Once ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu) was sitting with his companions when all of a sudden he started to laugh after which he began to cry. Those around him asked him, “What made you laugh after which you cried?” He replied,” During the days of Jāhiliyyah (ignorance), we used to make idols out of dates which we would worship and when we would get hungry we would eat them! Remembering this made me laugh. As for my crying, one day, I took my daughter to a field to bury her alive. As I was digging the grave, some dust fell on my beard. My daughter saw this and wiped the dust off my beard. Remembering this made me cry.”
However, there are some fundamental flaws in this narration.
It is inborn in our nature that we are always in pursuit of success irrespective of the goal at hand. From the eager medical student awaiting his test results to the restless bachelor searching for his other half, humans are constantly in the pursuit of accomplishing their goals. To be more specific, let us look at the average student in Madrassa who, after spending sleepless nights preparing for exams, awaits his report card in the end of the academic year with the hope of having passed. Although strenuous effort alongside sleepless nights may prove to be a powerful recipe for a student’s success as far as his exams are concerned, a very important, yet often overlooked, component for his overall success in acquiring knowledge is his conduct and mannerism towards the sources of knowledge. History bears testimony to this crucial fact, as the famous jurist al-Burhān al-Zarnūjī [d. 591AH] so truthfully writes,
A Glance at Contemporary Approaches to Islamic Jurisprudence
By Shaykh Salāh Abū al-Hājj
Translated by Muntasir Zaman
All praise belongs to Allah. We praise Him, seek assistance from Him, and ask of Him forgiveness and guidance. We send blessings on His chosen and noble Messenger, who was sent with the upright Sharī‘ah for the guidance of all the worlds; and [we send blessings] on his progeny and his brilliant and fortunate companions, those who were loyal to his commands and trod on his sublime path; and [we send blessings] on those who followed them in excellence from the practicing scholars, those who preserved His religion and way until the Day of Judgment.
It is amongst the greatest necessities of this time that various Islāmic notions concerning different aspects of life are corrected, as a result of the religious isolation in which we live due the subjugation of the disbelievers and the spread of the intellectual incursion that has engulfed our lives.
Amongst the most distinct of these notions to have encountered confusion and great error in terms of its understanding is Islāmic Jurisprudence (al-Fiqh al-Islāmī), which the Muslims have ruled in accordance with, and have approved of, for the duration of fifteen centuries, in all aspects of their life. Thus, it would keep pace with those situations that newly emerged, and presented to them legislative solutions for all their religious, collective and financial problems. [This was] because their attitude towards Fiqh was an attitude of submission, reverence, honor and estimation, due to their confidence in the knowledge and piety of its imams, and that they put themselves up for [the task of] pursuing Islāmic rulings from their detailed evidences with complete integrity and scrupulousness. Read the rest of this entry »