Can I be a Mujtahid?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Is it permissible to try to understand why the Prophet peace be upon him made a specific ruling (in particular in ibadah) and then make qiyas based on that?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam,

Qiyas is a very sophisticated mechanism that has many conditions and subtleties that make it beyond the reach of those who are not at a very high level of scholarly specialization. Strictly speaking, true qiyas is only the domain of a mujtahid. Even true muftis and fuqaha use only follow the rulings of mujtahids, and when no direct ruling is available, which is rare (even on ‘contemporary issues’) there are strict and exacting conditions on how to apply legal principles to derive a ruling.

This is why even scholars are told in classical texts to refer to the top fuqaha of their times or consult other scholars before giving a new ruling. This is the deen of Allah. When we say, “Such and such is allowed,” what we are saying is that, “The Creator of the Universe deems such and such to be allowed.” It is very serious. This is why Allah Most High Himself instructed us to, “Ask those who know if you know not.”

In this specific instance he is asking: was the ruling for ghusl on juma’ b/c people were unclean and the Prophet peace be upon him just wanted to encourage people to cleanliness? if so, then if someone is not in need of ghusl and takes a regular shower (in this case b/c he has braids he doesn’t wish to remove so his shower may not be ghusl) and is “clean” has he (this person) done anything wrong?

Hmm. Firstly, people are at two levels. Mujtahids, and those who must follow qualified scholarship. The latter’s role is to act. Simple. The Sahaba themselves did not discuss the “reasoning” behind the guidance of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Rather, they acted on it, without hesitation, out of love. They understood the Qur’anic verse, “Say (O Prophet): If you love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you.”

What more could one want?

It goes back to methodology. People need to understand the issue of following qualified scholarship. People need to be in touch with real scholars, and seek guidance from them. We now just want rulings and “information” from scholars. As for guidance, we think that, “I know best.” The traditional way is to submit to the Qur’anic verse that, “What you have been given of knowledge is but little.”

Sh. Hamza Yusuf and Sh. Zaid Shakir have excellent tapes about the importance of the Prophet’s sunna… Such things could open hearts and minds. Sidi Mas’ud Khan’s excellent website has many articles that could be useful, including Sh. Abdal Hakim Murad’s article on The Primordiality of the Sunna. []

Faraz Rabbani.

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