who is an aammi? a historical context.

Discussion in 'Hanafi Fiqh' started by Juwayni, Aug 8, 2018.

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  1. Shadman

    Shadman Active Member

    Most aammi don't bother to read. They go straight for the device(I am guilty of this too). The first three videos that pop up are all non-sunnis.

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  2. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

  3. Juwayni

    Juwayni Veteran

    That's it right there. Its illogical to take the new definition of a word and impose it on an older usage. We wouldn't impute homosexuality on someone based on their statement that 'those two men were gay' in the early 1900s as the meaning of the word changed. Moreover, aamis have way more access to information and misinformation. So if they can trek through the mountains of falsehood that dot the internet, they would still have to understand how to separate the strong opinions from the weak, and the weak from the shadh. Intellectually, perhaps they are capable of it. In terms of motivation, many are looking for ease for ease's sake.

    Agreed. I've spoken to individuals who are more capable than myself about this who are students are knowledge. It's the middle between books written for specialists and books written for complete beginners. Intellectually stimulating yet accessible. Interestingly I was in a bookshop today and came across a series of books that had a concept I think we should look into:

    'How Madhhabs Work' or similar titles would be great for illustrating to aamis why we have the system we do and he dangers of trying to away with the inbuilt protections.
    Shadman and Unbeknown like this.
  4. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    add to this is the elitist mentality of many madrasah graduates, who tend to behave that anyone who has not attended a madrasah is incapable of understanding religious knowledge. this perception ought to change. while proper training IS required for one to become a doctor or a lawyer, a common man is still capable of understanding general anatomy and to be informed of how certain diseases can occur, how to prevent them, etc.

    in our time, one need not be a doctor to understand diabetes, what happens to the body, etc. and how to manage it. even though, one HAS to be a qualified doctor to treat someone and dispense medicine, yet non-professionals are also capable of learning and acting upon knowledge from reliable sources. for example, foods with high glycemic index, the importance of eating on time and not starving for long periods, importance of exercise etc.

    same thing applies for other areas - and with knowledge set free on the internet, by way of videos, books, papers etc, we can educate ourselves. why then, should we remain ignorant of fiqh, hadith, tasawwuf etc and not learn about our religion?
    Shadman, Umar99, Juwayni and 2 others like this.
  5. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    besides, this is not just me. that is how fuqaha understood it, which is unfortunately misunderstood by people in our time.
    Shadman, Umar99, Aqdas and 3 others like this.
  6. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    in today's world, the percentages have been reversed. a majority of people are literate, are able to read books and can hold informed discussions. nor is earning daily bread their biggest concern.

    as for having time to learn - they have plenty which the waste in pointless pursuits. in fact, people waste inordinate amount of time on recreation - television, internet, movies, games, and even whiling away time in coffee shops. those who spend time on facebook and twitter arguing about big and small things, and outright ignoramuses lecturing ulama on how to read books...there is no excuse for any of them to not learn the deen properly and what the deen requires from them and what they ought to do before they go in their graves. wa billahi't tawfiq.

    the aammi who pleads incapability of knowing masayil today, can get a degree in economics, physics, literature, engineering etc. the aammi pleading incapability can read philosophy and understand international politics. the aammi can fix motors, repair complex machines, understand structural integrity, almost everyone can operate a computer, send mails, download apps, rant on facebook and tweet, edit video and audio clips - operate complex machines; understand protocols and procedures for transactions such as obtaining loans, credit cards, visas etc. this aammi can do online shopping, online trading, argue about the validity of bitcoin etc.

    this aammi, can calculate different percentages offered by credit card companies and the various benefits (like annual fee waiver) when he shuffles from one to another (full disclosure: i don't have credit cards).

    this aammi can configure complex firewalls and storage networks; this aammi can write programs and scripts to automate stuff. this aammi can fly planes. this aammi can trade in stocks and shares. this aammi can do accounting and auditing. this aammi can manage complex projects with multiple resources, multiple skill-sets. etc. etc.

    but when it comes to religion, and fiqh. oh, brother we are aammi. we cannot know anything. we are dumb idiots who cannot differentiate a simple thing such as hanafi school and shafiyi school. of course, we know very well economics and science are two different disciplines; of course we can differentiate between art, humanities and science disciplines. but hanafi-shafiyi. mmm. search me.

    so this aammi cannot be called a shafiyi or a hanafi. so he is given free permission to ask anyone with a cap and a beard (or not, according to some smart alecks in our time) on what to do, for they are simpletons who cannot spend time and energy learning the deen - even though, they may find out all the requirements for immigrating to canada/UK/US; but learning few things according to shafiyi/hanafi fiqh is beyond their poor simple minds.

    the point is, people are lazy. they don't want to learn and they are not willing to spend a fraction of the effort they do to earn this dunya, which eventually, they will have to leave. your degrees, achievements, medals and prizes were be left hanging on the walls when you are buried in your graves.

    my late teacher raHimahullah, would say: people are so smart, that if the shop keeper slipped in a rotten vegetable, they would find it out and get cross with him; and when they have to buy vegetables of few rupees, they will look for the fresh ones and which is better etc. and suppose the shopkeeper does not give them proper change, they would fight with him. but when it comes to religion. 'o brother. we are simpletons. we don't know anything. we just follow whoever tells us whatever to do'.

    compare this with those who study islamic sciences and attend religious seminaries in our time. most of them are unaware and untrained and even incapable of any of the common professions above (unless they have vocational training - which some schools are offering nowadays).

    if people can do complex activities, learn and get trained in complex technologies etc - what stops them from learning the deen properly?

    now, we have modern gimmick-masters who want to give them a free hand in choosing and picking from madhahib! these aammis are far more smarter than those giving them the license to pick-and-choose; and they are far more adept in manipulating and gaming systems.

    even if previous ulama said that an aammi has no madh'hab, the present age demands that they learn from one madh'hab and stick to it, as mandated by fuqaha.

    wAllahu a'alam.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
    Shadman, Umar99, Juwayni and 3 others like this.
  7. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    upon much reflection, i am wont to think that perhaps the definition of 'aammi' with regards to madh'habs and knowledge ought to be redefined. and this confusion of "an aammi has no madh'hab" will be resolved.

    some of the greatest minds, and pragmatic ulama have accepted and stated this precept; and as anyone can see, it is out of consideration to common people and making concessions for them.

    common people were artisans, farmers, labourers, shop-owners, water-carriers, and of various professions - who would toil all day long and still not manage to feed their families. to force a poor man to sit in a class and study fiqh or appreciate the finer points of tafsir or grammar, foregoing his immediate need to fulfill his wants, is heartless. our ulama let them go about their profession and learn the bare minimum required for fulfilling obligations.

    whereas, scholars were among the elite class - not in terms of affluence or power or political influence - but scholars were higher up in the social hierarchy.

    there are many factors to measure societal progress, among which two are major factors, and which are sufficient for our purpose of finding the definition of a 'common man' or an 'aammi' until the recent past: poverty and literacy.

    literacy in 1945 - if we take that as a baseline, as the world war had just ended and could be considered as a major international event. harvard business school provides the following visualisation:

    world literacy 1945.png

    if you look at the map, literacy in the indian subcontinent was less than 20% which includes hindus and others as well. in the islamic world, turkey, being the seat of islamic empire was much higher than others, iraq and egypt were in the same bracket. the rest of the islamic world was even lesser (grey probably means no data; but it is certainly lesser than thriving .

    this was a time when the whole village would have one or two persons who could read - and most letters had to be read out by the postman, or the village teacher. expecting these people to read fiqh or appreciate the differences, was certainly not fair. ulama deemed them 'aammi'. and since these villages did not have scores of ulama from all the four madhahib - no one expected the 'aammi' to mix and match.

    indeed, there were seats of learning such as egypt and syria, the haramayn sharifayn, where scholars from all madhahib were present in great numbers. it is in this setting that a common man had the privilege to ask any mufti without knowing who followed which madh'hab. [this was also pointed out by a well-known scholar in a private communication, whose name will be mentioned by his permission].

    if you go further behind, in the 1920s or earlier (when alahazrat passed away) literacy rates and social conditions were even more backward. we have to keep this in mind when defining the aammi and the constraints that an aammi had, which compelled fuqaha to grant them that concession.

    poverty in 1945.

    world poverty 1820-2015.png

    the world poverty average in 1900 is around 82-83% roughly. this includes rich countries of that time such as europe and america. if you take countries like the subcontinent and other islamic countries, the percentage of poverty plummets further.

    regardless, when 80% of the population is struggling to provide daily bread, requiring them to enroll in classes and learn fiqh would be unfair. and hence ulama exempted them from striving harder to understand the deen/religion and were satisfied with bare minimum.

    i suppose, it was people such as these who were 'aammi who were not required to adhere to a madh'hab'.

    then, there is aammi and aammi. we must differentiate between an aammi who is incapable of learning/understanding (either by circumstances or by faculties), and an aammi who is literate and is able to read, understand and appreciate differences when explained to him. to stick to a very broad categorisation as either an aammi or a mujtahid, is fraught with difficulties; and to equate an educated/intelligent aammi with an simple-minded illiterate aammi, especially in this mas'alah of taqlid, is people a big berth to let it run free on the path of the nafs and hawaa. al-iyadhu billah.











    https://eprints.lse.ac.uk/3913/1/One_hundred_years_of_poverty.pdf (this is london!)



    (in case you want to compare populations to check with gdp):

    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
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