In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Opposing The Language of The Sharee’ah With un-Islamic Cultural Concepts and Demanding That The Language of The Sharee’ah Be Altered
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
وَمِنۡ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ خَلۡقُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَٱخۡتِلَـٰفُ أَلۡسِنَتِڪُمۡ وَأَلۡوَٲنِكُمۡۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّلۡعَـٰلِمِينَ
And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colours. Verily, in that are indeed signs for men of sound knowledge.[Surah Ar-Rum. Aayah 22]
We all know that language changes and may have a different meaning in different nations, customs, clans and cultures. These differences influence the way we see the world, describe things, perceive and treat others – sometimes in agreement with Allaah’s infallible divine revelation and at other times in opposition to it. As for the upright Muslims – those who firmly adhere to the authentic Prophetic Sunnah, they know that “The basis of a person’s Islaam is to testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] is the Messenger of Allaah, to believe in Allaah, declare that Allaah is One without partner, obey Allaah’s commands, keep away from what Allaah has forbidden and single out Allaah in worship. And safeguarding this path (necessitates) the prohibition of every expression (term or word) that contains Shirk Billaah (i.e. ascribing partners to Allaah), Kufr (disbelief) or will lead to one of the two. (1) In the Qur’aan, there are many words that are utilised to rebut the words (or terms) that are in opposition to the call of the Messengers [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon them], the revelation that was revealed to them and the truth they brought”. (2)
“One of the general fundamental principles (in Islaam) is to know that words (or terms) are two types- words that are mentioned in the Qur’aan and Sunnah, therefore, it is obligated on every believer to affirm them, affirm what Allaah and His Messenger have affirmed and negate what Allaah and His Messenger have negated. The words (or terms) affirmed by Allaah is truth and the ones Allaah negated are (negated) in truth, because indeed Allaah speaks the truth and guides to the straight path. The words (or terms) of the divine legislation are sanctified and it is from perfection in knowledge that one seeks after the (sound meanings) which the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] intended by them, in order to affirm what he affirmed and negate the meanings he negated; because it is obligated on us to believe and bear witness to everything he has stated and follow him in everything he has commanded. As for the words (or terms) that are neither found in the Qur’am and Sunnah nor did the pious predecessors (i.e. the first three generations of Islaam) hold a consensus regarding whether they are negated or affirmed, then it is not incumbent on anyone to agree with the one who negates or affirms them until their intended meaning is explained. So, if their intended meaning agrees with the (revelation, commands, prohibitions etc) conveyed by the Messenger, they are affirmed; but if their intended meaning is in opposition to the (revelation, commands, prohibitions etc) conveyed by the Messenger, they are rejected”. (3)
Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “The one who does not know the language of the Prophet’s companions- the language they used when speaking to (one another), the (language) used by the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] when he spoke to them and the manner in which they spoke in general, he will change words from their right places. For indeed many people are nurtured upon the idioms of their people and their customary usage of words, so he finds those words in Allaah’s Speech or the speech of Messenger or that of the Prophet companions and thinks that what Allaah intends or what His Messenger (intend), or what the companions (intend) is what is intended by the people of his custom and their oral expressions, even though what Allaah and His Messenger intend is the opposite of that. This occurred from a group of people- the people of philosophical rhetoric, the people who spoke about Fiqh, the people who spoke about the Arabic language, the common people and other than them. And there are others who deliberately devise other meanings for the words of the Prophets and that of their [true] followers-meanings that are in opposition to their (true) ones. Then they spoke with those words whilst intending to aid themselves, saying: ‘’Indeed, we are in agreement with the Prophets.’’ This is found in abundance in the speech of the heretical philosophers, the Ismaa’eeliyyah (Rawaafid) and those similar to them amongst the heretical philosophers, rhetoricians and the soofees. The one who (truly) knows the Prophets and what they intend (by their speech) he will know by necessity that the (speech of those heretics) is not what is intended by the Prophets”. (4)
Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “It is obligated on every Muslim that he does not depend on custom; rather he presents it to the pure Islamic legislation (to be judged), so whatever the Islamic legislation affirms is permissible and whatever it does not affirm is impermissible. The customs of the people are not proof to determine the lawfulness of anything. All the customs of the people in their countries or tribes must be presented to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] for judgement, so whatever Allaah and His Messenger made permissible is permissible, and whatever they forbid, then it is obligatory to abandon it even if it is the custom of the people”. (5)
Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “The customs cannot make something that is not legislated (in the divine revelation) as something legislated, because of Allaah’s statement: [وَلَيۡسَ ٱلۡبِرُّ بِأَن تَأۡتُواْ ٱلۡبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِهَا – It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc.) that you enter the houses from the back] [Surah Al-Baqarah. Aayah 189], despite the fact that it was something they took as their custom and considered it to be an act of righteousness. Whoever takes something as a custom and believes that it is an act of righteousness, then it should be presented to Allaah’s divine legislation [i.e. to be judged]”. (6)
Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] also said, “Extremism in related to customs is stringent adherence to old customs and not diverting to what is better than them. As for if the customs are equal in benefit [i.e. the ones judged to be permissible by the divine legislation], then a person remaining upon what he is upon would be better than going along with the new (or emerging) customs”. (7)
The above suffices as a simple guide for anyone who wants to follow the straight path in this subject matter. But as for some of those who ascribe to Islaam but are either trapped in the definitions and concepts of their un-Islamic customs or the un-Islamic concepts of the neocolonialists, then for them progress and civilization cannot be achieved except through that which the customs and neocolonialists have defined for them. So, there is a procedure in which their thought processes are confined by those definitions, and regardless how much they try to free themselves, we find their default mode being how they were trained or nurtured, whilst they seek to justify their ideas and actions through Islam.
As for the rightly guided scholars and those upright Muslim intellectuals and tribal chiefs who adhere to the sound Islamic creed and the methodology of the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him], they are discredited because what they hold neither agrees with the un-Islamic ideas of the neo-colonialists nor the un-Islamic customs of the tribes. So, this belief that the neocolonialists and the tribe have a defined duty to tell us whose ideas amongst us is sound is nothing but mental slavery to un-Islamic ideas until they free their minds from it.
Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadee Al-Madkhalee [may Allaah preserve him] said, “Many people do not acknowledge the status of the people of knowledge, and they say, ‘’They (i.e. scholars) are not guardians over us and there are no popes in Islam’. This is tantamount to toppling the scholars, belittling them and removing them from their status [i.e. although neither are the scholars regarded as popes nor are they to be treated as popes, but they are the inheritors of the prophets and must be obeyed when they give rulings and judge based on what the Qur’aan and the Sunnah necessitate]. This chronic illness appeared since the appearance of nationalism, western colonization, the destructive views of the Naasiriyyah [i.e. Pan Arab Socialists] and Ba’thiyyah [i.e. the Ba’ath party – socialists] etc. The figureheads of these filthy dogmas made strenuous efforts to eliminate Islaam and remove it from their path, which they could not accomplish except by toppling the scholars. Then this disease spread amongst the (deviated) groups that ascribe themselves to islaam”. (7.1)
As for those who seek a path through which they desire to alter the Sharee’ah term in order to appease the neocolonialists, then we have the following admonition for them. Al-Allaamah Saaleh al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said: Indeed, Allaah created [Jinn and humankind] and gave them an innate disposition to recognise Tawheed, obey Him and worship Him alone; but they differed – some of them believed and others disbelieved. Allaah said: [هُوَ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَكُمۡ فَمِنكُمۡ ڪَافِرٌ۬ وَمِنكُم مُّؤۡمِنٌ۬ۚ – He it is Who created you, then some of you are disbelievers and some of you are believers]. [64:2]
Allaah wishes Eemaan and well-being for them, but shaytaan and the callers to evil wish disbelief and evil for them. Allaah [The Exalted] said:
يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَكُمۡ وَيَہۡدِيَڪُمۡ سُنَنَ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِڪُمۡ وَيَتُوبَ عَلَيۡكُمۡۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ۬
وَٱللَّهُ يُرِيدُ أَن يَتُوبَ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ وَيُرِيدُ ٱلَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ ٱلشَّہَوَٲتِ أَن تَمِيلُواْ مَيۡلاً عَظِيمً۬ا
Allaah wishes to make clear (what is lawful and what is unlawful) to you, and to show you the ways of those before you, and accept your repentance, and Allaah is All-Knower, All-Wise. Allaah wishes to accept your repentance, but those who follow their lusts, wish that you (believers) should deviate tremendously away from the Right Path. [4:26-27]
And due to this, Allaah sent the Messengers, revealed the Books and established His Proofs; so, there are those amongst humankind who accept the truth and embrace Eeemaan by choice, and there are those who reject the truth and embrace disbelief by choice. Indeed, Allaah has laid down the differences between the Muminoon and the Kaafiroon in this life and the next, and He forbade that the two groups are made equal. Allaah [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] has set out recompense and judgment for each of the two groups in this life and the next. He has given a distinguished name to every group; such as [Mumin – believer], [Kaafir- disbeliever], [Barrun- upright/righteous one], [Faajir – evildoer], [Mushrik- Polytheist], [Muwahhid- Monotheist], [Faasiq- sinner], [Munaafiq- hypocrite], [Mutee’un – an obedient one] and [Aasee- a disobedient one]. And He [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] forbade that equality is made between these differing names and attitudes. Allaah said:[أَمۡ حَسِبَ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱجۡتَرَحُواْ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ أَن نَّجۡعَلَهُمۡ كَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ-Or do those who earn evil deeds think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah Islaamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds]. [45:2]
And Allaah said: [ أَمۡ نَجۡعَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ كَٱلۡمُفۡسِدِينَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ أَمۡ نَجۡعَلُ ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ كَٱلۡفُجَّارِ – Shall We treat those who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah Islaamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, as Mufsidoon (those who associate partners in worship with Allaah and commit crimes) on earth? Or shall We treat the Muttaqoon (the pious ones), as the Fujjaar (criminals, disbelievers, wicked, etc)’ [38:28]- meaning: We have not made them equal because that does not befit Allaah’s Justice.
Should we abandon the words Kufr (disbelief), Shirk (polytheism, ascribing a partner to Allaah in worship or devoting acts of worship to others alongside devoting acts of worship to Allaah), Kuffaar (unbelievers) and Mushrikeen (polytheists) found in the Qur’aan, the Sunnah and the Books of Islaamic creed? This will be a violation of the Book and the Sunnah, and an opposition to Allaah and His Messenger. By changing the real meanings of the Sharee’ah terms, we will be from those who distort the Book of their Lord and the Sunnah of their Messenger. Then what defence can be given for [such a deed]- is it to please the Kuffaar? The disbelievers will never be pleased with us until we abandon our religion. Allaah [The Exalted] said: [وَلَن تَرۡضَىٰ عَنكَ ٱلۡيَہُودُ وَلَا ٱلنَّصَـٰرَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَہُمۡۗ – Never will the Yahood nor the Nasaaraa be pleased with you [O Muhammad Peace be upon him] till you follow their religion]. [2:120]
Allaah said: [ وَدُّواْ لَوۡ تَكۡفُرُونَ كَمَا كَفَرُواْ فَتَكُونُونَ سَوَآءً۬ۖ – They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another)'[4:89] And if the intention of those who call for the substitution of the sharee’ah terminologies is to show gentleness to the kuffaar and to have good dealings with them, then this cannot be [done] by changing such sharee’ah terminologies; rather it can only be [done] through what Allaah has legislated regarding their affair. This comprises of the following affairs:
(a) To invite them to Islaam, which is the religion Allaah has ordained for all of humakind. Allaah said: [ٱدۡعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِٱلۡحِكۡمَةِ وَٱلۡمَوۡعِظَةِ ٱلۡحَسَنَةِۖ وَجَـٰدِلۡهُم بِٱلَّتِى هِىَ أَحۡسَنُۚ – Invite (mankind, O Muhammad) to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islaam) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Inspiration and the Qur’aan) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. [16:125] Therefore, we invite them (to Islaam) for their rectification and happiness in this life and the next.
(b) To make peace with them if they seek that. Allaah said: [وَإِن جَنَحُواْ لِلسَّلۡمِ فَٱجۡنَحۡ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى ٱللَّهِۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ – But if they incline to peace, you also incline to it, and (put your) trust in Allaah. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower]. [8:61]
Likewise, to make peace with them if the Muslims are in need of making peace, and when there is an overriding benefit for the Muslims in making peace; just as the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) made peace with the kuffaar at Hudaibiyyah. And by virtue of peace, diplomacy is (established) between them and the Muslims. Read more here:
(c) Not to be hostile towards them without due right. Allaah said:
[وَلَا يَجۡرِمَنَّڪُمۡ شَنَـَٔانُ قَوۡمٍ عَلَىٰٓ أَلَّا تَعۡدِلُواْۚ ٱعۡدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقۡرَبُ لِلتَّقۡوَىٰۖ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ خَبِيرُۢ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ – And let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allaah]. [5:8]
(d) To behave well towards those of them who behave well towards the Muslims; those who neither kill nor drive Muslims out of their homes. Allaah said:
لَّا يَنۡهَٮٰكُمُ ٱللَّهُ عَنِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمۡ يُقَـٰتِلُوكُمۡ فِى ٱلدِّينِ وَلَمۡ يُخۡرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَـٰرِكُمۡ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمۡ وَتُقۡسِطُوٓاْ إِلَيۡہِمۡۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُقۡسِطِينَ
Allaah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allaah loves those who deal with equity. [60:8]
(e) To have permissible beneficial dealings with them; in trade, exchange of beneficial information and utilization of the worldly sciences, and things that are of benefit in our lives.
(f) To fulfil contacts made with them, and to honour the blood, wealth and rights of the Mu-aahideen (i.e. those none-muslims who have a treaty with the Muslims) because it is binding upon them to (fulfil their covenants with the Muslims) and the Muslims are to (fulfil their covenants with them). Allaah said: [فَمَا ٱسۡتَقَـٰمُواْ لَكُمۡ فَٱسۡتَقِيمُواْ لَهُمۡۚ – So long, as they are true to you, stand you true to them]. 9:7
And the ones forbidden to be killed are the Muslim and the Mu’aahid [i.e. the non-Muslim who has a treaty with the Muslims]. And indeed the Prophet said about the killing of a Mu’aahid, “Whoever kills a Mu’aahid will not even smell the fragrance of paradise and its fragrance can be smelled from the distance of forty years away”. [Bukhaari: No: 3166]
And whoever kills a Mu’aahid by mistake, it is as if he has killed a Muslim by mistake. He must pay blood money as expiation. Allaah said:
[وَإِن ڪَانَ مِن قَوۡمِۭ بَيۡنَڪُمۡ وَبَيۡنَهُم مِّيثَـٰقٌ۬ فَدِيَةٌ۬ مُّسَلَّمَةٌ إِلَىٰٓ أَهۡلِهِۦ وَتَحۡرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ۬ مُّؤۡمِنَةٍ۬ۖ – And if he belonged to a people with whom you have a treaty of mutual alliance, compensation (blood money – Diya) must be paid to his family, and a believing slave must be freed]. [4:92]
And finally, I advise these ones [those who called for a change of the sharee’ah terminologies] to repent to Allaah. They should not enter into an affair which they have neither mastered nor is it [something] they have specialized in, because that would be tantamount to speaking about Allaah without knowledge. Indeed, Allaah stated: [وَلَا تَقۡفُ مَا لَيۡسَ لَكَ بِهِۦ عِلۡمٌۚ – ‘And follow not (O man i.e., say not, or do not or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge].[17:36]
قُلۡ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّىَ ٱلۡفَوَٲحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنۡہَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَٱلۡإِثۡمَ وَٱلۡبَغۡىَ بِغَيۡرِ ٱلۡحَقِّ وَأَن تُشۡرِكُواْ بِٱللَّهِ مَا لَمۡ يُنَزِّلۡ بِهِۦ سُلۡطَـٰنً۬ا وَأَن تَقُولُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ
Say (O Muhammad): (But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al-Fawaahish (great evil sins, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allaahfor which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allaah of which you have no knowledge]. [7:33]
Allaah placed speaking about Him without knowledge in a level above shirk due to its seriousness. And if it the case that these ones are aware of the subject matter regarding specialist knowledge and that a person cannot enter into that which is not his domain, just as one does not enter into the affair of medicine because it is not his domain, then why do they enter into the affairs of the sharee’ah, rather they enter into the most serious affairs of the sharee’ah, and that is the subject matter of Aqeedah, even though it is something they are not specialised in. I do not desire anything from this (speech) except to give advice and clarification”. (8)
[Ref 1: Excerpt from ‘Mu’jam Al-Manaahee Lil Laf’dhiyyah’ page 34. slightly paraphrased. Publisher: Daar Al-Aasimah. 3rd edition 1996]
[Ref 2: Excerpt from Mu’jam Al-Manaahee Lil Lafdhiyyah’ page 10. slightly paraphrased. Publisher: Daar Al-Aasimah. 3rd edition 1996]
[Ref 3: Excerpt from ‘Al-Haqeeqatus Shar’iyyah Fee Tafseeril Qur’aan Al-A’dheem Was-Sunnatin Nabawiyyah’ page 17. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 4: Majmoo Fataawaa 1/175. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 5: Majmoo Al-Fataawaa 6/510]
[Ref: 6: Tafseer Surah Al-Baqarah 2/299]
[Ref 7: Majmoo Al-Fataawaa 7/7]
[Ref 7.1: Source: Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm’ pages 58-60. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 8: An Excerpt from ‘Al-Bayaan Li-Akhtaa’i Ba’dil Kuttaab. 2/177-180. Slightly paraphrased]