Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Essence of an Argument

I just finished doing my little bit of explanation to an on-line audience. It is my fair bit of contribution to the people...if I have an adequate knowledge about something, I'll try my best to disseminate it. 

There are many misconceptions and misunderstanding flying around in cyberspace nowadays, resulting in confusion to the masses to distinguish between the truth and not-truth. I have always maintain my position that fact is central to any argument...get the right fact first, whatever interpretation that follows comes second.

This "First Fact, Interpretation Second" has always been my mantra. You just can't have an argument if all your facts are a mess up. Fact is a pillar to base your argument...without this pillar, all your arguments are rendered null and invalid.

Take for instance, a recent occurrence in our What'sApp group. Fahkrul, my dear friend who is currently pursuing his Master's, caused a bit of a storm when he boldly claimed that touching non-Muslim will nullify our wuduk.

He based his argument on this passage from Holy Quran:       
Wahai orang-orang yang beriman! Sesungguhnya orang-orang musyrik itu najis, oleh itu janganlah biarkan mereka menghampiri al-Masjid Al-Haram sesudah tahun ini. [al-Taubah 9:28]  
According to him, as all non-Muslims are considered 'najis' in the above verse, touching them would result in nullified wuduk. 

To his credit, he did mention a brief interpretation of the above verse. Fakhrul explained that there are two differing school of thoughts among Islamic scholars regarding this verse, one claims 'najis' in the above verse could directly be translated as real 'najis', whereas the second group insists the 'najis' in the verse above is not physical, it refers to spiritual perspective.

This in Ibn Katsir's interpretation of the above verse:     
Maksud perkataan "najis" dalam ayat di atas ialah najis dari sudut agama, bukan fizikal. Ibn Katsir rahimahullah (774H) menyatakan: "Allah memerintahkan hamba-hamba-Nya yang mukmin lagi suci agama dan dirinya agar mengusir orang-orang musyrik dari al-Masjid al-Haram kerana mereka adalah orang orang yang najis agamanya……ada pun kenajisan tubuh orang musyrik, maka menurut jumhur ilmuan, tubuh dan diri orang musyrik tidaklah najis." [Tafsir alQur'an al-'Azhim (Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiah, Beirut, 1181999), jld. 2, ms. 329-330]
I could not find scholars who came up with the first argument, those who said Musyrik is 'najis' physically, as per Fakhrul's claim.

Regardless, a flurry of arguments ensue in the Whats'App group discussion. I joined the discussion quite late, because I rarely online during office hours. When I was told about the topic, the argument was getting a bit tense, although not heated. We are all friends, by the way.

I threw a simple/basic fact - touching 'najis' does not nullify our wuduk. So whatever interpretation of surah al-Taubah above didn't affect anything.

Some of my friends looked stumped...which was weird. I thought it was basic fact learned in primary school that touching 'najis' does not nullify our wuduk?

This is taken from JAKIM:
Seseorang yang mahu mengerjakan solat wajib berwudhu'. Terdapat 5 perkara yang membatalkan wudhu' iaitu:
  1. Apabila terkeluar sesuatu dari dua jalan sama ada melalui qubul atau dubur (hadas kecil)
  2. Tidur yang tidak tetap punggungnya, tetapi jika tidur dengan mengiring maka tidak batal wudhu'.
  3. Hilang akal dengan sebab mabuk atau sakit.
  4. Bersentuh kulit lelaki dengan perempuan yang bukan mahram tanpa alas atau lapik.
  5. Tersentuh kemaluan hadapan atau sekitar kawasan punggung lelaki, wanita atau dirinya sendiri tanpa alas. Tetapi jika tersentuh dengan belakang tapak tangan maka hukumnya tidak batal.
Since when touching 'najis' nullifies our wuduk? Batal solat, yes. But not wuduk. If we touch 'najis' after wuduk, we just need to wash off the 'najis', and proceed with our incoming prayer.

So argument concerning the interpretation of whether non-Muslim is 'najis' or not from surah al-Taubah above was rendered useless (for this discussion), as touching 'najis' is never considered to be the cause that could nullify wuduk in the first place.

I remember Izzudin asked me afterwards, who was responsible for spreading the mis-information that touching 'najis' will nullify our wuduk? 

I honestly do not know. Sometimes, people strive to learn more advanced things that they inadvertently neglect the most important thing, the basics.

Keep the basics intact, the rest will be ok. 

So the discussion of whether touching non-Muslim will render our wuduk nullify or not was finally put to rest.  

In an extreme example, I remember Dr Asri once said, after wuduk, if we happened to unnecessarily touch a pig, we should samak (some people prefer the term sertu) and could continue with our prayer  afterwards without repeating the wuduk.