the people to the religion of Allah by his preaching and his qasidas in other languages and destroying customs contrary to Muslim law. Some of the people from surrounding countries came to him and entered his community while we were in his country which had become famous through him.”(10)

The result, as Abdullah reported, was that people started to respond to Shaykh’s preaching in large numbers and some started coming to him in groups after his return to Degel, thus both Shaykh and his town Degel were becoming prominent. This prominence was the result of the Shaykh’s radical approach. Until then, the difference between the Shaykh’s content and method on the one hand and those of other Ulama on the other was not vivid. Now that the difference and impact of Shaykh Uthman’s method has begun to manifest itself then opposition started. Many Ulama began to oppose the Shaykh and accused him of such things as hypocrisy, sedition, hearsay and misleading the common people. Neither was the opposition unexpected nor was the Shaykh unaware of the problems his preachings would raise. The Shaykh simultaneously started writing, arguing his point with the Ulama – where he excelled them and always, emerged victorious – and attacking the venal and rigid Ulama who have actually created the problems the Shaykh was toiling to solve. In this process alone the Shaykh was reported by Muhammad Bello (his son) to have written over fifty works.(11)

Foremost in the Shaykh’s attack were those corrupt Ulama (‘Ulamaal su), most of whom were associated with the rulers court, who in their efforts to maintain the established order and protect their vested interest, justified political corruption, immorality and all sorts of evils on the grounds that these were customs (ada) and tradition. Making this point clear the Shaykh said:

“Among their misconceptions is that some of them (i.e. ‘Ulama) tolerated unworthy customs on the ground of the sayings which are widespread in the lands, that tht: custom of a land is sunna. But his is falsehood and confusion according to the consensus of opinion ijma because a custom should not be tolerated if it contradicts the sunna (of the Prophet)…. I was told by one of the brethren that he heard some of them say ‘Forbidding evil in the land of evil is the real evil’. And for this reason they do not chide each other for committing an evil. I take refuge with Allah the Exalted; this is one of the characteristics of the Jews.”(12)

Shaykh Uthman also condemned those class of charlatans who posed as saints or sufi shaykhs. Such people were in most cases of very low learning who made their living by divination and prophecy. Many of these Ulama claimed the power of Kashf (mystical experience of transcendental knowledge) and thus duped the common people. Not only did the Shaykh attack and condemn these people but he denied in clear and unequivocal terms, such supernatural claims attributed to him by many people making this point clear in his Tahdhir al-ikhwan, the Shaykh said:

“Know O’ my brethren that I have never claimed the Quthaniyyah or the Wilayah, though that it is heard from the tongues of other men that I can fly in the air and walk on water that the earth is folded up for me in such a way as to enable me to talk to Makka and Madina, that the Jinns serve me as they serve the most perfect saints (al awliya al-Kummal) and that I can guide the people not only on the path of piety and righteousness but also on the path of Kashf. When all these had come to my notice. I composed numerous poems in ‘Ajami to refute the aforementioned claims…”(13)

Of the problems that Shaykh had to confront at the onset of his mission, the issue of belief and unbelief (who is a Muslim and who is not) was perhaps the most intricate. The gravity of the situation becomes more vivid when it is realized that this issue of who is a Muslim and who is not goes beyond the theological or Islamic faith, to determine the right and obligation of the individual in society. This was directly connected with the institution of slavery which was apparently widespread. Since a Muslim cannot be enslaved according to Sharia, the question of who is a Muslim and who is not was no doubt crucial for it determines who can be enslaved and who cannot. This issue of Islam and Kufr being the main categories in which the people of eighteenth century Hausaland were classified has been played down by scholars of the colonial establishment (and their students) who labour to convince us of a Hausa-Fulani dichotomy. In spite of their efforts it is now clear that what was important was not whether one was Hausa, Fulani or Tuareg but rather whether one was a Muslim or not. The issue was a burning one and the Ulama were divided on it. There were the ‘Ulama al-kalam, who claimed that before a person is accepted as a Muslim he must be able to explain the unity of Allah and the Prophethood of Muhammad (P) in accordance with the theology of Kalam. The Shaykh had no patience with this group whom he denounced as ignorant and misguided idiots who were confused by the sophistication of the science of Kalam. Some Ulama took the view of Al-Maghili in his advice to Askia Muhammad. This definition did not solve the problems of the eighteenth century Hausaland for it leaves open what practices constitute unbelief. Shaykh Jibril b. ‘Umar, one of Shehu’s teachers, took a very strict and rather extreme position. For Jibril confession of faith must be reinforced by good works and the commitment of a grave sin (Kaba’ir) constituted unbelief (Kufr). Shaykh Uthman here disagreed with his teacher Jibril. In refuting Jibril’s definition Shaykh Uthman argued that if a sinner recognised his sin, he thus proved he accepted the Sharia.(14) Although it might be argued that to sin either intentionally or persistently implies denying the validity of the law, such an argument involves the intention and personal attitude of the sinner. Since none but Allah can know what is in the heart of a man, any judgement is better left to the last day.(15) The Shaykh’s moderate but dynamic position on this issue is clearly expressed in his book Ihya al-Sunna, where he said:

“Whosoever affirms the confession of faith (Shahadatayn) should be treated in accordance with the Islamic legal rules; he may intermarry with the Muslims, he may lead the prayer, the meat of animals slaughtered by him is lawful, the Muslims may inherit his property and he may inherit their own, and when he dies he should be buried in the Muslim grave yard.”(16)

As Shaykh Uthman’s preaching tours in and around Degel continued, Degel attracted more people and news of his activities became widespread. At this stage the Shaykh decided to extend his preaching to his head of state – Bawa Jangwarzo the Sarki of Gobir. Why the Shaykh did so at this particular point in time is not very clear. The Shaykh must have been aware that news of his preaching and growing success had reached Bawa. By his visit to the Bawa’s court Shaykh might have hoped to assess the degree of political opposition or otherwise, especially when he was soon to extend his preaching tour to Zamfara which was in constant war with Gobir. The visit according to Abdullahi was fruitful for if nothing else it consolidated further Shaykh’s position and boosted his success.”(17)

The Shaykh’s next station of call was the city-state of Zamfara where Abdullah said:

“We remained there about five years, and it was a land over whose people ignorance was supreme; the majority of its people had not smelt the scent of Islam. They used to come to the Shaykh’s gathering mingling with their women. He segregated them, teaching them that mixing together was forbidden, after he had taught them the laws of Islam.”(18)

This suggests that the Shaykh preached to the mass of the people, Muslims and non-Muslims, male and female, who until the Shaykh’s coming had been abandoned in the depth of ignorance. But as it was, the Ulama never got tired of attacking him. One scholar, Al-Mustapha Gwani from Damagaram attacked the Shaykh over mixing men and women and urged him to stop the women from attending his preaching assembly.(19) Abdullahi replying on the Shaykh’s request, argued in a poem, that education of women in Islam is compulsory and it was a far greater sin to leave women in ignorance than to allow them to attend a mixed crowd and after all, the Shehu always separated them.(20) The Shaykh’s preaching tour of Zamfara was apparently producing alarming success which the rulers could no longer afford to ignore. At about this stage it was apparent that the rulers were showing growing concern and in fact beginning to take measures to check this new development. When the Shaykh was still preaching at Zamfara, Bawa Sarkin Gobir invited him along with other scholars, to celebrate the ‘Id-al-Kabir of 1788 (or 1789) at the town of Magami. Though this was said to have been a plan to get rid of the Shaykh, at the end gifts were distributed to the scholars with Shehu reported to have the lions share of 500 mithqal of gold. All accepted the king’s gift except Shaykh Uthman, who said he and his people were not in need of Bawa’s wealth and in its stead he had five demands to make:

1. To allow me to call people to Allah in your country. 

2. Not to stop anybody who intends to respond to my call. 

3. To treat with respect anyone with a turban. 

4. To free all the (political) prisoners. 

5. Not to burden the subjects with taxes.(21)

These demands clearly point to the fact that the Shaykh’s overwhelming success in his preaching tours had begun to assume proportions that the political power base can no longer tolerate. It was clear the rulers were making some effort to frustrate people from responding to his call or the Shaykh must have reason to believe that they would soon embark on this. These demands indicate some opposition to the Shaykh’s activity by the state and he was not ready for any sort of confrontation. If anything Shaykh Uthman was trying to secure the least hostile atmosphere possible to spread the message of Islam and educate the mass of the people.

After five years successful preaching in Zamfara the Shaykh and his group returned to Degel about the year 1791-2. Continuing his tour, the Shaykh travelled west to Kabi and further crossed the river Niger to Illo. Back to Degel he now moved eastwards and reached Zurmi where its ruler was reported to have accepted Islam. By 1792-3 Shaykh Uthman found it necessary to settle down at his centre Degel to receive people coming in quest of learning and guidance.

ORGANISATION 

Here I hope to discuss the manner in which the Shaykh and members of his team, went about procuring, assembling and directing the various instruments of change in his own society. Needless to say that this is the most crucial as well as difficult part of any revolution. More so when the Shaykh had to operate within a people that are largely ignorant of Islam and under a strong tyrannical government that is highly suspicious of any activity of the Ulama.

That the Shaykh spent nearly nineteen years traveling, teaching, preaching, converting, and writing along with his expanding team of disciples shows clearly the Shaykh’s commitment to mass education as a key to reforming his society. Throughout this process the Shaykh distinguished himself from other itinerant scholars not so much by his superior learning and exceptional ability like his deep sense of mission and commitment to reform. More than just preaching the Shaykh was silently but consciously building all over his itinerary a body of scholars and students who he left behind to continue instructing his increasing number of followers in the basic tenets of Islam as well as his idea of reform. During the same tour he was able to familiarize himself with society – its nature, problems and aspirations.

Having roved all over his society, grasping its full first hand information and gauging its intellectual level; having laid a sound intellectual base for his revolution; having raised an adequate number of students and scholars now scattered all over the Hausa land, teaching and preaching Islam along his line of reform, Shaykh Uthman could now settle down at his home town Degel to begin yet another phase of his revolution. This is the organisational phase.

No sooner did he settle down than he began writing, teaching and counseling. Here he devoted more time to his advanced students who he taught every afternoon. He also held a weekly public preaching session every Friday and maintained a separate class for the women. One of his most detailed works Ihya al-Sunna wa Ikhmad al-Bida was written in the first year of his settlement at Degel. This book must have been meant to be a text book for the use of his disciples in particular and scholars in general in teaching and preaching all over Hausaland. The shaykh’s strategy was that in every mosque in every town or village there must be a scholar constantly engaged in teaching and preaching. This is clearly evident from his Ihya al-Sunna, where he said:

“It is incumbent on every scholar not to keep silent in the present time because innovations, bid’a, have appeared and are widespread. Verily the Hadith states: ‘Any scholar who keeps silent in the face of dissention fitna may the curse of Allah fall upon him’. Verily, anyone who today keeps to his home cannot be absolved from responsibility of teaching the people and guiding them to the right path. 

And since the majority of people today are ignorant of the Shari’a, it is necessary that there should be a jurist, faqih, available in every mosque and in every quarter in town to instruct the people in tenets of their religion. Similarly in every village it is incumbent on every jurist who has completed the individual obligation, fard ‘ayn, and is free to carry out the collective obligation, fard kifaya, to go out to the neighbouring territories and teach the people there the tenets of their religion and the stipulations of the Shari’a.”(22)

Through this body of scholars engaged in da’awa, the Shaykh was able to maintain constant contact with his growing followers. His prolific writings which were immediately handcopied and circulated, were no doubt addressed to the masses through the literate group (scholars). The Shaykh’s moderate position on many of the burning issues not only conforms to the Islamic principles of the middle course but also gave a balanced interpretation of Islam easily understood and acceptable to the local population. At a time when newspapers as such did not exist the Shaykh’s writings with their copyists constantly occupied, served as a very effective way of disseminating knowledge and ideas. Equally utilised by the Shaykh in communicating his ideas to the masses was poetry, composed in both Arabic and vernacular. These turned out to be as effective as our contemporary radio and television. Ranging from those that are meant to simplify otherwise complicated instructions, through those that are meant to appeal or preach, to those of praising Prophet Muhammad (P), “the poems”, in the words of Hiskett, “more than anything seems to arrest the imagination of the Shaykh’s followers, when reading or listening.”(23) Thus intellectually and psychologically the masses were prepared to understand the message of Islam and its method of reforming their ailing society. Through all these sophisticated means of communication the Shaykh was forming and directing his revolutionary crowd.

In the course of time Degel was growing to be a kind of University town of its time and becoming the Shaykh’s student was not only a prestige but in fact a qualification. Scholars all over Hausaland and Bornu were finding their way to Degel. Every increase in this team of scholars was automatically an increase in the revolutionary personnel for what they were seeking was not only knowledge but also change. The Shaykh at Degel spent a lot of his time with these students/scholars, teaching them to varying depth and also moulding and shaping them into people who could shoulder responsibilities that lie ahead. Part of the programme that the Shaykh seemed to have organised at this stage for this group include spiritual training through tasawwuf. The Shaykh himself (and a number of his close disciples) was reported to have gone on retreat a number of times. The role this kind of training played in shaping and moulding the revolutionary personnel is often played down by conventional western scholarship and often underestimated even by sincere Muslims who try to study the Jihad in its own context. Here the Shaykh trained his students and disciples to dislike the world and its Zinah, to live in bare austerity and desire the life of a1janna. Such a training as the Shaykh was no doubt aware was crucial to any revolution. Without such properly committed highly disciplined vanguard as the Shaykh trained it is doubtful if the revolution would have been the celebrated success it was. Many people from the Jama’a who were eager for a confrontation and kept bothering the Shaykh for it must have, I believe, overlooked this point which the Shaykh quite rightly considered vital.

Also taking shape at this stage, though perhaps unnoticed, was the revolutionary leadership. The Shaykh’s position at Degel was not just that of a learned scholar dishing out knowledge to his thirsty students, more than that, the Shaykh was increasingly, finding himself as the head of a growing revolutionary party. Next to the Shaykh in the scale of this leadership was a team of close disciples made up among others of Abdullah (his brother) Umar al-Kammu and Muhammad Bello (his son). As the revolutionary party was growing in both membership and commitment, the personnel and leadership were becoming more involved in writing, teaching as well as organisation. That here you have a revolutionary leadership with its personnel and crowd in constant and intimate communication and planning could not be a coincidence. It was a deliberately but patiently worked out arrangement by none other than the Shaykh himself.

CONFRONTATION 

Confrontation, even in the best of circumstances is never unconstrained, least of all confronting a power many times stronger and well organised. The concerted effort of the Shaykh, settled at Degel and his students, scattered all over the Hausa city-states, was to produce a growing revolutionary group cutting across tribal, racial and national boundaries, sharing common fundamental cultural values that were vividly reflected in their manners and dressing – turban for males and veil for women. While this development was in the making, the rulers of Gobir in particular, who had all along been suspicious of the Shaykh’s activity were employing covert measures ranging from intimidation to assassination attempts, to curb this growing threat to their authority. By the turn of the nineteenth century the rate of growth of the Shaykh’s Jama’a has reached a proportion which alarmed Nafata, then ruler of Gobir. Nafata realised that the power base of his declining authority was being eroded by the growing Jama’a and will soon disappear in a matter of time. The Gobir power base was indeed being eroded for every increase in the Shaykh’s Jama’a meant a shift of loyalty from Nafata to the Shaykh. For the Jama’a saw themselves for all intents and purposes as a separate entity whose allegiance was to an ideology (Islam) and not to a state (Gobir), sharing a common set of beliefs, goals, and aspirations. In a desperate effort to save his authority and consolidate his power Nafata intensified his attacks on the Shaykh’s Jama’a; robbing their properties and waylaying them in the hope that they would become disenchanted and revert to their former faith or indolence as the rif-raff, as opposed to the Jama’a who were now distinct by attitudes, manners and dress.(24) This increased hostility had the opposite result of making the Jama’a more firm and committed to changing the state of affairs in Hausaland.

As these persecutions continued the Jama’a demanded a showdown with the Gobir authorities but the Shaykh, composed and far sighted, refused. Instead the Shaykh, in a poem apparently made in praise of Shaykh Abdulkadir Jaylani, urged his Jama’a to acquire arms, as it is sunna (to do so) and prayed to Allah to establish Islamic rule in Hausaland.(25) The Shaykh’s message was very clear. By using a poem the Shaykh meant to communicate directly with the revolutionary crowd to prepare itself militarily both for self defence and eventual confrontation. The Jama’a’s response frightened Nafata, who, feeling more insecure than ever efore, decreed that:

“(a) Nobody except Dan Fodio in person was allowed to preach. 

(b) No more conversions to Islam were to be allowed and those who were not born Muslims should return to their former religion (paganism). 

(c) Men should not west turbans nor women veils.”(26)

These decrees were to no avail as they only provoked Muslims to greater militancy. With his failure evident, Nafata made a desperate attempt to kill the Shaykh but failed. He soon died and was succeeded by his son Yunfa in 1802. Yunfa inherited not only this internal crisis but also an external one. The whole Hausa city states and Gobir in particular were engaged in mutually destructive interstate wars. The Shaykh and his Jama’a were fully aware of these developments but unlike the Jama’a the Shaykh was not in favour of an open confrontation. Even in the circle of his top revolutionary personnel there were many who were pressing the Shaykh for a confrontation with Gobir rulers. That Shaykh Uthman insisted on avoiding any clash at that material time despite mounting pressure is of particular interest to this paper. While many of his disciples and followers saw in the tense situation a simple threat of force which an open confrontation could settle, Shaykh Uthman with his superior learning and discipline, exceptional composure and sagacity knew that there is more to the situation than sheer threat of force; and such open confrontation at that stage was not the answer. Confronting a deteriorating power, operating in a society where a standing regular army as such did not exist and where there was relatively equal accessibility to arms – spears, swords, arrows and shields, it was quite tempting to go for a showdown. But the Shaykh who had spent nearly thirty years preaching and organising his Jama’a knew best their current organisational ability and potentials, must have thought it unwise if not risky to engage in any military confrontation in the circumstances. This incident reflects the Shaykh’s able and firm leadership, the Jama’a discipline and loyalty without which the story would have perhaps been different. But more fundamentally it shows the sincerity and selflessness of the leadership.

But both the Shaykh and the Jama’a on the one hand and Yunfa and Gobir forces on the other knew that a confrontation was inevitable, it was only a matter of time. Shaykh Uthman found it necessary to prepare and guide his Jama’a in the forthcoming conflict. He wrote a fourteen point tract Masail al-muhimma, early in 1803, where he says among other things:

“Muslims should not be left ‘neglected’(hummal) without a bay’a sworn to an Imam. They should migrate from the land of unbelief as an obligation. They should rise against the unbelieving ruler only if they have enough power to do so, otherwise they should not. But if they find they cannot practice their religion or that their property or their own safety is in danger they have to migrate to where there is security. Again, if the Muslims see bloodshed or seizure of property in one area, they have to evacuate it for another where nothing like that occurs.”(27)

The title and content of this tract suggests that many from the Jama’a were raising questions about hijra and Jihad. The Shaykh was clearly preparing his Jama’a for the event whose occurrence was just a matter of time. Jama’a’s response to this tract was to frighten Yunfa whose action was to precipitate the hijra only about a year after the Shaykh had written the Masa’il. 

A certain Jama’a at Gimbana was attacked by Yunfa’s forces, their property robbed, their men and women taken captive, with many left dead and the whole village destroyed. Troubled by the agony of their brethren the Jama’a at Degel ambushed Yunfa’s forces on their way to Alkalawa and released the captives. Yunfa now infuriarated ordered the Shaykh to leave his country. Though Yunfa later changed his mind the Shaykh continued ahead with his preparation for Hijra. The Shaykh soon wrote a twenty seven point pamphlet wathiqat ahl al-Sudan which was immediately circulated through the efficient network of their organisation, calling people to hijra and the fighting that is to follow it. The revolutionary personnel immediately became busy distributing the pamphlet and mobilising support for the hijra. In February 1804 the Shaykh and a party of the Jama’a left Degel to Gudu – a town at the distant borders of Gobir. This marked the Shaykh’s Hijra. It would be interesting to find out the Shaykh’s reasons for the choice of Gudu for hijra. As this is beyond the scope of this paper we shall assume that his reasons were purely strategical.

Such mass immigration of the Jama’a now large and scattered all over Hausaland, necessarily involved a lot of planning and organisation, more so when Yunfa now determined to check the movement, had ordered his governors to attack and take captive all those who moved with the Shaykh. This threat of Yunfa’s forces, transport difficulties, long distance and the haphazardness, made it difficult for the Jama’a to reach Gudu with adequate provisions. Despite these difficulties the mass movement of people and their families continued, and the Jama’a flocked to Gudu in large numbers. At Gudu, the Jama’a assembled and persuaded the Shaykh to become its Imam. Here the Jama’a offered the Shaykh bay’a as Amir al-Muminin. This bay’a at Gudu not only marked a declaration of Jihad but also the birth of a caliphate – later to be known as Sakkwato Caliphate.

The details of how this poor, ill-equipped and comparatively small gathering in Gudu fought and conquered the whole of Hausaland to the borders of Bornu, the military organisation and strategy of the Jama’a, is a subject worthy of another paper. Not long after the Shaykh’s arrival at Gudu, before the Jama’a could muster substantial military force, Yunfa and his forces attacked Gudu as if to put a final end to this “menace”. Though Yunfa and his forces suffered a heavy defeat at Tabkin kwato, the Jama’a were generally weak, roaming without a base until they captured Birnin Kabi in April 1805. These victories of the Muslim forces, were followed with similar victories up to about 1808, when virtually the whole of Hausaland came under the majahidun. By 1810 the Shaykh withdrew to the town of Sifawa to continue with his intellectual endeavours, leaving Abdullahi (his brother) and Muhammad Bello (his son) to administer the caliphate.

Until his Hijra to Gudu, Uthman’s teachings, writings and preachings were centred on the fundamentals of Islam, Ibadat and Muamalat. As if the confrontation that led to hijra took him unaware, be continued to write throughout the fighting period that immediately followed the hijra. This is not to suggest that the Shavkh was totally unaware, that he might have to make hijra and fight afihad. In fact, the fact that the Shaykh continued to write despite the chaos and demand of the fighting would suggest that the Shaykh did preconceived hijra and jihad on his road to reform. The point I wish to stress here is that the events and circumstances that led to hijra did not, as it were, give the Shaykh the chance to write and guide his Jama’a, on issues relating to state administration. While the Jama’a was engaged in fighting the Shaykh their commander-in-chief was doing more than fighting. Far sighted as he was, he saw the dire need to guide the Jama’a on the obligation of the hijra and Jihad, the way the Jihad should be fought and how the booty should be divided. The need to appoint a leader, Imam, qualification required of such a leader, the principles for appointing deputies and officers to handle the affairs of the community. More than that, the Shaykh wrote on general division of administration, formation of a Muslim state and the principles upon which such state should be founded.(28) One of his most elaborate works Bayan wujub alHijra written in the midst of the fighting in 1806, deals with this issue in detail. One cannot sometimes help imagining what would have happened had the Shaykh Uthman not been precisely what he was.

VICTORY, CONSOLIDATION AND CONTINUITY 

Having fought and won, the revolutionary leadership, mujahiddun, found itself, by 1810, heading an Islamic state standing over the ruins of the Hausa city-states of Gobir, Kabi, Zamfara, Katsina, Zaria, etc. The birth of this new Caliphate, cutting across all former boundaries and identities, unprecedented in it’s scope and complexity, was what finally solved the crisis and disequilibrium of the societies and politics of this vast region. This phenomenon has caught the attention of many a scholar of the western tradition. What seems to have attracted them most is the territorial integration, political solidarity and the economic transformations – aspects that are easily comprehensible to the secular west. The perception, nuances and aspirations of the mujahidun is at best played down and often ignored.

VICTORY 

Victory invariably carries with it a notion of achievement of a goal or objective. But victory or lack of it must depend not on the achievement of any goal or objective but on the achievement of the specific goal or objective fought for. The victory of the mujahidun must be seen not in terms of territory, polity, least of all economic gains, but in terms of the ideal they fought for. That Amir al-muminin, Shaykh Uthman, abandoned the caliphate soon after the fighting that established it and retired to Sifawa to continue writing is more than a display of sincerity which indeed the Shaykh had – but more important it indicates that the leadership has an ideal higher than and beyond the state. True the mujahidun were fighting for a change in the state of affairs of the Hausaland, but it must be realised that the change was not the end it was only the means and the end is unmistakably Islam – in it’s comprehensive form. This is further borne out, very vividly, by the fact that Abdullah b. Foduye, one of the commanders of the mujahidun became so dissatisfied with the Jihad at a time when territory and booty was being captured. So dissatisfied did he become that he abandoned the battlefront and made his way to Hajj through Kano. As Abdullah himself put it:

“…then there came to be from Allah the sudden thought to shun the homelands, and my brothers, and turn towards the best of Allah’s creation, in order to seek approval, because of what I had seen of the changing times, and (my) brothers, and their inclination towards the world, and their squabbling over it’s possession, and its wealth, and its regard, together with their abandoning the upkeep of the mosques and the schools … I left the army and occupied myself with my own (affairs) and faced towards the East…”(29)

Thanks to Allah, he was persuaded to stay in Kano where he wrote a monumental work Diya al-Hukkam. Abdullah’s dissatisfaction is clearly because of the material inclination of some of the revolutionary personnel who must have appeared to Abdullah to be fighting for territory and booty instead of the real thing – Islam.

After they had emerged as the undisputable leaders of the new caliphate it was debate, not funfare or celebration that occupied the time of the personnel of this revolution. It was not a debate on who should rule what territory or appointed to what post, far from it, it was a debate on how such and such concept of Islam should be translated into practice. While Abdullah insisted on the letter and spirit of the law, the Shaykh and Muhammad Bello (his son) were generally flexible and practical. It is interesting to note that the debate, hot as it was, never led to a rift or constraint in running the new caliphate. This rare and exceptional incidence should leave us in no doubt that the leadership of this revolution is committed to an ideal (Islam) which ranks higher than state and all that contained in it. The Amir muminin Uthman had to labour to convince Abdullahi and any who might have held his (Abdullahi’s) view that in fact the Jihad has achieved its objectives not in terms of territory but in terms of the degree of Islamisation realised. Writing in his Nasihat Ahl al-Zaman, the Shaykh says:

“Know, O’ Brethren, that – condemning (one’s) time is an unrespectable attitude towards Allah and nothing will accrue from such other than bothering one’s heart and tongue. Know, O’ Brethren that ordering good is obligatory according to the consensus and this is what has happened at this time. That forbidding bad is obligatory according to the consensus and this is what happened at this time. That immigration from the land of unbelievers is obligatory according to the consensus and this is what has happened at this time. That carrying weapons (for Jihad) is obligatory and this is what has happened at this time. That defending oneself, one’s people and property is obligatory according to the consensus and this is what happened at this time. That the application of the Shariah rulings is obligatory according to the consensus and this is what happened at this time. These are ten achievements and the people of this time should thank Allah for them because they are from the greatest bounties of Allah after the faith and they have all happened at this time”.(30)

This is not to give the impression that Shaykh Uthman was not at all critical of the achievements of the jihad, in fact he was but not to the extent of Abdullahi. Taken as a whole the Jihad is a tremendous victory not because of the size of the caliphate but because of the Islamisation it achieved.

CONSOLIDATION 

In the circumstances the leaders of this revolution found themselves soon after the fighting that begot the caliphate, consolidating and protecting the newly procured Dar al-Islam was not just desirable but a duty which Allah has enjoined upon them. Their idea of consolidation, contrary to what some scholars would have us believe is wide and comprehensive. For while Abdullah at Gwandu and Muhammad Bello at Sakkwato occupied themselves in consolidating the boundaries of the caliphate the Shaykh at Sifawa and scholars all over the place were busy consolidating the intellectual base of the revolution. Indeed the governors, the wazirs, the judges, the walis etc, were simultaneously consolidating internal order and security, justice and equity without which the ideal they fought for cannot be realised. It should be added that this consolidation was unique, not simply because of its comprehensiveness not even because of its intensity but mainly because of the sincerity and the sense of mission with which it was carried out. The campaigns of Muhammad Bello with their captives and booty have been well noted by many scholars, what seemed to have escaped notice is this sincerity and sense of mission with which it was executed. Even if later generations turned it into a slave raiding exercise, the fact still remained that Bello was not fighting for captives or booty but for spreading Islam and protecting the Dar al-Islam. 

CONTINUITY 

“In spite of their difficulties, continuous occupation and involvement, first, and throughout their careers in all matters pertaining to Islam, then the Jama’a and subsequently the state, the triumvirate, left a great legacy in writing.”(31)

21

It is this intellectual legacy, unprecedented, thorough and broad which, more than anything perhaps, gave this revolution its vigour, strength and above all its roots. Nourishing its malamai and almajirai as well as keeping them constantly busy from the cradle to the grave. It is the opportune combination of this legacy with this educational tradition that gave this revolution the continuity it had or it perhaps still has. Students of history know that the vigour and tempo of any revolution go down with its later generations. While this was true of this revolution, the literacy legacy fitted as it did into this diligent educational system unique to bilad a lSudan, remained alive and largely unaffected even when the political leadership deteriorated. Even colonialism and now neocolonialism, with its strong institutions and sinister methods has not succeeded much in changing this intellectual base. For despite decades of colonial and how National propaganda, the writings of the triumvirate (Shaykh Uthman, Abdullah, and Muhammad Bello) are readily available in the markets and the makaranta where they are read daily. In fact, this conference should be seen, as indeed it is, as part of the Sakkwato Islamic revolution, for its organisers as well as the author of this paper are profoundly influenced by the intellectual remains of this revolution. With this link now forged, colonialism becomes only a moment, though not a pleasant one, in our history.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

 

The main features of the Sakkwato model which I have attempted to delineate is perhaps best summarized by Professor Ismail when he wrote:

“That there was an Islamic movement with all that Islam stands for by virtue of its universality, its openness, its tolerance, its justice and equity, its knowledge, recognition and provision for previous religions, its civilizations and history, shaking the socio-political order after successfully eroding its cultural and intellectual basis and that it had achieved all this by education and patient persuasion, precisely not to compromise Islam, is simply but subtly overlooked or ignored. Had that movement been conceived or presented on a tribal basis as some wants us to believe it would have been doomed to fail not to mention the fact that it couldn’t have found a place in Islam.”(32)

It is true many events have occurred since this revolution. Many Muslim countries for example were, about the end of the last century, coerced into the orbit of western European capitalist system which has since arrested their development, perpetuated their poverty and broken up their unity. Muslim countries today are characterized not by Islam with it’s system of education, law, economy and social justice, but by western European democracy with its parliament, its courts, its universities, culture and technology, and, not least in giving its support, its corruption. Beyond the glitter of western institutions and technology, manned by a handful of western elite, a large mass of people who, though ignorant, have largely remained faithful to Islam and true to themselves. It is here not anywhere else, any revolutionary movement that hopes to succeed, must root its base. The alternative of course is to become academic. In a society with heavy western European capitalist and even socialist vested interest, highly specialised and heavily equipped institutions of defence and propaganda and not least, people with political and economic vested interests to protect, any revolutionary movement that hopes to survive must afford to combine patient and able leadership with sound and apt planning. The alternative is to hurry up and burn or to alert it’s enemies before it is ready for confrontation. To what extent the Sakkwato model helps us in our contemporary circumstances, I leave to the distinguished audience for discussion.

FOOTNOTES

 

1.See Abdullahi’s Tazyin al-waraqat and Muhammad Bello’s Infaq al-maysur.

2.See Alhaji (Dr.) Junaidu’s works.

3.See Yusuf Abba, “The 1804 Jihad in Hausaland as a Revolution”, Sokoto Seminar paper, 1975,

4.See Kano Chronicle page 148.

5.F. Smith, “The early states of the western Sudan”, in Ajayi and Crowder (Eds), History of West Africa, Longman, London, 1976, p. 190.

6.“Islamic History in the Western Sudan”, International Islamic Seminar on Education. Kano,

1977.

7.H. F. C. Smith, “A Neglected theme of West African History: the Islamic Revolution of the 19th century”, J. H. S. N., 2(1961), pp. 169-85.

8.See ‘Ida’ al-Nusukh of Abdullahi b. Foduye.

9.Uthman b. Foduye: lfhan al-Munkiring, quoted from M. A. Al-Hajj, “The Writings of Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio”, Kano Studies (1), 2(1974/77), p. 9.

10.Abdullahi b. Muhammad: Tazyin al-waraqat, (Ed. and Trans. by M. Hiskett), Ibadan, I.U. P. 1963, p. 86.

11.See M. A. Al-Hajj, “The writings of Shehu Usman”, Kano studies, (1) 2 (1974/77)

12.Ibid page 10..

13.Quoted in M. A. Al-Hajj, “The meaning of the Sokoto Jihad”, 1975, p. 8.

14. Quoted from D. M. Last and M. A. Al-Hajj, “Attempts at defining Muslim in 19th century

Hausaland and Bornu”, JNSN, (iii), 2 (1965) pp. 232-233.

15. Ibid. 

16. Quoted in M. A. Al-Hajj, “The writings of Shehu”, Kano Studies, (1) 2(1974/77), p. 7

17.Abdullahi Muhammad: Tazyin al-waraqat (ed. and Trans. by Hiskett), b. Ibadan, I. U. P.,1963, p. 86.

18.Ibid. 

19.Ibid. 

20.Ibid. 

21.Quoted in F. H. El-Masri, “The life of Uthman b. Foduye before the Jihad,” J. H. S. N. (1963), p. 435-48.

22. Quoted in M. A. Al-Haj, “The writings of Shehu”, Kano Studies (i) 2 (1974/77), p. 9.

23. M. Hiskett, The sword of Truth, London 0. U. P., 1973, p. 56. –

24. Muhammad Bello, Infaq al maysur, (Ed. W. E. J. writing), p. 66.

25. Abdullah Muhammad, Tayzin al-waraqat. 

23

26. F. El-Masri, “The life of the Shehu before the Jihad”, J. H. S. N., 11, 2 (1961), p. 445.

27. Quoted from, “Introduction to Uthman B. Fudi”, Bayah wujub al-Hjtra, (Ed. Trans. El

Masri), K. U. P., 1978, p. 24.

28.See. Bayan.

29. Abdullahi b. Muhammad, Tayzin al-waraqat (Ed. and Trans. by Hiskett), Ibadan, 1. U. P.,

1963, p. 120-121.

30. Quoted from A. Kani’s unpublished M. A. thesis, 1978.

31. 0. A. S. Ismail, “Some reflections on the literature of the Jihad and the caliphate”, in Y.

B. Usman (Ed.), Studies in the History of the Sokoto Caliphate, (SHSC), Lagos, 1979.

32. Ibid. 

Published by Muslim Enlightenment Committee  Nizamiyya Islamiyya School, Sakkwato,  in memory of Alhaji Ahmad Danbaba Marafan Sakkwato, founder of the School. May Allah have mercy upon him, Amen.

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The Islamic Concept of Leadership and Its Application In The Sakkwato Caliphate

The Islamic Concept of Leadership and Its Application  In The Sakkwato Caliphate

By

Professor Sambo Wali Junaid Department of Arabic 

Usman Dan Fodiyo University Sokoto

The Sakkwato Caliphate, as it is popularly called, is that Islamic government which was based on the pattern of the orthodox Caliphal system founded by the Prophet of Allah Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and which he bequeathed to Islamic communities all over the world as a modus operandi for every Muslim Ummah to emulate and be governed by. The major sources of jurisdiction for this caliphal system of government are the Qur’an, the Hadith (traditions of the Prophet) (SAW) and the ʿijma’ (consensus of ʿulama and qiyas (analogy) deduced by scholars of every epoch.

The orthodox caliphs from which the Sakkwato leaders derived their inspirations are those four caliphs, namely, Abubakar, Umar, Usman and Ali who governed the entire Muslim world of their time under strict compliance with Shariah as explained to them by the Qur’an and the sayings, acts and approvals of the Prophet (SAW).

The Sokoto caliphate was founded by the renowned scholar and Mujaddid Shaykh Uthman b. Fodiyo. He initially started his career as a preacher with the sole purpose of cleansing the society of its social, political and religious ills. He began by educating the society on proper ways of worship, separating them from the un-Islamic practices interwoven with Islam but which are diametrical with Islam and border to unbelief. He then criticized the venal ʿulama’ (scholars) who encouraged rulers to misrule by overburdening the subjects with heavy taxes fines and confiscation of their properties without any just cause. He undertook preaching tours within Gobir and Zamfara areas. Within a couple of years, Shaykh Uthman raised a community of dedicated Muslims. The growing number of serious Muslims around him aroused the anger of Hausa rulers. Particularly the Gobir ruler. Shaykh Uthman was able to obtain for and on behalf of his followers some concessions.

The kings especially, the tyrant king of Gobir stepped-up his hostilities against the Shaykh’s community, maiming them, killing them, capturing them and selling them as slaves (Muhammad Bello, Infaq al-Maisur).

At a time the Shaykh had called on the king with the aim of finding solutions to hostilities meted against the Shaykh’s community. No sooner was some amicable solution reached when the king of Gobir, Nafata, after assuming office made contradictory declarations against the concessions given to Jama’ah. He declared that:

1. No one except the Shaykh should preach,

2. No one whose parents or grandparents were not originally Muslims should convert to Islam, and those converted should revert to their former religion,

3. No man should wear a turban henceforth,

4. No woman should henceforth wear a veil.

These and many other provocations made the Shaykh’s community start thinking for a leader to defend themselves under him. The Jamāʿah unanimously chose the Shaykh to be their first Amirul Muminin in 1804 after they migrated to Gudu. They fought many battles, some of which they won and lost some. With the capture of Alkalawa, a solid foundation for the establishment of a Caliphate with all its organs and offices, was laid down. The Caliphate waxed stronger with vast territories covering most of the Northern States of the present-day Nigeria and extending its borders to some parts of the present-day Republics of Niger, Chad, Cameroun and Mali. Even the powerful kingdom of Borno lost some part of its territories to the Caliphate.

The leaders of this growing Caliphate were scholars of repute and they wrote a number of books to serve as guidelines in the administration of the Caliphate. The first Amirul Muminin Shaykh Uthman, his full-brother Abdullahi and their son. Muhammad Bello became the nucleus of the Caliphate and they wrote extensively on religious, social, political and economic aspects of an Islamic government whose constitution was the embodiment of the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the consensus of ʿulama’.

The Islamic Concept of Leadership:

Vicegerency, the Islamic concept of leadership first emerged from the Qur’anic verse that expressed Allah’s wish to appoint His vicegerent on earth soil as to maintain justice among the creations both human beings and jinns that would worship Him. On hearing this, the angels were surprised that the human being who was not to be trusted was assigned this onerous responsibility of being Allah’s representative on earth. They politely inquired:

“Do thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee …?” (Surah II, Verse 30).

What these verses inferred is that’ Adam’ is the representative of Allah on earth who is to live, worship and maintain justice among other human beings. The concept clearly shows that leadership in Islam is a trust from Allah. A leader should regard himself as representing Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who in turn represents Allah the Creator. Allah is the All-knowing. He keeps records of all His Messenger’s representative’s activities on earth. A leader will be fully accountable to Allah on the Day of Judgment. If he commits any injustice among fellow human beings, among animal and plant kingdoms as a leader of his home, his ward, his village, his local government, his state, his nation, his planet, the neighbouring planets, the Creator of all beings is watching him. He may punish him right here on earth or may delay the punishment until the final Day of judgment. This trust by Allah through His Prophets is an all-comprehensive one and must be maintained with all sincerity.

The quoted verse above has been explained by a number of traditions of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) emphasizing the trust and that man will be accountable to Allah. The first Hadith, which comes to mind, is that which says:

“Each one of you is a shepherd and each one of you would be asked about his shepherd. The leader is a shepherd and would be accountable to Allah about his shepherd.”

In yet another Hadith the Prophet (SAW) said when his companions asked him:

What do you see if leaders were appointed and they asked for their rights from us asour leaders but they in turn refused to give us our rights as their subjects? The Prophet (SAW) replied, “Give them their rights and ask them for your right from Allah for He will certainly make them accountable to what they have been entrusted ‘with.” (Shaykh Uthman, Najm al-Ikhwan, p.8).

This leadership under whatever name it is called, the same principle of trust be applied. The leader may be called Mr. President as in American democracy, the Prime Minister as in democracies of Westminster style, the Imam as in lran, the King as in Saudi Arabian monarchy or the Khalifah as was severally used in the Glorious Qur’an, In the Qur’an, Khalifah, Malik and Imam or their derivations have been used signifying leadership. Thus referring to Prophet Yusuf (AS), the verse reads:

“Oh my Lord! Thou hast given me sovereignty.” (Surah 12, Verse 101).

Also Prophet Sulaiman (AS) said as reported in the Qur’an:

“He said, My Lord! Forgive me and bestow on me sovereignty such as shall not belong to all after me.” (Surah 38, Verse 35).

In another verse referring to Imamate, it reads:

“And We made them chiefs who guide by our command …” (Surah 21.Verse 73).

In another verse referring to Prophet Ibrahim (AS). It reads:

“He said, Lo! I have appointed thee a leader (Imam) for mankind.” (Surah 2, Verse 124).

All these verses refer to various terms used for leadership role but they all point to one thing and that it is a trust which must be preserved by all types and scopes of leadership. It was with this trust in mind that Prophet Yusuf (A.S) requested Paroah to entrust him with the store-houses. He said:

“Set me over the store-houses of the land. Loll am a skilled custodian.” (Surah 12, Verse 55).

After this trust is entrusted upon a leader, then he is expected to maintain that trust and treat everyone equitably without fear or favour. In another Hadith, the Prophet of Allah (Muhammad) (SAW) said:

“The Sultan is the shadow of Allah on earth!”

The leader, therefore, being the shadow of Allah’s authority through the Prophets, should treat everyone equally. Vice such as nepotism, self aggrandizement, promotion of one’s friends, egocentricism, blind-materialism, acquisition of ill-gotten wealth should all be. avoided by a leader. In fact, the leader should be as the Prophet (SAW) described him saying:

“The leader of a community is but their servant.”

When this concept of trust which is an authority bestowed to you by Allah is digested the leader must be just in his dealing with all his subjects. He must be fair to all and sundry and the rule of the Sharfah must be supreme. Whoever tampers with the Shariah must be punished accordingly after full investigations. Justice must be carried out in all facets of human endeavours. It must include justice in relation to terrestrial and marine life as well as in connection with animal and plant kingdoms. He must do justice to the planet he lives in and the planets that he sees and utilises. To sum it all, a leader must uphold justice even against himself. He should not therefore claim immunity of the rule of the Shariah. Everyone, with high or low status, must be equal before the Shariah (Shehu Umar Abdullah. On the Search for a Viable Political Culture p.47).

The leader must see his leadership role as both mundane and spiritual. In other words, the concept of secularism as professed by the so-called modern democracies, which separate religion from politics, is absolutely alien in Islam (Shehu Umar Abdullahi, Ibid, p.46).

It was reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas that the Prophet (SAW) had said:

“Authority and Islam are twins, neither of both can, improve without the other. lslam is the foundation while authority is the protector, Whatever lacks foundatlon will collapse and whatever lacks protector is lost.” (Shaykh Uthman b. Fodiyo, Najm al-Ikhwan, p.68).

In other words, politics and religion are seen in Islam as just two faces of the same coin. The leader, therefore, must see his role as such and must, with all sincerity, carry out his responsibilities with justice irrespective of differences of religion, ethnic affiliations, geographical boundaries, etc. The religion of Islam enjoined him to be fair to all, The Glorious Qur’an says:

“Oh ye who believe! Be steadfast witnesses for Allah in equity, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that you deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty. Observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is informed of what ye do.” (Surah 5, Verse 8).

In another verse, the leader is enjoined to maintain justice even if it is against his relative. The Our’an urges that:

“And if you give your word, as justice thereunto, even though it be (against) a kinsman!” (Surah 6, Verse 152).

In another verse, the leader is still being enjoined to uphold justice whenever he passes a judgement among his subjects.

The Our’an says:

“And if ye judge between mankind that you judge justly.” (Surah 4, Verse 58).

The next concept of leadership in Islam is the utilisation of Shura [consultation], The Qur’an enjoins the leader to look for advice before embarking on any serious issue affecting his subjects. The so-called modern models of State or National assemblies under the guise of Western democracies are mere caricatures of the Islamic principle of Shura revealed to the Prophet of Islam (SAW) more than one thousand, four hundred and eighteen years ago. Shuraor Counsel is from the Arabic word ashara. Shura to show or to consent or approve by nodding one’s head.

The person seeking advice would want to know areas of truth and the benefit . to be derived from the issue Shura is sought for Counsel is the search for an expert opinion from experienced persons to enable the leader arrive at what seems to be right, But before the right course or decision is arrived at, a body of experienced persons must come together and critically examining each other’s opinion being guided by the principles of jihad.

Those issues which had already been legislated on in the Qur’an and/or by the Prophet (.SAW) cannot be subjected to discussion or review. The leader may however call for a discussion, presentation of opinions or debate on things that are either not yet clear or have multiple approaches. Matters of peace and war or signing treaties, for example, are issues that should not be taken lightly or rushed into without taking due cognisance of the implications involved.

Particular example which may be cited here where difficult decisions were taken by the Prophet (SAW) was the Hudaibiyah peace accord. Despite the opposition by some of his companions to the treaty, the Prophet (SAW) upheld it and it turned out to be the greatest conquest in the history of Islam.

Another example was the Battle of Uhud when some of his companions advised that he should remain in Madina while others opined that he should move out. Each opinion was trying to arrive at what would be the best option for the Muslims. But in the end, the Prophet (SAW) chose the decision to go out of Madina to meet the enemies (see Abdurrahman Abdul-Khaliq, AI-Shura, p.17).

For any issues to be tabled for discussion, the leader must be able to select experienced persons who are transparently sincere, honest, determined and have strong sense of responsibility who will stand firmly by the decisions taken and implement them as required. That body of decision-making must not be lobbied by the leadership but should let each one of them to be the master of his conscience and the protector of the trust reposed in him by Allah.

The importance of Counsel has been emphasised in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW). A whole chapter of the Qur’an was named chapter of Shura. In one of the verses of the chapter, Muslim leaders are enjoined to seek for advice before taking any serious decisions.

In another chapter, the importance of seeking for Counsel was also highlighted when the Prophet (SAW) was asked to consult his companions before taking a decision. The Qur’an verse reads:

“So pardon them and ask for forgiveness for them and consult with them upon the conduct of affairs. And when thou art resolved, then put thy trust in Allah Lo! Allah loveth those who put their trust in Him.” (Surah 3. Verse 1.59).

With the establishment of an Islamic State, the leader must not relent in his defence of the Ummah from internal and external enemies by establishing a strong force to defend the nation of Islam defends its territories as well as guarantee the application of the Shariah throughout his domain. The nation of Islam must be combat ready and the leadership must be alert and lead its army in defence of the State. The leadership must protect the religion and its values with all its ‘juristical, administrative and military’ capabilities. The leader must adhere to the following ten conditions in discharging the affairs of the Islamic State. The conditions are:

a) Preservation of faith in its established principles and in the form in which al-Salaf (the predecessors) of the Ummah had unanimously agreed.

b) Enforcement of judgments among contenders and resolving cases among disputants.

c) Provision of security in the territory so that people may live in their homes safely and travel in security.

d) Enforcement of punishments prescribed by the Shariah to safeguard the limits set by Allah and preserve the rights of people.

e) Fortification of borders with preventive equipment and repelling of aggression.

f) Jihad against those who oppose Islam after calling upon them to embrace it or to accept protection as non-Muslims, so that the light of Allah is upheld in proclamation of the religion in its entirety.

g) Levying of taxes and collection of Zakah and charity from the treasury without being extravagant or stingy.

h) Appointing the honest and competent to positions of trust in order to preserve (State) wealth to administer (government’s) affairs.

i) Personal supervision and examination of public affairs to be able to lead the nation and protect the religion.

j) Personal supervision and examination of public affairs to be able to lead the nation the nation and protect the religion (See Muhammad S. EI Awa, on the Political System of the Islamic State, p.?7).

Now we have through the previous pages seen the Islamic concept of leadership and what follows is the application of that concept in the Sakkwato Caliphate.

Concept of Leadership and Its Application in the Sakata Caliphate

The leaders in the Sokoto Caliphate firmly believed that leadership is a trust from Allah through the Prophet (SAW) bestowed on them to rule according to Shariah. Thus, from the onset, the Muslims unanimously agreed to pay homage to Shaykh Uthman b. Fodiyo as the first Amirul-Muminin of the newly established Muslim Ummah, an Ummah which is to be governed by the Shariah. The leadership from the beginning applied Shura when they realised the danger they were exposed to by the enemy. After their Hijra to Gudu, the Muslim Ummah met and agreed to pay homage to Shaykh Uthman as Amirul Muuminin. The first to pay the homage was his full-brother Abdullah, followed by Muhammad Bello and then Umar Alkammu and the rest of the “Ummah (see Wazir Junaidu, Tarihin Fulani, pp.16-17).

The Shariah as the basis of Muslim constitution was implemented in full. Honest, pious and scholarly judges were appointed throughout the Caliphate. In fact, descendants of these jUdges like the Qadi-Qudat (Chief Judge) still retain the titles if not the functions. We also have other titles like the Sa’i who takes charge of the collection and distribution of Zakah. Other are the Sarkin Yaki (War Commander), the title still held by the descendants of Aliyu Jedo, the war commander at the time of the Jihad and the Muhtasib (Censor of Morals). As for the Wazir, the Shaykh appointed four viziers, namely: Abdullah,Muhammad Bello, Umar  Alkammu and Malam Sa’adare. When the Caliphate became stronger, the viziership positions were reduced to only two. The Western flank under the charge of Abdullah has its own vizier as was the case with the Eastern flank under Bello. However, as Muhammad Bello became the second Caliph, the viziership position of the Caliphate held by Abdullahi shifted to  ‘Uthman Gidado.

The application of the Shariah was thorough and that some recordedincidents during the  struggle to apply justice to all were evidenced in some traditions.

Sultan Bello’s strict application of the Shariah is evidenced by his scrutinizing the judges, reversing their judgments dictated by their own interest and his refusal to give them free rein in their posts (Alhaji Shehu Malami, Sir Siddiq Abubakar III, p.25). Sultan Bello was also said to have told his brotherAbubakar Atiku:

If you judge according to the truth, I will not interfere with you.” (Ibid, p.25). Throughout the Caliphate, justice was done and every, citizen was forced to comply with the Shariah. As a result of that, there was absolute peace. This peaceful momentum did not escape the eagle-eye of the Christian white explorer, Clapperton who observed that:

“The laws of the Qur’an were in his (Bello’s) time so strictly put in force … That the whole country when not in a state of war, was so well regulated that a woman might travel with a casket of gold upon her head from one end of the Fellata dominions to the other,” (See Rashid, Islamic Lava in Nigeria, p.39)

The Sokoto leadership promoted learning and scholarship. This promotion was vigorously pursued by the Caliphate so much so that there was no Islamic revivalist movement in the whole of Africa during that time that had bequeathed to the generations of the Sakkwato Caliphate. Shehu Uthman had written not less than one hundred books and manuals in three languages, namely: Fulfulde, Hausa and Arabic. So was also done by his son Bello and Abdullahi and Emirs who received flags from the Shehu. All the flag-bearers were at one time or another students of Shaykh Uthman b. Fodiyo who in turn encouraged scholarship in their own areas of jurisdiction.

With the combined efforts of the leaders and their subjects, within a short period, the massive educational and enlightenment programmes embarked upon by the Caliphate yielded fruitful results.

At this juncture, one can recall the unprecedented educational campaign mounted by Nana Asma’u, the Shaykh’s daughter to educate the women-folk. Nana herself. a poetess in three languages, did not hesitate to compose poems which are still sung today to educate the women masses. She organised the Ysn-teru’ (Associates) system of knowledge dissemination whereby older women from rural areas converged to her home and received lessons from her and in turn disseminated such lessons to the wives in purdah in the rural areas.

The lessons usually imparted by Nana Asma’u included Islamic rituals like the five daily prayers, aspects of Teunia, the Zakah, responsibilities of the wife to the family, etc. These rituals are composed in poems for easy memorization. (Jean Boyd, The Caliph’s Sister, pp.-51-52).

After the establishment of the Caliphate, the leaders built a strong army to defend and extend the territories of the nation of Islam. The leaders led many successful expeditions against the  enemy. Abdullah, who was in charge of the Western flank of the Caliphate and his able lieutenants, ably extended the areas of the Caliphate as far away as the Nupe and Yoruba lands. while Bello effectively controlled the whole of the Eastern flank which extended far beyond Adamawa. The Caliphate remained intact and the leaders successfully subdued to submission the attempted rebellion after the demise of Sultan Bello. Sultan Bello had, during his reign which spanned for over 20 years, led 17 military campaigns against the enemies of Islam.

The Caliphate became the Islamic umbrella under which the citizens of the nation of Islam, irrespective of language, colour or place of birth, converged to worship Allah alone and maintain justice among human’ beings and becametrue representatives of Allah on earth.

Conclusion

The paper traced the Islamic concept of leadership from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, the two main sources of Islamic jurisprudence and constitution. It discussed the Islamic and secular concepts of leadership. It emphasized that the Sakkwato Caliphate believed in leadership being a trust from Allah and had left no stone unturned throughout its life-span which began in 1804 until it was rudely halted in the year 1903 by the British fire power.

The paper also expressed its nostalgia for the Islamic concept of leadership especially with regard to the general security of life and property, which followed the total application of the Shariah.

References

1. Abdullah b. Fodiyo, Tazyin al-Waraqat. Kano, 1383 A.H.

2. Abdullah b. Fodiyo, Diyaul-Sultan, Zaria

3. Abdurrahman Abdul-Khaliq, AI-Shra fi Dhilli Nidham al-Hukm al-Islami, Kuwait. 1988.

4. Alhaji Shehu Malami, Sir Siddiq Abubakar III, Ibadan, 1989.

5. Ibrahim Imam, Tarihin Shehu Usman Mujaddadi, Zaria, 1966.

6. Jean Boyd, The Caliph’s Sister, Nana Asma’u, London, 1989.

7. Kalim Siddiqui, Issues in the Islamic Mivement, London, 198.0-81.

8. Muhammad Bello, Aigayth al-wabi fi Sirat ai-Imam al-Adl, manuscript available in Wazir Junaidu’s personal library.

9. Muhammad Bello, Infaq al-Maisur, London, 1957.

10. Muhammad Bello, Sard al-Kalam fi Ma Jara Bainana Wa Baina Abdissalam, Manuscript available in my personal library.

11. Muhammad Fu’ad Abdul-baqi, AI-Mu’jam al-Mufahras Ii al-Fadh al Our’an al-Karim, Beirut, 1945.

12. Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of the Glorious Qur’an, Karachi, 1986.

13. Muhammad S.EI-Awa, On the Political System of the Islamic State, Indiana, 1980.

14 Sa’adu b. Abdurrahman, Tartib al-Ashab wa Tajmi’ Ulil-Albab, Manuscript available in wazir Junaidu’s personal library.

15. Shehu Umar Abdullah, On the Search for a Viable Political Culture, Kaduna, 1984.

16. Syed Khalid Rashid, Islamic Law in Nigeria, Sokoto.

17. Uthman b. Fodiyo, Sayan Wuju al-Hijra al Allbad wa Bayan Nasbi al-Imam wa Iqamat al-Jihad, Zaria.

18. Uthman b. Fodiyo, Najm al-Ikhwan Yahtaduna Bihi Bi Idhnil Lah fi Umur al-Zaman. Cairo.

19. Wazir Junaidu, Tarihin Fulani, Zaria, 1957.

International Seminar Papers

1. International Seminar on “The Role of the Ulama in the Sakkwato

Caliphate”, 1800-1803, presented in 1986, organised by C.I.S/U.D.U.S.

2. International Seminar on “Intellectual Tradition in the Sakkwato

Caliphate”, 1987, organised by C.I.S/U.D.U.S.

For similar or related articlesclick on the links below:

Tajdid 1

Tajdid 2

Bilaadu-s-Sudan

AlMaliki22’s Channel – YouTube

AlMaliki22’s Channel – YouTube.

The Nature of the Four Madhhabs of Islam and Their Relationship with the Present Time

The Nature of the Four Madhhabs of Islam and Their Relationship with the Present Time

by Shaykh Abdal Haqq Bewley

All Muslims agree that the basis of Islam is the Book and Sunnah and almost all Muslims agree that if someone follows the teachings of any one of the four orthodox madhhabs of Islam – the Hanafi Madhhab, the Maliki Madhhab, the Shafi‘i Madhhab and the Hanbali Madhhab – they will certainly be living within the parameters of the Book and Sunnah. The great majority of Muslims are affiliated to one or the other of these madhhabs but for almost all of them this affiliation takes place for purely geographical reasons and very few know very much about the nature of the madhhab they belong to. There is a common perception that the madhhabs are all more or less the same and only differ in respect of slight legal points such as where you put your hands in the prayer and other things of that nature, but that does not really explain why there should be these four madhhabs at all. In order to discover the reason for their existence, it is necessary to look at each of them and find out how and why they came into being in the first place.

The first of the four madhhabs in historical terms is the Madhhab of Abu Hanifah who was born in roughly 80AH and died in 150AH. The salient fact about Imam Abu Hanifah, rahimahullahu ta’ala, was that he did not live in Madinah, where the deen had originally been established; he lived in Iraq and his school developed in Iraq. He grew up in Kufa, was educated there and lived most of his life there, first as a merchant, then as a student and finally as a teacher. Kufa was one of the two great Iraqi cities of the time and Iraq was home to many different religions, sects and beliefs because, apart from containing the capital of the recently defeated Persian empire, it was also the home of various other ancient civilisations. Syriac Christians were dispersed throughout it and they had schools there in which Greek philosophy and the ancient wisdom of Persia were studied. In other words, at the time we are speaking of, Iraq was a melting pot of diverse races, cultures and beliefs and a place rife with confusion and disorder. There were frequent clashes of opinion on the subject of politics and religion. The Shi‘a and Mu‘tazilites stemmed from there and there were Kharijites in its deserts.

Along with this was the fact that comparatively few Companions had travelled from Madinah and settled in Iraq. Indeed it was an explicit policy of the second Khalifah ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab رضي الله عنه, to discourage Companions with knowledge from leaving the Hijaz. He did this in order to prevent  knowledge of the deen becoming too dispersed. For this reason most of the great men of knowledge among the Muhajirun and Ansar stayed within the confines of Madinah. Two notable exceptions who did go to live in Iraq were Ali ibn Abi Talib, karama’llahu wajhah, and Abdallah ibn Mas’ud,  but the overall number was in fact very small. What that meant, in real  terms, was that the people of Iraq had very limited direct access to the Sunnah, because there were very few exemplars of it who came to them. All these factors meant that the Iraqi environment in which Islam was beginning to take root in the first and second centuries after the Hijrah was a very different one from that of Madinah in which the deen had originally been established.

Another corollary development was that, due to these multifarious foreign influences, many situations arose which were quite alien to anything confronted in the earliest days of Islam. Nevertheless, it was, of course, necessary for the establishment of the deen that solutions should be found for these new contingencies so that they could find their place within the compass of Islam.

This was the environment within which the Iraqi school developed and which caused it to have the particular form which came to characterize it so clearly. As we have seen, for historical, geographical and social reasons,the situation in Iraq was markedly different from that of the Hijaz where the deen had originally been established and taken root. This meant, as we have noted, that new situations were continually arising and it was a question of how to apply the Book and Sunnah to these novel circumstances in such a way that the deen would remain unchanged. As far as the Book of Allah was concerned, of course, the Iraqis had the same access to it as the Muslims in the Hijaz and those in everyother place to which the deen had spread. The difference was in their access to the Sunnah.

We have already noted that direct knowledge of the Sunnah in Iraq was limited because of the small number of Companions who moved there. On the other hand in Sayyidina ‘Ali and ‘Abdallah ibn Mas‘ud, they were two of the most knowledgeable Companions and two of those closest to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, and so their direct access to the Sunnah, although very limited in extent, was at the same time of the very highest quality. This led to the distinctive approach to the Sunnah which characterized the Iraqi school and in turn even coloured their attitude to the Qur’an itself. Because of the irreproachability of their direct sources to the Sunnah they were quite rightly supremely confident concerning what had reached them through them, but because of the limited scope of what they received there were many gaps in their knowledge.

In the period we are talking about there was already much forgetfulness and it was even the case that instances of hadith forgery were beginning to be recorded so that, rather than relying on sources about which they were not sure, the scholars of Iraq preferred to come to a judgement based on the use of their own reason within clearly defined parameters based on the knowledge of Book and Sunnah about which they did have absolute certainty. In this they were in fact following the example of Ibn Mas‘ud himself who refrained from attributing statements or actions to the Prophet  صلى الله عليه وسلم, unless he was absolutely sure they were correct and, in cases where he was not certain, would prefer to exercise his own opinion rather than falsely ascribe something to him.

This led to a way of looking at texts which was typical of the Iraqi school, whereby they would examine the reasons behind the judgements contained within them. It was almost as if they did not depend on the outward words but would, instead, look to the meaning behind them and what was intended by the statement involved and would then apply that analogically to the new situation confronting them. This methodology of implementing the Book and Sunnah, which developed in Iraq, caused the Iraqis to be known as the people of ra’i or opinion. Another of the characteristics of this school was that its adherents did not confine themselves to the deduction of rulings to be applied to actually existing cases but also posed hypothetical questions and gave judgment on them as well on the basis of their own reasoning, with the object of pre-empting situations which might well occur in the future.

The great Iraqi scholar Ibrahim an-Nakha’i is generally credited with being the founder of the Iraqi school of fiqh we have been talking about but there is no doubt that its greatest exponent and the man who gave it his name and who became most closely associated with it in the minds of the Muslims throughout history was Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man. He started out as a silk merchant but soon devoted himself to learning and became a student of Shaykh Hammad ibn Sulayman with whom he studied all the Islamic sciences. There is no doubt that Abu Hanifa was a man of the utmost integrity and was imbued with intense fear of Allah which informed all his acts and decisions. He was also extremely generous and a man characterised by great self control. It is, however, for his scintillating intellect and his ability to apply it to the questions which confronted him for which he is justly most remembered and which led to him becoming the leader of the madhhab of the people of opinion.

His profound thinking led to him penetrating to the core of the questions presented to him. This meant that he did not stop at the outward meaning of texts but went beyond that to their intentions. He would study a text, seeking the causes of any judgment it contained, examining the implications of its words, phrases and intentions and the circumstances surrounding it. Once he became satisfied about its underlying cause, he used analogy based on that and took that very far indeed. His general attitude is well summed up by a simile he coined. He said, “One who learns hadiths but does not have fiqh can be likened to a chemist who makes up remedies but does not know what they cure until the doctor comes and tells him. Anyone who learns hadiths but does not grasp their true implications is just like that.”

An illustrative example of the way Imam Abu Hanifa’s mind worked can be seen in the famous account of his meeting with Muhammad al-Baqir, the great-great-grandson of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. It seems that the imam met al-Baqir when visiting Madinah near the beginning of his scholarly career. It is reported that al-Baqir said to him, on the basis of what he had heard of the direction things had taken in Iraq, “Are you the one who changes the deen of my grandfather and his Sunnah through the use of analogy?”

Abu Hanifa replied by saying, “I seek refuge with Allah!” and told al-Baqir that he respected him in the same way that his forebear, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, had been respected by his Companions during his lifetime. Abu Hanifa then said to al-Baqir, “I am going to present you with three questions to answer. The first is: Who is weaker, a man or a woman?”

Al-Baqir replied, “A woman.

What is a woman’s share in inheritance?” continued Abu Hanifa.

A man has two shares and a woman one,” responded al-Baqir.

That is what came from your great grandfather,” said Abu Hanifa. “If I were to have changed his deen by analogy I would have said that a woman should have two shares and a man one because she is the weaker of the two, but I have not.”

Abu Hanifa then asked al-Baqir, “Which is better, the prayer or fasting?

The prayer,” he replied.

That is what your great grandfather said,” agreed Abu Hanifa. “If I were to have changed his deen, I would have said using analogy that, because the prayer is better, a woman who has finished menstruation should be ordered to make up the prayer and not the fast.”

Abu Hanifa then put his third question. “Which is the more impure, urine or sperm?

Urine is more impure.

If it was true that I had changed the deen of your great grandfather through the use of analogy I would, on account of that, have made people do ghusl after urinating rather than for the emission of sperm. I seek refuge with Allah from altering the deen of your great grandfather through analogy.

In this instance Imam Abu Hanifa used his incisive, analytical intellect to uphold the orthodox position of Islam regarding these matters, but it gives us a clear indication of the way that he, in another situation when the position about a matter was as yet undecided and so open to interpretation, would use his mind to come to a decision about it. This great mental agility which characterised Imam Abu Hanifa was recognised by Imam Malik who said of him, “If he had gone to these stone columns and formed an analogy showing that they were made of wood, you would have thought that they were made of wood.”

This brings us to the school of Imam Malik, rahimahullahu ta’ala, who was, in chronological terms, the second of the four imams, living from 93AH to 179AH. Just as when examining the madhhab of Imam Abu Hanifa we discovered that what we were really looking at was the school of Iraq, the methodology used by the early Muslims of Iraq to establish what constituted the Book and Sunnah in that region, so we find that Imam Malik, who lived all his life in Madinah al-Munawwarah, the “Illuminated City”, was in fact the foremost exponent of the school of Madinah and passed down to posterity the methodology used by the people of Madinah in their implementation of the Book and Sunnah. The situation of Madinah was completely different to that of Iraq. Madinah was the place where much of the Qur’an was revealed, the place where Allah’s deen became established as a living social and political reality. It was in Madinah that Islam became flesh and bones and took on its definitive,final form.

So whereas in Iraq it became necessary to work out how Islam could be implemented in the new situation, in Madinah it was simply a matter of preserving unchanged what was already there. In the time of Imam Malik in Madinah people were doing the prayer, making hajj, doing wudu’, collecting zakah, carrying on every aspect of their lives as Muslims in exactly the same way that they had been doing without interruption from the time of the Prophet less than a century earlier. And, moreover, there had been conscious effort expended to ensure that the original teaching and practice of Islam remained unaltered in Madinah, borne out by the injunction of Sayyidina Umar ibn al-Khattab رضي الله عنه, forbidding knowledgeable Companions from leaving the city, precisely so that the body of knowledge and practice which constituted Islam in action in the world would remain whole and intact and would not become dispersed and fragmented. In Madinah, therefore, transmission of the deen was immediate and direct. As Malik himself said, “If you want knowledge, then take up residence (i.e. in Madinah). The Qur’an was not revealed on the Euphrates (i.e. in Iraq).

This leads us to the vital difference between the Iraqi and Madinan schools. In Iraq, as we have seen, it was a question of taking the available knowledge of the Book and Sunnah, understanding what was intended, and applying it in the new environment, giving rise to what became known as the school of ra’i (opinion). In Madinah the Book and Sunnah were established as an integral element of the community – daily life in Madinah was the Book and Sunnah in action – so in Madinah it was simply a matter of absorbing and taking on the practice of the people there which had been preserved and transmitted unchanged, with the conscious collaboration of two generations of brilliant scholars, to be inherited and encapsulated and passed on to all subsequent generations by Imam Malik ibn Anas, rahimahullah, as the school of the ‘amal ahli’l- Madinah (the practice of the people of Madinah).

It is also acknowledged unanimously by the early ‘ulama of Islam that no bid‘ah (innovation) entered Madinah during the first three generations, meaning the generation of the Prophet and his Companions, their successors and their successors, the Followers of the Followers, one of whom was Imam Malik. So up until the time of Imam Malik nothing extraneous to the Deen, with regard to the Deen, entered into the environment where they lived. In other words what Imam Malik received and what he passed on to his students, and down to our own time in his great work al-Muwatta, was nothing other than the whole body of the Deen that had come down through those three generations to him in Madinah al-Munawwarah. Imam Malik himself expressed the nub of this matter very cogently in a famous letter he sent to al-Layth ibn Sa‘d in which he wrote:

Allah Almighty says in His Mighty Book: The Outstrippers, the first of the Muhajirun and Ansar. (9:100). Allah Almighty further says: So give good news to My slaves, those who listen well to what is said and then follow the best of it. (39:18). It is essential to follow the people of Madinah. The Hijrah was made to it, the Qur’an was sent down in it, and the halal was made halal and the haram was made haram there. The Messenger of Allah was among them and they were present when the Revelation was revealed. He instructed them and they obeyed him. He imparted the Sunnah to them and they followed it until Allah caused him to die and chose for him what is with Him, may the blessings of Allah and His mercy and favour be upon him always. Then after his death, the Muslims followed those from among his community who were given authority after him. When something happened which they already knew how to deal with, they did so. If they had no knowledge of the matter in question, they asked about it and then followed the best line they could. In this they were helped by having very recently been in personal contact (with the Prophet) … Then the Tabi‘un after them travelled this path and followed those sunan. If there is a practice which is clearly acted upon in Madinah, I do not think that anyone may oppose it because of the inheritance that the people of Madinah received which no one else can lay claim to. If the people of any other city were to say, “This is the practice in our city,” or “This is what those before us used to do,” that would not be permissible for them.

What is very evident from all this is that, for the Madinans, the Sunnah was defined by what had been done much more than what had been said. It was a matter of transmitted action rather than transmitted text. Zayd ibn Thabit رضي الله عنه, the famous Companion, stated, “When you see the people of Madinah doing something, know that it is the Sunnah.” This is a very important distinction in the light of developments, which, as we shall see, were shortly to follow and which were to meld together the two terms Sunnah and hadith and make them virtually indistinguishable one from the other. Understanding this point is pivotal to grasping the nature of the Madinan school and its methodology. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab stated on the mimbar, “By Allah Almighty I will make it difficult for a man who relates a hadith different from it (the ‘amal).” Ibn al-Qasim and Ibn Wahb said, “I saw that in Malik’s opinion ‘amal (transmitted practice) was stronger than hadith (transmitted statement).” Malik said, “The people of knowledge among the Followers would sometimes transmit a hadith which had been conveyed to them from others and then say, ‘We are not ignorant of this, but the ‘amal which has come down to us from the past is other than it.'”

Malik said, “I saw Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr ibn ‘Amr ibn Hazm who was a Qadi. His brother was ‘Abdullah, a truthful man who knew a lot of hadith. When Muhammad gave a judgment in respect of which a hadith had come contrary to it, I heard ‘Abdullah criticise him, saying, ‘Hasn’t this and this come in this hadith?’ He replied, ‘Yes.’ His brother said to him, Then what is wrong with you? Why don’t you give judgment by it?’ He said, ‘Where are the people with respect to it?’ meaning what is the consensus regarding the actual practice in Madinah? He meant that the practice is stronger than the hadith regarding it.” Ibn Mahdi, who died in 186 AH and was one of the greatest hadith scholars of his time in Madinah, said, “It may be that I know a hadith on a subject and then I find that the people of the courtyard do something different from that. Therefore it becomes weak in my estimation.” And finally there is the famous statement of Rabi‘a, “I prefer a thousand from a thousand – in other words the established practice in Madinah – over one from one – meaning a singly narrated hadith – even if it is sound, because one from one can strip the Sunnah out of your hands.

So from what we have seen it is clear that for Imam Malik and the people of Madinah, applying the Book and Sunnah basically constituted taking on unchanged the body of lived practice which had come down to them in their city uninterruptedly from the time of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, and his Companions,  ajma’in. We now arrive at the third of our madhhabs, that of Imam Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi‘i, rahimahullahu ta’ala. Imam ash-Shafi‘i was born in Makkah in the year of Imam Abu Hanifa’s death, 150AH, and pursued his early studies there under teachers steeped in the fiqh and tafsir of the great Companion ‘Abdallah ibn ‘Abbas, رضي الله عنه, which was to prove a strong influence on Imam ash-Shafi‘i later in his life. Although he reached a high level of proficiency in his studies he was not satisfied with what he had learned and travelled north to Madinah to sit at the feet of Imam Malik whom he was to consider the “Luminous Star” among the many teachers under whom he studied. He stayed with Imam Malik until 179AH when he died, although it is known that during that time he visited other places for short periods in search of knowledge.

After Imam Malik’s death Imam ash-Shafi‘i was appointed Qadi in Najran by the governor of Yemen. He remained there for five years but his uncompromising implementation of justice and his condemnation of all injustice made him unpopular with those in power and they slandered him to the khalifah accusing him of rebellion and he was sent to Baghdad in 184AH for trial. He exonerated himself but did not return to Yemen, remaining in Iraq and studying with Muhammad ash-Shaybani, the close follower of Imam Abu Hanifa. After a couple of years he returned to his birthplace, Makkah and it was there that his career as a teacher really started. He remained in Makkah for almost ten years and then visited Baghdad for the second time in 195AH, staying there on this occasion for about two years. He returned again to Baghdad in 198AH and then went on from there in 199AH to Egypt where he spent the remainder of his life, dying in Fustat on the last day of Rajab 204AH at the age of.

The reason for dwelling for some time on the varied movements of Imam ash-Shafi‘i during the course of his life is because it has a considerable bearing on the development of the method by which he determined what constituted the Book and Sunnah. Both Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik remained comparatively stationary throughout their lives, which meant that the source of their knowledge was geographically limited and therefore quite consistent in its approach to the deen. As we have seen Imam ash-Shafi‘i, on the other hand, travelled a lot and because of this saw many different approaches taken to the deen. In fact it is true to say that he learned the fiqh of most of the schools existing in his time.

He started by learning the fiqh of Ibn Abbas in Makkah. He went on to learn the fiqh of Imam Malik in Madinah. He learned the fiqh of al-Awza’i, the school of Syria, from his companion, ‘Umar ibn Abi Salam. He learned the fiqh of Imam Abu Hanifa, the Iraqi school, from his follower Muhammad ash-Shaybani and he learned the fiqh of al-Layth ibn Sa‘d, the faqih of Egypt. As we have seen, there was a considerable difference between the Madinan and Iraqi schools and this was equally the case with all the other schools, with the result that quite distinct judgements were being made about almost identical issues in different areas. Because of his wide learning Imam ash-Shafi‘i was well aware of these differences and it became clear to him that, unless a uniform system of coming to judgment was devised and imposed, there was a very real danger of Islam becoming divergent. He saw that it might rapidly become changed out of all recognition from the original teaching as it had been implemented by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, and the first community in Madinah.

In order to combat this clearly perceived threat – that Islam might suffer the fate of previous revelations by becoming changed and adulterated from its original form due to increasingly divergent rulings on virtually identical situations – Imam ash-Shafi‘i devised a brilliant system to ensure uniformity of legal decision-making and to prevent any further dispersal and dilution of the original teachings of Islam. He did this during his long stay in his birthplace, Makkah, to which he returned after his first visit to Iraq, and it is significant that he based his system on his earliest studies oft he knowledge and methodology of the great Companion, Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him and his father.

The teaching of Ibn ‘Abbas was firmly based on his explanation of the text of the Qur‘an for which he had received explicit permission from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. The Qur‘an is, of course, a book, the Book, and for that reason a major element in the methodology transmitted from Ibn ‘Abbas was textual analysis involving detailed examination of the text itself. This involved a concern with the mujmal (unspecified) and mufassal (detailed), the mutlaq (unrestricted) and muqayyad (qualified) and the khass (specific) and the ‘amm (general). In the hands of Imam ash-Shafi‘I this type of textual analysis produced a new discipline for fuqaha which had not previously existed although all the elements of it had been present.

This detailed examination of the written word formed the core of the methodology for which Imam ash-Shafi‘i became famous and was the cornerstone of his system for ascertaining an authoritative and consistent standard for what constitutes the Book and Sunnah. He founded a systematic method of deduction which allowed judgments to be made on the basis of sound textual evidence and did not accept the latitude in the derivation of judgments which, as we have seen, had existed up until then. Under Imam ash-Shafi‘i’s system no opinion could be expressed which could not be traced to an authenticated text and so the possibility of innovation in the Shari’ah became vastly reduced. In this rigorous reliance on texts, however, lie both the strengths and weaknesses of Imam Ash-Shafi‘i’s superlative system.

It certainly fulfilled its intended task of halting the accelerating break-up in the homogeneity of the practice of Islam in the various areas of the Muslim world of that time and ensured a consistency of practice which was to safeguard the integrity of Islam right down to our own time. Indeed it is true to say that it is largely due to Imam ash-Shafi‘i’s superlative system that we owe the extraordinary uniformity of Islamic practice throughout the world, so that even today 1200 years later, wherever a Muslim travels in the world, despite all the geographical, ethnic and cultural differences which undoubtedly exist, there is no significant difference in any of the basic practices of Islam. This is a tremendous achievement. Another thing is that, because of the need for trustworthy textual evidence on which to base actions and judgments, it became necessary to collect together as many sound traditions from the Prophet as possible. This in turn led to the great hadith collections and all the sciences of hadith which were devised to ensure their authenticity, and it is significant that nearly all of the great hadith collections were put together by scholars who were adherents of the Shafi‘i madhhab.

However what this also meant was that both the Book and Sunnah became restricted in a way that had not previously been the case. Until that time the Sunnah had consisted in the transmitted practice of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, and the first community of Muslims in Madinah. In many cases there was textual corroboration of the actions concerned but in many other instances the practice in question had simply been passed down from one generation to the next without there being any textual justification for it. Thus the Sunnah was an organic pattern of behaviour, consisting of the implementation of Allah’s guidance in the Qur’an by the first Muslims under the direction of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, covering every aspect of life. This was passed down as a direct inheritance by two generations from those who brought it into being. The Sunnah was, in broad brush strokes, the way the first generations of Muslims had lived, and continued to live, their daily lives, particularly in Madinah. They made a continual and conscious effort to avoid admitting any change into what had come down to them and the men of knowledge among them spent their lives preserving it.

So up until Imam ash-Shafi‘i came along the Sunnah was in many cases simply the way the Muslims lived their lives protected by men of knowledge whose lives were dedicated to ensuring that no change occurred in what they had received from the past. After Imam ash-Shafi‘i, however, and his insistence on textual justification for action, the Sunnah became more and more identified with hadiths. This meant that unless there wasan actual text explicitly authorising a particular action it was no  longer considered to be part of the Sunnah, even if it had been practised by the Muslims from the earliest times. Not only that, but the rigour of Imam ash-Shafi‘i’s system of textual analysis meant that even the actions that did have textual justification were tempered by the way the texts were interpreted so that in some instances the actions themselves were changed by Imam ash-Shafi‘i’s unique methodology and this applies to the Qur‘an as well as hadith.

Two examples, one from the Book and the other from the Sunnah, will illustrate how the practice of the Muslims was affected by the application of Imam ash-Shafi‘i’s methodology. We find in the Qur‘an in Surat an-Nisa the ayah: 43:

O you who believe! Do not approach the prayer when you are drunk so that you know what you are saying, nor in a state of major impurity – unless you are travelling – until you have washed yourselves completely. If you are ill or on a journey, or any of you have come from the lavatory or touched women, and you cannot find any water, then do tayammum with pure earth, wiping your faces and your hands. Allah is Ever-Pardoning, Ever-Forgiving.

In reference to the words “or touched women” the Muslims, before Imam ash-Shafi‘i devised his system, had always understood them to have a sexual connotation. In other words, it was only necessary to renew wudu after some form of sexual contact with women. However, the word used here for “touch”, lamasa, can mean simply just that, without any sexual contact being implied. Applying his method of rigorous textual analysis, Imam ash-Shafi‘i reached the conclusion that the broadest possible interpretation must be allowed and, therefore, ruled that any touching whatsoever between men and women was sufficient to break wudu. This constituted a considerable change in practice from an accepted understanding – that what was intended by the ayah was sexual contact – which had been acted upon universally by the early Muslims, to an interpretation based on textual analysis which involved a completely different judgement than the one previously implemented.

With respect to the Sunnah an example of a similar alteration of practice can be seen in connection with the prayer. We find in Sahih al-Bukhari from ‘Ubada ibn as-Samit,  , that the Messenger of Allah  صلى الله عليه وسلم, said,“There is no prayer for anyone who does not recite the Fatiha of the Book.” The early Muslims all accepted that the Fatiha must be recited in every rak‘ah of the prayer. There was, however, an almost universal acceptance that the recital of the Fatiha by the imam in the audible prayers was sufficient to cover the recitation of everyone following him. But after the application of Imam ash-Shafi‘i’s system to the text of the hadith quoted above, it was judged necessary for every individual doing the prayer to recite the Fatiha in every rak’ah and because of that the imam was required to pause for a while after his own recitation of the Fatiha to allow those following him to do the same. This again introduced a practice which had not been performed by Muslims anywhere before Imam ash-Shafi‘i.

So we can say that in his exposition of the rulings of the deen, in other words his implementation of the Book and Sunnah, Imam ash-Shafi‘i relied almost entirely on the outward and apparent indication of texts. He disapproved of both the Iraqi and Madinan approaches to fiqh because the former tended to be based on the principle perceived to be governing a particular transmitted ruling and depended on the state of the faqih making the judgment and of the latter because of its tendency to accept transmitted rulings which had no textual authority to support them. As we have seen, Imam ash-Shafi‘i based his system almost entirely on texts and took a more literal and objective approach to them, causing him perhaps to err on the side of caution.

He took upon himself the task of setting out the principles for a consistent methodology of deduction to provide guidance for all those qualified to make judgments in the deen and to formulate the criteria involved. He set out a universal system founded on firm principles, not contingent upon  opinion or precedent or the resolution of hypothetical questions, and succeeded in devising a methodology for all subsequent scholars and judges to follow. His influence on the later development of Islam cannot be overstated and it is fair to say that the Islam we have inherited today is in no small part due to the system which Imam ash-Shafi‘i formulated twelve centuries ago.

We now come to the last of the four Imams who have given their names to the madhhabs followed by the Muslims, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. There is, however, a marked difference between Imam Ahmad and the other imams. The three earlier imams all definitely represented a particular methodology: Imam Abu Hanifa the Iraqi school of opinion; Imam Malik the Madinan school of direct transmission; and Imam ash-Shafi‘i his own system based on textual analysis. Imam Ahmad, on the other hand, cannot be said to have devised a particular methodology of fiqh. The great historian of Islam, at-Tabari, for instance, did not even include the madhhab of Imam Ahmad when discussing the early fuqaha. He said  of him: “He was a man of hadith not a man of fiqh.”

Qadi ‘Iyad states in his great book Tartib al-Madarik: “He was less than an imam in fiqh although he was brilliant in investigation of its sources.” And there were many other great ‘ulama who did not consider him the founder of a school of fiqh. Indeed he only became an imam in fiqh after his death and that was because some of his students collected together his statements, fatwahs and opinions, forming a legal corpus which was posthumously ascribed to him. Sometimes the transmissions from him varied considerably and sometimes they agreed. We will understand more of this ambivalence about his status as a faqih if we look at his life and how he studied and taught during the course of it.

He was born in Baghdad in Rabi‘ al-Awwal 164AH, half a generation after Imam ash-Shafi‘i, making him, historically speaking, the last of our four imams. This fact and the fact that he was born in Baghdad have a considerable bearing on the course his life and studies were to take. By the time Imam Ahmad came into the world and was brought up in Baghdad, the ‘Abbasid caliphate was thoroughly established and Baghdad had become a truly cosmopolitan imperial capital, a world away from the Madinan environment in which Islam had originally been established. By Imam Ahmad’s time Persian elements had come to dominate Arab elements and the sophistication of Persian civilisation was in the ascendance in general throughout the Muslim world. The cities of Islam were inundated with differing nations and races, and texts of all kinds were being translated from Persian, Syriac, Greek, Latin and other languages into Arabic. The result of this was that the more or less homogenous cultural environment of early Islam had become fragmented as all these different influences became part and parcel of the Islamic world. Add to this the clash of earlier religious traditions together with the attempts of their adherents to mould Islam towards their own world views and the result was an ambience, both religious and physical, which would have been all but unrecognisable to the first generations of Muslims.

This was what confronted Ahmad ibn Hanbal as he grew up in the ‘Abbassid capital and, as a pure-hearted, intelligent, deeply pious youth, he was left with the quandary of how, in the light of all the sophisticated deviation he was facing, he could regain something of the light, clarity and simplicity of the formative early days of Islam. The way he went about achieving his aim has already been indicated in the quotation from at-Tabari – he became a muhaddith. In order to get as complete and detailed a picture as possible of the life of the first community he devoted himself to accumulating the maximum possible number of reports from that time, not only from the Prophet  صلى الله عليه وسلم, himself but also from the Companions, ajma‘in.

So from very early in his life Imam Ahmad chose the men of hadith and their method and dedicated himself to it, to the extent that it certainly appeared that he had taken the path of the hadith scholars rather than that  of those who combined fiqh with hadith. In his search for hadiths Imam Ahmad travelled widely throughout the heartlands of Islam and may have been the first muhaddith to collect the hadiths of every region of the Muslim world and record them. Another thing which marked him out was his use of the pen in his compilation of hadith. In spite of his well known prodigious memory Imam Ahmad wrote down the hadiths he collected. The end result of all this hadith recording which started when he was sixteen years old and continued through much of his life was his great Musnad which contains almost thirty thousand hadiths.

For Imam Ahmad the Musnad was like a great painting in which the myriad reports it contained were the individual brush strokes which together made up the most accurate portrayal he could possibly convey of what the deen of Islam had been like in its original, pristine condition. It was this picture, made up of sayings of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, and reports and decisions from the Companions,   ajma’in, which was the bedrock on which Imam Ahmad built his life and on which he based all his judgments. In as far as he had a methodology for deriving judgments from these sources, he depended upon Imam ash-Shafi‘i under whom he studied and who was one of his most revered teachers. When he met Imam ash-Shafi‘i he learned the rules for sound understanding of the Book and reports of the Sunnah, comparison of textual sources, knowledge of the abrogating and abrogated, and in general how to deduce secondary rulings from the basic sources of the Shari’ah. So in this respect he was certainly not the same as the other three imams, each of whom had their own very distinct methodology for deriving judgments in the deen.

Another reason, perhaps, why Imam Ahmad was made the founder of a new school of fiqh was because of his absolutely exemplary character which inspired many people to take him as a model during his own lifetime. There is no doubt that all four imams were impeccable in their  personal behaviour and all of them had superlative qualities of character that marked them out among their contemporaries. Imam Ahmad, however, had a reputation for saintliness which outshone all of them. From his earliest youth he was famous for his incorruptible integrity which was put a severe test later in his life when he, unlike almost all his contemporaries, suffered over two years of imprisonment and constant severe beatings rather than adopt the rationalist Mu‘tazili doctrine of the createdness of the Qur’an which had become official Abbasid government policy and which was clearly contrary to the position held by the early Muslims. This event also showed his steadfastness and patience which saw him through the many other difficult periods which punctuated his long life.

Other qualities he possessed were great generosity in spite of scant means, transparent sincerity, scrupulousness and abstinence, modesty and cheerfulness, and a natural authority which ensured that people paid attention to what he said. So strong was his connection with the early days of Islam, and so brightly was light of that time reflected in all he said and did, that some of his contemporaries described him as being a great Follower removed from his proper time. All these things and his status as a man of knowledge meant that when he died on 12th Rabi‘ al-Awwal 241AH more than three hundred thousand people joined his funeral procession. All in all then it must be said that from very early times there has  been much discussion about whether Imam Ahmad can really be said to have been the founder of a separate madhhab. It is certainly clear that he was in a different category to the other three, who all represented very specific methodologies in their implementation of the Book and Sunnah. He was definitely one of a kind in terms of the time and place where he lived and ploughed his own furrow in his determination to cleave as closely as he possibly could to the path followed by the first community in Madinah, remaining absolutely orthodox in his views while at the same time being somewhat at odds with the prevailing ethos surrounding him. This is significant in the light of some of those who were to adopt him as their imam in fiqh later on, several of whom were people who found themselves at odds with the authorities of their own time and found in Imam Ahmad a way of remaining firmly within the bounds of orthodox Muslim belief and practice while at the same time differentiating themselves from the power structure of their time.

He himself said, “A man should not set himself up to give independent judgment about the deen unless he possesses five qualities. He must have a clear intention because unless he has he will have no light. He must have knowledge, forbearance, gravity and tranquillity. He must be firm in his knowledge. He must be independent and not dependent on other people. And he must be known to people.” There are few people in the history of Islam who have fulfilled these criteria to the extent that Imam Ahmad himself did. So what can certainly be said is that Imam Ahmad was a mujtahid of the very highest rank, absolutely able to make independent judgments concerning matters of the deen. That does not in itself, however, automatically make him the founder of an independent school of fiqh and, if he was, it was certainly in a very different way to that of his three pre-eminent predecessors.

Seeing Imam Ahmad’s work in this light, as an heroic attempt to recapture both for himself and his contemporaries the ethos of what was already by his time a bygone age, we are left with three distinct methodologies each of which aimed in their own way to embrace and define the Book and Sunnah and pass it on to subsequent generations.

The first was the Iraqi school also known as the “School of Opinion”, definitively formulated by Imam Abu Hanifa and known to future generations as the Hanafi Madhhab. The essence of this methodology was that, in the absence of a known, direct precedent, a new ruling could be made on the basis of understanding the legal purpose behind a previous ruling from the Book or Sunnah about a similar situation and analogously attributing that same legal aim to the new situation. In other words it aimed to distil certain legal principles from the body of the Book and Sunnah which could then be applied as new circumstances demanded. This process was obviously subject to great knowledge of the sources, scrupulous piety, and a rigorous adherence accepted limits on the part of the faqih concerned but it nevertheless allowed a certain leeway in the definition of what could be included within the parameters of the Book and Sunnah. For this reason it was an ideal system for those entrusted with the governance and administration of the Ummah and it is noteworthy that the first great power structure of Islam, the Abbasid Caliphate, was based in Iraq and that the two main dynasties of later times, the Osmanli Dawla and the Mughal Empire, who between them ruled over the vast majority of the Muslim world for centuries, both appointed the Hanafi Madhhab as the official legal modality of their administrative systems.

The Madinan school, definitively formulated by Imam Malik and outlined in his great work al-Muwatta, took a very different approach. For the Madinans the Book and Sunnah were a matter of direct transmission. They were simply what had been passed down and conscientiously and scrupulously preserved through the two generations that had elapsed since the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, and his Companions, ajma’in, as a lived reality. The textual sources were, for them, sounding boards or yardsticks against which their ongoing practice should be measured to make sure that there was no deviation and the road remained clearly delineated. The proof that the deen could be transmitted in this way is shown by the fact that the third generation received it in this way from the second, none of whom had had direct personal contact with the original phenomenon. The school of the ‘amal ahli’l-Madinah (the practice of the people of Madinah) flowed in a river of transmission down through the centuries along the North African coast and then into West Africa with small pockets remaining in the Arabian peninsular. It is significant that Qadi ‘Iyad in his great work Tartib al-Madarik, which traces the history of the Madinan school down to his own time, does not dwell on the texts written within it over the centuries but rather devotes himself to describing the type of men it produced, showing that it remained in his view much more a matter of transmitted behaviour than of recorded judgments.

This is again very different from the approach to the Book and Sunnah adopted by Imam ash-Shafi‘i. As we have seen, in order to counteract the growing tendency towards unacceptable variations in the practice of the deen he had observed on his travels and to preserve Islam within the clear parameters delineated by Allah and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم, he devised a system based on rigorous textual analysis of the ayaat of the Qur’an and the hadiths of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. This certainly achieved his desired aim, but at the same time limited the Sunnah to only those actions for which textual evidence could be produced. It is also very different from the Madinan tradition in which the transmitted action exists independently of the text which merely serves to confirm its authenticity. In the Shafi‘i system, on the other hand, the source texts serve as engenderers of action – in effect, the practice of the deen actually derives from the texts themselves.

As was pointed out earlier, this approach necessitated a vast increase in the number of authentic textual sources available and so brought about the development of all the sophisticated sciences surrounding the collection and authentication of hadiths. This and the complex intellectual discipline required to implement Imam ash-Shafi‘i’s demanding criteria, which became known to subsequent generations under the general heading of usul al-fiqh, entailed a new class of specialist scholars who became a necessary element in Islamic society from this time on. And it is true to say that many fuqaha from the other schools soon began to incorporate aspects of Imam ash-Shafi‘i’s methodology into their own procedures to the point that it might almost be said that basically all the scholars of Islam became to a greater or lesser extent adherents of Imam ash-Shafi‘i’s brilliant system.

Two things need to be said at this point as a necessary supplement to what has been discussed so far. The first is there has been no intention, in making these observations about the four madhhabs of Islam, to present a complete picture of any of them. From the beginning each of them included many elements which have not been presented in this analysis and certainly over time each of them developed into highly complex structures about which countless volumes have been written. My purpose has been to highlight certain salient features in each of them in order to show how each of them, in its own way, embodies a specific approach to the matter of exactly what constitutes the deen of Islam. The second point is to reaffirm categorically that every one of them comprises in itself an authentic transmission of the deen down to our own time. Each of them in its traditionally accepted form represents a body of knowledge and practice through which the whole edifice of Islam has been preserved and renewed down through the centuries. It is, however, important to observe that each of them is self-consistent, that each of them is the result of that particular methodology which brought it into being and, therefore, that it is not possible to chop and change indiscriminately between them.

Each must be taken as a whole and applied as it has come down in its accepted form. The haphazard mix and match approach adopted by some unqualified Muslims nowadays, whereby they randomly choose a different ruling from a madhhab other than their own to suit a particular situation in which they find themselves, is erroneous. The madhhabs are clear paths which have been laid down to be followed just as they are. A great deal of knowledge is needed to be able to judge when its is appropriate to use a ruling borrowed from another madhhab and anyone who does that without the necessary learning is in effect arrogantly setting themselves up as a qualified mujtahid. More grievously at fault are those Muslims who claim that no madhhab is necessary at all, that it is possible, or in the worst cases even compulsory, to reject all these centuries of traditional scholarship and, returning, as they assert, directly to the sources, to find a version of Islam which somehow escaped the notice of our sincere and extremely learned ancestors.

These latter culprits can be loosely gathered into two groupings, modernists and salafis, both of which, curiously enough, employ, in an inauthentic way, the very methodologies embodied by two of the madhhabs we have been examining. The modernists might well be termed deviant Hanafis because they are people who, without anything like the necessary knowledge, integrity and Taqwa to do so, employ an approximation of the methodology of the Iraqi school to reach judgments about current issues in a mistaken attempt to accommodate Islam to the times in which we live and who, in doing so, have made compromises in the deen which have undermined some of the basic premises of the Islamic Shari’ah.

One early instance of this trend, among innumerable examples which have occurred since, was the infamous late 19th century fatwa of Muhammad ‘Abduh permitting Muslims to invest in interest bearing accounts in the British run Egyptian post office. He paid no attention to the clearly expressed objections of his fellow ‘ulama, insisting that the Shari’ah should be interpreted by reason, and arguing that preventing Muslims from investing their money in this way would give an unfair advantage to non-muslims. This opened the door to the wholesale introduction of modern banking into Islamic lands and the consequent subjection of the Muslims to the kafir economic and political domination which followed in its wake.

In the hands of men such as ‘Ali ‘Abd ar-Raziq and ‘Abd ar-Razzaq as- Sanhuri this school of thought gathered momentum and led to introduction of foreign legal systems in almost every Muslim country which has resulted in the virtual abandonment of the Shari’ah everywhere in the Islamic world. The examples of this way of thinking, on both a communal and personal level, has resulted in a situation where the barriers between Islam and kufr have become blurred to the point that the Qur’anic ayah, “To you your deen and to me my deen,” has basically ceased to have any meaningful manifestation in the world today.

The second group, the salafis, base their practice of Islam on a “return to the sources” by which they mean a re-examination of the hadith collections. Their arrogant assertion is that by doing this they have discovered, after fourteen centuries, that for all this time the Muslims have been failing to implement properly the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. In as far as their whole premise is based on analysis of hadith texts, even if lacking in the necessary inward and outward qualifications to make it authoritative, they could be said to be neo-Shafi‘i’s in that they use a debased form of the methodology devised by Imam ash-Shafi‘i to derive practices from their literal and deficient understanding of the texts involved. Their claim that earlier generations of Muslims did not have access to the texts is demonstrably false. The whole vast and intricate structure of the science of hadith developed by the scholars of Islam was devoted, as we have seen, to ensuring that the practices of the Sunnah were carefully based on a precise understanding the hadith texts involved. To say at this distance in time that these texts have in fact been misunderstood or misapplied by all the Muslims throughout history demonstrates an extraordinary arrogance which is almost incomprehensible.

One example of this is the salafi practice of placing the hands across the chest in the qabd position when standing up from ruku‘ in the prayer. The evidence for this, according to them, is a hadith in which it says that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, used to come back after ruku‘ into the same position he had been in before going into it. All the Muslims have always understood this to mean that he simply returned to the upright position. But this new literalist salafi interpretation of the hadith has introduced into the prayer a practice never performed before by any Muslims anywhere, with the unwarranted implication that the whole community has been mistaken about this matter for fourteen centuries. There are unfortunately a great many similar examples and this new version of Islam is more often than not propagated by its adherents with an overweening air of self-righteousness which is far removed from the courtesy and humility displayed by true scholars of the deen. Another unfortunate result of this false teaching is that it has spawned a generation of young people who truly believe that, armed with a translation of a collection of hadith, they can decide for themselves what constitutes the Sunnah and that, moreover, it is their bounden duty to put every other Muslim right if they do not agree  with them.

This then is the way that the methodologies of Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam ash-Shafi‘i have been ignorantly abused in the world today and the same can also be said of the methodology of Imam Malik although, in its case, the abuse has taken a slightly different form. As we have noted the basis of the distinctive methodology of Imam Malik is direct transmission.

The truth is that this is, for the vast majority of Muslims, the way they  infact take on the deen. They learn it by example from their families and the Muslim community in which they live. This is all well and good provided that what they absorb is within the limits set out by one of the four madhhabs we have been discussing. All too often, however, various accretions have crept in, borrowed from local culture or ancient custom, which are considered by the people of a particular area to be part and parcel of the deen when, in reality, they have nothing whatsoever to do with Islam at all. These supplementary practices sometimes become so ingrained in a particular Muslim community that it becomes very difficult to eradicate them and many of the people think that anyone who tries to do so is attacking Islam itself.

If this is the negative way that the madhhab methodologies are manifesting themselves in the present day, what about the originals, the great rivers of transmission of Islam from the past, we have been looking at – what is their relationship with the world in which we now live? The truth is that in the present context the madhhabs now have very little to do with the methodologies which originally brought them into existence. They are now, and have been for a considerable time, nothing but static bodies of law, compendious compilations of legal rulings, covering every aspect of personal and social life in the Muslim community.

As we said at the beginning a person’s affiliation to a particular madhhab has become in almost every case simply a matter of geography. The madhhab you have depends on an accident of birth; where you were born determines the madhhab you adopt. If you were born in Turkey or the Indian Subcontinent you are automatically a Hanafi. If you were born in the Far East you become Shafi’i. If you were born in North or West Africa you become Maliki. Throughout the Middle East there is more of a mixture and your madhhab tends to depend on the family you were born into. There is no doubt that this has in many ways proved a protection for the Muslims throughout the world and that through the teaching of their madhhab they have retained access to an unbroken and authentic transmission of the deen of Islam from the earliest times.

There is, however, a downside to this. It tends to give the impression that things are still all right, that the situation of the Muslims today is somehow comparable with what was in the past, that Islam is still a functioning reality. That is emphatically not the case. There is now nowhere on the surface of the earth where Allah’s deen is being implemented in anything but a most fragmented way. The hudud have been to all intents and purposes completely abandoned and replaced by various man-made versions of criminal law. Most of the personal and social aspects of the deen, even in those places where they are claimed to be in force, have in fact become watered down and compromised to fit in with Western legal modalities. As for the financial and economic aspects of the Shari’ah, they have been completely jettisoned in favour of the usury based capitalist economic system engendered in post reformation Europe, which was first used as a weapon to destroy Dar al-Islam and is now the instrument by means of which the Muslims, along with the rest of the world’s population, are held in a state of somnolent subjugation. The reason for this is that the Book and Sunnah are not seen as the prime source of governance by any Muslim regime anywhere in the world. This in fact has made all the madhhabs virtually redundant in real terms.

The madhhabs were all developed within a context of unabashed Muslim rule, where Allah and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم were seen as the only source of legal authority, in which the Book and Sunnah were seen as the only valid criteria for the government of human affairs. Their purpose was to come up with all the rulings necessary for the correct implementation of the Book and Sunnah in every area of Muslim life in the certainty that these rulings would be immediately enacted. There was nothing theoretical about them; they did not exist in a vacuum. They were a vital and active principle in the ongoing life of every Muslim society. Under their sway rulers ruled, judges judged, traders traded and, in every aspect, life was lived. What a difference between then and now! In the eyes of Muslim rulers now the madhhabs are irrelevant. Even for Muslim judges in this time the madhhab is well down their list of legal sources. And the idea of a modern Muslim businessman being subject to the strictures of a madhhab is simply laughable. The madhhabs have been reduced to being the domain of emasculated scholars who frequently know every ruling there is to know about every subject under the sun but are impotent to implement a single one of them.

So although the madhhabs do provide a link with the past and have ensured an authentic transmission of the deen into the present age, the truth is that they no longer fulfill the purpose for which they were brought into being. Their purpose was to provide the rulings for the complete implementation of Islam in every area of life and they are not able to do that because there is nowhere where Allah’s deen is established. This is the first time since the first community in Madinah that this has happened and our primary task as Muslims in this time must be to see the Book and Sunnah once more put back in place as the sole fountainhead of all our affairs. Nothing short of this is acceptable and it must be the continual and explicit intention of every Muslim to see this come about until it has happened.

The madhhabs were excellent tools for implementing the Book and Sunnah once they were in place but they had nothing to do with establishing them in the first place. So it is most unlikely that the madhhabs as presently constituted will provide us with the means to perform the task which faces us. Imam Malik used to say, “The last of this community will not be put right except by what put it right in the first place.” In other words, in order to restore Allah’s deen to its rightful place at the head of Muslim affairs, we have to get right back to what was there at the beginning. The question is how to do this? The modernists do not even want to. Although the salafis claim that it is what they want, their route is a non-starter because there is no direct access to the source by the means they espouse.

If we view Islam as a river whose source was the first community, and which has flowed down through more than fourteen centuries to our time, then the madhhabs have clearly been an inseparable part of that river. But the question here is do they lead back to its source? Continuing the river metaphor and turning the years into miles, if we go back up stream, we come upon a dam about two hundred and twenty miles from the source. Behind the dam is a huge reservoir into which much of the headwater of the river is gathered before flowing on again towards the sea. This dam is Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. One hundred and eighty five miles from the source we find that a great canal has been dug, leading off the main river and running parallel with it for many hundreds of miles before rejoining it far downstream. It is beautifully engineered and allows the filtered and purified water from the river which fills it to flow uniformly between its well constructed banks making it easy to manage and administrate. This canal is the madhhab of Imam ash-Shafi‘i.

Further upstream, about a hundred and twenty miles from the source we find a tributary flowing into the river from one side and mixing with it, whose spring is in some nearby hills. This is the methodology of the Hanafi madhhab. Finally, a little before we reach that tributary we would find a sluice system through which all the water from the very source of the river is regulated and directed. This is Imam Malik. What this makes clear is that in the end it is only through Imam Malik that we can have access to the very source of the deen, that primal picture of Islam in action which we need in order to be able to re-establish the deen here and now.

In this regard, Imam Malik should be seen, therefore, not as the founder of  the subsequent madhhab named after him but rather as the Imam of the Dar al-Hijra, Madinah al-Munawwarah, and the recorder and transmitter of the ‘amal ahli’l-Madinah, the practice of the people of Madinah. As we know, Imam Malik saw it as his task to capture for posterity the living tradition of Islam in action, the Book and Sunnah in their pristine original form, which had been passed down to him unaltered through  the two generations that had elapsed since the death of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. This clearly represents the closest possible exposition of Islam as it was actually lived by the Prophet and his Companions, the unbroken transmission of the Book and Sunnah in the very place where it had been established, preserved and unaltered in any way by the two generations who had lived there between the days of the First Community and the time of Imam Malik. So what it brings to us is that raw, vital energy of the first days of Islam, the time of the Prophet himself صلى الله عليه وسلم, and the time immediately following it of the Khulafah Rashidun,   ajma’in, when the deen was in its most potent phase of expansion and establishment. For  that reason it is sometimes known as the madhhab of ‘Umar  رضي الله عنه.

It was that very behaviour pattern which made Islam happen in the first place, so what better model could there be for this time when it is once again necessary to start from the ground up. The historical proof of its potency can be seen in the example of the Murabitun in the eleventh century. The Practice of the People of Madinah was transmitted to them by Abdallah ibn Yasin, the teacher sent to them from Kairouan, where the living record of the ‘amal ahli’l-Madinah had been passed on unbroken from the time of Imam Malik himself, and with it, and nothing else, they burst out from their land in West Africa and revived Islam throughout the Maghrib and al-Andalus, ensuring the Muslims in Spain, who had at that time almost come under Christian domination, a further two hundred years of Islamic governance.

Its incontrovertible authenticity has been repeatedly verified throughout the centuries, not least by the celebrated Hanbali scholar, Ibn Taymiyya, whose book ‘The Soundness of the Basic Premises of the Madhhab of the People of Madinah‘, makes it clear that the most complete picture of the Sunnah, both in terms of its spirit and its actual practice, was that passed on by Imam Malik and captured in its outline in his book al-Muwatta. This was because of Imam Malik’s great knowledge, his geographical location in the City of the Prophet, the great number of men of knowledge who had remained there, preserving the deen in its entirety from the time of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and the fact that, as was universally acknowledged, no innovation in the deen at all entered Madinah during the first three generations of Islam. Also worth mentioning, in a contemporary context, is the book of Dr. Yasin Dutton ‘The Origins of Islamic Law’, a piece of scrupulous scholarship. In his book, Dr. Dutton shows conclusively that  Malik’sMuwatta does indeed contain a direct record of the authentic practice of the first Community and by doing so, incidentally, deals a death blow to those orientalists who have maintained that there was a time-gap between the first Community and the development of the Shari’ah of Islam.

Several times during the history of the deen at times when, for one reason or another, it had fallen into disrepair and decadence and was in need of renewal, the scholars of Islam have pointed out that the madhhab of the ‘amal ahli’l-Madinah represented a position which was pure Book and Sunnah with no controversy in it whatsoever on which all the Muslims could come together. A notable example, for instance was the great Indian scholar Shah Waliullah of Delhi, who explicitly propagated it as a way of reviving the deen in India in the face of the advancing British. In our own time, the mantle of this task has fallen on the shoulders of Dr. Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi whose seminal text Root Islamic Education shows definitively how the primal model of Madinan Islam gives us all the guidance we need for the complete re-implementation of Islamic governance. He says in it:

The duty is to come together at that point where there is no argument and no deviation. The place is Madinah. Only there can we all meet in that primal ‘Umari Islam, … for it was the evidence and proof from the Messenger of Allah that men could live together in justice and in peace and with trust in each other, by obedience to Allah,  . It is the school of Madinah, salafi, and pure, that will unite the Muslims, and revitalise the deen, and restore the reality of the second shahada, along with the first.

So the Madhhab of the ‘amal ahli’l-Madinah, of the Actions of the People of Madinah, represents the way that Islam came into being in the first place, directly at the hands the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in his explanation of the ayaat of the Qur’an and his implementation of them in his own life among his Companions, ajma‘in. This was the basis of all four madhhabs and this is what the Muslims have to get back to. This understanding of the Deen fresh from the source as it appeared in the actions of the people of Madinah is what we must have if Islam is to be restored to the position it should hold at the head of all human affairs.

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Chapter 2 – Concerning الصَّلاةِ (Prayer) – Part 1 الصَّلاَةُ‮ ‬الْـمَفْرُوضةُ‮ ‬ (The Obligatory Prayers) from Matnu-l-ʿIzziyah

 بَابُ‮ ‬الثَّانِي‮ ‬فِي‮ ‬الصَّلاةِ‮ ‬

Chapter 2 – Concerning الصَّلاةِ (Prayer)

Part 1 الصَّلاَةُ‮ ‬الْـمَفْرُوضةُ‮ ‬ (The Obligatory Prayers) 

وَهِيَ (It [Prayer] ) أَحَـدُ‮ ‬أَرْكَانِ‮ ‬الإسلاَمِ‮ ‬الْـخَـمْسَةِ (is one of the five pillars of Islam) التِّي (which)  بُـنِيَ‮ ‬عَـلَيهَا (is also built on) شَـهَادَتِ (witnessing) أَنْ‮ ‬لاَ‮ ‬إِلَـاـهَ‮ ‬إِلاَّ‮ ‬اللهُ (that there is no god except Allah) وَ‮ ‬أَنَّ‮ ‬مُحَـمَّدًا (And that Muhammad) عَبْدُهُ (is His slave) وَرَسُولُـهُ (and Messenger), وَإِقَامِ‮ ‬الصَّلاةِ (and standing for prayer), وَإتَـاءِ‮ ‬الزَّكَاةِ (and giving alms tax), وَصَـومِ (and the fast of Ramadan), وَحَجِّ‮ ‬بَيْتِ‮ ‬اللهِ‮ ‬الْـحَرَامِ (and the pilgrimage to the House of Allah) لِـمَنْ‮ ‬اسْـتَطَاعَ‮ ‬إِلَـيْهِ‮ ‬سَـبِيلا (for he who is able to find a way to).

 وَالصَّّلاَةُ‮ ‬(Prayer)أَعْـظَمُهَا‮ ‬(is the most important of them [the pillars of Islam]) بَعْدَ‮ ‬الشَّهَادَتَيْـنِ (after the two Shahādahs). مَنْ‮ ‬أَقَامَـهَا (Whoever upholds it), أَقَامَ‮ ‬الدِّينَ (upholds the Diin), ومَنْ‮ ‬تَـرَكَـهَا (and whoever neglects it), فَـقَدْ‮ ‬تَـرَكَ‮ ‬الدِّينَ (neglects the Diin). وَلِـوُجُـوبِـهَا (Its requirements) ‮ ‬خَـمْسَةُ‮ ‬شُـرُوطٍ (are [base on] five conditions): الإسلاَمُ (Islam), وَالْبُلُوغُ (maturity), وَالْـعَقْلُ (intelligence), ‮ ‬وَارْتِفَاعُ‮ ‬دَمِ‮ ‬الْـحَيْضِ (cessation of menstrual bleeding) وَالنِّفَاسِ (and the blood parturition [childbirth]), وَحُضُورِ‮ ‬وَقْتِ‮ ‬الصَّلاَتِ (the arrival of the time of the prayer).

تَـجِبُ‮ ‬بِأَوَّلِ‮ ‬الْوَقْتِ (It becomes obligatory at the beginning of the time) وُجُوبًا مُوَسَّعًا (though the span of time of the obligation is wide).فَمَنْ‮ ‬جَهَدَ‮ ‬وُجُوبَهَا (He who forsakes it as an  obligation) أَوْ‮ ‬شَيْئًا مِنْ‮ ‬وَجَبَاتِهَا (and anything of its requirements) أَوْ‮ ‬شَـيْئًا مِنْ‮ ‬أَرْكَانِ‮ ‬الإسلاَمِ‮ ‬الْـخَمْسَةِ (or anything from the five pillars of Islam) فَهُوَ‮ ‬كَافِرٌ‮ ‬مُرْتَدُّ (is an apostatizing  disbeliever). يَستَتَابُ (He should be called upon to repent) ‮ ‬ثَلاَثَةَ‮ ‬أَيَّامٍ‮ ‬ (for three days) فَـإِنْ‮ ‬تَـابَ to see if he repents) ,‮ ‬وَإِلاَّ‮ ‬قُـتِلَ , otherwise he should be killed ). وَمَـنْ‮ ‬أَقَـرَّ‮ ‬بِـوُجُـوبِـهَا (Whoever affirms the obligation of pray) وَامْـتَنَعَ‮ ‬مِـنْ‮ ‬فِـعْلِهَا (and stops doing it), انتُظِرَ‮ ‬إِلَى‮ ‬ (will be observed until) أَنْ‮ ‬يَـبْقَى مِـنْ‮ ‬وَقْـتِهَا الضُّرُورِيِّ (what remains of its [the prayer’s] necessary time) مِقْدَارُ‮ ‬رَكْعَةٍ‮ ‬كَامِلَةٍ‮ ‬ (equal to the measure of a complete rakʿah). فَإِنْ‮ ‬لَـمْ‮ ‬يُـصَلِّ (If he still hasn’t prayed), قُـتِلَ‮ ‬بِـالسَـيفِ (he should be killed by the sword) حَـدًّا (in accordance with the prescribed penalty);

وَيُصَلِّي‮ ‬عَلَيهِ‮ ‬(and [the people who pray] over him) ‮ ‬غَيْرُ‮ ‬أَهْلِ‮ ‬الْفَضْلِ‮ ‬وَالصَّلاَحِ‮ ‬(should be other than the people of virtue and piety). وَيُدْفَنُ (He should be buried) فِي‮ ‬مُقَابِرِ‮ ‬الْـمُسْلِمِيـنَ (in the grave yard of the Muslims),‮ ‬وَلاَ‮ ‬يُـطْمَسُ‮ ‬قَـبْرُهُ (and his grave should not be destroyed).‮ ‬وَلاَ‮ ‬يُـقْتَلُ (He should not be kill)‮ ‬بِالْفَائِتَةِ (for letting the time of prayer elapse).

‮ ‬وَيُـؤْمَـرُ‮ ‬الصَّبِيُّ‮ ‬(The youth should be commanded) بِهَا لِسَبْعِ‮ ‬سَنِيـنَ (to perform it [prayer] at seven) يَضْرَبُ‮ ‬عَلَى تَرْكِهَا ضَرْبًا (and should be spanked),غَيْرَ‮ ‬مُبَرِّحٍ (but not severely) ‮ ‬إِذَا بَلَغَ‮ ‬عَشْرَ‮ ‬سَنِيـنَ (if he has reached the age of ten).

فصْلٌ (Section about the obligatory prayers)

الصَّلاَةُ‮ ‬الْـمَفْرُوضةُ‮ ‬ (The obligatory prayers) خَـمْسَةٌ (are five): الظُّهْـرُ (aḍh-Ḍhur), وَالْعَصْرُ (al-ʿAṣr), وَالْـمَغٌرِبُ‮ ‬(al-Maghrib),  وَالُعِشًاءُ‮ ‬(alʿIshaa’) and  وَالصُّبْحُ‮ ‬(aṣ-Ṣubḥ). وَلِكُلِّ‮ ‬وَاحِدَةِ‮ ‬مِنْهَا (For each of them) وَقْـتَانِ‮ ‬اخْـتِيارِيٌّ (is a preferred time) وَضَـرُورِيٌّ (and a necessary time). فَلاِخْتِيَارِيُّ‮ ‬لِلظُّهْرِ (The preferred time for aḍh-Ḍhur)‮ ‬مِنْ‮ ‬زَوَالِ‮ ‬الشََّمْسِ  (is from when the noon day sun passes the meridian])‮ ‬لآِخِـرِ‮ ‬الْـقَامَـةِ (until the time of when the shadow of a thing is equal to it]) وَهُـوَ‮ ‬أَوَّلُ‮ ‬الْوَقْـتِ‮ ‬الْـعَصْرِ (and it is the time of the beginning of al-ʿAṣr). ‮ ‬وَآخِرُهُ (The end of it [the time of al-ʿAṣr]) ‮ ‬إِلى اصْـفِرَارِ‮ ‬الشَّمْسِ ( is the yellowing of the Sun]). ولِـلْـمَغْرِبِ (The preferred time of al-Maghrib)‮  ‬بِـغُرُوبِ‮ ‬قُرْصِ‮ ‬الشَّمْسِ (is with the setting of the round edge of the sun)‮ ‬وَهُوَ‮ ‬مُضَيِّقٌ (it [the time span] is narrow)  غَـيْرُ‮ ‬مُـمْتَدِّ (not wide). يُـقَدَّرُ (It is limited (to the amount of time) بِـفِعْلِهَا (which will enable you to perform it)  بَـعْدَ‮ ‬تَـحْصِيلِ‮ ‬شُـرُرطِـهَا  ( after having fulfilled its conditions: [that is to say, the adhaan, the iqaamah and the essentials of purification etc.])  وَلِـلعِشَاءِ (The preferred time of alʿIshaa’ is from غَـيْبُوبَةِ‮ ‬الشَّفَقِ‮ ‬الأَحْـمَرِ (the red twilight of the evening]) إِِلَـى ثُـلْثِ‮ ‬اللَّيْلِ‮ ‬الأََوَّلِ‮ ‬(up until the first third of the night). لِلصُّبْحِ (The preferred time of aṣ-Ṣubḥ) طُـلُوعِ‮ ‬الْفَجْـرِ‮ ‬الصَّادِقِ (is from the actual appearance of the (light) of dawn)‮ ‬لِلإِسْفَارِ‮ ‬الأَعْلَى (to brightness of dawn). وَالضَّرُورِيُّ‮ ‬للصُّبْحِ (The necessary time of aṣ-Ṣubḥ) مِن الإِسْفَارِ‮ ‬الأَعْلَى (is from the brightness of dawn) ‮ ‬إلَى طُلُوعِ‮ ‬الشَّمْسِ (the appearance of the sun). وَلِلظَّهْرِ ([The necessary time] for aḍh-Ḍhur) مِنْ‮ ‬أَوَّلِ‮ ‬وَقْتِ‮ ‬الْعَصْرِ‮ ‬الْـمُخْتَارِ (is from the beginning of the preferred time of al-ʿAṣr)  إِلَى‮ ‬غُرُوبِ‮ ‬قُرْصِ‮ ‬الشَّمْسِ (until the setting of the round edge of the sun). ولِـلْعَصْرِ ([The necessary time] for  al-ʿAṣr) مِنَ‮ ‬الأَصْفِرَارِ (is from the yellowing of the Sun) ‮ ‬إِلَى وَقْتِ‮ ‬الْغُرُوبِ (to the time of sunset). وَلِلْمَغْرِبِ ([The necessary time] for  al-Maghrib) ‮ ‬مِـنَ‮ ‬الْـفَرَاغِ‮ ‬مِنْهَا (is from) ‮ ‬إِلَى طُلُوعِ‮ ‬الْفَجرِ (to the appearance of dawn). وَلِلْعِشَاءِ ([The necessary time] for alʿIshaa’)‮ ‬مِنْ‮ ‬آخِرِ‮ ‬ثُلُثِ‮ ‬اللَّيْلِ‮ ‬الأوَّلِ (is from the end of the first third of the night) ‮ ‬إِلَى طُلُوعِ‮ ‬الْفَجْرِ (to the appearance of dawn).

تَنْبِيهٌ (note):

مَـنْ‮ ‬أَخَّرَ‮ ‬الصَّلاةَ‮ ‬ (Whoever delays the prayer) إِلَى الْوَقْتِ‮ ‬الضُّرُورِيِّ (until the necessary time)‮ ‬مِنْ‮ ‬غَـيْرِ‮ ‬عُـذْرِ (without a [valid] excuse) أَثِـمَ (commits a sin). وَالْعُدْرُ (The [valid] excuses are): ‮ ‬الْـحَيْضُ (the bleeding of menstruation).‮ ‬وَالنِّفَاسُ (the bleeding of parturition), والْكُفْرُ (disbelief), وَالصِّبَا ( under the age of the obligation to pray), وَالْـجُنُونِ  (insanity),  والإغْـمَاءِ (unconsciousness), وَالنَّومِ (sleep), and وَالنِسْيَانُ (forgetfulness).

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