Kennedy school of missions

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part of jurisprudence dealing with religious practices, not apologetics or controversy. Then engage in the principles of jurisprudence and likewise for the rest of the sciences
as long as life permits and time allows. But do not engross.
yourself in one of these arts in the hope of fathoming it, for knowledge is voluminous and life is short. These sciiH ences are instruments and preliminaries, and they are not desired for their own sake but for something else. In the case of that which is desired for some reason other than itself, it is fitting not to forget the object desired and want much of it (the former). In the widespreading science of language, be content with that by which you understand and speak the
language of the Arabs. Of the obscure expressions (of the science of language, be content) with those of the Qur'An,
and the traditions, and abandon the practice of going deep


in them. In grammar (nahu) be content with what concerns
the Book and usage. There is no science which does not have a minimum amount, a moderate, and an exhaustive investigation whica we will point out in tradition (hadith), in exposition (tafs1r), in jurisprudence (filch), and In theology (kalam), in order that others may be compared with them.
A minimum amount in exposition is that which amounts
to double the Qur'anl6~ quantity such as al-Wa 1z which 'Ali al-Wahidi al-.Tisaburi composed, while a moderate amount is what amounts to three times the Quran as al-Wasi which he composed. Whatever is beyond that is going to an excess which one can do without. And there is no overtaking them (these books) to the end of life.
As for (the science of) tradition, a minimum in it is 168

to obtain what is in the two Sahibs by making a sound copy

from an experienced teacher who knows the text of the tradition. As for remembering the names of the men, you are relieved of that by what those who preceded you undertook in your stead. Relying on their books you need not remember the texts of the two Sa lhs; but you ought to get such a good grasp of them that you can seek what you need at the
time of need. As far as a moderate amount of it is concerned, you may add to what is not in both of these what is given in the(four) sound sunan. Exhaustive investigation is to go


beyond this and take up everything transmitted---the weak
and the strong, the sound and the poorly attested, with a knowledge of the many ways of transmission and a knowledge
of the circumstances of the men, their names, and their qualities.
As for jurisprudence, a minimum amount of it is in accordance with what the Mukhtasir of al-Muzani comprises, and which we arranged in order in our KhulaQat of the Mukhtapir. A moderate amount is what amounts to three times that much which is the amount we mentioned in al-Waslt min al-~adhhab. Extensive (research) which goes beyond what we mentioned in al-Basil would be cai.led exhaustive investigation.
The amount of theology that should be desired is as much as will preserve the artivles of faith which the Sunnis have transmitted from the orthodox Fathers, and that is all. To do more than that is to seek to unveil the real nature of things by a way that is not suitable. The objective in learning the Sunnah is to attain to the minimum measure of it
along with faith that is small in amount. this is the amount 169 which we have set forth in the Kitab Qawa'id al-'Aga'id which
is part of this book (i.e. al-Ihya').
Moderation in it is what amounts to about one hundred leaves (double pages), which we set forth in (our) book, Moderation in Belief, (al-1gtisad fl 'l-i'ti,gad) and which is


needed to debate with the innovator and oppose his innovation with something that invalidates it and removes it from the heart of the masses. That only benefits the masses before their partisanship crystallizes. As for the innovator, to speak with him (about beliefs) rarely benefits him, once he knows something about polemics, though it be very little. In fact, even if you silence him, he does not forsake his tenets, but shifts his failure to his (own Inability to understand) and supposes that someone else has some answer for it, even though he has none, and that you obscure it for him only by your ability to dispute. As for the masses, If they are changed from the right way by one kind of polemics, it is possible that they might return to it by its like before their partisanship becomes firmly set by their wandering desires. If their partisanship is crystallized, their case is

hopeless; for partisanship is a means which crystallizes be

liefs in persons; and it is one of the defects of the corrupt divines (`ulama' al-su'), for they zealously exert themselves in partisanship (to make) the truth (apparent) and regard with ridicule and contempt those who differ. In them there is stirred up the accusation of retaliation, opposition, and (ill) treatment. Their motives show regard to the desire for the victory of what is false, while their purpose is

strengthened to hold fast to that with which they are as-



Had they tried to use kindness, mercy, and advice in private, not an exhibition of partisanship and contempt, they would have succeeded in it. But when prestige exists only by getting followers and nothing wins followers like partisanship, cursing, and reviling adversaries, they adopted partisanship as their customary instrument, and named it "pro
tection of the faith" and "defense of the Muslims", while in reality the destruction of people and the establishing of innovation in people's (hearts) is in it.
As for the disputed points (about the tenets) which have appeared in these latter times and which are produced in essays, books, and debates, the like of then was not met in
the time of the Fathers. (0 traveler on the road to the next abode), see that you skirt round them and thoroughly avoid their deadly poison, for it is a severe malady. That is
what turned all the learned (fugaha') back to strive for pri
ority and show respect for persons, the destructive force of
which we will detail to you.
Many a time someone is heard to utter these words and then it is replied, "People are enemies of that of which they
are ignorant." Lo not think that. "Upon one who knows you 170

have stumbled." Accept this advice from one who spent his

whole life in it and outstripped his predecessors in respect


to writing, investigating, disputing, and proving. Then inspiring him to think aright, Allah made him see his fault and forsake it. Then he worked (or became busied.) by himself. So do not be deceived by the words of one who says, "The legal opinion (fatwa) is the pillar of the law and its hidden defects are only known by knowledge of apologetics";

for the defects of the tenets are mentioned in books of


In addition to that are the polemics which neither the Fathers (al-awwalun) nor the Companions knew, and they were more learned than others in the defects of giving legal opinions. (In addition to the fact that) they (the defects) are not beneficial in the science of tenets, they are harmful (to the canon lawyer) and corrupt his natural discernment in jurisprudence. In most matters it Is not possible to make one who has witness borne to him that he has the intuitive sagacity of the Mufti, when his natural taste for

filth is sound, to walk according to the stipulations of polem

is. For one whose nature is accustomed to the rules of polemics submits his intellect to its requirements and is hesi

tant to submit his taste for jurisprudence. For one who is

engaged in the quest of reputation and prestige occupies himself in them and pretends that he is seeking the defects of the tenets. Sometimes his life ends without his attention


being turned or directed to the science of tenets. So render yourself safe from the demonic devils (shaiyatin al-jinn) and be on your guard against the human devils (shaiyatin alins) (who are the corrupt divines, 'ulama'al-sill), for they for they give the demonic devils rest from their labor of seducing and leading astray.

In short the acceptable thing with those who know is that you consider yourself in the present world alone with Allah, while at hand there are Death (al-mawt), the Day of Judgment (a 'ard), the Day of Reckoning (al-hisab), the Garden (al-jannah), and the Fire (al-Nar). Of that which is before you, ponder over what concerns you and leave everything else. And (may) peace (be on the people who practice surrender).
One of the h;ldera (al-shuyukh) saw one of the Learned (al-'ulama') in a dream and asked him, "What's the news regarding those sciences about which you used to argue and debate?"
Opening his hand and blowing on it, he'$aid, "It has all gone with the wind, and the only benefit I got was from
two cycles (rak'atain) (which I performed) in the middle of 171 the night and which were free from mixed motives."
In a tradition (there is this saying), "After having had guidance people only err, when they are given polemics."


Then he recited, "They assuredly mentioned it to you only to dispute: nay, they are a contentions people" (43:58)

In the tradition about the meaning of the verse, "As for those in whose

on (3:5), they are

there will come a people who will be inspired to dispute." Another will known tradition (reads), "The one most hated by Allah is he who is most vehement in contention", (while another says), "Logic is given to a people only to hinder their good works."

saying: "So

One of

a people

whom the

In one

"You are in

hearts there is a tendency to err" and so the polemicists whom Allah meant in His

be to

be on your guard against them}" (63:4)

the Fathers said, "In the latter days there will against whom the door of deeds will be bolted and door of polemics will be opened." of the traditions (al-akhbar) (we find this), a time in which you are inspired to act, and


Part four concerns the cause of people's giving their attention to the science of controversy and an explanation

of the defects of debate and polemics and the conditions

which make them lawful.

You should know that, after the Messenger of Allah,

the rightly guided caliphs ruled the caliphate and they were (real) Imams who were learned about (the being and attributes of)Allah and who understood His judgments; and they were independent in giving legal opinions concerning their judgments. Only rarely were they accustomed to seek help

in giving legal opinions which was in cases where they could not do without some advice. Muslim divines devoted them

selves to the knowledge of the next abode and gave themselves

entirely up to it. They used to resist giving legal decisions and the worldly affairs connected with the rules and regulations ofnankind. They applied their whole attention to Allah with sincere zeal, as is narrated in their biographies.

After them, when the caliphate came to people who ruled



it without desert and without independence in the science of giving legal opinions and judgments, they (the caliphs) were obliged to seek help from the jurisconsults (fugaha') and to associate with them in all their circumstances in order to ask them for legal opinions concerning their current regulations. There remained some of the learned followers ('ulama' al-tabi'ln) who continued on the old way and clung to the side of religion and persevered in the way of the learned Fathers ('ulama' al-salaf). When requested (to take government positions), they used to flee and avoid them. So the

caliphs were obliged to insist on their request to take of

fice of giving judgments and exercising authority. The people of that time saw the prestige of the learned and the way Imams and rulers favoured them in spite of the fact that (the learned) avoided them, and they (the people) were inclined to seek knowledge as a way to get prestige and reputation from the rulers. So they gave their attention to the science of giving legal opinions. They presented themselves to them, and they sought provinces and gifts from them. Among them werethose who failed and those who succeeded (in their requests), while the successful one was not free of the humiliation of asking and the shame of losing his honor. After having been sought, the jurisconsults became seekers. After having been respected by avoiding the sultans, they (all) became


humiliated by rushing after them, except those who are learned in Allah's religion and whom He causes to prosper in every century.

In those centuries the greatest preference was for the science of legal opinions and judgments because of the stringent need of them in states and governments. Then, from among the notables and princes after them, there appeared those who listened to the sayings of people about the articles of the faith. So they wanted to hear the proofs concerning them, and their desires tended towards debates and arguments about theology. People gave their attention to the science of scholastic theology ('ilm al-kalam) about which they produced many writings and set forth the manner of argumentation. They derived the arts of contradicting propositions. They asserted that their aim was to defend the religion of Allah, protect the sunnah, and subdue inno-vatOra just as their predecessors had asserted that their aim in engaging themselves in legal opinions was religion and

taking upon themselves the affairs of the luslims was because

of compassion for Allah's people and in order to advise them.

Then, after that, there appeared from among the notables some who did not approve deep investigation into theology and opening the door to debate about it because of what had re

sulted from opening the door (such as) harmful partisanship


and widespread rivalries which lead to bloodshed and destroy the country. They wanted to debate jurisprudence and explain the preferable things of the tenets of al-Shafi'I and Abu Ha-n1fah especially. So people forsook scholastic theology and the arts of science and entered whole-heartedly on tackling the apologetic problems between al-Shafi'i and Abu Hanifah


In regard to the differences between Mdlik, Sufyan, Ahmad (Ibn Hanbal), and others they were more complaisant.

They asserted that their purpose was to discover the minutiae of the divine law and confirm the allegations of the schools and clarify the principles of legal opinions. They greatly increased writings and Investigations about them, and set forth_"th9T.:kinds of argument and writings about them which they continue to do up to the present .

We do not know what Allah will cause to happen in the centuries to come. This alone, and nothing else, is the motive for their perseverance in controversy and debate. Had the souls of the masters of the present world inclined to apologetics with some other Imams or to some other science, they (the people) would have inclined with them. They would not have refrained from offering pretexts that what they were engaged in was the science of religion and that their only desire was to draw nigh to the Lord of the worlds.


A. An Exposition of the Deception in Trying to Make

These Debates Resemble the Consultations of the Companions and the Conferences of the Fathers
You should know that they sometimes attracted people to


that by gradual delusion (istidra,1,) by(saying), "The purpose
of our debates is to discuss the truth in order to clarify it, for the truth is what is sought."
(They also assert:) to give mutual aid in contemplating knowledge and to let thought meet thought is useful and effective. This was the custom of the Companions in their conferences, as they conferred about the problem of (the inheritance of) the grandfather and brothers, and about the punishment for drinking wine, and whether the Imam should pay a fine, if he committed sin as is handed down about the woman who suffered a miscarriage because of (her) fear of 'Urnar, and just as is handed down about the questions of inherit
ances and other things as well as what was handed down about 174 a1-Shafi' I, Ahrnad, Muhammad bin al-Hasan, Malik, AbI Yisif,
and others of the learned. What I shall mention will inform you about this deception (talbis). It is that to give mutual aid in the quest of truth is a part of religion, but it has eight conditions and signs.

1. The first (is that) since it is a general obligation,


one who is not free from personal obligations should not engage in it. One who ought to perform a personal obligation but engages in a general obligation and asserts that his object is the truth is a prevaricator. He is like one who ne

glects worship himself and devotes himself to getting and

weaving clothes and says, "My aim is to cover the person of the naked worshipper who does not find clothes."

Perhaps that might happen, and its occurence is possi

ble, the same way as the jurisconsult asserts the possible happening of rare events about which there is controversial discussion. Those who engage in debates neglect the affairs which, by agreement, are a personal obligation. And one who is faced with the return of a pledge immediately, but who does what is unlawful with the worship--which is the nearest approach to Allah--disobeys Him. For a person to be obedient it is not sufficient that his act should belong to the category of obedient acts, while he pays no regard in doing it to the elements of time, condition, and order.

2. The second stipulation is that he should not see

some general ebligAt1bn: which is more important than debates; for , if he sees what is more important and does something else, he disobeys by his action. He is like the one who

sees a group of thirsty people on the point of dying whom people have neglected and whom he is able to revive by pour-


ing out water for them; but he engages in teaching the art of cupping and asserts that it is a general obligation and that, if it did not exist in the country, people would per

ish. When he is told that there are plenty cuppers in the

country, he says, "That does not prevent this action from being a general obli ation.1'

The state of one who does this and neglects to occupy himself with what actually happens to a group of thirsty Muslims is like the state of one who is occupied in debating while in the country general obligations are neglected

which no one is undertaking. But as for giving legal opinions a group of people are doing that, while the country is not empty of a number of neglected obligations to which jurisconsults pay no attention.

The most urgent of them is medicine, for in most cities there is no Muslim doctor on whose testimony one might depend concerning those things about which a doctor's word is usually accepted according to divine law, while none of the jurisconsults desires to engage in it. The same (is true) in regard to commanding what is lawful and forbidding what is unlawful which are general obligations. Many a time in a debate a debater might see silk worn and used as furnishing (these are some of the forbidden things), but he keeps silent about them and debates problems that do not occur,


and that, if they should happen, a number of jurisconsults undertake. Then he asserts that he desires to draw close to Allah by general obligations.

Anas related that someone inquired, "0 Messenger of Allah, when doe sons leave off commanding what is lawful and forbidding what is unlawful?"
He replied, "Then hypocrisy appears in your elite and abomination in your evil ones and authority is transferred to your youths and Sigh (jurisprudence) to your evil ones."
3. The third stipulation is that the debater should be 173

an independent scholar and give a legal opinion according to

his own opinion, not according to the school of al-Shafi'i and Abu Han1fah and others; so that, if the truth appears to him according to the tenets of Abu Hanifah, he will forsake what is in accord with al-Shafi'i's opinion and give an opinion according to what seems (right) to him just as the Companions and Imams used to do.
As for one who does not have the rank to give an independent opinion based on his own research, which is the case with all the people of this century, he gives a legal opinion about somebody's problem by handing down something from the school of his master. If it seems to him that there is a weakness in the school, he is not permitted to leave it. Then what benefit does he have in debating, while his school



is known and he does not have the ability to give an opinion according to some other way? {When) something is complicated for him, he has to say, "Perhaps the leader of my school has an answer for this; but, as for me, I have no right to form an independent opinion on the sources of the divine law."

If his discussions were about problems which have two points of view or two definite statements of his master, these words of his would more nearly resemble the truth. Perhaps he would give an opinion about one of the two and benefit from the discussion, while leaning towards one of the two sides, whereas you do not see debates going that way at all; but many a time he leaves the problem which has two sides or two statements and seeks a problem about which diversity is cut off.

4. The fourth stipulation is that ordinarily he should only debate an actually occurring problem or one which is generally about to occur. For the Companions only conferred with one another about new events or those the occurrence of which was quite probable such as inheritance regulations. You do not see the debaters giving their minds to the criticism of problems about which fatwas have spread trouble, but they seek the notorious problems which have many differ

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# SMZ gives mathbut instead of mabtut


ing tracks, whatever be the matter. Many a time they neglect what is happening more often, while they say, "This is an explicit declaration (based on tradition), or it is something which should be discussed in secret in a monastery and not one of the notorious matters."

Strangely enough what is sought (in the debates) is (to establish) the truth (of a matter), and then they leave the problem because it is an explicit declaration (based on tradition), although the way to attain truth about it is the traditions. (On the other hand they leave it) because it is not one of the notorious matters and what is said about it is not lengthy, although the purpose of (making) the truth (obvious) is to keep what is said brief and soon reach the aim, not to be verbose.
5. The fifth stipulation is that debate in retreat 175

(khalwah) should be more loved by him and of more concern

than in auditoriums and in the presence of notables and sultans. For a retreat is better for gaining understanding and more suitable for clarity of mind and thought and reaching the truth, whereas in the presence of a group there is something that stirs up the spirit of hypocrisy and obliges each one to crave victory whether he is right or wrong.
You know that their craving for assemblies and gatherings is not for (the glory of) Allah, and that one of' them


will remain in solitude with his companion for a long time and not speak with him and many a time he will be importunately.asked (about a problem) and he will not answer. But when one of the foremost people appears or when an assembly is organized, he will leave no arrow unused in his quiver of tricks so that he may be considered a specialist in theology.

6. The sixth stipulation is that in his search for the truth he should be like one who is seeking a lost animal and who makes no distinction whether the stray appears by means of him or by means of the one who aids him. He considers his comrade (in the debate) as a helper, not as an opponent; and he thanks him, when he causes him to know his mistake and makes the truth obvious to him; just as if, in his search for his stray animal, he had taken a certain road and his companion had notified him that it was on another road. Then he would thank him, and not blame him; and honor him, and be glad because of him. The Companions' conferences were like this to such a degree that a woman once refuted 'Umar and called his attention to the truth, while he was in the midst of his speech before many people. And he said, "A woman has hit the truth, while a man has erred."

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