Questions on Qiyas « ghuraba.info Questions on Qiyas by Abu Hassan Published on 03 Muharram 1432 (10 Kanun I 2010) · No comments Upon quoting the saying of ash-Sha’bi that “you have indeed perished, as you have abandoned the narrated reports and have held on to things of qiyas [analogical derivation],” I was asked a series of questions regarding the complete rejection of qiyas. The proceeding is the discussion that followed. Question: How about when the texts are silent on a topic? When there is no naql [transmitted text] available, shouldn’t the scholars perform ijtihad [diligent research] and use their ‘aql [intellect] to reach a solution? Abu Hassan: Well, regarding whether or not there even exists such a case I would be interested to hear of an example. Allah (exalted) said, ما فرطنا في الكناب من شيء “We have not neglected anything in the book.” (6:38) He (exalted) also said, ونزلنا عليك الكتاب تبيانا لكل شيء “…and We sent down upon you the book as a clarification for everything…” (16:89) Furthermore, if the question is regarding the permissibility or prohibition of something, then the default ruling is that everything is halal [lawful, legal] until proven haram [unlawful, illegal]. Allah (exalted) said, هو الذي خلق لكم ما في الأرض جميعا “He is the One Who created for you all that is in the earth…” (2:29) The article la in la-kum is an article of possession and permissibility, i.e. choice, so that Allah (exalted) is saying He created everything for us to do with as we like. He made an exception to this when He (exalted) said, وقد فصل لكم ما حرم عليكم “…and He has classified for you what He made unlawful for you…” (6:119) Therefore, He (exalted) permitted everything for us except what He specifically declared as being unlawful. Regarding the scholars performing ijtihad, then we need to define what exactly ijtihad is. Linguistically, ijtihad means to exert one’s full capacity to something (al-Munawi, al-Jurjani, and others; similar came from Zakariya al-Ansari). Allah (exalted) said, لا يكلف الله نفسا إلا وسعها “Allah does not burden a soul except its capacity…” (2:286) Since knowledge of the hidden meanings and reasons and so-called “wisdoms” of any revealed text is not in anyone’s capacity (even the greatest of scholars), then to derive rulings based on anything other than the revealed text is also out of one’s capacity and is not involved in true ijtihad. Rather, true ijtihad is when one studies the revealed texts according to their actual meanings based on the language and existing rulings to understand the shari’ah. The prophet (Allah bless and greet him) said, إذا حكم الحاكم فاجتهد ثم أصاب فله أجران وإذا حكم فاجتهد ثم أخطأ فله أجر “If one giving a ruling does so by exerting every effort, and thereby reaches the truth, he will receive two rewards. If he rules and exerts every effort, but makes a mistake, he will receive one reward.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, and others) There is no mention here of qiyas, ray [view; personal opinion], istihsan [preference; preferring texts over each other], etc. One exerts his full effort by analyzing the Quran, the authenticated sunnah, the ijma’ [agreement; consensus] of the believers, and the Arabic language which governs all such texts. Do we forget that the revealed texts include the Quran, along with its different recitations, abrogations; and the sunnah, along with its different chains (requiring authentication) and narrations? It is possible that great scholars made and continue to make mistakes when authenticating the narratives, or understanding a word in an incorrect context due to some deficiency in their mastery of the language. Not everyone is a master of something, and rarely do you find masters of many things. People make mistakes, and it is even more likely that a mistake will be made when one rules by something other than the revealed texts. Remember that what is being discarded is qiyas, not deriving rulings altogether. If something new is invented, but it falls under a general ruling set by Allah and His messenger (Allah bless and greet him) then that general ruling is applied. However, qiyas is when one takes a specific case and applies it generally. This goes against the basic principles of the shari’ah. I know it is hard to imagine that some of our scholars have actually fallen into such things as passing rulings based on their own opinions and not based on the revelation, but this was something about which we were warned. عن عوف بن مالك الأشجعي قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم تفترق أمتي على بضع وسبعين فرقة أعظمها فتنة على أمتي قوم يقيسون الأمور برأيهم فيحلون الحرام ويحرمون الحلال On the authority of ‘Auf bin Malik al-Ashja’i: Allah’s messenger (Allah bless and greet him) said, “My nation will split into seventy-some divisions. The greatest of them as a fitnah [test, trial, usually negative] against my nation will be a people using qiyas with their personal views, thereby they will permit the haram and forbid the halal.” (Related by at-Tabarani and al-Hakim; al-Haithami and others said it is authentic) Similar has been authentically reported from Ibn Mas’ud. The reality is that we should set aside everything except the revealed texts and understand this religion based on the language in which it was revealed. The best interpretation is what Allah and His messenger (Allah bless and greet him) said themselves, not what any scholar says about the Quran and sunnah. To them we return all disputes. Allah (exalted) said, addressing all believers, فإن تنازعتم في شيء فردوه إلى الله والرسول إن كنتم تؤمنون بالله واليوم الأخر ذلك خير وأحسن تأويلا “…so if you dispute about anything then refer it back to Allah and the messenger if you believe in Allah and the last day. That is good and the best interpretation.” (4:59) He never said to return the issue to a scholar, which negates taqlid [adherence without proof; blind following], just as He never said to return the issue to one’s own reflections over the “reasons” of why something was revealed, which negates qiyas: since qiyas is to create a ruling based upon a shared “reason” (called an ‘illah) between one established hukm [ruling, decision; law] and one unestablished, or new, case. Now, if the reason is apparent in the text, then that is different and the ruling becomes general to that reason anyway – no qiyas needed; just apply the specific case to the general ruling. There is much to be said on this subject, and there are books already written that can be read, but I hope this is some help. May Allah rectify our situation and lead us far away from making man-made laws govern our religion. Amin! Question: I understand what you are saying, but I am still confused. I thought that qiyas plays a role from which the shari’ah is derived, as long as it comes after the Quran, the sunnah, and the ijma’. Is this not right? Abu Hassan: In short, no. Qiyas does not play a role from which the shari’ah is derived. This is a deception from the shaitan. It is as Muhammad bin Sirin, Ja’far as-Sadiq, and others have said, “the first one to use qiyas was Iblis”; and they also said, “the sun and the moon are only worshiped through qiyas”. The sun-worshipers say that the sun is the “greatest thing in the heavens”, thus seeking to liken it to Allah and to justify their worship. Similarly the moon-worshipers say that “the moon is a guiding light in the darkness of the world, like Allah”. Allah’s curses be upon these people. Subhanallah! He is far glorified above what they associate with Him! It was Iblis who used qiyas when he determined that the reason (called ‘illah) for Allah’s command to prostrate to Adam was due to Adam’s superiority, and since Iblis considered himself better than Adam he used qiyas, seeking thereby to nullify the command of Allah. Another issue of qiyas is when he deceived our father Adam (upon him peace) by telling him the ‘illah, or reason, for Allah’s prohibition of eating from the tree was immortality or becoming an angel, i.e. it was not an absolute prohibition, but conditional, as if it was “do not eat from the tree if you do not want to live forever and do not want to become an angel”. This is the apparent text of what Allah (exalted) said, quoting Iblis, وقال ما نهاكما ربكما عن هذه الشجرة إلا أن تكونا ملكين أو تكونا من الخالدين “…and he said, ‘your Lord did not forbid you from this tree except that you would become angels or you would become immortals’…” (7:19) It is not as the Christians say, that Iblis sought to cause them to disbelieve. No! Adam (upon him peace) was a sinless prophet who made this unintentional mistake believing he would be pleasing Allah! Subhanallah! Look at how qiyas works! The scholars, both those who make honest mistakes and those who misguide intentionally, will give well-seeming reasons to alter the commands and prohibitions of Allah and those who follow them will do so with possibly horrible consequences. This is a lesson to be learned from our father Adam for those with understanding. Again, one must look at the definition of qiyas to simply realize that those who hold firm to it are overstepping the bounds of the shari’ah as they are seeking something other than the Quran, the sunnah, and the ijma’. Further, please note that there are some things people call qiyas that are not actually qiyas. For example, as I mentioned before, when someone takes a specific case and applies a general ruling to it, this is not qiyas even though some people claim it is. This is following the apparent meaning of the general text, and nothing more. The most common example is the intoxicant. People ask, “is heroin haram or halal?” The people of qiyas say, “it is haram because the ‘illah for wine being haram is that it intoxicates, and since heroin also intoxicates then it is like wine. Therefore, heroin is haram because of the analogy between it and wine”. This is invalid reasoning, as it involves qiyas and ta’lil [establishing an 'illah]. However, heroin is indeed haram because the prophet (Allah bless and greet him) said, “anything that intoxicates is haram.” Since this is a general statement, and heroin is an intoxicant included in his statement “anything that intoxicates” then it is haram; not because of qiyas, but because this is the clear ruling of Allah’s messenger (Allah bless and greet him). An actual case of qiyas that is used is when one asks, “how does one clean a vessel licked by a pig?” The people of qiyas liken the pig to the dog and so they rely on this analogy while quoting the hadith [speech, talk; narrative] of the prophet (Allah bless and greet him) when he commanded that a vessel licked by a dog be washed seven times, the last time with clean earth. They say that the ‘illah for this ruling is the impurity of the dog. They say that since the pig is also impure, the same ruling applies and the vessel licked by a pig should be washed seven times, the last time with clean earth. In this way, they used a specific ruling about a vessel licked by a dog and applied it to a specific case about a vessel licked by something other than a dog. Hence, they made something specific into something general, and this is a great deception. There is much to be said about this ruling (about which I don’t want to elaborate on here, as the discussion would be quite long), but the basic concept that I am showing is how the people of qiyas make specific rulings into general rulings. Another way to know that qiyas is invalid without going into too much depth and after knowing the plethora of verses and ahadith [pl. hadith] about its invalidity is that those who believe in qiyas will only apply it in matters of fiqh [jurisprudence] but not ‘aqidah [doctrine, creed]. Who has given them the authority to understand the religion using certain principles in one sphere of knowledge but not another? If the principles of the shari’ah are the Quran, the sunnah, the ijma’, and qiyas, then is not ‘aqidah a part of the shari’ah? Did not Allah ordain certain things in which we must believe? Of course. So why the distinction between fiqh and ‘aqidah? Simply put, it is because everyone is in agreement that to use qiyas in matters of ‘aqidah will lead to shirk [partnership; polytheism; making partners for Allah] and to saying things about Allah (blessed, exalted) of which He Himself never said or permitted us to say. I hope this clarifies some of what was said. May Allah grant us success, for verily with Allah alone is success. Question: With regard to the ray and qiyas adopted by the imam [leader; scholastic leader] Abu Hanifah, such was not based on whims and desires; rather it was based on the evidence and analogies from the general principles of the shari’ah. The salaf [forerunner, predecessor, often plural] used to describe ijtihad in difficult issues as ray, i.e. opinion. Many of them used to say, when commenting on a verse from the book of Allah, “this is my opinion concerning it,” but that does not mean it is an opinion based on whims and desires. Imam Abu Hanifah followed ray and qiyas a great deal in matters other than the hudud [pl. hadd: limit; revealed criminal punishment] and expiations, as he had fewer ahadith at his disposal than other aimmah [pl. imam]. He came before the other aimmah and was very strict about accepting hadith, as false reports were so widespread in al-’Iraq at that time and there was a great deal of tribulation. Any qiyas that opposes the first three principles (Quran, sunnah, ijma’) is supposed to be rejected. Concerning qiyas in ‘aqidah, then if someone came up with an analogy in ‘aqidah, we reject it since Allah (glorified, exalted) said that there is nothing like unto Him. I think we are not defining qiyas with the same definition. From what I understand, you are attributing qiyas to something new that someone came up with in the religion. I am only saying that when the texts are completely silent on a point, i.e. they are not directly mentioning it, then the scholars have to make ijtihad to find out the answer. Regarding the question of cleaning the vessel touched by a pig, I can see how some scholars may say that its impurity is like the impurity of the dog and issue a ruling. I can see some other scholar objecting to this. If such is the case, then it is a difference amongst scholars. Clearly, one is right and if both are sincere in their ijtihad, the one who reaches the correct ruling receives two rewards while the one who reaches the incorrect ruling still gets one reward. Right? Abu Hassan: While this issue can appear deep, it does not mean that there is not a clear answer. Regarding ijtihad, then yes. Even if someone were to make a sincere attempt and perform ijtihad but came to a very wrong conclusion, then he receives his reward with Allah. As I mentioned before, there are honest mistakes and then there are those who seek to misguide. Those who commit honest mistakes will be rewarded for their honesty. Regarding the issue that Abu Hanifah (Allah be pleased with him) used ray and qiyas, then this was an honest mistake on his part. He will be rewarded. However, it is an injustice to the perfect religion of Allah (exalted) to simply dismiss that as a valid difference of opinion. In fact, his mistake was that he issued these rulings instead of remaining quiet on the subject. If the problem was the lack of an authentic hadith, then the ruling should be postponed until the issue can be investigated by one with greater knowledge in hadith. Ignorance does not permit speaking without knowledge. There were great ‘Iraqi scholars, like ash-Sha’bi (d. after 100) in al-Kufah and the judge Iyas bin Mu’awiyah (d. 122) in al-Basrah, who rejected qiyas, so to say that Abu Hanifah (d. 150) made qiyas out of necessity due to being in al-’Iraq is not supported by historical record. In fact, the main proponents of rejecting qiyas came from Baghdad and they relied solely on the revealed texts. The definition I gave of qiyas is the actual definition of qiyas. Like I said, you may be surprised to find that many of our scholars slipped into this deception. But again, this was prophesied by Allah’s messenger (Allah bless and greet him) so we should not be deceived as well. Rather, we should acknowledge the mistakes while making excuses for the honest scholars who will receive their singular rewards. When I mentioned qiyas in ‘aqidah, I was not solely referring to things which may seemingly negate “there is nothing like unto Him”, but even on issues of iman [affirmation; faith], nubuwah [prophetic nature], the angels, the jinn, etc. I mentioned ‘aqidah to show that the people of qiyas are hesitant to use their qiyas in anything other than fiqh, which proves that they themselves are not in complete support of it – which shows lack of conviction and hence, doubt and assumption – but Allah (exalted) says, إن الظن لا يغني من الحق شيئا “Verily assumption does not suffice the truth at all…” (10:36) He (exalted) also said, فماذا بعد الحق إلا الضلال “…so what is after the truth except misguidance?” (10:32) On this issue, as you mentioned, Abu Hanifah himself did not regard qiyas in issues of hudud and expiations. He is actually quoted as saying, “Whoever does not abandon qiyas in the judicial council, such does not possess fiqh,” i.e. such does not have a good understanding of the religion. This was reported from Abu Hanifah’s own son, Hammad. It was actually the students of Abu Hanifah who delved deeper into qiyas than their teacher. However, whether or not the qiyas is in hudud, expiations, or something else, it is not a justified principle with which to derive rulings, even if great scholars said it is – and we already know that taqlid is invalid, so their acceptance of qiyas is not binding on us. Concerning the issue of the pig licking the vessel, then regardless of whether or not this “makes sense”, it is still invalid. The prophet (Allah bless and greet him) knew the Arabic language better than anyone, and the word kalb means “dog” and does not mean “any impure animal”. If he (upon him peace) wanted to extend the ruling to be general, he would have said “any impure animal”; but he did not do so. Rather, there may be some benefit in cleaning dog saliva that way, while cleaning the saliva of swine does not require the repeated washings. That, on top of the fact that the dog is not mentioned in any authentic narration as being impure. Rather, that is only derived from their analytical minds. So this qiyas (like all qiyas) is invalid on multiple levels. Also, in response only to the first part of what was said, regarding that Abu Hanifah and the others did not use qiyas based on whims and desires, then I can agree to this. Again, there were honest mistakes. Abu Hanifah has also been attributed to having a murjii stance when it came to defining iman. We do not hold him in low esteem due to his honest mistakes. We find excuses for the man, but not for the invalid opinions he held. Lastly, the quoted evidence against qiyas in ‘aqidah was, ليس كمثله شيء “…there is nothing like unto Him…” (42:11) If this is the evidence against qiyas in ‘aqidah, then what is the evidence for qiyas in issues other than ‘aqidah? Further, what about the evidence against qiyas in general? Is there a specific evidence that proves qiyas only in fiqh (other than in the hudud and expiations)? Here are some proofs against qiyas in general: Allah (exalted) said, اتبعوا ما أنزل إليكم من ربكم ولا تتبعوا من دونه أولياء “Follow what was sent down to you from your Lord and do not follow others beside Him as supporters…” (7:3) He (exalted) commands us to only follow what came to us from Him and we are prohibited from following anything else. The only thing that came to us from Allah (glorified, exalted) was the revealed text. The personal views of any man did not come from Allah (exalted), so we are not permitted to follow the views of any man – even our own views. Rather, we do as Allah (exalted) said, إنما كان قول المؤمنين إذا دعوا إلى الله ورسوله ليحكم بينهم أن يقولوا سمعنا وأطعنا وأولئك هم المفلحون “The only saying of the believers when they are called to Allah and His messenger to rule between them is that they say, ‘we hear and we obey’, and such are the successful.” (24:51) Since qiyas consists of human reflection, even if one claims that the reflection is initially based on the revelation, we know that qiyas involves something man-made and it is not entirely from the revelation of Allah (exalted). As such, to follow qiyas is to follow something other than what Allah (exalted) sent down to us. This is different from reflecting over the apparent meaning of the text and deriving a ruling supported by that apparent meaning, since this necessitates that the derived ruling is from the text itself and not contrived from a man-made source. Allah (exalted) said, فلا تضربوا لله الأمثال إن الله يعلم وأنتم لا تعلمون “…so do not strike likenesses for Allah; verily Allah knows and you do not know.” (16:74) The apparent meaning of this verse negates all analogies and other likenesses that are made for Allah, whether they are about Allah or about His religion. This is an explicit text that negates analogies in the religion, since the one who does so has struck a likeness for Allah in the religion. The prohibition is general against striking likenesses for Allah, whether in His names or in His laws, as all of that is striking likenesses for Allah. An analogy is a specific kind of likeness, so analogies fall into this prohibition as well. Allah (exalted) said, ولا تقف ما ليس لك به علم “…and do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge…” (17:36) Knowledge (al-’ilm) in both the religion and the language is the correct and certain belief in something. One cannot be certain that a religious belief is correct unless there is clear evidence from the Lawmaker regarding it. Therefore, one who pursues the assumed reason of an established ruling and makes qiyas between it and a new case has pursued that of which he has no knowledge, and this is prohibited by the clear verse. Allah (exalted) said, فإن تنازعتم في شيء فردوه إلى الله والرسول إن كنتم تؤمنون بالله واليوم الأخر ذلك خير وأحسن تأويلا “…so if you dispute about anything then refer it back to Allah and the messenger if you believe in Allah and the last day; that is good and the best interpretation.” (4:59) Therefore, when a dispute arises there are only two points of reference: the Quran and the sunnah. If one did not refer the disputed issue back to the Quran and the sunnah, but rather to qiyas or to the saying of a person after Muhammad (Allah bless and greet him), then he would be disobeying the command of this verse (which is directed to every believer, as the first words of the full verse prove). This verse also indicates that if there is ijma’, meaning no dispute between any two believers in history, then one does not need to return that point of consensus back to the Quran and the sunnah. This is why ijma’ is considered the third (and last) principle. This and Allah’s (exalted) saying about following the path of the believers, ومن يشاقق الرسول ويتبع غير سبيل المؤمنين نوله ما تولى ونصله جهنم “…and whoever opposes the messenger after the guidance was made clear to him and he follows not the path of the believers, We shall leave him to what he chose and We shall roast him in Jahannam…” (4:115) If every believer in every place and time (the past taking precedence, of course) agrees to something, then this is their “path” without a doubt. That is the ijma’ to which we are obliged to adhere. Allah (exalted) said, اليوم أكملت لكم دينكم “…today I have completed for you your religion…” (5:3) So after the revelation ceased with the death of Allah’s messenger (Allah bless and greet him), the religion’s growth halted and it became a stagnant and perfect structure. The only principles that were acceptable while the prophet (Allah bless and greet him) was alive were what was sent to him of revelation and the ijma’ that is supported by the revelation itself. These are the three principles that everyone must accept. Any addition to or subtraction from these principles will be an alteration of the perfection of Islam as mentioned in the verse. You said, “so, any qiyas that opposes the first three principles is supposed to be rejected.” (I say) But every qiyas opposes the first three principles because it is from the first three principles that we find that the religion is complete and that the religion only consists of the first three principles. Therefore, any additional principle that was established after the death of the prophet (Allah bless and greet him) should be rejected. Allah’s messenger (Allah bless and greet him) never used qiyas. He only followed what was revealed to him and never made his own rulings by making an analogy between one revealed text and a new case. Allah (exalted) said, وما ينطق عن الهوى إن هو إلا وحي يوحى “…and he does not speak from desire; it is only inspiration inspired.” (53:3-4) Allah (exalted) also said, قل ما يكون لي أن أبدله من تلقاء نفسي إن أتبع إلا ما يوحى إلي “Say, ‘it is not for me to replace it from my own self. I only follow what was inspired unto me…’” (10:15) Furthermore, regarding His (exalted) statement, “…so if you dispute about anything then refer it back to Allah and the messenger if you believe in Allah and the last day,” I would say that since there is always a dispute about rulings in which qiyas was used by those who fundamentally reject it, we should always return such issues back to Allah and the messenger (and not back to qiyas). Doing this would also prove that qiyas itself should be negated altogether. Anyone who returns the issue back to qiyas instead of back to Allah and the messenger should fear Allah and remember that iman is conditional upon referring disputes back to Allah and the messenger as the verse clearly states. May Allah (exalted) grant us all success on this and every issue. Amin. Question: I think the book “Evolution of Fiqh” by the shaikh Abu Aminah Bilal Philips should also throw some light on this subject. Abu Hassan: Regarding “Evolution of Fiqh,” it is an introduction to the source of disagreements amongst the scholars. There are indeed benefits found in this book. However, Bilal Philips held the same misconception about qiyas that I mentioned, i.e. that it is applying a general ruling to a specific case. He mentions the same above-mentioned intoxicant example in “Evolution of Fiqh” on page 68 when he defines qiyas. This is not the understanding of qiyas according to the salaf. Rather, this was contrived later by others in an effort to portray qiyas as a seemly way to derive rulings from the revealed texts. Unfortunately, people have left the original discussions on qiyas and the general rejection of it by the people of hadith from the salaf, and instead they held on to the writings of those who came after the blessed generations. Bilal Philips wrote, “[a]n example of Qiyaas is the prohibition of marijuana based on the Prophet’s statement: “Every intoxicant is Khamr and every form of Khamr is Haraam.” Since Marijuana has an intoxicating effect it can be classified as Khamr and thus Haraam (prohibited).” (Evolution of Fiqh, p. 68) If marijuana is an intoxicant, it is already included in the generality of the prophet’s (Allah bless and greet him) saying, as quoted by Bilal, “[e]very intoxicant is Khamr and every form of Khamr is Haram.” This is not qiyas and this is not what was understood by the salaf as being qiyas. If this is qiyas, then all of those great scholars who rejected qiyas would have to consider some intoxicants (like heroin, cocaine, etc.) as halal. Allah forbid that we consider that any of the great learned men of the salaf held such opinions. They rejected qiyas, not the derivation of specific rulings from general texts. Rather, it was only the derivation of general rulings from specific texts that was abhorrent to them, and that is the essence of qiyas. With Allah alone is success.