The farsightedness of the Fuqaaha

We may sometimes come up with ideas about some Deeni activities and projects and we rush to embark in them, thinking of all the benefits that will be reaped but without adequately considering possible long-term drawbacks. Rush, very often leads to disastrous consequences while far-sightedness as to the long-term effects of a deed, has been acquired by the Fuqaaha, who will examine a situation and if they perceive negative effects, will advise to nip the evil in the bud.

There are various common daily life examples, where we do not perceive long-term drawbacks and rush to acquire immediate benefits. For example, one may advocate the consumption of fast foods which are tasty, easily available and time saving. However, these are addictive and unhealthy and in the long-run awareness campaigns have been raised  and articles written down as to their disastrous effects on one's health. Another example is that of ladies who rush to buy all sorts of new cosmetics to beautify themselves but in the long run, these same cosmetics ruin their skins by causing wrinkling, acne and even skin diseases.

Therefore, one should always consider long-term effects even if in the immediate, an action seems to bring benefits, especially if any drawbacks will have an impact on our Deen. For example, a merchant may be asked to bring some articles at home in the absence of the husband, leave them outside, ring the bell and go. As time passes and casualness ensues, he may be asked to open the door and leave the goods inside, later maybe to mount the stairs and leave them upstairs. And this may lead to a great deal of fitnah and immorality.

This is why, the Fuqaaha, when evaluating a situation, will consider all aspects of it and may even prohibit something which on the face of it is permissible because they perceive the long-term drawbacks of it, where impermissible actions ensue. Similarly, the virtues of greeting with Salaam is well known. Yet, for a young lady to greet a Ghair Mahram with Salaam is disliked as this one good deed may lead to temptation. It is best to sacrifice one virtuous deed so as to avoid a multitude of sins.

In the Qour'aan, Allah Azzawajall says :

 بل تحبون العاجلة وتذرون الآخرة

"Rather you love the immediate and you leave the hereafter."

Allah reprimands those who give preference to immediate advantages over subsequent ones. A person may, for example, consider it beneficial to invite women to pray at the Masjid and join public lectures to which men and women are invited. Therefore, he rushes forth to encourage women to do so and assurance is given that extra precautions are taken to prevent any abuse. However, experience has shown that initial precautions and rules are often relaxed and very soon, the sisters become acquainted with the Imaam, the Muezzin and the Mussalli in general. Once again, the Fuqaaha have preferred for women not to pray at the Masjid and to avoid  public lectures. This gives one to think ; will it be permissible to attend functions which is gender-segregated in the hall but where intermingling happens flagrantly in the yard?

 

Even at the time of Hazrat Nouh Alaihissalam, people would put up images of their pious elders and pay them due respect. The aim behind doing so was to be inspired to engage in Ibaadah. If anyone had objected to this practise and warned them of possible downsides down the road, they may have retorted that their warners were bad people preventing them from good deeds. However, when this generation passed away, the next generations started to worship these images and this led to the beginning of idolatry in history. This is also a reason why photography is prohibited. 

Therefore, when one comes up with Deeni projects and ideas which may seem beneficial from one viewpoint, it may not always be the case on the whole or in the long-term.

Even in the Qour'aan, Allah Azzawajall says that there are benefits to Khamr (wine) and Qimaar (gambling). If Allah Azzawajall said so, then there is absolutely no doubt in it. Yet He also says that their harm surpasses their benefits. And Allah made both of them prohibited in Islam.

Once again, perceiving benefits in a matter does not make it beneficial on the whole or in the long-term. For example, if 10 bottles of itr are uncapped and standing on a shelf and one of the middle bottle topples over, one may be tempted to rush and grab it. However, this may lead to all the bottles toppling over and all the itr being lost.

Similarly, if one who loses a Rs.1 coin and uses up a candle worth Rs. 3 in searching for it, he has actually made a loss even if he retrieves his coin.

One must remember that there are benefits to everything. Allah Azzawajall says in the Qour'aan :

وماخلقنا السماء والارض وما بينهما باطلا

"We didn't create the sky, the earth and whatever is in between in vain."

There is Hikmah (wisdom) in everything Allah creates. However, one must weigh the benefits and the downsides of any matter, especially before embarking in any Deeni project or activity. And those with the most farsightedness in Deeni matters are the Fuqaaha. So the ways and methods recommended by them should be adopted.

M.R.Meerun