Contemporary Issues Fiqh Living Islam Q and A

The Question of Talfiq: Combining Between Different Opinions

The issue of talfiq is an important one in discussions around Islamic law and ethics. It comes up all the time and can have major consequences on how one thinks about fiqh as well as the choices they make in their life.

Talfiq is basically to take an opinion from one school (i.e. Maliki, Hanbali, etc.) and combine it with another one in the same act of worship. So in the Shafi’i school for example bleeding does not break one’s wudu, but it does in the Hanafi school. Also, in the Shafi’i school reading “Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim” at the beginning of al-Fatiha is required while it is not in the Hanafi school. So if someone decided to go with their wudu not breaking during bleeding and then also choose not to recite “Bismillah” at the beginning of prayer then their prayer would be invalid according to both schools. This act of combining is referred to as talfiq.

Scholars take different positions on whether or not the prayer of an individual who did what is mentioned above would be valid. Recently I found a brilliant fatwa from Sh. Muhammad Bakhit al-Muti’i, former Mufti of Egypt during the early part of the 1900s. For anyone not familiar with the calibre of his scholarship I suggest browsing through some of his fatwas and books and reading about his life. This particular response is from November of 1919. I will include the PDF here which can be found in “al-Fatawa al-Islamiyyah” of Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

The summary points are the following:

  • It is permissible to do talfiq by taking a position from one madhhab and another from another madhhab as long as the consequence does not go against scholarly consensus.
  • If the consequence does go against scholarly consensus and it is inconceivable for another mujtahid (on the assumption that there is one) to come to that conclusion then that type of talfiq is invalid by scholarly consensus.

Contemporary Issues

Marriage is a Public Institution in Islam

One of the most important relationships, spiritually and socially, is marriage. It is the bedrock of so many other relationships in life and its health or sickness has a ripple effect on the rest of life. For these reasons Islam has laid out a number of conditions for a marriage that is acceptable to God and blessed. In this article we simply intend to remind as to one of the most important of them: public knowledge.

Marriage is not easy. It takes a lot of maturity and discipline. It is not a fling and it definitely is not dating. It also is often made even more difficult by families that are unreasonable. Many times families will not even engage conversation with their children on the topic. The result is that they go elsewhere and start to search for loopholes to avoid dealing with reality. In this light a question that we’ve seen come up from a number of young people is whether or not they can do the marriage themselves with a couple of friends and not tell anyone. This is not only unacceptable in Islam, but also a very bad idea. Such a marriage that is riddled with secrecy and deception is not likely to last. The needed support, understanding, and tranquility will not be present and the nature of the relationship will be far from the way a marriage is supposed to be. It is unacceptable for reasons related to the absence of a wali or guardian for the bride as well as secrecy. We will only focus on the latter here.

Some scholars spoke of the need of “shuhrah/public knowledge” and not only witnesses. Indeed, those who spoke of the minimum witness requirement being two males did not speak of it in the context of people intending to hide their relationships, but rather merely from a legal minimum.

Shaykh Muhammad al-Tahir Ibn Ashur in a case study in his book Maqasid al-Sharia discusses the objectives behind marriage. He says,

“The third condition is a public declaration (shuhrah). The reason for this condition is that keeping marriage secret brings it closer to adultery and prevents people from honoring and protecting it” (257).

He also says,

“It has been maintained by some jurists that a marriage whose witnesses have agreed to keep it totally concealed from others is in fact a secret marriage, even if their number is as big as the crowd filling a mosque. Although this view is disputed, what is most likely is that total secrecy in marriage has a nullifying effect” (257).

Therefore, prominent scholars have concluded that secret marriages that are kept private from families and communities are not permissible and cause great harm. In our context today, this is especially true because such relationships cause far more harm than good. They should be avoided and people should not fall victim to the whisperings of shaytan and their base selves that encourage them towards such behavior.

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Sometimes it is phrased as a question and sometimes as the more familiar embedded accusation in the middle of another question or comment, “but Islam spread by the sword…” 

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“Seek Me Among the Poor.” – Prophetic Guidance for Success, Victory, and Wealth

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The suburban Muslim community in America has a problem. Our masajid are in shambles because we think money alone can save them. We believe the wealthy and powerful can change our condition.

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The second level of disillusionment is with the community at large. Here are the aforementioned points that deal with this level:

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On Oppression, Allah’s Aid, and Prophetic Love: Reflections on the work of Rami Nashashibi

There’s a lot of important material in the video below that’s imperative for us as a community to digest. Look at the example of those who bring light under extremely trying circumstances, those who serve without limit, those who do not participate in enmity with believers who may even show hostility to them.

“You do not truly believe until you want for your brothers what you want for yourselves.”