Ikhtilaf - Difference of Opinions
Differences of opinions has been a cause of contention amongst the Muslim community. It has led to disunity of Muslims on core issues even though the differences are based on peripheral matters.
We often find Muslims arguing with each other about differences between their actions: “Why do you pray with your hands like that?”, “You’re washing yourself the wrong way,” and other similar statements. This is especially true in multicultural Muslim communities common in Western countries. Although many grow up with whatever customs their parents follow, they may fail to realise that other Muslims might act differently than they do. Hence, it would be of benefit to understand why Muslims may have some differences with regards to religious practices.
In Islamic scholarship, there are valid and invalid differences of opinion. Invalid opinions include blameworthy divergence from the sources. This can be in fundamental beliefs of Islam such as denying the Seal of Prophet-hood. Invalid differences can also be related to jurisprudence, rejecting clear rulings of the Qur’an or Sunnah such as the injunction to fast during Ramadan.
Sometimes scholars have what are considered valid differences of opinion. These are generally in the details and peripheral matters such as composure in prayer, the scope of permissible business, and other practical issues.
This course will strive to explain the issues related to Ikhtilaf and focus on the reason behind Ikhtilaf, and whether it is to be taken as a blessing or are Muslims better off without the differences.
The course outline is as follows:
1. The meaning of ikhtilaf.
2. The different types of ikhtilaf
3. The accepted and the rejected differences.
4. The importance of knowing about ikhtilaf.
5. Ikhtilafamong the prophets.
6. Ikhtilafbetween the Companions of the Prophet (SAW).
7. Ikhtilafbetween the scholars.
8. The main reasons of ikhtilaf:
a. the divine sources.
b. can we act upon the text.
c. how do we understand the text.
9. Example about ikhtilaf;
a. 1-ikhtilaf in aqidah (belief).
b. 2-ikhtilaf in fiqh (jurisprudence).
10. The importance of the comparative fiqh.