Sunday, September 04, 2005
Fulfillment of Ignorance
In one of his poems, Ibn 'Arabi said:
I am not one of those who says: "Ibn Hazm said," Or "Ahmad [Ibn Hanbal] said" or "Al-Nu'man [Abu Hanifa]." - (Shadharat al-dhahab)
In another poem he is even more specific: They have made me a disciple of Ibn Hazm. But I am not one of those who says: "Ibn Hazm said" No! And neither am I one of those who invoke the authority of someone other than Him. - (Diwan) Two rules guide Ibn 'Arabi's reflections on the problems of fiqh. The first, he states thus:
Every thing about which the shari'a keeps silence has no legal status other than original licitness [al-ibaha al-asliyya], - (al-futuhat al-makiyya)
which is in accord with the Qur'anic precept: "Do not ask us about those things that, if they were shown to you, would bring you wrong" (5:101) and the hadith in which the Prophet states, "Do not ask me questions as long as I leave you alone!" (Bukhari & Muslim)
In other words, what the Law is silent about is no more fortuitous than what it pronounces. If each word of the shari'a has a meaning, the absence of a word has one, too; and man, if he is not to transgress the word of God, is not to fill in God's silence. The "holes" in the Law are part of its plenitude. The "original licitness of things" is not less the expression of Divine Will thatn their eventually illicit character under certain definitive conditions.
The second rule further explains the first, and is equally scripturally based. He writes:
Out of divergence in legal questions God has made both a Mercy for his servants and a widening [ittisaa'] of what he has prescribed for them to do to show their adoration. But the fuqaha of our times have restricted and forbidden, for those who follow them, what the Sacred Law had widened for them. They say to one who belongs to their school, if he is Hanafite, for example: "Do not go looking in Shafi'i for a rukhsa [a lightening, a dispensation] in this problem that you have." And so on for each of them. That is one of the gravest calamities and one of the heaviest constraints in the matter of religion. Now God said that "He has imposed nothing difficult on you in matters of religion" [Qur'an 22:78]. The law has affirmed the validity of the status of him who makes personal effort to interpret for himself or those who follow him. But the fuqaha of our time have forbidden this effort, maintaining that it leads to making light of religion. Such is their role in the fulfillment of ignorance! - (al-futuhat al-makiyya)
A tutorist scruple, a demanding spiritual discipline, can most often lead the salik (viator) to reserve for himself the most rigorous of solutions (al-'aza'im). But he must not refuse others the benefit of more accomodating solutions when, in good faith, a qualified mujtahid finds support for it in the Qur'an, the sunna of the Prophet, or the consensus of the Companions. The consequence of this attitude is that Ibn 'Arabi, when he examines a legal question, mentions all the responses that have been offered by the different schools of jurisprudence, and, if he mentions the one that has his preference, he validates them all without exception.
posted by Abubak'r | 9/04/2005 12:30:00 PM |
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