Al-Mujmal and AI-Mubayyan

Last edition we discussed the principle of An-Nahyu Yaqtadi AIFasaad and brought some examples on this. In this edition we shall be looking at another topic under the linguistic research topics that have connection with Usool AI-fiqh and this is al-Mujmal and AI-Mubayyan. According to Ibn AI-Hajib, lbn Muflih and As-Subki, "AI-Mujmal is any statement or word whose meaning is not clear" (Sharh AI-Kawkab AI-Muneer).

In other words AI-Mujmal is any statement or word that bears two or more meanings none of which the listener can give preference except with the assistance of an external explanation.

However any statement or word that carries only one meaning is called "An-nass". And if a Mujmal statement or word is explained it becomes "Mubayyan". And if any of the two or many meanings outweighs the other(s), it becomes "Zhahir"  while the outweighed meaning if applied is called Mu'awwal.

Its Ruling

It is not permissible to make use of any of the possible meanings of AI-Mujmal except with external evidence which is independent of the word. This is because the word is not indicative of it alone and one is not religiously responsible for what one has no evidence.

Is there any Mujmal in the Qur'an and Sunnah?

AI-Imam Ash-Shawkani said: "Know that ijmaal occurs in the Book (Qur'an) and Sunnah." (Irshaad AIFuhul) AbuBakr As-Sayrafi said:

I do not know of anyone who refuses to accept this except Daud Az- Zhahiri" Daud argued that ijmaal without explanation is not useful and is a kind of prolongation which does occur in the speeches of the eloquent ones not to talk of the words of Allaah and the statements of His Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)".

The response to this is that when a statement comes in mujmal form first and it is later explained it has more effect on the soul than when it is originally mentioned in Mubayyan form" (Sharhu AI-Kawkab AIMuneer).

AI-Mawardy and Ar-Ruyaani said mujmal statement may be used to instruct one to carry out an act of worship before a detailed explanation. This is because the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) sent Mu'adh to Yemen and said to him: "Invite them (the People of Yemen) to testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except AIlaah ..... "

So he instructed them to pay zakaat before he gave them the details of it. They argued mujmal statement is permissible even if they do not understand it for two reasons:

1. The ijmaal will be a kind of preparation of the soul to accept the explanation that comes after it.

If he (the Prophet [salallahu alayhi wa sallam]) had started the obligation of salaat with it (detail), it could have been permissible for the souls to run away from it. However they (souls) did not run away from its ijmaal.

2. Allaah made some laws clear and some hidden so that the people could out do one another in deeds and so that they could be rewarded for their ability to deduce rulings So this is why He has made some explicit and some inexplicit. (lrshaad AI-Fuhul)

We shall, inshaa Allaah, talk about the types of mujmal words and statements in the next edition.

This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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