Confusing ijtihadi matters with non ijtihadi issues

One of the reasons why many people fall into condemnation is due to them confusing ijtihadi matters with non ijtihadi issues. Most of the shariah is ijtihadi, in fact according to scholars around 80% (and more) is predicated upon ijtihad. We need to acknowledge and understand that in matters of ijtihad it is not permissible to condemn or shun anyone because they hold opposing views to us. This is a principle in and of itself as mentined by Imam al Suyuti:

Below are some statements by the scholars on this:

1. Imam Sadr al Din Ali Ibn al Izz al Hanafi: ”If the dispute between the Ummah in both fundamental and subsidiary issues was not referred to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, the truth would not be clear. Rather the disputants would not be upon clear evidence regarding their matter. If Allah gave them mercy, they would acknowledge each other’s (evidence), and no one of them would wrong the other, as was the case with the Companions at the time of Umar and Uthman when a dispute in some of the issues of ijtihad arose. They would acknowledge one another without any oppression. But if they were not given mercy, the dispraised kind of dispute would happen.” (Aqeedah at Tahawiyah, p 288)

2. Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah: ”Praise be to Allah: In the issues of Ijtihad, the one who acts upon the saying of some of the scholars should not be condemned nor deserted; and the one who acts upon one of the sayings should not be condemned. If there are two opinions about the issue and one could see the preponderance of one of them, he should act according to it. Otherwise he should follow one of the scholars who are trusted in showing the more preponderant of the two sayings.” (Majmu’ al Fatawa, 20/207)

3. Imam Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab: ”Since some of the scholars allowed Tawassul (to Allah) with the righteous people, and some considered it to apply in particular to the Prophet and the majority of the scholars forbade it and disliked it. Therefore, this question is one of the issues of fiqh. Although the correct position, in our opinion, is the saying of the Jamhur that it is makruh, we do not deny and condemn the one who dd it, and there is no denial and condemnation in the issues of Ijtihad.” (Al-Sheikh’s publications, Division 3, Fatawa: 68)

Al that is summarised in the famous axiom among the scholars:

لا إنكار في مسائل الإجتهاد

‘There is no condemnation in matters of Ijtihad’.

-Imam Abdullah Hasan

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