GUEST ARTICLE: by Mohamed AS
A summary of the spiritual aspects of Shariah taught by Sheikh Mokhtar Maghraoui:
Shari’ah, a most beautiful path to freedom
One of the most beautiful aspects of the Shari’ah Muhammadiyyah (pbuh) is that it is a living, breathing being that adjusts to the times, places and people.
Contrary to sad misrepresentations, this Sharia embodies compassion, love, care and sincere watchfulness over humanity, like a mother caring for children who need to know what limits are safe to be in versus what boundaries not to cross for fear of harm; a sanctuary and safe haven for those seeking the inexhaustible source of joy eternally.
This amazing feat of Divine legal system originates from sources that are stable, constant and definitive, yet at the same time inherently dynamic both temporally and spatially.
This alone is ultimate proof that this Shari’ah is indeed the one intended by Him (Subhanawataala) to be the last, most complete, eternal path until the end of time for all humanity.
It is unlike other Sharaai’i rendered obsolete and abandoned by their religious leaders who ultimately compromised their main principles as time changed.
This would not have been possible in our Sharia if it was not naturally compatible to the humanity in governs in having both, a timeless, constant aspect and a time bound one, namely the spiritual and material dimensions respectively. It is both timelessly constant and constantly timely.
We discussed the sources of Sharia made available to us. Like any everlasting structure, a firm unmoving foundation is essential.
Sharia, thus, is rooted in the most timeless, constant, unequivocally, definitive fundamental source, Al-Quran, in terms of its veracity (thuboot qati’i).
Yet by the same token, its interpretation of meaning extends itself to being both definitively constant and probabilistic at the same time, thus exhibiting the room for variability that make it forever an inexhaustible, living source for quenching the thirsty.
This is followed with the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) as a source for legislation, which also lends itself to variability of interpretation and timeliness. Sharia further extends its embracing arms to include the best of humanity after the Prophet (pbuh) as a party to the equation, weighing in on matters of life by making the consensus of the Prophet’s noble companions, followed by the righteous predecessors and then the scholars after that, be a significant source of legislation in the concept known as Ijmaa’. This inclusion of humanity in the process of Tashree’ (legislation) is actually also consistent with the root literal meaning of the Arabic word Sharia, namely a ‘sharia’ simply enables the individual to reach out directly at the source of life once the path has been paved by the Quran and Sunnah.
When consensus was not sufficient in the absence of textual evidence, Shariah further extended its span of sources to encompass the role of intellect and reasoning as a resource.
Bounded by the prior listed sources of legislation, qiyas, is the scholarly deduction of a verdict based on similar matters for which textual evidence exists and for which a key operative cause is shared. Analogy as a source of tashree’ can be jaliyy, i.e. explicit and evident, when the analogous matter has the same operative cause and thus can lend itself to the same verdict. Other times the operative cause is not explicit and requires deduction, giving way to another type of qiyas: the hidden /khafiyy.
A never changing mandate in Shariah is the well being of society and the alleviation of unnecessary hardship and harm.
PREVENT HARM: Thus enter the principles of sad alzaraii’ that define the proactive nature of Sharia as well in that it deters those in its care from even being in harm’s way by blocking avenues leading to it; instead of passively waiting for harm to occur before a prohibition is made, as often seen in modern legal systems.
Further, whenever communal benefit is at stake, the concept of almaslahah almorsalah is exercised that takes into account customs, societal and religious benefits in the legislative decision making process. Room is even made for Sharai’i other than that of our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) when nothing can be derived from all the above sources of tashreei’.
In addition to the above room for flexibility offered by all the available sources and their probabilistic interpretation, Sharia comes equipped with inherent capabilities of change even in its most fundamental constants through rokhas and siyaq.
Yet these, like any part of the process of tashreei’, need to be guided with appropriate contextualization while deriving the verdict, and by steering clear from inappropriate context application. It is essential to observe that throughout this ijtihad process, the jurors are constantly conscious of being objective versus subjective in light of all the evidences produced and available at a given time.
Moreover even rationalizing the textual verdict creates further room for ijtihad, scholarship and flexibility.
This manifests itself in two types of verdicts (ahkam), suprarational ones (ta’abudiyah) and rational ones (ta’alulliyah).
When a juror accepts a hukm (verdict) as supranatural, no rationale is exercised in order to explain the reasoning behind it and therefore following the verdict is directly an act of worship and obedience where reason is suspended in favor of an expression of uboodiyah (hence ta’abud) and sincere following.
EXAMPLE: Zakatul Fitr ought to be literally only in the forms of wheat, raisins, barley or the like. This is commonly how the Zahiri school of thought operates. On the other hand, Sharia permits the juror to exercise reason in order to derive at the reasoning behind a legal text and therefore extrapolate other conclusions.
Zakatul Fitr in this case can be rationalized as a means to alleviate a basic need for the needy, so it may not be limited to only the stock goods of wheat or barley, but can also be expanded to include other forms including cash for example.
Sharia therefore aims at its core to protect the five universal constant rights necessary for the well-being of an individual: faith, life, sanity, honor and wealth.
In doing so, it sets a most beautiful path to conducting one’s affairs and needs in life and its conveniences while maintaining a constant connection with Allah.
As a result, Sharia offers individuals in its care the sanctuary and safety to tread a safe path that will lead to the shortest route towards higher degrees of freedom spiritually, towards a joy unbounded, towards purity that leads eventually to the source of all purity, with Allah in blissful eternity.
DUA: May Allah continue to keep us firm, straight on His Path, until the Day we are united with Him and His close ones, safe from misery and sadness and eternally in true freedom and happiness.