Surah Saad – Sad state of the separated Ummah

 عن أبي سعيد الخدري رضي الله عنه قال :

  غزونا مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لست عشرة مضت من رمضان ، فمنا من صام ومنا من أفطر ،فلم يعب الصائم على المفطر ، ولا المفطر على الصائم
Abu Saeed al-Khudri (radiyallahu anhu) narrates:

 “We waged battle at the side of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم when 16 days of Ramdaan had passed. Some of us fasted and some did not. Neither did those who fasted find fault with those who did not fast; nor did those who did not fast find fault with those who fasted.” [Muslim]

Another Ramadaan has passed, and inshallah we have all achieved our aims. Major themes of the month are of course Taqwa, empathy for one’s fellow human being, patience etc

The above incident of respect for difference of opinions at the Battle of Badr might not be  a primary objective of the month,  yet the fact is that  occurred during Ramadaan as well, in the sacred presence of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم. No aspect of his sacred life is insignificant. As such, Ramadaan should also be a time when the Ummah  renews their commitment to respecting each others’ opinions, as long as the view expressed is not clearly opposed to the principles of Shari’ah.

Sadly, we all know that this is not the case. Every Muslim country, school of thought, organisation, tribe, family and individual is  an authority unto themselves, in effect ignoring the ultimate sovereignty of Allah. If I declare myself to be correct and perfect in all matters, “my way or the highway” have I not claimed partnership with Allah al-Haqq as-Subbuh? 

An incident this Ramadaan demonstrated to me how incurably petty the Ummah still is. As a practitioner of Shafi’i Fiqh, I do not prostrate at the recitation of Surah Saad. Herewith link to the juristic discussion with a brief translation.

I have practised according the school I observe and never imposed this issue on others. This Ramadaan a Hanafi Imaam of a Masjid discussed the issue with me, mentioning a ruling he had received. He declared that he would announce this ruling in order to educate the Shafi’i members of the community.  

I reflected that if a Hanafi is willing to educate others, my silence in the face of theological chauvinism was not justified.  I mentioned the matter to the Hanafi Imaam at the Masjid I was observing Taraaweeh and asked would he felt about him making a similar announcement. He said that I should make the announcement and I did so.

He later informed me that some Hanafi “Ulama” had approached him. They were upset and insisted that they had never heard of something like this before.

Whether one prostrates or not during Saad is a juristic discussion, which might or might not hold significance to some. What should however concern all of us are the facts this incident brought to light:

  •  This Ummah has some  scholars who have such fossilised mentalities that they can paraphrase the idolatrous Egyptian response to Musa ‘alayhis salaam as a proof, “We have never heard of this from our forebears of old!” [al-Qasas: 36]
  • They regard such an attitude as a virtue!
  • They are not content with stifling opinion in their own school, but consider it the greatest act of worship to impose their will and views on other schools as well.
  • Scholars are apparently exempt from seeking proof for rulings and can substitute query with gossip. 
  • Tolerance was for the Sahaabah radiyallahu anhum. Our opinions are apparently so elevated that all must toe the line.
  • Ramdaan is all about the individual. Nobody has the foresight to ponder how detrimental the effects of our intolerance are upon the already fragmented Ummah.

There are chauvinists and tolerant folk amongst all groups. If the article creates the impression that I am targeting a specific group, then I seek Allah’s forgiveness. The aim is to draw attention to a disease which must be remedied. If we cannot train ourselves to behave as Ummatis of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, even during Ramadaan, what does this pose for our future?

سليمان الكندي

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