Four Levels of Scrupulousness

The shaykh and mujaddid, ‘Uthman dan Fodio describes four levels of al-war’a (scrupulousness) with regards to halal and haram:

“As for what is permissible (halal) and forbidden (haram) – showing devout scrupulousness with regard to what is forbidden is apart of the deen. Devout scrupulousness (al-war’a) has four degrees:

[1] Devout scrupulousness which is a prerequisite for being a just person for testimony (‘adalati ‘s-shahada). This is what takes a person from the afflictions connected to testimony (shahada), the judiciary (quda) and the government (wilaya) and it entails guarding oneself from all outward prohibited things.

[2] The devout scrupulousness of the righteous (war`a’s-salihin) which is showing piety regarding the dubious actions (as-shubuhat) which are subject to diverse possibilities.

[3] The devout scrupulousness of those fearfully aware (wa`ra’l-muttaqin) which is avoiding the genuine permissible things (al-halal’l-mahdi) which may lead him to commit what is forbidden.

[4] the devout scrupulousness of the champions of truth (war’a ‘s-siddiqin) which is avoiding everything which is other than Allah sub’hanahu, out of fear that even a moment will be expended from his life time which can cause him to lose any increase in nearness to Allah `azza wa jalla – this is even when he knows and is absolutely certain that it will not end up being forbidden. These have their different grades.”

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