by Huseyn Hilmi Isik of Turkey (Extract from: The Sunni Path)
THE Ahl as-Sunna ‘ulama’ differed slightly from one another in understanding some pieces of knowledge pertaining to ‘Ibadat. Hence various madhhabs arose. Each sahabi had a madhhab, too. Only four of all madhhabs are known today. Others were forgotten before being committed to books. The I’tiqad or Iman of these four real and correct madhhabs are the same. There is no difference among them. All of them are of the Ahl as-Sunna I’tiqad. Those who do not believe the Ahl as-Sunna I’tiqad are called the “non-madhhabite”. They call themselves “members of the fifth madhhab”. They lie; there is not anything called the “fifth madhhab”.
Today there is no way other than learning the knowledge pertaining to ibadat from the books of one of these four madhhabs. Everyone chooses the madhhab that is easy for him to follow. He reads its books and learns it. He does everything compatibly with it and becomes a member of it. Because it is easy for a person to learn what he hears and sees from his parents, a Moslem usually belongs to the madhhab of his parents. The madhhabs’ being not one but four is a facility for Moslems. It is permissible to leave one madhhab and join another, yet it will take years to study and learn the new one, and the work done to learn the former one will be of no help and may even cause confusion. It is by no means permissible to leave one madhhab because one dislikes it, for Islamic scholars said that it will be kufr to dislike the Salaf as-salihin or to say that they were ignorant.
Recently some people like Maudoodi of Pakistan and Sayyid Qutb of Egypt have appeared, who say that the four madhhabs should be united and that Islam should be made easily practicable by selecting and gathering- the rukhsas of the four madhhabs. They defend this idea with their short minds and deficient knowledge. A glance over their books will show at once the fact that they know nothing about tafsir, hadith, usul (‘ilm al-fiqh and ‘ilm al-kalam) and fiqh and that they reveal their ignorance through their unsound logic and false writings; because:
1. The ‘ulama’ of the four madhhabs say, “The mulfiq’s decisions are incorrect,” that is, an ‘ibada performed by following more than one madhhab at the same time will not be sahih when this performance is not sahih in one of these madhhabs. A person who does not obey this unanimity of the ‘ulama’ of the four madhhabs will not be in any madhhab. Deeds of such a non-madhhabite person will not be compatible with the Sharia. They will be false. He will have made game of Islam.
2. Uniting the madhhabs will be confining Moslems to a single way and making the ‘Ibadat more difficult. Allah and His Prophet would have declared everything clearly if they wished it so and everything would be done by following only that one way. But, pitying human creatures, Allah and His Messenger did not declare everything clearly. Various madhhabs came out as a result of different interpretations of the Ahl-as-Sunna ‘ulama’. When a person encounters a difficulty, he chooses the easy way in his own madhhab. In case of a greater difficulty, he follows another madhhab and does that action easily. There will be no such facility in the case of a single madhhab. The non-madhhabite people who think that they are collecting the rukhsas to establish a single system of easy ways are, in actual fact, raising difficulties for Moslems, probably unaware of what they are doing.
3. An attempt to do one part of an lbada according to one madhhab and another part to another madhhab will mean to disrespect the knowledge of the imam of the former madhhab. As it is already written above, it will be kufr to say that the Salaf as-salihin were ignorant.
History has witnessed many people who wanted to make changes in lbadat and who insulted the Ahl as-Sunna ‘ulama’. It is obvious that the people who say it is necessary to select the rukhsas of the four madhhabs and to abolish the four madhhabs cannot even correctly read and understand one page of the a’immat al-madhahib’s books. To understand the madhhabs and the superiority of the a’imma, it is necessary to be deeply learned. The one who is, profoundly learned will not lead people to ruin by opening an ignorant, stupid path. Those who believed in the ignorant, deviated people, who have appeared in the course of history, have rolled down into great loss. Those who followed the Ahl as-Sunna ‘ulama’ who have come in every century for thirteen hundred years and who have been praised in the Hadith have attained happiness. We, too, should hold fast to the right path of our ancestors, of those pious, pure Moslems, of those martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of Allah and for the spread of Islam. And we should not believe the poisonous, harmful articles of upstart reformers!
Unfortunately, the poisonous ideas of `Abduh, chief of the Cairo Masonic Lodge, have recently spread in Jami’ al-Azhar in Egypt, thus in Egypt there have appeared the religion reformers such as Rashid Rida, Mustafa al-Marfighi, rector of the Jami’ al-Azhar, ‘Abd al-Majid as-Salim, mufti of Cairo, Mahmtid ash-Shaltut, Tantawi al-Jawhari, ‘Abd ar-Raziq Pasha, Zaki al-Mubarak, Farid al-Wajdi, ‘Abbas ‘Aqqad, Ahmad Amin, Doctor Taha Husain Pasha and Qasim Amin; more unfortunately, as done to their master ‘Abduh, these were regarded as “modern Moslem scholars” and their books were translated into many languages. They caused many religious men to slip out of the right path.
Great Moslem scholar Sayyid ‘Abdul hakim-i Arwasi, the mujaddid of the fourteenth century of the Hegira, said: “‘Abduh, Mufti of Cairo, could not understand the greatness of the ‘ulama’ of Islam but sold himself to the enemies of Islam and at last became a freemason, one of the ferocious disbelievers who have been demolishing Islam insidiously.”
Those who rolled down into disbelief or deviation like ‘Abduh sort of competed with one another in leading astray also those young religious men who succeeded them. They pioneered those disasters which were prophesied in the hadith,
“Ruination of my umma will come through fajir (deviated) men of religious authority.”
‘Abduh’s novices who were trained in Egypt did not stay idle; they published numerous harmful books which caused the manifestation of Divine Curse and Wrath. One of them is the book Muhawarat by Rashid Rida. In this book, like his master, he attacked the four madhhabs of the Ahl as-Sunna and, thinking of the madhhabs as idealistic differences and misrepresenting the methods and conditions of ijtihad as reactionary controversies, went so far into deviation as to say that they had broken Islamic unity. He sort of made fun of millions of true Moslems who have been following one of the four madhhabs for a thousand years. He walked away from Islam as far as to search for meeting the contemporary needs in changing Islam. It is common among religion reformers that each of them introduces himself as an Islamic scholar of extensive culture who has comprehended real Islam and modern needs, while saying “imitators -who think vulgarly” about those real, pious Moslems who have read and understood Islamic books and who have been walking in the footsteps of the Ahl as-Sunna ‘ulama’ who were given the good news that they were Rasiilullah’s inheritors and who were praised in the hadith.
“Their time is the best of times.”
The reformers’ speeches and articles show clearly that they know nothing of the rules of the Sharia and of the teachings of fiqh, that is, they are devoid of religious knowledge and that they are vulgarly ignorant. In the hadiths,
“The highest human beings are the scholars who have Iman,”
“The ‘ulama’ of the religion are the prophets’ inheritors,”
“The Aalim’s sleep is worship,”
“Revere the ‘ulama’ of my umma! They are the stars on the earth,”
“The ‘ulama’ will intercede on the Day of Judgement,”
“The fuqaha are estimable. It is ‘ibada to be in company of them.”
“An ‘alim among his disciples is like a prophet among his umma,”
does our Prophet praise the Ahl as-Sunna ‘ulama’ of thirteen hundred years or ‘Abduh and his novices of the last hundred years? The question is answered by our master Rasulullah, again:
“Each century will be worse than the century previous to it. Thus they will go on worsening till Doomsday!” and
“As Doomsday draws near men of religious post will be more rotten, more putrid than putrefied donkey flesh.”
These hadiths are written in Mukhtasaru Tadhkirat al-Qurtubi. All Islamic scholars and thousands of awliya’ whom Rasulullah praised and lauded, unanimously say that the path which has been given the good news of being saved from Hell is the path of those ‘ulama’ who are called Ahl as–Sunnat wa‘I–Jama’a, and that those who are not Ahl as-Sunna will go to Hell. They also say unanimously that talfiq (unification), that is, selecting and gathering the rukhsas of the four madhhabs and making up a single false madhhab, is wrong and absurd.
Will a reasonable person follow the Ahl as-Sunna path, which has been praised unanimously by the ‘ulama’ of Islam who have come during the period of a millennium or will he believe the so-called “culture, progressive” people who are ignorant of Islam and who have sprung up during the last hundred years?
The outstanding talkative ones of the seventy-two heretical groups, about whom it was told in the Hadith that they will go to Hell, have always attacked the Ahl as-Sunna ‘ulama’ and attempted to blemish these blessed Moslems, yet they have disgraced with answers documented with ayats and hadiths. Seeing that they are unsuccessful through knowledge against the Ahl as-Sunnah, they have begun brigandage and violence and caused bloodshed of thousands of Moslems in every century. But the four madhhabs of the Ahl as-Sunna have always loved one another and lived brotherly. Rasulullah declared,
“Disagreement (on the ‘amal, practices) among my umma is (Allah’s)compassion.”
But such religion reformers as Rashid Rida, who was born in 1282 A.H. (1865) and died suddenly in Cairo in 1354 (1935), said that they would establish Islamic unity by uniting the four madhhabs.
Whereas, our Prophet commanded all Moslems over the world to unite in one single iman path, in the right path of his four caliphs. By working together, the ‘ulama’ of Islam searched and studied the iman path of the four caliphs and transferred it into books. They named this path, which our Prophet had showed, Ahl as–Sunnat wal –Jama‘a. Moslems all over the world have to unite in this single path of Ahl as–Sunna. Those who wish for unity in Islam, if they are sincere in their words, should join this union. But unfortunately, freemasons and zindiqs, who have been trying to demolish Islam insidiously, have always deceived Moslems with such false words as ‘unity’ and, under the mask of their slogan, “We shall bring cooperation,” have broken the “unity of iman” into pieces.