View Full Version : The Mujāhid & Shubuhāt

12-06-2019, 01:48 AM
السلام عليكم

The Mujāhid & Shubuhāt

Thus, if you see those who follow that which is not entirely clear thereof, then they are those who Allāh has named; so, beware of them.”

Sahīh al-Bukhārī (4547)

The Arabic term Shubuhāt is the plural form of the word Shubhah, which linguistically means ambiguity, obscurity, or equivocality. However, according the Shar' this term refers to “that which appears to be ambiguous or obscure; hence it is not known whether it is Ḥalāl or Ḥarām, true or false.”220 A number of derivatives of this term appear in the divine texts, all of which convey the same or similar meaning. For instance, when the Jews were commanded to slaughter a cow they said to Prophet Mūsā عليه السلام :

Call upon your Lord for us to make plain to us what it is; for verily, to us all cows are alike [Tashābaha]. And surely, if Allāh wills, we will be guided. 221

Thus the Jews claimed that since to them all cows were Tashābaha [alike], the command that they had been given was ambiguous and needed further clarification.222

Allāh has clearly specified the aims and objectives of Jihād and has also clarified its related rulings. Nevertheless, there are some matters the reality of which are unclear to many and therefore should be avoided, as the Messenger of Allāh صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

Verily, the Ḥalāl is clear and the Ḥarām is clear, and between the two [there are some] unclear matters [Mushtabihāt], which are unknown to many people. So whoever avoids the Shubuhāt will safeguard his religion and his honour; while whoever indulges in the Shubuhāt falls into the Ḥarām.223

This Ḥadīth indicates that there is absolutely no Shubuhāt regarding the Ḥalāl and Ḥarām matters, as Allāh has clarified such matters. It also highlights that there are some issues the rulings of which are not clear to many and as such are categorised as Shubuhāt. Note that the Messenger of Allāh صلى الله عليه وسلم did not say that the reality of such matters are not known to anyone rather, he said that they “are unknown to many people. Imām Ibn Rajab al-Ḥanbalī رحمه الله commented on this Ḥadīth, explaining that between the Ḥalāl and the Ḥarām there are some matters that are “obscure to many people, [thus they question] are they from the Ḥalāl or the Ḥarām?‟ As for those who are fully grounded in Knowledge, this is not obscure to them and they know to which category these things belong.” 224

It is therefore imperative for the Mujāhid to possess or acquire Shar'ī knowledge pertaining to Jihād and its related rulings. As a minimum requirement, he should be acquainted with the matters that have been clearly defined as either Ḥalāl or Ḥarām, as such knowledge is readily accessible from the Book and Sunnah. Thus Allāh says:

And Allāh will never lead a people astray after He has guided them until He makes clear to them what they should avoid. Indeed, Allāh is the All-Knower of everything.

Additionally, the Messenger of Allāh صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

I have left you on a clear path, its night is like its day, [and] none deviates from it after me except he who is destroyed.” 226

As for those matters that have not been clearly defined as either being Ḥalāl or Ḥarām, and thus appear unclear to most people, then such issues must be referred to the trustworthy people of sound knowledge, as the Messenger of Allāh صلى الله عليه وسلم said that “whoever avoids the Shubuhāt will safeguard his religion and his honour; while whoever indulges in the Shubuhāt falls into the Ḥarām.” 227 Moreover, the Jihād must be led by people of knowledge who not only possess the ability to derive rulings from the divine texts, according to the principles of Islamic jurisprudence, but who also witness the hardships and horrors of war first hand. This was the understanding of the Salaf, hence Shaykhul-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah quotes Abdullāh bin al-Mubārak and Aḥmad [bin] Ḥanbal رحمهم الله as saying:

“If the people differ regarding anything, then consider what the people in the lands of RibāṭC1 are upon. For indeed the truth is with them because Allāh says: As for those who strive hard for Our Sake, We shall surely guide them to Our Paths.228

In fact the Shaykh also expressed that “In relation to the affairs of Jihād, it is compulsory to consider the opinion of the people of sound religion [and] who have experience in what the people are upon, as opposed to the people of religion who are overwhelmed by superficial contemplation of the religion. Their opinion should not be taken, neither should the opinion of the people of religion who have no experience in the worldly affairs [be taken].”

Caplets Note: Adapted from 'Al-Jihād In The Light of As-Siyāsatush Shar'iyyah' by Ḥudhayfah [bin] Isḥāq.

C1 Those frontiers lands (borders) between the Muslims territories and those of the disbelievers. The Muslims that guard these outposts are called Murābitīn.
220 Al-Mu'jamul-Waṣīṭ
221 Sūrah al-Baqarah (2):70
222 In reality this was not the case, they only intended to defy the noble Messenger Mūsā and to cause trouble. This is evident from the fact that after their excessive questioning “they slaughtered it [i.e. the cow] though they were near to not doing so.” [Sūrah al-Baqarah(2):71] Indeed, nothing destroyed those who preceded this Ummah except their excessive questioning and opposition to their Prophets. [Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (1337)]
223 Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (52), Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (1599)
224 Al-Jāmi' ul-Ulūm wal-Ḥikam, (p.68)
225 Sūrah at-Tawbah (9):115
226 Sunan Ibn Mājah (45)
227 Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (52), Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (1599)
228 Majmū' al-Fatāwā (28/442)
229 Al-Fatāwā al-Kubrā (4/609)


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