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['Aalim Network QR] Implications of A. Seestani's rulings on Dr. Sachedina (Follow-up)

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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\
Salaamun 'Alaykum

The following follow-up question was kindly answered by Mulla Bashir Rahim.

Fee Amaanillah,


Note: For your convenience, the originial question and answer, and the
translation of Ayat. Seestani's ruling have been appended below.

----- Forwarded Message -----


In the name of the Almighty,

Respected Mr. Nazir Gulamhusein, President of the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri
Jamaat of Toronto, Canada.

With conveyance of salaam and wishing tawfiq for yourself and the other
brothers and sisters in iman in Toronto, and with thanks for the endeavours
of the Respected Hujjatul Islam Aqa-e-Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi (may his
blessings continue), I wish to convey [the following]:

I have looked at the presentation of the writings and statements of Dr.
Abdul Aziz Sachedina that was sent {to me}.

Whereas his views on issues presented are based on incorrect
understandings, and are incompatible with religious and academic standards,
and cause confusion in minds of the Mu'mineen, all the brothers and sisters
in iman (may Allah help them in {gaining} His pleasure) are enjoined to
refrain from inviting him for lecturing at religious gatherings, and not to
approach him for seeking answers to questions pertaining to beliefs.

And Allah is the Guide to the right path.

Ali al-Husayni as-Sistani {signed & sealed}



What are extent and implications of the recent ruling of Ayatullah Seestani
on the speeches and writings of Dr. Abdul Aziz Sachedina?


Ayatullah Seestani's ruling with regard to Dr Sachedina is not just a
fatwa. It is a hukm of general application and would apply to both his
muqallids and non-muqallids.  We have to appreciate that on the face of it,
the hukm relates to one scholar and all the mu'mineen "are enjoined to
refrain from inviting him for lecturing at religious gatherings, and not to
approach him for seeking answers to questions pertaining to belief."

However, taking into account the genesis of the ruling, it would apply in
relation to any person who makes use of the minbar (pulpit) and then to
impose his own personal views on the aqaaid and shari'ah, and thus attempt
to destabilise the beliefs of his audience.

Furthermore, such rulings are like judgments in a case, and therefore
remain valid even after the death of the mujtahid.

People like me who are entrusted by the community with their religious
education must ensure that we never attempt to mislead them.  We have to
follow the path trodden by eminent scholars and not to bring about
confusion to issues relating to aqaaid and shari'ah.

We also have to ensure that the questions of ijtihaad and taqlid are
properly understood and that we do not ever cast slur on the integrity or
knowledge or authority of the fuqaha for any personal agenda.

I trust that I have responded to your question comprehensively.  If there
are any questions please refer to the 'Aalim Network.

With salaams and dua's and with a request to remember me in your duas,

Bashir Rahim


Also, in "The Message of Thaqalayn," a quarterly journal of Islamic
Studies, Vol 4 No.1 Spring 1998/1418, the difference between Fatwa and Hukm
has been extensively dealt with by Muhammad Sadiq Mazinani. I quote three
paragraphs from it:


Fatwa, as termed by the jurists, is stating of a view by a faqih in
religious and related matters on the basis of divine sources, while hukm is
issued by the hakim (supreme religous leader or ruler) for implementation
of religious decrees and compulsion on performance or avoidance of an
action for any best reason. Therefore Fatwa and Faqih are different from
Hukm and Hakim.

The relation between people and jurist is the relation of a specialist or
skillful person with non-specialists or lay persons and nothing more. But
the people's relation with the ruler is the relation of the Ummah with the
Imam. The faqih, thus possessing qualifications of leadership is the hakim
and the leader of the Ummah.

The territory of a faqih's fatwa is confined to himself and his followers
and is not binding on other fuqaha. However, the hukm of a hakim is not
only to be followed by other fuqaha, but is also binding even if it does
not coincide with their own fatwa. Therefore in matters of contradiction,
the hukm has the priority over fatwa.


It is also understood that the historic ruling of prohibiting Tobacco
issued by Ayatullah Mirza Shirazi was a Hukm as was the most recent one
issued by Ayatullah Khomeini on Salman Rushdie.




First, I'd like to apologise for my ignorance. I am a new follower of Shia
school of thought.

I read on your posting about Implications of A. Seestani's rulings on Dr.

That posting explains the terms of Hukm and Hakim.

After reading the explanation, some questions appeared in my mind.

1. According to the explanation, does it mean that Ayatullah Seestani is a
Supreme Religious Leader just as Ayatullah Khamenei is?

2. Is every marja-e taqlid also a Supreme Religious Leader?

3. If the answer to question #2 is yes, does it mean that we have more than
one Supreme Religious Leader?

4. If the answer to the question #3 is yes, how about if the Hukm of one
Hakim is in contradiction to the Hukm of another Hakim?

5. Does the term Hakim (Supreme Religious Leader) have the same meaning? as
Wali-e Faqih?


I thank you for having asked very pertinent questions. Unfortunately my
will have to be somewhat exhaustive, if not exhausting.

Firstly, allow me to explain what my opinion was on the distinction between a
'fatwa' and a 'hukm'. 

I would briefly like to reiterate that a fatwa is a ruling of a mujtahid in
realm of fiqh. A hukm , as was explained by Shahide Awwal in his book 'al-
Qawaa'id wa al-Fawaa'id', is a statement of a mujtahid defining option or
obligation in any worldly matter'. Whether one should recite tasbeehe arabaa
once or thrice in the third or the fourth rakaat of a salah is a matter
regulated by fatwa. Mujtahids can differ in their opinions and the
muqallids of any mujtahid would be bound to follow the ruling of their respective marja-e-taqlid. 

However there may be matters of political, social or economic significance
affecting the community or there may be a private dispute between two or more
parties. In these matters the ruling or statement given by a mujtahid would
be a hukm. Historically, all hakims consider a hukm by one hakim-e-shara' as
legally binding on themselves though they may have personal reservations.  You will appreciate that for proper social order this rule is followed strictly in
our jurisprudence.

For instance, when Ayatullah Mirza Shirazi declared the use of tobacco as
forbidden, 'Ala al-Daulah went to Iraq on behalf Nasr al-Din Shah to seek the
permission of the other jurists, but all the other jurists were unanimously of
the opinion that Mirza Shirazi's ruling was a hukm and not a fatwa and as such
it was binding on all to follow.

The tobacco hukm also clarifies any doubt which may exist in relation to the
geographical scope of a hukm. Ayatullah Shirazi was dealing with a particular
political problem of Iran. The hukm was held to be universally binding.

In the case of a hukm the language used may be that of a command or an
admonition or an advice, depending upon the subject matter at hand. In all
cases the community must regard it as incumbent upon them to follow the hukm.
Thus while in his fatwa a mujtahid may declare an action to be wajib,
mustahab, haram, makrooh, or ihtiyatan, the hukm by its
very nature can not be divided accordingly. Whatever the language, we should
regard it as binding.

In the Wessex Jama'at it was suggested to us that for our sports facilities we
should apply for a grant from the lottery fund. The government has a lottery
fund in which are deposited all the profits from the weekly lottery. We
referred the matter to Ayatullah Seestani. A full explanation was given. Ayatullah ruled that while there was no juridical objection to us applying for and using the fund, it would effect our reputation in the general Muslim community and for the reason he advised against it. We ofcourse treated the advice as binding.
Although it was a Wessex matter and a Wessex reference, the world wide
community would be bound by the advice.

The following hadith will help our understanding of the issues involved.

It has been narrated on the authority of Umar bin Hanzalah, who said: I asked
Abu Abdillah (AS) regarding two of our people who have a dispute related to a
loan or inheritance. These [two people] submit their case to the ruler [of the
time] and the judges. Is this permitted? 

He (AS) replied: Whosoever submits a case to tyrants who then pass a verdict
will be gaining illicitly even if it was his right, simply because he received
judgement from tyrants.

I asked: What should they do?

He (AS) replied: Find amongst yourselves a person who has narrated our
ahadeeth, has studied what we have decreed halaal and haraam and understands our rules.
Let him judge you for I appoint [such a person] a judge over you. If he rules
according to our traditions and his ruling is NOT accepted, then Allah's rule
has been undermined and we have been rejected and anyone who rejects us,
rejects Allah and is bordering Shirk.

'As Saraa'ir' by Abu Mansur Muhammad bin Idris Muhammad Al Ajli Al Hilli as
found in Silsilat Al Yanabi Al Fiqhiyyah compiled by Ali Asghar Marwarid
Vol 23 Pg 300. Also found in 'Al Kafi fil Fiqh' by Abu Salah Taqiud Din ibn Najmud Din Abdullah Al Halabi As found in Silsilat Al Yanabi Al Fiqhiyyah compiled by Ali Asghar Marwarid Vol. 11 Pg. 55

Now let us try and consider your individual questions.

(1) The answer is yes.

(2) Again the answer is yes.

(3) Yes again. In the matter of jurisprudence they may have different opinions
and their muqallids would be bound as explained above.

(4) I have explained this at some length.

(5) The concept of wilayatul faqih as a political instituion is a different
concept and it would perhaps be more convenient to address it as a separate
If you have further questions please forward them to the Alim Network.

With salaams and du'aas from a humble servant of Ahlul Bayt and the
followers of the Ahlul Bayt and with a request to be remembered by all of you in your du'aas,

Bashir Rahim

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