Jan 12, 2012

Let's practice "Taqwa Before Fatwa"

by Khadeejah Islam


What does Islam have to say on celebrating birthdays? What does Islam have to say about women leading a country? Why is your name Monica, Megan, or Susan? Why don’t you have a proper Islamic name? Why does not the Qur’an speak about dinosaurs? Is this halaal? Is that halaal?

The questions seem never-ending. Surprisingly, often, the questioners do not even know or practise the basic pillars of Islam. While it is indeed noble to seek knowledge and lead a life purely based on Islam, it is far greater to comprehend the basic essence of Islam. Islam is not a list of haraam and halaal. When a person understands and applies the basics of Islam, all the other commandments seem self-explanatory and easy. Therefore, the pivotal role of the sincere student as well as the teacher is to concentrate on the very core of Islam and gain taqwa, before giving out a fatwa (opinion), or asking for a fatwa (religious edict) from the scholar.

The prohibition of wine was revealed in stages. The Qur’an itself was revealed in a span of 23 years. Makkan Revelations (the Quranic verses revealed before the migration) were short and dealt with the basics of Islam, such as Tawheed (asserting the Oneness of God), Eeman (faith), Salaah (prayer), etc. On a larger scale, the revelation of other holy books was gradual – specific to a group of people for a certain period of time. All of these events have a lesson for us. They also introduce us to the greater wisdom which belongs to Allah. A grade-1 student will not be given the same education as a grade-10 student. This prevents the students from getting overwhelmed by a lot of information. This also prepares the students for further, perhaps even more complicated, information. Similarly, the 5 pillars of Islam and taqwa in general prepare individuals for other commandments, such as not backbiting. That way, they are far more able to apply these teachings. We must remember that it is difficult to leave behind haraam relationships; it is difficult to get rid of addictions or bad habits. If we prepare them with taqwa, they will be able to take on the various fatwa easily.

It is indeed a pity that many sisters overwhelm others with a list of rules. We should realize that it will not be appropriate to teach the minor details of Islam (such as voluntary or recommended acts) to someone who does not even know what Islam is, or does not even pray! Similarly, many overwhelm themselves with various fatwa and occupy themselves with zillion questions, without fixing their basics first. They forget to contemplate on the basic message of Islam which is to worship and obey one God, without associating partners with Him, and to believe Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu alayhi was sallam) as His final Messenger. How many of us think of this basic message and really try to understand what it means? This will ensure that we have taqwa. Therefore, it is a reminder for both the student and the teacher to focus more on the obligatory duties rather than the voluntary acts.

It is essential to remember that many of the issues depend on personal preferences or individual situations. Therefore, there could be some exceptions. For instance, if a non-Muslim is contemplating suicide, undoubtedly, you will rush to save him; you will not wait to proclaim the basic message of Islam. If your Muslim daughter is insulting guests at home, you will definitely bring her aside and teach her manners, instead of educating her about anything else. In addition, there are many other cases of necessity where even a haraam thing may become halaal. For example, alcohol may become permissible if that is the last resort to save a life. Therefore, it is essential for us to remember that the fatwa published by different websites or books may not be applicable to your situation. In that case, you need to obtain a fatwa from a scholar, which is specific to your condition. This reminder is particularly important for students of knowledge who fall into argument over a general fatwa and try to enforce it on others without asking them about their specific circumstances and directing them to scholars. However, in general, if taqwa is strong, chances are that a person will be far removed from the thoughts of suicide, insulting guests, and other such vices.

In conclusion, if you come across people who question you incessantly, it is best to remind them of the aforementioned points. If he/she still persists with a hint of mockery, then be firm in disseminating the basic message of Islam and also direct him/her to scholars. Remember that gaining taqwa is a long-term goal.

Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) addressed us and said: "O people, Allah has made Hajj obligatory for you; so perform Hajj. Thereupon a person said: Messenger of Allah, (is it to be performed) every year? He (the Holy Prophet) kept quiet, and he repeated (these words) thrice, whereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: If I were to say "Yes," it would become obligatory (for you to perform it every year) and you would not be able to do it. Then he said: Leave me with what I have left to you, for those who were before you were destroyed because of excessive questioning, and their opposition to their apostles. So when I command you to do anything, do it as much as it lies in your power and when I forbid you to do anything, then abandon it." [1].

[1] Saheeh Muslim, Book-7, Hadeeth-3095.

I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)


MashaAllah, very rightly said! Hadn't heard that hadith before.. got to learn something new today, alhumdulillah! Jazakallahu Khair for a wonderful article!

how do i subscribe to ur blogs?

Wa iyyaki!
Glad to know you liked the article and learnt something new!
Keep an eye on this website for more articles inshaaAllah.

Wa iyyaki!
Keep checking back to this site for more articles inshaaAllah!

Lovely article- links in nicely with the hidden shirk- how many of us advise because we want to be heard, rather than because we love the person and want allah to be pleased?? love habibi halaqas!!! x

MashaAllah, than you!

Pleasure! Please read and share this and other articles on this website. :)

 Thank you! Great thoughts! :)

Yes I think this point is very important. Sisters get caught up in telling other sisters about the right way to dress, not plucking eyebrows, not using perfume, not using nail polish etc that for someone who has little knowledge of the most important things (tawhid vs shirk, prayer etc) the religion becomes so overwhelming that one just wants to run away to a deceitful "freedom" they can't find within the religion. If u don't understand what is tawhid, what does it matter about the eyebrows really?

i first heard the whole concept of 'Taqwa before Fatwa' in a Tafseer halaqah that i went to and i always wished someone would address this topic again so more people could learn about this amazingly different way of thinking. you made an interesting point when you said that when a person has Taqwa of Allah, it's easier for them to accept fatwas that you give them pertaining to halal and haram (i had never thought of it that way). But what i would like to add is that when a person has Taqwa of Allah, he is not necessarily looking for a fatwa to suit his desires; rather, he is sincere in his quest to find the ruling that pleases Allah. 

Post a Comment