Woman’s Jurisprudence (Fiqh al-Mar’ah) – Sayyid Kamāl al-Ḥaydari | Lesson 16

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A lot of questions have been asked due to some of the points I have been making in these lectures. One good question that was asked is, if reality has no role to play with respect to reward and punishment, then how do we explain those traditions that say if a person does ijtihad and discovers the reality of a situation, they get two rewards, and if they don’t, they still get one reward. This shows reality has some sort of relevancy.

Another question that was asked is if this is really the case, then why don’t you do apply this principle on the companions of the Prophet (p). Why do the Shi’ī have a problem when the companions have differences? Amongst the Shi’ī you yourself have differences of opinions between different jurists, between Akhbāris and Uṣūlis, philosophers differ from theologians, a jurist differs from a mystic etc. But you say all of them are Shi’ā, but only one of their views is in accordance with reality, and another is wrong. This does not imply that they are not Shi’ā, in fact this does not even imply their justice is negated.

Another question is if evidence is what is relevant, then majority of the people have no evidence. Their actions have no value, even the Shi’ī population. Not just the laymen Shi’a, but rather come to the seminaries, and look at the students of the seminaries, even after 10 years in advance classes, some of them will not have evidence for some of their beliefs. So, if you say that an action without evidence is wrong, this means many of the Muslims, and even many Shi’ī will run into an issue.

I cannot address all of these questions in my series on Fiqh al-Mar’āh, but what I can do is maybe spend 10-odd minutes and try to answer them to the extent possible in this time.

As for the narrations that say: if a person struggles and discovers reality, they get two rewards, and if they don’t they get one reward. This narration has come in the books of Sunnis, in one of their most reliable, if not these most reliable work, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri.

عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِ أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ إِذَا حَكَمَ الْحَاكِمُ فَاجْتَهَدَ ثُمَّ أَصَابَ فَلَهُ أَجْرَانِ وَإِذَا حَكَمَ فَاجْتَهَدَ ثُمَّ أَخْطَأَ فَلَهُ أَجْرٌ

‘Amr bin al-Āṣ who heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, saying, “If a judge makes a ruling, striving to apply his reasoning (ijtihad) and he is correct, then he will have two rewards. If a judge makes a ruling, striving to apply his reasoning and he is mistaken, then he will have one reward.”

Reality cannot be known by anyone except an infallible – all we can say is that we believe something to be reality.

Also remember, this narration and concept is from the well accepted principles amongst the Sunnis, and it is found in many of their works. Quotes the names of many other Sunnis works.

What about Shi’ī books? Based on research on the computer, this phrase does not exist in any reliable works. Ayatullah Mirzā Jawād Ṭabrīzī points to this in his Ṣirāt al-Najāt where he explicitly says this narration does not exist through any of our reliable chains and works, thus they are not authoritative. Of course, Shaykh al-Ṭuṣi in his al-Mabsūṭ, volume 8, page 188 writes – I am not saying this was necessarily his view, but he is writing this – that those companions who transgressed against the Imam, they remain just, and their testimony is accepted, because they did ijtihād and made a mistake, and they will be given one reward.

Author of al-Qawānīn in volume 4, writes that this narration from the Prophet is a solitary report, but the Muslims have accepted it. It is a maqbūlah, and this is a maqbūlah between all Muslim sects, in which case, we do not investigate its chain. If you accept this, then you really have to say the companions made a sincere mistake in their ijtihād – unless you can prove that all of them did it out of enmity and animosity, which can be proven for some of them. Accepting this narration will make one go against the very ideology of the Shi’ī school which says anyone who opposed Imām ‘Ali was wrong, and God has the right to punish them in the hereafter.

Let us take a step back and say, who says the general subject of this narration hasn’t come in our traditions? Let us look at Tafsīr al-‘Ayyāshi, volume 1, under chapter of al-Nisā’. Quotes a tradition with a similar meaning – of course Tafsīr al-‘Ayyāshi has mursal narrations and therefore according to the chain methodology, this narration is not ḥujjah to begin with, unless we can find it in another source with a chain. We find it in Ma’āni al-Akhbār of Shaykh al-Ṣadūq, and in fact it has a reliable chain of narrators.

So based on this, even if the exact narration is not in our books, its general message exists in our works, and both Sunni and Shi’ī have a consensus on this matter. Tomorrow we will discuss how this reconciles with what we have said, that reality has no relevancy, rather evidence has relevancy, and how can we apply this principle on the companions of the Prophet (p).

(Timestamp: 27:10) Let us now get back to the topic of Fiqh al-Mar’ah. Yesterday we looked at the commentaries on Nahj al-Balāgha on the words of Imām ‘Ali, and we say all of them had similar views towards women. The question is, were these words said by the Imām or not? We need to see if these have any sources to begin with, and if they do, do we take them on the apparent meaning, or do we need to explain them away in some other way? There are numerous opinions on this matter.

Today we will look at the opinions of the commentators of the Qur’ān, under verses which they believed to be in condemnation of women. Let us first go over these verses:

زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ الشَّهَوَاتِ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ وَالْبَنِينَ وَالْقَنَاطِيرِ الْمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ وَالْخَيْلِ الْمُسَوَّمَةِ وَالْأَنْعَامِ وَالْحَرْثِ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَاللَّهُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الْمَآبِ

[3:14] The love of desires, of women and sons and hoarded treasures of gold and silver and well bred horses and cattle and tilth, is made to seem fair to men; this is the provision of the life of this world; and Allah is He with Whom is the good goal (of life).

There is a huge dispute amongst the exegetes, as to who the active participle of the verb zuyyina (who is the one who made these things appear beautiful to men? – Allah or Shayṭān?) Many have said it is Shayṭān.

وَلَا تُؤْتُوا السُّفَهَاءَ أَمْوَالَكُمُ الَّتِي جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ قِيَامًا وَارْزُقُوهُمْ فِيهَا وَاكْسُوهُمْ وَقُولُوا لَهُمْ قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوفًا

[4:5] And do not give away your property which Allah has made for you a (means of) support to the weak of understanding, and maintain them out of (the profits of) it, and clothe them and speak to them words of honest advice.

Most of the commentators have said, the sufahā’ here are women.

فَلَمَّا رَأَىٰ قَمِيصَهُ قُدَّ مِن دُبُرٍ قَالَ إِنَّهُ مِن كَيْدِكُنَّ ۖ إِنَّ كَيْدَكُنَّ عَظِيمٌ

[12:28] So when he saw his shirt rent from behind, he said: Surely it is a guile of you women; surely your guile is great

The fourth verse is:

الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ ۚ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ ۚ وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ۖ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا

[4:34] Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.

We will look at the opinions of commentators in these verses up until the beginning of the last century, when the issue of women rights was still not a big deal. However, in the last 100 years or so, you begin seeing all sorts of justifications and explanations of how to understand this verse. The last verse – and there are many other verses, I am just going through a few of them – is as follows:

وَإِذَا بُشِّرَ أَحَدُهُم بِمَا ضَرَبَ لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ مَثَلًا ظَلَّ وَجْهُهُ مُسْوَدًّا وَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ

أَوَمَن يُنَشَّأُ فِي الْحِلْيَةِ وَهُوَ فِي الْخِصَامِ غَيْرُ مُبِينٍ

[43:17] And when one of them is given news of that of which he sets up as a likeness for the Beneficent Allah, his face becomes black and he is full of rage.

[43:18] What! that which is made in ornaments and which in contention is unable to make plain speech!

We have to spend time looking into what the commentators were saying about these verses, and how the ḥadīth were becoming the basis of interpreting these verses. We have said many times that the approach of our scholars has been ḥadīth-centric not Qur’ān centric. Even if they say that the ḥadīth need to be checked with the Qur’ān, in practice they do the opposite. Look at all the works the scholars have done, and compare it with the amount of work they have done on the Qur’ān. Sayyid Khoeī writes 15 volumes on Fiqh, but barely one book on the tafsīr of the Qur’ān. At the very least in Qom you have the tafsīr sessions of Agha Ṭabaṭabā’ī, of Shaykh Makārem and a few other scholars, but in Najaf other than the tafsīr session of Sayyid Sabzwāri, is there any other class? If there is please tell me about it.

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