amputated

Al-Waleed ibn Mazeed narrated that Al-Awzai [Rahimahu Allah] wrote to Abdulrahman ibn Thabet ibn Thawban, saying:

“After which,

You are aware how your father was to me, and how close I was to him, so I saw that part of upholding these bonds between [your father and myself] is that I frequent you with advice.

When I first heard about your absence from attending Jumu’ah Prayer, and the rest of the Congregational Prayers, I upheld these ties and advised you, but you answered me [back] with that which is void of any excuse or evidence.

Then I wished to follow the advice I gave with another [2], hoping that Allah will bring out of it Goodness.

It has reached us that there were five matters that the Companions of Muhammad [Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him] and those who followed them with Ihsan were upon:

1. Adherence to the Jamaa’ah

2. Following the Sunnah

3. Frequenting the Masajid

4. Recitation of the Quran

5. Jihad for the Sake of Allah, the Exalted.

Sufyan Al-Thawri narrated to me that Huthayfa ibn Al-Yamaan used to say: “Whoever wishes to see if he was afflicted with Fitnah or not, then let him look [at himself]: If he sees as Halal (permissible) that which he once considered Haram (forbidden), or sees as Haram (forbidden) that which he used to see as Halal (permissible), then let him know that he has been afflicted”.

And indeed, before the death of your father [May Allah shower him with Mercy], you used to see the abandonment of Jumu’ah and Congregational Prayers as something forbidden, and now you see it as permissible!

Similarly, you used to see that occupying and frequenting the Masjids was from the most noble of deeds, and [somehow now] you have deserted it!

And you used to see that the abandonment of the group with whom you used to guard [the borders of the Muslims], for the sake of Allah, a shameful matter, and now it has become beautified in your eyes!

Sufyan narrated to me that Ibn Abbas said: Whoever leaves four consecutive Jumu’ahs (Friday Prayers), with no excuse, then he has forsaken Islam behind his back.

And Al-Zuhri narrated to me that Abu Huraira [May Allah be well-pleased with him] said: “Whoever leaves three Jumu’ahs, without an excuse, [Allah] will seal his heart".

You have thus placed yourself in a great risk, as per these two narrations, so be doubtful of your view and accuse yourself, for indeed [one’s inner self and internal whims] is the most evil thing to take by [in the matters of the Religion].

Verily, you should be content with the Salaf (i.e. predecessors of this Ummah) as your guide.

Throughout three years which have past, Masjids and homes were being burned, blood was being spilled, and money was being looted, yet with all that and in the presence of your father, you never opposed him when it came to [the obligation of attending] Jumu’ah Prayers or of attending Congregational Prayers in the Masjid, until he passed away.

Now [after your father has gone], you [began to] see [an excuse] in the narration stating: “remain seated in your homes”, and [see] in the other similar narrations [evidence through] which you [think that you] have become more knowledgeable of than your father, and from all those who have come to know this knowledge [before him]!

So I seek refuge in Allah, that you remain upon this view of yours, standing alone with it in opposition to your father and to the People of Knowledge before him, and become an aid to the People of Desires, and a Fitnah to the People of Ignorance, who may use you as an excuse and a reference when blamed for leaving Friday Prayers.

I ask Allah not to make your trials in the matters of your Religion, and not to overcome you with misfortune or make you from those who follow desires, or leave you without guidance from Him,

wa assalamu alaikum [3, 4].

Footnote:

* This letter from al-Imam al-Awzaai [May Allah shower him with mercy] should be seen as directed to all those who develop and follow an understanding of this Religion, which the earlier generation of the Ummah, and those who followed them with Ihsan (from among the Tabi’een and the scholars of the Ummah that came after them) were not upon.

The title (An Amputated Fiqh) is in reference to the disconnection this newly developed understanding has from the main body of the Ummah, and its disconnection from the proper understanding of this Religion delivered from Prophet Muhammad [Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him] to his Companions, and passed down after that one generation after another.

[1] This Religion is indeed firm. Its texts, obligations, and teachings together are like a strong Building, with each component holding firmly to the next. So it is from the grave mistakes to take a Quranic verse outside its context and then explain or interpret it away from that context. Similarly, from the faults is to take a Prophetic narration and then explain or interpret it without consideration to the overall rules and comprehensive guidelines upon which this Religion is established.

The story behind this letter is that the one being addressed by this letter has taken a Prophetic tradition and understood it outside these overall rules and guidelines of Islam. The narration in question is that the Prophet [Peace and Blessings of Allah upon him] said:

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّ بَيْنَ أَيْدِيكُمْ فِتَنًا كَقِطَعِ اللَّيْلِ الْمُظْلِمِ يُصْبِحُ الرَّجُلُ فِيهَا مُؤْمِنًا وَيُمْسِي كَافِرًا الْقَاعِدُ فِيهَا خَيْرٌ مِنْ الْقَائِمِ وَالْقَائِمُ فِيهَا خَيْرٌ مِنْ الْمَاشِي وَالْمَاشِي فِيهَا خَيْرٌ مِنْ السَّاعِي قَالُوا فَمَا تَأْمُرُنَا قَالَ كُونُوا أَحْلَاسَ بُيُوتِكُمْ

“Before you there will be commotions like pieces of a dark night in which a man will be a believer in the morning and an infidel in the evening. He who sits during them will be better than he who gets up, and he who gets up during them is better than he who walks, and he who walks during them is better than he who runs.

They said: What do you order us to do? He replied: Keep to your houses”.

Narrated by Ahmad 19662, and Abu Dawud 4262.

The end of Arabic tradition reads: Kunoo Ahlaas Buyutikum (i.e. be as Ahlaas in your homes).

Now, the word Ahlaas is the plural of the word Hils, and it refers to a carpet usually placed in homes, so the literal translation would be: ‘be as one of the carpets in your own homes’, and what is intended here is to emphasize the importance of remaining in one’s home and not partaking in the Fitnah during these times of extreme tribulations and trials.

The one who this letter was directed to then saw from this narration that during the time of Fitnah that he has to remain in his home [indefinitely] , which led him to abandon Jumu’ah Prayers, Congregational Prayers, as well as the act of Rebat i.e. standing guard, for the sake of Allah, at the borders of the Muslims.

Al-Awzaai [May Allah shower him with Mercy] wished to clarify the proper meaning behind this tradition and rectify this mistake in understanding which resulted from taking this one tradition without taking into account the overall guidelines, principles, and the other related narrations, one of it being the duty of the believing man to attending Friday and Congregational Prayers.

That prophetic narration in its general meaning serves as a warning against the dangers of the Fitnah and the dangers of participating in it, which is what was being referred to here and what was expressed through the words of the Messenger of Allah: ‘be as a carpet in your home’, and not partaking in the Fitnah does not conflict with attending Jumu’ah and fulfilling many of the other obligations of Islam. And Al Awzaai came with evidence for this in his letter.

Rather, the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, their Successors, and those that came after them, up to the time of Al-Awzaai [May Allah shower them all with Mercy] faced times of Tribulations and Fitan, and yet did not understand this narration as Abdulrahman ibn Thabet (whom the letter was directed to) did. Even though they strived hard to escape and avoid the Fitan of their times, yet this did not prevent them from attending Congregational and Friday prayers, going to Hajj, partaking in Jihad, and standing as guards at the borders of the Muslims, as was pointed out by Al-Awzaai [May Allah shower him with Mercy] in his letter.

This letter of Al-Awzaai also establishes the proper methodology in understanding the Texts in light of the overall guidance and in line with the others Texts of our Religion, so that we do not fall into this amputated understanding which the receiver of this letter fell into.

[2] The word ‘Ahd can also be translated as “with a promise”

[3] This letter is also a great example of the importance of frequenting those who have gone astray with advice and reminders, and choosing the best of words and manners when doing so, hoping for them to return back to the correct path. It also gives an example of the importance of not being hasty in abandoning them and cutting them off from our lives because of mistakes which they may fall into or may come from their part. This, as can be seen in the letter, becomes more important the closer those being advised are to us.

[4] Al-Ma’rifa wa Al-Tareekh by Al Fasawi 2/391

Translated and Edited by Al-Sirat Al-Mustaqeem team

Arabic:

حدثني العباس بن الوليد بن مزيد قال أخبرني أبي عن الأوزاعي: أنه كتب إلى عبد الرحمن بن ثابت بن ثوبان: ما بعد:

فقد كنت بحال أبيك لي وخاصة سريرته، فرأيت أن صلتي إياه تعاهدي إياك بالنصيحة في أول ما بلغني عنك من تخلفك عن الجمعة والصلوات فجددت ولججت

ثم بررتك فوعظتك وأجبتني بما ليس لك فيه حجة ولا عذر، وقد أحببت أن أقرن بنصيحتي إياك عهداً عسى الله أن يحدث خيراً، وقد بلغنا أن خمساً كان عليها أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم والتابعون لهم باحسان: اتباع السنة وتلاوة القرآن ولزوم الجماعة وعمارة المساجد والجهاد في سبيل الله

وحدثني سفيان الثوري أن حذيفة بن اليمان كان يقول: من أحب أن يعلم أصابته الفتنة أولاً فلينظر، فإن رأى حلالاً كان يراه حراماً، أو يرى حراماً كان يراه حلالاً، فليعلم أن قد أصابته. وقد كنت قبل وفاة أبيك رحمه الله ترى ترك الجمعة والصلوات في الجماعة حراماً فأصبحت تراه حلالاً، وكنت ترى عمارة المساجد من شرف الأعمال فأصبحت لها هاجراً، وكنت ترى أن ترك عصابتك من الحرس في سبيل الله حرجاً فأصبحت تراه جميلاً

وحدثني سفيان منقطعاً عن ابن عباس أنه قال: من ترك الجمعة أربعاً متواليات من غير عذر فقد نبذ الاسلام من وراء ظهره

وحدثني الزهري عن أبي هريرة: أنه من ترك الجمعة ثلاثاً من غير عذر طبع على قلبه

وقد خاطرت بنفسك من هذين الحديثين عظيماً فإنهم رأيك فإنه شر ما أخذت به وأرض بأسلافك

وقد كنت في ثلاث سنوات مررن – والمساجد والديار تحرق والدماء تسفك والأموال تنتهب – مع أبيك لا تخالفه في ترك جمعة ولا حضور صلاة مسجد، ولا ترغب عنه حتى مضى لسبيله، وأنت ترى أنك بوجه هذا الحديث: كن جليس بيتك ومثله من الأحاديث أعلم بها من أبيك وممن أدرك من أهل العلم، فأعيذك بالله وأنشدك به أن تعتصم برأيك شاذاً به دون أبيك وأهل العلم قبله، وأن تكون لأصحاب الأهواء قوة وللسفهاء في تركهم الجمعة فتنة يحتجون بك إذا عويروا على تركها

أسأل الله أن لا يجعل مصيبتك في دينك، ولا يغلب عليك شقاء ولا اتباع هوى بغير هدى منه

والسلام عليك

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