Why Is That Perfect Criterion Between Right and Wrong Ideas In Society Cannot Be Achieved Solely Based On Popular Taste, The Most Convincing Argument or The Most Intelligent Minds?


In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

The Majority Is Not a Basis of Truth

Allaah [The Most High] said:

وَلَقَدۡ ءَاتَيۡنَا دَاوُ ۥدَ مِنَّا فَضۡلاً۬ۖ يَـٰجِبَالُ أَوِّبِى مَعَهُ ۥ وَٱلطَّيۡرَۖ وَأَلَنَّا لَهُ ٱلۡحَدِيدَ

أَنِ ٱعۡمَلۡ سَـٰبِغَـٰتٍ۬ وَقَدِّرۡ فِى ٱلسَّرۡدِۖ وَٱعۡمَلُواْ صَـٰلِحًاۖ إِنِّى بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ۬

وَلِسُلَيۡمَـٰنَ ٱلرِّيحَ غُدُوُّهَا شَہۡرٌ۬ وَرَوَاحُهَا شَہۡرٌ۬ۖ وَأَسَلۡنَا لَهُ ۥ عَيۡنَ ٱلۡقِطۡرِۖ وَمِنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ مَن يَعۡمَلُ بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ بِإِذۡنِ رَبِّهِۖۦ وَمَن يَزِغۡ مِنۡہُمۡ عَنۡ أَمۡرِنَا نُذِقۡهُ مِنۡ عَذَابِ ٱلسَّعِيرِ

يَعۡمَلُونَ لَهُ ۥ مَا يَشَآءُ مِن مَّحَـٰرِيبَ وَتَمَـٰثِيلَ وَجِفَانٍ۬ كَٱلۡجَوَابِ وَقُدُورٍ۬ رَّاسِيَـٰتٍۚ ٱعۡمَلُوٓاْ ءَالَ دَاوُ ۥدَ شُكۡرً۬اۚ وَقَلِيلٌ۬ مِّنۡ عِبَادِىَ ٱلشَّكُورُ

And indeed We bestowed grace on David from Us (saying): ‘’O you mountains. Glorify (Allah) with him! And you birds (also)! And We made the iron soft for him.’’ Saying: ‘’Make you perfect coats of mail, balancing well the rings of chain armour, and work you (men) righteousness. Truly, I am All-Seer of what you do.’’ And to Solomon (We subjected) the wind, its morning (stride from sunrise till midnoon) was a month’s (journey), and its afternoon (stride from the midday decline of the sun to sunset) was a month’s (journey i.e. in one day he could travel two months’ journey). And We caused a fount of (molten) brass to flow for him, and there were jinns that worked in front of him, by the Leave of his Lord, and whosoever of them turned aside from Our Command, We shall cause him to taste of the torment of the blazing Fire. They worked for him what he desired, (making) high rooms, images, basins as large as reservoirs, and (cooking) cauldrons fixed (in their places). ‘’Work you, O family of Dawud (David), with thanks!’’ But few of My slaves are grateful. [Surah Sabah. Aayaat 10-13]

[ٱعۡمَلُوٓاْ ءَالَ دَاوُ ۥدَ شُكۡرً۬اۚ وَقَلِيلٌ۬ مِّنۡ عِبَادِىَ ٱلشَّكُورُ – Work you, O family of Dawud (David), with thanks! But few of My slaves are grateful]-Meaning: The majority of Mankind are neither grateful to Allaah for the blessings bestowed on them nor are they grateful due to the punishments that are repelled from them. As for Shukr [gratefulness], it is the heart’s acknowledgement of Allaah’s blessings and to utilise those blessings in obedience to Allaah and not in disobedience.[Source: An Excerpt from ‘Tayseer Al-kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam Al-Mannaan’. Slightly paraphrased]

 

Allaah [The Most High] said:

أَوَلَمۡ يَهۡدِ لِلَّذِينَ يَرِثُونَ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ أَهۡلِهَآ أَن لَّوۡ نَشَآءُ أَصَبۡنَـٰهُم بِذُنُوبِهِمۡ‌ۚ وَنَطۡبَعُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِہِمۡ فَهُمۡ لَا يَسۡمَعُونَ

تِلۡكَ ٱلۡقُرَىٰ نَقُصُّ عَلَيۡكَ مِنۡ أَنۢبَآٮِٕهَا‌ۚ وَلَقَدۡ جَآءَتۡہُمۡ رُسُلُهُم بِٱلۡبَيِّنَـٰتِ فَمَا ڪَانُواْ لِيُؤۡمِنُواْ بِمَا ڪَذَّبُواْ مِن قَبۡلُ‌ۚ كَذَٲلِكَ يَطۡبَعُ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِ ٱلۡڪَـٰفِرِينَ

وَمَا وَجَدۡنَا لِأَڪۡثَرِهِم مِّنۡ عَهۡدٍ۬‌ۖ وَإِن وَجَدۡنَآ أَڪۡثَرَهُمۡ لَفَـٰسِقِينَ

Is it not clear to those who inherit the earth in succession from its (previous) possessors, that had We willed, We would have punished them for their sins. And We seal up their hearts so that they hear not? Those were the towns whose story We relate unto you (O Muhammad). And there came indeed to them their Messengers with clear proofs, but they were not such as to believe in that which they had rejected before. Thus Allah does seal up the hearts of the disbelievers (from each and every kind of religious guidance). And most of them We found not (true) to their covenant, but most of them We found indeed Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah). [Surah Al-A’raaf. Aayaat 100-102]

أَوَلَمۡ يَهۡدِ لِلَّذِينَ يَرِثُونَ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ أَهۡلِهَآ أَن لَّوۡ نَشَآءُ أَصَبۡنَـٰهُم بِذُنُوبِهِمۡ‌ۚ وَنَطۡبَعُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِہِمۡ فَهُمۡ لَا يَسۡمَعُونَ

Is it not clear to those who inherit the earth in succession from its (previous) possessors, that had We willed, We would have punished them for their sins. And We seal up their hearts so that they hear not?]- Meaning: Allaah [The Most High] informs those who inherit the earth -in succession- from those who preceded them that He [The Most High] destroyed their forefathers due to their sins, yet they [i.e. the inheritors] commit the same sins that were committed by their forefathers! Do they not take heed that had Allaah willed He would punish them due to their sins, for this is the manner in which Allaah deals with mankind – both the previous nations and those who inherited the earth after them.

Allaah [The Most High] warned those who inherited the earth from the previous nations, but they did not take heed; Allaah sent them reminders but they did not reflect; Allaah showed them guidance through signs [i.e. revelations through the Prophets and Messengers, as well as miracles within universe and themselves] but they did not follow guidance, so Allaah punished them by sealing their hearts – neither did truth enter their hearts nor did good reach their hearts; nor did they give an attentive ear [to the truth]; rather they only heard that which established the proofs against them.

Then Allaah [The Most High] says:

تِلۡكَ ٱلۡقُرَىٰ نَقُصُّ عَلَيۡكَ مِنۡ أَنۢبَآٮِٕهَا‌ۚ وَلَقَدۡ جَآءَتۡہُمۡ رُسُلُهُم بِٱلۡبَيِّنَـٰتِ فَمَا ڪَانُواْ لِيُؤۡمِنُواْ بِمَا ڪَذَّبُواْ مِن قَبۡلُ‌ۚ كَذَٲلِكَ يَطۡبَعُ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِ ٱلۡڪَـٰفِرِينَ

Those were the towns whose story We relate unto you (O Muhammad). And there came indeed to them their Messengers with clear proofs, but they were not such as to believe in that which they had rejected before. Thus Allah does seal up the hearts of the disbelievers (from each and every kind of religious guidance)]- Meaning: Messengers came and called them to that which will lead them to happiness [in the life and the next]; and those Messengers were given manifest signs and clear evidences to clarify the truth, but the people did not listen and thus were not benefited. And because they belied those manifest signs and clear proofs after being well aware of them, Allaah [The Most High] prevented them from accepting the sound and infallible creed ordained by Him. This was punishment on them because they rejection the truth, just as Allaah [The Most High] said in Surah Al-An’aam Ayah 110:

[وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفۡـِٔدَتَہُمۡ وَأَبۡصَـٰرَهُمۡ كَمَا لَمۡ يُؤۡمِنُواْ بِهِۦۤ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ۬ وَنَذَرُهُمۡ فِى طُغۡيَـٰنِهِمۡ يَعۡمَهُونَ – And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away (from guidance), as they refused to believe therein for the first time, and We shall leave them in their trespass to wander blindly].

Then Allaah [The Most High] said:

[وَمَا وَجَدۡنَا لِأَڪۡثَرِهِم مِّنۡ عَهۡدٍ۬‌ۖ وَإِن وَجَدۡنَآ أَڪۡثَرَهُمۡ لَفَـٰسِقِينَ  –  And most of them We found not (true) to their covenant, but most of them We found indeed Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah)]-Meaning: The majority of the nations-to whom Allaah [The Most High] sent Messengers-were not true to their covenant. Neither were they steadfast nor did they adhere to the commands of Allaah; nor did they submit obediently to the commands of Allaah which the Messengers ordered them to obey; rather they followed their desires, except a very few of them. The majority of them turned away from guidance out of arrogance, so Allaah sent them various types of punishment. [Source: An Excerpt from ‘Tayseer Al-kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam al-Mannaan’. Slightly paraphrased]

 

Allaah [The Most High] said in Surah Saad Aayah 24:

وَإِنَّ كَثِيرً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلۡخُلَطَآءِ لَيَبۡغِى بَعۡضُہُمۡ عَلَىٰ بَعۡضٍ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ

‘’And, verily, many partners oppress one another, except those who believe and do righteous good deeds.’’

Meaning: Because oppression is one of those habits [i.e. evil habits] of the soul. [ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ – Except those who believe and do righteous good deeds]; because their Eemaan and [eagerness to perform] righteous deeds prevents them from committing oppression. [وَقَلِيلٌ۬ مَّا هُمۡ – And they are few]. [Source: An Excerpt from ‘Tayseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer kalaam al-Mannaan’ slightly paraphrased]

 

Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [rahimahullaah] said:

Let every Muslim be careful of being deceived by the great numbers [of people upon such and such idea, view, belief, way of life etc], whilst saying: ‘’Indeed, the people have become such and such, and have become accustomed to such and such, so I am with them’’. This is a great calamity, for indeed many people of the past were destroyed due to this [i.e. blindly following the majority]. Therefore, O sensible one! It is obligated on you to examine yourself; take account of yourself and adhere to the truth, even if the people abandon it. Beware of what Allaah has forbidden, even if the people do it, for indeed the truth is more worthy of being followed, just as Allaah [The Most High] said: [وَإِنْ تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّه ِ -And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s Path. [Surah Al An-aam Ayah 116]

And Allaah [The Most High] said: [ وَمَآ أَڪۡثَرُ ٱلنَّاسِ وَلَوۡ حَرَصۡتَ بِمُؤۡمِنِينَ-And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly] [Surah Yusuf Ayah 103]

[Source: An Excerpt from ‘Majmoo Al-Fataawaa 12/ 412-416’. slightly paraphrased]

 

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said:

When the hypocrites and those in whose hearts there is a disease saw that the party of Allaah [i.e. the believers] were small in number and the enemies of Allaah were numerous, they thought that victory would be for those who were huge in number. Allaah [The Most High] says that the hypocrites said: [غَرَّ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ دِينُهُمۡ – These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion]. [Surah Anfaal Ayah 49]. So, Allaah [Glorified be He and Free is He From all Imperfections] informed [them] that victory is achieved through placing one’s trust and reliance upon Allaah and not due to being huge in number, for indeed Allaah [The Most High] cannot be defeated; rather Allaah [The Most High] is All-Wise and He aids those who deserve help, even if they are weak. Allaah is the All-Wise and All-Mighty, and this necessitates that He will aid the party that truly relies upon Him. [Zaadul Ma’aad 3/181]

Abu Shaamah [rahimahullaah] said:

When the command to adhere to the Jamaa’ah is [mentioned], then the intent behind it is to adhere to the truth, even if those who follow it are few and those who oppose it are numerous. That is because the truth is that which the first Jamaa’ah was upon- the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] and his companions[radiyallaahu-anhum]- and one does not give consideration to the numerous people of falsehood. [Ref 1]

 

Al-Allaamah Muqbil Bin Haadee Al-Waadi’ee [rahimahullaah] said:

If numbers is the scale by way of which you judge, then the majority are mostly blameworthy; and if persuasive speech and eloquence is the scale by way of which you judge, then indeed Allaah described the Munaafiqoon that they have tongues that utter beautiful speech. Allaah said:

وَإِن يَقُولُواْ تَسۡمَعۡ لِقَوۡلِهِمۡ

And when they speak, you listen to their words.

[Surah Al-Munaafiqoon. Aayah 4]

Therefore, what is given consideration is that one knows the people of truth by their characteristics – that they call to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him, his family and companions], and they neither desire reward from the people nor seeking to be thanked. [Ref 2]

Allaah [The Exalted] said:

وَإِن تُطِعۡ أَڪۡثَرَ مَن فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا ٱلظَّنَّ وَإِنۡ هُمۡ إِلَّا يَخۡرُصُونَ

And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s Path. They follow nothing but conjectures, and they do nothing but lie. [Surah Al-An’aam. Aayah 116]

[إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا ٱلظَّنَّ وَإِنۡ هُمۡ إِلَّا يَخۡرُصُونَ  – They follow nothing but conjectures, and they do nothing but lie].

Allaah also said in another Aayah: [إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا ٱلظَّنَّ وَمَا تَهۡوَى ٱلۡأَنفُسُ‌ۖ  – They follow but a guess and that which they themselves desire]. There is a tremendous benefit derived from this, because the one deprived of sound Eemaan and the sound creed sent down as revelation by Allaah- The Lord of the Aalameen, then his affair is one of two: Corruption in Knowledge or Corruption in his Intent– corruption in knowledge occurs as a result of following conjecture and corruption in one’s intent occurs as a result of following desires, or the person may combine both of them.

Another benefit derived from this is that the rectification or well-being of a person cannot be attained except by way of two affairs: Upright [or sound] Knowledge and Upright [or sound] Intent. This is why Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said in Miftaah Daarus Sa’aadah that a person is in need of two things: ‘[Sound] Knowledge by way of which he is [rightly] guided and lofty aspiration by way of which he is urged towards that [sound aspiration]’, because it maybe that a person has beneficial knowledge but not [sound] intent and aspiration.  Therefore, one cannot be upright except by way of upright knowledge and intent.  Sound knowledge is corrupted through following conjecture and sound intent is corrupted through following the desires of one’s soul. [Ref 3]

The Prophet [alayhis salaatu wassalaam] said:

‘’The best of the people are those living in my generation, then those who will follow the latter and then those who come after them. Then there will come after them people who will be treacherous and will not be trustworthy, they will bear witness without being asked to do so, and they will vow, but will never fulfil their vows, and fatness will appear among them’’.

 

Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi [rahimahullaah] said:

‘’They give false testimony, act treacherously and deceitfully. They behave in a very sinful manner and follow evil desires, except those whom Allaah safeguards amongst the Taa’ifatul Mansoorah [i.e. the aided group of Muslims upon the straight path] – those whom Allaah’s Messenger [alayhis salaatu wassalaam] praised. Therefore, it is obligated on us to acquire knowledge for the sake of Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] and act upon it. Ignorance is a deadly disease and knowledge is a weapon that will destroy you if you do not act upon it, and Allaah’s refuge is sought. [Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm pages 268-270]

Imaam An-Nawawi [rahimahullaah] stated regarding the statement, ‘’They will bear witness without being asked to do so’’- This can mean that they bear witness before being asked, or they bear witness based on falsehood, or they give witness without being from those who are worthy of it. [Sharh Saheeh Muslim 12/17]

However, there is another Hadeeth in which the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] stated: ‘’Should I not inform you about the best of witnesses, they are those who bear witness before being asked.’’ The scholars say that what is intended by this hadeeth is for example: someone has a witness to give on behalf of another person based on truth, but the person does not know about it, so he [i.e. the one who should give the witness] informs the person about it; or for example, a person has already passed away and another person knows what the deceased person has left behind as inheritance, so he bears witness to that and makes it known. [Fat-hul Baari 5/260]

And regarding the statement, ‘’And fatness will appear among them.’’ – Meaning: These people give importance to the means of fattening themselves – food, drink and over-abundance. So, their only concern is their bodies and fattening themselves. As for being fat without choice, then one cannot be blamed for that, just as a person cannot be blamed for being tall, short, black or white…[Majmoo Al-Fataawaa 10/1056 -By Shaikh Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah)]

 

Why Is That Perfect Criterion Between Right and Wrong Ideas In Society Cannot Be Achieved Solely Based On Popular Taste, The Most Convincing Argument or The Most Intelligent Minds?

Shaikh Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [rahimahullaah] said:

And even though there is something in the paths of analogical reasoning and reflection that will lead to knowledge, however sometimes it cannot give detail explanation in a dispute between the people of the earth due to the minute details and ambiguities [in that dispute], and at other times due to the fact the people differ when prioritising necessities. Therefore, due to this Allaah [The Most High] commanded [us] to return to the revelation in times of dispute. Allaah [The Most High] said: [ كَانَ ٱلنَّاسُ أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ فَبَعَثَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ لِيَحۡكُمَ بَيۡنَ ٱلنَّاسِ فِيمَا ٱخۡتَلَفُواْ فِيهِ‌ۚ -Mankind were one community (i.e. upon Tawheed and Allaah’s Sharee’ah) and Allah sent Prophets with glad tidings and warnings, and with them He sent the Scripture in truth to judge between people in matters wherein they differed]. [Surah Al-Baqarah’ Aayah 213] Therefore, Allaah [The Most High] designated the revealed Books [i.e. the Qur’aan being the final of them] as the judge between the people in matters wherein they differ. [Ref 4]

Shaikh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr [hafidhahullaah] said: If you say that the intellect is to be given precedence over the revelation, then which intellect should we follow? Are the intellects of the people combined in the intellect of one man or do they differ? There are intellects of the philosophers, the atheists, the heretics, the people of evil desires and those who confound truth with falsehood; and due to this one of the Salaf said, “Had the desires been one, it would have been considered to be the [basis of] truth”; therefore, we say, “Had the intellects been one, it would have been considered to be the [basis of] truth”. [Ref 5]


[Re 1: Source: Al-Baa’ith Alaa Inkaaril Bid’ah Wal-Hawaadith’ page 22. slightly paraphrased]

[Ref 2: قم المعاند  – 2/547]

[Ref 3: An Excerpt from Sharh Kitaab At-Tawheed. Lesson 4. By Shaikh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr.  Slightly paraphrased]

[Ref 4. Dar Ta’aarud Al-Aql Wan-Naql: 9/17-18];

[Ref 5. Muqaddimah Fee Diraasah At-Tawheed’ by Shaikh Abdur-Razzaaq Al-Badr (may Allaah preserve him) Lesson: 3]

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