A tid-bit worth more than a whole-lot

The following is an excerpt from Imam Suhaib Webb’s blog:

Witnessing the Mastery of the Imam of Dar al-Hijra: Suhaib Webb

Read this first. Then read below. Then read this chapter again.

Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that Umar ibn al-Khattab and Ali ibn Abi Talib and Uthman ibn Affan drank while standing.

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab that A’isha, umm al-muminin and Sad ibn Abi Waqqas did not see any harm in a man drinking while standing.

Yahya related to me from Malik that Abu Jafar al-Qari said, “I saw Abdullah ibn Umar drink while standing.”

Yahya related to me from Malik from Amir ibn Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr that his father used to drink while standing.”

Commentary:

The idea of a cut and paste type juristic approach is very dangerous. However, jurisprudence and its related sciences require a strong mind, pure heart and analytical vision that goes beyond just looking for evidence.

Once we were sitting in a lesson with Dr. Ahmad Taha Rayan (may Allah preserve him) and he was explaining the Muwwata of Imam Malik. We came upon this chapter and after one the students finished reading it the sheikh said, “Do you notice something about this chapter?” The murmur of student’s voices was faint and the sheikh said, “Are you ready to taste the great understanding and mastery of Sidi Malik?” We became excited and the sheikh said, “If you look carefully at this chapter you’ll notice that Imam Malik (may Allah have mercy upon him) did not mention one single hadith of the Prophet (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him). However, is it possible to imagine that Imam Malik did not know these hadith, for example, the hadith of Ibn Abbas and other authentic narrations of the Prophet?” We stood in silence and birds could have easily rested on our shoulders as we listened.

“You see ya masheikh (scholars in Egypt use this term to put raghba (hope) in the hearts of students), Sidi Malik did not mention those hadith, however, he mentioned narrations that included `Umar, `Ali `Uthman and `Aiesha and these were the greatest jurists amongst the companions (may Allah be pleased with them). Thus, ya awlaad [my sons] (a term used to make you feel close to the teacher and his showing his love for the students), Sidi Malik (May Allah have mercy upon him) did not mention any of the hadiths, but mentioned these narrations to show that the permissibility of drinking while standing had not been abrogated because the actions of the great companions (may Allah be pleased with them) happened after the death of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him).

Thus, by mentioning these great companions and their actions, instead of the hadith, Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) was illustrating his profound understanding of the texts and how they should be used. For, if indeed, he mentioned the hadith, people could argue that perhaps, they had been cancelled. But, by doing this, he makes his position clear and eliminates any doubt.”

My thoughts:

I’ve come to realize in 4 years here in Egypt that when we open the Muwwata (or any scholarly book) we are not simply opening a book of hadith, fatwa and narrations. We are, as we are reading it, witnessing the painting of Michelangelo, the work of Beethoven and the flight of Kobe! Indeed, it is a true masterpiece and I’m awed at its greatness and the Fiqh of Malik (May Allah have mercy upon him) and all of our scholars.

However, the true challenge for us in the West is to take hold of the masterpieces, master them and apply them back into our own world. At the same time we must insure that we do not rehash the arguments, creedul or juristic, that busied the scholars of the earlier generations. I would rather argue with someone about voting for Obama, then the issues that engaged our forefathers. At least contemporary arguments would, with Allah’s blessing and correct adab, bring about practical results for the masses. Unfortunatley we are still stuck in a pre/post modern gridlock and not sure how to define ourselves. For many, their identities are made by attacking others, thus the constant swing from ”I was a Salafi! Now I’m Sufi” and vice versa. All are indicative of a failure on our part and the part of our leaders to guide us to practicle articulations of faith and culture.  Once, we’ve grasped a true sense of identity, we will find fruit in our works and blessings in our efforts. 

I asked my teacher once about studying old books and the disconnect that can be associated with them, “How do we translate this to the West?” He said, “That is your job.” I want to encourage all of you not to get discouraged nor fret. Work hard, ask Allah for help and take your time. Knowledge is not fast food. However, the road is not impossible and many of you have talents that Allah is waiting to show you. Be sincere, leave the arguments and work hard…….may Allah bless you and I love you all for Allah’s sake.

Suhaib

 

1 Comment

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One response to “A tid-bit worth more than a whole-lot

  1. lozah

    Mashallah Br.Suhaib is insightful as usual.
    This is what really gets me:
    “Unfortunatley we are still stuck in a pre/post modern gridlock and not sure how to define ourselves. For many, their identities are made by attacking others, thus the constant swing from ”I was a Salafi! Now I’m Sufi” and vice versa. All are indicative of a failure on our part and the part of our leaders to guide us to practicle articulations of faith and culture. ”

    Articulating a passion for religion in a way that moves beyond the reductionist pre/post modern dichotomy is what I’m trying to figure out.
    This kind of reminds of me something Dalia Mogahed said once when she was responding to the question “where are all the moderate Muslims?”
    She said she hates the term “moderate Muslim” because it implies “moderately Muslim”, and she is not moderately Muslim, she is a passionate Muslim. Passionate about moderation.

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