Ibn al-Qayyim on Correcting but Not Destroying

In I’lâm al-Muwaqqi’în (vol. 3, pg. 283), Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah said,

… cognizance of the virtue of Islam’s imams, their measures, their rights, and their grades, and that their virtue, their knowledge, and their advising is for Allah and His messenger does not make acceptance of all of what they say and what occurred in their verdicts, from the issues in which what the Messenger came with was hidden to them, incumbent, for they spoke with the extent of their knowledge. The truth [being] contrary to them[1] does not make repudiation of their statements entirely, degradation and defamation of them incumbent.

These two extremities deviate from the goal, and the goal of the path is between them [both]. We do not accuse [people] of inequity nor do we render [them] immune [from error]. With them,[2] we do not traverse the Râfiḍah’s path with regards to ‘Alî, nor their path with regards to the two Shaikhs.[3] Rather, [with them], we traverse their own path with regards to whoever is before them from the Companions, for surely, they do not accuse them of inequity, nor do they render them immune [from error], and they do not accept all of their statements nor do they relinquish them. So how do they rebuke us regarding the four imams for a path they traverse with regards to the four Caliphs and the rest of the Companions? There is no incompatibility between these two affairs for [the one] whose chest Allah opened to Islam. They are only incompatible with one of two men: a [person] ignorant of the measure of the imams and their virtue or a [person] ignorant of the reality of the Sharî’ah that Allah sent His messenger with.

[The one] who has knowledge of the Law and fact knows decisively that an esteemed man who has a righteous involvement in Islam and good effects, and [has] a place with respect to Islam and its people, could [have] a lapse or a mistake happen from him for which he is excused—and even rewarded for his [independent] deliberation. Thus, it is not permissible that he be followed in it, nor is it permissible that his station, his imamate, and his status be relinquished from the hearts of the Muslims.

[1] [t] I.e., their verdicts.

[2] [t] I.e., some of the scholars who attribute themselves to Imam ash-Shâfi’î’s school of thought.

[3] [t] I.e., Abū Bakr asSiddîq and ‘Umar bin al-Khattâb, may Allah be pleased with them both. Ibn al-Qayyim is referring to the fact that the Râfidah excessively venerate ‘Alî bin Abî Tâlib, may Allah be pleased with him (some to the extent of deifying him), while they excommunicate Abū Bakr and ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with them both, and declare them apostates.

Source: as-Sulaimânî, Abul-Hasan Mustafâ bin Ismâ’îl. “al-Qawl al-Mufhim li Man Ankar Maqâlah: Nusahhih wa Lâ Nahdim.” ad-Difâ’ ‘an Ahl al-Ittibâ’: ar-Radd al-‘Ilmî ‘alash-Shaikh Rabî’ bin Hâdî al-Madkhalî (2nd ed.). Menoufia, Egypt: Dâr al-Ansâr, 2006. vol. 1, pgs. 348-349.

About Rasheed Gonzales
My name is Rasheed Gonzales. I’m a Muslim convert of Filipino descent. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, I was guided to Islam through one of my younger brothers and a couple of friends, all of whom had converted to Islam sometime before me (may Allah reward them greatly). I am married with four children (and the praise is Allah’s) and also a volunteer for the Qur'an & Sunnah Society of Canada, based in Toronto.

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