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in category Fiqh (Jurisprudence)

What are the absurdest fiqh opinions you have heard?

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Here are two examples of strange views from the Dhahiri (literalist) Ibn Hazm.

Marriage

The Prophet (saw) said:

لاَ تُنْكَحُ الْبِكْرُ حَتَّى تُسْتَأْذَنَ ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ كَيْفَ إِذْنُهَا قَالَ ‏"‏ أَنْ تَسْكُتَ
"A virgin should not be married until her permission has been sought." They said: "O Messenger of Allah, what is her permission?" He said: "If she remains silent." (Nasai 3267)

Silence is acceptance allegedly because virgins are shy so if they refuse, nobody can force them. But if they remain silent out of shyness, it is a sign of their approval. Ibn Hazm took this literally in his book "Al-Muhalla" (1839) that only her silence is acceptance and if she verbally accepts, it is not acceptable, she has to remain silent for her consent to be valid.

Urinating in Water

The Prophet (saw) said:

اَ يَبُولَنَّ أَحَدُكُمْ فِي الْمَاءِ الدَّائِمِ الَّذِي لاَ يَجْرِي، ثُمَّ يَغْتَسِلُ فِيهِ ‏"
"You should not pass urine in stagnant water which is not flowing and then wash in it." (Bukhari 239)

Scholars have reported Dhahiris believed that if someone were to defecate, it would not be forbidden, because the prophet only mentioned urine and if someone were to urinate in a cup and pour into stagnant water, then this ruling will not apply. According to the literal approach it will only apply if someone directly urinated in this water.

Ibn Hazm said:

فلو أراد عليه السلام أن ينهى عن ذلك غير البائل لما سكت عن ذلك عجزا ولا نسيانا ولا تعنيتا لنا بأن يكلفنا علم ما لم يبده لنا من الغيب ، فأما أمر الكلب فقد مضى الكلام فيه
“If the Prophet (saw) had wanted to prohibit anything besides urinating, he would not have remained silent on the matter, not forgetfully, nor our of incapacity, nor out of obstinacy, expecting us to know something about the Unseen without him making it clear to us.” (Al-Muhalla, 1/180-181)

Other scholars criticised this view. Ibn Battal in his commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari said:

“This is the epitome of failure and an absolute denial of reason.” (1/352)

Nawawi stated in al-Majmu (1/119):

“This opinion is strange and about as false as an opinion can get. It is the worst thing that has been reported about them, if it is even true that anyone really said it. It is so patently false that there is no need to even argue against it. This is why many of our colleagues never bothered to refute it when they made mention of it.

Ibn Daqiq al-Id commented:

“We can say with absolute certainty that their opinion is false. There is no difference between the two scenarios since the urine ends up in the water in any event. The reason for the prohibition is simply to avoid the contamination of water by impurities. This is not a matter of speculation. This is plainly evident.” (al-Ihkam 1/24)


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