Every Wednesday, I will share a part of the translation of the book Kitab Al-Kasb (the book of Earning a Livelihood) written by Muhammad Ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaybani.
Part 26: Conveying the Virtues and Preferences is Also an Obligation
Then, Imam Muhammad Ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaybani says, “And conveying to people what the Messenger of Allah preferred of the virtues, is an obligation.”
This statement means that the direct performance of the voluntary devotions and what the Messenger of Allah has recommended is not an obligation, and there is no sin in desisting from them, but conveying them to people is an obligation, so much so that if the people of a certain time collectively abandon their transmission they will be abandoning an obligation and participative in sinning. This is because by the abandonment of transmission something of the Law is effaced, whereas the mere abandonment of performance does not entail effacement.
This comparable to the fact that a person who refrains from doing the voluntary prayer is not sinning thereby, but, if he prays the voluntary prayer without (ritual) purification then he is sinning and punishable, for doing the prayer without purification is changing the ruling of the Law, whereas in merely refraining from doing it (altogether) there is no changing the Law’s ruling. Indeed the objective of the voluntary devotions are twofold:
One: The preemption of Satan’s craving to lure him, as if he were saying, “If this servant is even performing what is not incumbent on him, how then will he abandon what is incumbent on him?” and thereby his craving to lure him will be obstructed.
Second: To compensate for the defects of the obligatory devotions, based on what the Prophet said, “If a defect occurs in a servant’s obligatory devotion, Allah says to the angels, ‘Render my servant’s supererogatory devotions as compensation for the defect of his obligatory devotion.'” [Narrated by Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi and ibn Majah].
If there is in the voluntary devotions this objective, then it is not permissible to abandon its elucidation lest this objective is effaced and lost altogether. Hence we know that its conveyance to people is an obligation even if its direct performance is not an obligation.