Witnessing the Mastery of the Imam of Dar al-Hijra


Read this first. Then read below. Then read this chapter again.

Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that Umar ibn al-Khattab and Ali ibn Abi Talib and Uthman ibn Affan drank while standing.

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab that A’isha, umm al-muminin and Sad ibn Abi Waqqas did not see any harm in a man drinking while standing.

Yahya related to me from Malik that Abu Jafar al-Qari said, “I saw Abdullah ibn Umar drink while standing.”

Yahya related to me from Malik from Amir ibn Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr that his father used to drink while standing.”

Commentary:


The idea of a cut and paste type juristic approach is very dangerous. However, jurisprudence and its related sciences require a strong mind, pure heart and analytical vision that goes beyond just looking for evidence.

Once we were sitting in a lesson with Dr. Ahmad Taha Rayan (may Allah preserve him) and he was explaining the Muwwata of Imam Malik. We came upon this chapter and after one the students finished reading it the sheikh said, “Do you notice something about this chapter?” The murmur of student’s voices was faint and the sheikh said, “Are you ready to taste the great understanding and mastery of Sidi Malik?” We became excited and the sheikh said, “If you look carefully at this chapter you’ll notice that Imam Malik (may Allah have mercy upon him) did not mention one single hadith of the Prophet (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him). However, is it possible to imagine that Imam Malik did not know these hadith, for example, the hadith of Ibn Abbas and other authentic narrations of the Prophet?” We stood in silence and birds could have easily rested on our shoulders as we listened.

“You see ya masheikh (scholars in Egypt use this term to put raghba (hope) in the hearts of students), Sidi Malik did not mention those hadith, however, he mentioned narrations that included `Umar, `Ali `Uthman and `Aiesha and these were the greatest jurists amongst the companions (may Allah be pleased with them). Thus, ya awlaad [my sons] (a term used to make you feel close to the teacher and his showing his love for the students), Sidi Malik (May Allah have mercy upon him) did not mention any of the hadiths, but mentioned these narrations to show that the permissibility of drinking while standing had not been abrogated because the actions of the great companions (may Allah be pleased with them) happened after the death of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him).

Thus, by mentioning these great companions and their actions, instead of the hadith, Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) was illustrating his profound understanding of the texts and how they should be used. For, if indeed, he mentioned the hadith, people could argue that perhaps, they had been cancelled. But, by doing this, he makes his position clear and eliminates any doubt.”

My thoughts:

I’ve come to realize in 4 years here in Egypt that when we open the Muwwata (or any scholarly book) we are not simply opening a book of hadith, fatwa and narrations. We are, as we are reading it, witnessing the painting of Michelangelo, the work of Beethoven and the flight of Kobe! Indeed, it is a true masterpiece and I’m awed at its greatness and the Fiqh of Malik (May Allah have mercy upon him) and all of our scholars.

However, the true challenge for us in the West is to take hold of the masterpieces, master them and apply them back into our own world. At the same time we must insure that we do not rehash the arguments, creedul or juristic, that busied the scholars of the earlier generations. I would rather argue with someone about voting for Obama, then the issues that engaged our forefathers. At least contemporary arguments would, with Allah’s blessing and correct adab, bring about practical results for the masses. Unfortunatley we are still stuck in a pre/post modern gridlock and not sure how to define ourselves. For many, their identities are made by attacking others, thus the constant swing from “I was a Salafi! Now I’m Sufi” and vice versa. All are indicative of a failure on our part and the part of our leaders to guide us to practicle articulations of faith and culture.  Once, we’ve grasped a true sense of identity, we will find fruit in our works and blessings in our efforts.

I asked my teacher once about studying old books and the disconnect that can be associated with them, “How do we translate this to the West?” He said, “That is your job.” I want to encourage all of you not to get discouraged nor fret. Work hard, ask Allah for help and take your time. Knowledge is not fast food. However, the road is not impossible and many of you have talents that Allah is waiting to show you. Be sincere, leave the arguments and work hard…….may Allah bless you and I
love you all for Allah’s sake.

Suhaib

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6 Comments

  1. sherif mahmoud says:

    Masallah your guidance and wisdom is needed in this time of darkness.

  2. Assalam-o-alaikum
    I really learned alot of out it and will look forward to such articles in future.
    Please tell me as to what you think we can do as Muslims on the issue of the pictures of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). I have read one of your a bit related article on this subject but i need a concise reply to the above question.
    Allah hafiz

  3. AbdelRahman says:

    Oh man this was a good post, jazak Allahu khayr insha Allah. Getting these drops of Azhar is like cool water in the desert of fitna that is the USA (not saying there’s not potential here, though).

    “The idea of a cut and paste type juristic approach is very dangerous. However, jurisprudence and its related sciences require a strong mind, pure heart and analytical vision that goes beyond just looking for evidence.”

    Put THAT on a t-shirt and wear it.

    When will you guys turn from Azhari awlaad into Azhari rigaal insha Allah?

  4. Bismillah says:

    “However, the true challenge for us in the West is to take hold of the masterpieces, master them and apply them back into our own world.”

    “How do we translate this to the West?” He said, “That is your job.”

    If a sister’s mom wants her to wear skirts and long loose shirts that cover as much or much more than jilbab, she should do so-

    the pleasure of Allah is in the pleasing of her mother when her mother calls her to the halal and what is reasonable. If her mom doesn’t mind her wearing jilbab, but loves her to dress in a way that is better for the dawah in the western context, inshaAllah she will gain more of Allah’s pleasure by wearing this completely shariah-approved type of dress more often.

    – that is the first thing that came to my mind when I thought about translating and contextualizing knowledge.
    – fyi: this is a personal thought. that was not a “fatwa” or anything close to it.

    “However, the road is not impossible and many of you have talents that Allah is waiting to show you.”

    please keep us in your duaa.

  5. Hadi says:

    Since studying creed is essential for all Muslims then can we study it without falling into the pitfalls of arguments, debates, major differences (kufr or not kufr) and partisanship (salafi, sufi, ashari, etc.)?

    Since Muslims in the West are not homogenous then is it possible to have a single Muslim identity in America? It would be helpful in this discourse to be practical instead of being theoretical.

  6. Abu Majeed says:

    Jazkallahu khairan akhi.
    As you know in the usool al-‘ishreen for al-banna (ra) and in many books by Albani (ra) and other revivalists, they mention the rule of thumb that when a commoner (no/weak background in istinbaat) is presented with an authentic text which appears clear to him/her to which it is being presented to, then they should follow it and abandon what they are doing if it is contrary.

    This of course doesn’t negate the major responsibility of taking this text to a scholar and seeking clarification as to its meanings. What I would like to clarify is that as Muslims we are all respsonsible to treat reading/hearing any Saheeh/Hasan Hadith or Ayah as though we are hearing it from the blessed lips of rasool Allah (saws) and take it in stride. That being said scholars are the inheritors of Prophets and Allah has greatly blessed us with a vast tradition of skilled scholarship and legal theory.

    The moral of this comment is that we must always seek and apply knowledge of the Qur’an and Suunah, but that will not be complete or in the preferred manner unless we do it under the guidance and auspices of the Ulema.
    And Allah knows best

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