Sunday, July 5, 2009

Islamic Schools of Thought and Other Terms often Used in Error

I know I should probably save this for its proper place on a "Girl's Guide to Islam" but to be perfectly honest I and the other girls have been way to be busy and or having way too many internet troubles to have updated a "Girl's Guide to Islam" in a while sooooooo.... since the topic came up with my husband and I, and I think it so vastly important to the Muslims, I thought I'd touch upon it lightly (and personally) here [even though it is not in my Jum'a Thoughts section:

My husband and I were just discussing how stupid some Muslims sound when they label themselves "liberal" or "strict" because there is the sunnah (a perfect example of tawhid and social behaviour), and if you don't follow that, it isn't Islam. Plain and simple. Within the undisputed therein (I am talking about the undisputed among the companions who are above today's scholars), you get the different schools of thought (called fiqh) but these aren't divisive. My girl Aalia and I are of different fiqh, and we laugh and say, friends through fiqh and thin, he he he. You (LIBERAL) can say you are not a good enough Muslim yet to stop listening to stringed instruments (the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam cursed these and said later generations in his Ummah would try to make them lawful) but for you to say something is halal that the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam said is harram, is as far away from the deen, as You (STRICT) who says singing is cursed, and instruments besides stringed ones... when the Allah subhanhu wa ta`ala never made it so...

I am SICK and tired of people misusing the terms of the major schools of Islamic thought (of the Sunnah), the Salafi period, and jabbering off terms they don't understand like extremist and fundamentalist and wahabi (myself included: cuz I used to misuse the term salafi ALL the time till Aalia corrected me).

MUSLIMS (upon the sunnah, not a bloodline) ARE FUNDAMENTALISTS (not extremists)
No. 1, all Muslims SHOULD hope to be fundamentalists, as following the fundamentals of Islam IS what Islam consists of. Islam without divisions is referred to as Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamā‘ah (أهل السنة والجماعة‎) people of the example (of Muhammad) and the community") or Ahl as-Sunnah (أهل السنة‎) for short. The word Sunni comes from the word "sunnah" ( سنة‎), which means the words and actions or example of the Prophet Mohammed sallalahu alahi wa salaam. If you are trying

to use this term in a derogatory manner towards Muslims, you are making a fool of yourself. This isn't a sect of Islam, it is the Islam of Mohammed sallalahu alahi wa salaam, and the Prophets before him, such as Musa, and Ibrihim. I am okay with people calling those who okay suicide bombings and the death of innocent civilians (unarmed individuals) extremists. I DO. The Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam would have classified them as such as he himself forbid the killing of women and children, but not of labeling people "wahabi" or "salafi" when they are TOTALLY misusing those terms in the way the disbelievers do to discredit sound daleel (Islamic evidence).

Two key aspects define a religious group's understanding of Islam are its philosophical approach and the methodology used to derive Fiqh. The major schools of Islamic thought (Madhabs) are Hanbali, Maliki, Hanafi, and Shafi'i. While these schools of thought differ in interpretation, they are each Islamically valid and have coexisted peacefully for thousands of years. Interpreting the Shari'ah to derive specific rulings (such as how to pray) is known as "fiqh", which literally means understanding. A madhab is a particular tradition of interpreting fiqh. These schools focus on specific evidence (Shafi'i and Hanbali) or general principles (Hanafi and Maliki) derived from specific evidences. The schools were started by eminent Muslim scholars in the first four centuries of Islam in order to preserve what was known of Islam. A Madh'hab is not a source of ready answers; it is a methodological approach. These schools differ in the means (the methodology) through which they derive "the answer" to different questions within Islamic jurisprudence, and do not necessarily disagree on the end results. The scholars do not blindly imitate, since as scholars, they have a purpose to inquire and research. A Madhab is only a source of ready answers if a person is not a scholar so that one can refer to an expert's answer, or a madhab's answer if a consensus within the school of thought exists.

SALAFI IS A HISTORICAL TIME PERIOD (one who is labelled a Salafi is one who follows what the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam and the companions may Allah be pleased with them were upon---but he or she does not call him-herself a `Salafi` because to do so would be an error)
The first three generations of Islam are referred to as Salafi. Salafi is not a school of thought, but a principle of accurate Islam, Islam as it was practiced by the Companions (this could never be a bad thing). The Companions themselves did not have schools of thought yet, because they still had a perfect example in the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam. The schools of thought were ways of studying and understanding collected knowledge from that time period.

WAHABI OR WAHHABISM IS AN INCORRECT TERM (and those who follow the Salaf who are often mislabelled as Wahabis have nothing to do with Afghanistan or Osama Bin Laden despite what you hear in the news)
Wahhabi or Wahhabism is attributed to an 18th century Islamic scholar named Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, who advocated the return to the practices of the first three generations of Islamic history (to base all fiqh upon the Salaf). So the term Wahabi has been used (in err) interchangablely with the term Salafi. Both are often referred to as sects or branches of Islam though both supporters and opponents of the ideas Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab reject this designation as Salaf is a time period not a sect.
The principle idea of Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab's scholarly work was Tawhid, which was also the main principle the Prophet Mohammed sallalahu alahi wa salaam. Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab condemned idolatry, the popular cult of Saints, and shrine and tomb visitations (much as the Prophet Mohammed sallalahu alahi wa salaam himself had done when the Makkans worshipped Angels and Intermediaries). The term "Wahhabi" (Wahhābīya) was first used by opponents of ibn Abdul Wahhab who favoured such bid'a practices, and it is considered derogatory by the people it is used to describe, who would simply prefer to refer to themselves as Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamā‘ah (Muslims).
The terms "Wahhabi" and "Salafi" are often used interchangeably by those who oppose the Islamic principles the Companions adhered to, but Wahhabi has also been called "a particular orientation within Salafism", an orientation some consider ultra-conservative. The label of Wahhabism is often contested by those called "Wahhabis" because their understanding of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) is similar to the Shariah of the four popular Madhabs, and does not justify a separate label. Most labelled "Wahhabis" are said to follow the Hanbali school of fiqh (or Madh'hab), but the idea of Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab was to follow no school of fiqh supremely but to regard the strongest evidence in a matter at all times as all leaders of Islamic thought recommend in their various approaches. Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab was himself not attached to a particular tradition of fiqh, observing instead what evidence remains of the Salafi period. This corresponds with the ideal aimed at by Ibn Hanbal, founder of the Hanbali madhab.
Opponents of Salafism frequently affix the "Wahhabi" designator to denote foreign influence. It is intended to signify followers of Abd al-Wahhab and is most frequently used in countries where Salafis are a small minority of the Muslim community but have made recent inroads in "converting" the local population to the movement ideology. In these countries, local religious authorities have responded to the growing influence of Salafi thought by describing Salafis as Wahhabis, a term that for most non-Salafis conjures up images of Saudi Arabia. The foreign nature of the "Wahhabis" is juxtaposed to locally authentic forms of indigenous Islam. In this manner, opponents of Salafism inject nationalism into religious discourse by raising the specter of foreign influence. Any `Salaf`influence, is, of course, the influence of the Prophet Mohammed sallalahu alahi wa salaam and the Companions.
THOSE WHO FOLLOW EVIDENCE AND JURISPRUDENCE FROM THE SALIF PERIOD (or even the teachings of Sheikh Mohammed Abd al-Wahhab) are rejected by terrorists and so ARE NOT LINKED TO OSMAMA BIN LADEN (for the last time!!!!)
Long before today's journalists had even heard of the word Qutbist or Khawarij, the orthodox, senior scholars UPON THE SALAF throughout the Muslim lands had warned the people about the threat of ideological terrorism and what would necessarily emanate from it. `
`So my advice to al-Masari, al-Faqih, Bin Laden, and all those who traverse their way is to leave alone this disastrous path, and to fear Allah and to beware of His vengeance and His anger, and to return to guidance and to repent to Allah for what has preceded from them…"- Shaykh Abdul-Aziz Bin Baz, Saudi Arabia
Warning about the evils of Osama Bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and Qutbism in general, Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Hadi al-Madkhali, a professor at the Islamic University of Madina said: "Those who set off the explosions in the Kingdom admitted with their own mouths, that they were affected by the Jamaa'atut-Takfir (one of the Egyptian Qutbist groups) and that they were from the group of Osama Bin Laden and al-Masari, and they were spreading their literature. Osama Bin Laden - who taught this man? Who educated him about the Shariah (Islamic laws)? He is a businessman, this is his field of specialization… they admitted, as we said, with their own mouths, we saw it and read it in the newspapers, and I have it here with me recorded with their own voices, that they were affected by some of the people of takfir (from the Qutbist groups) of Afghanistan. The majority of our youth that returned from the jihad in Afghanistan to our country were affected, either by the ideology of the Ikhwan (the group al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun) in general, or by the revolutionary, takfiri ideology. So they left us believing that we were Muslims, and they returned to us believing that we were disbelievers. So with that, they saw us as being disbelievers, the rulers, and the scholars, not to mention the common folk. ...they rendered the major scholars apostate. They admitted this with their own mouths. They declared the scholars to be disbelievers, and mentioned specifically the two Shaykhs, Shaykh Abdul-Aziz Bin Baz and Shaykh Muhammad Bin al-Uthaymin, may Allah preserve them. They mentioned their connection with al-Masari and Osama Bin Laden. Did they get this from the scholars of Salafism? No! Rather they got it from the people of takfir."
As such, it becomes clear for all to see that this revolutionary ideology of Qutbism was something new and imported to the lands of the "Wahhabis", and it is a call which is in direct confrontation with the call of the Salafis/"Wahhabis". The "Wahhabis" have been the first to be expelled from the fold of Islam by the Qutbists.
- abridged from the book: The 'Wahhabi' Myth
The British based Muhammad al-Masari (Mohammed al-Massari) was the founder of the Saudi Arabian wing of Hizb At-Tahrir (The Party of Liberation) in Saudi Arabia, one of the most light-headed of activist groups which has arisen in this century. Al-Masari set up the CDLR (The Committee for the Defence of Legitimate Rights), which was refuted by Shaykh al-Uthaymin, one of the great Salafi scholars of this century. Al-Masari reviled Muhammad Ibn Abdul-Wahhab (and thus, "Wahhabism"), calling him a "simpleton, and not a scholar" only because he centered his call around tawhid (true monotheism) and following the Sunnah (way) of the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank and grant him security), as opposed to calling people to insurgency. Ironically, al-Masari, Bin Laden and others who follow this revolutionary ideology are somehow still being linked to "Wahhabism"!
Amongst the ideological figureheads of the Khawaarij, al-Masari and his likes operate at a doctrinal level, inciting the common people against the rulers, by publicizing their faults, shortcomings and sins, in order to effect a revolution. Al-Masari's statement that Muhammad Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab (i.e. "Wahhabism") "was a simpleton, and not a scholar" can be found in his declaration which he issued from London entitled, "A Clarification from the Chief Spokesman for CDLR" (23/3/1995). Refer to al-Qutbiyyah (p. 204).Abul-Hasan Maalik, In Defense of Islam, T.R.O.I.D. Publications 2002, p. 97.
(Excerpts taken from Sarah`s blog ``Save Our Sunnah``
Narrated on the authority of Abu Najih al-Irbad bin Sariyah, radiyallahu 'anhu, who said: The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, delivered an admonition that made our hearts fearful and our eyes tearful. We said, "O Messenger of Allah, it is as if this were a farewell sermon, so advise us." He said, "I enjoin you to have Taqwa of Allah and that you listen and obey, even if a slave is made a ruler over you. He among you who lives long enough will see many differences. So for you is to observe my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly-principled and rightly-guided successors, holding on to them with your molar teeth. Beware of newly-introduced matters, for every innovation (bid'ah) is an error."[Abu Dawud & Al-Tirmidhi].


Coffee Catholic said...

The Prophet cursed stringed instruments? I wonder, did he see the future when Rock-n-Roll would destroy the world??

Coffee Catholic said...

Er... my previous comment sounds kinda wacky. I don't mean destroy the world in some nutty sense. But Rock-N-Roll is what has led to our society become so immodest and sex-soaked and anti-God!

Coffee Catholic said...

A part of a quote regarding Christian women and hijab:

"Let them know that the whole head constitutes "the woman." Its limits and boundaries reach as far as the place where the robe begins. The region of the veil is co-extensive with the space covered by the hair when unbound; in order that the necks too may be encircled."

All of the hair + the necks **encircled** = just like Muslim hijab!

The rest is on my farm hijabi blog.

Coffee Catholic said...

Oh, and, hijab is to be worn by Christian women at all times, not just while in the church:

"It is incumbent, then, at all times and in every place, to walk mindful of the law..." (A chunk of the quote on my blog...)

Coffee Catholic said...

Last, but not least:

"It has also been commanded that the head should be veiled and the face covered."

"And a christian woman will never fail, if she puts before her eyes modesty and her veil. Nor will she invite another to fall into sin by uncovering her face..."

Clement of Alexandria (c. 195A.D.)

"When you are in the streets, cover your head...Look downward when you walk in public, veiling yourself, as becomes women." Apostolic Constitutions c. 390 A.D.)

Pixie said...

Coffee Catholic: LOL, I dunno, maybe Allah knew and wanred him that we would idolise pop stars and rock stars and their lives more than the Sahaba and the Prophet's? Maybe we'd spend more time listening to them than the word of God? I can't say they broke down the morals in society---each individual that rejects the commands of their Creator does that I suppose, but... it certainly does have an impact. Saudi Arabia for instance, had a very strict straining of media sources. Consquently, my husband never saw women sexually protrayed on TV, and all the women around him but his mother and sister were veiled. He grew up thinking every woman in her natural state is drop-dead goregeous, and finds women who look fake to be unattractive... Whereas countries like with more Western media, like Lebannon for example (it is not the only one so I am not just picking on Lebannon) the men seem to have specific ideas of what a woman should look like. A certain waist-line, a certain breast size, a hair colour/cut.... Sad but very true.

CareMuslimah said...

Coffee catholic. You're catholic and you wear headscarf? (I'm just asking because I'm curious)

And I loved this post. So informative, I really hope people would start to understand this. I really dislike it when people ask me "oh you're Muslim, what sect?" I tend to answer that I don't believe in divisions because Islam is one, but anyways.

And BTW Pixie, what would be the answer then?, I mean is it really better to grow up in a place like Saudi? which everyone covered, etc. Because I live in the west, and people think it's all terribly oppressive in those countries. I'm not so sure if I'd want to live in a place like Saudi, but then again, raising kids in the west can be tricky, they'd be so influenced by the media and their friends that they could end up forgetting about religion. idk..

Amber said...


I know this is a 'fashion blog', but I really love these educational posts from you. Even more than the pretty clothing posts. :)

How does one figure out which fiqh they belong to, or want to follow, I guess...

Pixie said...

CareMuslimah: My husband says Saudi is good to raise young children in (0-6 or eight-ish). After that, he says, to move somewhere else, because there are other worse things Muslims learn in Saudi (like a class system and nationalism ect)... I honestly want to live there.... but there are so many Muslims there for whom Islam is only a culture... That IS sad.

Pixie said...

Amber: It comes from studying Islamic evidence and the different ways of weighing that evidence. Usually in the end, a person goes with the way of thinking they feel is the strongest. My husband tends to lean more malaki. While I tend to take to the Habali way of fiqh (it my way of studying afterall), but agree with some hanafi thought. I think it is usually what you feel is the strongest way of looking at and studying all the evidence. In the beginning, you just study all of them:D

Coffee Catholic said...

Yes, I wear hijab when I feel safe to do so. :-) Catholic/Christian women always wore hijab ~ until the crazy cultural revolt of the 1960's.

Anonymous said...

'moderate' islam is a word coined by the west to entice muslims to practise islam on their terms. And what do we do? We unfortunately do not have the courage to stand up for the life ordained for us. I am an unapologetic critic of many countries in the gulf especially Dubai,i have no desire to even visit dubai? MY reasons justify my feelings. Firstly,many arab countries have given Islam a very pretentious image based on materialism,wealth & appearances.Secondly,if a man like president Bush thanks Dubai for their co operation with the US how can I support a country such as dubai? Dubai services the american naval ships more than any other country in the world! Dubai invests millions into the american economy and then shys away from standing up for the poor muslims in gaza,darfur,ethiopia.If a muslim believes in any isms such as modernism,socialism,capitalism,liberalism,racism then you have adopted the systems of the non believers and cannot cite yourself a true follower of islam. that's my opinion on the matter. i criticise many of my family members and friends who boast about the lifestyles of the citizens of dubai etc,they frequently visit these places for shopping and so forth,i maintain that we praising the non praise worthy. There is no liberal islam,there is no grey areas in Islam and our efforts to continuously integrate the lifestyles of the west into islam is fruitless,absurd & an insult to our prophet (saw) mission in his world. razina. south africa.

Anonymous said...

i think this was a very informative article...i totally agree that there is no 'liberal' islam...u either follow what Allah and His prophet have ordered...or u dont.there's no grey zone...especially in faraiz...yes sunnah are optional...the more u practise the better it gets.jazakallah.