Weekly Sultaniyya Hadith Source Week No: 09


Islam defines the rule, not the technicalities (difference between hukm and usloob)

Hadith 9, Musa bin Talha reported from his father: I and Allah's Messenger happened to pass by people near the date-palm trees. He (the Holy Prophet) said: What are these people doing? They said: They are grafting (they combine the male with the female (tree) and thus they yield more fruit). Thereupon the Messenger of Allah said: I do not find it to be of any use. The people were informed about it and they abandoned this practice. The Messenger of Allah (was later on) informed (that the yield had dwindled), whereupon he said: If there is any use of it, then they should do it, for it was just a personal opinion of mine, and do not go after my personal opinion; but when I say to you anything on behalf of Allah, then accept it, for I do not attribute lie to Allah, the Exalted and Glorious. (Muslim)
Hadith 10, Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah happened to pass by the people who had been busy in grafting the trees. Thereupon he said: If you were not to do it, it might be good for you. (So they abandoned this practice) and there was a decline in the yield. He (the Holy Prophet) happened to pass by them (and said): What has gone wrong with your trees? They said: You said so and so. Thereupon he said: You have better knowledge (of a technical skill) in the affairs of the world. (Muslim)

Commentary:

A: Some modernists use these and similar narrations to claim that Islam did not come to legislate how life affairs should be run. This is a complete distortion of these narrations, as Imam Nawawi wrote in his explanation of Sahih Muslim, "The ulama have said that the words of the Prophet "from my opinion" means in the issue of the dunya and livelihood in it, and not regarding tashree' (legislation). Rather in issues of legislation and what he has said from his ijtihaad and his shar'i opinion, it is obligatory to take from him, and pollination of date trees is not from this category."

B: The Shari'ah did not come to teach us the details and styles of carrying out actions, rather the Shari'ah came to explain the rules from the permitted and prohibited, the valid and invalid. The style to implement normally takes the ruling of the action itself, so while something may be explained as permissible such as the issues of general agriculture, the manner of undertaking the action will differ according to the relevant technologies at disposal and the specific requirements of the time, such as the style of irrigation used or the rotation of crops to best utilize the fertility of the land.

C: These narrations were regarding pollination of date trees, and are therefore applied in those situations which are similar from matters of agriculture and industry.

D: In the first narration of the incident the Prophet mentioned it was merely a thought that he had - indicating further that this was not an issue of legislation but rather an opinion of the Prophet on a technical issue. This is similar to the issue after deciding where to pitch the army on the day of Badr, Hubab bin Mudhir (ra) asked the Prophet whether his decision was from himself or from revelation - in other words if it was revealed to him then there would be no discussion over it but if it was his own opinion on a technical matter then there could be alternative places which would be more strategic from a military perspective.


Hadith with commentary each week, taken from The Sixty Sultaniyya compiled by Abu Luqman Fathullah
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