Primary Doubts

Muʿjam al-Aḥādīth al-Muʿtabara, Primary Doubts – Ḥadīth #2

[2/93] al-Faqih and al-Tahdhib: From Ibn Mahbub from Abdallah b. Sinan who said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: everything which has both Halal and Haram [elements mixed into it] then it is Halal for you forever until you know the Haram in it specifically so you abandon it. Comments

al-Moḥsini: It is apparent that the Hadith is limited to external uncertainty i.e. “uncertainty concerning the subject of the ruling” NOT “uncertainty concerning the nature of the ruling”.

I (the translator) say: This is proven by a variant which is weak in chain but is corroborated by the reliable narration under discussion.

علي بن إبراهيم، (عن أبيه) عن هارون بن مسلم، عن مسعدة بن صدقة عن أبي عبدالله ع قال: سمعته يقول: كل شئ هولك حلال حتى تعلم أنه حرام بعينه فتدعه من قبل نفسك وذلك مثل الثوب يكون قد اشتريته وهو سرقة أو المملوك عندك ولعله حر قد باع نفسه أو خدع فبيع أو قهر أو امرأة تحتك وهي اختك أو رضيعتك والاشياء كلها على هذا حتى يستبين لك غير ذلك أو تقوم به البينة

Ali b. Ibrahim (from his father) from Harun b. Muslim from Mas’ada b. Sadaqa from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام, he (Mas’ada) said: I heard him saying: everything is Halal for you until you know that it is Haram specifically – so you then abandon it on your part, and that is for example – clothes which you had bought but turns out were stolen, or a slave under you and perhaps he is a free-man who had already bought his own freedom, or he was sold off into slavery by treachery, or he was forced into slavery (whilst being a free-man), or a woman who is under you (your wife) while she is your biological sister or foster-sister [and you do not know], and everything is on this [principle – of being allowed] until such a time when the opposite is revealed to you or you have evidence to the contrary.

All the examples provided involve uncertainty having to do with the subject of the ruling and not the nature of the ruling.

al-Moḥsini: The words of the Imam being absolute further imply that the principle of Exemption should be applied even to cases where we have non-specific knowledge (secondary doubt), this is indicated by him saying “specifically”. Despite this, there is no option but to remove [non-specific knowledge] from the range of the narration and continue to impose the principle of Precaution in them [in cases of non-specific knowledge]. Refer to the relevant discussion in Usul al-Fiqh.

[2/93] الفقيه والتهذيب: عن ابن محبوب عن عبدالله بن سنان قال: قال ابوعبدالله عليه السلام: كل شئ يكون فيه حرام وحلال فهو لك حلال ابدا حتى تعرف الحرام منه بعينه فتدعه

Muʿjam al-Aḥādīth al-Muʿtabara, Primary Doubts – Ḥadīth #1

[1/-] Tawhid al-Saduq: From Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Yahya al-Attar from Sa’d b. Abdallah from Ya’qub b. Yazid from Hammad b. Isa from Hariz b. Abdallah from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه واله said: my Umma are exempted from nine things: error, forgetfulness, what they are coerced to do, what they do not have the strength for, what they do not know, what they have to do out of necessity, jealousy, bad omen, and thinking about the whispered (Shaytan-inspired) prompts (doubts cast) in regards the creation – so long as it is not voiced aloud. Comments

al-Moḥsini: Since “what they do not know” is absolute in its implication – it covers both “uncertainty concerning the nature of a ruling ” and also extends to “uncertainty concerning the subject of a ruling”.

I (the translator) say: “what they do not know” covers primary doubt having to do with the nature of a ruling, that is, primary doubt as to whether something is Wajib or not e.g. Salat of the two Id festivals and primary doubt as to whether something is Haram or not e.g. smoking.

But it also includes primary doubt as to the subject of a ruling [whether or not it has been realized], so for example, you may not be in doubt about the ruling that blood having dripped into a vessel makes the water Najis and consequently Haram to use for ablution, however, you may be in doubt in a primary way about the basic fact of any blood having dripped into it at all (did the blood in fact drip into the vessel or not?).

In such cases of primary doubt, the basic procedural principle of Precaution (Ihtiyat) is inverted and instead we follow the secondary procedural principle of the priority of Exemption (Bara’a) which advocates the non-mandatoriness of having to act with precaution in cases of primary doubt. Such cases have no implication for human conduct and one is not forced to exercise precaution in respect to them or to feel restricted by them. We are exempted and will not be held liable (not punished) for them.

[-/1] توحيد الصدوق: عن احمد بن محمد بن يحيى العطار، عن سعد بن عبدالله، عن يعقوب بن يزيد، عن حماد بن عيسى، عن حريز بن عبدالله، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه واله: رفع عن امتي تسعة: الخطاء، والنسيان، وما أكرهوا عليه، وما لا يطيقون، وما لا يعلمون، وما اضطروا إليه، والحسد، والطيرة، والتفكر في الوسوسة في الخلق ما لم ينطق بشفة
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