The fallacy of using Gradualism
The fallacy of using Gradualism (Tadarruj) as a means to implement Ahkam:
There is an argument that the Shari’a can be sectioned up and implemented in bits over a long, set period of time whilst other rules not from the Shari’a are still implemented. This is due to the nature of the nation that it is being implemented on and that the system that is being replaced is far too deep rooted for a radical change to occur. There are many issues with this concept.
1) It is Fard to implement Allah swt’s Ahkam, not partially but wholly and sectioning up rules based on this concept of Tadarruj is indeed forbidden as it is based upon the idea that the rules (Ahkam) are not suitable for the present time and that Kufr can run alongside the Shari’a.
Allah swt says in Surat Al-Maidah: “…This day I have perfected for you your deen and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion…”
How can one therefore undermine the perfection of Islam, its universality and comprehensiveness by accepting gradualism.
2) The reality is, how do you measure how deep rooted a system is? Ultimately it comes down to how far the system has manifested itself into the hearts and minds of the people, it is not measured by the complexity or number of canons that are present (and thus it becomes tricky to adjust to changes if these canons where radically altered). They use countries in the Muslim world sometimes as examples when really the system is not deep rooted in these areas but very shallow as the majority of Muslims call for Khilafah and not Democracy, they call for Islam not Capitalism and the point is, Islam has the ability to solve every one of the issues that capitalism has created for them and it certainly can do much more to extinguish their misery. So in any case it would be easy to implement Allah’s Ahkam on the people because they are inclined towards it. Muhammad (saw) and many of those who succeeded him sometimes didn’t even deem it necessary to consider the political nature of the country they were about to liberate or if the system of Islam would function or if it was going to be suitable for they had a crystal clear understanding of the universal and comprehensive nature of Islam.
3) Implementation of the Ahkam is based on ability it is not based on preference, i.e if the ability is there it is fard to implement, it is not a case of having the ability and preferring to implement when you wish because this is based on a conscious decision to push aside Allah’s laws for a later date and when you as man prefer it or deem it to be suitable.
وَأَنِ ٱحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَآءَهُمْ وَٱحْذَرْهُمْ أَن يَفْتِنُوكَ عَنۢ بَعْضِ مَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ ۖ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا۟ فَٱعْلَمْ أَنَّمَا يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ أَن يُصِيبَهُم بِبَعْضِ ذُنُوبِهِمْ ۗ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًۭا مِّنَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَفَٰسِقُونَ
“And rule between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their desires and beware of them that they may seduce you away from some of that which Allah has revealed to you” (Al-Maa’idah 49)
وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍۢ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى ٱللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُۥٓ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ ٱلْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ ۗ وَمَن يَعْصِ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَٰلًۭا مُّبِينًۭا
“And it is not for a believing man or believing woman that when Allah and His Messenger have decided upon a matter to have any choice in these matters. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger then they have indeed strayed into clear misguidance” (Al-Ahzaab 36).
The concept of implementing based on ability is not gradualism, it is a reality, the implementation of Allah’s laws take effect the very second the state comes into existence and all Kufr activity within the state will be removed on this very same second, the man made constitution ripped up, riba banned, pubs/nightclubs banned, emptied and cleansed, corrupt taxes lifted, foreign embassies closed down and its inhabitants removed. From that second only the constitution which is based on the sources of legislation and only those sources of legislation (Quran, Sunnah, Ijma’ Sahaaba and Qiyaas) will be implemented. The point is Kufr will cease to exist in implementation, yes the effects of this implementation may require some time but the Sharia is still being implemented and that which requires ability to implement will be implemented when ability exists and this ability will be sought as it is Fard.
This is contrary to a gradualist approach as the ruler would implement based on preference when he has ability and maintain some laws from the Shari’a not to their depth whilst also maintaining Kufr laws alongside the Sharia until ‘theoretically’ the sharia becomes the main law of the state and the Kufr ceases to exist.
4) The gradualists use an argument at times, a very weak one in fact when Allah swt says:
وَقُرْءَانًۭا فَرَقْنَٰهُ لِتَقْرَأَهُۥ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ عَلَىٰ مُكْثٍۢ وَنَزَّلْنَٰهُ تَنزِيلًۭا
“And (it is) a Qur’ân which We have divided (into parts), in order that you might recite it to men at intervals. And We have revealed it by stages. (in 23 years)” (Al-Israa 106)
وَقَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيْهِ ٱلْقُرْءَانُ جُمْلَةًۭ وَٰحِدَةًۭ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ لِنُثَبِّتَ بِهِۦ فُؤَادَكَ ۖ وَرَتَّلْنَٰهُ تَرْتِيلًۭا
“And those who disbelieve say: “Why is not the Qur’ân revealed to him all at once?” Thus (it is sent down in parts), that We may strengthen your heart thereby. And We have revealed it to you gradually, in stages. (It was revealed to the Prophet SAW in 23 years.).” (Al-Furqaan 32)
– but they forget these Ayat discuss revelation and not legislation for Muhammad saw implemented the rules as soon as he was given Wahi, so how can one draw the comparison, the immediacy and urgency to respond to Wahi can be best represented when the Sahabah found that Khamr had been declared Haraam, some went to the extent of inducing their own vomit, immediate obedience and even upon this the gradualist argues and says the Ayat that forbade khamr was revealed in a gradual approach – but it is clear that the ayat that preceded the one forbidding it did not ban alcohol but it discussed the state one should be in whilst performing Salah and that it is forbade Salah whilst under the influence but why do you take the interval between revelation and use it as a justification for Haraam?
So it is axiomatic that Tadarruj is forbidden in Islam and practically/theoretically it is also flawed, the reality is the gradualist has many issues if he chooses to implement the Ahkam, he maintains Kufr whilst establishing certain rules from Allah swt, as a result this confuses and creates schisms amongst the people who will ultimately witness the contradictions within ruling. He mixes Kufr with the Shari’a and realises the conflicts and clashes causing him to compromise between them, his term lasts a certain date and he promises to bring forth Sharia over time only to find he brought forth a dozen of rules and implemented only a few at the end of this term and indeed his presence in the current political dominion would mean an obedience to the west and a curtailing of his ability to gradually implement all of Allah swt rules, something which is blatantly forbidden in Islam.
By Abu Fateh
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