Episode 21: Sources of Moral Values in Islam (the Secondary Sources) (4/5)
Episode 21: Sources of Moral Values in Islam (the Secondary Sources) (4/5)
Conditions for Referring to Al-Masalih Al-Mursalah (the Undefined Benefits):
Referring to Al-Masalih Al-Mursalah (the undefined benefits) and expansion in its usage without regulation may lead sometimes to create innovations in the religion that are not compatible with the teachings of Islam. That is why, this principle would be applied only after verifying their suitability for the nature of Islamic Shari`ah and its general purposes. Before the application of this principle it must be examined carefully that it does not contradict any of the texts of the Glorious Qur'an and blessed Sunnah.
Referring to Al-Masalih Al-Mursalah (the undefined benefits) requires the guarantee of real and valid benefits that depends on assessing the benefit through the standard of Islamic Shari'ah, not through the fancy and self desires; it requires accuracy in assessing the need. The lack of accuracy led some scholars to hesitation in the application of Al-Masalih Al-Mursalah (the undefined benefits), rather, some of them refused it for this reason. Shaykh Al-Islam says in this context: "This is a great principle that requires attention, through this principle a lot of problems have been created in Islam by many rulers, scholars and ascetics who saw some benefits in some thing and applied this principle declaring them permissible, though some of them in fact, was prohibited in Islam but they did not understand the ruling. Even in some cases, they brought some interpretations that contradict the texts of the Glorious Qur'an and blessed Sunnah clearly.
Whilst, many of them neglected the principle of Al-Masalih Al-Mursalah (the undefined benefits), that were in fact permissible according to this principle but they threw away many religious duties and desirable actions and fell in prohibitions and undesirable acts that might be mentioned somewhere in Shari`ah but the scholar could not realize that."(1)
In order to regulate this principle and to close the door in front the people of self-desires and fraud, the Muslim scholars have laid down some regulations and restrictions that must be considered before the application of this principle:
1-The subject must be compatible with the general purposes of Shari`ah, and must not contradict any principle, ruling or proofs of Shari`ah.
2- The subject must be related to the worldly affairs that may need jurisprudential reasoning, and not in the matters of worships or what is similar to the worship in Islamic Shari`ah. (2)
Al-Masalih Al-Mursalah (the Undefined Benefits) and Moral Values of Islam:
Moral values in Islam are of two kinds: theoretical and practical, the first kind or the theoretical aspect of moral values has been elucidated by Shari`ah with full detail. There is no good but was explained by the Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) who guided his nation to every good thing, as well as he warned them of every evil.
With regard to the second aspect or the practical side of the moral values, Islamic Shari`ah has detailed it in some place and it talked about it in other place in a brief manner. Therefore, the moral valves that have been explained in detail would applied in the same manner but what has been elucidated in brief then the norm or custom would be the authority in defining its application. Also the negatives and positives would be assessed in the light of norms and customs.
The duty of enjoin the good and forbidding the evil is one of the moral values of Islam. This value is an established ruling with the texts of the Qur'an and Sunnah and consensus.
As for the Glorious Qur'an, Allah Glory be to Him) says: "And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful." (3) And the Glorious Qur'an says in another place: "You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah." (4) And Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong." (5) In addition to other similar verses.
As for the Hadith, it was reported on the authority of Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri(may Allah be pleased with him) who said that he heard the Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) saying: "Whoever amongst you sees an evil, must change it with his hand; if he is unable to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest form of faith." (6)
Furthermore, Hudhayfah(7) (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "By Him in Whose Hand my life is, you either enjoin good and forbid evil, or Allah will certainly soon send His punishment to you. Then you will make supplication and it will not be accepted."(8)
As to the consensus: An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) says: "The Book of Allah, the blessed Sunnah and the consensus of the nation have agreed on the obligation of enjoin the good and forbidding the evil." (9)
With regard to the application of this value, we find some detail about criticizing the rulers; because it is a serious matter that needs some detail.
It was reported on the authority of Ummi Salamah (10) (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said: There will be rulers, in whom you will see both the good and the abominable acts; so whoever dislikes their abominable deeds will be clear of their wrongs; and whoever refuses to act upon their abominable deeds, saves himself; but as for him who follows [their abominable deeds] with the willingness of his heart. People asked: "O Prophet of Allah, should we not overthrow these rulers? He said: "No, as long as they offer Sala’h(the prayer). [Do not try to overthrow them]." (11) In addition to that, another version of Hadith says: "No, as long as they establish prayer amongst you." (12)
Furthermore, it was reported that `Ubadah ibn Samit (13) (may Allah be pleased with him) said:" the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) took a pledge of allegiance from us that we are to hear [the commands of our rulers] and to obey [them], whether with hardship or easiness, the willingness of our hearts or under compulsion, and even if others are given undue preference over ourselves. And that we will not try to snatch the rule from those who possess it, except that you observe such an open rejection on their part, about which you have a clear and unequivocal directive from Allah."(14)
Regarding criticizing the acts of common people, we find the commandments in the blessed Sunnah of the absolute nature, as was mentioned in the abovementioned Hadith of Abu Sa`id. Therefore, the Muslim scholars point out to the necessity of taking into account the positives and negatives of carrying out the duty of enjoin the good and forbidding the evil.
Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) says: "The duty of enjoin the good and forbidding the evil includes, surely, seeking the benefit and removing the harms, even though the side affects would be taken into the account, if the negatives are more than the positives, then this duty would not be an obligatory duty, rather, it would be a forbidden act. But the negatives and positives would be assessed and measured through the standard of Islamic Shari`ah." (15)
Furthermore, he says in another context: "Enjoining the good should not lead to more harms, likewise, forbidding the evil should not lead to more harms, otherwise, it would be avoided as Allah (Glory be to Him) commanded of enjoining the good that does not lead to more harms." (16)
In addition to that, Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him): "The Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) ordered to forbid the evil, in order to achieve the positives of this duty, but if forbidding the evil leads to more harms and evils then this duty would not be an obligatory command, however, the evil and the evildoer will remain detestable by Allah."(17)
Thus, the necessity of assessing the negatives and positives has become clear, when one tries to implement the duty of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.
(1) Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmu`a Al-Fataawa, (11/343-344).
(6) Sahih Muslim with the commentary of An-Nawawi (1/224-227).
(7) Hudhayfah ibn Al-Yaman, his name was Husl or Hisl Al-`Abasi, one of the senior companions, who met and accompanied the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) and was known by the title "Sahib As-Sirr Ar-Rasool" (The secretary of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him)). He died in the year 36 A.H. in the beginning of the reign of `Ali. See: Usd Al-Ghabah (1/468) and Al-Isabah (1/31).
(8) Reported by At-Tirmidhi and was graded as good by Al- Mubaarakfoori: See: Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi, (6/390-391) and by Al-Albani. See: Sahih Al-Jami`a As-Saghir Wa Ziyadatuhu (6/97-98).
(9) Sahih Muslim with the commentary of An-Nawawi (1/225).
(10) Hind the daughter of Abu Umayyah ibn Al-Mughirah, Al-Makhzumiyyah, mother of the believers and one of the wives of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him). She died in the year 62 A.H. according to the most authentic opinion. See: Siyar A`alam An-Nubala' (2/201) and Taqrib At-Taghdib p.754.
(11) Sahih Muslim with the commentary of An-Nawawi (4/520).
(12) Sahih Muslim with the commentary of An-Nawawi, p. 521 among the narrations of `Awf ibn Malik.
(13) `Ubadah ibn Samit ibn Qais Al-Ansari Al- Khazraji, Abu Al-Walid Al-Madani, one of the representatives of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) to Al-Madinah during the beginning of D`awah. Who participated in the battle of Badr, he died when he was of seventy-two years old, in 34 A.H. at a place called "Ar-Ramlah." See: Siyar A`alam An-Nubala' (2/5) and Al-Isabah(2/260).
(14) Agreed upon between Al-Bukhari and Muslim. See: Ibn Al-Hajar, Fat'h Al-Bari (13/191) and Sahih Muslim with the commentary of An-Nawawi (4/506).