False Maxims in Jurisprudence

Islamic jurisprudence contains many Qa'ida (maxims, basic principles) which are crucial to establishing a framework for jurisprudence in Islam. One such Qa'ida is the following: Anything that is required to fulfill an obligation becomes an obligation. Based on this Qa'ida, many rules in Islam are derived. For example, ruling by Islam is an obligation, but this ruling cannot be accomplished without the Islamic political system; therefore, the Islamic political system becomes an obligation. An example that we are all familiar with is the prayer. Since the prayer is an obligation, then the wulu becomes an obligation because the prayer will not be valid without wulu. This principle est ablishes another Qa'ida in Islam: Anything that leads to the prohibited is itself prohibited.

Unfortunately, nowadays, the thinking of Muslims has declined sharply. As a result, many false maxims have been propagated among the Muslim masses. One such maxim states that the Shariah was revealed for our benefit. In reality, the Shariah was revealed by Allah (swt) to be implemented and followed, and we are obligated to implement the Shariah and refer to the Shariah, regardless of whether we derive benefit from doing so or not. Our benefit is in following the Shariah, because by doing so, we attain the Pleasure of Allah and derive the ultimate benefit of being admitted into Jannah and avoiding Hell-Fire in the Day of Judgment. However, such a false maxim seeks to make the Shariah revolve around our benefit, whereas our benefit should revolve around the Shariah.The concept of benefit, however, implies that there are some issues without rulings from Islam, and to fill this vacuum, we have to apply benefit rather than textual daleel. This is wrong for several reasons:

1) If there are some issues without a ruling from Islam means that Allah forgot to address some issues. Such notions cannot be attributed to the Creator.

2) Allah(swt) says that we will be accounted for ALL our actions, which implies that Allah is going to judge ALL the actions without addressing SOME issues. If Allah (swt) did not provide an Islamic answer to every action that we do and every issue that we face, then this would mean that Allah (swt) would hold us accountable for certain actions and issues to which He did not provide an answer for, which would indicate that Allah (swt) is unjust. Thus, the completeness of Islam is an issue of Aqeedah because doubting the completeness of Islam would imply that Allah (swt) is not just, or wo rse, that Allah (swt) lied by affirming that Islam is complete in His Qur'an, when in fact, the Message of Islam is not complete. Such deficiencies cannot be attributed to Allah (swt) the All-Mighty, and none of us wish for ourselves to stand before the Creator on the Day o f Judgment with such statements and beliefs to testify against us. Allah (swt) has addressed ALL the issues and will account for ALL our actions. This concept is directly linked to the belief in Allah (swt).

Another false Qa'ida calls for Muslims to follow the ''spirit of the text.'' Such a maxim can b e used conveniently to justify any action, regardless of whether it is allowed or not, on the notion that one is following the ''spirit of the text.'' For example, one can sell liquor and give the profits to the orphans of Palestine and justify this action on the notion that one is following the ''spirit of the text'' which calls Muslims to do good and be generous to other Muslims. By the same token, one can assume a ruling position and apply Islamic rules mixed with non-Islamic rules and claim that he is adhering to the ''spirit of the text'' which calls Muslims to ''establish justice'' in the society. The examples can be endless, and they serve to illustrate how this maxim of following the ''spirit of the text'' is no more than the Islamic equivalent of the Western principle that states ''ends justify means.''

The propagation of false maxims has a tremendous impact upon the thinking of Muslims. Because the Qa'ida deals with the fundamentals of jurisprudence, then the net effect of such false maxims can potentially lead to the formation of a new brand of Islam altogether, one where the Shariah becomes subservient to our benefits and where the mind becomes a partner in legislation alongside Allah (swt). For this reason, one can see a consistent pattern of flaws and errors in the fatwas, opinions, and ideas that are circulating among Muslims today.

Therefore, it is extremely critical for us to be aware of such false maxims and to make sure that all of our concepts and ideas emanate solely from Islam and are consistent with the Islamic Aqeedah. This is especially important when it comes to concepts that establish the basis and framework of our thinking. May Allah (swt) make us aware and give us the correct understanding so that we can worship Him correctly and fulfill our responsibilities.

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