This is the continuation of my previous post about the seventy three divisions. It is crucial for brothers and sisters including myself to know about what is ijtihaad. For shari'a divine law practitioners, this matter is very important to determine their decisions in their rulings and judgements. Also important for them to decide on their religious duty when there is no evidence for certain matters related to the path. Basically, the result of a decision-making is based from opinions with some supportive articles of few basic sources of constitution. Maybe it could be compared to European Union system of decision-making and law... I am trying to make this less technical... But if it is too technical, I am so sorry as I could not avoid it...
What does ijtihaad means? Ijtihaad is the decision-making according to our divine law through two ways which are:
1. Personal effort
2. Personally made by one according to any school of jurisprudence.
This is in opposite to the taqleed. I think that I had posted about taqleed in... I don't know previous pages maybe. Taqleed means that we would follow the decisions or the rulings of a religious expert without necessarily to examine scriptural basis or reasoning of the particular decision. Most Muslim in the world are the muqallideen (click on muqallideen to refer) or the public followers which more or less also include myself though I was once a Shari'a Islamiyya student. In order for the decision to be valid and widely accepted, it must be rooted with the basis support of the Quran and the hadiths. It does not require any established doctrine rules for the case. A mujtahid usually is an Islamic scholar who is competent to interpret the divine law through his own effort. The mujtahideen or the Islamic scholars must meet the requirements before he is competent to make his own decision in relation to the path and the way of life.
There are differences between qualifications between the Sunnah and Shi'a Muslims as per outlined by scholars of both sides. The Shi'a Muslims as what I know have their students in hawzat 'ilmiyya where they must master the Arabic linguistic studies, jurisprudence, hadith and sunna compiled by their scholars, logic, philosophy and jurisprudence. Although I am an orthodox sunnah Muslim, but my background is more or less almost the same with those hawzat students just after I expelled myself from the Shari'a studies due to problems of faith and pressure of life as for the lack of life experience. Apa orang kata itu, saya cuma budak kanyaq berhingus saja masa itu, lol... There are many types of decision-maker for specific branches of the way of life such as economy or finance as well as there are decision-maker of both genders, males and females.
Ijtihaad in jurisprudence basically means that the understanding of the way of life was started by companions of Muhammad s.a.w until the period of followers and the following scholars known as the mutaqaddimeen. Those scholars always mentioned that the opinions of their ijtihaad are based on their dzhann or assumption. They were not final and could be followed if they are in accordance to the two basic sources of the way of life which are the Quran and the Sunna. Imam al-Shafi'ie may the God be pleased with him had once said that if the hadith is valid, then it is my school.
Fractions due to Ijtihaad
Now the question is whether the fractions in our path is because of these opinions by different early scholars? Scholar for e.g Abdul Malik Karim Amrullah through his observation says that fractions does not happen due to these few ijtihaads. It happens when the result of a certain ijtihaad is gripped with so much confidence by followers. Thus, schools rise out of these confidence on certain ijtihaad and everyone claims that their group or faction is the righteous one. Sometimes, it happens that the opinion of a mujtaheed when being thoroughly researches has a different meaning from a valid hadith. But the valid hadith is not followed by people because they still are confident with a particular opinion of their imam or scholars. When this happens, there are also fractions in the divine path...
The four orthodox sunna imams never were in conflict among each other. They actually respect each other and their opinions. They are tolerant toward each other. However, the followers of the next generations had made their opinions as if their opinions are of different path and religion. The same thing also happened to Shia Muslims. It worsen until there are questions such as whether a Hanbali Muslim man could marry a Shafi'ie Muslim lady? Whether a Shafi'ie Muslim man could marry a Hanafi Muslim lady? Or whether a Sunna Orthodox Muslim man could marry a Shi'a Muslim lady? While many people thought that Islam is only Islam. Why it becomes like this???! May the God forgives us.
In the Holy Mecca itself as what I also heard from my elders, since hundred of years, there were four imams taking turns in conducting the congregations of different schools of jurisprudence for daily prayer services. Only because the followers of the schools did not want to follow imams from different school of jurisprudence. There was also a story told by elders that the followers of Hanafi school of jurisprudence stayed idle when the imam of other schools conducting the prayer and only praying when the imam of their school conducting the prayers who usually would be the last one in the turns. The reason they do not want to follow other imams during the congregational services is due to furu' or differences in branches of practices in a particular ritual. Only in 1925, when the Ben Sa'ud conquered the nowadays Saudi Arabia that daily prayer services are conducted only once for each time. The same thing also happened to the Sunna and Shi'a sides where everyone would try to avoid performing prayer services in each other mosques...
Comparison with Non-Muslims
When I heard or see all of these matters, I feel quite weird because the Christians are also divided into hundreds of sects. The popular ones that I know are the Roman Catholic and those in communion with the Western Roman papacy, the independent Oriental Orthodox churches, Protestant churches and so on... I guess the same thing also to the Children of Israel where there are Orthodox Rabbinical Authority for Orthodox Jews, Reformed Judaism, Karaite Judaism and etc. Also among the Hindus, where some Vaishnava refuse to perform worship in Saivite temples due to differences... I visited also the Bengal Vaisnava temple in Penang Island just few blocks in opposite of the Bengal Tabligh Mosque when I was studying in Penang Island. Christians would refuse to perform sacrament in different churches and they would have to be baptized again if they are converting to other sect. The same thing too with Judaism where one needs to be baptized by the Rabbinical Authority to be recognized as an Orthodox Jew and to perform worship and rituals according to mainstream Orthodox Judaism.
Our World Today
Today I could also see the same thing happens among Muslims especially of Sunna and Shi'a sides... Some of the Muslims of these sides keep stamping each other as kafirs or infidels and refusing to pray in each other mosques. If they are praying there, they would be seen with suspicion by the majority congregation members. People of these different sides and groups keep killing each other and bombing each other mosques. Are we now fully reaching the threat of noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w? The clogs' trail would follow the clogs' trail? Where the schools and sects becoming like a different religion? Are we going to deny ourselves or to trying our best to prevent this from happening? How are we going to do and what is the method to avoid this?
The hadith narrated by Abdullah bin 'Amr al-'As is not explaining the destiny that must be followed by people! It warns us to avoid from the situation! To protect ourselves from this situation, we must follow the primary basis of the path which is the glorious Quran, the wisdom of Muhammad s.a.w through his Sunna and through the practices of his companions and early righteous disciples. It also refers to the manner of da'awa... Only those who have the Quran shining through his heart would be the "authentic" practitioners of da'awa...
Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love, amin!