Ignorant leaders and blameworthy opinions


al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalaanee

Reference: Fathul-Baaree explanation of Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree of Al-Haafidh bin Hajar. (13 / 282-288).

Category: Contemporary Issues

Chapter: What is mentioned with regards to the dispraise of opinion and the burden of analogy

"And follow not (say not) that of which you have no knowledge." [Al-Israa: 36]

Narrated to us by Sa’eed bin Taleed, that ibn Wahb narrated to me from ‘Abdur-Rahmaan bin Shuraih and other than him, from Abul-Aswad, that U’rwaa said: ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr made Hajj with us, so I heard him say: " I heard the Prophet SAllaahu ‘Alaihee Wasallam say:

"Indeed Allaah will not remove the knowledge after He has given it to you, by seizing it from you. But He will remove it by the death of the scholars (by raising the knowledge with them). So there will remain ignorant people, who will be asked and who will answer with their opinion. So they will be misguided and will misguide others."

So I narrated this to A’ishah, the wife of the Prophet sAllaahu alaihee wasallam. Then Abdullah bin A’mr made Hajj again, so she said to me: " O son of my sister! Go to Abdullah and verify for me what you narrated from him." So I went to him and asked him. He narrated to me the like of what he narrated before. So I went to A’ishah and informed her. She was surprised and said:" By Allaah, indeed Abdullah bin A’mr has memorized."

Al-Haafidh bin Hajr Al-Asqalaani mentions in his explanation of this Hadeeth:

" In this Hadeeth: there is a prohibition with regards to making the ignorant one a leader. And that is due to what will result from Mafsadah (corruption and evil). This can be used by the one who does not permit the ignorant one to be appointed for rulings, even if he is intelligent and virtuous. However if the affair is to pass between a corrupt scholar and an ignorant pious person, the ignorant one will have more of a right. This is because his piety will prevent him from giving rulings without knowledge and will thus make research and will ask (about the issue).

Also in this Hadeeth: there is an encouragement for the people of knowledge and the students to take from one another and how they give witness to each other in having memorization and virtue. Also the Hadeeth shows how a scholar should encourage his student to take from other than him, so that he may benefit from the other, from what he (the scholar) doesn’t have….

Ibn Battaal said: The harmonization between what is in the Verse and the Hadeeth with regards to the dispraise of actions that are based upon opinion and what was done by the Salaf in extrapolating rulings; is that the wording of the verse relates to blameworthy speech which is void of knowledge. So it is specific to the one who speaks with an opinion which is not based upon nor connected to any Asl (foundational source). As for the meaning of the Hadeeth, then it is a dispraise for the one who gives Fatwa (legal ruling) based upon ignorance. For this reason he described them as being misguided as well as misguiding others.

On the other hand, the one who extrapolates from the A’sl has been praised, in the statement of Allaah:

"those who extrapolate would have understood it from them." (An-Nisaa’: 83).

So the opinion, if it is connected and founded upon an A’sl, from either the Book of Allaah or from the Sunnah or from Ijmaa’a (consensus), then it is praiseworthy. If however it is not based upon any of these sources, then it is blameworthy."

Translator: Abdur-Raoof Muhammad, Abu Sumayyah

Date Published: Friday, 24 March 2006

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