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Three chapters are presented here in translation from Part 3 (Fundamental issues and principles) of Kitāb at-Tawḥeed: A’sās al-Islām wa Ḥaqeeqat-at-Tawḥeed, by Professor Muḥammad bin Abdallah al-Mas’ari.  The chapters are titled as follows:
The Prohibition relating to excessive questioning
In origin, acts, speech and objects / things are permissible: Permissibility is the original or default ruling
What is the original ruling concerning worship, is it prohibition?
These chapters present the most comprehensive study of the body of evidence relating to the basic ruling or principle of permissibility

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Believing that the Prophet Muḥammad (peace be upon him) is the ‘seal of the prophets’, and that there is no Prophet or Messenger after him is one of the key tenets of Islam.  Without accepting this, a person is not considered to be a Muslim.  The evidences that establish this matter both from the noble Qur’ān and the Prophetic Sunnah are overwhelming and indeed reach the level of certitude.

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For the first time in English, a complete translation of ‘Masā’il min al-Uṣul’ (issues or questions from uṣul) is presented.  This has been taken from the second book from Ibn Ḥazm’s magnum opus of fiqh, al-Muḥalla bil’Athār.   Together with the translated text, several explanatory footnotes have been added to provide, where appropriate, additional explanation and references.  These key issues of Uṣul are utilised throughout that work and are a feature of Ibn Ḥazm’s unique legal method.  Many of these principles are though significant in themselves, not least because they provide a lucid empowering framework with which to approach some of the intractable debates that currently beset contemporary Islamic discourse.

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Part 2 of 2, is the translation of chapter 7 from Part 1 (The Foundations of Deen and its Fundamental Maxims) of Kitāb at-Tawḥeed: A’sās al-Islām wa Ḥaqeeqat-at-Tawḥeed, by Professor Muḥammad bin Abdallah al-Mas’ari.  The latter half of the testimony of faith, ash-Shahāda, is outlined.  This part of the proclamation relates to Muḥammad (peace and blessings be upon him) being the conveyer of Allah’s truth and words, in a manner that is completely free of anything missing or added, as well as any form of error, lie or forgetfulness.  He (peace be upon him) is the best leader, the exemplar, the ideal to be followed.  Neither does he speak of his own desire nor does he utter except that which is true.

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Ibn Ḥazm was famous for his rejection that there is any clear authentic textual prohibition relating to music or playing chess. Therefore, aside from the Qur’ānic verses that are cited during the course of his argument, he undertakes a very detailed critical analysis of the ḥadith and narrative reports on the topic. This is insightful given that some of these ḥadith are quoted without an accompanying assessment of their authenticity, let alone their channel of transmission.

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Associating the word Liberty with that of the ‘Sharī’ah’ doesn’t always readily spring to mind.   On the contrary, the very notion that the Sharī’ah could in any way be associated with a conception or idea of liberty appears to be totally absent from contemporary discourse.  Too often the very idea of the Sharī’ah that is conjured in people’s minds relates solely to punishments.  Islam being a complete Deen provides clear boundaries and regulations not only in relation to the conduct of the individual in society, but also that of the political authorities as well.

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Ibn Ḥazm begins the book of prayer with discussing the fundamental characterisation.  Utilising the wording of the famous ḥadith of Ṭalḥa bin Ubaidallah, he argues that prayer is fundamentally of only two types: obligatory and voluntary.  Definitive evidence establishes that the number of prayers, a major pillar of Islam, are only five that are performed in a given day or night.  Consequently, this leads to a detailed discussion as to the status of the Witr prayer.  He dispels the idea that the Witr is obligatory or holds some form of obligatory requirement.  Uniquely Ibn Ḥazm sets out his position that prayers which are deliberately missed cannot be made up.  Prayer being intimately connected with a particular timeslot, which once it has elapsed, has gone forever and cannot be ‘made up’.  He rejects all arguments advanced purporting to the opposite view expounded by other schools of thought, arguing that there are no legal mechanisms to allow a prayer to be performed outside of its designated time.  If one has missed prayers, then one must make repentance and offer many voluntary prayers to seek to atone for that.  There is also an extensive discussion regarding the various ways the Witr prayer can be performed, with its related accompanying evidences.

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Whether it be amongst scholarly circles, students of knowledge, or even amongst the laity, there is a view that seeks to maintain ‘the law of the previous Prophets is also our law too.’ Perhaps it does seem incredulous to some, but at times these arguments are advanced.  Yet in fact, nothing can be further from the truth.  All previous divine laws have been abrogated with the advent of the last Prophet, Muḥammad bin Abdallah (peace be upon him), who was sent to all of mankind.  That abrogation was absolute.  In today’s day and age, to try and follow or even implement the rules relating to a previous Sharī’ah would be unlawful.

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Following the posting of the article, ‘There is no king but Allah,’ a series of five-questions were submitted in response.  The questions have sought to challenge a large number of findings that were presented.  Our response to these questions is included in the download link below. Given the large number of points that were raised, it was deemed fitting to present this as a separate document altogether, as opposed to detailing answers to each of the questions.

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Presented for the first time in English is a translated short-selection of thirteen-issues from the book of monotheism (Kitāb at-Tawḥeed) by Ibn Ḥazm.  The book of monotheism comprises book one of his magnum opus: Al-Muḥalla bil’Athār (The Adorned Treatise) and covers a total of ninety-one issues (Mas’āil).  It is our intention to add to the number presented here, once the translation has been completed.  A summarised list of the issues presented is enclosed below for ease of reference, but is also included within the document as a separate contents page.

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Is there a fundamental distinction between what is considered good (ṭayib) and that which is considered lawful (ḥalāl)?  Does the same relate to that which is considered impure or malignant (khabeeth)?   Why was it for previous nations that they weren’t prohibited from matters which are now considered unlawful in Islam?  Likewise, how is it that they are still prevented from many things which are deemed quite lawful? At times these questions may appear quite vexing.  While there are many attempts to address points such as these, at times these appear lacking and very often miss quite crucial foundational principles.

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How was the Prophetic Sunnah recorded and documented?  Was it only an oral tradition, with no written record?  Was it only documented hundreds of years after the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) departure from this world? It is unfortunate that many are still unaware of the actual answers to these important questions.  In order to help address this, we have translated chapter 20 from Part 2 (The Nature of Revelation and the Revealed ‘Dhikr’) of Kitāb at-Tawḥeed: A’sās al-Islām wa Ḥaqeeqat-at-Tawḥeed, by Professor Muḥammad bin Abdallah al-Mas’ari.

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The very essence of Islam is the testimony that there is no god or deity except Allah and that the Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) is the Messenger of Allah.  It is the root of faith (al-I’mān) from which other branches are built upon. There is no pantheon of gods and goddesses; there are no demi-gods, semi-divine beings and there is no duality – a deity of good and a deity of evil.

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Common parlance has that there are but five pillars of Islam: the testimony of faith, establishing the prayer, paying the obligatory charity, fasting in the month of Ramaḍān and making the pilgrimage.  The famous traditions carrying that wording are reported in almost all notable collections of ḥadith.
When it comes to the citation, usually it is the narrations reported on the authority of Ibn Umar, son of Umar bin al-Khaṭṭāb (may Allah be pleased with them both). It is a continuously recurrent tradition (mutawātir) from Ibn Umar and has been reported by a large number of the trustworthy narrators from the successor generation to the companions, the Tābi’een.

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How was the Prophetic Sunnah recorded and documented?  Was it only an oral tradition, with no written record?  Was it only documented hundreds of years after the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) departure from this world?  It is unfortunate that many are still unaware of the actual answers to these important questions.  In order to help address this, we have translated chapter 20 from Part 2 (The Nature of Revelation and the Revealed ‘Dhikr’) of Kitāb at-Tawḥeed: A’sās al-Islām wa Ḥaqeeqat-at-Tawḥeed, by Professor Muḥammad bin Abdallah al-Mas’ari.

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Part 2 of 2, is the translation of chapter 7 from Part 1 (The Foundations of Deen and its Fundamental Maxims) of Kitāb at-Tawḥeed: A’sās al-Islām wa Ḥaqeeqat-at-Tawḥeed, by Professor Muḥammad bin Abdallah al-Mas’ari.  The latter half of the testimony of faith, ash-Shahāda, is outlined.  This part of the proclamation relates to Muḥammad (peace and blessings be upon him) being the conveyer of Allah’s truth and words, in a manner that is completely free of anything missing or added, as well as any form of error, lie or forgetfulness.

 

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What is the legal status of the Prophetic Sunnah?  In the modern age, many both within and outside the Muslim world have sought to question the nature of the Prophetic Sunnah.  Whether that has been by arguing that as a corpus it isn’t authentic or reliable, to others that have rejected it in totality.  Presented here is a translation of chapter 11 from Part 2 (The Foundations of Deen and its Fundamental Maxims) of Kitāb at-Tawḥeed by Professor Muḥammad bin Abdallah al-Mas’ari.  In this chapter, Professor al-Mas’ari conclusively shows that the Prophetic Sunnah is an independent source of law. There are several legally binding rules that are referred to by the Qur’ān, but the original order itself, emanated from the Prophetic Sunnah.  That is evidenced solely by recourse to the Qur’ānic text.

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The topic covered is entitled: ‘Acts of the people of Luṭ (Lot)’ and is taken from the last book of the Muḥalla, covering selected points relating to Ta’zir.  The subsequent issues, which haven’t been presented here as yet, deal with the issues of bestiality, lesbianism and tribadism. For many, particularly those who adopt the stance taken by political correctness, the topic itself is deemed to be very controversial.

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How do we know that the revelation that has reached us has been protected?  Does that protection only extend to the Qur’ānic text?  If it does, then what of the Prophetic Sunnah?  Is that not revelation also? Understanding how the revelation has been protected is a fundamental issue that one cannot be ignorant of.  Especially since this core issue fits into the wider matter of understanding and applying the law correctly.  To address these questions and others, we present here is a translation of chapter 19 from Part 2 (The Foundations of Deen and its Fundamental Maxims) of Kitāb at-Tawḥeed by Professor Muḥammad bin Abdallah al-Mas’ari.