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Monday, July 6, 2009

Clarification of intent by Dr. Mohd Asri Zainal Abidin

I just want to clarify this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=notN0SOQUYI where Dr. Asri spoke about Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma). Some enemies of the sunnah have misunderstood this video, totally, so I intend to clarify the correct understanding. I am not a blind-follower of Dr. Asri, but he is a scholar and a mufti nonetheless, and we need to listen with good heart and good suspicion to understand what Dr. Asri meant.

Please allow me to briefly explain:
1) He started off saying Ibn ‘Abbas was still young when the prophet died, hence the scholars discussed from where did he got the knowledge of so many hadiths? Dr. Asri was not doubting his hadith. The proof is what Dr. Asri answered saying: “Kesimpulan yang mereka (iaitu para ulama hadith) buat, sebahagian besar daripada hadis-hadis Ibn Abbas tidak diambil secara langsung daripada nabi tetapi diambil daripada para sahabah yang lain.” This is well-known in the Science of Hadith as: Mursal as-Sahabi, where the junior sahabah narrated hadiths from senior sahabah without quoting the senior sahabah’s name. In Muqaddimah Ibn as-Salah (well-known reference for science of hadith), Ibn as-Salah said:

ثم إنا لم نعد في أنواع المرسل ونحوه ما يسمى في أصول الفقه : مرسل الصحابي مثل ما يرويه ( ابن عباس ) وغيره من أحداث الصحابة عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ولم يسمعوه منه لأن ذلك في حكم الموصول المسند لأن روايتهم عن الصحابة والجهالة بالصحابي غير قادحة لأن الصحابة كلهم عدول والله أعلم

“Then we do not count what is named in Usul al-Fiqh as Mursal as-Sahabi as one of the types of mursal (that are not considered hujjah), just like the narration of Ibn ‘Abbas and others of the junior sahabah from the Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) while they did not hear it (directly) from the prophet. This is because this type of hadith has the ruling of a mawsul musnad (connected, supported) hadith because they narrate from the sahabah and the sahabah’s name being missing (in the chain) does not impair (the status of hadith) because all companions are ‘udul (trustworthy). Allah knows best.”
[Muqaddimah Ibn as-Salah: pg 31]

2) Then he talked about the doa of the prophet for Ibn ‘Abbas: “…supaya diberikan kepadanya kefaqihan dalam agama dan berikan kealiman ilmu di dalam tafsir..” He was pointing out these points:
· Doa of the prophet here is just like what’s done nowadays.
· Sometimes, you bring your child to the ustaz for doa, the ustaz will just say: “InsyaAllah”, and then goes back home and forget. Rather, he should make doa immediately, he said: “Sekurang-kurangnya doakan Ya Allah alimkan dia dalam agama…” Dr. Asri did not, by any means, intend to ridicule the action of going to a religious person for doa, as misunderstood.
· He said: “Walaupun nabi doakan untuk Ibn Abbas, tiada dalam sejarah mengatakan dia pandai begitu sahaja…” Which means, Ibn ‘Abbas did not become a scholar in Tafsir through not doing anything! Ibn Abbas worked hard to get hadith and knowledge, and hence became who he was, a manifestation of the acceptance of Prophet’s doa for him.
· When he mentioned: “Macamana kita mahu manusia pandai dengan makan kismis itu…” This statement actually to support the previous point that Ibn Abbas did not just become a scholar out of thin air, but worked hard for it, ie. he took the Asbab (cause &effect). But, because of the prophet’s doa, Ibn Abbas was granted taufik (success) to attain the level of knowledge he reached.

3) He mentioned that even if the prophet made doa for Ibn Abbas, still his many explanation (tafsiran) of the Quran are discussed. I’ll point out the following: · He did not say rejected because he did say: “…walaupun banyak diterima (oleh ulama)…”
· And he said that apart from Ibn Abbas, there are other sahabah who had opinions, which is true because who can say Ibn Abbas is more knowledgeable than Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali?
· And he pointed out no scholar ever said: “Setelah Ibn Abbas memberi pendapat mengenai satu-satu ayat tertentu, maka tidak boleh sesiapa lagi untuk memberikan pendapat..” Even though the prophet made doa for him. Ibn Abbas himself said:

قَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ " لَيْسَ أَحَدٌ بَعْدَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إلَّا وَيُؤْخَذُ مِنْ قَوْلِهِ وَيُتْرَكُ إلَّا النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ " وَأَخَذَ هَذِهِ الْكَلِمَةَ مِنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ مُجَاهِدٌ وَأَخَذَهَا مِنْهُمَا مَالِكٌ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ وَاشْتُهِرَتْ عَنْهُ

“No one, apart for the prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), except that his saying is accepted or rejected. Except the prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم).” Imam as-Subki mentioned: Mujahid took these words from Ibn Abbas, then Imam Malik took from both of them who then became famous for these words.
[Fatawa as-Subki, Bab as-Salat, pg. 148]
· The point he was trying to drive at was: No one, even with position as Mufti, Professor can claim that his opinion must be taken blindly. If Ibn Abbas’ opinions were discussed by scholars, then others lower than him, be it Mufti, Professor or others can surely have wrong and debatable opinions. I think this is a valid point. Just to give two examples on Ibn ‘Abbas’ opinions:

1) Tafsir of surah an-Nur verse 31:

وَلا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا
(…and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent…)

Ibn Abbas’ opinion is: Her face and palms. However Ibn Mas’ud’s opinion was: Such as clothes and outer garments. Please refer to Tafsir Ibn Kathir or other books of tafsir. And it is well-known how the scholars of Mazhabs differed whether to wear hijab to cover including the face and hands or not.

2) Tafsir of surah an-Nisaa verse 43:

أَوْ لَامَسْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ
(…or you touched women…)

Ibn Mas’ud’s opinion was: Touch without intercourse. Whereas Ibn ‘Abbas’ opinion was: Intercourse. Please refer to Tafsir Ibn Kathir or other books of tafsir. And if we hold on to Imam Shafi’e’s opinion on issue of nullifying the wudhu through merely touching of opposite sex, we will be forced to reject Ibn ‘Abbas’ opinion on this tafsir. I hope this clarifies any misunderstandings and misquotes by whoever who listened and understood otherwise, which is not fair for the one misunderstood or misquoted. Imam an-Nawawi (rahimahullah) said:

باب تحريم سماع الغيبة وأمر من سمع غيبة محرمة بردها والإنكار على قائلها...

“Chapter on prohibition of backbiting; and command that whoever heard prohibited backbiting to refute it and reject the backbiting...”
[Riyadh as-Salihin, Chapter 243, pg. 449]

وعن أبي الدرداء رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال : [ من رد عن عرض أخيه رد الله عن وجهه النار يوم القيامة ] رواه الترمذي وقال حديث حسن

On the authority of Abu ad-Darda (radhiallahu ‘anhu) that the prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Whoever defends the honour of his (muslim) brother, Allah will secure his face against the Fire on the Day of Resurrection.”
[Tirmidhi, who said: Hadith is hasan]

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