Why do they attack the permissible in Sharia?

Part of the huge ideological problem we are suffering from today is the war on the permissible. It has resulted in existential exhaustion, which the young generation suffers from. Judgment interfered in everything, although the permissible is not an issue of questioning - it is simply available, and is viewed within “the pardoned zone,” as described by religious scholars.

Sharia warns of asking about the permissible. The prophet always reminded his companions that God did not discuss certain things out of mercy over those who worship him, and not out of forgetfulness. Therefore, the expansion of the prohibited at the expense of the permissible, which is originally present in worldly matters, poses an ideological threat to Islamic societies.

The origin of worldly matters is permitting. Everything you see before you is permitted unless texts prohibit it. The latter are the exception, and very few. However, acts of worship are based on prohibitions except for what is permitted. This is a basic rule that students of jurisprudence study at college, but I do not know why it is not being taught to current generations.

Historical context

Neglecting the permissible has not been limited to our current times. This matter has worried many, including Islamic scholar Al-Shatibi, who wrote “The Reconciliation of the Fundamentals of Islamic Law,” and developed the field of purposes of law. He granted special attention to the permissible from among other rulings, such as the prohibited and the detestable.

Thinker Abdelmajid al-Saghir said in his book “Fundamentalist Thought and the Problem of Scientific Authority in Islam” that Shatibi’s interest in the permissible was due to the mystery surrounding the permissible when it comes to knowledge, whether in books about jurisprudence or in everyday life. Saghir added that this mystery is what made many things somewhere between what falls within the contexts of duty or of the prohibited and detestable.

He then addresses the confusion that the permissible confronted. The permissible, as Shatibi defines it, includes entities from which humans choose what they wish, without commending or condemning, and without encouraging doing it or leaving it. Shatibi’s work was distinguished for its rich efforts in this field, as he realized that laziness had struck the Muslim people and that deadlock delayed their activity.

Without understanding the origin of the permissible in worldly activities, there will be worry, fear and horror. These are the bases for the growth of extremist intellect. Some through their fears imply that the basis of daily practices is prohibitions where you cannot do anything, such as eat or drink, without asking about it.

In Sharia, the basis of things is permitting them. Live and let live. Religious obsessions are the root of extremism

Turki Aldakhil

Shatibi said committing to rulings of Sharia includes a reasonable meaning between acts and what is legitimate among them, and an explanation of how they corrupt or benefit. “What Sharia strictly commanded is a basis of religion, while what it did not strictly command is considered a branch of the latter,” he said. “What Sharia strictly forbade is a sin, while what wasn’t very strictly forbidden is a minor sin. It all depends on the extent of its harmfulness and benefit.”

This logical definition the meanings of issues related to Sharia is necessary to understand when it comes to the generations that circulate religious edicts without understanding why they are as such, and without understanding methods of inference and proof, and how texts are read.

Extremism has spread due to crushing the concept of the permissible, and cancelling and marginalizing it in the religious rhetoric that is present in all media outlets as if the permissible does not fall within the interest of Sharia concerns.

In Sharia, the basis of things is permitting them. Live and let live. Religious obsessions are the root of extremism, while marginalizing logic on the level of inference is why less cultured and knowledgeable people dominate the scene. Will we be fair to the permissible after we have drowned in invented prohibitions?

This article was first published in al-Bayan on July 6, 2016.

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Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.
 

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