A Muslim opposing an established ruling supported with a clear text

Q: In our town, Pattani, which lies in the south of Thailand, big problems have been caused by the issue of the bereaved family making food for the condolers. (Part No. 2; Page No. 32) I hope, Your Eminence, will clarify this issue and the following issues:The rules of religious obligations are classified into: Wajib (obligatory), Mandub (commendable), Ja’iz (permissible), Makruh (disliked) and Mahdhur (prohibited).What is the ruling on a person who denies one of the mentioned rules by saying instead that:1- The obligatory is rather commendable, permissible, reprehensible or prohibited;2- The commendable is rather obligatory, permissible, reprehensible or prohibited;3- The permissible is rather obligatory, commendable, reprehensible or prohibited;4- The reprehensible is rather obligatory, commendable, permissible or prohibited;5- The prohibited is rather obligatory, commendable, permissible or reprehensible.For instance, the knowledgeable scholars said, “It is Makruh that people should be entertained with food served by the family of the deceased, because this is legitimate only in the time of happiness, not sorrow; it is a loathsome Bid‘ah (innovation in religion).” (Part No. 2; Page No. 33) They also said, “It is Makruh to serve food on the first, second and third days, until a week passes.” They also said, “The four Imams (Abu Hanifah, Malik, Al-Shafi‘y, and Ahmad) are agreed that it is Makruh that the family of the deceased should make food for the people to gather and eat,” and similar scholarly opinions. However, in our town, Pattani, most of the scholars stated the opposite of the previously mentioned; some of them said it is Sunnah; others said it is permissible; and a few of them said it is obligatory. Hajj ‘Abdullah Al-Haj Muhammad Salih, `Abdul-Rahman Jafakiya and I hold the same opinion of the former knowledgeable scholars. Thus, because of this issue they accuse one another of Kufr (disbelief), they do not eat from one another’s sacrificed animals; nor do they marry from one another’s families. I wish Your Eminence would send us a written Fatwa so that we can print and distribute it freely among all the people, In sha’a-Allah (if Allah wills).


A: First: the authentic Sunnah indicates that the family of the deceased are not the ones who should make food, but it is their Muslim brothers who should make food for them as a form of support and showing condolences, as they might be too grieved to think of food. Abu Dawud narrated in his Sunan (Hadith compilations classified by jurisprudential themes), from `Abdullah ibn Ja`far that he said, “When the death of Ja‘far (may Allah be pleased with him) was announced, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, Make food for the family of Ja‘far, for there has come to them what is preoccupying them Narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, (Part No. 2; Page No. 34)  Al-Tirmidhy and Ibn Majah. Al-Tirmidhy classed it as Hasan (a Hadith whose chain of narration contains a narrator with weak exactitude, but is free from eccentricity or blemish). As for making food by the bereaved family for the people, and adopting this as a custom, is a thing that was never known to be done by the Prophet (peace be upon him) or the Rightly-Guided Caliphs; rather it is a Bid‘ah that must renounced, as it adds more burden to the bereaved family, and involves imitation of the people of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic time of ignorance) and turning away from the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Rightly-Guided Caliphs (may Allah be pleased with them). Imam Ahmad narrated from Jarir ibn `Abdullah Al-Bajaly that the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with them) considered gathering at the bereaved family home after burial and their cooking food to them a form of wailing (over the dead). It is also impermissible to slaughter an animal by the grave, at the time of death, or when the corpse is taken out of the house, according to the Hadith narrated by Ahmad and Abu Dawud, on the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, There is no slaughtering (at the grave) in Islam. Second: If a Muslim contradicts an explicit textual ruling or injunction of the Qur’an or the Sunnah, which is not open to interpretation or Ijtihad (juristic effort to infer expert legal rulings), or go against the absolute established Ijma‘ (consensus) of the Ummah, the correct ruling should be pointed out to them. If they accept it, thank Allah! But if they insist on changing the Ruling of Allah, even after clarifying the ruling to them and establishing evidence, they would be declared as Kafirs (disbelievers) and treated as apostates from Islam, such as those who deny the Five Obligatory Daily Prayers or one of them, or the duty of Sawm (fasting), Zakah or Hajj, and allegorically interpret their respective textual-evidence from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, not giving importance to the unanimous consensus of the Ummah. (Part No. 2; Page No. 35) However, if a Muslim contradicts a ruling established by controversial evidence, or open to different interpretations and opposite rulings, it is regarded as a difference in opinion over a discretionary issue subject to Ijtihad. In this case, the contradictor is not considered a Kafir, but will be excused if their opinion is wrong and will be rewarded for Ijtihad. If their opinion is right, they will be given due credit and will have two rewards: one for Ijtihad and one for being right. Examples of this include those who deny the obligation of reciting Al-Fatihah by the Ma’mum (a person being led by an Imam in Prayer) in opposition to those who confirm it; and those who contradict the ruling on the bereaved family making food and inviting people to it and judge such an act to be Mustahab (desirable), Mubah (permissible), or Makruh (disliked) but not Haram (unlawful or forbidden). Such people should not be declared as Kafirs, or people abstain from offering Salah behind them, or prohibit marriage from their families or eating from their sacrificed animals. They should be advised and reminded of the precepts of Shari‘ah, because they are Muslim brothers who have the same right as the rest of the Muslims. Controversy over such issues is considered as a difference in opinion over a subsidiary speculative issue open to Ijtihad, and it took place in the era of the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) and the Imams of the Salaf (righteous predecessors). However, they did not declare one other to be disbelievers or stopped socializing with one another.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

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