Category Archives: Taqlid

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.

THE QUR’AN AND SUNNAH REACH US BY TRANSMISSION

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”

ARE ULAMA (SCHOLARS) OF ISLAM SIMILAR TO PAPACY??

WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO INTERPRET THE SHARIAH IN ISLAM??

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?]

The Compulsory Nature Of Taqleed Shakhsi

[By Maulana Muhammad Maseehullah Khan Sherwani (rahmatullah alayh)]

There are two classes of Wujub (compulsory nature), viz,

(I) Wujub biz-zát

(ii) Wujub bil-ghair

Commission and omission of acts emphasised by the Qur’án and Hadith are classified in the first category of Wujub, viz.Wujub biz-zát which means compulsory in itself. The very nature of the commission or omission brings about the compulsion. Salát,. Saum, etc. are of this kind.

Then there are such acts which by themselves are not commanded practices. However, these acts constitute the basis for practices commanded in the Qur’án and Hadith. Normally it is not possible to execute the commanded practices without their basis which is termed Mauquf alayhi. Such acts constituting the essential basis for commanded practices are of the second class of Wujub, viz. Wujub bil-ghair which means compulsory by virtue of an external factor. The compulsion is established for the sake, and preservation of practices categorically commanded (Umur Mansus). The universally accepted principle, viz., the basis of a Wajib is Wajib, governs the compulsory nature of Taqleed Shakhsi. Such an example is the writing of the Qur’án and Hadith. Reducing the Qur’án and Hadith to writing has been negated in the Hadith. In this regard appears the following Hadith:

lbn Umar narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“We are a nation which neither writes nor calculates.” [Mishkát-Mut-tafaq alayh]

In this hadith writing has been unconditionally negated by way of implication. However, it has been found necessary to reduce the Qurán and Hadith to writing in order to preserve their authenticity and prevent them from destruction. Hence, such writing is not considered as conflicting with the hadith. No one has questioned the Wujub of such writing nor has anyone demanded daleel (proof) for this Wujub. The preservation of the Qur’án and Hadithis an act categorically commanded and emphasised. Experience shows that such preservation is not a normal possibility without reducing the Qur’an and Hadith to writing. For this reason has the writing of the Qur’an and Hadith been decreed Wajib. Consensus of the entire Ummat on this need has been reported down the ages in an unbroken chain of transmission. Such a need is classified as Wujub bil-ghair. In exactly the same way is Taqleed Shakhsi decreed essential and Wájib, falling within the classification of Wujubbil-ghair.

In view of this explanation the need does not arise for the presentation of Sareeh Nass (clear and categoric Qur’anic verses and Ahádith) in substantiation of the compulsion of Taqleed Shakhsi. For this purpose Dalálatun Nass (Indication of Nass) is ample evidence — a fact which is not hidden from men of knowledge. In our age, in view of the dominant condition of people, it is indisputable that without Taqleed Shakhsi protection and Preservation of Mansus Alayh affairs (clear and categoric commands of the Shariat) are not possible. Taqleed Shakhsi is therefore both essential and compulsory.

The 4 Paths of Guidance

Translation of the Introduction to “Radiant Benefits of the Biographies of the Hanafis” (Fawaid Bahiyya fi Tarajim Hanafiyyah) by Imam ‘Abdul Hayy Lucknowi (rahmatullah alayh).

Know that the essence of our Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is like the source of fountain springs from which rivers of knowledge flow. The first of those who channelled and set in motion this knowledge were the rightly guided Companions, in particular the caliphs. In knowledge, they are all like the stars; if you were to follow any one of them you will be guided. They are the true inheritors of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), and his representatives in spreading the religion. From them, the knowledge then flowed to those who benefited from them, and then to their followers. Amongst them, according to the most correct and established position, are our greatest Imam and the foremost of those who are followed, Abu Hanifa, N’uman ibn Thabit. This knowledge then passed to their followers, and then to their successors who include in their ranks mujtahid Imams. From them, it passed on to their followers, amongst whom were Fuqaha and Muhaddithun. This system will remain until the Day of Judgement. Every one of them endeavoured their utmost to spread knowledge and to pass it on to intellectual masters, through reminders, writings, orally and by facilitating understanding. May Allah shower His vast mercy upon them and shade them with clouds of His perfect favours. Had it not been for them, we would never have been guided and would have remained upon what we were upon.

Know that the affair is not, as is imagined by corrupt, ignorant people with dull minds, that the differences between the Companions and mujtahidun of this Community has complicated matters and made the task more difficult. The truth is that these differences are a mercy for this Community, having made the religion easy and removed any difficulty from it. Equally, it should not be imagined that if everything had sprung from the source of one river, the matter would have been easier than it is, having sprung from a variety of sources. These various schools of the Imams and mujtahidun of this Community all connect back to the rivers of the Companions. These, in turn, are connected to the source; the recipient of the Divine message, (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Thus, every one of the schools is on guidance and whoever follows anyone of them is guided. However, whomsoever imagines that only one of them is on guidance, whilst the remainder are misguided, has fallen into the pit of misguidance.

Know that many mujtahidun, with groups of scholars following them, have appeared in this Community. Every one of them spent their time channelling the rivers of Sacred Law and expended their efforts in determining the upright path. In fact, no century has passed without the appearance of reformers mujaddidun, with their followers, nor does an age pass by without the appearance of a group of mujtahidun across the lands, even if they themselves may seem to be mere followers. This process is from the complete favour of Allah to his slaves, which requires constant gratitude towards Him. By them, we are guided, provided with sustenance, blessed with rain and remain on the straight path. However, from all of these, only four schools have become universally accepted with their understanding having been archived, their methods having been identified and their proofs having been clarified. With the passage of time they have received acceptance from intellectual masters across the lands. They are Abu Hanifa, Malik, Ahmad and Shafi’i. The first of these was the first. The second was his contemporary. It is said that the first related a little from the second. It is also said that, in fact, the second was a student of the first. The third was a student of the fourth. The fourth was a student of the second and some of the students of the first. Amongst the remaining mujtahidun, who either preceded or came after the aforementioned four, some never had any followers and thus complete benefit was never gained from them. Others did have groups of followers and their schools spread through their documented books. However, after a short period of time these schools disappeared, and no narrations remained from them.

As a consequence, some have said that there is no accepted path except for these four paths. However, this claim is disputed. Most people, then, began to follow these four schools, with very few taking from any other way. The school of Ahmad spread in areas within Baghdad. However, in other places its spread was less than the other schools. The school of Malik spread throughout North Africa and parts of Hijaz. The school of Shafi’i spread through most of Hijaz, Yemen, parts of India and the border regions of Bengal, parts of the border regions of Khurasan and Turan. The school of Abu Hanifa spread to distant lands and many cities. These include areas of Baghdad, Egypt, Eastern Europe, Balkh, Bukhara, Samarqand, Isfahan, Shiraz, Azerbaijan, Jurjan, Zinjan, Tus, Bistam, Istiribad, Marghaynan, Farghana, Damghan, Khawarizm, Ghazna, Karman, most of India, Sindh and Bengal, parts of Yemen and other areas. Each one of them spread the knowledge of their Imam through dictating, teaching and writing.

This system will remain until the appearance of the mujtahid mutlaq, the last of the true scholars, the rightly guided one, Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah, the Mahdi. ‘Isa, peace and blessings be upon our Prophet and upon him, will also descend, and from that point on, following the schools will no longer remain valid. Their rules will be based on taking from the Qur’an, Sunnah and by extracting from the Prophetic example based on the correct opinion. This has been stated by leading scholars in their notes and books such as ibn Hajar ‘Asqalani, Jalal Suyuti, Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Rasul Barzanji, ‘Ali Qari and Shaykh Muhyiddin ibn ‘Arabi. As for the statement of some ignorant bigots that ‘Isa and the Mahdi will follow Abu Hanifa and will not, in any way, oppose his school: it is absurd, as has been stated by legal and spiritual masters. In fact, it is undoubtedly an attempt at guessing the unknown.

Know that the followers of the four Imams have become known by their being affiliated to these great Imams, from whence we have the titles Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki and Hanbali. This allows for each one to be clearly identified and known from the other. The reality is that each one of these schools is from the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, because, each one, by treading the path of their Imam is treading the Prophetic path, and drinking from that greatest of all sources. Whoever disdains affiliation to any one of these agreed upon schools, and regards them as being in opposition to Sacred Law, acts rashly and wanders blindly. Such a person is ignorant and will spread ignorance, is astray and will lead others astray.

Notes:

1. The mujtahid is a scholar qualified to issue expert legal opinion.

2. Fuqaha is the plural of faqih. Faqih is a scholar of Islamic law.

3. Muhaddithun is the plural of muhaddith. Muhaddith is a scholar whose expertise is in the Prophetic traditions.

4. Mujtahidun is the plural of mujtahid, the definition of which has preceded.

5. Mujaddidun is the plural of mujaddid who is the one who returns people back to the Prophetic way.

6. Mujtahid mutlaq is the absolute mujtahid who is not restricted in any way in law.