Can a student of knowledge take a new opinion?

Answered by Shaykh Ahmad ibn Yahya an-Najmee [1]

Question:

Can a student of knowledge take a new opinion which no scholar has ever held claiming that he has evidence to support it and saying that consideration is to be given to the texts (Qur’an and Sunnah) not to the scholars, keeping in mind that this person is not a scholar himself?

Answer:

Allah is the One who grants success. This is a person of falsity; he wants to adopt opinions through which he deviates from the positions of previous scholars – not everyone can take from the proofs without referring back to the statements of the scholars.

Whoever takes a unique position for which he has no predecessor – whilst not himself being one of the people of knowledge who qualified through learning the assistive disciplines e.g. the principles of morphology, grammar, rules of fiqh, hadith terminology, rhetoric and so on – is not permitted to take a position by which he contradicts the qualified scholars and if he does so he is a deviant, a follower of desires.

Allah ta’la said (Qur’aan 4:83), “And if only they had referred it back to the Messenger and those in authority amongst them, those who can derive the correct ruling would have known it from them.

It is upon the students of knowledge to look into the positions of those who preceded them and then choose from them whatever conforms to the textual evidence.

The followers of Hadith (As-hab Al-Hadith) used to report the statements of those before them on different issues with authentic chains of narration and would elect the positions they believed conformed to the truth.

Look, for example, at the Musannaf of Abd Al-Razzaq, the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Al-Shaybah, the Sunan of Sa’eed b. Mansur and other works which concentrate on the narrations and verdicts of the Companions and Tabi’in.

Therefore, the student of knowledge should look at the Shari’ah texts, then the statements of those who preceded him and thereafter select what is most correct and exercise personal judgement if he is qualified to utilise ijtihad.

As for taking the textual evidence and manipulating it according to his mere opinion then this is an erroneous and futile position far removed from being correct.

Shaytan has been very proficient at misleading people and I don’t think this type of person who says that he doesn’t look into the statements of the scholars and that he doesn’t pay attention to them but rather looks only at the textual evidence – I don’t think that he is anything but a heretic (mubtadi’).

He might interpret a text contrary to its true meaning, for nothing made the heretics like the Jahmiyah, Mutazilah, Qadariyah, Murjiah and Khawarij fall into what they fell into except their lack of knowledge and their interpreting textual evidence in a way that contradicts other textual evidence which they didn’t know and which they didn’t know how to harmonize and regarding which they did not know the statements of the scholars.

In conclusion, this is a false and erroneous position to take, this person (being asked about) should beware and be warned against and people should be warned about listening to him. And Allah is the One who grants success.

[Source: Fat-h Al-Rabb Al-Wadud fi Al-Fatawa wa Al-Rasa`il wa Al-Rudud #622]

Footnotes:

[1] He is our noble Shaykh, the ‘Allaamah, the Muhaddith, the Faqeeh, the present Muftee of the district of Jaazaan and the carrier of the Flag of the Sunnah and hadeeth in it – Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Yahyaa Ibn Muhammad Ibn Shabeer an-Najmee Aali Shabeer from Banee Hummad, one of the well known tribes of the district of Jaazaan.

In 1360, in the month of Safar to be exact, our Shaykh joined the Madrasah Salafiyyah and recited the Qur’aan, this time under the order of Shaykh ‘Abdullaah al-Qar’aawee (rahima-hullaah) to Shaykh ‘Uthmaan Ibn ‘Uthmaan Hamlee (rahima-hullaah). This was such that he recited the entire Qur’aan to him with tajweed and memorised the books “Tuhfatul-Atfaal”, “Hidaayatul-Mustafeed”, “Thalaathatul-Usool”, “al-‘Arba’een an-Nawawiyyah” and “al-Hisaab.” And he perfected the discipline of handwriting.

He would sit in the study circle, which Shaykh al-Qar’aawee had set up there, until the time when the younger students departed after the Salaat az-Zhuhr. Then he would attend the circle for the elder students, which Shaykh ‘Abdullaah al-Qar’aawee was in charge of personally teaching. So he would sit in this class from after the Salaat az-Zhuhr till the time of the Salaat al-‘Ishaa.. Then after praying (‘Ishaa.), he would return to his town of Najaamiyyah with his two uncles (Hasan and Husayn).

After four months, Shaykh ‘Abdullaah al-Qar’aawee granted him permission to to be part of his study circle for elder students, which he taught himself.

For complete biography of the Shaykh, Click Here.

Author: Islamic Treasure

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