Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Interpretation of Deen and Human Intellect (4)

Now we come to the issue of people specific and time specific provisions of Deen. In the outset, it would be pertinent to mention what are people specific and time specific are not provisions of Deen; what are people specific and time specific are strategies/policies adopted by our Nabi (ﷺ) to implement Deen. Though strategies/policies to implement Deen were also revealed to our Nabi (ﷺ) through ‘wahi’, like provisions of Deen were revealed through ‘wahi’ but these strategies/policies are not part of Deen (for details plz see The question arises what is the difference between provisions of Deen (i.e. Quran and Sunnah including Hadith) and strategies/policies to implement Deen. The difference between Deen and policies to implement Deen is  that Deen is based on Principles whereas strategies/policies are based on Need. All verses contained in Quran are Principles of Deen; similarly all sayings/actions adopted by our Nabi (excluding strategies/policies) are Principles of Deen. The strategies/policies adopted by our Nabi (ﷺ) to implement Deen are based on Need. It does not mean element of Need is not found in Deen; element of Need is there in Deen as well along-with Principle, but,  policies/strategies are what are based on Need ONLY (need which is met with through ways and means which are changeable) whereas the Principles of Deen which are to be implemented through such strategies/policies are unchangeable

Now the question arises how Need based policies/strategies may be differentiated from Principles based Deen. As mentioned above, provisions of Deen are unchangeable. But strategies/policies based on Need always keep on changing. It means if sayings/actions adopted by our Nabi (ﷺ) and pertaining to the same subject-matter are changed in two different situations, such sayings/actions may be labeled as strategies/policies adopted by our Nabi (ﷺ). Therefore such sayings/actions of our Nabi (ﷺ) may be called as people specific/ time specific. For instance, Ghazwa Badr was fought in open field but Ghazwa Khadaq was fought keeping within the city. Our Nabi (ﷺ) adopted changed policy/strategy in two different situations. Similarly sometimes our Nabi (ﷺ) wore thick clothes and sometimes thin clothes; sometimes rode horse and some other time rode camel; one time declared one deed as most pious deed and some other time, for some other person, declared some other deed as most pious deed.  Similarly policy/strategy of implementation of Deen  includes structures to be established in administrative set ups e.g  military, financial, judicial and political set ups; process of appointment of officials, judges and Shura; level of autonomy of administrative units; channel of reporting and accountability.  All  changed sayings/ actions of our Nabi (ﷺ) regarding all such matters are based on changing Need and are policies/strategies to implement Principles of Deen which are unchanging.
In all such matters which are relating to changed sayings/actions of our Nabi (ﷺ), people are free to adopt any suitable policy/strategy on the basis of their needs in such matters, because changed sayings/actions of our Nabi (ﷺ) are not part of Deen. 

But all changed sayings/ actions may not be called as people/time specific in the sense that they cannot be followed by other people and in other times. We can still adopt the policy of fighting an enemy in the open field; still wear thick clothes; still ride camels; still can adopt the deed declared by our Nabi (ﷺ) as most pious deed, IF all these acts match our needs. But no one of these acts are a part of Deen which every Muslim is to follow compulsorily. 

One mis-understanding nurtured by scholars who do not consider ‘Hadith’ as a part of Deen is that such scholars think Principles of Deen do not remain certain/fixed, if ‘Hadith’ is taken as part of Deen, because there are differences as to which Hadith is correct and which is not. This objection does not look tenable when we look into nature of pattern of Principles of Deen. There is no doubt that Principles of Deen are fixed, but they are not fixed in number. Every person has his/her own set of Principles which he/she is under obligation to comply with; the number of Principles to be followed by a person varies from person to person. For instance, a rich is under obligation to do charity and pay zakah; these are fixed Principles of Deen. But if any poor person has no money, he is under no obligation to pay zakah but he can make charity by giving smile to others; that is another Principle of Deen. It means if any person does not have access to/ or resources to implement any Principle, Deen offers him other options to implement the Deen. If any Muslim is not able to have access to/or knowledge of any Hadith, Deen may offer him other alternative Principles/Hadith  to be followed. Therefore by adopting Hadith as a part of Deen, no negative impact comes on certainty of Principles of Deen.

The concept of time/people specific ‘wahi’, as described above, is different from that one adopted by Ghamdi in many ways. 

Ghamdi declares Quranic verses as time/people specific in the sense that those verses were revealed in certain situations for certain people and as such are not applicable in the present age whereas the author’s view is that all verses of Quran are fixed Principles of Deen; every verse is to be followed by addressee of the verse at the time and in the situation when application of such verse becomes due. Ghamdi says that many verses are addressed to the people of age of revelation only; the author’s view is that Quranic verses are addressed not only to people of age of revelation but also to the people of coming ages. The only exception are the verses addressed to our Nabi’s (ﷺ) person exclusively and in such verses singular subject/object has been used. All other verses in which plural subject/object has been used cannot be taken as exclusively  addressed to our Nabi (); but Ghamdi takes many verses as not applicable to present age Muslims because he takes such verses as exclusively addressed to our Nabi (ﷺ)  though plural subject/object has been used in such verses.  No one – except Allah- can suspend the application of any verse of Quran. Ghamdi- when declares some Quranic verses as time/people specific in the sense that those verses are no longer applicable in the present age- actually uses Allah’s Authority to suspend/ cancel Quranic verses.

Similarly, in case of ‘Hadith’, he says ‘ahadith’ are time/people specific in the sense that they are not follow-able by the people as a part of Deen whereas the author’s view is that ‘ahadith’  are part of Deen and as such are compulsorily to be followed by the people of every period; however that part of ‘wahi’ which is related to policies/ strategies to implement Deen is not necessarily to be adopted by the people. Ghamdi- when declares many ‘ahadith’ as time/people specific in the sense that Muslims coming after age of our Nabi (ﷺ) are under no obligation to follow those ‘ahadith’, he actually uses Allah and His Nabi’s (ﷺ) authority to make people exercise their choice in matters pertaining to such ‘ahadith’ (continued).


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