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Monday, 27 March 2017 14:19

Abstaining from Intricate Discussions of ‘Aqaa’id

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Imaam Muzani (rahimahullah) narrates the following incident:

When Imaam Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah) came to Egypt, I said to myself, “If there is any person who can answer the intricate question related to ‘Aqaa’id which is in my heart and absorbing my mind, perhaps it will be him.” With this in mind, I went to Imaam Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah) and found him seated in the Musjid of Egypt. When I sat before him, I said, “There is an intricate mas’alah pertaining to ‘Aqaa’id in my heart (that I wish to ask). So I said, ‘There is nobody who possesses knowledge as great as that which you possess. So inform me regarding the in depth knowledge of ‘Aqaa’id that you possess.’”

Hearing the nature of the question I posed, Imaam Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah) was angered and said, “Do you know where you are seated?” I replied, “Yes, I am seated in the area of Fustaat in Egypt, in its Musjid, before Abu ‘Abdillah, Muhammad bin Idrees Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah).”

Imaam Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah) responded, “How far are you from giving the correct answer! You are not in Fustaat in Egypt, but rather you are in Taaraan drowning, and its waves will strike you without you even realizing it. This is the very place in which Fir‘aun had drowned (Taaraan is a place in the Red Sea in which most ships would sink. Hazrat Imaam Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah) compared him to a person drowning in Taaraan to impress on him that he was dabbling in intricate aspects of ‘Aqaa’id, a very sensitive area of Deen, in which erring causes one to drown and lose his Imaan).

Imaam Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah) thereafter asked me, “Did any Hadeeth reach you regarding Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asking a question of this nature?” When I replied in the negative, he asked, “Did any of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) discuss these intricate issues of ‘Aqaa’id?” I again replied in the negative. Imaam Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah) next asked, “Do you know the number of the stars in the sky?” To this as well, I replied in the negative. He then asked me, “Take any star from the stars that you see; do you know what type of star it is? When it rises? When it sets? What it is created from?” When I again said no, Imaam Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah) explained, “When you are unable to understand the reality of a weak creation from the creations of Allah, which you are able to perceive with your eyes, then how can you discuss intricate ‘Aqaa’id and issues relating to the being of Allah Ta‘ala, the One who created the star?”

Imaam Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah) thereafter asked me a mas’alah pertaining to wudhu to which I gave the incorrect answer. He then explained four different scenarios of the mas’alah, asking me the ruling of each, and I was unable to provide the correct answer to any of the scenarios. He thus addressed me saying, “You have neglected acquiring the knowledge of something which you require at least five times a day, and instead you wish to discuss intricate masaa’il related to ‘Aqaa’id and the being of Allah Ta‘ala whenever it enters your heart to do so? Turn to Allah Ta‘ala and the verse of the Qur’aan Majeed:

وَ اِلٰـہُکُمۡ اِلٰہٌ وَّاحِدٌ ۚ لَاۤ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا ہُوَ الرَّحۡمٰنُ الرَّحِیۡمُ ﴿۱۶۳﴾٪ اِنَّ فِیۡ خَلۡقِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ وَ اخۡتِلَافِ الَّیۡلِ وَ النَّہَارِ وَ الۡفُلۡکِ الَّتِیۡ تَجۡرِیۡ فِی الۡبَحۡرِ بِمَا یَنۡفَعُ النَّاسَ وَ مَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰہُ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مِنۡ مَّآءٍ فَاَحۡیَا بِہِ الۡاَرۡضَ بَعۡدَ مَوۡتِہَا وَ بَثَّ فِیۡہَا مِنۡ کُلِّ دَآبَّۃٍ ۪ وَّ تَصۡرِیۡفِ الرِّیٰحِ وَ السَّحَابِ الۡمُسَخَّرِ بَیۡنَ السَّمَآءِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ لَاٰیٰتٍ لِّقَوۡمٍ یَّعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۶۴﴾

And your Allah is One Allah: There is no god but He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the benefit of mankind; in the rain which Allah sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds, and the clouds which they trail subserviently between the sky and the earth;- (Here) indeed are signs for a people that are wise.

Imaam Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah) then said to me, “Ponder over the creation of Allah Ta‘ala and you will understand the greatness of Allah Ta‘ala, and do not attempt to delve into discussions that are beyond your understanding.” Realizing my error, I said, “I have repented and will not repeat this mistake”.

(Taareekh ibn ‘Asaakir vol. 51 pg. 381, Siyar A’laam min Nubalaa vol. 10 pg. 26)

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