Which Imam did The Sahabah’s follow??

[By Brother Abu Muhammad]

On many occasions people are confronted by those who are trying to confuse Muslims. (A satanic deception).

They ask certain questions about Schools of thought and try to create confusion amongst the Muslims. I have personally been asked this question many times. to which I had given a lengthy reply. I have since used the same reply for this blog. (with a little addition)

Firstly I would like to add a Hadith here.

Imam Bukhari has taken proofs from the Qur’an and Hadith. He has quoted Hadith under the following headings:

Hold on fast to the Jamaat of Muslims and their Imam” [page 059, Vol 1]

One who separates oneself from the Jamaat ( of Muslims ) even a hand span, will die a death of ignorance” [page 1045, Vol 2]

There is also an order even execute those who separate themselves from the Jamaat of Muslims and their Imam.

“…they will leave Islam in the way an arrow leaves its bow…wherever you see them, you should kill them. Their killing will be rewardable on the day of Qiyaamah” [page 75, Vol 2]

A group of people will emerge from amongst you, who will belittle your Salah over theirs , and your Fasts over teirs, and your actions over theirs, they will recite the Quran, which will not pass their throats (have no effect upon them), the will leave the Deen like an arrow leaves its bow” [page 756, Vol2].

These people will emerge before Qiyaamah. Only those who are deficient in age and knowledge will join them.

Imams Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasai also quote the same.

Before the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) came to us, there was great Jahiliyyah in the World. There was a need for a Prophet to come set things in order. Thus came Our Final Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). The Prophet was given help by Allah in the form of Sahabah. The World had a new PERFECT teacher to learn from and to follow. The sahabah were the best of the best students to learn from for the people to come later. Islam started to spread far & wide. Many wars were taking place and many Huffaaz of the Qur’an were made Shaheed, due to the number of Huffaaz lost, The Muslims (Sahabah) saw the need of compiling the the Qur’an together in a form of a book so that the Qur’an may be preserved. This was the will of Allah and for this reason we have the Qur’an with us today. Later many opinions were being given as to how one should practice their Deen. Some quoted from what they saw the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) do in his early days and some quoted from what they saw in the middle days of his life and some quoted from the last few days of his life. Hence, there were many many opinions going around every where. Later by the will of Allah came the time for the Great Imams. These great Imams realized the problems that could arise with all these differences in the Ummah, so again by the will of Allah rules were deduced and formulas were set up in order to have a correct codified interpretation of the teachings of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) with all the corect references and hadith. The Imams would also comment that if something that they have decided upon and a stronger evidence is found, then this would become their way. This comment was not set out for laymen of the last 1000 years, infact it was set out for the other great Faqih amongst them. Now by the will of Allah, Islam was codified and recorded for the people of the future. With all four schools of thoughts having slightly different understanding of the rulings set out by them on a few aspects, Allah has in this way kept the Sunnah alive for the entire life of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Now comes the time, by the Will of Allah that all the Hadith get noted and written down and preserved for the future, the great Imams who had such vast knowledge of Hadith still followed a school of thought by the will of Allah.

So as you can see, Allah sent the Prophet, The Qur’an, The Sahaba, The Imams and then the Hadith collectors in this particular order. There is Great Hikmah in this. Allah is the best of planners. Why try to change the plan or go another way.

The Imams of The Sahabah

The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) sent Hadhrat Musayb bin Umayr (radhiyallahu anhu) as the first teacher to Madinah at the request of the people of Madinah, after the pledge of Aqba.

Whilst Hadhrat Musayb (radhiyallahu anhu) was in Madinah, who did the people follow?? Did he call the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) up and ask him? Did The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam ) send Hadhrat Musayb (radhiyallahu anhu) to teach or to be followed or just to teach?

[all this was whilst the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was alive]

When the answers could not be found in Qur’an & Hadith, what did the Sahaba do??

Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) gave Fatwa and made it clear that it was his Ijtihad and view. The people followed the school of Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu).

Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) gave fatwa from his Ijtihad and view. On one occasion he sent a message to his judges that they also make Ijtihad when passing a ruling if it was not clear from Qur’an & Sunnah or amongst the senior Sahabah.

Hadhrat Uthmaan (radhiyallahu anhu) took pledge of Khilafat on the condition that he follow the previous Khalifas.

Hadhrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) used to say “I am making Ijtihad on my view

Many of the Fatawa of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen appear in “Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah

The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) sent Hadhrat Mua’dh (radhiyallahu anhu) to Yemen where he applied Ijtihad to solve many Issues. The entire population of Yemen followed the school of Mua’dh (radhiyallahu anhu). He was the Imam for Yemen.

Hadhrat ‘Adbullah ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) resided in Makkah, many of his fatwas are listed in “Musannaf Abdur Razzaq” & “Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah“. The School of thought for Hadhrat ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) was dominant in Makkah.

Hadhrat Zaid ibn Thabit (radhiyallahu anhu) resided in Madinah. He passed his fatwas there from his understanding of the Qur’an & Sunnah and from the teachings of the Senior Sahaba (radhiyallahu anhum).

Hadhrat Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) was followed in Basra.

Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) was sent to Kufa by Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) to be the teacher of Kufa. He was followed in Kufa.

On many occasions, proof was not given as they did not give their opinions from their desires, but they gave their rulings from the understanding of the Deen they had learnt from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

During the era of the Tabi’een, many people used to go to Makkah for Hajj. The Khalifa of the time would make the following announcement: “No one is to pass a Fatwa except these two Imams, Hadhrat Ata ibn Abi Rabaah and Hadhrat Mujahid.” Thousands of the Fatawa passed by these two appear with no proofs mentioned with these rulings. All the Tabi’een and the Tabe Tabi’een used to practice upon these rulings without any objection or question.

During the era of the Tabi’een, different areas were following different schools.

In Makkah, it was the school Hadhrat Ata bin Abi Rabaah

In Madinah, it was the school of Nafi Mawla of ibn Umar

In Basra, it was the school of Hassan al Basri

In Kufa, it was the school of Ibrahim an-Nakha’i

In Yemen, it was the school of Tawus

In Yamamah, it was the school of Yahya ibn Abi Katheer

In Sham, it was the school of Makhool

In Iraq, it was the school of Maymoon bin Mehran

In Khurasaan, it was the school of Dahaak

In every city, the people would follow that particular school and on many occasions without any proof.

All this was before the four Imams.

This does not mean the Hadith was not there or the information was not gathered.

So to put it all together and answer the query of who the Companions followed:

The Sahabah followed the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and took from the Qur’an & Sunnah Directly and so too did the four Mujtahid Imams.

….Allah says in the Quran “In the Sight of Allah only Islam is accepted [Sura 13/ Verse 9].

The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) left behind the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and the Sahabah, who were living examples of Islam, with whom Allah is happy with. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “hold fast to my Sunnat and the Sunnat of the Khulafa e Rashideen” [Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, ibn Majah etc]. He also said “My Sahaba are like Stars, whomsoever you follow, you will be rightly guided” [Mishkat].

Islam Began to Spread far & wide, thus 2 periods past, the period of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and the period of the Sahabah. During the latter time of the Sahabah, Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) grew up and met some Sahabah also. In this era, the complitaion of jurisprudence, the systematic settings of laws, rules, regulations on every subject of Deen, the arguments of jurisprudic principles were codified (later completed by his Students & other Imams of Fiqh). The delibration of every aspect of life, be it, political, social, economical took place. All this was done in the light of Qur’an and Sunnah (Because the Sahabah and Tabi’een were daily narrating Hadith & reading the Qur’an. This was not done from heresay or from the air, or by following whims and desires like they are accused of doing). In the time of Imam Abu Hanifa, a group of 40 Chosen, top ranking Ulama would discuss, delibrate and contemplate each law, rule and regulation before it was noted in registers. Delibration from every angle would take place before it was noted. Hence approximately 1.3 million masa’il were listed. (1,300,000) (we are not in the position to take out the strongest opinion, no matter which scholar tries, they are not of the calibre)

The other great Imams of fiqh followed, then the Imams of Hadith began their tremendous and marvellous task of complitaion and codification of the Hadith.

We have now completed 4 periods:

1. The era of The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),
2. The era of the Sahabah,
3. The era of the Imams of Fiqh,
4. The Imams of Hadith.

Thus, The Quran & Sunnat came first followed by the schools of thought which explained the Sunnah in detail, then the compilation of the Hadith.

There were many Imams of Fiqh but only four survived. These four reached us because, they were codified properly and they had students prepared to continue the transmission of the four schools and finally because Allah desired so. The four schools contain the entire life of our Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

Muslims are supposed to seek the truth, you name me one scholar in the last 1000 years that was capable of making his own Ijtihad after observing and studying all the schools with all the evidence they have provided do you even think they can pull out the strongest opinion to fit around the other rulings they had passed. Some of them differed in their opinions, but they all had valid reasons. Each ruling they had passed was in conjunction with another rule for that subject, for each school, every thing fits in perfectly. The Greatest Scholars of Islam have already done all this work for us. There are no new Hadith that will come. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. The deen is perfect. There is no need for people to start giving absurd views and start misleading people. It is unbelievable that sometimes even something that is commen sense, others would like to prove them wrong.

The Imams had eye-witnessed the actions of the Senior Tabi’een (Imam Abu Hanifa saw some of the Sahaba), these Tabi’een were not fools to follow their own desires, they followed the Sahabah who followed The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

Why Follow 1 Imam?

This Fatwa by Shaykh Uthaymeen was posted on a forum from which I have cut & pasted it.

Important advice for the student of knowledge from Imam Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen

Praise be to Allah.
It is good if a person focuses on one shaikh and makes him his main source, especially if he is a young beginner, for if the young beginner seeks knowledge from a number of people he will be confused. For people are not all of one opinion, especially nowadays. In the past, here in the Kingdom (Saudi Arabia) people never deviated from [the books] al-Iqna’ [Book of Hanbali Fiqh by Al-Buhuti] and al-Muntaha [Book of Hanbali fiqh by Mar’i bin Yusuf], so their fatawa were all the same and the bases of their fatawa were all the same; no one differed from another, except in his delivery and style. But now, everyone who has memorized a hadith or two says, “I am the Imam to be followed. Imam Ahmad was a man and we are men.” So now there is chaos. Everyone is issuing fatawa and sometimes you hear fatawa from these people which make you weep and laugh at the same time. I was thinking of recording these fatawa, but I was afraid that this might make me one of those who seek out their faults of their brothers, so I did not do it lest we transmit things that are as far from the truth as the earth is from the Pleiades.

I say: adhering to one scholar is very important when the seeker of knowledge is just starting out, so that he will not be confused. Hence our scholars forbade us to read al-Mughni and Sharh al-Muhadhdhab and other books which contain numerous opinions when we were starting out. One of our scholars told us that Shaykh ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abd Rahman Babiteen (May Allah have mercy on him), who was one of the great scholars of Najd, only read al-Rawd al-Murabba’ [Book of Hanbali Fiqh by Al-Buhuti] and never read anything else. He read it repeatedly but he discussed it in great detail and in great depth.

If a person has gained a great deal of knowledge, then he should look at the views of the scholars so as to benefit from them in both academic and practical terms. But when one is just starting out, my advice is to focus on one particular scholar and not go to anyone else.
[From Fatawa al-Shaikh Muhammad ibn Salih al-‘Uthaymeen, Kitab al-‘Ilm, page # 107]

ﺍﻟﺤﻤﺪ ﻟﻠﻪ
ﻫﺬﺍ ﺟﻴﺪ ﻛﻮﻥ ﺍﻹﻧﺴﺎﻥ ﻳﺮﻛﺰ ﻋﻠﻰ ﺷﻴﺦ ﻣﻦ ﺍﻟﻤﺸﺎﺋﺦ ﻳﺠﻌﻠﻪ ﻫﻮ ﺍﻷﺻﻞ ﻻ ﺳﻴﻤﺎ ﺍﻟﻤﺒﺘﺪﺉ ﺍﻟﺼﻐﻴﺮ , ﺍﻟﻤﺒﺘﺪﺉ ﺍﻟﺼﻐﻴﺮ ﺇﺫﺍ ﻃﻠﺐ ﺍﻟﻌﻠﻢ ﻋﻠﻰ ﻋﺪﺓ ﺃﻧﺎﺱ ﺗﺬﺑﺬﺏ , ﻷﻥ ﺍﻟﻨﺎﺱ ﻟﻴﺴﻮﺍ ﻋﻠﻰ ﺭﺃﻱ ﻭﺍﺣﺪ ﺧﺼﻮﺻﺎً ﻓﻲ ﻋﺼﺮﻧﺎ ﺍﻵﻥ , ﻛﺎﻥ ﻓﻴﻤﺎ ﺳﺒﻖ ﺃﻱ ﻗﺒﻞ ﻣﺪﺓ ﻛﺎﻥ ﺍﻟﻨﺎﺱ ﻫﻨﺎ ﻓﻲ ﺍﻟﻤﻤﻠﻜﺔ ﻻ ﻳﺨﺮﺟﻮﻥ ﺃﺑﺪﺍً ﻋﻦ ﺍﻹﻗﻨﺎﻉ ﻭﺍﻟﻤﻨﺘﻬﻰ ؛ ﻓﺘﺠﺪ ﻓﺘﺎﻭﺍﻫﻢ ﻭﺍﺣﺪﺓ , ﻭﺷﺮﻭﺣﻬﻢ ﻭﺍﺣﺪﺓ , ﻻ ﻳﺨﺘﻠﻒ ﻭﺍﺣﺪ ﻋﻦ ﺁﺧﺮ ﺇﻻ ﻓﻲ ﺍﻹﻟﻘﺎﺀ ﻭﺣﺴﻦ ﺍﻷﺳﻠﻮﺏ , ﻟﻜﻦ ﺍﻵﻥ ﻟﻤﺎ ﻛﺎﻥ ﻛﻞ ﻭﺍﺣﺪ ﺣﺎﻓﻈﺎً ﺣﺪﻳﺜﺎً ﺃﻭ ﺣﺪﻳﺜﻴﻦ ﻗﺎﻝ : ﺃﻧﺎ ﺍﻹﻣﺎﻡ ﺍﻟﻤﻘﺘﺪﻯ ﺑﻪ ﻭﺍﻹﻣﺎﻡ ﺃﺣﻤﺪ ﺭﺟﻞ ﻭﻧﺤﻦ ﺭﺟﺎﻝ , ﻓﺼﺎﺭﺕ ﺍﻟﻤﺴﺄﻟﺔ ﻓﻮﺿﻰ , ﺻﺎﺭ ﺍﻹﻧﺴﺎﻥ ﻳﻔﺘﻲ , ﺃﺣﻴﺎﻧﺎً ﺗﺄﺗﻲ ﺍﻟﻔﺘﻮﻯ ﺗﺒﻜﻲ ﻭﺗﻀﺤﻚ ﻭﻛﻨﺖ ﺃﻫﻢَّ ﺃﻥ ﺃﺩﻭَّﻥ ﻣﺜﻞ ﻫﺬﻩ ﺍﻟﻔﺘﺎﻭﻯ ﻟﻜﻦ ﻛﻨﺖ ﺃﺧﺸﻰ ﺃﻥ ﺃﻛﻮﻥ ﻣﻤﻦ ﺗﺘﺒﻊ ﻋﻮﺭﺍﺕ ﺇﺧﻮﺍﻧﻪ ﻓﺘﺮﻛﺘﻪ ﺗﺤﺎﺷﻴﻨﺎً ﻣﻨﻲ ﺇﻻ ﻧﻘﻠﻨﺎ ﺃﺷﻴﺎﺀ ﺑﻌﻴﺪﺓ ﻋﻦ ﺍﻟﺼﻮﺍﺏ ﺑُﻌﺪ ﺍﻟﺜﺮﻳﺎ ﻋﻦ ﺍﻟﺜﺮﻯ .
ﻓﺄﻗﻮﻝ : ﻣﻼﺯﻣﺔ ﻋﺎﻟﻢ ﻭﺍﺣﺪ ﻣﻬﻤﺔ ﺟﺪﺍً ﻣﺎ ﺩﺍﻡ ﺍﻟﻄﺎﻟﺐ ﻓﻲ ﺃﻭﻝ ﺍﻟﻄﺮﻳﻖ ﻟﻜﻲ ﻻ ﻳﺘﺬﺑﺬﺏ , ﻭﻟﻬﺬﺍ ﻛﺎﻥ ﻣﺸﺎﺋﺨﻨﺎ ﻳﻨﻬﻮﻧﻨﺎ ﻋﻦ ﻣﻄﺎﻟﻌﺔ ﺍﻟﻤﻐﻨﻲ ﻭﺷﺮﺡ ﺍﻟﻤﻬﺬﺏ ﻭﺍﻟﻜﺘﺐ ﺍﻟﺘﻲ ﻓﻴﻬﺎ ﺃﻗﻮﺍﻝ ﻣﺘﻌﺪﺩﺓ ﻋﻨﺪﻣﺎ ﻛﻨﺎ ﻓﻲ ﺯﻣﻦ ﺍﻟﻄﻠﺒﺔ , ﻭﺫﻛﺮ ﻟﻨﺎ ﺑﻌﺾ ﻣﺸﺎﺋﺨﻨﺎ ﺃﻥ ﺍﻟﺸﻴﺦ ﻋﺒﺪ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﺑﻦ ﻋﺒﺪ ﺍﻟﺮﺣﻤﻦ ﺑﺎﺑﻄﻴﻦ ـ ﺭﺣﻤﻪ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ـ ﻭﻫﻮ ﻣﻦ ﻛﺒﺎﺭ ﻣﺸﺎﺋﺦ ﻧﺠﺪ ﺫﻛﺮﻭﺍ ﺃﻧﻪ ﻛﺎﻥ ﻣﻜﺒَّﺎً ﻋﻠﻰ ﺍﻟﺮﻭﺽ ﺍﻟﻤﺮﺑﻊ ﻻ ﻳﻄﺎﻟﻊ ﺇﻻ ﺇﻳﺎﻩ ﻭﻳﻜﺮﺭﻩ , ﻛﻞ ﻣﺎ ﺧﻠﺺ ﻣﻨﻪ ﻛﺮﺭﻩ ﻟﻜﻦ ﻳﺄﺧﺬﻩ ﺑﺎﻟﻤﻔﻬﻮﻡ ﻭﺍﻟﻤﻨﻄﻮﻕ ﻭﺍﻹﺷﺎﺭﺓ ﻭﺍﻟﻌﺒﺎﺭﺓ ﻓﺤﺼﻞ ﺧﻴﺮ ﻛﺜﻴﺮ .
ﺃﻣﺎ ﺇﻥ ﺗﻮﺳﻌﺖ ﻣﺪﺍﺭﻙ ﺍﻹﻧﺴﺎﻥ ﻓﻬﺬﺍ ﻳﻨﺒﻐﻲ ﻟﻪ ﺃﻥ ﻳﻨﻈﺮ ﺃﻗﻮﺍﻝ ﺍﻟﻌﻠﻤﺎﺀ ﻳﺴﺘﻔﻴﺪ ﻣﻨﻬﺎ ﻓﺎﺋﺪﺓ ﻋﻠﻤﻴﺔ ﻭﻓﺎﺋﺪﺓ ﺗﻄﺒﻴﻘﻴﺔ , ﻟﻜﻦ ﻓﻲ ﺃﻭﻝ ﺍﻟﻄﻠﺐ ﺃﻧﺎ ﺃﻧﺼﺢ ﺍﻟﻄﺎﻟﺐ ﺃﻥ ﻳﺮﻛﺰ ﻋﻠﻰ ﺷﻴﺦ ﻣﻌﻴﻦ ﻻ ﻳﺘﻌﺪﺍﻩ .
ﻣﻦ ﻓﺘﺎﻭﻯ ﺍﻟﺸﻴﺦ ﻣﺤﻤﺪ ﺑﻦ ﺻﺎﻟﺢ ﺍﻟﻌﺜﻴﻤﻴﻦ , ﻛﺘﺎﺏ ﺍﻟﻌﻠﻢ , ﺍﻟﺼﻔﺤﺔ # 107

So There you have it. The Sahaba followed the Imams of their own time and this continued until all the rules were deduced and recorded for all to follow one codified Islam. This gave birth to the four great Imams.

Even the Great Hadith Scholars followed a codified Islam as layed out by the four schools of thoughts. If they followed a school, then what chance have we got in trying to find the strongest opinion. No Chance….

These people think they are very clever with their stupid questions and think they are capable of seeking out the truth for themselves. Well good luck to them as they will going round in circles only to find that their own scholars and their scholars’ scholars were following a school of thought.

Shaytan works in strange ways and some times his job becomes so easy he just has to sit back and relax.

Stick to one of the schools, you can’t go wrong, In sha Allah. Don’t pick & chose the Masa’il from different schools, you will end up living a life of Sin.


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