ASH-SHAWKANI AND ABSOLUTE IJTIHAD?

Shaikh Faaris ibn Faalih Al-Khazraji was asked the following:

لماذا لا ندرِّسَ فقه الشوكاني ـ رحمه الله ـ

So why don’t we learn the fiqh of Ash-Shawkani, may Allah have mercy upon him?

إعادة نشر

This is an answer that is being re-published after the question has appeared once more.

منذ عقدين أو ثلاثة تقريباً ظهرت دعوة ــ مُستغربة ـ قائمة بين الشباب السني لالتزام دراسة كتب الشوكاني والشبهة في ذلك :

أنه متجرد للدليل وليس مقيد بمذهب !.

So there are three or more instances, since a type of da`awah has appeared and has become established among the Sunni youth and have led to the question of studying the books of Ash-Shawkani and the ambiguity in the affair.

وجوابنا على ذلك :

The answer to this is from a number of points:

1. من معلوم أن الشوكاني أصل مذهبه زيدي ثم وافق مذهب أهل السنة الا في بعض المسائل ـ واعني بها العقدية ـ كما بين في الرسائل السلفية .

One: It is well known that Ash-Shawkani – as the source of his madhhab – is a Zaidi and then he started to agree with the madhhab of Muslim Orthodoxy except in some areas. And I mean by that with regards to theology and the like. And this is very clear in the book he wrote, The Salafi Messages.

2. بقاء تأثره بفقه الزيدية يتبين من خلال نقولاته عن علماء الزيدية في نيل الأوطار.

Two: he remained under the influence of the Zaidiyyah[1] as becomes clear from his writings and citing the scholars of the Zaidiyyah in the work[2] Nail ul-Awtar.[3]

3.كونه ليس متأثراً بمذهب هذا لايدل على تجرده لأن منهجه بعد الفقه الزيدي كان شافعيًا ويوصي في كتابه ( أدب الطلب ) بدراسة المذهب الشافعي ، ثم تأثر بالظاهرية .

Three: he does not have any influence in any madhhab that is proof of this as his methodology after Zaidi “fiqh” is to follow the Shafi`ii fiqh[4] like in his book Etiquettes in Seeking Knowledge in which he taught the Shafi`ii madhhab. Then he was influenced by the Zahiriyyah.[5]

4. فقهه لا يُعرف عند عامة الأمة ولاشك من أنه يعتبر شاذًا عن الأقوال المعلومة لدى الأمة من مدرسة المذاهب الأربعة ، بالتالي ليس معلومًا لدى الأمة كمذاهب أئمة الهدى .

Four: his “fiqh” is not known of among the body of the Ummah. There is no doubt that he depended upon rare or divergent matters from the well known statements in the Ummah from the study of the Four Madhhabs. And it follows that he is not well known among the Ummah like the madhhabs of the Imams of Guidance.

5. الشوكاني ليس مجتهدًا مطلقًا لتكون له مدرسة مستقلة بل ولاينبغي أن يلحق بمدارس الأئمة المتبعة ، لأنه تأثر بالظاهرية .

Five: Ash-Shawkani was not an absolute mujtahid in which he would have an independent school and he did not even see the importance of attachment to the scholars of the Imams that are followed as he was under the influence of the Zahiriyyah.

6. أصوله مستقلة رجحها هو بنظره ، ولاتنطبق الا على فقهه ، ومعلوم أن المدرسة الاجتهادية الفقهية يأتي من يحرر ويقرر ويجدد لها أما الشوكاني فلا يعرف عنه متبع سوى صديق حسن خان وكتابه الروضة الندية لاتختلف عن نيل الاوطار ، ويكفي ماسطره من طعن بحق معاوية رضي الله عنه في نهاية كتابه .

Six: his “usul” are independent according to his preference and his research. And there is no dependence made use of for him except upon his “fiqh”. And it is well known that the way of fiqh ijtihad comes from bringing out the principles, affirming and setting them down and renewing them or bringing fresh things to light. As for Ash-Shawkani, there is no known follower of him besides Siddiq Hasan Khan Al-Qannuji and his book The Well Ornamented Meadow and it does not differ in practice from Nail ul-Awtar. And it is sufficient the lines that he wrote in disrespect to Mu`awiyah, may Allah be pleased with him, at the end of his book to show Ash-Shawkani’s reality.

7. كون الشوكاني رحمه الله ليس بمقلد هذا مفهوم مغاير لما هو عليه في نيل الأوطار ، لأن الشوكاني قلد في تخريج أحاديث المنتقى الحافظ بن حجر ـ رحمه الله ـ تقليدا أعمى في تلخيص الحبير ومن رام التأكد فليقارن.

Seven: Ash-Shawkani – may Allah have mercy upon him – was not a follower of this understanding and underwent change to what he was later upon in Nail ul-Awtaf  as Ash-Shawkani followed Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar – may Allah have mercy upon him – in his addressing and examination of the Ahadith in Al-Muntaqa. And he is actually the one making “blind imitation” to what is in Talkhis ul-Habir. And whoever wants emphasis proving my point, go and look it up and compare!

8.الشوكاني يخالف اعتقاد أهل السنة في معاوية رضي الله عنه وارضاه ، وهذا لاشك أنه مأخذ كبير .

Eight: Ash-Shawkani contradicted the creed of Muslim Orthodoxy regarding Mu`awiyah, may Allah be pleased with him and show pleasure to him, and there is no doubt that this is a large matter indeed.

9. من قرأ الرسائل السلفية العقدية له ، سيعلم جيدًا مخالفته من يدعو الى دراسة فقهه ، في الاسماء والصفات.

Nine: Whoever read The Salafi Creed Messages as written by him will know very well his contradiction and opposition (to Muslim Orthodoxy) to the one who is calling to studying his “fiqh” and in the topic of the Names and Attributes.

10.عدم العمل بفقه الشوكاني : ففي أي مصر من أمصار المسلمين بل ولا في قرية واحدة يعمل به ، فكيف يلزم بفقهه ، وكيف تدرَّس كتبه .

Ten: No one acts by the “fiqh” of Ash-Shawkani. In which urban centres of the Muslims is it being used? In fact it’s not utilised in one village. So how can his “fiqh” be necessary to look into? How can his books be learned? How can one cling to them?

فإن قيل : ألا يستفاد من كتب الشوكاني :

Someone may ask, “So can one not benefit from the works of Ash-Shawkani?”

فجوابنا : لاشك أن فيه فائدة لكن ليست للدراسة ، ولا للتدريس .

Our answer is that there is no doubt that there is a benefit but not for learning or teaching.

هذه الأسباب التي تجعلنا ننصح الشباب بعدم دراسة فقه الشوكاني رحمه الله ، خاصة في بداية الطلب ، إن لم يكن الا سبب عدم العمل به في عموم الأمة بل ولا في قرية من قرى الأمة لكفى به سببًا.

So these are the reasons that we have put for advising the people not to study the “fiqh” of Ash-Shawkani – may Allah have mercy upon him – especially at the beginning of seeking knowledge and if there is no reason to act by it in the main body of the Ummah, in one of the villages of the Ummah then this is reason enough to not take anything from it.

والله اعلم

And Allah knows best.

وكتب فارس بن فالح الخزرجي

6 / محرم / 1439

As written by Faaris ibn Faalih Al-Khazraji

6 Muharram 1439


[1] This is another word for the Shi`ah cult. Among the Shi`ah are groups such as Twelver (and within them Akhbari and Usuli), Isma`ili (also known as Seveners or Saba`iyyah), but when discussing them collectively, they are known as Rafidah (or in the plural form, Rawafid). Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah be pleased with him, said of them, “The Rafidah are those who disavow and renounce the Companions of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and they also curse and consider as low the Companions, along with labelling as unbelievers the four Imams among them, namely `Ali, `Ammar, Al-Miqdad, Salman, and the Rafidah have nothing to do with Islam at all. The Mansuriyyah are a group of Rafidah, but are more wretched and filthy than the others, as they say that whoever should kill 40 people who contradict their belief shall enter the Paradise. They terrorise the people, consider the wealth of them permissible to be seized. They further state that Jibril, peace be upon him, made a mistake when he came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, with the message. Such a thing is clear kufr, and there is no way of faith in holding this matter. We seek refuge in Allah from this matter. There is among them the sect of the Sabiyy’ah, which is closer to those who oppose the four Imams mentioned before. They deny the description and they say that `Ali is in the clouds and will be sent before the Day of Resurrection, and this is clear lying, slander and open falsehood. The Zaidiyyah are another group with them and they disavow `Uthman, Talhah, az-Zubair and `A’ishah, believing that they must fight against any of those who resisted and went against the children of `Ali, whether they are righteous or sinful, even if they are victorious or overcome. The Khashabiyyah say the same thing as the Zaidiyyah, but they claim that they love the Family and Household of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, while they lie, for they hate the Family and Household of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, more than any of the people. The only partisans and lovers of the Family and Household of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, are the pious, and these are Muslim Orthodoxy, whoever they are and wherever they may be located. They are those who love the Family and Household of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and all the Companions of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Those who love them do not mention the Companions with any evil, flaws, hatred or sinful words. Whoever should mention the Companions of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, with evil or hatred towards them, or disavows any of them, curses them, refuses the oath of allegiance that they gave, such a one is nothing but a member of the Rafidah, filthy and he makes others filthy. The Rafidah label Muslim Orthodoxy as insulters of the Family and Household, yet they lie. They are the ones who deserve this title due to their insult of the Companions of the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, by cursing and insult. They speak of the Companions in other than the truth, attribute to them things that are not true and say they are guilty of kufr and oppression. This is making a lie towards Allah, Mighty and Majestic, and making light of the right of the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and the people doing this have more reason to be faulted and shown wrath than the Companions.” Tabaqat ul-Hanabilah, vol.1, pp. 35-37

[2] d. 653 (AD 1266). He is Majd ud-Din Abul Barakat `Abdus-Salam ibn `Abdullah ibn Abil-Qasim ibn `Abdullah Al-Khidr ibn Muhammad ibn `Ali Ibn Taymiyyah Al-Harrani, also referred to as Al-Majd. The second highest voice in the school for canonical texts, he wrote his famous work, Al-Muharrar fil-Fiqh (Eng. The Consecrated and Recorded Matters Regarding Legal Rulings), which quickly became one of two foundational sets of works for cataloguing opinions and rulings of the scholars. Adh-Dhail `Ala Tabaqat il-Hanabilah, vol.4, pp. 201-205

[3] This is actually an attempted commentary by Ash-Shawkani on the original work of the grand Imam, Majd ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah’s legal text using ahadith entitled, Al-Muntaqa. It is always a wonder in the writer’s mind as to why Ash-Shawkani and cultists that agree with him insist on styling themselves absolute mujtahids but then insist on following or making use of other mujtahids’ works when in all fairness they should be penning their very own. (!)

[4] It is thanks to people such as Muhammad Al-Amir As-Sana`ani (1099-1182), Ash-Shawkani and Al-Qannuji (1248-1307) that a body of fake Shafi`iis came among Muslim Orthodoxy saying that they are Shafi`ii in fiqh yet Salafi in “aqeedah”. Now where have we heard this before? And these fake Shafi`iis influenced others in this era such as `Abdullah ibn Judai` (b. 1379) and countless others.

[5] This was a pseudo-madhhab created by Dawud ibn `Ali Al-Asbahani (201-270), a student of knowledge and later shaikh who sat with Imam Ash-Shafi`ii and then decided (although having not completed his studies or done substantial memorisation to have even been a muqayyid mujtahid, let alone an absolute mujtahid!) to found his own school. Claimants to this “madhhab” (which is more like claiming absolute ijtihad) include Ash-Shawkani, Ibn Hazm (384-456), Muhy ud-Din Ibn Al-`Arabi (558-638) and even some in the last forty years claiming to have “revived” it and no less  one of them a former Azhar attendee as well (!) cf. Adh-Dhahabi’s Siyar A`lam in-Nubala, vol.13, pp.97-98

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