Home Excerpts Al-Mutlaq Wal-Muqayyad "Unrestricted and Restricted"
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Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

Al-Mutlaq Wal-Muqayyad

“Unrestricted and Restricted”

Al-Mutlaq is the expression indicating a meaning that is widespread amongst its type. Al Muqayyad is what indicates a specific meaning, such as Zayd and Amru. Al-Muqayyad refers also to the expression indicating its unrestricted meaning with an extra adjective, such as “Iraqi Dinar” and “Egyptian Pound”.

Hence, the expression “Iraqi Dinar” is unrestricted within its type; so it includes every Iraqi Dinar, but in respect of the Dinar in general, devoid of its qualification, i.e. being Iraqi or Jordanian, it is restricted. Hence, it is unrestricted in one aspect and restricted in another aspect. In other words, this second type of restriction is one where the restriction is taken out in some aspect from a widespread meaning of its own type, such as taking out the unrestricted expression of Dinar by adding an adjective such as Iraqi, and such as taking out the unrestricted expression of Raqabah (neck)by adding an adjective such as Mu’minah (believer).

If a text is mentioned in the unrestricted (Mutlaq) manner, such as in Allah’s (swt) saying: “But those who divorce their wives by Zihar, then wish to go back on the words they uttered, -their atonement will be to free a slave.”[58–3], then the text is mentioned in the Muqayyad (restricted) manner in another ayah such as in Allah’s (swt) saying: “Never should a believer kill a believer; but (if it so happens) by mistake, then compensation is due: if one (so) kills a believer, it is ordained that he should free a believing slave.”[4 – 92], then a closer scrutiny is required. If their Shari’ah rules were different, then the unrestricted would not be correlated to the restricted, as the rules for each one of them is different from the other. If their rules did not differ, again a closer look is required; and if their Sabab were combined, then the unrestricted would be correlated to the restricted.For example in the ayah of “al-Zihar” “free a slave” can be taken as if it says: “free a Muslim slave” – meaning that the “slave” mentioned in the first text is correlated to the second text, i.e. “Muslim slave”.

In this case, al-Mutlaq (unrestricted) is correlated to al-Muqayyad (restricted) because he who acts upon the restricted, he fulfils the action stipulated in the denotation of the unrestricted; whereas he who acts upon the unrestricted he does not fulfil the action stipulated in the denotation of the restricted. Hence, combining both of them is compulsory and should take precedence. If the Sabab of each one differed from the other, in this case the unrestricted is not correlated to the restricted, such as in Allah’s (swt) saying in the Kaffarah (atonement) of al-Zihar: “But those who divorce their wives by Zihar, then wish to go back on the words they uttered, - their atonement will be to free a slave.”[58–3] and His saying regarding killing by mistake: “Never should a believer kill a believer; but (if it so happens) by mistake, then compensation is due: if one (so) kills a believer, it is ordained that he should free a believing slave.”[4 – 92]: freeing the slave in the Kaffarah of al-Zihar has come as unrestricted and freeing the slave in the killing of a believer by mistake has come as restricted, i.e. it must be a believing slave, and the Sabab of the freeing in each case is different.Thus the unrestricted must not be correlated to the unrestricted because the divergence of the topic in the Sabab of the freeing should be treated like the divergence in the Shari’ah rule. Hence, just as the unrestricted is not correlated to the restricted if the rule is different; it is not correlated if the topic in the Sabab is different.

Allah (swt) ordered the freeing of a slave in the topic of al-Zihar and the term “slave” came as unrestricted and it should remain as such. He (swt) ordered in the topic of killing a believer by mistake the freeing of a slave and the term “slave” came as restricted; thus is should remain restricted to that topic and should not exceed it, thus it should not include all the Kaffarat (atonements). The proof confirming that if the Sabab is different the unrestricted must not be correlated to the restricted, is reflected in what is mentioned in the fasting imposed as atonement for breaking the oath; it has come as unrestricted: Allah (swt) says: “If one does not find any, he must then fast three days”; here the fasting came as unrestricted and it was not mentioned whether one should fast the three days successively or separately. The fasting however in the Kaffarah of al-Ziharwas mentioned as being successive: Allah (swt) says: “One should fast two months successively”. Therefore if al-Mutlaq could be correlated to al-Muqayyad, the fasting in the Kaffarah of the oath could also be correlated to the Kaffarah of al-Zihar, but no one has ever said this. Consequently, those who champion the opinion of successiveness in the fasting of the oath did not correlate it to the Kaffarah of al-Zihar but rather to the recitation of UbayIbnuKaab and IbnuMas’ud “Three successive days”, on the basis that the Ahad recitation is deemed as the Ahad report in terms of evidential worth, which is this case would be valid to restrict the unrestricted and to specify the general; yet, this is also wrong because the Ahad report is part of the Sunnah and the Sunnah can specify the generality of the Book and can restrict its unrestricted nature. As for the Ahad recitation, it is not part of the Qur’an, i.e. it cannot be deemed as part of the Qur’an because only the Mutawatir is deemed as Qur’an; thus such a recitation cannot be a valid proof to restrict an unrestricted text of the Book and it cannot specify its generality.

Consequently, it transpires that the difference of the Sabab is like the difference of the rule: the unrestricted is not correlated to the restricted; just as the fasting of the Kaffarah of the oath cannot be correlated to the fasting of the Kaffarah of al-Zihar. Likewise the freeing of the slave in the Kaffarah of al-Zihar cannot be correlated to the Kaffarah of the killing by mistake. Hence, if the Sabab is different, al-Mutlaq cannot be correlated to al-Muqayyad. Also, what occurs between the general and the specific occurs also between al-Mutlaq and al-Muqayyad because they are both under one single frame: the generality is faced by the specification and the unrestricted is faced by the restricted, and restriction can be carried out.

The Book is restricted by the Book or the Sunnah or the Ijma’a of the Sahaba or al-Qiyas. The Sunnah is also restricted by the Book, or the Sunnah, or the Ijma’a of the Sahaba or al-Qiyas. Everything that occurs in the generality and the specification occurs also in al-Mutlaq and al-Muqayyad.

Source: Islamic Personality Volume III