Is it necessary to obtain tauliah before someone is able to be able to teach?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
The issue of obtaining tauliah to be eligible to teach religious or Islamic teachings for sermons or lectures has been heatedly debated in our society. Some said that it is enough to have the accreditation from universities while others compare the situation with the issue of getting a driver’s license. Even if someone is competent already, driving without a license is an offense in our country. Thus, we will discuss the issue of tauliah to answer this question.
What is Tauliah (Credentials)?
Tauliah originates from an Arabic word which means: Appointing someone as a proxy (representative) for certain matters. In Fiqh, it is defined as: A condition set by a seller to the buyer so that a purchased item cannot be resold except with the same buying price.
While according to Kamus Dewan, tauliah means: The appointment of wali (proxy) or appointment letter (to be a proxy, representative and others). Refer Kamus Dewan, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
In the discussion of this issue, tauliah is meant as: The permission to teach issued by authoritative bodies in a certain state, such as Islamic Religious Department or Mufti’s Office of the Federal Territory who has the authority to issue and give tauliah (credentials) to someone who wishes to teach or give religious sermons or lectures.
Guidance from Our Prophet Muhammad PBUH
First: The Prophet PBUH’s Advice to First Get to Know the Situation of a Community
This is in accordance with a hadith of the Prophet PBUH to Saidina Muaz bin Jabal, where the Prophet PBUH said:
إِنَّكَ تَقْدَمُ عَلَى قَوْمٍ أَهْلِ كِتَابٍ فَلْيَكُنْ أَوَّلَ مَا تَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَيْهِ عِبَادَةُ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ
“Verily you would reach a community of the people of the Book, the very first thing to which you should call them is the worship of Allah,”
Sahih Muslim (19)
In the above hadith, the Prophet PBUH as the Messenger and leader is giving an introduction of the important things in the process of dakwah to his emissary Saidina Muaz bin Jabal before he went on his journey of dakwah. This is why the system of tauliah (credentials) is introduced, to give basic knowledge on how to teach and the basics that someone would need before starting to teach anyone.
Second: The Story of the Prophet PBUH and Muaz bin Jabal
At the time where the Prophet PBUH is sending Saidina Muaz bin Jabal to Yemen, he first asked Saidina Muaz a few questions:
كَيْفَ تَقْضِي فَقَالَ أَقْضِي بِمَا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ . قَالَ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ قَالَ فَبِسُنَّةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم . قَالَ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ فِي سُنَّةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ أَجْتَهِدُ رَأْيِي قَالَ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي وَفَّقَ رَسُولَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم
"How will you judge?" He said: "I will judge according to what is in Allah's Book." He said: "If it is not in Allah's Book ?" He said: "Then with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ)." He said: "If it is not in the Sunnah of Messenger of Allah (ﷺ)?" He said: "I will give in my view." He said: "All praise is due to Allah, the One Who made the messenger of the Messenger of Allah suitable."
Sunan al-Tirmizi (1327)
It is clear from the above hadith that the Prophet PBUH first ask Saidina Muaz to gauge his judgement and knowledge in matters related to the rulings in Islam. When Saidina Muaz correctly answered that the first evidence that he would refer to before passing judgement is the Quran, then al-Sunnah (prophetic traditions) and finally using his ijtihad, the Prophet PBUH praises Allah SWT and state his gratefulness to Him.
This is used as the basis of the credential (tauliah) process in maintaining and ensuring that every preacher is qualified and knowledgeable to teach Islam in every state of Malaysia.
Third: The Story of Saidina Ali bin Abi Thalib and Imam Hasan al-Basri
Once, Saidina Ali bin Abu Thalib asked Imam Hasan al-Basri Rahimahullah:
مَا مَلَاكُ الدِّينِ قَالَ: الوَرَع قَالَ: مَا فَسَادُ الدِّينِ قَالَ: الطَّمعُ قَالَ: اجْلِسْ فَمِثْلُكَ مَنْ يَتَكَلَّمُ عَلَى النَّاسِ
“What is the pillar of religion?” Hasan al-Basri answered: “Warak.” Saidina Ali asked again: “What is harmful to religion?” Hasan al-Basri answered: “Greed.” Then, Saidina Ali said: “Sit, people like you is eligible to speak among people.” Refer Iqazh al-Himam Fi Syarh al-Hikam (pg. 158).
The wisdom from the above athar is clear from the word فَمِثْلُكَ where Saidina Ali determined Hasan al-Basri as someone who is qualified to teach religion for the people.
The Purpose of Tauliah (Credentials)
The following are the purpose of why tauliah (credentials) is necessary for someone before he is eligible to teach the public:
- Prevent the spread of deviant ideologies in society.
- Prevent the spread of evil innovations (bidaah) and superstitions.
- Avoid fake hadith without origins from being spread.
- Unify and celebrate the disagreement (khilaf) among scholars and masyaikh so that society can accept them.
- There will be regulations and limitations regarding inappropriate attitude of insulting or degrading certain parties or people to ensure harmony in society.
- Ensuring that every individual who teach Islam is qualified, competent and knowledgeable.
- At the very least, tauliah is a guideline for teaching and conveying knowledge in accordance with syarak. A guideline is important for every person receiving tauliah for them to apply in their teachings.
Argument Regarding the Necessity of Tauliah (Credentials)
We often hear some preachers citing a hadith when they are arguing about the unnecessity of tauliah for teaching. The hadith mentioned is from Abdullah bin Amr R.Anh, where the Prophet PBUH said:
بَلِّغُوا عَنِّي وَلَوْ آيَةً وَحَدِّثُوا عَنْ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَلاَ حَرَجَ وَمَنْ كَذَبَ عَلَىَّ مُتَعَمِّدًا فَلْيَتَبَوَّأْ مَقْعَدَهُ مِنَ النَّارِ
“Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single sentence, and tell others the stories of Bani Israel (which have been taught to you), for it is not sinful to do so. And whoever tells a lie on me intentionally, will surely take his place in the (Hell) Fire.”
Sahih al-Bukhari (3461)
Hence, it is obligatory to convey knowledge regardless of the situation, place and time. The important thing is conveying and spreading knowledge to people.
Actually, that is not what the hadith meant. The reason is, the word ‘convey’ addresses to someone who is knowledgeable. This is understood through the hadith of Muaz bin Jabal. Furthermore, the act of conveying and teaching are completely different disciplines.
Second, scholars have set the muwasafat or characteristics of a muallim (teacher) for him to be able to teach effectively.
THE STATEMENT OF MUFTI OF FEDERAL TERRITORIES
According to the above discussion, we would like to state that tauliah is important especially in our current time. Tauliah system is also practised in other Muslim countries such as Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan and others. The reason is, we understand the importance and purpose of teaching, where the ultimate goal is for Muslims to truly understand Islam.
At the same time, the purpose of tauliah is as sad al-zariah (close the doors of harm) in ensuring only the qualified are able to teach Islam, filtering the unqualified from teaching or spreading deviant teachings.
Ibn Hajar al-Haitami said: “An imam or a teacher is unqualified if he narrated the hadith of the Prophet PBUH without stating the status of the hadith. This is to ensure no fake hadiths are spread.”
May this explanation give us understanding in the issue of tauliah. However, at the same time qualified and knowledgeable individuals should be acknowledged and honoured. We will end this discussion with a story. Once, Syaikhul Azhar al-Allamah Muhammad Bakhit came to the city of Damascus and attended a lecture by al-Allamah al-Muhaddith al-Akbar Syeikh Badruddin al-Hasani. After the lecture, Syaikhul Azhar said: “O teacher, if you come to Egypt, we will not ask only the students of al-Azhar to learn from you. However, all the teachers and grand scholars (masyaikh) of al-Azhar need to learn from you.” This is how great the knowledge that Syeikh Badruddin has. Even Grand Scholar of al-Azhar (Syeikhul Azhar) acknowledged him.
Lastly, we pray to Allah SWT to give us understanding in the issue regarding tauliah and may Allah SWT ease qualified persons in their application process for tauliah.