Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Qasar Prayer (2)

Imam Ibnul Qayyim[1] commented in al-Hadyu: The Messenger never determined for his ummah any specific distance of travelling for them to start performing the Qasar Prayer or for not observing the fasting (of Ramadan), in fact, he gave them the freedom to determine that on their own in a mutlaq (unrestricted) way, as long as one is termed a traveller and is travelling on a journey on the surface of this earth.

asy-Syeikh al-Bassam clarified: This is the choice of the ahli tahqieq from among the Salafiyah Scholars of Najed.

Nevertheless, asy-Syaikh Muhammad bin Budayr asserted: Verily, a particular ruling, if it is not restricted with specified limitations, it is likely to be taken complacently or for granted and there is a tendency for the ruling to be exposed to interpretations based on whims and desires and the (predecessors) scholars did their research and analysis then came to a conclusion that not all or just any journey, regardless of it’s distance, is considered travelling, and as a result (affects) the permissibility to take up the rukhsahs related to it (travelling), such that, it is incumbent to determine what kind of a journey can be regarded as travelling and consequently, that becomes the determinant for the permissibility to take up the rukhsahs, to guide and ease a mukallaf [2] as well as to avoid confusion on his/her part (i.e. the mukallaf) or an attitude of complacency (towards the rulings of Syari‘ah), taking for granted and following desires, taking up these rukhsahs when they are not supposed to or not eligible for them.
In the book of Sahih, it has been narrated that some of the Companions (Sahabah) observed with discipline the prayers at Masjid Nabawi, although they were living at the furthermost part of al-‘Awali (a district in Medina) and it was 4 miel away (from the Prophet’s mosque), yet they were not permitted to take up the concession of Qasar and not fasting (for the Month of Ramadan).
Besides that, there is an authentic narration that the “ahlu as-Suffah”[3]went to search for firewood for them to get some income such that they could feed the poor and the distance that they travelled in their search for firewood was very much further than the distance mentioned in the hadeets of Anas.
Therefore, we can conclude that it (the hadeets of Anas5 km 544m or 16km 632m) serves as a start point for a journey to be considered as “travelling” and not the destination or end point of a journey to be regarded as travelling[4] and the Messenger did describe and determine the distance of which a journey can be legitimately considered as travelling, in another narration related to a different issue, that is, when it is compulsory for a woman going for a journey, to be accompanied by her mahram, such that it can be deduced that the minimum distance mentioned is the determinant[5], thus the differences in opinion of the scholars in the matter of “when one is regarded as a traveller”could not be resolved and there is no common standardisation of characteristic or description, that could be made as the determinant, yet, as how the scholars cited as a “qayd” [6] to restrict the setting free of a slave as a form of expiation for unintentional killing (manslaughter), that it must be “mu’minah – a believer (in the Oneness of Allah i.e. a muslim slave)” [7] likewise in this matter, as much as we can, we follow the scholars and our great imams (of the 4 Madzhabs), that is a form of safeguarding oneself (from mistakes and misguidance), for indeed the majority, a great number of them, held this opinion (i.e. travel is determined by distance) in this matter after they had exhaustively sought for the truth for the sake of attaining the Pleasure of Allah*.
Truly, it is a great danger when students of knowledge have the wrong attitude or mindset towards our predecessor scholars by condemning and opposing them, as this will lead to the emergence of many extreme and radical groups who are disrespectful and demeanised these great far sighted scholars of vast and sound knowledge, and the truth is, goodness is achieved in following these scholars, our Imams and they had clarified the texts which act as a foundation or guidelines to these rulings (related to travelling).
However, we follow them not in the manner the rabbis and priests[8] were followed (by the People of the Book) to the extent making lawful and permissible what is unlawful and vice versa, but we are to educate the young and our Muslim brethren to sense the gravity of opposing our predecessor Imams, when they came to a consensus over a particular matter, yet at the same time, inculcate in them the drive to strive their best to seek and obtain the truth and the best, in any religious matter, based on the evidences, in matters which they (the scholars) disputed, such that they will not stray away from their (the scholars’) consensus and not deviate from whatever that they differed[9]. By doing so, we are able to choose and follow their fiqh knowledge with their correct and clear argument and justification based on the daleels (evidences). It is important to note that not all “khilaf – differences in opinions” are recognised and legitimate in Syari‘ah, such that some would say: “Indeed so and so (scholar) hold the opinion that there is no determinant in this issue”, as on the contrary, in this issue, priority is given to referring this matter to the views of the predecessor Imams, and their views were far-sighted and able to resolve the differences, meticulously conform to the Syari‘ah (such that it is not exposed to interpretations based on whims and desires) and Allah the Most Wise, knows best.[10]
In conclusion, from the explanation of asy-Syaikh Ibn Budayr, that is, even though many scholars of hadeets as well as muhaqqiquun (scholars who were ahlu at-Tahqieq) ruled out that there is no determinant in the texts of the Quran and the Sunnah, to determine a journey to be considered as “travelling”, yet, it is more righteous to follow the view of the Salaf Imams, especially the 3 Imams of the Madzhabs, that is 2 marhalahs (about 90km) as the determinant such that the common people will not take this matter to their own hands and follow their desires.

[1] Imam Syamsuddien, Muhammad bin Abi Bakar bin Aiyub, az-Zar‘ie ad-Dimasyqi; a prominent Fiqh Scholar in madzhab Hambali, a disciple of Syeikhul Islam Ibn Taimiyah, his close companion in jihad and while imprisoned and was himself the author of many beneficial great books in many fields of knowledge. Born in 691H and died in the year 751H – Fath al-Mubien 162.
[2] Mukallaf is one who is obligated rather obliged to be bound by, fulfill and practise the Rules of the Syari‘ah due to his/her capacity to do so being ‘Aqil (mentally fit) and Baligh (reached the age of puberty). For eg. an insane person is non mukallaf – Mu‘jam Lughatul Fuqaha’.
[3] ahlu as-Suffah: they were the poor among the Companions without proper homes to stay, since most of them were immigrants who embraced Islam, left their people, families, wealth and everything for the sake of Allah and the Prophet, and it was obligatory to do so (migration to Medinah) until the Liberation or Conquest of Makkah. This phrase has no relation to the claim that it is the root or origin of Sufism or the Sufi sect. In fact, Grammarians and scholars confirmed that there is no Arabic diction related or can be a associated as a source of derivation to the word Tasawwuf or Sufi. It is a term used to identify a sect/group.
[4] What he meant was that if the journey is 3 miel, then it is not yet permissible to perform the Qasar Prayer, instead 3 miel is the least or start point for a journey to be regarded as “travelling”.
[5] Legally regarded as “travelling”
[6] A relative description/characteristic that restrict a matter or an issue which is in it’s original text or context was mutlaq (free from any restriction/limitation/description etc) provided by another text/s which serves as a restriction or a description/characteristic/type/form/value/number.
[7] Raqabah Mukminah: a slave who believes in the Oneness of Allah and not just any slave with the mutlaq connotation (free from any restriction/limitation/description etc), so similarly in this case; to determine the distance of a journey to be considered as travelling (i.e. should have it’s “qayd”)
[8] Asy-Syaikh quoted the meaning of the aayah/Quranic verse: They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their priests/monks to be their lords besdies Allah (by obeying them in things which they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires witout being ordered by Allah) and (they also took as their lord) Al-Masih ibni Maryam, while they (Jews and Christians) were commanded to worship none but One Ilaah (God – Allah)… – Surah at-Taubah: 31, to remind us that even though we follow the teachings of our respected and noble Imams, yet whatever truth stated in the Quran and Sunnah, is of a higher status and we are to uphold it and it is given more priority than our respect for the Imams. He reminded us to have the correct attitude and to follow the middle staright path, the path of the Imams of Salaf, the Ahli Sunnah wal Jama‘ah, i.e. to give due respect to the imams and yet not to the extremes of fanaticism such that the opinion of these scholars, which contradicts and opposes the Sunnah (by means of their ijtihad – they were rewarded with 1 reward even though their ijtihaad was inconsistence to the truth and 2 if it in compliance to the actual truth) are being followed and defended at the expense of following and abiding by the clear Sunnah of the Beloved Prophet.
[9] Meaning, although there are differences in opinion in that matter; a group among the Salaf Imams held a view and another the other opposite view, we are considered following them by following one of these 2 views and the one we are following, to our evaluation, which is based on the analysis and evaluation of other scholars who were of their status and level of knowledge, supported by their arguments and evidences, following them with utmost piety, known to us to be the most righteous and will assist us to get a good recompense in this world and the Hereafter and not selectively choose the most lenient and compromised view or follow a particular view out of fanaticism.
[10] Tawdieh al-Ahkam min Bulugh al-Maram: 2/300-302
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