Some thoughts on the statement, “This ruling has no basis/evidence.”
❝Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
Often we hear certain students of knowledge say, whilst explaining textbooks or in their Fatwas, that, “There is no basis/evidence for this.”
In my opinion, these words aren’t appropriate for a number of reasons:
1) To negate the presence of any evidence requires one to go through and examine most of the source books that are the basis for extracting the rulings, and this is something difficult for most of them, most of the time, or almost impossible for others.
2) They have said about a number of issues that it has no basis/evidence but afterwards the basis for it/the evidence was found – I do not want to mention the issues as it will to turn into a discussion about particular individuals (as opposed to the matter at hand) – and this evidence: either the individual had not come across it due to his lack of research or he had come across it but had a stronger argument against it. And even in the case where he has a stronger argument against it, it doesn’t befit him to say, “There is no basis for it.”, rather, intellectual honesty would necessisate that one clarifies and explains this evidence of the Madhhab first and then mentions the argument against it which is stronger in his view.
3) Using this type of rhetoric gives the (false) impression that the Madhhabs do not base some of the legal issues on any evidence (!) which in turn leads to beginners abandoning the schools and makes them think that these rulings are not grounded in knowledge. This is why you find some of them insulting the Madhhabs and devaluing those who ascribe themselves to these schools of thought.
4) Lastly, those who look into the works of the early scholars, may Allah have mercy on them, will find how accurately they chose their words. Al-Muwaffaq, Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi (r), in spite of his immense knowledge and in spite of being very widely read, he says, “I do not know of any difference of opinion in this issue.” even though he could have just said, “There is no difference of opinion in this issue.”, but he decided to choose the better wording to grant himself the excuse in case someone else was aware that this issue was differed upon, and to set an example for us to be accurate in what we say.
Had these honorable scholars said, “I do not know of any authentic evidence (for this)” or “I have not come across any sound evidence after having discussed the issue.” it would’ve been better than saying, “It has no basis/evidence.”
I ask Allah to guide us to that which pleases Him, for indeed He is the All-Hearing, the Responsive.❞
— Sh. Dr. ‘Umar b. ‘Abdi-l ‘Aziz as-Sa’id [Associate Professor of Fiqh in the department of Shari’ah, al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia]