"We believe that the comprehensiveness in Islam cannot be found in any other religion."

15 April 2024



News Summary :
Statements of Ayatollah Fazil Lankarani in a meeting with a group of religious scholars from India
آخرین رویداد ها

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Respected scholars and religious leaders, who have come from India, the school administrators, Friday and congregational prayer leaders, and those who are the guardians of the Shiites of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) in India, I extend a warm welcome to you all. I hope this journey will be very fruitful for you, and, God willing, you will return to India equipped with religious knowledge to carry out what is our main task, that is, serving the Islamic faith.

It is befitting to remember the great scholars who spread Shiism in India and other countries. Today, the seminaries in those regions are a blessing of their migration, jihad, and propagation. We pray to the Almighty for the elevation of their status and rank.

After the Islamic Revolution in Iran, religion became prevalent globally, emerging from a silent and seemingly ineffective existence to the social arena. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the authorities are responsible for regulating all affairs based on religion, although no one claims that all matters are now regulated based on Islam! But that is the goal. Our constitution is based on religion, our parliament, the presidency, and all institutions are regulated based on religion.

Now, after more than forty years since the Revolution, as the Supreme Leader mentioned in his statement about the second step after the Revolution, greater strides need to be taken.

As for us, the seminary students and the clergy, now that religion is on the social scene, can we step into the arena of today’s world with the methods adopted in the past? Or does this presence require a deeper understanding and a more in-depth intellectual engagement with religious issues? It requires a more robust ijtihad, not the kind of ijtihad [without a foundation] that immediately declares what is haram as halal and vice versa. This is not ijtihad. Today, proper and strong connection with the world, other nations, and denominations requires that we enter the scene [based on these ijtihadi principles] with a deeper understanding of Islam.

Take for example the subject of impurity of polytheists and idolaters—not the People of the Book. This subject has been among the topics almost unanimously accepted in our jurisprudential books from ancient times, and its proofs have been thoroughly examined in jurisprudential books. Now, if a mujtahid brings strong arguments against it, that is acceptable. But it would not be acceptable if he says, "The world today does not accept this rule from us, so let's change God's injunction!" This statement is very wrong.

God has ordained numerous laws regarding inheritance, marriage, divorce, and other subjects. These are divine boundaries, as stated in the Quran: "These are the limits of Allah, and whoever transgresses the limits of Allah, then indeed, they are the wrongdoers" or "Indeed, they are the disbelievers." This means we do not have the right to change these regulations. The law of inheritance according to which a woman inherits half of what a man inherits has been ordained by God. As to why God made such a law, we do not know. "For the male shall be what is equal to the share of two females," is a divine law and remains in force until the Day of Judgment. We cannot claim that in the present time women do not accept this ruling, so let's abandon this God-given command. Going against the Quranic verses is not permissible; we cannot oppose them or change them.

God, blessed and exalted, has commanded us to perform prayers at specific times. Now, if someone argues that he wants to exercise independent reasoning (ijtihad) and states that the determination of prayer or fasting times should be left to the rulers of the Muslims based on the element of time and place, this is not acceptable since these regulations are not subject to change. The time for fasting is from the call to the dawn prayer until the call to the evening prayer. All Islamic scholars, no matter how many they are, cannot alter it even a second. This is a divine law explicitly mentioned in the Quran: "Complete the fast until the night."

Having said that, some regulations are based on interpretations, and are not explicitly mentioned in religious texts. These regulations are open to discussion. For example, the statement "Indeed, the polytheists are unclean" might refer to spiritual impurity not physical impurity. This is where debates may take place.

Having said that, the path is not closed from a jurisprudential perspective. For example, when the clothes of a woman who breastfeeds a baby becomes impure with the baby’s urine it is said does she does not have to make her clothes pure even though she knows that her baby made her clothes impure. This is based on the rule which says, “There is no hardship in Islam.” Based on this rule you can say in interactions with non-Muslims and after shaking hands with them it not necessary to wash your hands.

When there is a solution in jurisprudence, efforts should be made to find that solution. A jurist should not say, "We have to let go of this divine decree," and destroy the principle of impurity of non-Muslims. It is possible, however, for a jurist to say that the verse which says, "Indeed, the polytheists are unclean," refers to their spiritual impurity not their physical impurity, and the interaction of the Imams with some non-Muslims is an evidence for that.

I said these to ask you not to distance yourself from the seminary lessons even though you might be busy in your own country as a seminary manager, Friday prayer leader, or community leader. I have said this to seminary students in Iran who have migrated from Qom to other cities for the purpose of preaching Islam. You need to have at least two hours of contact with seminary courses in fields such as jurisprudence, methodology of jurisprudence, and exegesis of the Quran, which are now conveniently offered online.

Cutting off your scholarly connections is bad not only for yourself but also for people. It is like a tree that can yield thousands of fruits but yields only two fruits for example. Therefore, strengthen your scholarly connections; even if certain subjects are not covered in those seminaries, contact the scholars who simultaneously provide lectures online. If that is not possible, listen to them offline at a later time. Do not think that since you have come out of the seminary then you are needless of such lessons; this is a big mistake.

The more you make advancement in the path of knowledge the more enjoyable it becomes, and the more we study, the more we discover about Islam.

We believe that the comprehensiveness that is in Islam is not found in any other religion. We do not say that with the emergence of Islam, the religions of Moses and Jesus have been completely abrogated. Because in the science of principles, there is the idea of "Istisḥāb Shurāyi Sabeqeh" (presumption of the continuity of previous divine laws). Besides, there is a discussion in Quranic sciences and in theology according to which a Muslim not only believes in the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and that he was the last prophet but also in the prophethood of all previous prophets i.e. Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and so on. Rather, a Muslim should believe in the continuity of the laws of previous religions unless a law is abrogated. The verse which says, "Those who believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you" means that we must believe in what existed in the laws of Moses and Jesus.

Some seminary students have told me that proposing this idea today is very constructive in facilitating the relationship of Muslims with the People of the Book. How much contact do you have now with Christians and Jews in India? The Quran says, 'We sent down the Book to you confirming what was before it.” What has been revealed before the Prophet for example the true Torah and the true Gospel must be accepted and believed by us.

If you say this to a Jew, what opinion would he have of Islam? Another description for the Quran regarding the previous divine books, aside from “confirming the precious scriptures”, is the word “MUhaimin” meaning that the Quran has authority over previous divine books. What does it mean? It means that the Quran not only endorses what was in the previous scriptures but it has more. Though as in Islam we have abrogation, the rules of previous religions also may have been abrogated. But we need to find out what rules have been abrogated. If there is no evidence that a ruling has been abrogated, it should be considered to be still in force.

Such jurisprudential makes Islam universal. Such jurisprudence attracts others to Islam. We can tell them that if you accept Islam you will still have your previous religion but with some more things. To put Islam, Judaism and Christianity next to each other is wrong. Islam includes the previous religions with more things. That is why its comprehensiveness. This is how we should introduce Islam.

As I said we should deepen our understanding of Islam. Another thing that you and other scholars who live in India should pay attention to is the rule of “Ilzam or oligation” (=issuing verdicts for followers of other religions according to what they believe in). This is one of most important political rulings in Shiism.

The content of this ruling is,” Hold them bound by what they feel bound by it.’’ This ruling was previously applied to Sunnis but later on some jurists said it can be applied to followers of other religions as well.

Based on this ruling, if you sell your house to a Non-Muslim whose income is from selling alcohol what would you do? Should you say he has earned this money from unlawful transaction therefore I cannot accept it? No, according to the above rule, since he believes that his income is lawful you can take it from him. The same is the case with a person who sells dead animals. According to Shiite jurisprudence if a Muslim sells a dead animal this transaction is invalid but based on the above rule you can sell it to a person who considers such transaction as lawful.

Also, if a non-Muslim divorces his wife according to his own belief. Their divorce is just signing a legal document. There is no need for it to be in the presence of witnesses or to not to be during the monthly period of the woman. The rule of obligation states that this divorce is sufficient for you, and you can rely on its validity. In summary, the rule of obligation says that if someone performs an action correctly according to his belief, it is sufficient for you to validate his action.

You interact with Sunni Muslims, and Sunnis do not pay khums. Can you say, "Because you don't pay khums, I won't eat your food!"? Perhaps even saying this statement is not permissible. You can, according to Sharia, eat this food because he, based on his belief, is not required to pay khums.

In summary, the rule of obligation states that anyone who performs an action correctly according to his belief, you should consider his action valid. There are some other details that I have mentioned in a book I have written on the rule of obligation. If a religious scholar is not aware of the rule of obligation, in my opinion, he will not have mastery over an essential part of jurisprudence because an important question in non-Muslim countries is how Islam, which claims universality in its approach, deals with non-Muslims. The guideline for this is the rule of obligation.

In conclusion, first, we must believe that Islam is a comprehensive religion applicable in all eras. Second, we need to deepen our studies. Third, we must extract important rules like the rule of obligation which are especially needed today in foreign countries, from our sources and religious texts. A few years ago, I discussed the rule of obligation with about 150 Shiite scholars from Europe at Imam Ali Mosque in Germany. They said that many of the problems people living in Europe have could be solved by this rule.

In the end, I would like to add that even though there is access to scholars in India, if a Shiite man in a state has legally divorced his wife, signing only a document according to his beliefs, and then disappeared and there is no way to contact him, according to the initial view, this divorce is invalid since it was not conducted in the presence of just witnesses and the formula of divorce was not pronounced.  But what is the fault of the woman? What should she do? You say she should ask a Mujtahid to issue her divorce. In the book I mentioned I have proved that we can consider the first divorce as valid, since the husband divorced her believing that such divorce is valid.

Therefore, when we say that Islam can be implemented in all circumstances and in all countries, it is not just a claim without proof. It is a claim which is backed by evidence.

Peace and mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you

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Seminary Islamic Revolution India