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Important Fiqh Issue
Understanding Islam
Bayaan at-Talbees Ahlul-Takfeer
Ahlu-Sunnah Versus the Ashari/Sufi Movement
The Senior Scholars Warn Against Extremism and Exageration in Religion
Muslim Authorities
Countering Islamaphobia
To Non Muslims
Salafi Conferences With Scholars

                Important Fiqh Principle

                          Qaa'idaat al-Istihlaak



The fiqh rule is: any change in the substance entails change in its ruling’.

The Hanafi Position

In vol. 1, page 314, Hashiya ibn Abedin, Radd al Muhtar ala ad-durr al Mukhtar, a standard Hanafi fiqh text book, written by Muhammad Ala’a al Deen Al Hasafki, there are more than thirty purifying things mentioned by Al Hasafki (rendered into a poetry form to make it easy to memorize) . In one line he said, ‘and change of substance" .

Ibn Abedin said, "the swine which drowns in a salt lake, after decomposition, becomes salt and thus halal". Ibn Abedin based his comments on the saying of Al Hasafki regarding the manufacturing of vinegar made from wine. "According to the principle of change of substance, vinegar made of wine is lawful".

He then went on to say, "Vinegar made by mixing wine with water, according to the correct opinion, is pure"

One page 315, Al Hasafki has said that "soap made from impure oil is pure and can be used. Ibn Abedin, commenting on this said, "This is an example of change of substance". he then went on to quote a statement issued by Al Mugtaba which reinforced Al Hasafki’s view that pure soap could be derived from oil that was not pure. A similar position was reflected by Muhammad ibn Al Hasan, the second great pupil of Abu Hanifa.

According to Ibn Abedin, the fat of a dead animal, used to make soap is subject to the same conditions. The expression used was impure (najas) as opposed to mutanajjis which means to make impure. However, oil is usually used in preference to other fatty substances. However, reading Al Munyah, I found an explanation which supports the first view, he states, "If a man or dog falls into the container in which soap is being made, it remains pure".

Ibn Abedin goes on to say, "Know that a compound is deemed pure, according to Muhammad ibn Al Hasan, from the rule which allows for change of substance". In addition, he adds that any product or substance, not only soap, can also be judged pure on account of its widespread use.

One page 326, on the subject of change of substance, as if to reinforce the point, al Hasafki says that dust and smoke particles rising from burnt human or animal excrement cannot be judged impure. If it were, he says, then we would be forbidden to eat bread baked on fires in which such impurities were used as fuel. The same can be said for salt filtered from animal-contaminated lakes.

This, concludes Ibn Abedin, is how any product or substance is judged to be pure or otherwise. Muhammad Al Dakhira, Al Muhit and Abu Hanifa are all of the same opinion. Other shaikhs choose to follow this ruling as well. This is the chosen rule for the Shar’iah ruled that these things were impure in their nature. The
reality of a thing changes with the change of some of its implied parts, not to mention all of them. Salt is totally different from meat and bones. If they become salt, they are salt. What is similar to that in the Shar’iah is the life-germ (sperm), the beginning of human life. From a Hanafi point of view it is impure, then it is turned into a clot, it is still impure, then it becomes a lump of flesh and at this point it becomes pure.

The same goes for wine juice. it is pure, when it becomes wine it becomes impure, but when it turns to vinegar, it becomes pure. This is as far as the Hanafi school is concerned.

The Hanbali position

The Hanbali school’s attitude is quite different. In al Mughni by Ibn Qudamah, a Hanbali standard book, in the book of purity, section on utensils, he writes: ‘No impure thing could turn into pure as a result of the change in its substance except wine when it changes by itself into vinegar’.

But it could be deduced that all impure things become pure as a result of the change of its nature, analogous to the change of wine to vinegar is the skin of a dead animal when tanned and the domestic, edible birds and animal which eat excretion.

The Dhaahiri - Literalist position

According to the Literalist School: Ibn Hazm, the exponent of the Literalist school wrote in his manual (Al Muhalla) volume 1, page 166, problem no. 132: ‘If the excretion of the animal is burnt down or changed and becomes ashes or dust, all that becomes pure and can be used for tayammum (earth purification) . The proof of that is the fact that rules are in accordance with what Allah Most High, has ruled regarding the objects in what the object is named. If the name of the object is changed or dropped, the previous rule is dropped as well. It is something from that which Allah has named’. As such, excretion is different from dust, as it is different from ashes. The same thing with wine which is different from vinegar and human being is different from the blood from which he is created. The dead thing is different from dust or ashes.

In problem 136, page 178, he goes on to say: ‘If the quality of the substance of naturally impure object changes the name which was given to it so that it is no more applicable to it and it is given a new name which is given to a pure object, so it is no more an impure thing. It becomes a new object, with a new rule.

The same thing is true of a pure thing changing into impure thing such as juice becoming wine or the wine becoming vinegar. The pork flesh eaten by a chicken and becoming a chicken flesh. It is halal. The water becoming wine or the food turning into excretion, the excretion and the wine used as fertilizer or becoming a fruit and so many other things.

Al Qur’an

The basis of all these is the Qur’anic verse:

‘And surely there is a lesson for you in the cattle we give you to drink of what is in their bellies from between the faeces and blood, pure milk, wholesome to those who drink it’ (16-66)

Allah Most High, considers it one of the favours He bestowed upon people that a healthy pure animal product comes out of these impure things.

Gathered from various sources.