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Shaykh Muḥammad Bin ʿAbd al-Wahhāb on Issues of Ijtihād and Khilāf

Posted by Abu Iyaad
Friday, Mar 17 2023
Filed under Fiqh & ʿIbādah

The issues of khilāf (those in which different, opposing viewpoint exist) can include issues in which differing is permitted and in which differing is not permitted. This is because it is not the case that all views in differed over issues are based on evidence, rather, some may oppose textual evidences, due to numerous reasons. A scholar may arrive at an erroneous opinion, without intending to do so, because it opposes a text which he may not be aware of or which he may not consider authentic. As such, from the issues which are differed over are those for which rejection can be shown. As for issues of ijtihād, those which no clear texts exist, then scholars strive to extract a ruling from the most closely related texts and the application of various principles. Here, different views can to be tolerated and accepted and rejection is not to be shown, though this does not exclude critical evaluation of views for their strength or weakness.

Shaykh Muḥammad bin ʿAbd al-Wahhāb (رحمه الله) said:[1]

If the person intends the issues of differing (khilāf) [that no rejection is shown towards them], then this is false, it opposes the consensus of the ummah. The Companions and those after them have never ceased showing rejection against anyone who opposed [the texts] and erred, whoever that may be, even if he was the most-knowledgeable of people and the most pious of them.

Since Allāh sent Muḥammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) with guidance and true religion and ordered us to follow it and abandon what opposes it, then from the completion of that is [to understand] that any scholar who opposes that is errant, he is notified of his error and rejection shown to him [for this error].

However, if he intends the issues of ijtihād, issues of differing [therein] where the truth is not clear, then this statement is correct [that rejection is now shown in such issues]. It is not permissible for a person to show rejection against something just because it opposes his madhhab (school of jurisprudence) or the customs of people. Just as it is not permissible for a person to command except with knowledge, likewise, it is not permissible to show rejection except with knowledge. And all of this enters into His, the Exalted’s saying: “And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge.” [2]

Arabic Text:

1. Al-Durar al-Saniyyah (8/4)
2. Sūrah al-Isrāʾ (17:36)

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