RE: Hudud-e-Ikhtilaf Deceiving God or Deceiving Oneself?
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The Limits ofDifferences in the light of the Shariah
from the discourses of Faqihul Ummah HadratMufti Mahmdul Hasan Gangohi r.a
by Muft� Muhammad SaeedMotara
Death isperhaps the only phenomena in the world upon which there is a definiteconsensus of opinion. No matter what denomination or ideology a person isaffiliated to, he/she cannot deny the inevitability of death. The Qur'aan beautifully proclaims the inevitability of death atvarious junctures by proclaiming that "Every soul must taste ofdeath." Apart from death, there is no other phenomenathat enjoys this type of consensus amongst the peoples of the world, with theresult that one will find differences of opinion in practically every walk oflife. Whether it is the medical field or legal field, whether it is thebusiness arena or the agricultural arena, there is bound to be some divergenceof opinion amongst the experts of the relevant disciplines.
It isthus inevitable that there will be differences of opinion with regard tocontentious issues in the theological field as well. Scholars and thinkers ofevery religious denomination tend to disagree with other scholars of theirdenomination in matters that require them to exert and apply their mentalfaculties to arrive at a conclusion.
InIslamic Law too, one will find differences of opinion in certain contentiousissues. The contentious issues are generally with regard to those subsidiarymatters of D�n with regard to which there is nodirect guideline in the Qur'aan and Had�th. In such a situation, Ulemawho have been vested with the capability of Ijtihaad(i.e. expertise in the four sources of Isl�micLaw, namely Qur'aan, Hadeeth,Ijma and Qiyaas and the Juristic ability to extract laws therefrom)endeavour to extract and deduce a satisfactory rulingfrom these four primary sources, by way of applying certain Fiqhi(Juristic) principles. An Aalim who possesses thecapility of Ijtihaadis known as a Mujtahid. As every Mujtahid's intellect and mental prowess isnot the same, there is bound to be some difference of opinion in the eventualdeduction and conclusion that he arrives at. This difference in opinion amongstthe Aimma-e-Mujtahideen has, in fact,been described as a mercy for the Ummat.
In thebook that you, O reader, are holding in your hands, the salient features ofdifferences of opinion amongst the Ulema have beendiscussed in detail. The book, entitled The Limits of Academic Differences isa translation of Hudood-e-Ikhtilaaf. Thevalue of the book has been greatly enhanced by the fact that many of thediscussions in the book have been taken from the discourses of Faqeehul-Ummat HadhratMufti Mahmood Hasan Saheb Gangohi rahmatull�hialaih. Numerous incidents of our Akaabir (pious pedecessors)are mentioned in the book to illustrate that, in spite of them disagreeing withone another, they still accorded full respect to one another and held oneanother in great esteem. The reason for this was that they based theirdifferences on solid academic research and presented these differences withcomplete sincerity and integrity. Hence, they did not allow their differencesto tarnish the mutual respect and admiration that they had for one another.
Theoriginal book is in the Urdu language and it has now, Alhamdulillah,very capably been rendered into English by MoulanaRiaz Ahmed Saheb (may All�h Ta'�l�increase him in Ilm and Amal), a graduate of MadrasahTaa'limuddeen IsipingoBeach. The English translation will be of tremendous benefit to readers whowere deprived of the gems contained in the original book due to them not beingconversant with the Urdu language.
May All�h Ta'�l�reward the translator for his noble effort and make the book a source ofenlightenment for readers all over the world. May All�hTa'�l� also continue to benefit the Ummah with the spiritual gems of Faqeehul-Ummat HadhratMufti Mahmood Hasan Saheb Gangohi rahmatull�hialaih through this and many other books and may All�h Ta'�l�fill his Qabr with Noorand grant him lofty stages in the Aakhirah.Aameen.
Muft� Muhammad Saeed Motara
Madrasah Arabia Islamia, Azaadville
Deceiving God or Deceiving Oneself?
God has made the pilgrimage a duty owed to Him by all mankind. He says: �Pilgrimage to this House is a duty owed to God by all people who are able to undertake it. As for those who disbelieve, God does not stand in need of anything in all the worlds.� (3: 97) Therefore, when you decide to perform the pilgrimage, you should know that you are making a deal with God, and such a deal must be started and carried out with the knowledge that it is dedicated to God. Hence, scholars have always pointed out the need to select one�s best-earned money to pay for one�s trip and expenses. You cannot declare to God that you are undertaking the pilgrimage for His sake and then pay for it with unlawful earnings. This is totally unacceptable.
Yet some people try to do just that. They know that the reward God gives for a pilgrimage dedicated to Him is complete forgiveness of all past sins. They are also aware that they had done much for which God may hold them to account and they would dearly love to ensure that they are forgiven. They are eager to do the pilgrimage but they know that their money comes from very doubtful sources. Therefore, they come up with the idea of purifying, or laundering their money. They do this in one of two ways: The first is to borrow an amount of money sufficient to cover their pilgrimage expenses, making use of the cash they have borrowed to pay for their pilgrimage. They repay this loan on their return, using their normal earnings which they know to be questionable. Alternatively, a man in this situation pays to his wife the dowry still owed to her. Then the wife gives him this money back as a gift, and he uses it to pay for his pilgrimage. The question here is whether such money is now pure, and the pilgrimage paid for it with such money valid and acceptable?
The basic point is that a Muslim undertakes the difficult journey of pilgrimage hoping to wipe his slate clean and to shed the burden of sins and misdeeds he had accumulated in his life. Hence, the pilgrimage comes as a result of a process which includes taking stock of what one might have done in the past, concluding that one needs to get rid of the burden of sin and to make a fresh start. For a Muslim the best and surest way of doing this is through pilgrimage. Therefore, a person who intends to go on pilgrimage should declare his repentance for what errors and slips he might have done, and to resolve not to repeat these in future. When such repentance is coupled with undertaking the journey of pilgrimage, it ensures God�s acceptance and forgiveness.
When we speak of repentance and forgiveness, we must remember that God forgives any violation of the limits He has imposed on us, as long as it represents an offense against Him. He does not forgive an offense which we may commit against other people unless the aggrieved party forgoes his rights first. When God wants someone to be forgiven even that latter type of sin, He takes it upon Himself to satisfy the aggrieved party either by giving him much more than he would have taken from the offender or by increasing his reward. A person who earns his money in an illegitimate way must have earned it through wronging other people. If it is the case, then he cannot hope to be forgiven such an offense by using such illegitimately-earned money to cover the expenses of his pilgrimage. If one person takes another�s money in an illegitimate way and then prays for forgiveness while using such money for his own benefit, he puts himself in a very farcical situation, playing games with Islamic principles. There is one genuine way for him to be forgiven that offense. This involves repenting his offense, returning the money, which he had taken unlawfully, to its rightful owner, and asking him to accept it and to pardon him. Then he should pray for forgiveness. If he does all that, his repentance is genuine and he makes amends for his misdeeds.
The situation we have mentioned, attempting to purify or launder money, is very similar to our farcical example. Imagine someone who has poured himself a glass of whisky. Holding his glass in his hand, he says: �My Lord forgive me,� then he drinks that whisky. To us, such a situation is ludicrous and we may tend to say that God will never forgive such a person, because he knows what he is doing, insists on doing it and he may be making fun of Islamic teachings and the principle of divine forgiveness. Yet, God may in His mercy forgive such a person much sooner than the one who undertakes the pilgrimage with money laundered in the ways described above.
What such people actually do is to try to deal with God in the same way as they deal with their fellow human beings. A person may try to evade payment of income tax by a variety of tricks. He may get away with that because he knows that the tax inspector is a human being and he can only act on the basis of the information available to him. That information is never complete. If a person tries to deal with God in the same way, he runs the risk of incurring God�s displeasure. This is something none of us can afford.
Let us examine the two ways employed as a �purifying� process. The first is a straightforward loan. It is true that money one borrows from another is lawful. When such money is used to cover the pilgrimage expenses, this is fine. Yet, when it comes to settling the loan, the money earned illegitimately will be used. It needs neither a mathematician nor a philosopher to say that the pilgrimage expenses were paid with illegitimate money. Illegitimacy is not a stain placed on coins and banknotes. It is something attached to the entire transaction resulting in taking money unlawfully. The process of borrowing and settling a loan is superfluous. It does not change the facts. It does not make lawful what is clearly unlawful.
The same applies to the other method. By paying one�s wife her dowry and getting it back as a gift by an explicit or implicit understanding, one does not change the position in any way. Why has he chosen this time in particular to make these arrangements? It is only an exercise in self-deception, convincing his own soul that he is going on pilgrimage using legitimate funds. He only deceives himself by doing so. He cannot deceive God.
Two Hadiths are particularly relevant to this whole affair. The first says: �God does not look at your shapes and forms, but He looks at your deeds.� This means that a genuinely good deed is rewarded, while a bad one is punishable. Either method of �purification� or laundering of earnings has no motive other than giving a false disguise. God knows that and knows the reality of the intention behind every action. He evaluates such actions on the basis of the intentions behind them. This is what is meant by the Prophet�s Hadith: �Actions are only by intention. Every human being shall have only what he has intended.� So, a person who seeks to play a trick on God will get only what such an action merits. He simply deceives himself and he spends his money to no avail. We must remember what the Prophet says: �God is good and He accepts only what is good.� Playing tricks is certainly not good.
In the case of a pilgrimage paid for by money earned unlawfully, we have to remember the Hadith which states: �When a man sets on his pilgrimage, having good money earned legitimately, and declares his intention saying: �Labbayk Allahumma labbayk�, (which means: I respond to Your call, my Lord), the angels will answer him: �Your response is welcome. So be happy. You eat food paid for by good money and your expenses are paid by legitimately-earned money, and your pilgrimage is accepted.� On the other hand, when a man sets out on pilgrimage with money unlawfully earned, then as he makes his declaration that he is responding to God�s call, the angels will say to him: �No response is accepted from you and no happiness is given to you. Your food is unlawfully earned, your expenses are paid with illegitimately-earned money and your pilgrimage is unacceptable.��
This Hadith shows how Islam lays strong emphasis on the need to ensure that lawfully earned money is used pay for the great act of worship of pilgrimage, which earns complete forgiveness of past sins. We cannot hope for such forgiveness if we intend to go on with our erring ways. Those people who resort to such tricks are simply demonstrating their unwillingness to repent what they have done in violation of Islamic teachings. How can they hope for God�s forgiveness and reward?
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