Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Assalamualaikum wrth...

I got this from my friend's website at UK... a very nice one to reflect :

Last few months, my housemate was asked, "Are you going to the Malaysian Night?" The event was organised by the local Malaysian society and involved some unIslamic activity such as musical performances and free-mixing between genders. It has been in absence since one of my housemates became the society's President a few years ago, but elements inside the society has been able to revive it again this year.

This housemate of mine shook his head, and was asked again, "Why? (It's because of) all that dancing and singing isn't it? Well, I know... but you see, I am going not because I want to see them. My intention is good; I'll go to meet people."

Last Friday night, during the weekly Malay circle, we read the first hadith in Imam an-Nawawi's Matan Arba'in (Fourty Hadith). He (the housemate) immediately raised out the issue: could it be OK to attend a function like the Malaysian Night (if one has keep a 'good' intention)?

What has happened is not uncommon. I have heard people giving the same reason (I have good intention) before to defend some of their choice of action, citing the hadith (all actions depend on the intention) as their proof. In one case it was a girl who does not want to cover her head; in another it was a boy who insisted on everyone to wear shorts on the football court.

For many Syafi'ites, the work of al-Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fathul Mu'in, is enough as an answer to this question. In this text, Ibn Hajar explained that for an 'amal (action) to be considered as an ibadah, the intention (al-niyyah) must fulfill its mabadi (foundations/principles), of which there are seven:

1. haqiqah
2. hukm
3. mahalli
4. zaman
5. kaifiyyah
6. shart
7. maqsud

These seven principles can be applied to all other ibadah though the explanation for each of them might differ according to the type of ibadah (worship) in question:

1. haqiqah (essence)
For al-niyyah, linguistically it simply means 'qasad' or the desire. But in legal term (istilahi), it actually means 'to intend something and coupled with it the action.' Imam an-Nawawi in his text said that this means the intention must have both the 'qudrah' (the capacity) and 'iradah', the will/the faculty to decide what to do.

2. hukm (legal ruling)
For an ibadah, the hukm is 'wajib' (obligatory) to do the intention. For activity of daily living e.g. eating, walking and sleeping, the obligation to make al-niyyah is non-obligatory, but it is strongly recommended to do so, and if done would qualify the action as an act of worship too, insya-Allah.

3. mahalli (location)
For al-niyyah, this is at the qalb (heart). Those done by tongue are merely the lafz (recitation) of the niyyah. So the latter would not validate a prayer for instance.

4. zaman (timing)
The timing for the intention, says Ibn Hajar, is 'awwalu al-wajibat' - at the beginning of the action. Intention made during as-sujud for example is not an intention.

5. kaifiyyah (methodology)
For the intention to be accepted, the ibadah must also follows the regulations concerning performing it.

6. shart (condition)
The ulama give the definition of al-shart as 'ma wajiba was-tamarra' i.e. everything that is required and remains required until the end of an action. As an example let's take the prayer. The shart for a prayer includes being a Muslim, knowing the time, having ablution etc. So if a non-Muslim make an intention to pray, his intention would not be valid, even if he do all the rukn (pillars) of that prayer.

7.maqsud (objective)
Last but not least, the acceptance of an intention requires that the ibadah perform is of hasan (good) action. Murder in the name of Allah, for instance, is not valid.

Now, after knowing what al-niyyah is really about, let's ponder if stealing to donate to poor as what Robin Hood of Nottingham did, or riding naked across town to release the burdening taxes to the poor as what Lady Godiva of Coventry did, could be considered as good and exemplary actions.

Indeed, the answer is NO, as they do not fulfill one or a few of the definition of al-niyyah despite the goodness of their 'intentions'.

Actually, the discussion this detail is not really needed. It should be sufficient for anyone to know the usul (principle) of fiqh: al-ghayah la tudabbiru al-wasilah (the end does not justify the mean).

Being Muslims means completely non-Machiavelli, don't you think?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home