Allaah Ta’aalaa says:
‘And that this is my path which is straight, so follow it, and do not follow the other paths for they will separate you from His path. That is what He has enjoined upon you in the hope that you will attain taqwa2’ (Al-‐An’aam 153).
And He Ta’aalaa (also) says:
يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِى الاٌّمْرِ مِنْكُمْ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِى شَىْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ ذلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلاً
‘Oh you who believe; obey Allaah and obey the Messenger and those of rulership amongst you. So if you dispute in any matter then return it to Allaah and the Messenger if you believe in Allaah and the Final Day. That is better and more beautiful as an interpretation’ (An-‐Nisaa 59).
And the Messenger of Allaah (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon him) said ‘So, whoever from amongst you lives (i.e. long after me) will see much differing – So it is upon you to hold onto my sunnah, and the sunnah of the righteous khaleefahs after me. Hold firmly to it and cling on with your molar teeth’3.
Allaah and His Messenger (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon him) therefore command us that at the time of difference of opinion amongst scholars in the ruling of an issue, that we must take from their opinions the one which has evidence for it, from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah, and that we are to leave that which opposes the evidence. That is because this is a sign of Imaan in Allaah and the Final Day⁴ and because it is better for us, and more perfect in result. Also, because if we were to take opinions that oppose the proofs, then indeed it would separate us from the path of Allaah and cause us to be in a path of being lost and astray. Just as He informed us regarding the Jews and Christians; That they took their priests and monks as lords besides Allaah5. The Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon him) clarified this by explaining that the meaning of this taking of lords, was their obedience to them in making permissible that which Allaah had prohibited, and the prohibition of that which Allaah had permitted. Many people today, if you see some wrong in them and attempt to prohibit them from it, they say to you ‘there is difference of opinion in this issue’, and he will take justification for himself and that which he is committing from this differing, even if it is in opposition to the proof. Then what is the difference between this and those People of the Scripture who took their priests and monks as lords besides Allaah?
So it is obligatory on such people to fear Allaah regarding themselves, and that they must know that the presence of ‘ikhtilaaf’ in an issue does not permit opposing the proof. So much so (is this common), that many ignorant ones have begun going along with opinions recorded on the computer (i.e. the internet) which are related from the books of differing views, then they give fatwa with whatever their desire agrees with from those opinions without differentiating between that which has authentic proof for it and that which has no proof. This is either due to ignorance from himself or due to desire inside him.
The ignorant one, it is not permissible for him to speak about the law of Allaah on the back of what he has read or seen in some recorded presentation whilst he does not know the extent of its authenticity or what its documentation is from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah. And Allaah has not commanded us to refer back to a book of fiqh without understanding it, rather He commanded us to ask the people of knowledge, where He says:
‘And We sent not before you except men who we sent down revelation to, So ask the people of the reminder if you do not know’ (An-‐Nahl 43).
The person of desires, it is not permissible for him to take his desire as a god besides Allaah, taking from opinions whatever agrees with it, and casting away that which does not agree with it. Allaah Ta’aalaa said:
فَإِن لَّمْ يَسْتَجِيبُواْ لَكَ فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّمَا يَتَّبِعُونَ أَهْوَآءَهُمْ وَمَنْ أَضَلُّ مِمَّنْ اتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ بِغَيْرِ هُدًى مِّنَ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَهْدِى الْقَوْمَ الظَّـلِمِينَ
‘So if they do not respond to you then know they only follow their desires. And who is more astray than one who follows his desire, without guidance from Allaah, Indeed, Allaah does not guide a wrongdoing people’ (Al-‐Qasas 50)
أَرَءَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَـهَهُ هَوَاهُ أَفَأَنتَ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ وَكِيلاً
‘Have you seen one who takes his desire as a god!? Would you then be a guardian over him?’ (Al-‐Furqaan 43).
And it is not permissible for one who possesses knowledge that he picks out for the people that which agrees with their desires and misguides them from the path of Allaah under the banner of ‘facilitation’. So, facilitating (i.e. to make things easy) is only by following the proofs – so that they do not become of those about whom Allaah says:
لِيَحْمِلُواْ أَوْزَارَهُمْ كَامِلَةً يَوْمَ الْقِيَـمَةِ وَمِنْ أَوْزَارِ الَّذِينَ يُضِلُّونَهُمْ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ أَلاَ سَآءَ مَا يَزِرُونَ
‘…That they may bear their own burdens in full on the Day of Qiyaamah, and some of the burden of those who they misguide without knowledge. Certainly, evil is what they bear’ (An-‐Nahl 25).
May Allaah facilitate all with beneficial knowledge and pious actions, and may Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.
1 Differences of view in deriving jurisprudential rulings on action-‐based issues of the Sharee’ah.
2 Taqwa – Fearing Allaah, doing all that pleases Him and staying away from all that displeases Him
3 Hasan – Abu Dawood, At-Tirmidhi
4 The day of Judgement, ‘Al-Qiyaamah’
5 See Surah At-Tawbah: 31