Presented are here some texts excerpts from Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi's seminal book Islamic Awakening between Rejection and Extremism; ( introduction here ).

The whole pdf-text of the Second Edition_B is here for [ download ].
List of available texts here:
- Characteristics of Extremism (part 1)
- Main Causes of Extremism (part 2)
- Toward a Remedy for Extremism (part 3)
- Duties Of Young Muslims (part 4, below)

mhmd_2012 “Islam is the religion of rational and critical minds. This is why one of its fundamental goals is to make man aware of the paramount significance of gradation, fortitude, and maturity. Haste is an inherent characteristic of man in general, and of the young in particular. Indeed, haste is an outstanding characteristic of our own age. It has made our youth eager to saw the seeds today and to harvest the next day. But Allah's will in His own creation does not allow that: a tree goes through stages of growth, short or long, before it bears fruit.”

“These devout young people have ignored the fact that if they want to study Shariah, they must seek the help of reliable Muslim scholars. They cannot venture into this extensive and sophisticated discipline without the guidance of such reliable scholars who can interpret and explain obscurities, define terms, and point out similarities and the relationships between the parts and the whole. Those who venture into it alone will meet with the same catastrophic results which would certainly befall the unskilled swimmer who into deep waters.”


“There might be someone somewhere who opposes (the opinions of those who received semi-knowledge directly from books and newspapers without any opportunity for revision or discussion) on stronger and more valid foundations, but they are not aware of that because nobody has drawn their attention to such a possibility.”


Islamic Awakening Between Rejection and Extremism

Duties Of Young Muslims

by Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi

edited by OmarKN

The first duty of the Muslim youth is to rectify their views and thoughts with a view to knowing their din on the basis of clear evidence and understanding and according to a proper methodology. The right start is acquiring the proper methodology of comprehending Islam, and of dealing with themselves, people and life.
Historically, Muslim scholars have established certain principles and methods which have enhanced the proper comprehension, and deduction of matters and issues whether supported by texts or not. This led to the establishment of the science of usul al fiqh: a discipline which studies the methodology of deriving laws from the sources of Islam and of establishing their juristic or constitutional validity.

Thus, they established the principles of the controlling and controlled evidence, the subject and object of controlling aspects of evidence: the main and the subsidiary, the imperative and the negative, the general and the particular, the absolute and the restricted, the pronounced and the comprehend. They also established the total aims of the Shariah, such as safeguarding people's welfare, counteracting evil and harm; they divided needs into: essential, necessary and comforts.

This is indeed a unique science of which there is no equal, and of which Muslims have the right to be proud. In addition, there are other principles and rules of fiqh which may not be available in the books of usul but are found in various books on usul al tafsir and Qur'anic sciences, as well as usul al hadīth, and hadīth sciences. In addition to these, there are various rules and principles scattered in books of beliefs, hadīth interpretation, and jurisprudence which can be observed by those who have acquired an insight into the purpose of Shariah and its innermost recesses.

What is required, therefore, is not a shallow understanding of the texts but rather a deep knowledge and a genuine comprehension of the purposes of Qur'anic verses and the ahadīth. The fiqh, the awareness, and the knowledge required must take the following into consideration:

First: Knowledge of and insight into Shariah cannot be complete without considering all the particular aspects in relation to the general context of the entire truth of Islam.
To issue a judgment a Quranic verse or a hadīth must be interpreted in the light of other ahadīth, the Sunnah of the Prophet MHMD as well as the practice of the companions (raʿa), and must be understood in the light of the Qur'an and the general context and purposes of Shariah. Otherwise there will be a defect in this understanding, and a confusion in deduction and derivation which could create contradictions in Shariah and subject it to ridicule and to calumniations.

For this reason, Imam al Shatibi set two conditions for ijtihad:
(1) understanding the purposes of Shariah in its totality, and
(2) the ability to derive and to draw conclusions on the basis of this understanding. This can only be fulfilled when there is a deep and wide knowledge of the texts, especially the ahadīth and the traditions, in addition to an insight into the reasons, the events, the circumstances, and the purposes of each text, as well as an ability to distinguish between the eternal and unalterable and those formulated to meet a temporary need, an existing custom or tradition, or certain transient circumstances which can be changed when the latter change.

One day I was lecturing on proper Islamic dress for women, according to the Qur'an and Sunnah, when a person in the audience said that the hijab mentioned in the Qur'an must include an additional outer covering.

I replied that the hijab is not an end in itself, but rather a means for decently covering those parts of the body which the Shariah prohibits to be exposed. In this sense, it can differ from one place and time to another. But the man shouted furiously that the garment required is very clearly specified in a Qur'anic text, and we therefore have no right to change it. He cited the following verse:

{ O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad). That is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested.}
I replied that the Qur'an sometimes specifies certain means and methods that were suitable and common at the time of the revelation, but were never meant to become permanently binding if better or similar ones are found. The following example is sufficient enough to demonstrate my point. Allah (swt) said:

{ Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies of Allah and your enemies.}

The steed is specifically mentioned above because it was-at the time of revelation-one of the most powerful means known at the time. But there is indeed no reason why Muslims in our times and in earlier days should not use tanks and armored vehicles to achieve the end referred to in the above verse, i.e. to strike fear into the hearts of the enemies of Allah (swt) and of the enemies of Muslims. Similarly, the woman's outer garment could be any dress which satisfies the objective expressed in verse that Muslim women should be recognized and not molested.

If such is the case of the Quran, which has an eternal and comprehensive nature, it is only logical that the Sunnah is even more open to such an examination.

The Sunnah comprise a multitude of teachings, the legislative and the nonlegislative, the general and the specific, the eternal and the changeable: a change necessitated by a change in the reasons and the exigencies.

In issues and matters related to eating, drinking, and dressing, for example, there are legislative as well as nonlegislative Sunnah. Eating with the fingers rather than with silverware is not compulsory. The former method was more natural and suitable to the simple life and nature of the Arabs at the time of the Prophet MHMD.
However this does not mean that using a spoon is haram (unlawful) or makruh (condemned or discouraged), since it is now so widely available that it in no way indicates any extravagance or excess. But this does not apply to silver or gold tableware, the use of which has clearly been forbidden. Similarly we have to abide by the injunction to eat with the right hand as the purpose of this teaching is fundamental and unalterable, and because it seeks to establish a uniform custom among Muslims, directing them to follow a righthand approach in everything.

The Prophet MHMD ordered us: "Say bismi-llah [before you begin] and eat with your right hand." In another hadīth he said: "None of you should eat or drink with his left hand, because Satan eats and drinks with his left hand." Furthermore, during the Prophet's time, Muslims had no idea whatsoever of sieves, which were later known and used to advantage. Could this be regarded as a prohibited innovation or a hateful practice- of course not.

Another example is the issue of wearing a short thawb (garment), which pious young Muslims adhere to and insist on wearing despite the problems which it creates for them, as if it was one of the fundamentals of Islam.

These young people put forth two arguments: (1) The dress has to be a short thawb because this is the type of dress the Prophet MHMD and his companions (raʿa) used. They further believe that other costumes lead us to imitate the kuffar, a practice prohibited in Islam; and (2) It has to be short because there are ahadīth which prohibit wearing below-the-ankle izar or thawb such as:

"The part of an izar which hangs below the ankles is in the Fire." With regard to the first argument, the Prophet's Sunnah known to us is that he wore whatever was available to him. For this reason, he wore shirts, robes, and izars. The Prophet MHMD also wore garments and garbs made in the Yemen and Persia, which were embroidered on the sides with silk. He also wore skullcap with or without a turban. Al Imam Ibn al Qayyim says in Al Hady al Nabaw':
The best guidance is the Sunnah of the Prophet MHMD, the things he regularly practised, ordered, and encouraged people to do. His sunnah in dressing is that he used to wear whatever was available for him whether made of cotton, wool, or linen. He is known to have worn cloaks from the Yemen, green cloaks, jubbah, garments with full length sleeves, shirts, pants and robes, shoes and slippers. . . He used, sometimes, to grow a cc plait in the back.

The textile industry was unknown then, so people used to wear clothes imported from the Yemen, Egypt, and Syria. In our time, we wear- without any inhibition-underwear, head coverings, shoes, etc., which were unknown during the Prophet's time. Why then this excessive fuss about the thawb in particular?

As for the argument of imitating the kuffar, we are actually prohibited from imitating their distinguishing characteristics as followers of other religions-such as sporting the cross, wearing ecclesiastical costumes, celebrating non-­Muslim festivals, all of which indicate adherence to a different religion. Ibn Taimiyah explained all this in detail in his book: Iqti'al Sirat al Mustaqim fi Mukhalafat Ahl al Jahim. With the exception of such conspicuous matters, judgment is made on the basis of intention and purpose.

If a Muslim deliberately imitates the kuffar, he would be held blameworthy on the basis of his intention. But if a person unintentionally does things which the kuffar do, or chooses something which is easier for him, or for his job such as wearing the "overalls" by a factory worker or an engineer, he is not to be held blameworthy.

Nonetheless, it is more becoming of a Muslim to distinguish himself from non-Muslims in all material and spiritual matters to the best of his ability. The gist of the matter is that wearing a short thawb is more desirable, but wearing a long one is not prohibited if it is just a habit and is not meant to show arrogance, as has already been pointed out.
All the examples given above pertain to purely personal behavior. In that capacity they are less serious than the issues related to the community as a whole, the affairs of the state, and international relations which are more complex and constitute a danger to the community, the state, and humanity at large in the absence of an insightful jurisprudence which takes into consideration the proper dimensions of human needs and social interests.

When we call for the resumption of a true Islamic lifestyle and the establishment of a truly Islamic society led by an Islamic state, we must recognize the fact that we live in a world in which human relations are interrelated and complex, ideologies are numerous, distances are shrinking, and barriers are beginning to collapse.

It is a world that has become smaller than ever before due to unprecedented technological progress. We must also take into consideration the fact that the community includes the powerful and the weak, men and women, adults and children, the righteous and the transgressor. This diversity must be taken into consideration when we seek to guide, legislate, or give fatawa.

A Muslim who seeks Allah's pleasure may choose to place restrictions on himself and stick to the most extreme and cautious opinions in his endeavor. He can deprive himself of all the means of entertainment such as singing, music, photography, television, etc. But can any modern state afford to do without these?

Can any effective journalism do without photography? Can any ministry of Interior or passport office, immigration or traffic department-or an educational institution do without photography which has become the most important means of discovering and preventing crimes and forgery? Can any contemporary state ignore the times it exists in and deprive its subjects of the invaluable services of television and rely only on the radio, on the grounds that television depends upon photography which is haram as some students of "religious education" argue these days?
In short, what I wish to emphasize here is that a person's restrictions on himself may be tolerated and accepted, but it would be intolerable and indeed unacceptable to force these restrictions upon the various groups in the community as a whole. The Prophet said: "Whoever leads people in salah should shorten it because among them are the weak, the old, and those who have business to attend to." This guidance on leading people in salah is also applicable to leading people in any aspect of life.

One of the most serious problems is the failure of some religious people to take account the fact that the ahkam of Shariah are not equally important or permanent, and therefore different interpretations can be permitted.

There are hypothetical judgments which mainly deal with transactions, customs, and manners. These are open to ijtihad. Disagreement-based on authentic ijtihad-on these issues represents no harm or threat. On the contrary, it is a blessing on the Ummah, and demonstrates flexibility in Shariah and a spaciousness in fiqh. There were indeed differences of opinion and disagreement among the Prophet's companions (raʿa) - as well as their successors - on various issues. But such disagreement never caused or created ill-feelings or disunity among them.

On the other hand, there are ahkam dealing with matters of faith, belief, and 'ibadah which are firmly established in the Quran and Sunnah and ijma'(consensus), and which have become definitive and categorical.

Although they are not requirements of din, they represent the intellectual and behavioral unity of the Ummah. Deviation from these ahkam is a deviation from Sunnah: it is sinfulness, prohibited bida (innovation), and could lead to kufr.

In addition, there are those ahkam which must be necessarily known and obvious to all people, learned or otherwise. Rejection of these ahkam is a clear denial of Allah (swt) and of His Prophet MHMD. There should be differention between ahkam based on fundamental or subsidiary issues, whether proven textually or by ijtihad; there should also be differentiation between the categorial and the hypothetical ahkam in texts, and between the necessary and the unnecessary ahkam in din. Each has its status.
Our great fuqaha have differed widely in their interpretation of some issues, and one can indeed find various opinions on a single issue. There is disagreement, for example, on the heinous sin of murdering a Muslim under duress. Should the punishment fall upon the murderer or upon one who compelled him to do it? Or should it fall upon both or neither, since the crime was not completely premeditated and committed by a single person?

All these possibilities were voiced and supported by some fuqaha'. Even within each madhhab we find different opinions, narrations, ways, and approaches among the ʿulama. Suffice it to say that the subject of that disagreement within Imam Ahmad's madhhab-which is established on and follows tradition-has included enough opinions and narration to fill a twelve­ volume book, al Insaf fi al Rajih min al Khilaf.

In view of this, young Muslims should be fully aware of the issues which are open to disagreement and those which are not.

But more importantly, they should know the standard norms of behavior practised in settling differences and disagreements. They must learn adab al khilaf (ethics of disagreement), which we have inherited from our a'immah and ʿulama. We must learn from them, how to be open ­minded and tolerant toward those with whom we disagree about subsidiary religious matters.

How can we differ and disagree yet remain united brothers who love and respect each other and who refrain from exchanging accusations? First of all, we must realize that disagreements on marginal and subsidiary matters and issues are natural. There is indeed a Divine wisdom in making a few ahkam in Shari'ah categorical in both their definitiveness and meaning, and in making hypothetical ones which constitute the bulk of ahkam and on which there is broad scope for fruitful disagreement.

It is a blessing that Allah (swt) has bestowed on some Muslim ʿulama the ability to ascertain, to examine closely, and to decide on matters of disagreement without prejudice against any madhhab or opinion. These include the following a'immah: Ibn Daqiq al 'Id, Ibn Taymiyah, Ibn Qayyim, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Hajar al 'Asqalai, al Dahlawi, al Shawkani, al San'ani, and others. But differences are bound to arise and continue because they are deeply rooted in the nature of man, life, language and Divine commandment. Attempts to eradicate these differences will fail, because they will actually be battling against human nature, against life, against all sunan.
As we have already mentioned, disagreement based on authentic ijtihad which does not create discord or disunity is a blessing for the Ummah and an enrichment of fiqh. Objective disagreement in itself poses no threat if it is coupled with tolerance and openmindedness, and if it is free from fanaticism, accusations, and narrowmindedness.

The Prophet's Companions differed among themselves on many issues and practical ahkam, but they still never condemned one another and had very cordial and strong relations. 'Umar ibn 'Abd al 'Aziz said: "I never wished that the Prophet's companions had not had disagreements. Their disagreement was a mercy."

Different interpretations even emerged during the life of the Prophet MHMD. These were sanctioned by him, and he did not single out one party or group for blame. Immediately after the battle of the Akzab, the Prophet (sa'as) said to his Companions: 'whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day must not perform salat al Asr until he has reached [the dwellings of] Banu Qurayzah.

Some of the Companions found this practically impossible, and therefore performed salat al Asr before reaching their destination. Others­ - who were literalists - only performed salah when they reached the dwellings of Banu Qurayzah as the Prophet MHMD had asked them. When the Prophet MHMD was told, he approved of the action of both parties, although one of them must have been wrong.

This clearly indicates that there is no sin in acting upon an interpretation which is based on solid evidence, sincere genuine intention and ijtihad. Ibn al Qayyim described those who applied the essence of ahadīth as Ahl al Qiyas (those who apply analogy) and those who applied the letter of ahadīth as Zahiriyah (literalists).

Unfortunately, there are people these days who not only assume that they know the whole truth and all the answers, but who also try to coerce other people to follow them, believing that they can eradicate all madhahib and disagreements and unite all people in one single stroke. They tend to forget that their own understanding and interpretation of the texts are no more than hypotheses which may be right or wrong.
Moreover, no human (i.e. no 'alim) is infallible, even though he may satisfy all the conditions and requisities of ijtihad. All that is certain is the reward he will obtain for his ijtihad, whether it was right or wrong, should the intention be sincere. Therefore, such people would achieve nothing except the creation of an additional madhhab! It is strange and absurd that while they disapprove of people's adherence to different madhahib, they themselves try to persuade people to imitate them and follow their new madhhab.

No one should jump to the conclusion that I reject their call for adherence to the texts or their own interpretations and understanding. This is absolutely the right granted to everyone who can fulfill the conditions of ijtihad and its means. No one has the right to close the gates of ijtihad which were opened by the Prophet MHMD for the whole Ummah.

What I do reject is their self­-presumption, arrogance, vanity, and disregard for the findings of their learned predecessors, their disrespect for the fiqh we have inherited from our great forebears. I reject their false claim that they alone are right, as well as their erroneous impression that they can eliminate disparity and disagreement and unite people on one opinion-their own.

One of the followers of this "one-opinion" school asked me once why all Muslims should not agree on the juristic opinion supported by the text. I replied that the text first has to be authentic and accepted by all, its meaning has to be plain, and it should not be contradicted by another text, whether stonger or similar in evidence. There should be full agreement as regards the three preceding points. A text may be regarded as authentic by an imam, but another imam may see it as weak or as authentic but without proven evidence justifying its given meaning; a text may be regarded as general by an imam but as particular by another, or it may be seen as absolute or restricted; it may also be regarded as categorrical or abrogated.
Such variance leads to producing different ahkam, i.e. something may be wajib or haram, mustahabb or makruh. In short all these difference fall within the considerations pointed out by Ibn Taymiyah in his book, Raf al Malam an al A'immat al A'lam, and mentioned by Waliy Allah al Dahlaw' in his book, Hujjat Allah al Balighah, and in his al Insaf fi Asbab al Ikhtilaf, and detailed by al Shaykn 'Ali cc al Khafif in his book, Asbab Ikhtilaf al Fuqaha'. Let us consider the following ahadīth:

"Any woman who wears a gold necklace will be made to wear a similar one [made] of fire on the Day of Judgment. And any woman who wears gold earrings will have a similar one [made of fire] on the Day of Judgment."

"Whoever desires his beloved to wear a ring [made] of fire [on the Day of Judgment], let him give him [her] [to wear] a gold ring. And whoever desires his beloved to wear a necklace [made] of fire [on the Day of Judgment], let him give him [her] [to wear] a gold necklace. And whoever desires his beloved to wear a bracelet [made] of fire [on the Day of Judgment], let him give him [her][to wear] a gold bracelet. But you can do whatever you please with silver."

It is also related by Thawban (raʿa) that the Prophet MHMD warned his daughter Fatimah (raʿa) against wearing a gold chain. In response, she sold it, bought a slave with the money, and set him free. When the Prophet MHMD was told of this, he said: "Thanks to Allah (swt) who rescued Fatimah from the Fire."

Justists have different attitudes toward these ahadīth:
Some have examined their isnad and, finding them weak, rejected them and considered them insufficiant for prohibition, which requires clear cut evidence and careful investigation, especially with respect to matters of general concern and which Muslims have generally accepted.

Others have agreed that the isnad is correct but that the ahadīth have been revoked because other evidence in other sources have permitted women to adorn themselves with gold. Al Bayhaqi and others have reported the consensus on this matter, which has been accepted in fiqh and become a standard practice.
Some considered the ahadīth applicable to those who have not given zakah on the gold they have, basing their opinion on other ahadīth which have not, themselves, escaped criticism. Furthermore zakah on women's jewellery is a subject of disagreement among the different madhahib.

Some jusrists argue that these ahadīth seek to warn women who vainly adorn themselves with gold, deliberately intending to draw attention to their wealth. Al Nasāi also reported some ahadīth which are relevant to this issue under the title: Bāb al Karahiyah li al Nisā' fi Ihār Hilāl Dhahab (Disapproval of Women's Display of Golden Jewelry). Other jurists say that they are related only to excessive adornment out of vanity or pride.

In our own times, Shaykh Nasir al Din al Albani has come out with an opinion different from the consensus on permitting women to adorn themselves with gold, which has been accepted by all madhāhib for the last fourteen centuries. He not only believes that the isnād of these ahadīth is authentic, but that these texts are categorical in this matter; i.e. prohibiting gold rings and earrings. In this he disagreed with the consensus of the fiqh of all madhahib and the practice of the Ummah throughout the past fourteen hundred years.

Has the existence of these ahadīth prevented disagreement on their authenticity or guidance? Can the modern "traditionalist school" eradicate disagreement and unite all people on one opinion on the basis of ahadīth or a tradition which they use as evidence? The answer is clear enough: people will continue to disagree and differ amongst themselves, and this will, in shaa Allah, pose no danger or problem. Allah ta 'ala says: "To each is a goal to which Allah turns him".

In this respect, I feel inclined to admit that the religious leader who, in this age, has understood the essence and ethics of disagreements was Hasan al Banna (d. 1949). He brought up his followers to believe in and adhere to these ethics. Despite his unflinching commitment to the cause of Muslim solidarity and his sincere efforts to unite the various Muslim groups and make them agree at least on minimum Islamic concepts and principals, as is clear from his own known work cc al Usul al 'Ishrun, he was convinced of the inevitability of disagreement on the subsidiary issues and the practical ahkam of Islam.
This he has eloquently discussed in many of his messages which have proved to be useful In Dawatuna (Our Da'wah), al Banna spoke of the characteristics of his da'wah as being general ones which neither patronize a particular sect nor advocate a particular line of thought. Interest is in the core of din and its essence; it hopes that all endeavors are united so that a more fruitful work can be done to produce greater results; it supports truth everywhere; it likes consensus and dislikes eccentricity; it attributes a great deal of the mishaps which have befallen Muslims to misguided disagreement and to disunity; it believes that love and unity are the major factor of their victories, and that the only hope for invigorating and revitalizing the present-­day Ummah lies in reviving and adopting the practice of the early generations of Muslims. But, in spite of his strong belief in the necessity of unity and dislike of disunity, al Banna wrote:

"We believe that disagreements on subsidiary religious issues are inevitable for various reasons, the most important of which are:

"Intellectual differences resulting from the level of intelligence and depth of knowledge, the multiplicity and interrelatedness of the facts, and the inherent ambiguities of the Arabic language which are bound to affect the interpretation of the texts. In all these people are different, and therefore disagreement is inevitable."

The abundance of the sources of knowledge in some parts of the Islamic world and their scarcity in other places is also an important factor. Malik said to Abu Ja'far: "The Prophet's companions scattered into remote regions, each group possessing specific knowledge. If you were to force them to follow one opinion you would create fitnah."

There are also cultural differences. Al Shafi'i (raʿa) used to give different fatawa in accordance with the different conditions prevailing in Iraq and in Egypt. In both cases he used to base his verdict upon what he believed to be truth.

The opinion of the imam toward the narrator is another factor. One imam may consider a narrator fully reliable, but another may have doubts about the same narrator and consequently refrain from taking what he has transmitted in full confidence.
Also, a cause of difference lies in assessing the evidence of ahkam; some give precedence to people's practices over ahadīth narrated through by one single narrator, etc.

For these reasons we believe that a consensus on subsidiary religious matters is not only impossible but incompatible with the nature of din, because such a demand is bound to generate rigidity and excessiveness, which are contrary to the Islamic imperatives of flexibility, facilitation, and simplicity. Doubtless, these virtues will enable Islam to meet the requirements of all times.

Furthermore, we understand the reasons of those who disagree with us on subsidiary and marginal issues. Such disagreement does not affect our mutual love or cooperation, as we are all contained within the comprehensiveness of Islam. Aren't we all Muslim, required to like for our Muslim brothers what we like for ourselves? Why disagreement then, and why cannot each of us have our different opinions, and also try to reach an agreement, if possible, in an atmosphere of candor and love?

The companions of the Prophet MHMD had disagreed in fatwa, but that did not create any disunity or rupture. The incident of the salah and Banu Qurayzah is a case in point. If these who have known the ahkam better than us have had their disagreements, isn't it absurd that we maliciously disagree with each other on frivolous matters? If our a'immah, who more than any one else know the Qur'an and Sunnah, have had their disagreements and their debates, why cannot we do the same?

If there was disagreement on even clear and well-­known subsidiary issues, such as the five­ - times­ - a­ - day adhan, which were supported by texts and by tradition, what about the more delicate issues which are subject to opinion and deduction?

We also need to remember that during the time of the Caliphate, disagreements were referred to, and settled by, the Caliph. Since there are no caliphs these days, Muslims must find a judge to which they can refer their case. Otherwise, their disagreement will lead to another disagreement.
Finally, our brothers are fully aware of all this and have consequently more patience and open-­mindedness. They believe that each group of people has specific knowledge and that in each da'wah there are elements of truth as well as falsity. They carefully investigate the truth and accept it, and they try with amicability to convince those who are wrong. If the latter are convinced it is indeed very good, but if they are not they remain our Muslim brothers. We ask Allah to guide us and to guide them.

The above is a brief summary of Imam al Bannas views on juristic disagreements and his attitude toward them. It clearly shows his deep knowledge of Islam, of history, and of reality.

I would also like to relate an ancident in al Bannas life-which could have been the experience of other ʿulamaas well-to illustrate these concepts and views. One day during Ramadan, al Banna was invited to deliver a lecture in a small village in Egypt. The people in that village were divided into two groups which held different opinions regarding the number of raka 'at in salat al tarawih.

One group argued that according to the tradition of Umar ibn al Khattab (raʿa), they should be twenty. The other group insisted that they must be eight, maintaining that it was known that the Prophet MHMD never exceeded this number at any time. Accordingly, each group accused the other of bidah, and their disagreement reached a dangerous level, almost leading to open physical conflict. When al Banna arrived they agreed to refer the matter to him.

The way he handled this event is instructive to all of us. He first asked: "What is the juristic status of salat al tarawih?" The answer was: "A sunnah, and those who perform it are rewarded, those who do not are not punished." He then asked: "And what is the juristic status of brotherhood among Muslims?" The people replied: "fard [Obligatory], and it is one of the fundamentals of Iman." He then concluded: "Is it therefore logical or permissible according to Shariah to abandon a fard for a sunnah? He then told them that if they preserved their brotherhood and unity and each went home and performed salat al tarawih according to his own genuine conviction, it would indeed be far better then arguing and quarreling.
When I mentioned this to some people, they said that al Bannas action was evasive. an escape from the truth, i.e. from pointing out the difference between a sunnah and a bidah. This, they insisted, is the duty of a Muslim.

I replied that this is a matter where there is room for different opinions, and that although I perform eight raka 'at, I do not accuse those performing twenty of bidah. They persisted that making a decision on such matters is a duty which a Muslim must not evade. I insisted that this is true when the choice is between halal and haram, but in matters on which the juristic schools of thought have had their disagreements and, consequently, each one of us his own view, there is no need for bigotry or zealotry.

Many fair Muslim ulama have clearly sanctioned this. The following quotation is from one of the Hanabilah books entitled Sharh Ghayat al Muntaha:

Whoever rejects an opinion reached by ijtihad does so because of his ignorance of the status of the mujtahidun who will be rewarded, be they right or wrong, for their laborious, time-consuming findings in this respect. Those who follow them commit no sin, because Allah has ordained for each of them that to which his ijtihad had led him, and which becomes part of the Shariah in that respect. There is an example in the permission to eat, out of dire necessity only, the meat of a dead animal. However, this is prohibited for a person who deliberately chooses to do so. Both of these are well-established juristic verdicts.
Ibn Taymiyah says in al Fatawa al Misriyah:

Consideration of unity [among Muslims] is the right course. The basmalah can be uttered loudly to fulfill a commendable interest. It is also advisable to abandon the preferable in order to create harmony and intimacy, just as the Prophet MHMD gave up the re-­building of the Ka'bah [on the foundations laid down by Ibrahim] so as not to alienate the people of Makkah. The aimmah, like Imam Ahmad, are of this opinion with regard to the basmalah, to replace the preferable with the acceptable in order to preserve unity.

Ibn Taymiyah referred to the following hadīth with regard to the building of the Ka'bah. The Prophet MHMD said to 'Aishah (raʿa): "Had your people not been in jahilyah (the attitudes and mentality of pre­Islamic time) until recently, I would have rebuilt the Ka'bah on the foundations [laid] by Ibrahim."
Ibn al Qayyim also discussed the issue of qunut in Salat al-fajr. Some people have considered qunut as bidah, others as supererogatory to be practised in times of hardships as well as other times. In his book Zad al Ma'ad, he argues that the Prophet's Sunnah sanctions qunut during the times of hardship, and that this has been accepted by hadīth scholars who follow what the Prophet MHMD did.

They therefore did qunut at the times the Prophet MHMD is known to have done qunut and abstained from it at the times he is known to have abstained from qunut. They see qunut as a sunnah and abstaining from it as also a sunnah. Therefore they neither object to those who continually do qunut or to those who abstain from it, and they do not consider it bidah. Ibn al Qayyim writes:

A proper posture to ask Allah's blessings and to offer thanks to Him is when a person stands up after kneeling in Salah. The Prophet MHMD did both in this posture. It is acceptable for the imam to utter qunut prayers these loudly so that the people behind him can hear. 'Umar ibn al Khattab raised his voice when reciting the Fatihah, and so did Ibn 'Abbas during the salah for the dead in order to let people know that it is sunnah to do so. Such practices are subject to acceptable disagreement; neither those who do them nor those who refrain are blameworthy: the same applies to raising the hands during Salah, the various ways of tashahhud, adhan, iqamah, as well as the types of hajj as ifrad, qiran and tamattu'.

Our purpose is only to mention the Prophet's Sunnah, which is our guiding principle in this book and which we seek to investigate. Having said that, I wish to point out that I have not tried to deal with what is permissible and what is not. Our concern is with the permissible practice which the Prophet MHMD used to choose for himself, and which is the best and most perfect.

If we say that there is no indication in his Sunnah that he consistently performed qunut during Salat ul Fajr or uttered the basmalah loudly, this does not mean or indicate that we should consider consistency in performing them as makruh or bidah. It only means that his guidance is the best and most perfect.
Moreover, an individual is permitted to continue his salah behind an imam of a different madhhab even if he believes that the latter has done something which nullifies his ablution, or makes his salah cc nugatory, if the imam's madhhab permits that. Ibn Taymiyah says in al Fawakih al Adidah:

Muslims are unanimous on the admissibility of performing Salah behind each other as was the practice of the Companions and the Tabi'un, as well as that of the four great jurists of Islam. Whoever rejects this practice is a straying mabtadi' who deviates from the teaching of the Quran, Sunnah, and the consensus of the Muslims.

Although some of the companions and the Tabiun uttered the basmalah loudly and other did not, they nevertheless continued to perform Salah behind each other. So did Abu Hanifah and his followers, as well as al Shafi'i and others who used to perform salah behind the Malikiyah in Madinah, although the latter did not utter the basmalah, neither loudly nor in their hearts. It is said that Abu Yusuf performed Salah behind al Rashid who had been cupped. Because al Imam Malik has given a fatwa that there is no need to renew ablutions in this case, Abu Yusuf continued his salah behind al Rashid.

However, Ahmad ibn Hanbal was of the opinion that ablution must be done after cupping and nosebleeding. Confronted with a hypothetical situation whether a member of the congregation who notices a discharge of blood from the imam, who does not renew his ablution, should continue his Salah behind him, Ibn Hanbal said: "It is inconceivable not to perform Salah behind Said ibn al Musayyab and Malik." He then added that there are two considerations in this issue:

(1) If the man is not aware of anything that invalidates the imam's Salah he should continue behind him. This is agreed upon by the forebears and the four great jurists; and
(2) If he was sure that the imam has done something which renders him impure, such as touching his genitals or women out of sexual desire, cupping or vomiting, and did not renew his ablution, he then must act according to his best judgment, because this is an issue about which there is a great deal of disagreement. The majority of our forebears are of the opinion that the salah of those behind such an imam is valid. This is the opinion of Malik's madhhab, but a second opinion in al Shafi is and Abu Hanifah's. Most of Ahmad's texts support this opinion, which is the correct one.



Go to part 1: Characteristics of Extremism