Saturday, 19 January 2013

Seventy Three Divisions

Assalaamu'alaikum wa rahmatullah

Pic by Abby Rowe

Let me just right away explain the meaning behind the topic today. It refers to the hadith reported by Muawiyya bin Abi Sufyan r.a. Well, before I could further this topic, I would like to admit... I am not a very fan of Muawiyya r.a because due to some disputes that had caused civil wars involving our ancestors but I am not a fanatic so people could see I am displaying his hadith report and narration here without any cursing because according to my understanding. I am not fit to curse anyone except the God the Highest and I have no enmity with Muawiyya r.a may the God the Highest be merciful to him.

This topic is in relation to current issues too like what happened in Syria and Pakistan where I could see that people are using the "religion" and labels on others to justify their judgement on others and to simply be bunch of fanatics besides promoting their movements to others in a devious wicked manner. Are the judgements and tantrums the da'awa according to the authentic manner proposed through the glorious Quran? Are they simply provocations for fun or the projection of our takabbur characteristics that we are the "chosen" people as we would be tormented in the hell-fire for few moments before being put into the paradise while inside we are rotten of evil self? Who were these "chosen" people?  

It means: "Behold that the messenger of the God had once stand in front of the public and said... 'Indeed from the people of the scriptures before you, they would be 72 fractions and my nations would split into 73 groups. The 72 would be cast into the Fire but the ones which would be put into the paradise are the jama'a". - Abi Dawud

This hadith is used by some self-proclaimed "Sunnah" Muslims to put the stamp of kafr or infidelity on the forehead of other side who are the Shi'a Muslims or perhaps Sufi Muslims because I know some Usooli Shi'a Muslims also detest "Sufi" Muslims just like other groups. But if we look closely to the hadith, the fractions are not further explained. What are those 72 groups? What are those 73 groups? Are they specifically the Catholics, the Coptic Orthodox, the Oriental Syrian Orthodox in the part of the people of scriptures? Are they the Shi'a Muslims in part of the nations of Muhammad? 

So, does this mean that only those Muslims who claim their selves with designation of Ahl Sunna wal Jama'a and confidently claiming the paradise for their selves would be saved from the Hell-Fire? Are they sure that their faith would be secured during the "death-bed" by the Highest Authority who controls the Guidance and Mercy of Faith?  Please refer to the narration about our Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal rahimahullah during his death-bed. What he told his son? I always remember this narration and details about Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal....

The hadith then has an addition in other narration...

"And indeed "they" would go out to the nations of my era a group of people who would be accompanied by the carnality like the dog that follows its master. Nothing left in his veins and his parts of body except being impregnated by it". 

This hadith is full of pragmatism. This was what we learned in translation and interpretation theories during undergraduate studies. And we also learned about the translations and interpretations to suit ones' ideology or the ideology of those who are involved in the interpretation and translation. The explanation of the addition of this hadith where it says that the dog would follow its master and then bites him. I wonder whether those who spread out this hadith to say that their movements or groups are right even know about the addition of the hadith by this companion of Muhammad s.a.w which is Muawiyya r.a? Or they know about it but hiding it from the ignorant public?

Let us see another hadith narrated by Abdullah bin 'Amr al-'As r.a which means:

"Indeed, my nations would be like the Children of Israel where the "clogs' trail" would follow the "clogs' trail". The Children of Israel were torn apart into 72 religions while the paths of my era would be torn apart into 73 paths. All of them would be cast into the hell-fire except a path. Thus, they asked: 'Who are those in the "path" dear Muhammad s.a.w?" He said: 'Those who follows me and my companions'".  

From these hadiths what could we see? We could see that in a religion, there would also be various modes of thought. This is known as al-ra'yi in Arabic. Imam Malik bin Anas r.a who is also a companion had once said: "Muhammad s.a.w has passed away and the matters had been perfected and completed. So, the one that we should follow is the trail he had left and never the opinions of others. If you follow the opinions, then there would be other opinions which are stronger than the current and you would later follow the opinions... so on and so on. In my view, it would be a never ending course".

What Imam Malik r.a means here is that, the opinions pertaining religious affairs, about the creed, the worship and jurisprudence whether it is halal or haram. It is not about the worldly affairs or states' interest, politics or the execution of states' administration. We should not follow people's opinions but only those stated in the primary sources of the path. I could see people quarreling with each other related to the "sunnah" for example in salat services. Whether to clasp our hands or to just leave it at our side like the Shi'a Muslims during the standing straight act of salat. When I see or hear this, I just feel tired and I do not think that my words would help to cure their fanaticism in their jurisprudence schools because they are not learning and never bother to learn. The act of clasping the hands is known as qabd... and laying the hands besides is known as the sadl. According to the Shafi'ie jurisprudence, it is not wrong to stand with sadl but no swaying is allowed. The act of qabd is the sunnah with the status of hai-aat. For some schools including the Maliki school, sadl or laying the hand is sunnah. How I know these? I refer to jurisprudence kitabs and asking teachers for evidences. Our people some of them were also praying like that but they are the Shafi'ies.

For worldly affairs, the Maliki school for example has the teaching of public benefits which is related to the aim of prophet Muhammad s.a.w being appointed as a messenger of the God the Highest. So, according to al-Shatibi who wrote in the al-I'tisaam chapter 9th, the "scholarly" decision maker of the path who use his personal efforts in the problems of decision-making are not involved in the view of Imam Malik bin Anas r.a. If they are involved in this matter, then the religion would be so narrow. While according to the difference of period, there are many rising issues which needs to be solved through decision-making of the divine law practitioners though they were not there in the era of Muhammad s.a.w in Mecca nor Medina. The questions of decision-making which exist in the era after the prophet s.a.w passed away are the questions which have no evidence for them. None of the previous ulamas especially the salaf ever discussed the issue.         

I would continue my reflection in other posts if there are opportunities may the God the Highest makes it true. I am not supporting any groups here. I am talking as an "ordinary" follower of Muhammad s.a.w path who was deflected from the path due to environment and lack of support from "fellow" Muslims our selves but I returned due to His Mercy-Compassionate. 

Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love, amin!

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