• kufr • ta’weel •

One of the most important reasons for following and investigating classical Islamic literature is to protect one’s self from falling into disbelief . There are many types of disbelief, and the study of fiqh will protect one from the type of kufr called Kufr Ta’weel, which is to commit disbelief through misinterpretation of the Qur’an and hadith.This type of kufr is not committed through outright rejection of the basic Islamic tenants, it is done by distorting the meaning of Qur’anic verses, and statement by the Prophet through incorrect interpretation. The one guilty of this type of kufr attempts to interpret the Qur’an and sunnah without having the prerequisite knowledge qualifying him to do so. Often, such a person has a firm base of knowledge in the Islamic disciplines, but has not reached such a degree that they are qualified to make fatwa for the rest of the Muslim world. This type of person commits kufr by attributing to the ayat and hadith, meanings other than that which was given by the Prophet Muhammad and his noble Companions.

It is for this reason, that the average Muslim may not follow or express his own opinion, interpretation, or understanding of the meanings of the ayaat and ahadith. The Prophet mentioned the danger of ta’weel in a hadith narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas who said:

The Messenger of Allah said “Whoever interprets the Qur’an according to his own opinion (ra’yah), let him seek his abode in the hell fire.” [Tirmidhi]

Additionally, A’isha as-Siddiqah reported that the Messenger of Allah recited this, the 7th ayat of Surah Aali ‘Imran-

It is He Who sent down the Book. In it are verses with clear and established meaning (Muhkamaat), these are the the Mother (foundation) of the Book. Other verses are allegorical in their meaning (Mutashaabihah). Those who’s hearts are perverted follow the allegorical verses seeking to cause confusion and discord by attempting to seek a hidden meaning (ta’weel). None knows the interpretations (ta’weel) of these verses except Allah and those who are firm and deeply grounded in knowledge [aal-Imraan : 7]

After reciting this verse, the Messenger of Allah said “When you see those who practice Islam by using (interpreting) the allegorical verses of the Qur’an, know that they have gone astray so avoid them.” [Muslim]

Thus, to follow qualified scholarship is to follow those who are able to distinguish between the clear verses and the allegorical verses, and are (deeply grounded) in knowledge of the major areas of the Islamic sciences.

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