Monday, November 24, 2008

We Have No Right Over Animals

One of the reasons why we say Bismillah before killing an animal, or in the case of hunting before releasing the arrow/ shooting the bullet, is that because we have no right to take an animal life.

However Allah has given us permission to kill and eat animals for survival, and for other useful purposes. That is why we must invoke the name of Allah, in order to make this killing lawful, meaning: We only kill this animal because Allah has given us permission to kill it for a specific purpose.

And this means that we must not allow indiscriminate killing of animals, or any hunting or killing that is done for pleasure. Because taking the souls of these animals is not something we have a right to, without a divine sanction.

This is what I understood from a short remark by a venerable shaykh, and Allah knows best.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Elaboration not Innovation

"There is a world of difference between elaborations and innovations, which people with muddled minds find difficult to distinguish."


If we consider the development of Tasawwuf as a science, that is the science of the soul, we find that it provides a close comparison with the development of other sciences based on the principle of the Divine Book and the life of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). To take the science of Hadith as an example, we find that during the first century, which was the time of the Companions and the followers, things remained very much in the original form of personal teaching from those who sat in the company of the Great Ones, with little sign of elaboration and formalisation. During the second century we begin to find a more or less comprehensive collection and criticism, which culminate in the third century in critical recensions based on now thoroughly elaborated and determined principles. In the case of Fiqh we find a similar process; after the first century of the direct and practical teaching of the companions and followers, the second century produces elaborate compendia of legal decisions and the formulation of principles of jurisprudence which again by the third century had been built up into a relatively independent science. Tasawwuf, too, was constructed into a spiritual science on the firm foundations of the spiritual heritage of the Prophet of God; here again, the elaboration begins in the second century in the recorded sayings and treatises and books of the early Sufis, and in the third century Tasawwuf appears as a fully developed and formulated spiritual science. It is just as gratuitous to talk critically of later innovation in the matter of Tasawwuf as it is in the matter of Fiqh, Hadith and Tafsir. There is a world of difference between elaborations and innovations, which people with muddled minds find difficult to distinguish.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ibnّ Taymiyyah's Intellectual Abilities

Ibn Taymiyya's Vast Knowledge:

Ibn Abd al-Hadi called him "the sea of sciences."

Scholars noted how when Ibn Taymiyyah talked about a subject, you would get the feeling that this was his area of expertise and that he didn't know any other subject. And that was the case for every subject. That's how much knowledge he had.

Then even said that it was as if he could quote entire books from his memory.

However, despite all that knowledge, and despite some great thinking in many areas, it seems that he just couldn't grasp what other, greater, scholars were talking about sometimes.

Especially in the field of theology, Ibn Taymiyyah just couldn't get what Ibn Arabi was talking about. Also in the question of the status of Nubuwwa and Wilaya. He COMPLETELY misunderstood Ibn Arabi and declared him a kafir for that, even though it's not that hard to grasp his idea if you give it a minute or two of thinking.

There are also some weaknesses in some of his fiqhi thinking. For example, Jockisch, in "Ijtihad in Ibn Taymiyya's Fatawa", shows him falling into building a circular argument on a simple matter.

And finally, the way he came to the conclusion that travel for the sake of visiting the Prophet's tomb, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is forbidden is completely ridiculous. It makes no logical sense whatsoever.

Maybe that is why when the great scholar Ibn Daqiq al-Id was asked about him, he said:

"A man with a multitude of subjects of knowledge at his fingertips."

He commented on his great knowledge, but nothing about his intellect or scholarly opinions. It seems like a very reserved answer. But who is to blame him, for he has seen the likes of Sultan al-Ulama Izz al-Din bin Abd al-Salaam.

The scholar Wali al-Din al-Iraqi said about Ibn Taymiyyah, "His knowledge is bigger than his intellect." I think that's true.

قال فيه المحدث الحافظ الفقيه ولي الدين العراقي ابن شيخ الحفاظ زين الدين العراقي في كتابه الأجوبة المرضية على الأسئلة المكية : " علمه أكبر من عقله " ،

وقال أيضاً : إنه خرق الإجماع في مسائل كثيرة قيل تبلغ ستين مسألة بعضها في الأصول وبعضها في الفروع خالف فيها بعد انعقاد الإجماع عليها