Home commentary Critical Analysis of ‘SADD AL—DHARA’I’ — Blocking The Means to Evil as...

Critical Analysis of ‘SADD AL—DHARA’I’ — Blocking The Means to Evil as A Secondary Source of Islamic Law

By Jimoh AbdulGaniy Adisa

ABSTRACT: Since time immemorial, Sadd al-Dharai is known to be a source of Islamic Law that has emanated from the Maliki school of thought, a principle which Imam Maliki often places heavy reliance on when deriving judgment, and in this regard,

Imam Ahmad Ibn Anbal closely emulated him. Reason being that, al-Malikiyyah is a madhab (school of thought) that holds firmly to the Ijtihadiyyah based on the general benefits to mankind. More so, there are plethora of interpretations raised by the Islamic scholars in construing Sadd al-Dharai. To Qurtubi, Sadd al-Dharai was not forbidden, but if it entails destruction, it will be termed as forbidden.

Burhani asserts Sadd al-Dhara’i ‘as originally not forbidden, but it will be, if it encompasses some slanderous elements or detrimental effects. On the other hand, al-Shafi‘iyyah and al-Hanafiyyah do not list the doctrines in their law methodology. However, they have indirectly incorporated the Sadd al ’Dhara’i ’doctrine in several problems and solutions brought forward by their ijtihad.

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Therefore, many scholars accorded its characteristics to Imam Dar Al-Hijrah (herein referred as Imam Maliki).Be that as it may, Dharai represents “means” and Sadd adh-dharia “depicts blocking the means, “that is, preventing the means to what is termed as forbidden and Fatu al-Dharai (facilitating the means) encompasses the means to what is obligatory also obligatory.

An exemplification of this is adultery which is deemed unlawful; looking at the private part of non-mahram (unrelated woman) is unlawful, and it will certainly result to adultery. Another example is the Jumu’ah prayer, which is considered an obligation, and leaving commercial activities in lieu of it is also obligatory. Notwithstanding though, this article shall critically and extensively analyze Sadd Adh-dharia (blocking the means) as a secondary source of Islamic Law.

INTRODUCTION.
Sadd al-adharai is a secondary source in Islamic law where it represents blocking the means, it implies blocking the means that will lead to evil or anything unlawful. Hence, the means to anything unlawful is unlawful just the way the means to anything lawful is lawful.

For example, adultery is considered illegal and unlawful. Thus, watching another woman one is not legally married to, is regarded as unlawful. On this broad of spectrum thinking, the scholars had indeed, relied on Sadd al-adharai as a secondary source of Islamic law, and equally brought forth an authority in support of it, vide the provision of Quran 6:108 which is lucidly captioned below:

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“and insult not those whom they (disbelievers)worship beside Allah, lest they insult Allah wrongfully without knowledge…”

In the supra provision, Allah (the most high) prohibits insulting idol worshippers, a conduct which might have been otherwise permissible and praiseworthy. As it is, the ensuing content of the Quran provision serves as blocking the means to evil. Reason being that, if it is allowed, it would have been a greater evil, which is insulting Allah (the most high).

Consequent upon this, Sadd al-dharai is an appropriate tool, in it, there is much reflection and consideration of Mafsadah (negative) versus Maslaha (interest), in tackling the emerging issues. Therefore, the intendment of this treatise seeks to critically and extensively justify the application of Sadd al-dharai as a secondary source of Islamic law.


CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATION
It is of utmost necessary to do justice to the meaning of Sadd al-adharai from the perspective of Islamic law. Thus, the principle of Sadd al-dhara’i is originally coined from two terms which are Sadd and al-dharai. According to Ibn, Manzur, Sadd literally means close the defect and it was equally translated as hindrance, blocks, barriers, and obstacles. Whereas, al-dharai is the plural of dharia which denotes “means” and “cause”. To Saheed Bello, Sadd literally means blocking and Dhara’i is the plural of the word “dhari’ah” which portrays means to obtaining a certain end.

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Technically, it refers to the use of permissible means to circumvent a prohibition but Nyazee has emphasized this means to an end being lawful or unlawful which he has clarified that with the combination of these two terms, Sadd al-dhara’i means blocking the lawful means to unlawful means. Besides, another written source opines that this principle is under the category of the nazariyyah al-dhara’i (theory of means) apart from fathu al-dhari’ah (permitting the unlawful means to lawful means).

By extension of the aforementioned standpoints, the ditto principle is known to be a great discourse in the field of usul al-fiqh (the foundation of Islamic law) and it equally possess soundness in Islamic legal deduction (Ijtihadiyyah) that emanated from the Maliki school of thought. Nonetheless, there is no consensus among all the schools of thought regarding it credibility as the secondary source of Islamic Law.


CRITICAL AND EXTENSIVE ANALYSIS OF SADD AL-DHARAI’I AS A SECONDARY SOURCE OF ISLAMIC LAW
The rationale behind the appraisal of blocking the means is to examine and inspect the consequences of actions and what they could result in.For instance, if they lead toward benefits which are aims of human transactions among themselves, they are worthy in accordance with how proper they are to aim for the desired goals. If their outcomes are directed toward evil, they are prohibited as correspond to the prohibition of these evils, even if the quantity of prohibition is less in the means.

In furtherance, investigation into the outcomes is not carried out by mere inspecting the goal and the intention of the doer. It is quite necessary to checkmate the result and fruit of the actions, because a person is rewarded or punished in the next world according to the intention, and it is due to the result that an action is good, or desirable in this world. Reason being that, the current universe is centralized on the people’s welfare, equity and justice.

For example, if a Muslim faithful curses idols wholeheartedly, out of utmost devotion to Allah, his intention will be considered with Allah in his claim, but he abstain from cursing which may give room to the idolaters to curse Allah as almighty Allah has vividly affirmed in Quran 6:108:”Do not curse those they call upon besides Allah, in animosity, without knowledge.”


Along the same lines, a person may intend evil vide a permitted action, and thus committed sin in what is between him and Allah, but no individual can judge or deemed his actions as legally baseless. An exemplification of this, is a person who makes reduction in his sale all in a bid to injure a trader with whom he is in competition, apparently, the action could be termed as a sin, and a means of harming, and he intended it himself. Despite that, such action is not judged in any aspect to be invalid, and it does not fall within the precinct of clear prohibition of judicial decision.

Albeit, from intention aspect, this action is a means to evil and from another clear aspect, it portrays a means to both general and specific benefit. Without a modicum of doubt, the buyer has benefitted from his purchase, the merchantability of his trade, and good reception for it, and a general benefit in the reduction which may results to a lowering of prices. So, it is very obvious and conspicuous that the principle of blocking does not only involve intentions and personal aims, but what is intends of general benefit or preventing harm.


SUCCINT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SADD AL-DHARAI’I AND SADD AL FATH
The former denotes blocking the means that is, repelling the means of harms or evils. As such it is mandatory to forbid it, because harm is forbidden, and what leads to it is also forbidden. For instance, looking at the private parts of an unrelated woman is also unlawful because it is likely to lead to adultery.

On the other hand, fath al-dhara’i—facilitating the means—if it is a benefit, it is desirable to take it or acted upon it, an analogy could be seen in Jumu’ah prayer and pilgrimage to Mecca.Because, the Jumu’a prayer is an obligation, attending it is also an obligation, and leaving off trading to attend is also obligatory. Hajj is an obligation, and going to the sacred house and the other practices of Hajj are obligatory for its sake.

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That being the case, the duo principles are used by Imam Maliki of blessed memory as averred by al-Qarafi in al-Furuq “know that as it is mandatory to block the means, it is also mandatory to facilitate them, or disliked, recommended or allowed, the means is the means. So as the means to unlawful is forbidden, the means to the mandatory like going to Jumu’ah and Hajj.”

CATEGORIES OF SADD AL-DHARAI’I ACCORDING TO IMAM MALIKI & IMAM SHAFI’H
As far as the means are concerned, there is an agreement that they are categorized into three viz:


•For instance, digging a trench or well in Muslims’ routes, poisoning their meals, and cursing idol in the presence of an individual, without a pinch of doubt, he will retaliate by cursing almighty Allah. The supra examples are deemed as consensus among the scholars.
•Growing grapes which are not forbidden or prohibited out of fear of wine—this example is nullified by the consensus.


•The third one is like credit sales, which varies, the means in it is considered by some scholars, and another set of scholars disagreed on it.On the disagreement part, explanation is given on it in an Islamic literature known as “Al Furuq” thus:

“There is disagreement among the scholars regarding it and whether is it blocked or not, like credit sales. This is like when someone sells some goods for ten dirhams with a month’s credit and then he buys them for five before the month is up. Malik says that five is taken from his hand now and he takes ten at the end of the month. This is a means to advance five for ten on credit in the form of a sale. Ash-Shafi’i says that one looks at the form of the sale and applies the matter to its outward form and so that is permitted. These sales are said to lead to a thousand questions which are particular to Malik, and ash-Shafi’i opposed him about them.

“This is also like the disagreement about the liability of artisans because they alter goods by their work so that their owners may not recognize them. So they are liable for damages in order to block the means. It is not because it is employment where the basis of hire is on trust. That is also the case in making food porters liable so that they do not filch some of it. It is frequent in these questions. We say that the means are blocked but ash-Shafi’i did not say that. Blocking of means is not particular to Malik. He does it more than others, but the basis of its blocking is agreed on.”


DIVISION OF SADD AL-DHARAI’I IN THE LENS OF IBNUL QAYIM
To him, (IBNU-L-QAYIM), action or word leading to evil has two grades, and they are:

  1. Performing an action which lead to evil—like taking intoxicants which result in intoxication, slander which lead to lying, fornication which causes confusion in paternity and corruption etc.

2. Doing an action which can lead to something permitted or recommended, but it can be seen as a means to the unlawful, either intentionally or unintentionally. Exemplification of the first grade is like someone who contract a marriage all in a bid to make a woman lawful to a previous husband or concludes a sale intending usury, and the second grade instance is like cursing or abusing the deities of the idolaters in their presence.


THE EXTANT PROVISION OF SADD AL-DHARAI’I IN THE QUR’AN AND SUNNAH.
This principle of means has been provided in the content of the Qur’an and Sunnah.Before then, it provision in the Qur’an will be first justified-In Qur’an (6:108), Allah (SWT) states that: “Do not curse those they call besides Allah, in case they may cause Allah in animosity, without knowledge.” It is very apparent, that this provision centralizes on refraining from abusing the idol worshippers, so they won’t retaliate by doing same to Allah.

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More so, another exemplification of Sadd al-dharai is Quran 2:104, when Allah enjoins the believers in his revered statement thus: “O you who believe! do not say Raina and say Unzurna and listen, and for the unbelievers there is painful chatisement” It is asserted from the content of this verse that the aim of the Muslim is good, but the Jew used it as a means of abusing the prophet.

In the same vein, the provision of Qur’an 24:31 admonishes the women thus: “And let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known.” This admonishment is meant to block all means that will lead to evil or temptation when men’s attention to the sound of women’s ornaments.


THE PRINCIPLE OF SADD AL-DHARAI’I IN THE LIGHT OF THE PROPHET TRADITION (SUNNAH)
As regards the Sunnah-the actions, deeds, and traditions of the prophet (P.B.U.H) there are numerous illustration of Sadd al-dharai, some of them will be analyzed hereunder.


First, the prophet enjoins us against killing the hypocrite, because it will serves as a means for the unbelievers to indict him of killing his companions as seen in his saying which was reported by Jabir, when Umar bn Khatabb (Allah be pleased with him) said: Permit me to kill this hypocrite. Upon this, he (the holy prophet) said: May there be protection of Allah! People would say that I kill my companion.”


Second, the prophet, may Allah bless and grant him peace forbade a leader to receive a gift from a debtor unless he concurs to be part of the repayment of the debt, the derivative means here is that abstinence from the delay of the debt, for the sake of the gift which will be termed as usury.


Third, the prophet (PBUH) forbade hoarding as he out rightly said in one his sayings—”No one hoards except someone who does wrong.” The rationale behind is that hoarding is deemed a means to restrict the people from their needs.

More so, the prophet forbade anyone who gave charity to buy back his charity, even if he finds it being sold in the market, to bar the means of taking back what he gave for Allah even for recompense, and if the giver is forbidden to take charity by paying for it, there is a prohibition against taking without payment.


Another instance is that the prophet (PBUH) disapprove cutting off hand in expedition, so that it won’t for an offender under a hadd (discretionary punishment) to flee to the rebels.

CONCLUSION.
SADD AL-DHARA’I (blocking the means to evil) is recognized and categorized among the secondary sources of Sharia’h (Islamic Law),and technically, it depicts obstructing, and halting all means that can lead to evil or anything that are deemed unlawful, illicit, and illegal such as Zina,vide lowering one’s gaze, striking of the feet by females, abusing the idol worshippers, killing the hypocrites, hoarding ad infinitum.Without a modicum of doubt, or conjecture, this exposition of this treatise has critically and extensively analyzed the concept of Sadd al-dharai as a secondary source of Islamic Law.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jimoh AbdulGaniy Adisa, is an LL.B 300 Student at Faculty of Law, Bayero University, Kano, a writer, educator,and a legal researcher. He is the Deputy Director of Research and Litigation (Islamic Law) Equity Chamber, and a Law Clinician.In a similar fashion, the Current Assistant Secretary General of National Association of Kwara State Law Student, BUK Chapter. He can be reached via the following social media handles: WhatsApp :08090666588G-mail: jimohadisa546@gmail.comLinkedin: Www.linkedin.com/mwlite/in/jimoh-abdulganiy-adisa-100121212

REFERENCES

https://www.iium.edu.my/deed/lawbase/maliki-fiqh/usul11.html#.

Az-Zuhaili,W.pp cit.p.108

Al-Qur’an ch.6 v.108

Az-Zuhaili,W.pp cit.p.109

MANAGING THE HALAL FOOD RELATED ISSUES IN THE HALAL FOOD CERTIFICATION PROCESS BASED ON THE CONCEPT OF SADD AL-DHARAI’:1 Zulaipa Ruzulan 2 Budeeman Mana, 3 Mohd Amzari Tumiran 4Mohammad Aizat Jamaludin

Sources of Islamic law: Saheed Bello

Quran 6:108

Qur’an 24:31

https://sunnah.com/search?q=Do+not+kill+the+hypocrite

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