Category Archives: Taqlid


[by Hazrat Moulana Zafar Ahmad Saheb Uthmaani (Rahmatullahi Alaih)]

A nephew (sister’s son) of our Hazrat Moulana Khaleel Ahmad Saheb (Quddisa Sirruhu) graduated from Mazaahir-e-Uloom Saharanpur and went to Aligarh where he served as assistant to a doctor. This doctor saheb was a Salafi. He thus endeavoured to convert his assistant to Salafism. Towards this end he encouraged the assistant to study the kitaabs of this sect. For a period of three years he studied the books of this sect. Eventually he became a Salafi/Ghair Muqallid.

After three years he came to meet Hazrat Moulana (Rahmatullahi Alaih) [his uncle] in Saharanpur and immediately upon his arrival he blankly said: “I am not a Hanafi anymore. I have joined the ranks of the Ahl-e-Hadeeth.” [Ahl-e-Hadeeth is the misnomer used by Indo-Pak Salafis.]

Hazrat Moulana was deeply hurt. He told the Ulama of Mazaahir-e-Uloom to explain to their pupil and clear his doubts. He [the nephew spoke with Mazaahir-e-Uloom’s Ulama for three days, but he remained firm on his newly-found dogma. Coincidentally during that time this bandah [Hazrat Allaamah Zafar Ahmad Saheb Rahmatullahi alaih] came to meet Hazrat in Saharanpur from Thana-bawan. Hazrat was very happy and he said: “You have come at a very opportune time. This pupil of yours has turned his back to reality and has joined the Ahl-e-Hadeeth. Mazaahir-e-Uloom Ulama have been explaining to him for three days, but he is firm over his belief. You should also explain to him.”

While we were discussing this he [the nephew of Hazrat Moulana Khaleel Ahmad Saheb who had reneged from the Hanafi Math-hab] came to meet me. I told him to meet me after Isha. After giving his word and departing Hazrat Moulana commented: “He has been studying the books of the Ahl-e-Hadeeth for three years. He therefore has a broad view of the issues. In your conversation with him you will have to bear this in mind.”

I replied: “Insha Allah, I will bear that in mind. Hazrat should assist with du’aas.”

Accordingly, he came to me as promised after Isha. The following conversation took place:

(Moulana) Zafar: Tell me my son, what ideology do you currently subscribe to?

Pupil: Practice on Saheeh Ahadeeth.

(Moulana) Zafar: Practice on only Saheeh Ahadeeth! Not practice on the Qur’aan?

Pupil: Hazrat! Practice on the Qur’aan is first and foremost. Thereafter practice on Saheeh Ahadeeth.

(Moulana) Zafar: If that is your ideology then you would have firstly stated, “Practice on the Qur’aan” and then you would have mentioned “practice on the Hadeeth.”

Pupil: It being obvious, I did not see any need to mention it.

(Moulana) Zafar: You’re trying to cover up. As a matter of fact, the Ahl-e-Hadeeth do not apply the Qur’aan. On the other hand, the golden rule of the Hanafiyyah is to look firstly at the Qur’aan and then the Hadeeth. We give preference to the Hadeeth which we find in consonance with the explicit declaration of the Qur’aan, and we give suitable interpretations to the other Ahadeeth [which outwardly do not conform to the explicit declaration of the Qur’aan]. Now let me tell you about the well-known Masaail in regard to which we and the Ahl-e-Hadeeth have conflicting views. We firstly looked at the Qur’aan, giving preference to those Ahadeeth which we found in consonance with the explicit texts of the Qur’aan.

Qiraat Khalfal Imam

Consider the mas-alah of Qiraat Khalfal Imam. Here, as well, we firstly looked at the Qur’aan. In Surah A’raaf Allah Ta’ala declares: “When the Qur’aan is recited, then listen to it attentively and maintain silence. You can then hope for mercy to come down on you.” This clearly evinces that there should be no Qiraat simultaneously with the Imam’s Qiraat. Rather, one should listen to the Qur’aan and maintain silence. That the Aayat was revealed in regard to reciting behind the Imam is a fact unanimously agreed upon as stated by Imam Ahmad Bin Hambal (Rahmatullahi Alaih). (Those Ulama who aver that it is connected to the Khutbah of Jumu’ah, what they intend is that the Khutbah has the same ruling. This is their obvious purport as the Aayat is Makki and in Makkah there was neither Jumu’ah nor Khutbah.—Zafar).

Then we took a look at the Ahadeeth. No Hadeeth states: “When the Imam recites, you should also recite.” But we do find: “When the Imam says, ‘Allahu Akbar’ then you should also say, ‘Allahu Akbar’. When he makes Ruku’ then make Ruku’. When he says, ‘Sami’allahu Liman Hamidah’ then say, ‘Rabbana Lakal Hamd’. When he makes Sajdah then you should also make Sajdah.” But no where is there: “When he recites (makes Qiraat) then you should also recite.” In fact, if there is anything, it is: “When he recites then you should maintain silence.” Imam Muslim, Imam Ahmad and numerous other Muhadditheen have authenticated this Hadeeth [i.e. they have declared it to be Saheeh]. The Hanafiyyah have endorsed this Hadeeth and have taken the other Ahadeeth [on Qiraat Khalfal Imam] to have other appropriate purports.


Even regarding the Mas-alah of Aameen the Hanafiyyah firstly looked at the Qur’aan. In view of Aameen being a du’aa, as Imam Bukhari has documented in his Saheeh, we looked at what the Qur’aan says about du’aa. We found this declaration of Allah Ta’ala: “Call unto your Rabb humbly and silently.” Thus we gave preference in this Mas-alah to the narration of Shu’bah in which it is said: “He [Rasoolullah Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam] recited Surah Faatihah and after completing it he said, ‘Aameen’ and he lowered his voice with it.” That is, he said it softly. This Hadeeth appears in Tirmithi.

Raf’ul Yadain

We have even looked at the Qur’aan firstly in regard to raising the hands (rafa’ yadain) in Salaah. We found these commands of Allah Ta’ala: “Stand before Allah in silence.” “And those who have khushoo’ in their Salaah.” The first Aayat states that we should stand in the presence of Allah Ta’ala silently and with tranquility. The second Aayat states that those who have khushoo’ in their Salaah are successful. Khushoo’ means nothing other than tranquility. Next we looked at the Ahadeeth. There is a narration in Saheeh Muslim in which is mentioned that the Sahaabah would lift their hands in Salaah at the time of Salaam and say: “Salaam to so-and-so, Salaam to so-and-so.” Reprimanding them Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “What is the matter? Why are you raising your hands like how horses raise their tails? Be tranquil in Salaah!” We learn from this Hadeeth that to raise the hands even during Salaam is in violation of tranquility, whereas the time of Salaam falls within Salaah, and also out of Salaah. [In other words, the position of Salaam is such that in some aspects it falls within the Salaah and in some aspects it is considered to be upon the termination of the Salaah]. Thus, how can it be proper to raise the hands at the time of Ruku’, when Ruku’ falls only within the Salaah? Yes, it is proper to raise the hands at the time of Takbeer-e-Tahreemah in view of it [Takbeer-e-Tahreemah] not being a part or rukn [constituent] of Salaah. In fact, it is a shart [precondition] of Salaah. Hence the Hanafiyyah have favoured those narrations which advocate abstention from lifting of the hands at the time of Ruku’. In like manner one can judge the other Masaa’il. The Hanafiyyah firstly look at the Qur’aan and then the Ahadeeth. The Hanafiyyah then give preference to those [Ahadeeth] which are in consonance or close to the explicit declaration of the Qur’aan.

Pupil: Really, I did not reflect over this point. Nevertheless, the doubt still remains of the Hanafiyyah’s practice being in conflict to Saheeh Ahadeeth in certain Masaail?

(Moulana) Zafar: My Dear Son! Firstly define Saheeh Hadeeth. But, remember; do not make anyone’s taqleed in your definition. After listening to this the pupil was silent for a while. He was perspiring.

He (pupil) then said: “It is all fitting into place now. Truly, without making Taqleed it is not possible to call any Hadeeth ‘Saheeh’. Further, how is it possible for taqleed of Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmithi and others to be permissible, whilst taqleed of Imam Abu Haneefah, Imam Maalik and Imam Shaafi’i is claimed to be impermissible. I henceforth repent from plodding the path of the Ahl-e-Hadeeth and I opt for the Hanafi Math-hab.

(Moulana) Zafar: You have understood very quickly! I am happy. Nevertheless, I wish to expand on this. Those who reject and criticise Taqleed cannot say whether a Hadeeth is Saheeh, or Dha’eef or Hasan without making Taqleed. Ittiba’-e-Hujjat is Taqleed The excuse they present is that Allah Ta’ala has declared the report of an honest person and the testimony of a reliable person to be Hujjat [Shar’i proof]. “This [acceptance of the verdicts of the Ulama in the field of Hadeeth categorization], is therefore not taqleed, but Ittiba’ of Hujjat [obedience to Shar’i proofs].” My response is that, declaring a Hadeeth to be Saheeh or Dha’eef is not merely a report. In fact, the roots of it lie in the presumption and deduction (zann and ijtihaad) of the Muhaddith. Sometimes the narrators of the chain are all thiqah [reliable], however the Hadeeth is mu’allal [flawed]. And the illat [flaw] can only be detected by experts in Hadeeth, not by just any Muhaddith. Ibn Abi Haatim has reported in Kitaabul Ilal that Abdur Rahmaan Bin Mahdi said:

“Recognition of [the authenticity of] a Hadeeth is inspirational.”

Ibn Numair further added: “That is absolutely true! If you ask the Muhaddith: ‘What is your basis (for saying that the Hadeeth is Saheeh or Mu’allal)?’ he will not be able to answer.”

Ahmad Bin Saalih states; “Recognition of Hadeeth is just like recognising gold from brass. A gem-dealer recognises a true gem. If you question an appraiser: ‘Why do you say that this [stone] is pure and this one is false?’ He will not be able to furnish you with proof.” [In former times, the instruments utilised nowadays by gemmologists were not available and hence gems were recognised through natural perception and flair.]

This proves that the Aimmah of Hadeeth saying in regard to any Hadeeth, “Saheeh” or “Mu’allal” is not just a matter of reporting. In fact, these statements of theirs are the products of their zann and Ijtihaad. Thus, to rely on their statements here is precisely Taqleed.

Allaamah Ibnul Qayyim’s averment that this is not taqleed in the Ahkaam is not correct because it is waajib in the Shariah to apply a Hadeeth-e-Saheeh, it is not obligatory to apply a Dha’eef Hadeeth and it is haraam to apply a Mowdhu’ Hadeeth. This is Taqleed of the Ahkaam per se. It is not Taqleed of non-Ahkaam. It is precisely for this reason that the Fuqaha discuss in the Science of Usool-e-Fiqh the Sunnah and principles governing its acceptance and rejection. Calling this Ittiba’ and not Taqleed, as Allaamah Ibnul Qayyim has averred, is a mere spin of words. The reality is the same. Taqleed in Qiraat.

My Dear Son! Is it waajib to recite the Qur’aan correctly or not? Of course it is waajib! And to recite incorrectly is haraam. Now tell me whether you can recite the Qur’aan correctly without Taqleed of the Imams of Qiraat? One can never! And this is also Taqleed in Ahkaam. Similarly, recognising the Hadeeth and sifting out Saheeh from Dha’eef is also waajib. And here too there is no alternative other than to make Taqleed of the Aimmah. What audacity do the Ahl-e-Hadeeth [and the Salafis] have in rejecting Taqleed!!!

The Criterion

Furthermore, you should take note of the fact that, the Muhadditheen did not formulate the principles of judging a Hadeeth to be Saheeh or Dha’eef on the basis of Divine Revelation. That formulation was the product of their zann and ijtihaad. Our Fuqaha have likewise formulated principles of the authenticity and weakness of Ahadeeth, which are mentioned in the chapter of The Sunnah in Usoolul Fiqh. It is therefore possible that a certain Hadeeth is Saheeh on the standards of the Muhadditheen, but Dha’eef on our standards. Or it could be Saheeh on our standards and Dha’eef on the standards of the Muhadditheen. To initiate argumentation in this regard is therefore an error. The dalaail should be studied; whose principles are strong on the basis of dalaail?

The True Rejecters and Followers of Hadeeth

In conclusion, I must point out that no one follows the Hadeeth on par to the Hanafiyyah. The Hanafiyyah even accept Mursal and Munqati’ Ahadeeth of the Khairul Quroon to be hujjat, whereas the Ahl-e-Hadeeth reject such Hadeeth. The volume of Maraaseel and Maqaatee’ is no less than Marfoo’ Ahadeeth. In fact, it is slightly more. Thus, these people [the votaries of abandonment of Taqleed] omit half of all Ahadeeth!!! Furthermore, they only select Saheeh or Hasan Ahadeeth from the Marfoo’aat and they reject the Dha’eef narrations. But according to the Hanafiyyah a Dha’eef Hadeeth deserves precedence in contrast to Qiyaas. [What this means is that where no Saheeh or Hasan Hadeeth is available on any issue, the Hanafiyyah do not discard Dha’eef Ahadeeth and come to intellectual deductions. The Dha’eef Hadeeth is employed provided that it is not in conflict with any established tenet and practice of the Deen.] In fact, even the statement of a Sahaabi and the statement of a senior Taabi’i are given priority [by the Ahnaaf] over Qiyaas. Now you tell me who practices on Hadeeth and who discards the Hadeeth?

The Sanad is Not the Only Determinant for Saheeh Hadeeth

The question of the Hanafiyyah omitting Saheeh Ahadeeth in certain Masaail has been addressed earlier. The Ahadeeth which the Hanafiyyah have employed are Saheeh according to their standards, regardless of them being Dha’eef in the opinion of the Muhadditheen. According to the Hanafiyyah the condition for the authenticity of a Hadeeth is not restricted to its sanad [chain of narrators]. In fact, there are other conditions as well which are mentioned in Usool-e-Fiqh and we have also set them out in the introduction of I’laaus Sunan. In the second part of the Introduction of I’laaus Sunan we have furthermore elaborately discussed Taqleed and Ijtihaad…

Pupil: Al-Hamdulillah, my eyes have now opened and I have been set free from the deception and fallacy of the Ahl-e-Hadeeth. Wal Hamdu Lillaahi Rabbil Aalameen

Al-Balaagh Monthly, Karachi—Shawwaal 1387H

Anti-Madhabism – A Bridge to Irreligion

[by Imaam Muhammed Zahid Al-Kawthari (The Deputy to the Office of the last Shaykh Al-Islam of the Ottoman Empire)]

(Translated by Sadi Kose)

In the Name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful            

You will not find anyone among the politicians, irrespective of his political affiliations who has earned the respect of the people without a declared goal that he strives toward with sincerity. Nor can you find a politician worth the name trying to deceive everyone by speaking according to the audience and the ambiance. No different is the situation of a characterless opportunist who is with no one but pretends to be with everyone. As the poet says:

When he meets a Yemeni he is Yemeni
When he meets a Saudi he is Saudi
Whosoever vacillates between different schools of thought (madhabs) in Islam and follows the way of anti-madhabism is worse and more abased than any of the aforementioned cases.

Each branch of knowledge can have multiple schools of thought such that in a given branch the specialists can have differences of opinion. He who claims to be a philosopher without belonging  to any particular school should in fact be considered foolish and thus can only belong to the school of fools not of philosophy.
Those who are considered to be founders of a given branch of science and who have documented their views have their own ways and principles. Take for example the study of the Arabic language. There are principle sources for this science, that he who would like to sip from their fresh spring, cannot be unaware of nor can he be blamed for having clinged to them.

From the dawn of Islam until our day there is not a single branch of knowledge among the [Islamic] sciences that has gotten as much attention from the scholars as did the science of jurisprudence (fiqh). Prophet Muhammed (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to teach his companions jurisprudence and train them to derive rulings from the sacred texts until six companions were able to issue legal verdicts (fatwa) during the Prophet’s (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) lifetime. After the passing of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), his companions used to learn jurisprudence from these six scholars. They had students not only among the companions but also among the followers (tabi’een) who had reached a level such that they were licensed to issue legal verdicts. Madinah was the cradle of Revelation and the dwelling place of the majority of the companions until the end of the reign of the third rightly guided Caliph [Uthman (Radhiyallahu Anhu)]. Many of the inhabitants of Madinah [took advantage of the presence of the great number of companions and] collected many of the prophetic traditions (hadith) or legal verdicts from the companions until seven [famous] jurists [among the followers] of Madinah gained worldwide fame in Islamic jurisprudence (They are Said bin Al-Musayyab, Urwah bin Zubair, Al-Qaasim bin Muhammed bin Abi Bakr Al-Siddeeq, Abdullah bin Utba bin Masood, Khaarija bin Zayd bin Thaabit, Sulaiman bin Yasaar and Abu Salama bin Abdurrahman bin Awf. May Allah be pleased with them all). [The follower] Said Bin Musayyab was so famous for his vast knowledge of the verdicts of the companions that even the great scholar Ibn  ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu), would query Ibn Musayyab about the verdicts of his own father ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu).

The knowledge of the aforementioned scholars was then transferred to the teachers of Imam Malik in Madinah. Imam Malik collected this knowledge and started spreading it.

The foundation of both the school of scholars of Madinah and its branches is attributed to Imam Malik. Many great scholars who came after him chose to follow his wise approach due to the strength of his proofs. Because of their own expertise and cleverness, if the great followers of the Imam had wanted to establish another school, they would have been able to do so and many people would have followed them. However, they humbly preferred to be the followers of the scholar of Madinah and keep the ummah united. They knew that in some cases weak verdicts were attributed to the Imam of the madhhab and so they had qualified scholars within the madhab research and replace the weak verdicts with up to date and well-grounded verdicts [as new hadith compilations became available]. Eventually, all the weak views were replaced with verdicts that were so well-founded, that any latecomers who attempted to poke holes in the school of Imam Malik would only embarrass themselves.

Such was the structure of the school of Imam Malik and the rest of the madhabs which have an active following to this day. Take for example the city of Kufa [where the Hanafi school started]. The eloquent among the Arabs began settling in Kufa after it was established by ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu). Ibn Masoud  (Radhiyallahu Anhu) was appointed to educate the residents of Kufa [About Islam] and ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) is reported to have said to them: “I preferred you over myself by sending Abdullah to teach you”. Abdullah bin Masoud was among the most well-educated of the companions. ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) used to say, “He is full of knowledge.” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) regarding Ibn Masoud said, “Whatever Ibn Masoud chooses for my nation, I am well pleased with it.” He (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) also said “Whoever wants to read Qur’an as it was revealed let him read it according the recitation of Ibn Masoud.” The recitation of Ibn Masoud is what was narrated by [the famous reciter] Asim by way of Zoor Bin Habeesh. The recitation of ‘Ali Bin Abi Talib (Radhiyallahu Anhu) was narrated also by Asim by way of Ibn Abd Al Rahman Abdullah Bin Habeeb Al Salaami. Ibn  Masoud (Radhiyallahu Anhu) worked so hard from the time of ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) all the way to the end of the reign of ‘Uthman (Radhiyallahu Anhu) teaching the residents of Kufa jurisprudence that Kufa became full of jurists. When ‘Ali Bin  Abi Talib (May Allah make his face noble) moved the capital of the Caliphate to Kufa, he was very pleased with the abundance of jurists there and said “May Allah have mercy on Ibn Masoud, he filled this city with knowledge.”

The door of the city of knowledge that is ‘Ali (may Allah make his face noble), took it upon himself to continue from where Ibn Masoud left off such that no other city in the Muslim World could compete with Kufa in terms of the number of jurists, Hadith scholars, linguists, and people who focused on Islamic sciences. This happened after ‘Ali (may Allah make his face noble) moved the capital of the caliphate to Kufa which drew many of the most well-educated people there. Al Ijli mentioned that 1500 companions settled there. This is in addition to those companions who would travel from place to place in Iraq to spread knowledge.

If one writes a book about the students and close companions of ‘Ali and Ibn Masoud, it would be a huge volume and this current work is not a place where we should list their names. Ibrahim bin Yazid Al Nakhai collected the knowledge of the most learned students of these two great companions (‘Ali and Ibn Masoud (Radhiyallahu Anhu) and passed it on until it was eventually recorded among the hadith collections of Abu Yusuf and Muhammed ibn Al-Hasan, Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shayba, and others. The hadith critics consider Al Nakhai’s loose hadeeth (Maraasilihi. Hadith Mursal (pl. meraasil): When a hadith is narrated by a follower (tabii) saying “the Messenger of God (pbuh) said” then this hadith is called mursal or loose hadith since the narrator omitted the link (a companion) between him and the Prophet). authentic. Ibn ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) used to say, when he saw Al Shabi talk about the expeditions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) that ”He knows more than I, even though I was with The Prophet during the expeditions.”

A scholar of such caliber [Al Shabi] used to prefer Al Nakhai  over all the other scholars. Anas bin Sireen said, “I entered Kufa and there were 4000 people studying hadith and 400 studying jurisprudence.” This is narrated by Al-Ramahurmuzi in his book “Al-Faasil”.

As was recorded by Al-Tahawi and others, Abu Hanifa gathered forty of his most learned students who specialized in jurisprudence, Quranic sciences, Prophetic tradition and Arabic grammar) and after scrutinizing the verdicts of the scholars of Kufa, recorded their knowledge. Muhammed bin Ishaq Al-Nadeem, who is not a follower of Abu Hanifa’s school, said, “Wherever there is [Islamic] knowledge, it is of what Abu Hanifa has gathered.” Imaam Al-Shafii said, “Whoever studies jurisprudence is indebted to Abu Hanifa.”

After Abu Hanifa, came Imaam Al-Shafii (may Allah be pleased with him). Al-Shafii gathered knowledge from the students of the companions and added to it what he learned from his teachers in Makkah (His teachers include Muslim bin Khaalid who has gathered his knowledge from Ibn Jurayj who was a student of Ataa who was a student of Ibn Abbaas). [The knowledge of Imaam Al-Shafii spread quickly such that] the East and the West became filled with his students and also the students of his students who went on to fill the world with knowledge. Egyptians are some of the most familiar people with Imaam Al-Shafii as he settled there towards the end of his life and established his new school before he passed away there (may Allah have mercy on him).

There are many other jurists but this is not the occasion where one can list the virtues of all who have contributed to the development of Islamic jurisprudence. All the [independent jurists (fuqaha)] agree on two thirds of issues. On the one third where they differ, the approach they have taken and the evidences they have used have been recorded in authentic books in each school of thought (madhab). This is how the schools of thought have been established on strong foundations.

If you come across, at the end of time, these obtuse, cocky, anti-madhab individuals who don’t belong to any school of thought, who claim to be scholars without any ground to stand upon except their own burning desire to attain fame and notoriety, and who call for the abolishment of madhabs and want to replace with them with their own ignorant verdicts (ijtihaad), as a follower of a madhab you will be hard-pressed to make any sense of any of this. Are they insane and should they be sent to an asylum? It will be difficult to decide if they are the insane ones among the intellectuals or the intelligent ones among the insane individuals?

In recent times we are hearing calls of this nature from some people. Before we respond to their claim that there is a need to do ijtihad that will do away with the madhabs, we need to have them checked by psychiatrists to make sure that they are sane. Assuming that they are somewhat sane, they must be part of the plot of the enemies of this monotheistic religion. Among the aim of the plot is to divide the Muslims both in religious and in worldly matters. A division that will lead to quarrels, dispute, and hatred day after day when Muslims have been gathered under the unifying umbrella of brotherhood since the dawn of Islam until this day.

The acute Muslim doesn’t allow himself to be deceived by such a [devilish] call [to abolish madhabs and] to abandon the scholars (aimmat al-deen) who preserved and transmitted the science of Islamic Creed (usool al-deen) and applied law or jurisprudence (furoo’ al-deen)   from the time of followers (tabi’een) until now as they inherited it from The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and his companions (may Allah be pleased with them all.) When a Muslim hears a defamation of the schools of thought (madhaahib ahl al-haqq), he must search for the source of the mischief and unveil it. This call [to abandon Madhabs] cannot come from a genuine Muslim [scholar] who has anything approaching profound knowledge of the Islamic sciences. Rather, such a call can only come from a so-called scholar who shopped from different scholars [for a short time while only scratching the surface] such that [he becomes qualified] not as a Muslim scholar, but [qualified] to work for the enemies of Islam [so that he can pretend to be a scholar to misguide the naive Muslims.]

When an acute Muslim spots such an individual, he will find that this so-called scholar shares nothing with Muslims in terms of their hopes nor worries except as theatrics. He will find this charlatan befriending the very people that Muslims shun. He will find the so-called scholar declaring a war against everything in our heritage as archaic except for that which is imported from the West where the sun of virtue sets. Such individuals commit these (heinous) acts in order to get approval from their puppet masters [among the enemies of Islam.] When an acute Muslim spots such an individual spreading mischief among us he  should alert the authorities so that we can be saved from the mischief maker’s evil doings. The truth is above everything.

Those who call people to stop following the independent jurists could consider all the verdicts of all jurists to be correct such that no ordinary Muslim could follow any of the independent jurists in any given issue without necessarily sticking to the views of one of the imams. This is the view of the Mutazila (A deviant sect called “rationalists”). As for [some of] the Sufis, they effectively consider all the verdicts of the imams correct in that they like to follow the strictest verdicts from among the verdicts of the imams instead of sticking with one imam. This is what was pointed out by Abu Al Alaa Saeed bin Ahmad bin Abi Bakr Al Raazi in his book “Combining Piety and Legal Verdicts Both in Spiritual and Worldly Matters” when he mentions in the chapter of jurisprudence what necessitates legal verdicts and what necessitates piety among the sayings of the four Imams. He stated that what is done by Sufis is not following one’s desire rather it is piety itself.

According to the view attributed to the Mutazila (A deviant sect called “rationalists” ), ordinary people are allowed to pick and choose among the verdicts of the imams. However, the least an ordinary Muslim can do is choose an independent jurist (such as the four imams) whom he thinks is most knowledgeable and pious and then abide by the jurist’s verdicts regarding all issues without seeking verdicts of various imams which suit his desire. As for haphazardly seeking out verdicts from various imams because they are more pleasing to us, this has no place in Islam no matter who issues a verdict claiming otherwise.

Regarding the claim that all of the verdicts of the Imams are absolute truth, Al Ustadh Al Imam Abu Ishaaq Al Isfarayiini says, “This starts out as nonsense and may end up as irreligion.” In a given issue one Imam may permit it and others may prohibit it. How can both be right? He who follows all the verdicts [found in a school] of an Imam is not responsible for whether his Imam made a mistake or not. This is because if a judge issues a verdict and he gets it right, he earns two rewards. If he gets it wrong he earns one reward. There are quite a few hadeeth regarding this matter.

From the early days of Islam until now there is a consensus [among the scholars] in the Muslim nation that one who imitates an Imam is not held culpable if his Imam makes a mistake [provided that he does his best in choosing a qualified Imam like one of the four Imams]. Had the Imams been liable in making a mistake while issuing a verdict they wouldn’t   have been given a reward. We do not need to say more as al Ustadh Abu Ishaaq Al Isfarayiini has declared the truth [above] and one is able to bring a thousand and one proofs but this is not a place for it.

If the one who is calling people away from madhabs believes that the madhhabs are the reason for the sects and conflicts in the Muslim nation and that the Imams, all of them, were wrong until now and that he alone is able to correct their mistakes and bring out the truth that was hidden from the Muslims for fourteen centuries- then this  is foolishness and recklessness of the highest order.

We hear about the anti-madhabists’ attacks on the authentic unitary narrations (Hadith aahaad) from the Sunnah, legal analogy, consensus of scholars, and widely accepted rulings derived from the sacred texts by the people of ijtihad. By attacking unitary narrations they denounce the books of hadeeth including the authentics, the sunnan, the collections (jawami’), the musannafat (Collections of hadith where the author compiled narrations without placing any restrictions on their authenticity), the masaneed (Plural of musnad. These are hadith books where the hadith are sorted by narrator). and the narrated Quranic commentaries and others. This means no verdicts can be derived from these sources nor any other benefit can be drawn. Who takes this way of the devil other than the instruments of the enemies of Islam?

It must be pointed out that if a given unitary narration is narrated by multiple chains it can reach the level of unanimously agreed upon narration (mutawaatir) by meaning. In addition, if there is external evidence (muhtaffun bi al qaraain) supporting a unitary narration it must be taken into account. Some specialists consider the hadeeth found in the two authentics (The two authentic collections of Bukhari and Muslim) to have external evidence supporting them with some exceptions.

By discarding the classical unanimous acceptance of the consensus of scholars (ijma’) they are eradicating (our great history) and inclining towards the misguided Khawaarij or Rawaafid. By refusing to observe legal analogy they close the door of issuing (modern) legal independent verdicts (taqwa) and incline to the way of Khawaarij, Rawaafid, and Mutezila who do not accept legal analogy [as one of the sources of Islamic law]. All of this is conspicuously taking place under the nose of Al-Azhar University and its scholars  remain silent. Being mute in the face of such disgraceful behavior is not befitting of Al Azhar, which was built upon a foundation of piety (taqwa). During the reign of the King Zahir Al-Baybars and his benevolent princes, he and his princes made Al-Azhar a citadel of learning for orthodox Islam after they rejuvenated it. Since then all of the Muslim rulers have taken great care of this institution as did the founder until now (Ca. 1940). Its doors are still closed to those other than the followers of the four schools of thought. These rulers have spared no expense or effort for this noble cause. The king Fuad the first, may Allah have mercy on him, had a big role in keeping Azhar on its unshakable foundation of piety. Similarly the [current] government which adheres to the principles of Islam continues to be benevolent to Azhar [in order that Azhar continue to march on the straight path].

The Ultimate Goal of Anti-Madhabism

If the callers of Anti-Madhhabism succeed in limiting the issuance of independent legal verdicts (ijtihad) to a contemporary individual of unknown  credentials, annihilate the madhabs of the four independent jurists, and convince the masses to submit to the legal verdicts of their so-called mujtahid, they will have accomplished what they have set out to do. (Coincidently, have you heard of the modern anti-madhabist who claimed that he sorted out most of the hadith which the Muslim nation had failed to do for over fourteen centuries? He has also corrected people’s creed. In addition, he took it upon himself to teach people the Prophet’s prayer (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) as though Muslims who have been praying for 1400 years according to the four madhabs were performing Abu Jahl’s prayer! It seems that what Imaam Al-Kawthari foresaw is in fact happening in our time. May Allah protect us all. Ameen!)

How will the proponents of absolute free speech prevent other zealots like the aforementioned one from becoming an independent jurist (mujtahid)? How will they impose their views on others depriving people of their freedom to choose? How can he who calls for absolute freedom deprive ordinary people of the right to decide for themselves which scholar from the golden age of Islam to depend on and imitate?

Such prohibition or deprivation was not even seen during the dark ages!!! I must admit that I don’t have answer to the aforementioned question.


In summary, if you research the situation of the proponents of the anti-madhabism you will find them most ignoramus blinded by the burning desire to be famous and to befriend the enemies of Muslims. This filthy call of theirs is a call from the people of mischief. The Muslim leaders or those responsible must work hard to find the source of this peril and stamp out this fire of evil. This despicable call is nothing other than a bridge to irreligion which we see dominant in countries afflicted with atheism and destined to misery. The [astute] believer does not get attacked from the same [lizard] hole twice. Wiser is he who learns from the mistakes of others. Allah speaks the truth and guides to the straight path.

Incumbency of Taqleed

By Mujlisul Ulama

Taqleed in the Shariah, as opposed to Admut Taqleed, means to follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah as understood, interpreted, practised and transmitted to the Ummah by the Sahabah (Companions) of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

Taqleed which literally means to be fettered; to be tied and to follow, refers to a special and specific type of following in Islam. It refers to the rigid following of the Qur’an and Sunnah as commanded by Allah Ta’ala Who says:

“O People of Iman! Obey Allah and obey the Rasool…..”

Numerous Qur’anic Aayat (verses) and Hadith narrations command this strict obedience and following which are known as Taqleed in the terminology of the Shariah.

The attainment of Allah’s Pleasure is possible o­nly by means of obedience and submission to His laws which consist of innumerable details and particulars related to numerous concepts and commands. It goes without saying that the abundance of rules of the Shariah is the product of divine revelation and inspiration to the sole repository of Allah’s law, viz. the blessed heart of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Hence, the Qur’an says:

“He (Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) does not speak of desire (or baseless opinion). It (his speech) is o­nly Wahi which is revealed.”

Personal opinion has no scope in the determination of the rules pertaining to the transcendental concepts and institutions of Islam. When man abandons Taqleed (following the Qur’an and Sunnah) he enslaves himself to his personal opinion which is the product of his hawa’ (nafsani desire). Criticizing the slaves of desire, Sayyiduna Umar (radhiallahu anhu) said:

“Verily, the votaries of opinion are the enemies of the Sunnah.”

That Taqleed (following) is an Islamic fact and a Qur’anic command is undeniable. The Qur’an Majeed says:

“Ask the people of Thikr (Knowledge) if you do not know.”

“Follow the path of those who turn to Him.”

In the first and foremost instance, the People of Thikr and those who have turned to Allah Ta’ala refer undoubtedly to the Sahabah (Companions) of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Both the Qur’an and Hadith are emphatic o­n this assertion. The Qur’anic verses in this regard cited here glowingly praise the Sahabah and confirm their rank by Allah.

“Those who are ahead, the first o­nes among the Muhajireen and Ansar and those who followed them with virtue, Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him…..”

“Verily, Allah became well-pleased with the Mu’mineen (i.e. the Sahabah) when they gave you (Muhammad) the oath of allegiance (bay’t) under the tree…..”

A famous Hadith specifies that the Path of salvation and rectitude is the way of the Sahabah. o­nce Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that of the 73 sects into which his Ummah will be split, o­nly o­ne will be o­n the path of righteousness and salvation. When asked about the righteous sect, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“That Path o­n which I and my Sahabah are.”

The Qur’an and Hadith categorically state and command that the Ummah adopts the Taqleed of the Sahabah. Any taqleed (following) which diverges from the Taqleed of the Sahabah is taqleed of hawa (nafsani desire) and shaitan. It should therefore be understood that those who abandon the Taqleed of the Sahabah are in reality adopting the taqleed of shaitan.

Let us now see what this path of the Sahabah is) the Path, the Taqleed of which the Qur’an and Hadith command, and without which Najat (salvation) in the Aakhirah is not possible; without which adherence to the Qur’an and Sunnah is not possible.


Everyone knows that Wahi (Divine Revelation) terminated with Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Thus, the o­nly passage for the transference of the Qur’an and Sunnah to the successive generations of the Ummah is the Golden Chain of Transmission emanating from Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), the very first link being the noble Sahabah. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) transmitted Islam to his Sahabah who in turn transmitted it to the next generation, namely, the Tabi’een. The Tabi’een transmitted Islam to the next succeeding generation, known as the Tab-e-Tabi’een. In this manner Islam reach us in the present age by reliable transmission from o­ne generation to another, and in this very same manner will it be transmitted to the end of time.

Islam did not reach us by way of books nor by the way of the teaching of geniuses who do not form links in the Golden Chain of Transmission which links up with Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) via the medium of the Sahabah who constitute the link which unites the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen and Fuqaha with Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

This Golden Chain of Transmission is the Institution established by Allah Ta’ala for the protection and preservation of Islam. Preservation of Islam in its pristine purity is a Divine Promise. The Qur’an says:

“We have revealed the Thikr (Qur’an) and verily, We are its Protectors.”

This Golden Chain of Transmission has been maintained intact by the institution of Taqleed. Enemies of Islam in diverse forms and methods have always conspired to break this sacred Golden Chain by attacking the Islamic practice of Taqleed. o­nce the pernicious aim of these enemies is achieved, the Ummah’s link with true and original Islam will be broken. However, since Allah Ta’ala Himself has undertaken to protect Islam, the nefarious plots of the enemies will be thwarted and neutralized by the forces of Haqq.

While the followers of the four Math-habs have accepted the entire edifice of the Shariah as inherited from each preceding generation which commenced with the Sahabah, the first generation or link in the Chain of Transmission, all other sects subject the Qur’an and Hadith to personal opinion and whimsical interpretation. Thus, while the Muqallideen are following Islam in the form it was aacquired from the Sahabah, the deviant sects have no hesitation in rejecting any Shar’i opinion if it does not agree with their own understanding of the Qur’an and Hadith.

Since their own interpretation of the Qur’an and Hadith plays a dominant part in their acceptance or rejection of the Shariah, they fall beyond the confines of the Ahlus Sunnah whose Shariah is not the product of personal opinion, but is the Shariah acquired from the Sah~bah by way of reliable transmission. Submission to this Shariah is known as TAQLEED. Admut Taqleed is dhalaal (deviation). It is in fact the blind following of the lowly nafs. Such blind following which is the result of abandoning taqleed of the Sahabah is a great deception. A superior Taqleed is renounced for accepting a grossly erroneous and deceptive taqleed, viz. the taqleed of the nafs.

I WANT TO STUDY THE “RAJIH” (The “Correct/Stronger” Opinion)

❝We often see students asking their teachers to explain a fiqh text, which was written according to one of the four madhabs, by giving them the “rajih” opinion for every issue. They claim that this way they are “not doing taqlid” and are “following the dalil.” The teacher goes through the text saying ” Imam Abu Hanifa took the opinion X, and the rajih in this issue is actually Y” for every issue that “goes against the rajih.” The student finishes the text (which usually doesn’t even happen!) having written down the opinions which his teacher told him were the rajih based upon the dalil, all the while thinking that he has followed the evidences and avoided taqlid.

However, what really happened here is that the student left the taqlid of Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi, or Ahmed and now is simply just making taqlid of his teacher. This is because he is following the tarjihat of his teacher as opposed to the tarjihat of one of the schools. There is no fifth madhab called the “rajih,” rather tarjih is subjective. So if you are studying a text such as Zad al-Mustaqni you are indeed studying the rajih, but according to the Hanbalis. The same is said for any relied upon text in the other schools. If someone says I’m going to study al-Durar al-Bahiyyah by Imam al-Shawkani because his book is based on the evidences, then all he is doing is making taqlid of al-Shawkani. The same goes for every other book, even studying the Qur’an and Sunnah. This is because you either will look into the textual evidences directly and derive rulings, which means you are a mujtahid, or you will have a teacher explain those evidences to you. Since you are a student you are obviously not a mujtahid. This only leaves the second scenario where you will be taking taqlid of your teacher.

So no matter what students are going to make taqlid. The question is, would you rather make taqlid of a contemporary scholar or one of the four imams? The answer: both religion and intellect state that you should make taqlid of the one who is more knowledge and pious.❞
                          — Ustadh. Ahmad Khater

A Letter o­n Taqleed

The following is part of a letter the Mujlisul Ulama wrote to a brother who queried the Islamic concept of Taqleed:

(1) It should be remembered that the two senior Imaams, namely, Imaam Abu Hanifah and Imam Maalik were in touch with Sahaabah. They had acquired their Islamic knowledge from Sahaabah as well as from numerous such senior Scholars who had studied under the Sahaabah. Thus, they were in close proximity to the age of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

Secondly, the protection of the Qur’aan and Islam were undertaken by Allah Ta’ala Himself. He declares in the Qur’aan:

“Verily, We revealed the Thikr (Qur’aan) and We are it Protectors.”

Thus the preservation of Islam is a Divine Responsibility. At no stage in the history of Islam was there a time that the full Shariah was not available. Islam was perfected during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The Qur’aan is emphatic and explicit in making this claim. It is, therefore, Islamically unimaginable that the full and perfect Shariah did not exist with the illustrious Scholars until a couple centuries later when Imaam Bukhaari (rahmatullah alayh) appeared o­n the scene. Imaam Bukhaari appeared about 120 years after Imaam Abu Hanifah and about 200 years after Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). During this period, i.e. during the absence of Imaam Bukhaari, the Deen was flourishing. Every aspect of Islam was known to the Scholars. Nothing was hidden and unknown.

It is a ludicrous and a kufr supposition to assume that part of the Shariah was concealed from or unknown to the Salf-e-Saliheen of the first epoch of Quroon-e-Thalathah (The first three noble ages of Islam), and that the supposed ‘unknown’ portion became known o­nly after Imaam Bukhaari (rahmatullah alayh) appeared o­n the scene 2 centuries later. This supposition is kufr because it militates against the Qur’aanic declaration of:

(1) The perfection of the Deen.

(2) The Divine Protection of the Deen undertaken by Allah Azza Wa Jal, Himself.

Thirdly, Imaam Bukhaari and the other Muhadditheen who compiled the Ahadith in book form did not do so for the benefit of the existing Scholars or for the Scholars before his time. The Scholars before his era were illustrious Fuqaha and Muhadditheen who were the direct students of the Sahaabah or of the Students of the Sahaabah. The Scholars of his time were his (Imaam Bukhaari’s) Ustaadhs and these Scholars were the Students of the Taabieen who in turn were the Students of the Sahaabah. Thus, it was Imaam Bukhaari who benefited from these illustrious Ustaadhs, not the other way around. The compilations of the Muhadditheen were for the benefit of posterity for the Muslims of later generations. The Scholars before Imaam Bukhaari and those during his time were not at all reliant o­n his compilations. They were completely independent of the Hadith compilations of the later Muhadditheen. The authorities o­n which the Scholars (Fuqaha and Muhadditheen) before Imaam Bukhaari’s time relied were Taabieen and Sahaabah. Their knowledge of Islam was firsthand and did not depend o­n compilations and books. Their Ilm was from the Taabieen whose base of knowledge was the Sahaabah who were Rasulullah’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) Students. The nonsense gorged out by the modernist and deviant Salafis of this age who blindly follow the half-baked so-called scholar, Al-Albaani is thus self-evident.

Fourthly, it is a well-known fact that the teaching of Imaam Abu Hanifah as well as of the other Imaams (Fuqaha) was that if an authentic Hadith is acquired with which his ruling conflicts, then such a ruling should be discarded and the ruling stated in the Hadith be accepted. It was made clear that the Math-hab of the Hadith was his (i.e. Abu Hanifah’s) Math-hab. Thus, if and whenever any of the Scholars who followed Imaam Abu Hanifah acquired a Hadith which in their opinion their Ustaad did not know of, immediately the ruling of the Ustaad o­n the specific issue would be adjusted to conform to the Hadith. But, this process of adjusting such rulings which could have been in conflict with the Hadith o­n account of all the Ahadith not having reached a particular Imaam, ended long before Imaam Bukhaari presented his compilation. We, therefore, find the Mutakh-khireen (i.e. the Hanafi Fuqaha of the third and fourth centuries) adhering to the rulings which the Hanafi Fuqaha of former times had issued despite them having the knowledge of all Compilations of Hadith prepared by the Muhadditheen. This in itself, is explicit evidence for the fact that the Fuqaha before Imaam Bukhaari were already fully apprized of the various Ahadith which the later Muhadditheen compiled in their Books.

Undoubtedly, the Sahaabah had scattered throughout the Islamic empire. But, long before the Hadith compilations of Imaam Bukhaari, the Scholars had already become aware of the Ahadith narrated by the different Sahaabah. The age adjacent to the age of the Sahaabah was an age of intense Islamic learning. The entire Shariah with its jurisprudence (Fiqh) was systematized and codified long before the age of the Muhadditheen. Such systematization and codification are impossible without a total knowledge of Hadith because Hadith is the Tafseer of the Qur’aan. Without Hadith, there can be no Shariah. Thus, the Shariah which the Fuqaha had systematized was the Shariah which the Sahaabah had acquired from Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Just as the Sahaabah were not reliant o­n written books for the knowledge and recital of the Qur’aan, so too the next group of Scholars (the Taabieen) was not reliant o­n any book of Hadith for the systematization of the Shariah. Just as the Sahaabah had the Qur’aan in their memories, so too did the Taabieen have the Ahadith in their memories. Islamic history bears ample testimony to this incontrovertible fact.

The aim of the Muhadditheen was to sift out the narrations and to prepare books of authentic compilations for the benefit of posterity just as was the aim of the Sahaabah when they had compiled the Qur’aan in book form. The aim was not to benefit the Sahaabah because they were not in need of a book or a written compilation of the Qur’aan. They had the Qur’aan in their memories. The Sahaabah had compiled the Qur’aan in book form for the benefit of posterity.

From this it should be realised that Imaam Bukhaari’s compilation was not for the benefit of the existing Scholars as they were in fact the instructors of Imaam Bukhaari. It is quite possible that the Fuqaha and Muhadditheen prior to Imaam Bukhaari had greater knowledge of Hadith and had a greater advantage in regard to the knowledge of authentic Hadith. The chain of narrators between Imaam Bukhaari and the Sahaabah is very long. In view of numerous narrators in a chain o­n account of the large time gap, it is possible that a Hadith which was authentic according to Imaam Abu Hanifah or Imaam Maalik became ‘weak’ in terms of the standard employed by Imaam Bukhaari. Imaam Maalik heard a Hadith directly from the lips of a Sahaabi. The authenticity was most perfect. However, the same Hadith could have reached Imam Bukhaari two centuries later in a slightly different form or in the same form but with a long chain of narrators. Some of the narrators may not have passed Imaam Bukhaari’s strict test, hence he would be compelled to classify the Hadith as ‘weak’ whilst in actual fact it is an authentic Hadith. Thus, if Imaam Abu Hanifah, for example, bases a ruling o­n the strength of a Hadith which according to Imaam Bukhaari is a ‘weak’ narration, the ruling of Imaam Abu Hanifah cannot be rejected o­n the basis of the designation given to the Hadith by Imaam Bukhaari because Imaam Abu Hanifah and all the early Scholars would not formulate rulings o­n suspect narrations nor were they reliant of the type of categorization of Hadith formulated by the later Muhadditheen.

(2) It is baseless to claim that the Math-habs came into existence in the middle of the 8th century of the Christian era. People who lack understanding in the Deen make such preposterous allegations. Since the Scholars taught nothing other than the SUNNAH of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), it is incorrect to claim that the Mathaahib were later accretions. It is inconceivable that the Fuqaha taught anything which was not taught by the Sahaabah. Yes, new rulings o­n new developments had to be formulated. But, such rulings were based o­n the principles enshrined in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. The Fuqaha simply arranged everything in systematic order. The differences in the various acts of Ibaadat, for example, had all existed during the very time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The Scholars did not introduce the different ways we find in the acts of worship of the followers of the Mathaahib. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah had adopted these ways and forms which were passed o­n to the succeeding generation, viz., the Taabieen who in turn passed it o­n to the next generation.

The problem the Fuqaha had was to establish which way and which manner of the Holy Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah were the final acts abrogating former acts. In such issues differences arose.

Qur’aanic and Hadith interpretations had to be resorted to for finding solutions or the clear-cut rulings of the Sahaabah who had happened to be the Ustaadhs of a particular line of Scholars, were adopted.

Whatever had happened and whichever way was adopted, it is absurd to claim that ‘numerous of the Hadith which reached Imaam Bukhaari did not reach the Fuqaha and that the Mathaahib had been formulated o­n the basis of insufficient Hadith narrations’. Such a claim is utterly baseless. In fact, it militates against the explicit Qur’aanic declaration:

“This day have I perfected for you your Deen…”

When a Scholar acquires the knowledge of an authentic Hadith, he does not dismiss that Hadith simply because the Hadith conflicts with the ruling of the Math-hab he happens to be following. He first examines the standard of the Hadith. If it is established that the Hadith is Saheeh (Authentic), he fully accepts it as being authentic. A man who rejects an authentic Hadith commits kufr. He is not a Muslim. If there are no Qur’aanic and Hadith proofs to conflict with the authentic Hadith which he has acquired, he immediately adopts the ruling of the Hadith and sets aside the ruling of the Math-hab which was earlier formulated o­n the basis of insufficient proof and facts. But, if there is strong and overwhelming Qur’aanic and Hadith evidence conflicting with the authentic Hadith which he had just acquired, he is forced to assign suitable interpretation to the Hadith and while accepting its authenticity, he cannot issue a ruling o­n its basis. But, this process had applied during the age of the Fuqaha in the age of the Taabieen when the Sahaabah were involved in spreading the Deen. It did not apply to the age after Imaam Bukhaari. It must be categorically stated that the Fuqaha had the knowledge of all the Ahadith which are today found in the various Hadith compilations. In fact, they had greater knowledge in the field of Hadith authenticity and in view of there being hardly any links between them and the Sahaabah.

(3) All the Usool of the Mathaahib were formulated o­n the basis of the Qur’aan and Hadith. Those Scholars who followed the Usool of a particular Math-hab were obliged to adhere to the Usool. They could differ in the Furoo’ (details). But, the Furoo’ which they formulated were based o­n the same Usool. Such differences largely pertain to new developments, not to clear teachings which were acquired from the Sahaabah.

The Usool were established by the ‘Founding’ Imaams. Their students adopted these principles and formulated rulings for new developments o­n the basis of the principles established by their senior Ustaadhs.

(4) While Ijtihaad in the principles is no longer permissible, Ijtihaad in new developments will remain valid until the Last Day. There will always be new developments. The Usool established by the early Fuqaha o­n the basis of the Qur’aan and Sunnah are all-encompassing. It is not possible to create any further Usool because such an attempt will be in conflict with the Qur’aan and Sunnah. Any new attempt will be beyond the confines of the Qur’aan and Sunnah. Hence no o­ne has ever ventured to establish new Usool. If today anyone attempts, his kufr will be transparent as the conflict between his conjectured ‘usool’ and the Qur’aan will be conspicuous. Nowadays people simply resort to baseless interpretation (Ta’weel Baatil) to gain acceptance for their Baatil views.

(5) New issues and new developments do not require any new Usool. The very same Usool which the early Fuqaha had extracted from the Qur’aan and Sunnah are the o­nly basis o­n which rulings for new issues have to be formulated. Discardence of the USOOL of the Fuqaha is tantamount to discardence of Islam.

(6) Yes, Scholars who were students did differ with their illustrious Ustaadhs in matters of Furoo’. While both the Ustaad and the student would argue a certain issue (fara’) o­n the basis of the same principle which the Ustaad had established, they would sometimes come to different conclusions. This is essentially the result of difference in understanding, difference in taqwa, difference in their respective bonds with Allah Ta’ala. And, it could be the result of differences in their respective experience pertaining to the issue. Also sometimes, the Student will differ with the ruling which was issued by the Imaam because circumstances had changed, new facts had come to light which had not existed at the time the Imaam had issued his ruling. In short, there were a variety of factors which determined differences in rulings inspite of the rulings being based o­n the same Usool. Take for example the issue of shrimps. This is a mas’ala pertaining to the Furoo’. All the Hanafi Fuqaha are agreed o­n the principle that of the sea animals o­nly fish is halaal. There is no difference in this principle. However, some Hanafi Ulama have ruled that shrimps are permissible while the overwhelming majority states that shrimps are haraam. Those who say that shrimps are permissible, do not reject the principle. But, in terms of their knowledge they claim that shrimps are fish, hence, halaal. They do not claim the permissibility of shrimps o­n the basis of the principle of another Math-hab. Simply o­n account of their knowledge of shrimps, which they believe to be fish, they state that shrimps are halaal. They thus do not differ in the principles.

(7) The Scholars never reasoned that all possible issues were already addressed and that there would be no longer need for formulating rulings o­n later developments. The unanimity is in the closing of the doors of Ijtihaad in respect to the Usool, not to new developments which obviously will come into being from time to time. But, the principles are established already for the formulation of the rulings necessary to categorize new issues and developments.

(8) The Shar’i meaning of Taqleed, means to follow a particular Imaam in all matters pertaining to the Shariah. Ittiba’ means to follow in obedience. o­ne may accept the Taqleed of a particular Imaam without applying ittiba’ in practical life. Example: A man making Taqleed of Imaam Abu Hanifah, accepts and believes shrimps to be haraam. But, when he goes to a friend’s home (who may not be a Hanafi), he eats shrimps. He says that he follows (makes Taqleed) of Imaam Abu Hanifah and that he knows the view of Imaam Abu Hanifah is correct and that he accepts this, but simply to appease his friend he eats shrimps. Thus, while making Taqleed, he is not making ittiba’.

(9) In all ages there were people of baatil who attempted to subvert the Deen. This process of conflict between Haqq and Baatil will endure as long as the world endures. The conspiracies of baatil are more rife and rampant in our day. Almost every Tom, Dick and harry who has studied some Hadith translations of has a couple of kuffaar university degrees behind his name thinks himself capable of making Ijtihaad in even the Usool. May Allah Ta’ala save us from such deviation.

(10) The Fuqaha of the early times did not close the Door of Ijtihaad in respect to the Usool because unqualified persons attempted to make inroad into this domain. The Doors were closed because they were 100% certain that no new Usool can any longer be established since the Usool which they had established were all-encompassing. For such certitude a very high degree of Taqwa and spiritual elevation are imperative. These men were not o­nly men of book knowledge. Their knowledge was true knowledge which is a Noor (Celestial Light). The Islamic definition of Knowledge given by the illustrious Ulama is:

“ILM (KNOWLEDGE) is a Noor in the heart of the Mu’min. The Noor is acquired from the lanterns in the Niches of Nubuwwat.”

True knowledge initiated from the heart of the Nabi and it passed o­n from breast to breast. From the breast of the Sahaabah to the breasts of the Taabieen, and so o­n until it has reached us. Such Noor enters the heart o­nly after the Bond with Allah Ta’ala has been rectified, developed and solidified.

(11) A Muqallid who claims to follow the Sunnah while differing with the ruling of his Math-hab deceives himself by believing that he is following the Sunnah. Following the Sunnah is not possible beyond the confines of the Math-hab. The authorities of the Math-hab were fully aware of the Ahadith which allegedly conflict with the rulings of the Math-hab. They had the necessary knowledge pertaining to such affairs. It is, therefore, a shaitaani deception for the Muqallid, especially weak Muqallideen such as us in this belated age, to believe that we are following the Sunnah while we reject the rulings of the Aimmah.

(12) The opinions of the Aimmah do not contradict the Hadith. It is our limited knowledge and total inability which make us believe that the opinions of the Aimmah conflict with certain Ahadith. There are valid and Shar’i explanations and interpretations for any apparent conflict. We in this day are not in position to fully understand all the different facets which had produced the opinions of the Aimmah. The reliable Ahadith are not rejected. They are accepted, but the relevant facts pertaining to the reliable Hadith in question are stated.

(13) Any difference which the Students of Imam Abu Hanifah had with him o­n issues of detail, e.g. raising the hands, etc., was not in conflict with the Usool. While they were of such standing that they could resort to such differences in view of the o­n-going process of Hadith transmission in their time, we in this time cannot act in the same way o­n the basis of our defective knowledge of Islamic sciences. We simply have to follow the rulings of the Jamhoor of the Math-hab.

(14) The incumbent duty of the Muqallid is not o­nly Taqleed, but Ittiba’. We have to make Ittiba’ of the Jamhoor of the Math-hab. If we don’t, we are bound to fall into deviation. The first step into the path of deviation is to abandon Ittiba’. o­nce shaitaan has made us accustomed to abandon Ittiba’, the ground will become fertile to reject Taqleed. The modernist Salafis have fallen into this Satanic trap.

(15) It is dangerous for the masses to seek answers from the Books of Fiqh in which appear Ikhtilaafaat (difference of opinion) and Dalaa-il. The masses o­n account of lacking totally in higher Islamic knowledge will become confused. They should adhere to books which teach the masaail for practical purposes.

(16) Without following a particular Math-hab, a person is bound to stray into deviation. He will follow his desires. It is, therefore, incumbent to follow a Specific math-hab.

(17) Picking and choosing rulings from the different Math-habs, is the product of desire. The nafs constrains a person to adopt such an exercise. No Math-hab permits this. However, when there is a real need for adopting a ruling of another Math-hab, the Ulama will study the circumstances and incorporate such a ruing into the Math-hab o­n the basis of the Usool of the Math-hab. Picking and choosing at random and desire is to trifle with the Deen. Such trifling can lead to the destruction of Imaan.

(18) An exercise to unify the Math-habs will imply the initiation of a fifth Math-hab. Since the rulings of the Math-habs are based o­n Dalaa-il and certain Dalaa-il are the product of interpretation, unification is not possible. There are and will always be differences among the Scholars who are Muqallids of the same Math-hab. Furthermore, such an attempt is uncalled for. Differences in the Math-hab never lead to disunity and conflict. Ignorance leads to disunity and conflict. We are taught to respect all the four Math-habs. Although we are followers of the Hanafi Math-habs, we always insist that followers of the other Math-habs adhere strictly to the ruling and teachings of their respective Math-habs. The belief of the followers of all Math-habs is that the Four Math-habs are o­n the Haqq because their basis is the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. While conceding that errors are possible and that errors in opinion have been committed, no Math-hab can be branded as baatil or in deviation. Rasulullah (sallall~hu alayhi wasallam) said:

“The differences of my Ummah are a blessing.”

Such differences existed among the Sahaabah also. These differences of the Sahaabah were inherited by the Students of the different Sahaabah, hence the differences in the Math-habs.

The Math-habs do not advocate sectarianism or antagonism among the followers of the different Math-habs as the deviant, anti-Math-hab Salafis of this age claim. We see such antagonism o­nly in the ranks of the ignorant o­nes. If the Shaafi performs Witr in his way and the Hanafi in his way, what is the need for antagonism? Some of our friends are Shaafi Ulama for whom we have great respect and love. There is absolutely no ill-feeling. No sectarianism. No antagonism. But, jahl (ignorance) is an evil disease.

This letter is a very brief answer to your queries.

Modernist Contention: “Following ‘Ulama in Their Shari’ Rulings Is Similar to Papacy”



Who should be considered as competent to interpret and explain the Qur’an and Sunnah (Prophetic traditions) and to deduce various injunctions for problems arising in new circumstances?? What are the conditions and requirements necessary for this job?? 

We find the answers to these questions in an authentic Tradition reported by Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) in which he said:

I said, “O Messenger of Allah ﷺ! If we are confronted with a problem which has not been described in the Qur’an and Prophetic traditions, with no injunctions in favor or against it, what am I to do in such a situation?”

He ﷺ said: “Take advice of the Fuqaha (jurists-Ulema of Fiqh) and Aabideen (faithful worshippers) and do not employ your individual opinion”.
[Al Mu`jam al-Awsat; Hadith 1641, Classed as Authentic (Hasan) by Abu Yahya noorpuri]

عن علي قال : قلت : يا رسول الله ، إن نزل بنا أمر ليس فيه بيان : أمر ولا نهي ، فما تأمرنا ؟ قال : تشاورون الفقهاء والعابدين ، ولا تمضوا فيه رأي خاصة

The Holy Prophet ﷺ has explicitly stated in this narration that two conditions must be fulfilled by a person who wants to deduce laws and injunctions from the Qur’an and Prophetic traditions. Firstly; he must be a jurist and secondly, he must be a devotee to worship.

The importance of the first condition is obvious because objectives of the Qur’an and traditions can be well conceived only by those who possess vast and deep knowledge, who are fully aware of the rules laid down by the earlier jurists and who have spent their lives in understanding the intentions of divine laws.

Similarly, the Prophet ﷺ has made it a condition for him to be a devotee and faithful, that is, he must have devoted himself to the practices of these laws. Anyone who can not make distinction between permissible and forbidden in practical life and whose every day practices are in contrast of these laws can not comprehend the intentions of Islam.

Deduction of the laws is, in fact, the “Search for the Truth”, and the Qur’an states that Allah bestows the faculty of cognizance of the truth to the one who confides in it in his practical life. It is said:

If you fear Allah He will give you the power of discrimination between truth and falsehood.   [Qur’an 8:29]

This verse has clearly stated that “Fear of Allah” is the primary  condition for a sense of discrimination between right and wrong. It is quite obvious from the above verse of the Qur’an and the Prophetic tradition that a religious and juristic solution can best be found by a person who is a “jurist” and a “devotee” (or “Muttaqi”, that is, the one who abstains from evil for fear of Allah).

Mufti Muhammad Shafi (rahimahullah), the former Grand Mufti of Pakistan and President, Darul-Ulum, Karachi had summarized the same thing in the following words:

“The method of solving the problems not mentioned in the Book and the traditions is the joint consultation of jurists and devoted scholars of Islam. Imposing the personal and individual opinion on the Muslims is forbidden.”

But for reasons unknown our modernists are allergic to this way of thinking. The traditional knowledge of the Qur’an and the Sunnah is not considered by them as an essential requirement for interpretation of and deductions from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, nor do they ‘think it necessary that such a person should necessarily’ be fearful of Allah and a devoted worshipper.

For some time they have been making loud suggestion to this effect.

“There should be no monopoly of religious scholars” on the  interpretation of Quran and the Sunnah. No papacy should be allowed in Islam. No particular group, therefore, can be given the right of legislations. “The interpretation of the Qur’an and the Tradition is the right of all Muslims and not of the religious scholars alone” — “Religious scholars cannot be given the power of veto in the affairs of Islam”, etc., etc.

These are the suggestions that are expressed in almost all the writings of the modernists. As far as the instructions of the Quran and the Traditions are concerned we have already submitted that the greatest emphasis has been laid down on the fundamental requirement of knowledge and devotion for interpreting thereligion; but it seems proper here to discuss real frets, that are the source of these misunderstandings.

Their first suggestion is: “There is no Brahmanism or Papacy in Islam; hence the religious scholars cannot be given the exclusive rights of legislations”.

Either they are totally ignorant of the real meaning of papacy and theocracy and the ills in them, or they are deliberately deceiving the simple people of the Ummah. Anyone having the slightest sense of justice and the truth can understand that “knowledge” and “fearfulness of Allah” (Taqwa) is not limited to any race, color, caste or creed which one cannot achieve through his efforts and resources. It is the name of “Eligibility and Qualification” of a specific objective which can be achieved by everyone at any time.

If setting some qualifications for certain responsibilities is papacy, no section of life can be said to be devoid of it. 

The educational standard and moral character needed for the presidentship and ministership of a country would also be termed as “papacy”. The condition of being an expert on legal affairs for a judge would also be another form of “papacy”. The attainment of a law degree for legal advisor or advocate should also be called papacy. The condition of having relevant academic degrees for teaching in a university, college or school should be removed. The limit of age, intellect and normal character fixed for qualifying as a candidate in elections, should all be cancelled as they are different forms of “papacy”. But it is not so. Then how can the condition of “Knowledge” and “Taqwa”, for interpreting the Qur’an and the Tradition, be termed as papacy?

Anyone having a little knowledge of the term “Papacy” and “Brahmanism” cannot overlook the differences between the  religious scholars of Islam and the Popes and Brahmans.

(1) “Pope” and “Brahmans” are practically the titles of a specified class of color, caste and creed. Anyone outside these jurisdictions cannot enter into their fold despite all eligibilities and efforts. That is why we find dacoits and robbers becoming “Popes” in the history of the Christian church. Contrary to this, Religious scholar of Islam (Ulama) is an attribute for which there is no restriction of caste and creed. In the fourteen hundred years of the history of Islam we find religious scholars in every color or creed, even the slaves have emerged as great scholars of Islamic learning and accepted as leaders of the Ummah. The cause of their dignified status had always remained their “Knowledge” and “Taqwa” rather than their parental background.

(2) The religion of which the Pope is claimed to be a spokesman is a religion which does not provide with guidance for the most important aspects of life. That is why the word of Pope has become the word of God, and no one else can defy this.

Thus he is no more an interpreter of law but a free and independent law-maker. Contrary to this, the injunctions of the Book (Qur’an) and the Sunnah (Prophetic traditions) are universal and the rules and regulations for their interpretation are prescribed and preserved in their original form. Any scholar saying anything against these rules and  regulations will be rejected by other scholars on the ground of these principles. A number of such scholars are always present to check such misinterpretations.

(3) The process of law-making and interpretation of religion in papacy ultimately ends on one man. He alone been regarded as the “Shepherd of the sheep of Messiah” and the deputy ofthe founder of the church. Contrary to this, “Religious scholar” of Islam is not the name of any person who is thehead of an organization, but anyone who has attained religious knowledge on true lines is a Religious scholar andan heir to the Holy Prophet. Hence no individual scholar has right to impose his personal views and whims on the entire Muslim Ummah.

In the presence of such an obvious difference between the roles of the Pope and of the Islamic scholars, any one applying the term Papacy to the services of the Ulama simply exhibits his loss of knowledge and common intellect.

The second demand of the modernists, is that “there can be no monopoly of the Ulema on the Book and Traditions. Therefore, the right of their interpretation cannot be reserved for religious scholars alone”.

Those under the charm of this propaganda are tirelessly repeating this slogan and do not stop for a while to think that thus they are making themselves similar to a person who had never seen a medical college but raises the objection as to why the treatment of diseases has been served for qualified doctors only or like a fool who criticizes by saying why the experts in law and jurisprudence – alone have the right of the interpretation of law and why not others are allowed to do so?

No sensible or conscientious person can ever think on these lines.

However, if one has such an imbecile approach he should know that, any one has the right to perform all these duties, but to gain proficiency and eligibility for this you will have to spend years and years of hard work and labor, seeking the guidance from experts for practical experience, obtain degrees and diplomas and other related experience, then, of course, you will be allowed to make interpretations.

The most sensitive and delicate work of interpreting the Qur’an and the Sunnah is said to require the same process how can it be termed as a monopoly. Does it not require any one to get educated for it? Why the Qur’an and the Sunnah alone are considered to be as pitiable as to be treated by any individual at his own will? How one can be given the right to interpret the Qur’an and the Sunnah while he has not spent even a few months in acquiring the relevant knowledge.

They express their anger against the religious scholars all day long as to why they alone should deserve the right to interpret the Qur’an and the Sunnah? But they never reflect on the amount of pain and labor they have undergone to acquire this right? How in the two hundred years of British rule in India they had remained the target of the British atrocities and aggression? With all the doors of livelihood closed on them by the British rule they preferred to live on meager resources and devoted themselves to acquire this knowledge against all odds. They are still doing it despite the harassment from these modernists. How they their eyes glowed in front of the dim light of oil lamps of clay? And how they attempted to shape their lives in the mould of religion?

If, after all that, the Holy Prophet ﷺ gives them the right to interpret the Qur’an and his Sunnah, and the Muslims place their trust in them why is this resented by them?

The eagerness of modernists for interpreting the Book and the Traditions is certainly commendable; but for this they should also undergo the physical and mental strain needed for it. They, too, should spend some part of their life in toiling on the roads to knowledge of the Qur’an and learn the manners of living on that ground. If after that any one refuses to recognize them as interpreter of the Qur’an and the Traditions, then their complaint against the scholars would be justified.

When any common Muslim really wants to understand the Qur’anic injunction or prophetic tradition would he seek the help of a modernist self-styled “scholar” or of those “Obscurantist” scholars whom the modernists blame to have robbed the people of their democratic right?? 

If the multitude of Muslims turn to these traditional scholars without any compulsion, pressure or legal restrictions, place their trust on them and their conscience gets satisfied with it where does the democratic right of people get hurt. 

Who have injured the beliefs of the Muslim Ummah with their interpolation, the Ulema or these modernists, is known to all.

The Prophet ﷺ said: 

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَقْبِضُ الْعِلْمَ انْتِزَاعًا يَنْتَزِعُهُ مِنَ النَّاسِ وَلَكِنْ يَقْبِضُ الْعِلْمَ بِقَبْضِ الْعُلَمَاءِ فَإِذَا لَمْ يُبْقِ عَالِمًا اتَّخَذَ النَّاسُ رُءُوسًا جُهَّالاً فَسُئِلُوا فَأَفْتَوْا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ فَضَلُّوا وَأَضَلُّوا ‏”

Allah will not cause extinction (or take away) of knowledge by taking it away from the servants, but He will cause extinction of knowledge by taking away the Ulama (learned ones). When no Aalim (learned man) remains, the people will then take the ignorant as their leaders. They will seek religious verdicts from them and they will deliver those verdicts without knowledge and the people will go astray and lead each other into error.” [Bukhari and Muslim, Sunan Ibn Maajah, Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 52]

The Biggest objection of the Modernists:

Their last and biggest objection is on the condition of “Taqwa” (Fear of Allah, Piety, and Abstinence from evil-doings).

According to them “Taqwa” like “knowledge” is not essential for interpreting the Qur’an. We do not understand what apprehension they have against it. 

According to them the complication in this regard is:

“The condition of “Taqwa” is a condition that, every scholar can reject the judgement of another scholar, because everyone has his own standard for Taqwa”.  

It should be thoroughly understood that ‘Taqwa’ is not an ambiguous and unsettled term which can be given any meaning by anyone according to his individual liking.

In Islam “Taqwa” is a legal Phrase and countless religious injunctions depend on it. Whenever it is used in a legal sense it would mean “practising the permissibles, abstaining from major sins and not insisting on minor sins.” In the phraseology of the Qur’an it is the opposite of “Fujoor” (Apparent Sins, Immorality).

The Qur’an says:

“Then inspired it (with conscience of) its wickedness and its piety.”

Hence anyone abstaining from “Fujoor” is a man of Taqwa, and therefore the people shall have no difficulty in deciding about the piety and devotion (Taqwa) of a person. With this in view, one can easily conceive that there can be no complexity or difficulty arising from imposing the condition of knowledge and Taqwa for interpretation, explication or exegesis of the Qur’an and Prophetic tradition.”

In the end we would again like to humbly request the modernists  that the use of Street slogans and propaganda weapons would  neither render any service to the Ummah nor can any problems be solved with them, nor would it leave any pleasant effect on any serious mind. In the hue and cry of their slogans at the most they can suppress the voice of truth for a short while. But that can only affect the ears, but not the hearts. A stage does come when the cries become hoarse and their throats get dry. It is then that the dignified voice of truth overcomes with full force, directly affects the hearts and stays permanently there.

Taqlid of Imam Bukhari (Rahimahullah)???

By Abu Usmah Ayyub Ibn Moulana Muhammad

Question: If a man claims to be following the Fiqh of Imam Bukhari, will he not be on the straight path?

Answer: Before we commence with the answer to this question, it should be known that the scholars have differed with regards to the Fiqh of many of the famous Muhadditheen, and more specifically with regards to Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim. Whilst some Shafi’ scholars list them amongst the Shafi’s, apparently they were Mujtahidin,  who performed Ijtihad within the framework of the madhahib of the Imams.

Moulana Sarfaraz, on Page 129 of ‘Al-Kalam al-Mufid’, quotes ‘Allamah ‘Al-Al-Subki as stating in Tabaqat Ash-Shafi’iyyah, Vol. 2 p. 83 about Imam Abu Dawud (rahimahullah): “Our Shaikh, Imam Dhahabi (rahimahullah) used to say: Imam Abu Dawud learnt Fiqh from Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, and remained with him for a period of time.” Moulana Sarfaraz also quotes with reference to its original sources, that Imam Ibnul Qayyim, ‘Allamah Isma’il Basha Baghdadi and Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah have mentioned that Imam Abu Dawud (rahimahullah) was a Hanbali.  

This kind of Ijtihad is Ijtihad of the second category.

Degrees and Categories of the Fuqaha
The scholars have differed in as far as categorizing the Fuqaha. The following is an example: `Allamah Shamsuddin Mujammar Ibn Sulaiman, better known as Ibn Kamal Basha writes in one of his booklets:  

It is essential for a Mufti who is a Muqallid (i.e. not a Mujtahid) to know the condition of the one whose opinion he uses to pass judgement. We do not mean that he should know his name, lineage and where he comes from, as that is of no avail to him. Rather, we mean his calibre of knowledge in “Riwayah” (i.e. Hadith, etc.),  his status in “Dirayah” (i.e. expertise in Fiqh), and his category amongst the Fuqaha, so that he (i.e. the Muqallid) may have enough insight into distinguishing between the various scholars who may differ, and he may also have sufficient ability to recognize the preponderant view (i.e. the one declared stronger in proof by the Fuqaha) amongst two conflicting views. We therefore state: 

“Verily the Fuqaha are divided into seven categories (in the following order):  

1) The category of the Mujtahidin – i.e. those who perform Ijtihad in the Shari`ah, such as the four Imams in Fiqh, and those who treaded their path in building the fundamental principles for extracting subsidiary laws from the four main sources (of  viz. the Qur’n, , Ijma` and Qiyas). They do not make Taqlid of anyone, neither in subsidiary laws, nor in principles. 

2) The category of those who perform Ijtihad within the madhhab (of a Mujtahid), such as Abu Yusuf and Muhammad (rahimahullah) the two students of Imam Abu Hanifah. They had the ability to extract laws from the basic sources (of Shar`ah) in accordance with the principles laid down by their teacher (Imam Abu Hanifah). They differed with him in subsidiary laws, but made Taqlid of him in the fundamental principles. 

3) The category of those who perform Ijtihad in laws regarding which there exists no narration (statement) from the authority of the madh-hab, such as Al-Khassaf (d. 261 A.H.), Abu Ja’far at-Tahawi (d. 321 A.H.), Abul Hasan Al-Karkhi (d. 340 A.H.), Shamsuddin Al-Hulwani (d. 456 A.H.), Shamsul A-immah As-Sarakhsi (d.  500 A.H.), Fakhrul Islam Al-Bazdawi (d. 482 A.H.), Fakhrul Islam Qadi Khan (d. 593 A.H.) and others who do not have the capacity to differ with the Imam, not as far as principles, and nor as far as subsidiary laws. However, they extract laws regarding which there is no narration from him, in accordance with the principles that he (the Imam) had laid, and fundamentals that he had expounded. 

4) The category of the ‘Abut-Takhrij’ from amongst the Muqallidin, such as Imam Ar-Razi Al-Jassas (d. 370 A.H) and his like. They do not have the ability to perform Ijtihad at all. They however, possess extensive knowledge about the principles, and have accurately mastered the sources. Thus they have the power to elaborate/specify the meanings of such ambiguous statements and laws, narrated from the authority of the madh-hab or one of his disciples, that may be understood in two different ways or may have two differing possible meanings …  

5) The category of the ‘Ashabut-Tarjih’ of the Muqallidin, such as Abul Hasan Al-Quduri (d. 428 A.H), the author of ‘Al-Hidayah’ (d. 593 A.H) and their like. Their task is to preponderate one opinion (within the madh-hab) over others by (the following examples of categorical) statements like: this (view) is preferred, this one is more correct as far as narration, this is clearer, this is more analogical, this is easier for the people, etc.

6)  The category of those  Muqallidin who have the ability to  differentiate between the  stronger, the strong, the weak,  the Zahir-ur-riwayah,  the Zahirul-Madh-hab, and the rare  narrations; such as the authors of the authorized texts (of Fiqh)  such as: ‘Kanz’,  ‘Al-Mukhtar’,  ‘Al-Wiqayah’,  ‘Al-Majma`’,  etc. Their task is to abstain from quoting rejected opinions and weak  narrations in their books.

7)  The category of those  Muqallidin who do not possess the ability of any of the above-mentioned. They cannot distinguish the  incorrect from the correct, neither the left from the right. They only gather facts that they come across. They are similar to the person gathering wood during the (darkness of the) night,  (as he cannot see what he  picks up,  whether it is a stick or a snake). Woe unto those who follow them.”

Note: Studying the above  categories brings to light that the madhahib were not the work of mere individuals, but the joint effort of numerous experts in their respective fields of expertise. This is precisely what preserved these madhahib.

Some contend that they may have even been qualified to be of the first category of Ijtihad like that of the four Imams.  

`Allamah Yusuf Al-Binnori says: “I said in the past, and say again: “These illustrious Imams, the compilers of the “Sihah” (Books of authentic Ahadtih), such as the Imams: Bukhari, Muslim and others had specific inclinations within the intricacies of Fiqh, Ijtihad and other complex masa’il, either on the basis of Fiqh and Ijtihad or because of following their respective Imams. In this way they selected one view in issues wherein the Fuqaha differed. Thereafter, when they compiled (their respective books of Hadith), they gathered in it whatever conformed to their own madhahib of Fiqh; whereby (the effect of) their Fiqh extended to Hadith; and they omitted the rest that did not conform to their practice. (This applies to all the compilers) except those who took upon themselves the task of presenting the Ahadith that conformed to the practices of both views, such as Imam Tirmidhi in most instances, Ibn Abi Shaibah and Imam `Abdur-razzaq in their Musannafs, Imam Ahmad in his Musnad, and others…””  [Ma’arif al-Sunan]

Thus, the selection of Ahadith generally made by a Muhaddith in chapters pertaining to the laws of (which are minimal in comparison to the major part of their books), were those that conformed to his madh-hab of Fiqh. Therefore, it will be correct to say that the Ahadith mentioned in his book conformed to his practice, while it will be equally incorrect to say that these Ahadith – as presented by the Muhaddith without any further details – constitute the basis of his practice.  

After having insight into the above, we return to the question under discussion, the gist of which is: Can I make Taqlid of Imam Bukhari (or any of the illustrious compilers of the books of Hadith)? (We discuss this question under the assumption that they were Mujtahidin of the first degree).

The answer is in the negative for the following reasons:  

Firstly, amongst the conditions for making of a particular Imam, is that: 
a) his entire madh-hab must have been compiled and available, 
b) his principles of extracting laws from the original sources of  (Usul-al-Fiqh) must also be available, 
c) he should have left behind someone, who had studied “Fiqh” at his hands and understood his complete concept of extracting Masaa-il from the sources, etc.  

None of the above-mentioned conditions are found with these illustrious scholars of Hadith. How would it ever be possible for any one of these conditions to be found when these illustrious Muhaddith specialized and spent their entire lives in the field of “protecting the Hadtih (i.e. the words thereof) of our beloved Rasulullah ﷺ ” (known as the science of hadith), and not in the field of extracting masaa-il (laws) there-from (known as the science of Fiqh). They were known by their students and by all the scholars that followed, as Muhaddithins and not as Fuqaha.

Difference Between a Muhaddith and a Faqih
A Muhaddith is one whose life is devoted to preserving the sacred Hadith of Rasulullah. For this, he exerts himself in gathering the Ahadth – whether by memory as in the case of the Mutaqaddimin (i.e. early scholars), or by script as in the case of the latter scholars. He also gathers their chains of narration, and is meticulous about every vowel, letter, and dot in the words of the Hadith. He also studies and scrutinizes the chains of narration and the life-story of each narrator. Basically, he engages himself in the study of the various sciences relating to the preservation and recording of the Noble Ahadith of Raslullah. Each one of the above sciences is an independent field of study. Some of them may further be subdivided into numerous other branches. The Muhaddith should have a basic understanding of the principles relating to all of the above sciences as well as a comprehensive grasp of the field he specializes in. The Muhaddith have thus been categorized into numerous groups, with some having super-specialized in one or two branches of the field of Hadith. 

A Faqih (jurist) on the other hand is one whose life is devoted to understanding the purport of the sacred words of Rasulullah ﷺ, and acquiring proficiency in it. In order to achieve this, he should possess a basic understanding of the various sciences of Hadith as well. He also gathers Ahadtih and extracts common meanings from them. He has the ability to explain the apparent contradictions that are found in the Ahadith and untie their knots. He has a deep understanding of the Qur’an and is well-versed in the various sciences of the Arabic language as well. He also possesses knowledge of the statements of the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum), and has a comprehensive understanding of the principles of analogy. 

The Muhaddith were always in larger numbers than the Fuqaha. And those who managed to excel in both were even less. Shaikh `Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah (rahimahullah)  writes: “And those who gathered between “Riwayah” (i.e. the science of Hadith) and “Dirayah” (i.e. the science of Fiqh) were very few. Hafiz Ar- Ramahurmuzi narrates in his book ‘Al-Muhaddithul Fasilu Bainar-Rawi wal Wa’i on page 60, from Anas Ibn Sirin (rahimahullahl  who stated: “I came to Kufah and saw four thousand people seeking Hadith, and four hundred who were studying Fiqh.”   

This is because of the complexity of Fiqh which is based on (vast) knowledge and deep understanding of the book of Allah, the Sunnah and the statements of Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum), etc. It also requires one to have the capacity to gather the various proofs, and preponderate between them; and to possess a deep insight into the different purports within the Arabic language as regards “Balghah”, “Majaz”, “Haqiqah” “Kinayah”, etc.  

There is no doubt about the ease in mere narrating for that person whose mind is focused on memorizing, absorbing and narrating only. It is for this reason that more people devoted themselves to specializing in “Riwayah.”  Whilst the Mujtahid is one who has comprehensive knowledge of both the above fields and others as well, the term Fuqaha is also utilized with reference to the Mujtahidin.

A few examples are given hereunder, to elucidate the difference between a Muhaddith and a Faqih: 

1) Muhammad Ibn `Abdullah Ibnul-Hakam was asked. Who is a Faqih? He replied. “The person who extracts one principle from the Qur’an or Sunnah in which he was not preceded by anyone, then divides that principle into one hundred branches.”  The person asked. Who is it that has such power? In reply he said: “Muhammad bin Idris Ash-Shafi’i” (this was the name of Imam Shafi’i rahimahullah). 

2) At times, Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) would be asked about a mas’alah (ruling) whilst in the presence of his teacher, Imam A`mash (rahimahullah) – the famous and renowned Tabi’i (one who learnt from Sahabah) and scholar of Hadith and Qira’at – in the following manner: “What do you state about the following …”. He would give a reply according to his deductions concerning the mas’alah (ruling). Imam A`mash would then enquire from him the substantiation for his answer. The following is an example of how he used to reply: “You narrated to us from Abu Salih who narrated from Abu Hurairah, and from Abu Wa’il who narrated from `Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud from Abu Iyas from Abu Mas’ud Al-Ansari that Rasulullah ﷺ said:

He who indicates towards a good deed, shall receive the like reward as the one who carried it out. 

and you narrated to us from Abu Salih from Abu Hurairah that a man said to Raslullah: O Rasul of Allah! I was performing Salah in my home when a man came to me, so I felt pleasure in that. Raslullah ﷺ replied to him:

For you are two rewards, the reward of secrecy, and the reward of publicity… 

And you narrated to us from Hakam from Abul Hakam, from  Hudhaifah from Raslullah ﷺ …; and you narrated to us from Abuz-Zubair from Jabir from Rasulullah; and you narrated Yazid ar-Raqqashi from Anas  from Raslullah ﷺ…”. 

Imam A`mash  would then exclaim: “Enough! You wish to narrate to me in one moment what I narrated to you in 100 days. I was not aware that you have practical application to all these Ahadith. O Fuqaha! You are the physicians and we (the Muhaddithin) are the dispensers. And you, O man (speaking to Imam Abu Hanifah) have gathered both sides. 

3) Muhammad Ibn Samm`ah  narrates; ‘Isa Ibn Aban (a famous Muhaddith and well-known  scholar) used to perform Salah with us (in the masjid where Imam Muhammad Ibnul Hasan rahimahullah  – the student of Imam Abu Hanifa and the third highest authority of the Hanafi madh-hab – used to perform Salah and thereafter have discussions on  Fiqh).  I used to invite him to come to Muhammad Ibnul Hasan rahimahullah (to learn from him). He would say in reply: “These are people who contradict Hadith.” ‘Isa (rahimahullah) was a scholar who had memorized a substantial amount of Hadith. 

“One morning he performed Fajr Salah with us, and it happened to be the very same day Imam Muhammad (rahimahullah) was going to conduct his discourse. I did not allow him to leave until he (also) sat in the gathering. At the close (of the discussion), I took him to Imam Muhammad (rahimahullah)  and said: “This is the son of your brother (in Islam) Aban Ibn Sadaqah, the scribe. He is brilliant, and has the knowledge of Hadith. I invited him to you but he refused saying that we contradict Hadith.” Imam Muhammad addressed him and said: “O my son! What do you see us contradicting in Hadith? Do not bear witness against us until you hear from us”. So Imam ‘Isa (rahimahullah) asked him questions relating to twenty-five chapters of Hadith, and in each chapter, Imam Mummad  answered (narrating to him the Ahadith of these subjects) and would inform him of all those Ahadith that have been abrogated, with proof and evidence.   

Ibn Aban turned to me and said: “There was a barrier between myself and (divine light), which has now been lifted! I was not aware that there existed a man in Allah’s kingdom like this, who He has disclosed for the people.”   ‘Isa (rahimahullah) then accompanied Imam Muhammad  and did not separate from him, until he became a faqih by him.” 

The above examples draw a vivid picture of the difference between a Faqih and a Muhaddith. A Muaddith preserves the Ahadith of Rasulullah, and a Faqih extracts the Deen of Allah Ta`ala from them. Thus, in practice, the Faqih ought to be followed. It is for this reason that Sufyan Ibn `Uyaynah (rahimahullah), an illustrious scholar of Hadith, used to say:

“Submitting to the Fuqaha is safety in Deen”

Imam `Ali Ibn Al-Ja`d relates about the famous Muhaddith among the Tabi’in, Zuhair Ibn Mu`wiyah that a man came to him (to learn). He asked him: “Where do you come from (i.e. where have you been learning previously)?” The man replied: “…from Abu Hanifa.” Imam Zuhair remarked: “Your going to Abu Hanifa for one day is more beneficial for you than staying with me for one month.” 

It has also been narrated about `Abdullah Ibn Wahb (rahimahullah), one of the most eminent students of Imam Malik  and an outstanding scholar of , that he said: “I met (i.e. studied under) three hundred and sixty `Ulama’. Had it not been for Imam Malik and Imam Laith Ibn Sa`d, I would have gone astray in knowledge.”  

He is also reported to have stated: “Every student of Hadith who does not have an Imam (guide/leader) in Fiqh is astray. Had it not been for Imam Malik and Laith, we would have been astray.”  

He once said: In `Ilm, we followed four: two in Egypt and two in Madinah: Laith Ibn Sa`d and `Amr Ibn Al-Harith in Egypt, and Malik and Al-Majishun in Madinah. Had it not been for them, we would have been astray.”

It is probably for this reason that  Ibn `Abdil Barr  (d: 423 A.H.) wrote: “As for studying Hadith in the manner that students of today study it, without obtaining some knowledge of Fiqh and contemplating its meanings (properly), this is Makruh according to a group of the `Ulama.’”

Secondly, only a fraction of the Ahadith mentioned in their books pertain to “Ahkam” (laws). Most of them relate to other subjects that are generally dealt with in the books of Hadith (such as history, the signs of Qiyamah, the lifestyle and noble conduct of Rasulullah, virtues of various deeds, warnings and punishments for bad deeds, etc). If we compare this to the innumerable laws that were extracted by the Fuqaha, it becomes clear that each fraternity served the cause of `Ilm in their respective fields of expertise, and each of them is an authority within his own field only.  

Finally, Shaikh Muhammad ‘Awwamah states: “Thus to make  and to follow them (the scholars of Hadith) in their Fiqh is not preferred to the Taqlid of the Fuqaha: Abu Hanifah, Malik, Ash-Shafi and Ahmad. Instead the Taqlid of these (scholars of Fiqh) is preferred to the Taqlid of those (Muhaddithin). The statement of Imam Tirmidhi, a great Muhaddith himself and the compiler of one of the canonical collections, who said:

The Fuqaha are more knowledgeable about the meanings of Hadith.

“This is a clear matter in which there lies no obscurity.” It thus becomes clear that the claim of following the Fiqh of Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) is based on ignorance.

[Taken from the book Who are the Blind Followers?]