Amir al-mu'minin said in disparagement of
the differences of view among the theologians.
a problem is put before anyone of
them he passes judgement on it from his imagination. When exactly the same
problem is placed before another of them he passes an opposite verdict.
Then these judges go to the chief who had appointed them and he confirms
all the verdicts, although their Allah is One (and the same), their
Prophet is one (and the same), their Book (the Qur'an) is one (and the
Is it that
Allah ordered them to differ and they obeyed Him? Or He prohibited them
from it but they disobeyed Him? Or (is it that) Allah sent an incomplete
Faith and sought their help to complete it? Or they are His partners in
the affairs, so that it is their share of duty to pronounce and He has to
agree? Or is it that Allah the Glorified sent a perfect faith but the
Prophet fell short of conveying it and handing it over (to the people)?
The fact is that Allah the Glorified says:
. . . We
have not neglected anything in the Book (Qur'an) . . . (Qur'an, 6:38)
that one part of the Qur'an verifies another part and that there is no
divergence in it as He says:
. . .
And if it had been from any other than Allah, they would surely have
found in it much discrepancy. (Qur'an, 4 :82)
Certainly the outside of the
Qur'an is wonderful and its inside is deep (in meaning). Its wonders will
never disappear, its amazements will never pass away and its intricacies
cannot be cleared except through itself.
It is a disputed problem that where there is no clear argument about a
matter in the religious law, whether there does in reality exist an order
about it or not. The view adopted by Abu'l-Hasan al-Ash`ari and his master
Abu `Ali al-Jubba'i is that in such a case Allah has not ordained any
particular course of action but He assigned the task of finding it out and
passing a verdict to the jurists so that whatever they hold as prohibited
would be deemed prohibited and whatever they regard permissible would be
deemed permissible. And if one has one view and the other another then as
many verdicts will exist as there are views and each of them would
represent the final order.
For example, if one scholar
holds that barley malt is prohibited and another jurist's view is that it
is permissible then it would really be both prohibited and permissible.
That is, for one who holds it prohibited, its use would be prohibited
while for the other its use would be permissible.
About this (theory of)
correctness Muhammad ibn Abdi'l-Karim ash-Shahrastani writes:
A group of theorists hold
that in matters where ijtihad (research) is applied there is no settled
view about permissibility or otherwise and lawfulness and prohibition
thereof, but whatever the mujtahid (the researcher scholar) holds is the
order of Allah, because the ascertainment of the view of Allah depends
upon the verdict of the mujtahid. If it is not so there will be no verdict
at all. And according to this view every mujtahid would be correct in his
opinion. (al-Milal wa'l-nihal, p.98)
In this case, the mujtahid
is taken to be above mistake because a mistake can be deemed to occur
where a step is taken against reality, but where there is no reality of
verdict, mistake has no sense. Besides this, the mujtahid can be
considered to be above mistake if it is held that Allah, being aware of
all the views that were likely to be adopted has ordained as many final
orders as a result of which every view corresponds to some such order, or
that Allah has assured that the views adopted by the mujtahids should not
go beyond what He has ordained, or that by chance the view of every one of
them would, after all, correspond to some ordained order or other.
The Imamiyyah sect, however,
has different theory, namely that Allah has neither assigned to anyone the
right to legislate nor subjected any matter to the view of the mujtahid,
nor in case of difference of views has He ordained numerous real orders.
Of course, if the mujtahid cannot arrive at a real order then whatever
view he takes after research and probe, it is enough for him and his
followers to act by it.
Such an order is the
apparent order which is a substitute for the real order. In this case, he
is excused for missing the real order, because he did his best for diving
in the deep ocean and to explore its bottom, but it is a pity that instead
of pearls he got only the sea-shell. He does not say that observers should
except it as a pearl or it should sell as such. It is a different matter
that Allah who watches the endeavours may price it at half so that the
endeavour does not go waste, nor his passion discouraged.
If the theory of correctness
is adopted then every verdict on law and every opinion shall have to be
accepted as correct as Maybudhi has written in Fawatih:
In this matter the view
adopted by al-Ash`ari is right. It follows that differing opinions should
all be right. Beware, do not bear a bad idea about jurists and do not open
your tongue to abuse them.
When contrary theories and
divergent views are accepted as correct it is strange why the action of
some conspicuous individuals are explained as mistakes of decision, since
mistake of decision by the mujtahid cannot be imagined at all. If the
theory of correctness is right the action of Mu`awiyah and `A'ishah should
be deemed right; but if their actions can be deemed to be wrong then we
should agree that ijtihad can also go wrong, and that the theory of
correctness is wrong. It will then remain to be decided in its own context
whether feminism did not impede the decision of `A'ishah or whether it was
a (wrong) finding of Mu`awiyah or something else.
However, this theory of
correctness was propounded in order to cover mistakes and to give them the
garb of Allah's orders so that there should be no impediment in achieving
objectives nor should anyone be able to speak against any misdeeds.
sermon Amir al-mu'minin has referred to those people who deviate from the
path of Allah and, closing their eyes to light, grope in the darkness of
imagination, make Faith the victim of their views and opinions, pronounce
new findings, pass orders by their own imagination and produce divergent
results. Then on the basis of the theory of correctness they regard all
these divergent and contrary orders as from Allah, as though each of their
order represents divine Revelation so that no order of theirs can be wrong
nor can they stumble on any occasion. Thus, Amir al-mu'minin says in
disproving this view that:
Allah is One, Book (Qur'an) is one, and Prophet is one then the religion
(that is followed) should also be one. And when the religion is one how
can there be divergent orders about any matter, because there can be
divergence in an order only in case he who passed the order has forgotten
it, or is oblivious, or senselessness overtakes him, or he wilfully
desires entanglement in these labyrinths, while Allah and the Prophet are
above these things. These divergences cannot therefore be attributed to
them. These divergences are rather the outcome of the thinkings and
opinions of people who are bent on twisting the delineations of religion
by their own imaginative performances.
2) Allah must have either
forbidden these divergences or ordered creating them. If He has ordered in
their favour, where is that order and at what place? As for forbidding,
the Qur'an says:
. . .Say thou! 'Hath Allah
permitted you or ye forge a lie against Allah ?' (10:59)
That is, everything that is
not in accordance with the Divine orders is a concoction, and concoction
is forbidden and prohibited. For concocters, in the next world, there is
neither success or achievement nor prosperity and good. Thus, Allah says:
And utter ye not whatever
lie describe your tongues (saying): This is lawful and this is forbidden,
to forge a lie against Allah; verily, those who forge a lie against Allah
succeed not. (Qur'an, 16:116)
3) If Allah has left
religion incomplete and the reason for leaving it halfway
was that He desired that the
people should assist Him in completing the religious code and share with
Him in the task of legislating, then this belief is obviously polytheism.
If He sent down the religion in complete form the Prophet must have failed
in conveying it so that room was left for others to apply imagination and
opinion. This, Allah forbid, would mean a weakness of the Prophet and a
bad slur on the selection of Allah.
4) Allah has said in the
Qur'an that He has not left out anything in the Book and has clarified
each and every matter. Now, if an order is carved out in conflict with the
Qur'an it would be outside the religious code and its basis would not be
on knowledge and perception, or Qur'an and sunnah, but it would be
personal opinion and one's personal judgement which cannot be deemed to
have accord with religion and faith.
5) Qur'an is the basis and
source of religion and the fountain head of the laws of shari`ah. If the
laws of shari`ah were divergent there should have been divergence in it
also, and if there were divergences in it, it could not be regarded as
Divine word. When it is Divine word the laws of shari`ah cannot be
divergent, so as to accept all divergent and contrary views as correct and
imaginative verdicts taken as Qur'anic dictates.