Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Saudi Salafi Shaykh 'Abd al-Rahman al-Barrak's Juridical Opinion on Voting re: Egypt's New Constitution

 The Islamic Ruling on Voting for the New Egyptian Constitution

Shaykh ’Abdur Rahman Al-Barrak

All praise is due to Allah, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His servant and messenger Muhammad, his descendants and his companions.

To proceed:
The difference of opinion among our brothers from the people of the sunnah in Egypt regarding the question of voting for the proposed new constitution that is about to be put to a referendum has been brought to my attention.

Their difference in the matter is regarding its legal ruling, as to whether voting for the constitution is to be considered prohibited, permissible or even obligatory. It is well known that in this issue, each side has its own reasoning to support the opinion it holds. I have examined the arguments - which are so exhaustive as to almost confound a person and prevent judgement - which I have been able to analyse from both sides and have found them to be well reasoned and compelling as supporting evidence for their respective positions.

The source of this controversy lies in the following causal factors:
  1. Those clauses of the constitution that amount to disbelief (kufr); which none of our brothers disagree upon with regards to their falsehood or the prohibition of voluntarily including them in the constitution.
  2. Those clauses of the constitution which are praiseworthy and facilitate ruling by the shari’ah and due to which those who are antagonistic to the shari’ah oppose this constitution.

What has become apparent to me after assessing the various perspectives regarding this issue among our brothers from the sunnah is that voting in favour of this constitution is permissible, if not obligatory. Neither would this amount to condoning/assenting to disbelief (kufr) nor would it entail its acceptance or sanctioning it. To vote for this constitution amounts to merely removing the greater of two harms, or selecting the lesser of two evils. This is because those who ask regarding this issue have no viable option other than this and the alternative is worse as well as unwise from the legal, shari’ah perspective. Moreover, from a purely logical point of view, to relinquish the issue would be to leave the field open for the people of falsehood like the disbelievers and hypocrites to achieve their ends.

There can be no doubt that all those who desire the shari’ah and are eager for its implementation – and that is the objective of every Muslim who believes in Allah and His messenger – irrespective of their difference in this matter are within the bounds of valid scholarly opinions, and their cases vary between attaining the one reward or the two that such differences earn. What is paramount is for them to strive to maintain unity in the face of an enemy that does not want the establishment of Islam in the land.

Moreover, I do not find there to be a significant difference between voting in elections for the president and voting for this constitution as it is a matter of common knowledge for every sane person with even the slightest sense of realism that any elected Muslim president would be significantly limited in his ability to implement the shari’ah, much less implement it to the extent desired by the people of sincerity and piety, due to the power and influence wielded by standard bearers of corruption in the land and due to what is known about how the international community is run by the United Nations under the control of the United States America.

Thus, the elected Egyptian president – may Allah protect him and give him success – does not have anyone in the international community to support him. It is therefore upon you to support him in whatever he is able to implement from the shari’ah and to ratify this constitution while the president is unable to present one better than it.

All of you know well that not voting for this constitution will inevitably gratify the domestic enemy as well as those abroad for all of them are anticipating this from you - So fear Allah and rectify your affairs amongst yourselves.

What is apparent is that none of you would ever accept what would contradict the shari’ah in this constitution nor approve of it, but you would nonetheless ratify it out of necessity and in order to avoid what is worse.
If presented a choice between a Communist or a Christian as a ruler over the land, then the shari’ah as well as common sense would dictate that you choose the one who would cause less harm and harbour less enmity towards the Muslims.

Moreover, it is well known that if an act overwhelms the one obligated to perform it, then it takes the ruling of that which is no longer obligatory.

Know that all of the Muslims are with you with their hearts and actions, so let not the differences between you become a source of distress for them. I ask Allah to guide you and to bring your hearts together.
If we suppose that this difference of opinion continues to remain between you, then you must at least be careful not to prevent others from voting for this constitution and beware of transgressing upon others by excommunicating them from the faith (takfir), accusing them of being traitors or declaring them to be ignorant, for sin is certainly not incurred due to differing in issues where valid scholarly differences exist but is only due to the transgression that we inflict upon others. May Allah always protect you from this, rectify your hearts and intentions, make correct your decisions and give victory to his religion through you.

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His servant and messenger Muhammad, his descendants and his companions.
Dictated by: Abdur Rahman bin Nasir Al-Barrak.
Dated: 28/1/1434 H.

حكم التصويت للدستور المصري 

الحمد لله وصلى الله وسلم على عبده ورسوله محمد وآله وصحبه، أما بعد:
فقد بلغني ما وقع من اختلاف بين إخواننا أهل السنة في مصر حول مسألة التصويت على «الدستور» الذي سيطرح للاستفتاء؛ واختلافهم في حكمه: تحريماً وجوازاً ووجوباً، ومعلوم أن لكل منهم استدلالات يؤيد بها ما ذهب إليه، وقد نظرت فيما وقفت عليه من استدلالاتهم فوجدتها كلها استدلالات قوية في تأييد مذهب المستدل، يحار الناظر فيها، ومنشأ النزاع:
1ـ  ما في الدستور من المواد الكفرية التي لا يختلف إخواننا في بطلانها وتحريم وضعها اختياراً.
2ـ  ما في الدستور من المواد الحسنة المقربة لتحكيم الشريعة، والتي من أجلها لا يرضى المعارضون لتحكيم الشريعة بهذا الدستور.
والذي ظهر لي بعد الوقوف على وجهات نظر إخواننا أهل السنة أن التصويت على هذا الدستور إن لم يكن واجباً فهو جائز، وليس في ذلك إقرار بالكفر ولا رضا به، فما هو إلا دفع شر الشرين واحتمال أخف الضررين.
وليس أمام المستفتَين من المسلمين إلا هذا أو ما هو أسوأ منه، وليس من الحكمة عقلاً ولا شرعاً اعتزال الأمر بما يتيح الفرصة لأهل الباطل من الكفار والمنافقين من تحقيق مرادهم.
ولا ريب أن الطامحين والراغبين في تحكيم الشريعة ـ وهو مطلب كل مسلم يؤمن بالله ورسوله ـ  مع اختلافهم في هذه النازلة؛ مجتهدون، فأمرهم دائر بين الأجر والأجرين، ولكن عليهم أن يجتهدوا في توحيد كلمتهم أمام العدو الذي لا يريد أن تقوم للإسلام في بلادهم قائمة.
ولا أجد كبير فرق بين التصويت في انتخاب الرئيس والتصويت لهذا الدستور؛ فإنه يعلم كل عاقل مدرك للواقع أن الرئيس المسلم المنتخب غير قادر على تحكيم الشريعة بقدر كبير، فضلاً عن تطبيقها بالقدر الذي يطمح إليه المخلصون الصالحون، لما يُعلم من قوة وتمكن رموز الفساد في البلاد، ولما يُعلم من حال المجتمع الدولي الذي تديره الأمم المتحدة بقيادة أمريكا.
فالرئيس المصري المنتخب -حفظه الله ووفقه-  ليس له في المجتمع الدولي من يناصره، فناصروه على مقدوره من تحكيم الشريعة، وأمِرُّوا هذا الدستور الذي لا يقدر الرئيس أن يصنع في الوقت الحاضر أفضل منه.
وأنتم تعلمون أن ترك التصويت للدستور مما يسر العدو في الداخل والخارج فكلهم يرتقبون ذلك منكم؛ فاتقوا الله وأصلحوا ذات بينكم.
ومعلوم أن أحداً منكم لا يقر ما في الدستور مما يناقض الشريعة ولا يرضاه، ولكن يُمِرُّه ضرورة؛ لدفع ما هو أسوء.
ولو خيِّر واحد منكم أن يحكم البلاد إما شيوعي وإما نصراني؛ فالشرع والعقل يقضي باختيار أخفهما شراً وعداوة للمسلمين.
ومن المعلوم أن ما يعجز عنه المكلف من الواجبات فهو في حكم ما ليس بواجب.
والمسلمون معكم بقلوبهم وجهودهم؛ فلا يكن اختلافكم سبباً في خيبة آمالهم، أسأل الله أن يلهمكم الرشد، وأن يؤلف بين قلوبكم.
وإذا قُدر أن يبقى الاختلاف بينكم؛ فيجب الحذر من تثبيط الناس من التصويت له، ومن البغي بالتكفير والتخوين والتجهيل؛ فليس الإثم باختلاف المجتهدين وإنما الإثم بالبغي، أعاذكم الله منه، وأصلح قلوبكم ونياتكم، وسدد رأيكم، ونصر بكم دينه.
وصلى الله وسلم على عبده ورسوله محمد وآله وصحبه.

                                     أملاه: عبدالرحمن بن ناصر البراك      في 28/1/1434 هـ

Pakistani Religious Scholar Javed Ahmad Ghamidi on the Age of 'Aisha When She Married the Prophet Muhammad

Age of ‘Ā’ishah (rta) at her Marriage
Social Issues
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)

It is generally believed that ‘Ā’ishah (rta), mother of the faithful, was six years old when she got married to the Prophet Muhammad (sws). The nikāh took place in Makkah after the death of Khadījah (rta). The marriage was consummated three years later in Madīnah. This is what books of hadīth and sīrah report about her. The narratives which describe these details are found in Bukhārī and Muslim and some other books of hadīth as well. There is no doubt that such marriages have taken place in the past keeping in view certain needs of tribal and rural societies. Examples can even be presented from our society. It is also true that the social attitudes that spring from basic morality can be different in different societies keeping in view their circumstances and experiences, and the moral status of one society cannot be determined by using another society as a standard. All these things can be accepted; however, the matter of ‘Ā’ishah’s (rta) marriage is different. The question which arises in every discerning mind relates to the need of this marriage: Why did it take place when the need which was present at that time could not have been fulfilled even after many subsequent years. Such marriages do take place and one can accept them taking place without any hesitation; however, it is not easy to accept marriages which take place without any reason and to fulfill a current need many years later.

Had the suggestion to marry her come from the Prophet (sws), we could have said that this was done on divine bidding. The role she would play in the Prophet’s life and the treasure of wisdom which would be transmitted to the ummah through her noble person was in the foreknowledge of God; thus it was decided that she be singled out for the Prophet (sws) since this early age. We can also say that the Prophet (sws) undertook this marriage for the betterment of his preaching mission. ‘Ā’ishah’s (rta) father was a very close companion of the Prophet (sws). In tribal life, relationships play a great role in cementing close ties. The Prophet (sws) deemed it appropriate that he engage in this association with his special companion so that ties of friendship and love were strengthened.

Had this suggestion to marry her come from Abū Bakr (rta), it could have been said that he was desirous of respect and honour for his daughter, for his own self and for his own family. He wanted to establish familial ties with the person whom he regarded to be a messenger of God; perhaps he did not get this idea at the time of the marriage of his other daughter Asmā’ (rta). After her, it was only through ‘Ā’ishah (rta) that he could attain this honour. Thus he suggested for this marriage to take place. The Prophet (sws) accepted this suggestion to honour the wish of his dear friend.

However, we know that none of these suppositions are true. If because of a divinely inspired vision such a thought for ‘Ā’ishah’s (rta) existed in the heart of the Prophet (sws), he never expressed it. The whole corpus of hadith and sīrah literature is totally devoid of a mention of any such suggestion, indication or insinuation from him. The same is the case of Abū Bakr (rta). If he wanted the marriage of his daughter to take place with the Prophet (sws), why did he resolve to solemnize her marriage with the son of Mut‘im ibn ‘Adī? Narratives mention that he had already done this before this suggestion came to him. Not only this, it is also reported that when he heard this suggestion, he expressed his wonder since he thought that the Prophet (sws) was like a paternal uncle for his children; so how could the suggestion of such a marriage be presented. His words reported are: هل تصلح له إنما هي ابنة أخيه (Is she allowed to him? She is the daughter of his brother!)1

The narratives clearly state that it was Khawlah bint hakīm who suggested that the name of ‘Ā’ishah (rta) for this marriage. It was she who directed the attention of the Prophet (sws) to the fact that after the death of Khadījah (rta), it was his need to marry again. She is reported to have said: يا رسول الله كأني أراك قد دخلتك خلة لفقد خديجة أفلا أخطب عليك (I see that you have secluded yourself after the loss of Khadījah; shall I find a match for you?).2 On inquiry by the Prophet (sws), she told him that both an unmarried and a divorced lady were available. When the Prophet (sws) asked who was the unmarried lady she had in mind, her reply was ‘Ā’ishah bint Abī Bakr (rta).3
A wife can be needed to satisfy one’s sexual needs, for companionship and friendship and for looking after children and household affairs. If this suggestion was given with sanity prevailing, the question which arises is: which of these needs can be fulfilled by a six year old girl? Could sexual relations be established with her? Could the companionship of a wife be available through her? Could she have been able to look after kids? Could she have looked after household affairs? The issue just raised that a marriage is taking place to fulfill needs which cannot even be fulfilled after many years of marriage is not merely a possible option that should considered in interpreting these narratives. It is the most fundamental question in this regard. Can it be logically accepted that to fulfill a need of today a suggestion be given as a result of which it is not even fulfilled after several years? Ibn Khaldūn has rightly pointed out that in the matter of historical incidents, the real thing is their possibility of taking place. They cannot merely be accepted on the basis that their chain of narration contains such and such a person and that it has been narrated through several chains.4

In current times, men of learning who are presenting their researches on this issue should first of all answer this question. They should explain how this internal contradiction of the narrative can be resolved. If this contradiction cannot be resolved, then why don’t the requisites of knowledge and intellect entail that the narrative which depicts ‘Ā’shah’s age to be six years at the time of marriage should be reconsidered and the opinion of those scholars 5  should also be reflected upon who say that the words to the effect بعد العشر were understood to be present after the words بنت ستين uttered by ‘Ā’ishah (rta) and the narrators never made an effort to understand them? Whatever research is presented without answering this question will never be worthy of any attention for any person of learning.

(Translated by Dr Shehzad Saleem)

1. Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Abū ‘Abdullāh al-Shaybānī, Musnad, vol, 6 (Cairo: Mu’assasah al-Qurtubah, n.d.), 210, (no. 25810).
2. See: Abū ‘Abdullāh Muhammad ibn Sa‘d al-Zuhrī, Al-Tabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 8 (Beirut: Dār sādir, n.d.), 57.
3. Ibid.
4. ‘Abd al-Rah@mān ibn Muhammad ibn Khaldūn, Muqaddimah,  5th ed. (Beirut: Dār al-qalam, 1984), 37.
5. See, for example: Shabbīr Ahmad Azhar Mayrathī, Sahīh Bukhārī kā mutāla‘ah, 1st ed. (Lahore: Dār al-tazkīr, 2005), 252-255.