Question: A Walî from Shâfi’î Madhhab says, “Scholars cannot dare to give a fatwâ in favor of crowning the teeth. But this dental matter has become an umûm al-balwâ [a common plight, tribulation that plagues the masses], is prevalent everywhere, which is impossible to eliminate. I pondered on a solution which will provide help for Muslims to get out of this woeful plight; all of a sudden I was struck by this inspiration. It is not my authority or right to involve myself in a matter that concerns the scholars in the grade of ijtihâd. However, though I abstain from giving fatwâs, but considering the darûrat of umûm al-balwâ, I say: If a Muslim dentist says that it is necessary for one to have one’s teeth crowned, then crowning does not prevent the performance of a ghusl.” Is the inspiration of this Shâfî’î Walî not a proof?
[fatwâ: an explanation on how to do Islam’s commandments; ijtihâd: (meaning or conclusion drawn by a mujtahid through) endeavouring to understand the hidden meaning in an âyat or a hadîth; darûrat: strong necessity; ghusl: ritual washing]
No, inspirations, no matter to which walî they belong, are not proofs or documents for the rules of the religion. In the same way, a walî is not responsible for his own inspirations, either. Hadrat Hallaj al-Mansûr said ana’l- Haqq [meaning “I am Haqq” and Al-Haqq is one of the Ninety Nine Names of Allahu ta’âlâ], and other greats, such as Ibn al-Arabî and Bâyazîd al-Bistâmî, had some erroneous inspirations. Correctness of inspirations is judged by their compatibility with what Islam communicates. Hadrat Imâm-i Rabbânî states:
We are enjoined to obey adilla-i shar’iyya, that is, four documents of the religion, but we are not enjoined to obey the inspirations of awliyâ [pl. of walî]. An inspiration is a proof for only its owner; it is not a proof for others. (First Volume, 272nd Letter)
Awliyâ’s erring in their inspirations is like a mujtahid’s erring in his ijtihâd; it is not considered a defect. Due to their erring, one must not speak ill of awliyâ. However, it is not permissible for people to obey their wrong inspirations. But it is wâjib to obey mujtahids’ words that have the possibility of being wrong. (First Volume, 31st Letter)
Even though some great men of tasawwuf, when they were overcome by hâls, uttered some knowledge and ma’rifats which were incompatible with the words of savants of the right path, they are not considered guilty since they expressed them through kashfs and inspirations. They are like a mujtahid who errs in his ijtihâd; moreover, they earn a thawâb, too. When different pieces of knowledge are concerned, only the ones communicated by the Ahl-i sunnat scholars are true because these pieces of knowledge were made known through wahy [divine revelation]. But the ma’rifats of great men of tasawwuf were made known through inspirations. If there is as much as a hair’s breadth irreconcilableness in an inspiration, it is deemed wrong. (First Volume, 112th Letter)
[tasawwuf: it explains the things to be done or avoided with the heart, and the ways to purify the heart and the soul. This is also called ‘ilm-i akhlâq or ‘ilm-i ikhlâs; hâl: continuous variation of the kashfs and manifestations that come to the heart; ma’rifat: knowledge pertaining to Allahu ta’âlâ’s Person; kashf: manifestation, appearence of Allahu ta’âlâ’s Attributes]
The solution for umûm al-balwâ
Now let us enumerate some assumptions about abovementioned inspiration:
1- Since in Shâfi’î Madhhab it is not fard [obligatory] to wash inside the mouth in ghusl, this Shâfi’î Walî may have said so due to this reason.
2- It is stated (above) that scholars refrain from giving a fatwâ in favor of dental fillings. They, of course, refrain from it. Which scholar can dare to cause Muslims to go about as junub? Even though the freemason shaikh-ul-Islâms of the men of the Party of Union, such as Mûsâ Kazim, gave a fatwâ in favor of them, pious scholars could not take courage for this.
3- It is true that this dental matter has become an umûm al-balwâ [a common plight]. For example, in the same way, going out without covering one’s body parts, drinking alcohol, gambling, and playing musical instruments are also common plights. Now if a walî says, “To save people from these grave sins, an inspiration has occurred to my heart,” and if he gives people permission to commit these harâm [prohibited] acts, will his inspiration be a proof? As a matter of fact, there appeared people who, by way of the same reasoning, permitted girls to take off their headscarves and who let others perform namâz by eye signs.
4- It is again said that if a Muslim dentist says that crowning a tooth is a (for a certain person) necessity then it does not prevent the performance of a ghusl. Is the word of a dentist a proof in the religion? If it is a proof, if another dentist says that it is not a darûrat [strong necessity], can a person act upon the second dentist’s word as well? Who will settle this problem - dentists or savants?
5- In spite of his saying “It is not my authority or right …,” we cannot understand the hidden cause of his displaying a practice to the contrary. In fact, it is not necessary for us to understand it because, after all, it is an inspiration; and an inspiration cannot be a proof.
6- Solution: It suffices for people who have fillings or crowns to imitate either the Mâlikî or Shâfi’î Madhhab.