Does Ahaad Give The Benefit of الظن (Assumption, Speculation)
When this word comes to our minds, people say if it’s a speculation, then how can it be a legal evidence in Islam. Mostly this issue is raised by the rejectors of hadith and Ahlul Quran (those who take only Quran as authentic). This issue came into being when the sect of rationalists (muatazillites) appeared and thus doubts were created regarding validity of these kind of Ahadith.
So we coming back to the origin of the word الظن, we know the following from Quran and sunnah. This word has been used for these different meanings:
1. Yaqeen (certainty)
Allah SWT says:
الَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُمْ مُلَاقُو رَبِّهِمْ وَأَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ (البقرة ٤٦)۔
Who bear in mind the certainty that they are to meet their Lord, and that they are to return to Him. (Surah Al-baqarah 46)
In the mushaf of ibn Masud r. A., يظنون is written as يعلمون
And ibn Kathir r. a. has said about this verse
“يعلمون أنهم محشورون إليه يوم القيامة”
Which means they know that will be gathered towards Allah on the day of judgement.
2. Negative assumption.
Allah SWT says;
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِنَ الظَّنِّ (الحجرات ١٢)۔
O you who have believed, avoid much negative assumption. (surah al-hijraat 12)
إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ (الانعام ١١٦)۔
They follow not except assumption (surah an’aam 116)
In the context of ilmul hadith, the scholars bear a concensus of it being used in the meaning of یقین ( certainity).
Again a question arises why this word الظن has been used in the first place if it means certainity. So this question will be answered in the following ways :
1. Imam طبری rahimahullah has said,.” The Arabs use the word یقین as الظن.
The evidence to it is the Arabic poetry where its usage is found abundantly.
2. There are levels of certainty (یقین). The evidence to it is the incident of Ibrahim A. S. In which he asks Allah almighty to show him how He would raise the dead. So here we come to know that he was at a different level of certainty which he wanted to raise. Then after seeing the birds being brought to life, he reached a different level(of certainty). Refer to the verse;
Allah SWT said:
وَاِذْ قَالَ اِبْرٰهٖمُ رَبِّ اَرِنِيْ كَيْفَ تُحْيِ الْمَوْتٰى ۗ قَالَ اَوَلَمْ تُؤْمِنْ ۗ قَالَ بَلٰى وَلٰـكِنْ لِّيَطْمَئِنَّ قَلْبِيْ ۗ قَالَ فَخُذْ اَرْبَعَةً مِّنَ الطَّيْرِ فَصُرْهُنَّ اِلَيْكَ ثُمَّ اجْعَلْ عَلٰى كُلِّ جَبَلٍ مِّنْهُنَّ جُزْءًا ثُمَّ ادْعُهُنَّ يَأْتِيْنَكَ سَعْيًا ۗ وَاعْلَمْ اَنَّ اللّٰهَ عَزِيْزٌ حَكِيْمٌ
“And [mention] when Abraham said, My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead. [Allah] said, Have you not believed? He said, Yes, but [I ask] only that my heart may be satisfied. [Allah] said, Take four birds and commit them to yourself. Then [after slaughtering them] put on each hill a portion of them; then call them – they will come [flying] to you in haste. And know that Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.”
(Al-Baqara 2: Verse 260)
One more example ; incase of our beloved Prophet Muhammad صلي الله عليه وسلم , His یقین also reached a higher level at the time of Meraj.
When muhadditheen use یقین for mutawatir, it means a higher level of certainity (in fact the highest), and for ahaad, they use الظن to mean یقین but of a different level. This is to differentiate between the different levels of یقین.
On knowing all this, we must have our hats off to their highest level of amanah.
Written by Aaqib Ibn Amin.
Student of Shaikh Ramzan Buzlawi Hafizahullah.