Another interesting aspect of Allama Shibli’s concern for the Muslim Ummah in general and his desire to see the stronghold of Islam defended at all costs is his unique fatwa regarding donating the cost of the animal to the Turkish war fund. The details below are extracted from his biography, Hayat-e-Shibli:
A Unique Fatwa
The days of Bakrid (Eid al Adha) coincided with the ongoing war in the Balkans. The Mawlana felt it would be a good idea if the money that would be spent on sacrificing animals during the festival could instead be donated to the Turkish war fund to support those who were in the frontline offering their own lives in sacrifice to defend the Islamic Caliphate.
From the point of view of Islamic jurisprudence, the Mawlana found nothing that prohibited the donation of cash in lieu of an animal in special circumstances. He conferred with Mufti Mohammed Abdullah Tonki in this matter. He also wrote to Maulana Abdul Bari Farangi Mahal seeking his opinion. When they were shown the fatwa that was prepared in this regard, they supported the initiative. Satisfied with the endorsement received from the scholars, he had the fatwa distributed widely through newspapers. With the fatwa permitting donating the cost of the proposed sacrificial animal in cash to support the Turkish brethren gaining momentum, thousands of rupees were collected as donation.
However, some ulema disputed his ijtihad / interpretation in this matter. Maulvi Zaffar Ali Khan wrote to him expressing his disagreement with the fatwa.
On 16 November 1912, Maulana Shibli replied to the letter in these words:
“Dear Maulvi Zaffar Ali Khan Saheb,
The fatwa that I published has met with the approval of the ulema of Farangi Mahal and the letter of Maulvi AbdulBari supporting the fatwa has also been published. In the book Hedaya we can find a clause that allows the donation of cash in lieu of an animal sacrifice. However, the clause only permits this mode. I have gone further and have issued a ruling that in these circumstances it is preferred to do so.
Brother, supporting the Turks in the situation in which they are is Fardh al Ain (Mandatory) on us; while animal sacrifice is, at best, not greater than a Wajib (lower in importance to Fardh al Ain). You say that the sunnat-e-Ibrahimi (the practice of Prophet Ibrahim, peace on him) must not be suspended. Indeed, keeping this sunnah alive is my objective too. The difference between us is that you restrict this sunnah to sacrificing an animal, while I extend it to the sacrifice that was asked to be performed of Ismail (peace be on him). Is the worth of an animal greater than the life of a Turk?”
Subsequently, on 17 November 1912, he published a letter in the newspapers:
“Some people are of the impression that institution of animal sacrifice will begin to be considered as inconsequential and unwanted if we were to donate to the Turkish cause the money that would have been spent on sacrificing animals. But, this position is not correct. In the shariah, there is a sequence specified even in acts that are Fardh; and care has been taken to accommodate special needs arising out of unprecedented events. During the Battle of the Trench, for instance, due to the demands of war, the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) missed his Asr prayer once. From this, can we infer that it is permissible to miss a prayer? Supporting the Turks now is Fard al Ain. What kind of a precedent will it set if, in the given circumstances, we were to give preference to this fardh over animal sacrifice.
Animal sacrifice is a symbol / sign of Islam; and Muslims can never forsake it. No worldly power can make them give it up, nor will they need fear any nation in carrying out the sacrifice”.
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