Principles of Deobandi Fiqhi Approach

[Hazrat Mufti Syed Abdush Shakoor Tirmizi (rahimahullah)
(Khalifa of Mawlana Zafar Ahmed Usmani and Mufti Mohammad Shafi’)]


Firstly it is essential to reiterate the fact vividly obvious to anyone who studies the works of senior Deobandi scholars. That is, their beliefs and practices conform completely with the teachings of Quran, hadith and hanafi fiqh. Their sulook and tasawwuf is also exactly according to the Sunnah. They are staunch hanafi and high caliber ahle-sunnah. Neither any of their beliefs is against Qur’an and hadith, nor any of their fiqh ruling against Hanafi fiqh.

Deobandiyat is not a separate maslak (route). In our day and age it is synonymous with maslak of Ahlus Sunnah wal jama’ah.

Few guiding principles:

If the following essential principles are kept in mind the Shari’ah ruling regarding all the contemporary bid’at/innovations will be easy to know:

First Principle:

Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala says:

ولا تسبوالذین یدعون من دون اللیسبو الل عدوا بغیر علم

Commenting under the heading, Hakeemul Ummat Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanavi (rahimahullah) said:

“The defamation of idols (gods) is per se a mubah (permissible) act. However, if it becomes a cause of a prohibited act, that is, denigration of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, it will become prohibited (منھی عن) and objectionable (قبیح).

This forms the proof of a fiqh ruling. That is, if a permissible act becomes the cause of a prohibited act that (mubah) act itself becomes haram.

[Bayanul Qur’an volume 1 page 119]

Second Principle

Although, numerous verses of Quran mention tawheed (Oneness of Allah Ta’ala), prophethood, negation of disbelief and polytheism and on various occasions’ infidels (kuffar) mocked at them and denigrated Allah and His Prophet (salallaahu alayhi wasallam). These incidents are well documented in various places. But there is no prohibition of discussing these things.

The reason for this variance is that the discussion of these subjects is essential (wajib) and required by Shariah. If some corruption happens secondary to their discussion even then they will not be abandoned.

This proves the second principle.

Both of these principles are treasure trove of knowledge. Orders and rulings regarding numerous peripheral issues can be found from them. In ‘Ruhul Ma’ani’ this difference has been documented from the answer of Abul-Mansoor (rahimahullah) with Ibn e Sireen (rahimahullahl agreeing  to it.

The net result of these two principles is that,

If a permissible act, and similarly mustebbat & Sunan za’idah become contaminated with prohibited acts, then it will be essential (wajib) to abandon that permissible act. In actions that are themselves essential (wajib) and required by Shari’ah if there is any contamination with prohibited acts then even they will not be abandoned. However, it will be necessary to rectify those wrong doings.

This is the very difference which if not kept in mind leads to propagation of innovations.

Third Principle

Allah Ta’ala says:

یاایھاالذین امنوالاتقولوا رعنا

From this order we come to know the ruling that if an individual’s own permissible act becomes a source/excuse for another individual to commit a prohibited action, then that act becomes impermissible for the first person (to start with).

For example, if a scholar’s act is used to justify an ignorant person’s prohibited action, then if that act is non essential it will become impermissible for the scholar also. [Bayanul Qur’an volume 1 page 57]

This is documented in ‘Durr mukhtar’ and its explanation ‘Raddul mukhtar’ under the discussion of “prostration of thankfulness:

وسجدۃ الشکر مستحبۃ بھ تی لکنھا تکر بعد الصلوۃ لان الجھلۃ یعتقدونھا سنۃ او واجبۃ وکل مباح یودی الیمکرو۔ وی الشرح: وحاصل ان ما لیس لھا سبب لا تکر ما لم یود علھا الی اعتقاد الجھلۃ سنیتھا کالتی یعلھا بعض الناس بعد الصلوۃ  [الشامی جلد 1 ص 731]

It is based on these principles derived from Qur’an, Hadith and ruling of Hanafi jurists, the Deobandi scholars have spoken regarding the contemporary rituals and polemic issues.

[Maqalat e Tirmizi  page 216-218, Darul Ishat, Karachi. 1426H]

Applications of these principles

Based on these well established principles they have said that appointing special dates and other specific requirements for rituals like mawlid shareef gatherings, customs of fathiha (esal-e-thawab),  third and tenth day (post-death) esal e thawab gatherings, etc. to be bid’at.
By fixing these specification and precise requirements belief of them being necessary was developing.  Even if the person performing them had correct beliefs the danger of corrupting the beliefs of less knowledgeable was arising.
It is an established fiqh principle that as important it is to save one’s self from a destruction essentially important is to save others from any loss. That is, as important it to preserve one’s own beliefs equally important is to save others beliefs also.
‘Allamah Shami (Ibn Abideen) rahimahullah has written this principle in the discussion of fixing recitation of particular Surah in Salah. That is, wherever there is possibility of distorting shari’ah rulings or misunderstanding of ignorants. He writes:

“واقول حاصل معنی کلام ھذا الشیخین بیان وج الکراۃ ی المداومۃ وھو انان رای ذالک حقا یکر حیث تغیر المشروع والا یکر من حیث ایھام الجاھل”
[شامی جلد 1 ص 508]

The reason to stop the general people is  تغیر المشروعand for elite is ایھام الجاھل.

A general principle established is that mubah should not exceed its limits (both in knowledge and practice) and mutlaq must not change from its itlaq, both in knowledge and practice and a muqqiyad must not change similarly. There are many verses and hadith to prove this. As this is an established principle I do not need to mention daleel. Just to remind forgetful I mention,
It is narrated in Muslim:
قال رسول الل صلی الل علی وسلم لا تختصوا لیلۃ الجمعۃ من بین اللیلی ولا تختصو یوم الجمعۃ لقیام من الایام الا ان یکون ی یصوم احدکم  (الحدیث)

As Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had mention numerous merits of jumu’ah day and salatul jumu’ah there was a possibility that some will decide himself to specially select them for praying and fasting. For this Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) himself negated this thinking and reiterated that only those things that he had mentioned in this regard are recommendable and a Sunnah. If some one exceeds them then it will not be acceptable.
Imam Nawawi (rahimahullah) explains this principle:
احتج ب العلماء علی کراھۃ ھذ الصلوۃ المبتدعۃ التی تسمی الرغائب قاتل الل “واضعھا” و مخترعھا قھا بدعۃ منکر من البدع الضلال و الجھال
[Maqalat e Tirmizi pg 219-20]

The most striking thing we see in these days is that a mubah is given so much significance that people will easily ignore a person who does not pray salah or fast or makes ghiyba or lies but if a observant Muslim does not perform mawlid he is chastised, looked down upon and called names.
Is it not exceeding the mubah from its limits?? 


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