Difference of Opinion in Islām

  Abū ʿUthmān Muḥammad al-ʿAnjarī

Our Shaykh, Abū ʿUthmān Muḥammad al-ʿAnjarī gives an insightful talk about the permissible and impermissible differences in Islām.


The Shaykh began by explaining that there are permissible and impermissible differences of opinion in Islām.
 
There are two kinds of impermissible differences that happened at the time of the Sahābah.
 
The first kind is when a Ṣahābī opposed another Ṣahābī but he then returned to the correct position. For example, when the Prophet died and ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (Raḍī Allāhu ʿanhū) claimed that he had not died but Abū Bakr (Raḍī Allāhu ʿanhū) refuted this belief and after this clarification with evidence from the Qurʾān, ʿUmar returned to the truth and believed in it until he had died. 
 
The second kind is when a Ṣahābī said something that differs from the other Ṣahābah, but he is the only one that held his opinion and he died upon it in contraḍīction to the other Ṣahābah. After his death no one followed what he said and there is no opposition or differing because the truth is clear. For example, when ʿAbdullāh ibn ʿUmar held that a Muslim was prohibited from marrying a Christian or a Jewish women, he died upon this view. However, the Ummah united concluding that this was not a correct position. It is not permissible to follow his opinion in this case.

These two examples prove that the Ummah does not unite on an incorrect position and it is not permissible to hold either of these two views now. These two examples show that the matters were closed and ended at that time and it is not permissible to hold these opinions, this is because the Ummah returns to the Qurʾān and Sunnah in all matters and the consensus upon the evidences. 
 
A further example of impermissible opinion is that a belief that is held that is in opposition, an innovation, contrary to what was believed and held by the Ṣahābah and the Salaf. For example, the Qurʾān is the Speech of Allāh not created. There came a people who came and said that the Qurʾān is the Speech of Allāh and it is created, such a belief is kufr (disbelief) because it opposes that which the Ṣahābah and Salaf were upon. It is prohibited to hold such a belief and it takes a person outside of the fold of Islām.
 
The Shaykh continues to give additional examples of impermissible differing. The innovated belief that Allāh is everywhere when it is established from Qurʾān and Sunnah that Allāh is above His Throne. Secondly, the innovated belief that is propagated by people like Yusūf Qardawī that music is allowed when the Salaf agreed that it is impermissible. 
 
There are types of differing that are permissible. 
 
A difference that happened at the time of the Ṣahābah. One group of scholars held one position and another group held another position. For example, the Ṣalah al-Qiyām. There occurred a difference of the prayer being 8 units (rakʿah) of prayer or 20 units of prayer. This difference has continued to this time.
 
The issue of divorce being pronounced three times at one time. Is it considered a complete major divorce or not? There is a position that it is a complete divorce and another that it is not and is just counted as one divorce. The third example given was about the length of the beard. Is it permissible to cut the beard if it is longer than the length of the fist? One position holds that it is not permissible and another that it is. 
 
Important benefits can be derived from that which has been presented so far: 
 
Firstly, that differing occurs but the truth is one. This is a principle and foundation of Salafīyyah. The truth is one. The correct position is one. The truth is one and there is no difference. However, you give an excuse to the one who differs in that which is permissible. We are not like the Ikhwān (Muslim Brotherhood) who say this is your opinion and this is my opinion and it doesn’t matter that we differ. 
 
Secondly, differing is allowed but the truth is one. So one should seek to search for the truth and clarity. This truth and clarity should then be presented to the one that differs with evidence.
 
Thirdly, the scholars that differ upon established evidences; then the one that is wrong will get one reward and the one that is upon that which is the truth will receive two rewards from Allāh. 
 
Also, from the differences that occur are concerning those matters that did not exist in the past. The scholars of the truth may differ in these matters. For example, is it allowed to have an injection whilst one is fasting? Does it or does it break or not break the fast? Do you use or do you not use the microphone for the call to prayer?
 
The Shaykh said only the major Scholars can speak on such matters. These matters are not for the students of knowledge to give rulings. Rather the Scholars like; Shaykh Ibn Bāz, Shaykh Ibn ʿUthaymīn, Shaykh Ṣāliḥ, Shaykh Muqbil (may Allāh have mercy upon them) Shaykh Rabīʿ ibn Hādī, Shaykh Ṣālīh al-Fawzān etc. may give direction on these matters. 
 
The Shaykh emphasised and reiterated that the correct position in affairs is one. We start our dāʿwah (call) with the understanding that the truth is one, a difference occurs but the reality is that the truth is one. One of the positions is incorrect because the truth is one. 
 
We do not choose what we want from the differing opinions, rather, we are meant to research to find out which opinion is stronger with evidence. 
 
Thirdly, differing is not good and we do not like it, we hate it. We seek to unite upon the truth. 
 
The evidence is in the Qurʾān:
 
And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment. 
 [Sūrah Āli ʿImrān, 3:105]

The difference between Sin and Differing
 
It has to be clarified that impermissible differing is a sin. For example, to believe the Qurʾān is created, Allāh is everywhere, music is permissible, this differing exists but it is sinful differing. There is a dangerous and poisonous phenomenon, a modern trend, a new model. This model mixes differing with sin. They wish to mix differing that is impermissible under the guise that it is allowed. This is wrong, it is ḥarām. The Qurʾān is the Speech of Allāh not created. Allāh is above His throne. This is impermissible differing that is a sin. They call to coming under one flag to allow impermissible differing. This is against the manhaj (methodology) of the Ummah. 

There is no differing in ʿaqīdah (belief) but differing may occur in fiqh issues but even so the the truth is one not two not three. 

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Tags: Muḥammad al-Anjarī, Ikhtilāf

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