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Principles of Jurisprudence / Being excused for being ignorant

Being excused for being ignorant

publish date : 2015-12-15 | Views : 2089
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Dear respected Shaykh, assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. Is a person excused for being ignorant about religious issues which are widely known?

العذر بالجهل

All praise is due to Allah. May Allah's peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and companions.

This is one of the major issues which was discussed at length by the scholars. A number of books were written on this issue. My opinion is that in principle ignorance is an excuse which absolves a person of culpability. There are many proofs for this in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. These include Allah's statement: "And never would We punish until We sent a messenger" [al-Israa: 15], and Allah's statement: " [We sent] messengers as bringers of good tidings and warners so that mankind will have no argument against Allah after the messengers" [an-Nisaa: 165]. There is no difference in this regard between a religious matter that is widely known or not with respect to a person who is ordinarily expected to be ignorant of such an issue. This is more pertinent to issues which are more advanced than this whereby a person is wrongly taught that a certain issue or belief is the true religion, and that what is contrary to this is misguidance, rudeness, and disbelief. Thus, it is imperative not to rush in issuing rulings in such cases.

Dr. Khalid al-Mosleh


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