That Which Cannot be Achieved in its Entirety…


ما لا يدرك كله

لا يترك كله

That which cannot be achieved in its entirety,

should not be abandoned entirely.

This is another of the qawaa’id al-fiqhiyyah  (see this for a previous one), which are brief statements that convey a particular fiqh ruling, and which have their basis in the Qur’an and Sunnah.

So how do we apply this particular one and what does it teach us? Let’s take the issue of boycotting Israeli products as a current and relevant example. Some people have the attitude of all or nothing… for them, if a person isn’t boycotting each and every single item on the list, then they might as well not boycott anything at all. They see anything less than a full and total boycott as hypocritical and pointless.

I disagree with such a stance, because of the qaa’idah mentioned above. There are just so many items and products on the boycott list that it becomes difficult to abstain from absolutely all of them. But just because we might find it hard to boycott everything, that doesn’t mean we now need to go to the opposite end of the spectrum and give up on boycotting anything at all. If we can manage to boycott at least a few products, then that is still good.  Something is at least better than nothing. And that is what this particular fiqh principle teaches us.

Due to the ongoing events in Gaza and Palestine, there is a lot of support at the moment for the movement calling for the boycott of Israeli products. And alhamdulillah, lots of people that weren’t doing so before, now are. But as with all trends, things are bound to pass. Soon this fervour will die down and things will go back to normal again. The Palestinian issue will once again recede to the back of our consciousness and we’ll just go about our business as usual. But if it is that we became involved in the boycott during these recent events, then when that time comes, let us not give it up completely. If we cannot achieve it in its entirety, then let us not abandon it entirely. So if we can manage to maintain the boycott of at least a few things, then let us continue to do so bi-idhnillah.

Alhamdulillah, not just recently but for a number of years now, I’ve been boycotting at least two things on the list. It wasn’t really a conscious decision on my part to do so… that was just how things ended up. But this qaa’idah always comes to mind to help me persevere in doing so, and I hope it will do the same for others as well in-sha Allah.

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