I begin with the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
My beloved brothers and sisters in Islam, I write this with pains and in a disturbing state of mind. Alhamdulillah, a lot of people are very keen on working for Islam and in striving to seek the pleasure of Allaah but in doing so they have forgotten that we can’t achieve that without respecting Qur’an and hadith as the main source of authority as far as our endeavors are concerned.
A society that does not respect knowledge will have to live with the bitter pill of ignorance and the dangers it comes with; extremism like ISIS and BH or destructive laxity like the so called moderates or liberal Muslims.
One of the leading scholars of the four schools of thoughts in Islamic jurisprudence, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “the people are more in need of knowledge than food and drink, because food and drink are needed two or three times a day, whilst knowledge is needed at all times.”
Furthermore, the honor and nobility of man is in his knowledge and not his wealth hence human beings are encouraged to acquire knowledge in order to know how to serve Allaah as well as disseminate the accurate information about Allaah and the religion of His Prophet (Muhammad may peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
Alas! The Muslim Ummah is in a turmoil, majority of those that are keen to work for the deen (religion) prefer the logic and rhetoric of a preacher than the undisputed evidence of Qur’an and Sunnah. Where are we headed?
Some prefer to be self-taught than to humble themselves in front of a teacher and a tutor hence increasing the chances of having more extremists and so called liberals in our midsts than the true adherents of the moderate religion that Prophet (Pbuh) came with.
A narration of the Prophet (Pbuh) in the Sunan of At-Tirmidhi which has been authenticated by Al-Albani in As-Sahihah states that: “This world is cursed, as everything in it, except for remembrance of Allaah (dhikr) and what he likes (righteous deeds etc), and a scholar or a student.”
Animals are independent of a teacher and that is why a baby fish starts swimming immediately but humans unlike animals need certified and sincere teachers in order to live a happy, fulfilled and sincere life driven by authentic knowledge.
Imam al-Shatibi in his treatise al-Muwafaqat states that: “sacred knowledge was in the hearts of men, then it moved into the books and the keys to these books are in the hands of scholars.” An explicit awakening that knowledge is only sought from those who master it with sincerity.
“Fatwa shopping” an unfortunate phrase that aptly describes the reality we live in today where the Muslim masses that are determined to do what they think is right to support and promote the message of Islam wittingly or unwittingly turn a blind eye against established facts from the Shariah (Qur’an and Sunnah) in order to achieve their set goals and objectives because someone that speaks fluently has convinced them without a verse from the Qur’an or a hadith.
For those that will get excited with the end while using a faulty means, there is a legal maxim in the shariah that states that: الغاية لا تبرر الوسيلة The end does not justify the means”
The end does not justify the means because in Islam the means is as important as the end. You cannot pray without proper ablution, so you cannot serve Allaah without proper means. A man might have good intentions but if the means of achieving that is not legitimate that as well makes the end illegitimate.
Because people want to believe what they believe in, so if a fatwa (legal verdict) is found to be against what they are determined to do, they go out shopping for more Fatwa until they meet a preacher that will convince them on what is clearly impermissible. And trust me, there are many of those that are ready to sell Fatwa to the highest bidders.
In one narration in both Buhkari and Muslim the Prophet (Pbuh) said: “Verily, Allaah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people but rather he takes away knowledge with the death of rhetoric scholars until he leaves no scholar behind and the people turn to the ignorant as their leaders. They are asked to give religious verdicts without knowledge, thus they are astray and lead others astray.”
In addition, an important advice for those that enjoy “Fatwa shopping”. Allaah says: “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allaah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeyes Allaah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed into a plain error.” Quran 33:36
Whoever you are taking Fatwa from must provide evidence for you from the sources of Shariah otherwise his eloquence or logic becomes illogical in the face of Quran and Sunnah.
Finally, I end with the famous statement of Muhammad Ibn Seereen in Sahih Muslim, he said: “This knowledge is a matter of deen, so be careful who you take your deen from.”