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Zhahir and batin of the laws

From Da`a’im al-Islam of al-Qadi an-Nu`man al-Maghribi:


وروينا عن أبي عبد الله جعفر بن محمد ص أنه كتب إلى بعض أوليائه من الدعاة وقد كتب إليه بحال قوم قبله ممن انتحل الدعوة وتعدوا الحدود واستحلوا المحارم واطرحوا الظاهر 


And we have narrated from Abu `Abdillah Ja`far b. Muhammad عليه السلام that he wrote to one of his supporters from the du`at who had written to him about the status of group before him who had impersonated the da`wat and infringed the bounds (al-hudud), permitted the prohibitions, and discarded the zhahir.


فكتب إليه أبو عبد الله جعفر بن محمد ص بعد أن وصف حال القوم وذكرت أنه بلغك أنهم يزعمون أن الصلاة والزكاة وصوم شهر رمضان والحج والعمرة والمسجد الحرام والبيت الحرام والمشاعر العظام والشهر الحرام إنما هو رجل والاغتسال من الجنابة رجل وكل فريضة فرضها الله تبارك وتعالى على عباده فهي رجل وإنهم ذكروا أن من عرف ذلك الرجل فقد اكتفى بعلمه عن ذلك من غير عمل وقد صلى وأدى الزكاة وصام وحج واعتمر واغتسل من الجنابة وتطهر وعظم حرمات الله والشهر الحرام والمسجد الحرام وإنهم زعموا أن من عرف ذلك الرجل وثبت في قلبه جاز له أن يتهاون وليس عليه أن يجهد نفسه وأن من عرف ذلك الرجل فقد قبلت منه هذه الحدود لوقتها وإن هو لم يعملها 


So Abu `Abdillah Ja`far b. Muhammad عليه السلام wrote to him after he had described the status of the group: And you have mentioned that it has reached you that they claim that salat, zakat, the fast of the month of Ramadan, hajj and `umra, the Masjid al-Haram and the Bayt al-Haram, the great rites, and the sacred month are only a man, and the ghusl from janaba is a man, and every obligation (farida) that Allah تبارك وتعالى has obligated upon His servant is a man.  And that they mention that whoever recognizes that man then he is has been satisfied by his knowledge from that without an act, and that he has prayed, fulfilled  the zakat, fasted, done hajj and `umra, done ghusl from janaba and purified, venerated the sanctities of Allah and the sacred month and the Masjid al-Haram.  And that they claim that whoever recognizes that man and endures in his heart, it is permitted to him to disregard (the aforementioned obligations), and it is not upon him to struggle in himself.  And that whoever recognizes that man then these bounds have been accepted from him for their time while he has not performed them.  


وإنه بلغك أنهم يزعمون أن الفواحش التي نهى الله عز وجل عنها الخمر والميسر والزناء والربا والميتة والدم ولحم الخنزير أشخاص وذكروا أن الله عز وجل إنما حرم من نكاح الأمهات والبنات والأخوات والعمات والخالات وما حرم على المؤمنين من النساء إنما عنى بذلك نكاح نساء النبي وما سوى ذلك مباح وبلغك أنهم يترادفون نكاح المرأة الواحدة ويتشاهدون بعضهم لبعض بالزور ويزعمون أن لهذا ظهرا وبطنا يعرفونه وأن الباطن هو الذي يطالبون به وبه أمروا


And that it has reached you that they claim that the obscenities which Allah عز وجل has prohibited, wine, gambling, fornication, usury, carrion, blood, and the flesh of swine, are individuals.  And they have mentioned that Allah عز وجل only forbade marriage to the mothers, daughters, sisters, paternal and maternal aunts and what He has forbidden to the believers of women, it is only meant by that marriage to the women of the Prophet and that what is apart from that is allowed.  And it has reached you that they follow one another (in) the marriage (or, intercourse) to one woman and they testify (?) by falsehood one of them to another.  And they claim that for this there is a zhahir and a batin (outside and inside, apparent and hidden, exoteric and esoteric) which they recognize, that the batin is what they demand and by which they are commanded.


وكتبت تسألني عن ذلك وعن حالهم وما يقولون فأخبرك أنه من كان يدين الله بهذه الصفة التي كتبت تسألني عنها فهو عندي مشرك بالله بين الشرك فلا يسع أحدا أن يشك فيه أ لم يسمع هؤلاء قول الله عز وجل قُلْ إِنَّما حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَواحِشَ ما ظَهَرَ مِنْها وما بَطَنَ وقوله جل ثناؤه وذَرُوا ظاهِرَ الْإِثْمِ وباطِنَهُ فظاهر الحرام وباطنه حرام كله وظاهر الحلال وباطنه حلال كله وإنما جعل الظاهر دليلا على الباطن والباطن دليلا على الظاهر يؤكد بعضه بعضا ويشده ويقويه ويؤيده فما كان مذموما في الظاهر فباطنه مذموم وما كان ممدوحا في الظاهر فباطنه ممدوح


And you have written to me asking me about that and about their status and what they say.  So I have informed you that whoever professes a religion (to) Allah by this description which you have written asking me about, then according to me he is a mushrik by Allah, a clear shirk, so no one can doubt in it. Have these ones not heard the saying of Allah عز وجل “My Lord has only forbidden the obscenities, what is apparent from them and what is hidden” and His جل ثناؤه saying “Forsake the outward sin, and the inward”.  So the zhahir of the haram and its batin are all haram, and the zhahir of the halal and its batin are all halal.  And He has only made the zhahir an indicator upon the batin and the batin an indicator upon the zhahir.  The one emphasizes upon the other, hardens it, strengthens it and supports it.  So whatever is blameworthy in the zhahir then its batin is blameworthy, and whatever is praiseworthy in the zhahir then it is batin is praiseworthy.


ثم قال أبو عبد الله جعفر بن محمد ص واعلم إن هؤلاء قوم سمعوا ما لم يقفوا على حقيقته ولم يعرفوا حدوده فوضعوا حدود تلك الأشياء مقايسة برأيهم ومنتهى عقولهم ولم يضعوها على حدود ما أمروا به تكذيبا وافتراء على الله وعلى رسوله وجرأة على المعاصي ولم يبعث الله نبيا يدعو إلى معرفة ليس معها طاعة وإنما يقبل الله عز وجل العمل من العباد بالفرائض التي افترضها عليهم بعد معرفة من جاء بها من عنده ودعاهم إليه فأول ذلك معرفة من دعا إليه وهو الله الذي لا إله إلا هو وحده والإقرار بربوبيته ومعرفة الرسول الذي بلغ عنه وقبول ما جاء به ثم معرفة الوصي ع ثم معرفة الأئمة بعد الرسل الذين افترض الله طاعتهم في كل عصر وزمان على أهله والإيمان والتصديق بأول الرسل والأئمة وآخرهم 


Then Abu `Abdillah Ja`far b. Muhammad عليه السلام said: And know that this group heard what they had not looked closely upon its reality and had not recognized its bounds.  And they placed the bounds of those things by the measure of their opinion and the limit of their intellects, and did not place it upon the bounds of what they were commanded to, in denial and slander against Allah and His Messenger, and in audacity (in acting) upon the sins.  And Allah did not send a prophet calling to recognition (al-ma`rifa) without there being obedience.  And Allah عز وجل only accept the act from the servant with the obligations which He has obligated upon them after the recognition of the one who brought it from Him and called them to Him.  So the first of that is the recognition of the one who calls to Him, and He is Allah whom there is not god but He, He is unique, and the affirmation of His Lordship, and the recognition of the Messenger who reported about (?) from Him, and the acceptance of what he brought.  Then, there is the recognition of the wasi عليه السلام, then the recognition of Imams after the Messenger whose obedience Allah has obliged in every age and time upon his people, and faith and belief in the first of the messengers and Imams, and the last of them.  


ثم العمل بما افترض الله عز وجل على العباد من الطاعات ظاهرا وباطنا واجتناب ما حرم الله عز وجل عليهم ظاهره وباطنه وإنما حرم الظاهر بالباطن والباطن بالظاهر معا جميعا والأصل والفرع فباطن الحرام حرام كظاهره ولا يسع تحليل أحدهما ولا يجوز ولا يحل إباحة شي ء منه وكذلك الطاعات مفروض على العباد إقامتها ظاهرها وباطنها لا يجزى إقامة ظاهر منها دون باطن ولا باطن دون ظاهر ولا تجوز صلاة الظاهر مع ترك صلاة الباطن ولا صلاة الباطن مع ترك صلاة الظاهر وكذلك الزكاة والصوم والحج والعمرة وجميع فرائض الله التي افترضها على عباده وحرماته وشعائره


Then, acting by what Allah عز وجل has obligated of obedience upon  the servants, on the zhahir and batin (level), and the avoidance of what Allah عز وجل has forbidden upon them, its zhahir and its batin.  And He has only forbidden the zhahir with (or, by) the batin and the batin with (or, by) the zhahir together, and the root and the branch.  So the batin of the haram is haram like its zhahir, and no one is able to make halal either one of them. And the legalizing of anything from it is not permissible and not allowed.  And likewise is the obedience that is obligated upon the servant to establish its zhahir and its batin, it does not suffice to establish a zhahir from it without a batin, nor a batin without a zhahir.  And the zhahir salat is not permissible while abandoning the batin salat, nor is the batin salat (permissible) while abandoning the zhahir salat.  And likewise is the zakat, the fast, the hajj and `umra, and all of the obligations of Allah that He has obligated upon His servant, and His sanctities and His rites.