The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was both (1) a prophet who taught us how to love and worship Allah Most High; and (2) also a head of a state, who protected his umma from foreign aggression and established the rule of law that brought domestic security that they needed to freely worship Allah Most High and to prosper in all aspects of their daily lives.
The fuqaha preserved this latter role of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) under the heading of al-siyasa al-shar`iyya, which means, “governance according to Islamic principles”. The chapters that fall under this heading are normally placed at the end of traditional books of sacred law and include topics such as the hadd punishments, the laws of war and peace, the protection of non-Muslim minorities, the laws of taxation, the laws of the appointment of the head of state, and the laws related to rebellion against the head of state.
All of these topics are now controversial. They are used in media to spread Islamophobia and to portray Muslims as harsh, cruel, and intolerant. These are all misrepresentations. In order to understand why they are misrepresentations, we need to study what exactly al-siyasa al-shar`iyya is and what its proper application might look like.
Dr. Ashraf will explain the details of al-siyasa al-shari`yya, but in a way that highlights the higher purposes (maqasid) that lie behind these laws. Students will learn that, in matters related to governance, the higher purposes are often more important than the legal details. A misunderstanding of these higher purposes will always lead to a misapplication of the legal details and a misapplication of al-siyasa al-shar`iyya. Understanding these higher purposes will also contextualize the legal details and help students understand how what they hear in media is a distortion of what is found in traditional books of Sacred Law.
This course is using the classical manual of Hanafi sacred law, Kanz al-Daqa’iq. The differences between the four schools in al-siyasa al-shar`iyya, however are slight, and they all agree on the high-level principles and purposes that lie behind the laws. Students of any school–Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, or Hanbali–will therefore benefit from this course.
When we die, our ownership of our property comes to an end and passes on to our heirs. But which heirs? And how much should each heir get? How exactly should our estate be divided?
How we should divide our estate has not been left to our discretion. In order to remove any feelings of unfairness and entitlement from the hearts of the heirs, and in order to ensure that the estate is divided fairly between them, Allah Most High took the decision of how to divide our estate out of our hands and described it in the Islamic law of inheritance and estate-division.
Allah Most High taught us the laws of estate-division in just three verses of the Qur’an and a handful of hadith. From these verses and hadiths, Muslim scholars have derived a detailed set of rules that, with the help of some arithmetic, divide a deceased’s estate with precision, setting out equitable and just shares for both men and women, husband and wife, children and parents, and close relatives and more distant ones.
In this 10-week course, you will learn the theory of the Islamic law of inheritance: What share should the son get? What share should the daughter get? What share should the mother get? What share should the father get? What share should the husband get? What share should the wife get? What share should the grandfather get? What share should grandchildren get? What share should an uncle get?
But learning theory is not enough. The rules of estate-division are only learned through practice. Dr. Ashraf will combine theory of the law of inheritance with dozens of practice questions that you will solve in order to really understand how an estate should be divided.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) prophesied that the loss of sacred knowledge is a sign of the Day of Judgment (Bukhari), and he warned that the sacred knowledge of how to divide a deceased’s estate would be the first kind of sacred knowledge to be “taken away from the Muslim community.” (Ibn Majah) As fewer and fewer Muslims know how to divide an estate, this prophecy comes closer and closer to being fulfilled, the Day of Judgment comes closer and closer, and the calamities of the end of time loom larger and larger. By learning this science, we fulfill a communal obligation, and we play our part in keeping the calamities of the end of time at bay.
This course is using the classical manual of Hanafi sacred law, Kanz al-Daqa’iq. The differences between the four schools in the law of estate-division, however, are very slight, and Dr. Ashraf will explain these differences as he unpacks the text, so that students of any school–Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, or Hanbali–will benefit from this course.
When the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) left this world, he left behind a generation of Companions who were, in his own words, “the best of generations” (Bukhari). He left this generation with a mission: to take the religion that he had taught them from the Arabian peninsula to as far as they could all over the world.
The greatest parts of this expansion happened during the 10-year reign of `Umar b. al-Khattab, considered by some historians to have been the most influential figure in the history of Islam after the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself. It was during his reign that two greatest powers of the age–the Byzantines and the Sassanians–miraculously collapsed against the untrained and inexperienced armies of the Muslim Arabians. It was during his reign that the most important questions of Sacred Law were solved and established publicly, to later find their way into the four schools of Sacred Law. It was during his reign that thousands of new mosques were established in the newly-conquered territories–Egypt, the Levant, Iraq, and Iran–turning them into permanent bastions of Islam forever after. And it was during his reign that the administrative, legal, and financial apparatus of the Muslim state were created.
This expansion continued during the beginning of the 12-year reign of `Uthman b. `Affan. Then, as the greatest Companions of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) began to pass away, and new Muslims who had never met him began to wield greater influence, what is known in Islamic history as “the great upheaval” (al-fitna al-kubra) happened, culminating in the assassination of `Uthman by revolting armies that marched on Medina from Iraq and Egypt, plunging the Muslim umma into years of civil strife.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) foretold all of these events, and the Companions knew they were coming. Like everything that happens around us, they were part of the great wisdom of Allah Most High. Take this course to learn about this formative period of our history and the lessons that Allah Most High taught us through them.
Performing Hajj is a fundamental part of our religion. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) taught us that it is one of the five pillars of Islam, and Allah Most High commanded every able Muslim to perform it, saying, “Everyone who is able to find a way to make pilgrimage to the House must do so.” (Qur’an, 3:97)
But Hajj is different from the other pillars of our religion. The other pillars are performed regularly, either everyday (like the obligatory prayer), or every year (like zakat and fasting). Hajj, on the other hand, is often only performed once in a lifetime. The practical experience of doing the other pillars helps us understand what they are and how they should be performed. When we go on Hajj, however, we don’t have that practical experience, and we often find ourselves in problems that we don’t know how to solve.
This course is an explanation of the most famous manual of Hajj according to the Hanafi school: Lubab al-manasik wa `ubab al-masalik by the great tenth-century (AH) Indian scholar, Rahmatullah al-Sindi. Take this course to comprehensively learn how to solve both the problems that you are likely to face as you perform Hajj, as well as the problems that you might possibly face as you perform Hajj. By taking this course, not only will you comprehensively prepare yourself for your own Hajj journey, but you will also be able to perform the role of a Hajj guide who leads Hajj groups, assists others in performing their Hajj, and helps them solve the problems that they will face as they perform their Hajj.
We all need to conduct financial transactions in order to survive–we need to buy groceries from the supermarket; when things aren’t available locally (and now, even when they are), we need to make online purchases; we need to make contracts with our employers; we need to take loans to make large purchases; we need to invest our money for retirement; we need to exchange currencies when we travel; we need to start businesses, make partnerships, and hire employees; and so on.
Allah Most High has not left us to make our own decisions on how to conduct these transactions. He has revealed guidance that governs all of our financial transactions. Because all of us need to conduct financial transactions, especially in our times, many scholars teach that the most important chapters of fiqh to learn after the chapters of worship are the chapters of financial transactions.
But traditional books of Sacred Law were written in a time when financial transactions consisted of small amounts of money, when they were conducted locally, when they were concluded directly between two transacting parties, and when money, credit, manufacturing, shipping, and banking, were all very different from the way that they are now.
This course will explain the shari`ah guidelines for contemporary financial transactions using the AAOIFI Shari’a Standards http://aaoifi.com/?lang=en The AAOIFI standards are the most widely recognized standards for Islamic finance in the world today. They are based on the cumulative knowledge, skills, and experience of 30+ Shari’ah Scholars, 60+ professionals, including 100+ working group members, representing 20+ countries over a period of 26+ years. They are used as standards by legislative bodies, regulatory authorities, and financial institutions, and other professional entities such as law firms, accounting and consultancy firms, as well as universities, academic institutions and research centers, Fatwa issuing bodies, and Muslim governments all over the world.
Dr. Ashraf Muneeb is a certified AAOIFI who has been teaching the AAOIFI standards for 12 years to shari`a students, bankers, and general interest groups.
This is the first of a five-part course that will cover the following AAOIFI shari`ah standards.
Imam Abu Hanifa and his students (may Allah Most High be pleased with them) were mujtahids who came to their fiqh conclusions through their independent interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunna. Fiqh means “understanding”, and the goal of studying the science of fiqh is not merely to memorize the conclusions of Imam Abu Hanifa and his students, but to understand those conclusions at a deeper level, to understand how and why they reached those conclusions, and why they disagreed with each other and with other fuqaha.
This deeper understanding of the science of fiqh only comes with a study of legal theory (usul al-fiqh), which describes the methods that Imam Abu Hanifa and his students used to interpret the Qur’an and Sunna.
This course is an explanation of the most important manual of legal theory according to the Hanafi school, Abul Barakat al-Nasafi’s Manar al-Anwar. Legal theory can only be studied after one has learned the basic rules of fiqh in all of its chapters. An intermediate-level understanding of Hanafi fiqh by covering a book like Kanz al-Daqa’iq is therefore a prerequisite for this course. Students will also benefit from prior study of Hanafi usul through a book like Usul al-Shashi, which Dr. Ashraf has previously taught to his students online.
This course, along with Hadith Criticism According to the Hanafi School are bridge-courses that prepare students for a study of al-Marghinani’s Hedaya. This course is taught in Arabic.
When is a hadith sufficient evidence for a point of Sacred Law? The scholars of the four schools disagree on how this question should be answered. The most famous manuals of the science of hadith criticism (mustalah al-hadith)–such as Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani’s Nuzhat al-Nazar, Suyuti’s Tadrib al-Rawi, and Ibn al-Salah’s al-Muqaddima–are all written by Shafi`is, and they mix the interpretative principles of the Shafi`i school with the rules of hadith criticism. When a student of the Hanafi school studies these works, he may imagine that there is a conflict between some fiqh rulings of the Hanafi school and some hadiths of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
But that is not the case. Many of the greatest scholars of hadith from the earliest of times down to our age have been Hanafis. Every school has its own rules for how to use a hadith as evidence for a point of Sacred Law, and the Hanafis are no exception. These rules have traditionally been scattered in traditional manuals of legal theory (usul al-fiqh), They were gathered first by Shaykh Zafar Ahmad Usmani (d. 1974) in the introduction to his landmark compendium of hadith evidences for the Hanafi school, I’la al-Sunan. A contemporary scholar of hadith, Shaykh Abdul Majid al-Turkmani, has more recently published a number of works in which he has gathered all of these rules into a single place in order to describe the rules of hadith criticism according to the Hanafi school.
This course explains his book, Madkhal ila usul al-hadith `ala manhaj al-hanafiyya. The course will be supplemented with case studies from Hanafi fiqh where these principles are applied, illustrating how fiqh rulings that have been criticized as conflicting with hadiths are, in fact, in complete accord with the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
This course assumes an intermediate-level knowledge of Hanafi fiqh through the study of a book like Kanz al-Daqa’iq. It prepares students for a study of the most important book in the Hanafi school, al-Marghinani’s al-Hedaya, which trains students to understand the underlying causes of scholarly disagreement, and how the rules of the Hanafi school are firmly grounded in the Qur’an and sunna.
The fiqh of menstruation appears everywhere: someone who does not know how to solve menstruation cases will prone to error in questions of purification, prayer, fasting, reciting the Qur’an, spiritual retreat, Hajj, marital relations, divorce, and many other topics of Sacred Law.
Non-scholars need to learn the fiqh of menstruation to avoid falling into the haram. Scholars explain that learning the fiqh of menstruation is a personal obligation on women, husbands, and guardians of girls, for whom questions of menstruation are a part of their daily lives. Scholars and students of knowledge need to learn the fiqh of menstruation at an even higher level. Without it, they will be unable to guide people and accurately answer their questions in many areas of Sacred Law.
This course is an explanation of Imam Birgivi’s authoritative manual on menstruation: Dhukhr al-muta’ahhilin wa al-nisa’ fi ta`rif al-athar wa al-dima. He mentions in his introduction that he devoted a large portion of his life studying these rulings, and then distilled them into his manual, which Ibn ‘Abidin (the foremost authority for fatwa in the Hanafi school) described as the principal reference for menstruation, lochia, and their related rulings in the Hanafi school.
Dr. Ashraf Muneeb has studied this book thoroughly, written and published his own commentary on it in Arabic, a translation of it in English (co-authored with his wife Hedaya Hartford), furnished it with complete solutions to its case-studies, and received many scholarly authorizations to teach it.