Tag Archives: Hanafi

Prophetic sayings about the Imams of the Madh-habs

Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh)

The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) also said, according to an authentic narration “If the  Religion were at the Pleiades (in  Persia), even then a person (muslim) from Persia would have  taken hold of it, or one amongst  Persian descent would surely  have found it” [al-Ajluni, Kashfu’l-Khafa

Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu)  narrated: “We were sitting in the  company of Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  when Surat al-Jumu’ah was  revealed to him and when he  recited (it) amongst them, (those  who were sitting with the  prophet) said “Allah’s Messenger?” but Allah’s Apostle  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) made  no reply, until he was questioned once, twice or thrice, and there  was amongst us Salman the  Persian. Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu alayhi wasllam)  placed his hand on Salman and then said: “Even if faith were near  the Pleiades (in Persia), a man  from amongst these would surely  find it.”

When Muslim’s conquered Persia  it became a great centre for  knowledge and many of the  worlds greatest scholars came  from there like Imam al Ghazali, Imam Abu Dawud, Imam Bukhari, Ibn Sina, Ibn Haytham one could name well over 200 prominent  and well known Islamic figures, Scholars, Scientists, Philosophers, and Physicians in  world history that came from  Persia, but Imam as-Suyuti (rahimahullah) remarked: “It has been communicated unanimously that this hadith refers to Imam Abu Hanifah (who was a Persian) and founded the Hanafi Madhhab (School of Law)” which 45% of  muslims around the world follow  today.

Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh d.150) is the first in Islam to organize and categorize fiqh (Islamic Law), at a time when it was simply the Qur’an and the Narrations so information could be easily researched and found. This was a Sunnah (example) he began and as the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said regarding those who begin beneficial Sunnah’s they will have the reward of all  those who adopt it after them  and indeed the entire Ummah adopted this after Him.

He gave rulings on matters  relating to various topics, and organized the religion under sub-headings, categorizing everything  and embracing the whole of Law, beginning with purity (tahara)  followed by prayer (salah), an  order which was retained by all  subsequent scholars such as  Imam Malik, Shafi’i, Abu Dawud, Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, and others.

Imam Ash-Shafi’i (rahmatullah alayh)

The Prophet once made a dua’, “O  Allah! Guide (the tribe of)  Quraysh, for the science of the  scholar that comes from them  will encompass the earth. O  Allah! You have let the first of  them taste bitterness, so let the  latter of them taste reward.”

The Scholars agreed that this Dua’ was referring to Imam al Shafi’i (rahmatullah alayh) whose work “al Risal fi Usul al Fiqh” (The Treatise on the  Principles of Legal Jurisprudence) was the first work to define and develop the Legal science of Usul al Fiqh (Principles of Law). This legal science is at the heart of all  modern legal systems on earth today.

“In its comprehensive character, legal science developed among  Muslims very early. They  were  the first in the world to entertain  the thought of an abstract  (theoretical and conceptual)  science of law, distinct from the  codes of the general laws of the  country. The ancients had their  laws, more or less developed and even codified, yet a science which  should treat the philosophy and sources of law, and the method of  legislation, interpretation, application, etc, of the law was  wanting, and this never struck  the minds of the jurists before  Islam”. Since the second century of the Hijrah (800 C.E.) many  Islamic works of this kind began  to be produced, called Usul al-Fiqh (Principles of Law).
In addition, the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “A scholar from Quraysh will fill  all regions of the earth with  learning.”  [al-Ajluni]

The entire Ummah utilized and benefited from the work of Imam  Shafi’i, it systemized Law itself  for the other Schools of Law that  emulated it’s structure.

The Prophet also said: “Truly, Allah shall send forth for this  Community, at the onset of every  hundred years, someone who will  renew their Religion for them.”

The  scholars  agreed, among  them Imam Abu Qilaba (d. 276) and Imam Ahmad, that the first  narration above signified Imam  al-Shafi’i, and the second signified Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, a  just Khalif who opposed the  tyrants around him, as the first person Allah sent for the Ummah  and then Imam al-Shafi’i after  him as the second person Allah  sent.

Imam Malik Ibn Anas (rahmatullah alayh)

The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Very soon will  people beat the flanks of camels  in search of knowledge, and they  shall find no-one more  knowledgeable than the knowledgeable scholar of  Madinah.” 

Imam Tirmidhi, al-Qadi ‘Iyad, Dhahabi and others relate from  Sufyan ibn Uyaynah, Abd al-Razzaq, Ibn Mahdi, Yahya Ibn Ma’in, Dhu’ayb ibn ‘Imama, Ibn al-Madini (rahimahumullah), and others that they considered that scholar to be Malik ibn Anas (rahimahullah) the founder of the  Maliki Madhhab.

Imam Malik (rahmatullah alayh) was responsible for preserving the Sunnah of Madinah for later generations, this was the way of life the people of Madinah lived shortly  after the prophets (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) death, it gave the clearest picture of life in  those times we have today and the Imam and his Madhhab (school of Law) are famous for  taking the actions of the people  of Madinah as a source of  legislation in Islamic law because  it was the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) himself who established that community.

Thus in this way the Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  foretold the Madhhab’s (Islam’s  Schools of Law) and all the  scholars they would be named after, the Hanafi Madhhab, Shafii, Maliki and Hanbali, all of whom adopted the science of  Imam Shafi’i (rahmatullah alayh) that the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) mentioned specifically and is the method by which they derive Laws from the Qur’an and Sunnah, this is in contrast to the Deviant sects who lie and say the  Madhhab’s are an evil innovation  that has no basis in Islam rather they seek to dismantle Islam as  the Yahud’s dismantled their own  faith. These sects are a product  of the “Ruwaibidah” a group of  people the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) gave this name  to and said would come towards  the end of time. History has  occurred as the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  mentioned, the entire world adopting the methods of Imam  Shafi’i (rahmatullah alayh), which makes the authenticity of the narration’s self  evident.

He (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said “My nation will be divided into seventy-three sects, and only  one among them will attain  salvation” He was asked, “Who are  they?” He replied, “Those who follow me and my Companions,” (Abu Dawud); thus, he mentioned the sects of innovation that  would emerge afterwards and stated that the muslims should stick to the main body of the  Ummah, it’s largest group. He  (sallallaahu alayhi wasllam)  described the reality after this  time clearly, He said “One who defected from obedience and separated from the main body of  the Muslims-if he died in that  state would die the death of one  belonging to the days of Jahiliyya  (before Islam)”  [Muslim]

He advised “My community will  not come together on  misguidance”;

”You have to follow  the congregation for verily Allah  will not make the largest group of Muhammad’s community agree  on error.”,

“Whoever among you wants  to be in the middle of Paradise, let  him cling to the congregation.”,

“Shaytan is a wolf like the wolf  that preys on sheep, taking the  isolated and the stray among  them; therefore, avoid factionalism and keep to the  congregation and the collective  and the masjid.”,

“Allah’s hand is over the group, and whoever dissents from them  departs to hell.”

Thus he (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) advised Muslim’s should stick to Islam’s four schools of Law and they would attain the middle of Paradise if they did so. Islam’s four schools of Law have  been the main Body of the Ummah from the beginning of  Islam until our time, almost 90% of Islam’s 1.7 billion Muslim’s around the world today follow them.

Taqleed and Salafism


Once,  Hazrat  Bahlool  (Rahmatullah  alaih)  passed  by  an  Aalim  who was  quarrelling  with  someone.  Hazrat  Bahlool  (Rahmatullahi  alaih) commented:

If  this  person  [the  Aalim]  had  ma’rifat  [real  perception]  of Allah,  he  would  not  have  squandered  his  time  by  quarrelling with an ignoramus.

Life  is  short  and  transitory.  The  goal  is  Divine  Pleasure  through obedience  to  Allah  Ta’ala  and  His  Beloved  Rasool,  Muhammad (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa  sallam).  In  view  of  the  extremely  short  stay  in  this temporary  abode,  people  who  have  come  to  realize  the  purpose  of  their creation  are  continuously  in  pursuit  of  proximity  unto  Allah  Ta’ala. They  shun  idle  talk  and  idle  pastimes.  As  much  as  an  Aalim  who  has ma’rifat  of  Allah  Ta’ala  detests  being  drawn  into  argumentation,  as  he rather  prefers  worship  of  his  True  Beloved,  Allah  Subhaanahu  wa Ta’ala,  circumstances  however  necessitate  that  he  comes  to  the  defence of  the  Deen e Haq  from  the  fabrications  and  falsities  of  the  people  of falsehood. 

Among  the  people  of  falsehood  in  these  times  are  the  modernist  Salafi Sect  who  has  nothing  to  do  in  life  other  than  to  castigate  the  Madhabs of  Haq  and  vilify  the  followers  of  the  Madhaahib  (plural  of  Madhab). They  have  set  their  whims  and  fancies  as  their  Imams  and  have  left  no stone  unturned  in  their  endeavour  to  waylay  the  Imaan  of  unknowing
and  innocent  followers  of  the  Hanafi  Madhab  in  particular,  and  other Madhabs  in  general.  In   fact,  the  modernist  Salafi  Scholars  with  their  shallow  understanding  of the  Qur’an  and  Sunnah  and  their  rigid  Taqleed  of  the  doctrine  of  Ibn Taimiyyah  are  currently  engaged  in  an  all  out  effort  to  rob  people  of their  practice  of  the  Qur’an  and  Hadeeth  in  the  beautiful  and  most elaborate  way  outlined  in  the  Madhaahib e Arba’ah—the  Hanafi, Shaafi’i,  Maaliki  and  Hambali  Schools  of  Thought.  It  has  thus  become obligatory  upon  the  Ulama e Haq  to  expose  the  baatil  of  these  peddlers of abandonment of Taqleed.

Ignorance  and  arrogance  have  become  major  hurdles  for  the  anti-Taqleed  protagonists.  In  consequence,  they  refuse  to  dump  their  oblique understanding  of  the  Shariah  and  rather  accept  the  Shariah  as understood  and  practised  by  the  four  Schools  of  Fiqh  over  the  past fourteen  centuries  of  Islam’s  existence. This  treatise  is,  therefore,  not directed  to  the  votaries  of  abandonment  of  Taqleed.  It  is  for  the  safety and  strength  of  those  who  have  this  wonderful  path  of  Taqleed  to follow. 

This  treatise  is,  for  the  major  part,  a  condensation  of  a  lengthy  treatise on  the  subject  of  Taqleed  and  Ijtihaad  written  by  the  venerable Mujaddid  of  his  time,  Hazrat  Hakeemul  Ummat  Moulana  Ashraf  Ali Thanwi  (Rahmatullah  alayh).  Hazrat  Moulana  Thanwi  (Rahmatullahi alayh)  entitled  his  treatise  ‘Al Iqtisaad  fit  Taqleedi  wal  Ijtihaad’.  In  view of  this  compilation  and  translation  being  in  principle  a  condensation  of Hazrat  Moulana  Thanwi’s  treatise,  we  have  omitted  the  references  to the  page  numbers  from  the  original  work.  Apart  from  the  work  of Hazrat  Moulana  Thanwi  (Rahmatullahi  alayh),  quotations  have  been included  from  other  reliable  and  authoritative  works.  The  references  of these works have been provided in the footnotes. 

This  treatise  is  almost  a  pure  naql,  i.e.  it  consists  of  almost  only quotations,  extracts  and  excerpts.  We  have  only  rarely  inserted  words  of our  own.  The  reason  for  this  is  twofold.  Firstly,  what  we  have  compiled here  is  not  our  personal  opinion.  It  is  the  view  of  the  Authorities  of DeenSecondly,  the  statements  of  our  elders  and  senior  Ulama  obviate the  need  for  our  statements.  Considering  their  Ilm  and  Taqwa,  their understanding  and  commentary  of  the  Teachings  of  the  Shariat  far outweighs  whatever  we  can  produce.  And,  after  all,  we  are  only muqallideen.

Although  we  have  relied  only  on  quotations,  we  have  however, amended some texts to facilitate comprehension and/or for brevity. 

Kitaabs  and  books  on  the  subject  of  Taqleed  are  numerous.  We  are confident,  however,  that  this  treatise  will  serve  as  a  textbook  on  the subject  of  Taqleed.  It  is  only  through  educating  ourselves  in  the rudiments  of  this  Shar’i  requirement  that  we  can  thwart  the  menace  of Salafism.  And  Allah  Ta’ala  is  the  Giver  of  Towfeeq  and  He  is  the  Best Aid.
Jamia  Maseehiyyah  Ashrafiyyah


1. What is Taqleed??

Taqleed  means  to  accept  someone’s  statement  simply  on  the  basis  of  a favourable  opinion  about  him,  that  is,  he  speaks  on  the  basis  of  proof.

Hence, there is no need to question him about his proof.

The  object  of  Taqleed  is  to  practise  on  the  Qur’an  and  Hadeeth  with ease. 

The  rejecters  of  Taqleed  whose  standard  is  held  precariously  in  these times  by  the  sect  styling  itself  ‘Salafiyyoon’ or  ‘Salafiyyah’  insolently  dub Taqleed ‘blind-following’. 

‘Blind’ bears the following connotations:

without  foresight,  discernment,  intellectual  perception,  or  adequate information not  governed  by  purpose  or  reason reckless 

The  very  nature  of  Taqleed  demands  discernment,  intellectual perception  and  adequate  information  as  a  favourable  opinion  of  an Imam  being  qualified  in  the  field  of  Shar’i  Uloom  (Islamic  Sciences) and  thus  being  worthy  of  being  followed  is  dependent  on  these  factors. Taqleed, therefore, can never be blind-following in this sense.  

The  object  and  purpose  of  Taqleed  has  been  clarified  in  1.2.  Thus  the accusation  of  Taqleed  being  blind-following  in  this  sense  is  palpably false.

When  the  muqallid  or  person  making  Taqleed  follows  an  Imam  or Madhab  he  understands  the  Imam  and  Madhab  to  be  a  trustworthy guide  and  the  safest  course  to  obedience  to  the  commands  of  Allah Ta’ala  and  the  teachings  or  Sunnah  of  Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alayhi  wa sallam).  He  (the  muqallid)  understands  his  lack  of  competency  in understanding  the  Qur’an  and  Hadeeth.  For  him  to  resort  to  a  self-study of  the  Qur’an  and  Hadeeth  and  thereby  form  his  own  opinion  is  akin  to bartering  away  his  Imaan.  He  thus  opts  for  the  safest  and  surest  path  to the  obedience  and  pleasure  of  Allah  and  His  Rasool  (Sallallahu  alayhi wa  sallam),  and  that  is  in  Taqleed.  Is  this  being  reckless?  Is  this  blind following?  May  Allah  Ta’ala  save  us  from  the  deception  of  Shaitaan and the evil schemes of the nafs, Aameen. 

When  none  of  the  senses  of  ‘blind’  portray  true  Taqleed,  the  usage  of this  word  in  relation  to  Taqleed  is  crass  ignorance  or  malicious obstinacy.  May  Allah  Ta’ala  save  us  from  the  evils  of  the  tongue  and nafs.

2. The Taqleed of the Rejecters of Taqleed 

2.1  In  so  far  the  rejecters  of  Taqleed  are  concerned,  it  should  be understood  that  according  to  their  very  own  principle  [of  Taqleed  being haraam]  it  is  not  possible  at  all  for  them  to  practise  on  the  Hadeeth.  The reason  for  this  is  that  practising  on  the  Hadeeth  is  only  possible  through Taqleed  of  the  Ulama  in  the  matter  of  the  Hadeeth  being  Saheeh, Dha’eefWaajibul  AmalMustahab  or  impermissible.  And  this,  as  is obvious  is  strict  Taqleed  in  the  Ahkaam  [Laws  of  the  Shariah/Fiqh]. There  is  no  doubt  to  the  fact  that  a  Hadeeth  being  incumbent  for practice,  or  vice  versa,  or  disallowed  for  practice  or  vice  versa  are issues  pertaining  to  the  Ahkaam.  It  is  precisely  for  this  reason  that  the Fuqaha  discuss  the  various  laws  governing  the  Sunnah—its  acceptance, its  rejection,  its  employment,  its  relaxation  and  the  laws  pertaining  to the  narrators—in  Fiqh  and  Usool e Fiqh;  these  issues  being  the elements of the Ahkaam.

Now when  these  people  reject  Taqleed  then  what  gives  them  the  right  to make  Taqleed  of  the  Muhadditheen  in  these  issues  and  on  what  basis  do they  declare  the  views  and  ijtihaad  of  the  Muhadditheen  in  the  field  of Hadeeth categorization to be hujjat [proof] in the Shariah

3.  Taqleed  during  the  Era  of  Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam)

3.1  It  is  reported  from  Aswad  Bin  Yazeed  who  says:  “Mu’aaz (Radhiyallahu  anhu)  came  to  teach  us  the  Ahkaam  of  the  Deen  and  to serve  as  governor.  We  asked  him  the  masalah  of  a  deceased  leaving behind  a  daughter  and  a  sister.  Hazrat  Mu’aaz  (Radhiyallahu  anhu) declared  half  [the  estate  of  the  deceased]  for  the  daughter  and  half  for the  sister.  This  was  in  the  lifetime  of  Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa sallam).” —Bukhari and Abu Dawood 

We  learn  from  this  Hadeeth  that  during  the  blessed  lifetime  of Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa  sallam)  Taqleed  was  in  vogue.  The one  posing  the  question  did  not  ask  for  proof.  He  accepted  the  fatwa  of Hazrat  Mu’aaz (radhiyallahu anhu) purely  on  the  basis  of  his  Deeni  integrity. This  is Taqleed.

Then,  there  is  no  evidence  of  Nabi  (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa  sallam) disagreeing  with  this  fatwa  and  the  implementation  of  this  fatwa  which transpired  in  his  lifetime.  Nor  for  that  matter  is  any  difference  or rejection recorded. Thus, permissibility of Taqleed and its open and freepractice  without  rebuke  in  the  lifetime  of  Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is established.

3.2  It  is  reported  from  Sulaiman  Bin  Yasaar  that  Abu  Ayyoob  Ansaari (Radhiyallahu  anhu)  went  for  Hajj.  On  the  way  to  Makkah  he  lost  his camels.  On  Yaumun  Nahr  [the  10th  of  Zul  Hijjah]  when  Hajj  was  over he  came  to  Umar  (Radhiyallahu  anhu)  and  related  his  story.  Umar (Radhiyallahu  anhu)  said:  “Do  what  a  person  performing  Umrah  does and  you  will  be  released  from  your  ihraam.  Then  wait  for  the  Haj season  next  year  and  perform  Hajj.  For  now,  make  qurbaani  and slaughter  whatever  you  are  in  the  means  of.” —Maalik

From  this  Hadeeth  we  learn  that  those  Sahaabah  who  could  not  make ijtihaad  [i.e.  ascertain  the  ruling  of  a  mas’alah  directly  from  the  Qur’an or  Hadeeth],  they  would  make  Taqleed  of  the  Mujtahideen  Sahaabah. Hazrat  Abu  Ayyoob  Ansaari  (Radhiyallahu  anhu)  was  also  a  Sahaabi and  he  did  not  ask  Hazrat  Umar  (Radhiyallahu  anhu)  for  any  proof  for his fatwa.
3.3  Episodes  of  this  nature  among  the  Sahaabah,  and  even  during  the blessed  era  of  Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alayhi  wa  sallam)  reports  of istiftaas  [questions]  and  fatwas  without  references  and  proofs  among  the Sahaabah  or  among  the  Taabi’een  and  Sahaabah  have  been  documented with  such  abundance  that  it  is  an  awesome  task  to  compile  all.  Those versed in Hadeeth literature are well aware of this.   

4. Following a Particular Imam or Madhab 

4.1  It  is  reported  from  Hazrat  Huthaifah  (Radhiyallahu  anhu)  that Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alayhi  wa  sallam)  said:  “I  do  not  know  how  long I  will  be  with  you  people.  Therefore,  follow  these  two  who  will  be  after me.”  Nabi  (Sallallahu  alayhi  wa  sallam)  indicated  to  Hazrat  Abu  Bakr and  Hazrat  Umar  (Radhiyallahu  anhuma). —Tirmidhi  

The purport of  “who will be after me” is: during their reign of Khilaafat. Thus, the command is to follow them during their respective terms of Khilaafat. And, obviously, the Khaleefah is a single person. The conclusion thus is to follow Hazrat Abu Bakr (Radhiyallahu anhu) during his Khilaafat and Hazrat ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) during his Khilaafat.  

Thus, Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) instructed that one particular person should be followed for a specific time. And nowhere did he state that proof for the Ahkaam should also be enquired. Nor was it a standard practice of ascertaining the proof for each and every masalah. This is nothing but following a particular Imam or Madhab

4.2 It is reported from Aswad Bin Yazeed who says: “Mu’aaz (Radhiyallahu anhu) came to us to teach the Ahkaam of the Deen and to serve as governor. We asked him the mas’alah of a deceased leaving behind a daughter and sister. Hazrat Mu’aaz (Radhiyallahu anhu) declared half [the estate of the deceased] for the daughter and half for the sister. This was in the lifetime of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam).” —Bukhari and Abu Dawood  

Just as Taqleed being Sunnat is proven from this Hadeeth, as mentioned in its appropriate place [see 3.1], similarly this Hadeeth confirms Taqleed of an Imam or Madhab. The reason for this is that when Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) sent Hazrat Mu’aaz (Radhiyallahu anhu) to Yemen to teach the Ahkaam of the Deen he most assuredly gave permission to the people of Yemen to refer to him [Hazrat Mu’aaz] in all their affairs. This is Taqleed of an Imam.  

4.3 It is reported from Hazrat Huzail Bin Shurahbil that a question was posed to Hazrat Abu Musa (Radhiyallahu anhu). Then the same question was posed to Hazrat Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu) and he was furthermore informed of the fatwa of Hazrat Abu Musa (Radhiyallahu  anhu).  Hazrat  Ibn  Mas’ood  gave  another  ruling.  This  was brought  to  the  notice  of  Hazrat  Abu  Musa.  Upon  listening  to  Hazrat Ibn  Mas’ood’s (radhiyallahu anhu)  answer,  he  said:  “As  long  as  this  ‘Ocean  of  Knowledge’ is in your midst, do not refer to me.’ —Bukhari, Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi

Any  person  can  understand  from  the  words  of  Hazrat  Abu  Musa (radhiyallahu anhu):  “As long  as  he  is  in  your  midst,  do  not  refer  to  me,”  that  he  instructed  them to  take  all  their  questions  to  him  [Hazrat  Ibn  Mas’ood  Radhiyallahu anhu].  And  this  is  Taqleed  of  an  Imam,  that  is,  to  refer  all  one’s questions  to  one  Aalim  due  to  some  precept  and  act  according  to  his fatwa.

5.  Why  it  is  Incumbent  to  Follow  a  Particular Imam or Madhab

5.1  It  should  be  known  that  the  incumbency  and  obligation  of something  [in  the  Shariat]  is  established  in  any  of  the  following  ways:

•  The  Qur’an  or  Hadeeth  directs  special  emphasis  to  some  act, e.g.  SalaahSaum,  etc.

Such  incumbency  is  termed  wujoob biz  zaat.

The  act  itself  has  not  been  emphasized;  however,  practically  it  is  not possible  to  carry  out  those  acts  which  have  been  emphasized  in  the Qur’an  and  Hadeeth  without  resorting  to  this  act.  In  this  case,  this  act will  also  be  considered  necessary.  This  is  the  purport  of  the  Ulama’s words:  “The  foundation  of  a  Waajib  is  also  Waajib.”  Take  as  an example  the  writing  and  printing  of  the  Qur’an  and  Hadeeth  literature. Nowhere  in  the  Shariat  is  this  emphasized.  In  fact,  the  following Hadeeth  clearly  evinces  the  non-compulsion  of  writing.  It  is  reported from  Hazrat  Ibn  Umar  (Radhiyallahu  anhu)  that  the  Rasool  of  Allah (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa  sallam)  said:  “We  are  an  Ummi  Nation.  We neither write nor calculate.” —Bukhari  and  Muslim

The  Hadeeth  clearly  indicates  its  purport.  Now,  when  writing  in  general is not waajib, then how can writing something in particular be waajib?

However,  there  is  emphasis  on  the  preservation  of  the  Qur’an  and Hadeeth  and  their  protection  from  loss.  And,  it  is  proven  through experience  and  observation  that  it  is  not  practically  possible  to  preserve the  Qur’an  and  Hadeeth  without  resorting  to  writing  and  printing. Therefore,  the  writing  and  printing  of  the  Qur’an  and  Hadeeth  are regarded  to  be  necessary.  Accordingly,  there  is  an  implied  unanimity  of the  entire  Ummah  for  the  past  14  centuries  on  its  incumbency  in  this way. Such an incumbency is termed wujoob bil ghair

After  understanding  the  types  of  wujoob  and  their  nature,  now understand  that  when  it  is  said  that  the  Taqleed  of  a  particular  Imam  or Madhab  is  waajib,  then  it  means  wujoob  bil  ghair,  not  wujoob biz  zaat.  Thus,  there  is  no  need  to  produce  an  Aayat  or  Hadeeth which  emphasizes  this  type  of  Taqleed  in  name,  just  as  a  demand  of  an Aayat  or  Hadeeth  is  not  made  for  proof  of  the  incumbency  of  writing and  printing  the  Qur’an  and  Hadeeth  literature,  and  regardless  of  the clear  declaration  of  the  aforementioned  Hadeeth  of  writing  not  being incumbent,  then  too  it  is  considered  to  be  waajib  and  this  is  not  viewed to  be  antithetical  to  the  Hadeeth.  In  the  same  way,  there  is  no  need  to produce  any  Nass  [explicit  Quraanic  or  Hadeeth  text]  to  show  the wujoob of Taqleed of an Imam or Madhab.

Yes,  there  is  a  need  to  prove  two  premisses,  viz.:  
What  are  those  things  which  will  be  harmed  in  our  prevailing circumstances  if  we  do  not  follow  a  particular  Imam  or  Madhab? The wujoob of those factors.

The  following  injunctions  of  the  Shariah  will  be  harmed  in  the  absence of  Taqleed  of  a  Madhab:

1.  A  sincere  niyyat  of  only  Deen  in  Ilm  and  Amal.

2.  The  Deen  governing  one’s  desires,  i.e.  to  make  one’s  desires subservient  to  the  Deen,  not  the  other  way  round.
3.  To  abstain  from  such  things  which  pose  a  real  danger  to  one’s  Deen.  

4.  Not  to  oppose  the  Ijma’  or  Consensus  of  the  Ahle-Haq
5. Not to transgress the perimeters of the Laws of the Shariah

These  being  waajib  biz  zaat  is  emphatically  proven  in  the Ahadeeth

In  so  far  as  the  harm  to  these  factors  in  the  case  of  not  following  a particular  Imam  or  Madhab  is  concerned,  it  is  connected  to  experience and  observation.  [In  other  words,  experience  teaches  and  it  can  openly be  observed  that  those  who  abandon  Taqleed  of  an  Imam  or  Madhab fall  into  the  pitfalls  of  insincerity,  Taqleed  of  their  nafs,  harm  to  their Deen,  opposition  to  the  Consensus  of  the  Ummah  and  transgression  of the  limits  of  the  Shariah.  Details  and  examples  are  too  numerous  to  cite in  this  short  treatise.  Only  someone  blind  to  reality  will  venture  to  claim the  contrary.]  And  the  reason  for  this  is  that  in  these  times  corruption and  personal  motives  have  settled  in  the  disposition  of  most  people. This  is  obvious  and  it  has  been  prophesised  in  the  Ahadeeth  on  Fitnah [trials,  mischief  and  evil  times].  Those  versed  in  Ilm  and  Hadeeth  are fully aware of this.

6.  Why  Confine  Taqleed  to  the  Four  Madhabs?

6.1  Previously  it  has  been  proven  that  Taqleed  of  a  particular  Imam  is necessary.  Furthermore,  taking  views  from  different  Imams  is  fraught with  harm.  Thus,  it  is  imperative  to  make  Taqleed  of  an  Imam  whose Madhab  has  been  compiled  and  codified  into  principles  and  detailed laws  to  such  an  extent  that  almost  all  answers  to  questions  are  found  in it  in  the  form  of  a  particular  or  a  universal  principal.  In  this  way  there remains  no  need  to  refer  to  other  views.

By  Divine  Intervention  this  attribute  is  found  only  in  the  Four  Madhabs  [Hanafi,  Shaafi’i,  Maaliki  and  Hambali].  No  other  Madhab enjoys  this  status.  Thus,  it  is  imperative  to  adopt  one  of  these  four Madhabs,  as  opting  for  a  fifth  Madhab  will  result  in  the  same problem  and  discrepancy  of  flirting  with  the  Madhabs  in  fulfilment  of the  nafs’  desire  to  remain  unfettered  from  the  Shariat.  The  corruption  of this has been clarified earlier. 

This  is  the  reason  for  confining  Taqleed  to  these  Four  Madhabs  and hence  for  centuries  this  has  been  the  standard  practice  of  the  Jumhoor Ulama  of  the  Ummat.  Some  Ulama  have  even  recorded  Ijma’  that  the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah is confined to these Four Madhabs.         

6.2  For  Taqleed  it  is  necessary  that  the  Mujtahid’s  Madhab  be compiled.  Taqleed  of  the  illustrious  Sahaabah  is  difficult,  because  none of  their  Madhabs  are  fully  compiled  and  codified.  However,  through the  medium  of  Taqleed  of  the  Aimmah e Arba’ah  [the  Four  Imams],  we follow  the  Sahaabah.  

7. Why the Hanafi Madhab?

7.1  We  reside  in  a  place  where  the  Madhab  of  Imam  Abu  Haneefah (Rahmatullahi  alaih)  is  prevalent  without  any  endeavour  on  our  part. Ulama  and  Kitaabs  on  this  Madhab  are  to  be  found  in  abundance.  Had we  adopted  another  Madhab,  then  it  would  have  been  difficult  for  us to  find  out  the  laws  applicable  to  day today  circumstances.  This  is  due to  the  fact  that  the  Ulama  do  not  possess  that  insight  and  deep understanding  of  another  Madhab  as  they  possess  in  their  own  Madhab.  In  view  of  their  occupation  and  excessive  study  and  teaching  the degree  of  expertise  and  understanding  they  have  of  their  own  Madhab cannot  be  achieved  with  another  Madhab,  although  study  of  the Kitaabs  of  another  Madhab  is  possible.  This  point  is  self-evident  and obvious  to  the  Ahle-Ilm.       

8.  The  Question  of  Taqleed  Being  Prohibited in the Qur’an

8.1  Question: The  Qur’an  censures  Taqleed  in  this  Aayat:  “When  it is  said  to  the  kuffaar:  ‘Follow  the  laws  which  Allah  Ta’ala  has revealed,’  then  they  answer:  ‘No!  In  fact,  we  will  follow  the  path  of  our forefathers.’  (Dismissing  their  response  Allah  Ta’ala  declares):  What! Will  they  keep  to  the  path  of  their  forefathers  regardless  of  their forefathers  lacking  understanding  of  Deen  and  them  being  astray?”   This  shows  that  it  is  evil  to  follow  the  way  of  one’s  predecessors  when we have the Qur’an and Hadeeth.

Similarly,  it  is  stated  in  another  Aayat  that  when  you  have  a  dispute, then  refer  the  matter  to  Allah  and  His  Rasool.  From  this  we  can understand that we should not refer to an Imam or Mujtahid.

Response:  The  mere  translation  of  the  former  Aayat  reveals  that  the Taqleed  of  the  kuffaar  has  no  affinity  with  the  Taqleed  under discussion.  The  Taqleed  of  the  kuffaar  has  been  denounced  for  two reasons. 

The  first  is  that  they  would  reject  the  Aayaat  and  Ahkaam  saying:  “We do not accept it. We would rather prefer to follow our elders.

Secondly,  their  elders  lacked  intelligence  in  the  Deen  and  they  lacked guidance. 

These  two  are  non-existent  in  the  Taqleed  we  are  discussing.  Neither does  any  muqallid  say  that  he  rejects  the  Aayaat  and  Ahadeeth.  In  fact, he  [the  muqallid]  says:  “Our  Deen  is  the  Quraan  and  Hadeeth. However,  I  am  ignorant”  or  “lacking  knowledge”  or  “am  totally incompetent  in  the  field  of  ijtihaad  and  istimbaat.  I  do,  however,  have  a favourable  opinion  and  faith  in  soandso  Aalim”  or  “Imam.  He  was thoroughly  versed  in  the  words  and  meanings  of  the  Aayaat  and Ahadeeth.  Thus,  I  consider  the  purport  which  he  understood  [from  the Qur’an  and  Hadeeth]  to  be  correct  and  the  stronger  view.  Therefore,  I am acting on the Hadeeth, albeit in accordance to his guidance.” 

In  short,  no  muqallid  rejects  the  Qur’an  and  Hadeeth.  And  the  Imam whom  he  follows  did  not  lack  knowledge  and  guidance,  as  is  proven through  reliable  transmission  from  generation  to  generation  (tawaatur) that they possessed intelligence and guidance. 

Thus,  in  view  of  both  reasons  [for  the  denouncement  of  the  Taqleed  of the  kuffaar]  being  nonexistent  here,  this  Taqleed  [of  the  Madhabs]  is beyond the ambit of the censure in the Qur’an. 

And  how  can  Taqleed  on  the  whole  be  the  purport  of  the  Aayat? Otherwise,  the  Aayat  will  be  in  clear  contradiction  to  all  those  Ahadeeth which  establish  the  validity  of  Taqleed.

9. The  Accusation  of  the  Muqallids Discarding Ahadeeth 

9.1  Just  as  it  is  permissible  to  deduce  a  law  through  ijtihaad,  similarly,  it is  also  permissible  to  regard  a  Hadeeth  to  be  subject  to  rationale  and  act in  accordance  to  the  rationale.  This  entails  specifying  the  sphere  of  the Ahkaam  or  placing  it  on  one  of  several  possibilities  or  restricting  a general  rule  or  acting  on  the  inner  meaning  rather  than  the  external meaning.  This  is  not  antithetical  to  or  discarding  of  the  Hadeeth. Therefore,  such  an  ijtihaad  is  permissible  and  furthermore  Taqleed  of such an ijtihaad is also perfectly permissible.

9.2  In  Bukhari  it  is  reported  from  Ibn  Umar  (Radhiyallahu  anhu)  that Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa  sallam)  said  to  the  Sahaabah  after  the Battle  of  Ahzaab:  “None  of  you  shall  read  Asr  Salaah  before  reaching the  Bani  Quraithah.”  ‘Asr  time  came  whilst  some  Sahaabah  were  still  on the  way.  They  were  split  on  what  to  do.  Some  said:  “No,  we  are  going to  read  our  Salaah.  That  was  not  the  purport  of  Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu alaihi  wa  sallam).  —His  purport,  rather,  was  to  emphasize  speed  and haste  in  reaching  there  before  Asr.”  —  This  incident  was  brought  to Rasoolullah’s  notice.  He  did  not  reprimand  or  mete  out  punishment  to anyone.           

In  the  above  episode  some  understood  the  actual  purport  by  virtue  of quwwat e ijtihaadiyyah  [power  of  ijtihaad].  The  purport  they understand  was  one  of  the  two  possibilities  and  they  performed  the Salaat.  Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa  sallam)  did  not  reprimand them  by  saying:  “Why  do  you  discard  the  apparent  meaning.”  And  nor did he declare them discarders of the Hadeeth

9.3  To  aver  in  relation  to  any  masalah  that  it  is  in  conflict  to  the Hadeeth depends on three things:

The  purport  of  the  masalah  is  correctly  understood.

Its  daleel  is  known.

The procedure of the inference is known.

If  any  of  these  three  factors  remain  obscure  to  the  opposing  party,  their judgement will be erroneous. 

For  instance,  Imam  Abu  Haneefah’s  (rahimahullah) statement  of  Salaatul  Istisqa  not being  Sunnat  is  well known.  The  apparent  meaning  of  this  statement seems  to  be  in  conflict  with  the  Hadeeth  because  it  is  mentioned  in  the Ahadeeth  that  Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa  sallam)  performed Istisqa  Salaat.  However,  the  purport  of  this  statement  [of  Imam  Abu Haneefah]  is  that  it  is  not  sunnat e mu’akkadah.  Accordingly, sometimes  Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa  sallam)  would  perform Salaah  and  make  du’a  for  rain,  and  occasionally  he  would  make  du’a without  performing  this  Salaah.  Thus,  we  find  the  following  Hadeeth  in Bukhari:  

“It  is  reported  from  Anas  (Radhiyallahu  anhu)  that Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa  sallam)  was  delivering  the Khutbah  on  Jumu’ah  day  when  a  person  stood  up  and  said: ‘Yaa  Rasoolallah!  Horses  and  goats  have  perished.  Make  du’a
unto  Allah  Ta’ala  for  rain.’  Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alayhi  wa sallam) stretched out both his hands and made du’a.”

The  above  purport  of  Imam  Abu  Haneefah  (Rahmatullah  alaih)  is furthermore  revealed  by  the  following  text  of  Hidaayah:  

“We [the  Ahnaaf]  say  that  he  [Rasoolullah  Sallallahu  alayhi  wa sallam]  did  it  on  one  occasion  and  omitted  it  on  another occasion. It, therefore, is not sunnat.” —Awwalain         

Thus,  once  the  correct  purport  surfaces  the  question  of  opposition  is dispelled. 

Similar  is  the  case  when  the  daleel  remains  obscure.  For  instance, varying  Ahadeeth  are  reported  in  regard  to  one  masalah.  Now  it  will  be incorrect  to  aver  that  a  Mujtahid  has  opposed  the  Hadeeth  merely  by looking  at  one  of  the  Hadeeths.  The  Mujtahid  has  drawn  a  ruling  for  the other  Hadeeth  and  he  presents  a  valid  interpretation  for  this  one.  An example  of  this  is  the  masalah  of  Qiraatul  Faatihah  khalfal  Imam [Reciting  Soorah  Faatihah  behind  the  Imam].  The  Ahadeeth  in  this regard differ.

Or  a  single  Hadeeth  holds  scope  for  several  varying  possibilities.  The Mujtahid  understands  a  certain  possibility,  on  the  basis  of  his  quwwat-e-ijtihaadiyyah,  to  be  stronger.  He  thus  infers  this.  This  too  is  not opposition  to  the  Hadeeth.  An  example  of  this  is  that  it  appears  in  the Hadeeth  that  if  a  person  passes  in  front  of  you  whilst  you  are  reading Salaah  then  you  should  ward  him  off.  The  one  possibility  is  that  the literal  meaning  applies.  The  other  possibility  taking  into  account  other principles  and  rules  is  that  this  Hadeeth  is  by  way  of  warning  and  a deterrent  from  passing  in  front  of  a  Musalli.  If  a  Mujtahid  takes  the second  possibility  then  it  cannot  be  averred  that  he  has  discarded  the Hadeeth. In fact, his practice is precisely on the Hadeeth.

And  similarly,  if  the  procedure  of  inference  is  obscure,  then  too  the judgement  of  conflict  will  be  erroneous.  For  instance,  Imam  Abu Haneefah  (Rahmatullah  alayh)  states  that  the  period  of  breastfeeding extends  to  2  ½  years.  The  daleel,  i.e.  the  Aayat:  “Its  carrying  and weaning…”  is  wellknown.  However,  the  popular  explanation  of  the inference  is  exceptionally  faulty.  In  Madaarik,  however,  the  tafseer  of ‘hamluhu’  [its  carrying]  is  reported  from  Imam  Abu  Haneefah  as  ‘bil akuf’  [with  hands].  By  virtue  of  this  tafseer,  all  objections  are  dispelled. In  this  case,  the  Aayat  means:  After  birth,  the  maximum  period  of  the baby  being  carried  around  in  arms  and  its  weaning  is  30  months.  There is  no  problem  in  this  tafseer  and  the  view  of  Imam  Abu  Haneefah (rahimahullah)  is easily substantiated. 

In  conclusion,  judging  a  masalah  to  be  in  conflict  with  the  Hadeeth  is the  prerogative  of  such  a  person  who  is  thoroughly  versed  in  the Traditions  and  he  possesses  keen  insight  and  strong  mental  perception. One  who  possesses  one  attribute  and  lacks  the  other  is  not  competent  to pass off a masalah to be in violation of the Hadeeth.

It  is  proven  in  the  Hadeeth  [refer  to  10.3]  that  merely  being  a  Hafiz  of the  Hadeeth  does  not  qualify  one  to  be  a  Mujtahid.  Any  unbiased  reader can  understand  from  this  that  when  a  Hafiz  of  Hadeeth  can  be  oblivious to  the  forms  and  procedure  of  inference  then  how  on  earth  can  the ignoramuses  of  today  fathom  all  the  various  ways  a  Mujtahid  employs in  his  deduction  of  the  Masaail?  Thus,  how  audacious  it  is  on  their  part to  stupidly  call  the  Muqallid  ‘discarder  of  Hadeeth’.  May  Allah  Ta’ala reform their condition.  In  this  regard,  whenever  experts  have  found  any  statement  in  conflict with  a  Daleel-e-Shar’i  they  omitted  the  statement  at  once.  Examples  of this  are  the  masalahs  of  the  prohibition  of  consuming  even  a  small quantity  of  an  intoxicant  and  muzaara’at  [farming  on  a  profit-share basis].  There  is  clarity  in  the  Kutub  of  the  Hanafiyyah  that  in  these  two issues  the  view  of  Imam  Abu  Haneefah (rahimahullah)  is  discarded.  However,  the number  of  such  [discarded]  views  probably  does  not  even  reach  ten. 

In this  regard  this  lowly  servant  [Hazrat  Moulana  Thanwi  Alaihir  Rahmah] investigated  and  besides  five  or  six  Masaail  in  which  I  had  some reservations  not  a  single  masalah  was  found  to  be  against  the  Hadeeth.

I  even  recorded  the  various  ways  the  Masaail  correspond  to  the Ahadeeth in a treatise. By coincidence, however, the treatise was lost. 

Nevertheless,  it  is  Haraam  to  revile  a  Mujtahid  because  the  Mujtahid’s error  is  not  intentional.  His  error  is  ijtihaadi  [i.e.  an  error  in  judgement]. In the light of the Hadeeth he is rewarded for this too. 

We  have  said  this  according  to  our  knowledge,  otherwise  it  is  possible that  Imam  Abu  Haneefah (rahimahullah)  had  access  to  a  Hadeeth  which  we  are unaware of.     

9.4  Ibn  Taymiyyah  states  that  the  forms  of  inferences  from  a  Hadeeth  or Aayat  are  so  many  that  no  Mujtahid  can  be  assailed  for  his  inference. This  he  stated  in  his  kitaab  ‘Raf’ul  Malaam  anil  Aimmatil  A’laam.  This kitaab is worthy of perusal.

9.5  Even  if  we  had  to  assume  that  some  Ahadeeth  did  not  come  to  the notice  of  Imam  Abu  Haneefah,  we  nevertheless  find  that  Imam Muhammad,  Abu  Yusuf  Bin  Huthail,  Ibnul  Mubaarak,  Hasan  Bin Ziyaad  and  other  eminent  students  of  Imam Abu Haneefah (rahimahumullah) living  to  the era of Hadeeth Compilation.

Following  them  came  Imam  Tahaawi,  Karkhi,  Haakim  the  author  of Kaafi,  Abdul  Baaqi  Bin  Qaani’,  Mustaghri,  Ibnush  Sharaqi,  Zaila’i  and other  Huffaaz  and  Nuqqaad  [Examiners]  of  Hadeeth  among  the  Ahnaaf  who  flourished  during  the  age  of  the  perfection  of  the  standards  in examining  the  Ahadeeth  from  Nabi  (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa  sallam).  They were  fully  cognizant  of  the  SaheehDha’eefMashhoor  and  Aahaad Ahadeeth

Thus,  they  omitted  any  qiyaas  [analogical  deduction]  of  Imam  Abu Haneefah they perceived to be in conflict with the Ahadeeth

Thus,  the  likes  of  Imam  Muhammad,  Imam  Abu  Yusuf,  Zufar  and Hasan  differed  [with  Imam  Abu  Haneefah]  in  a  significant  portion  of his  Madhab.  The  Hanafi  Madhab  again  is  the  collective  statements  of Imam  Abu  Haneefah (rahimahullah) and  these  students  and  associates  of  his. (Rahimahumullah  Ta’ala).

10.  The  Averment:  “The  Quraan  and  Hadeeth are  before  us.  We  can,  therefore,  refer directly to it.”
10.1  One  who  does  not  possess  quwwat-e-ijtihaadiyyah  [refer  to  no.  11] holds no right to resort to ijtihaad.  

10.2  It  is  reported  from  Hazrat  Adi  Bin  Haatim  (Radhiyallahu  anhu) that  when  the  Aayat:  “And  eat  and  drink  until  the  white  thread  becomes noticeable  from  the  black  thread,”  was  revealed,  he  took  a  white  thread and  a  black  thread  and  kept  it.  During  the  night  he  looked  at  it. However,  the  two  threads  were  not  distinguishable  from  each  other.  In the  morning  he  informed  Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa  sallam). Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa  sallam)  responded:  “Your  pillow  is exceptionally  huge  for  the  white  and  black  threads  (which  actually imply  the  dawn  light  and  darkness  of  the  night)  to  be  under  your pillow.”

Notwithstanding  the  fact  the  this  Sahaabi  was  a  native  who  spoke  the Arabic  language,  he  erred  in  understanding  the  purport  of  the  Qur’anic Aayat  in  view  of  him  not  possessing  quwwat e ijtihaadiyyah. Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alayhi  wa  sallam)  brought  his  mistake  to  his notice  in  a  humorous  way.  In  some  other  Ahadeeth  Nabi  (Sallallahu alaihi  wa  sallam)  did  not  voice  his  disapproval  of  ijtihaad  from  certain Sahaabah.  This  indicates  that  the  Sahaabi  here  did  not  possess  quwwat e ijtihaadiyyah  and  hence  Nabi  (Sallallahu  alayhi  wa  sallam)  did  not credit him for his opinion and perception.

10.3  It  is  reported  from  Hazrat  Ibn  Mas’ood  (Radhiyallahu  anhu)  that Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alayhi  wa  sallam)  said:  “May  Allah  Ta’ala  keep that  person  happy  and  prosperous  who  listens  to  my  Hadeeth,  retains  it, remembers  it  and  delivers  it  to  others.  Indeed,  many  of  those  who  pass on  knowledge  are  not  themselves  versed  in  knowledge,  and  often  a person  passes  on  knowledge  to  someone  who  understands  it  more  than the one who delivered to him.” —Shaafi’i,  Baihaqi  in  Madkhal,  Ahmad,  Tirmithi,  Abu Dawood,  Ibn  Maajah  and  Daarimi  who  reports  from  Hazrat  Zaid  Bin Thaabit (radhiyallahu anhu).

There  is  clarity  in  this  Hadeeth  that  some  Hafizes  of  Hadeeth  do  not understand  the  meanings  of  the  Hadeeth  or  possess  little  understanding of it.      

10.4  The  simple  and  straightforward  test  in  this  matter  is  to  take  a hundred  by-laws  from  a  Fiqhi  kitaab  in  which  the  dalaail  [proofs]  are not  mentioned,  at  random  from  various  chapters  and  trace  their  sources in  the  Qur’an  and  Hadeeth.  Furthermore,  the  principles  governing  the by laws  should  be  proven  from  the  text  or  indications  of  the  Qur’an  and Hadeeth  or  with  sound  rational  arguments.  Once  this  assignment  is complete  it  should  be  compared  to  the  answers  and  proofs  of  the Fuqaha.  Then  one  will  wake  up  to  the  limit  of  one’s  intelligence  and  the worth  of  the  Fuqaha’s  intelligence.  In sha  Allah,  this  will  become evident to one and in future one will not venture to make such a claim. 

10.5  Hazrat  Abdullah  Bin  Mubaarak  (Rahmatullahi  alaih)  furthermore said:   “Had  it  not  been  for  the  fact  that  Allah  Ta’ala  rescued  me through  the  medium  of  Abu  Haneefah  and  Sufyaan,  I would have been just like the others.”

In  other  words,  Allah  Ta’ala  saved  him  through  Imam  Abu  Haneefah and  Imam  Sufyaan  Thawri (rahimahumullah) from  the  perplexity  and  confusion  which  a raawi  [narrator  of  Hadeeth]  is  embroiled  in  when  seeing  the  conflicting Ahadeeth  and  opposing  narrations.  The  two  Imams  (Radhiyallahu anhuma)  would  show  him  how  the  two  [conflicting  Hadeeths]  are reconciled,  which  narration  enjoys  first  preference  and  they  would explain the meanings of the two to him. 

Indeed,  this  [perplexity  and  confusion]  was  the  case  with  not  one,  but many  ruwaat  [plural  of  raawi].  They  were  rescued  by  none  other  than the  Fuqaha-e-Muhadditheen;  those  who  were  experts  in  riwaayat  and diraayat [Traditions and reasoning powers].  Qazi  Iyaadh (rahimahullah)  related  the  following  in  Tadreebul  Madaarik  under  the biography  of  Abdullah  Bin  Wahb  Quraishi  Misri,  the  pupil  of  Imam Maalik  (Rahmatullahi  alaih)  —V.3  pp.  231/6:  

Yusuf  Bin  Adi  said:  ‘I  found  some  people  to  be  faqeehs, not  Muhadditheen  and  some  to  be  muhaddiths,  not faqeehs.  Only  Abdullah  Bin  Wahb  did  I  find  to  be  a Faqeeh, Muhaddith and a zaahid [Buzrug, saint, recluse].’

Ibn  Wahb  said:  ‘Had  it  not  been  that  Allah  Ta’ala  saved  me through  Maalik  and  Laith,  I  would  have  gone  astray.’  He was  asked:  ‘How  is  that?’  He  replied:  ‘I  immersed  myself in  Hadeeth  and  in  consequence  I  became  perplexed.  I would  then  present  my  doubts  to  Maalik  and  Laith  who would  tell  me  which  Hadeeth  to  take  and  which  to  discard [on  account  of  its  unreliability,  abrogation  or  other  factor warranting  its  nonapplication].”  The  end  of  Qazi  Iyaadh’s (rahimahullah) quote.

Hafiz  Ibn  Abdul  Barr (rahimahullah) documented  this  in  Intiqa  with  a  similar  text.  Our Shaikh,  Muhaqqiq  Kawthari  (Rahimahullahu)  annotated  it  with  the following  words:

Ibn  Asaakir’s  text  with  his  chain  to  Ibn  Wahb  is:  ‘Had  it  not been  for  Maalik  bin  Anas  and  Laith  bin  Sa’d,  I  would  have perished.  I  was  under  the  impression  that  everything  reported from  Nabi  (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa  sallam)  had  to  be  carried  out.’ In  one  narration  it  appears:  ‘…  I  would  have  gone  astray,’  i.e. in view of the conflict between the Ahadeeth, which happens to many ruwaat who are strangers to Fiqh; who cannot distinguish between a Hadeeth with which practice is associated from one unlike the previous.”

10.6 Qazi Bishr Bin Waleed said: “We would be by Sufyaan Bin Uyainah. When a problematic masalah would come to us, he [Imam Sufyaan] would ask: ‘Is there anyone here from the Ashaab [students, associates] of Imam Abu Haneefah?’ My name would be taken. He [Imam Sufyaan] would say [to me]: ‘Answer.’ I would then answer. He would then remark: ‘Safety in Deen is to turn to the Fuqaha.’

11. What is Quwwat-e-Ijtihaadiyyah

11.1 Now listen to the Hadeeths from which the nature of quwwat-e-ijtihaadiyyah will become manifest.  

Hadeeth One: It is reported from Hazrat Abdullah Bin Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) stated: “The Qur’an was revealed in seven dialects. Every Aayat has an apparent meaning and an inner meaning. And for every horizon there is a view. (In other words: the external purport of the Aayaat can be understood through Arabic linguistics and the hidden purport through intellectual and reasoning powers.) —Mishkaat Shareef from Sharhus Sunnah 

Hadeeth Two: Urwah Bin Zubair reports: “I enquired from Aishah (Radhiyallahu anha) about this Aayat: ‘Verily Safa and Marwah are among the salient signs of [the Deen of] Allah Ta’ala. Thus, whoever performs Haj or Umrah there is no sin on him if he makes sa’ee between the two.’ I said: ‘This Aayat teaches that there is no sin  on a person who does not make sa’ee of Safa and Marwah (which is the apparent purport of the Aayat because when there is no sin in making sa’ee the apparent meaning is that sa’ee is permitted. If one does not make sa’ee then too it will be permissible.)’ Hazrat Aishah (Radhiyallahu anha) replied: ‘O Nephew! You have made a big mistake. If this Aayat meant what you have understood from it then it would have read: ‘There is no sin in not making sa’ee between the two.”—Maalik, Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Tirmithi and Nasaai. 

Hadeeth Three: Speaking on the virtues of the Sahaabah Hazrat Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu) said: “They are the most virtuous of the entire Ummah; their hearts are pure, they possessed the deepest knowledge and they were very open and informal.”—Razeen. 

Hadeeth Four: Hazrat Ibn Juhaifah reports: “I asked Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu): ‘Do you have some knowledge which is not found in the Qur’an?’ He responded: ‘I take an Oath in that Being Who split the seed and created life! We do not have any knowledge, except for a distinct perception which Allah Ta’ala grants to whomever He wishes in [understanding] the Quraan.” —Bukhari, Tirmidhi and Nasaai.
Hadeeth Five: Hazrat Zaid Bin Thaabit (Radhiyallahu anhu) reports: “During the occasion of the battle with the people of Yamaamah, Abu Bakr (Radhiyallahu anhu) sent someone to call me. When I came to him, I saw Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) sitting by him. Abu Bakr (Radhiyallahu anhu) spoke to me and said: ‘Umar came to me and advised me that many Qurra of the Quraan fell. He said: ‘I fear that if this continues then a major portion of the Quraan will be lost to us. Therefore, my advice is that you instruct the compilation of the Quraan.’ I responded: ‘How can I do something which Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) never did?’ Umar replied: ‘Wallah! There is  only  good  in  this.’  He  repeated  this  over  and  over  again  until  I  was contented and I understood what he had understood.” —Bukhari and Tirmidhi.

From  the  aforementioned  Five  Hadeeths  collectively,  the  following points  are  clear:

Some  meanings  of  the  Nusoos  [Qur’an  and  Hadeeth  texts]  are  apparent and  some  of  the  purports  are  hidden  and  subtle.  The  latter  are  mysteries, reasons  and  wisdom.  

The  level  of  understanding  the  Nusoos  vary  among  individuals.  Some only  understand  the  apparent  meanings,  whilst  others  penetrate  the hidden  meanings.

In  this  disparity  in  comprehension,  virtue  and  merit  is  not  due  to  mere difference  in  comprehension  as  this  is  the  case  with  any  two individuals.  Rather,  this  virtue  and  merit  is  exclusive  to  a  special  level of  depth  and  penetration  and,  this  is  the  level  of  knowledge  worth  of consideration.  

This  special  level  of  understanding  is  not  the  product  of  human  effort.  It is Allah given.
Thus,  the  summary  of  its  [quwwat e ijtihaadiyyah’s]  nature  as concluded  from  the  above  Ahadeeth  is  that  it  is  an  exclusive  Allah given  proficiency  and  power  of  comprehension  and  deduction  by  virtue of  which  those  who  possess  this  power  discover  the  hidden  purport  and subtle  meanings  of  the  Nusoos  and  the  mysteries  and  reasons  for  the Ahkaam  pertaining  to  practice  and  belief  in  such  a  matter  that  they  are contented. Others cannot penetrate where they have penetrated.

Sometimes,  however,  their  hearts  are  contented  with  another  view.  In such a case they retract their first view.

This  power  is  called  fehmfiqhraaiijtihaadistimbaat  and  other  terms also  are  used  to  refer  to  it  in  the  Aayaat  and  Ahadeeth.

12.  The  Question  of  the  Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen Prohibiting their Taqleed  

12.1  Question:  The  Aimmah e Mujtahideen  have  themselves  said that  it  is  not  lawful  to  practice  on  their  statements  until  the  proof  is know.  Thus,  those  whom  you  make  Taqleed  of,  prohibit  this  self same Taqleed.

Response:  The  audience  of  the  above  statement  of  the  Mujtahideen is  not  those  people  who  do  not  possess  quwwat e ijtihaadiyyah, otherwise,  this  statement  of  theirs  will  firstly  clash  with  those  Ahadeeth which  permit  Taqleed  which  we  have  mentioned  earlier,  and  secondly, it will clash with their practice and other statements of theirs. 

The  clash  with  their  practice  is  that  it  is  not  documented  anywhere  that the  Mujtahideen  would  furnish  proof  when  answering  each  and  every person’s  question.  Similarly,  there  was  no  strict  adherence  to  record dalaail  [proofs]  with  their  Fataawa  which  they  compiled,  as  is  evident  in the  Kitaabs  such  as:  Jaami’  Sagheer,  etc.  It  is  an  obvious  fact  that  an answer  is  given  for  the  sake  of  practice,  whether  the  answer  is  verbal  or recorded in a book. Thus, this practice of theirs is Taqleed per se. 

The  clash  [of  the abovementioned statement]  with  their  other  statements is  that  it  is  reported  in  Hidaayah  Awwalain,  etc.  from  Imam  Abu  Yusuf (Rahmatullah  alayh)  that  if  a  person  has  blood  removed  from  his  body in  the  state  of  fasting  and  thereafter  he  intentionally  eats  or  drinks thinking  that  his  fast  had  broken  on  the  basis  of  the  Hadeeth:  “The  fast of  both,  the  cupper  and  the  one  who  was  cupped  is  broken,’  then  such  a person  will  have  to  necessarily  keep  kaffaarah.  Presenting  the  argument for  this  masalah  Imam  Abu  Yusuf  says:  “It  is  obligatory  on  a  layman [i.e.  a  non-Aalim]  to  explicitly  follow  the  Fuqaha  as  he  has  no understanding of the Ahadeeth.”

This  statement  clearly  shows  that  the  former  statement  of  the Mujtahideen  is  addressed  to  those  who  possess  quwwat e ijtihaadiyyah, not to those who lack this power. Accordingly, reflecting on that statement reveals this restriction. This is due to the fact that the words: “until the proof is not known,” evinces that they were speaking to people who had the potential to comprehend the dalaail. One who lacks quwwat e ijtihaadiyyah may be able to listen to the proof; he cannot however comprehend the proof.  

It is takleefemaa laa yutaaq [imposing the unbearable] which is Shar’i wise baatil [null and void], for a person who lacks the power to comprehend the proofs to try to comprehend the proofs. Thus, it is evident that this address [i.e. the statement of the Mujtahideen in the question] is directed to a Saahib e Ijtihaad, not to a non-Mujtahid.  

12.2 Ibn Taymiyyah states: “The Aimmah barring Taqleed is only in relation to one who has the power to draw Ahkaam from the dalaail.”—Fataawa Ibn Taymiyyah.

13.  The  Error  of  Judging  the  Ahadeeth  of  the Fuqaha on the Criteria of the Muhadditheen 

13.1  In  so  far  as  those  Ahadeeth  are  concerned  which  are  dha’eef according  to  the  Muhadditheen,  firstly  all  those  rules  and  principles  are presumptive  on  which  the  Muhadditheen  have  based  the  strength  and weakness  of  the  Ahadeeth  and  in  which  the  major  factor  is  the credentials  of  the  raawi  [narrator].  Accordingly,  in  certain  principles, the Muhadditheen themselves are split. 

Similarly,  a  raawi  being  thiqah  [reliable]  or  ghair-thiqah  [unreliable]  is also  presumptive  [i.e.  speculative,  not  categorical].  Hence,  the Muhadditheen  differ  in  regard  to  many  narrators.  Furthermore, preference  for  declaring  a  narrator  unreliable  over  his  reliability  is conditional  to  many  restrictions  and  it  is  not  accepted  that  all  the conditions  are  found  everywhere.  The  books  on  this  subject  reveal  the veracity of this point.

When  these  rules  and  principles  are  presumptive  then  how  can  they  be binding  on  all?  When  the  Fuqaha  have  formulated  other  principles  to judge  the  strength  and  weakness  of  the  Ahadeeth  on  the  basis  of  dalaail, as  appears  in  the  Usool e Fiqh  Kitaabs,  there  is  no  reason  then  for objection.  Thus,  it  is  quite  possible  that  a  certain  Hadeeth  is  unreliable in  the  light  of  the  Muhadditheen’s  standards,  but  according  to  the standards  of  the  Fuqaha  the  same  Hadeeth  is  worthy  of  being  a  basis  for formulating Ahkaam

Secondly,  dhu’f  or  weakness  is  not  an  inherent  quality  of  a  Hadeeth. Dhu’f  is  due  to  the  raawi.  Thus,  it  is  quite  possible  that  a  Mujtahid received  a  Hadeeth  with  a  Saheeh  sanad  [authentic  chain]  and  later  on the  sanad  was  tarnished  by  the  addition  of  a  weak  narrator.  Therefore, the  later  dhu’f  does  not  harm  the  earlier  contention  and  proof  of  the Mujtahid

Once  the  Mujtahid  has  employed  a  Hadeeth  in  his  argument—bearing in  mind  that  employing  a  Hadeeth  for  this  purpose  is  dependent  on  the authenticity  of  the  Hadeeth—then  the  Mujtahid  has  actually authenticated  the  Hadeeth.  This  is  the  purport  of  the  Ulama’s  statement: “When  a  Mujtahid  advances  a  Hadeeth  in  his  argument  it  is  his authentication  of  the  Hadeeth.”  Thus,  regardless  of  its  sanad  being doubtful,  according  to  the  muqallid  the  Hadeeth  will  be  judged  to  be Saheeh,  as  is  the  case  with  the  Ta’leeqaat  of  Imam  Bukhari (Rahmatullahi  alayh).  Therefore,  there  is  no  disadvantage  to  the Mujtahid’s argument on account of such a Hadeeth.      

13.2  It  is  only  befitting  to  mention  here  that  the  Thulaathiyyaat [Ahadeeth  in  which  there  are  only  3  links  to  Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu alayhi  wa  sallam).  These  Ahadeeth  are  much  prized  by  the Muhadditheen]  by  Imam  Bukhari  and  other  Muhadditheen  are  very  few. You  can  judge  from  this  that,  in  the  entire  Bukhari  Shareef  there  are  not more  than  2022  Thulaathiyyaat.  Imam  Abu  Haneefah,  on  the  other hand,  by  virtue  of  him  being  earlier,  and  a  Taabi’i,  his  narrations  are predominantly  Thulaathiyyaat.  In  fact,  there  are  even  Thunaaiyyaat [Ahadeeth  with  only  2  links  to  Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alayhi  wa  sallam) to  his  credit].  Hence,  Imam  Shar’aani  Shaafi’i  has  written:  “I  have studied  authentic  copies  of  Imam  Abu  Haneefah’s  3  Masaaneed [Hadeeth  works  with  chains  that  are  linked  to  Rasoolullah  Sallallahu alaihi  wa  sallam]  endorsed  by  the  Huffaaz  of  Hadeeth.  I  found  every Hadeeth  to  be  the  report  of  excellent  and  righteous  Taabi’een,  the  likes of  Aswad,  Alqamah,  Ataa,  Ikrimah,  Mujaahid,  Makhool,  Hasan  Basri and others.

Thus,  between  Imam  Abu  Haneefah  and  the  Office  of  Risaalat (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa  sallam),  all  the  narrators  were  honest  and  up righteous  Aalims,  and  they  were  eminent  Buzrugs  [Saints].  None  of them  was  a  liar  or  one  accused  of  mendacity.  It  is  for  this  reason  that the  Aimmah e Hadeeth  and  the  Ulama  have  concluded  that  the Ahadeeth  with  which  the  Aimmah e Matboo’een e Mujtahideen  have formulated  Fiqh,  are  much  more  reliable  and  accredited  than  the  later Ahadeeth,  because  those  illustrious  Fuqaha  were  the  Asaatizah

Who are Ahl al Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah??

[By Sayf ad-Din Ahmad]

Many people today like to classify themselves as belonging to the Saved Sect (Firqatun-Najiyyah) – Ahl as-Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah; but do these people really know which is the Saved Sect, from the many sects we have today?? The following is an attempt to clarify some misconceptions by way of definitive proofs from the Qur’an and Sunnah, as well as quotes from the profoundly learned Classical Scholars of Islam. Know that there is only one Saved Sect in Islam, and this is the original pristine form of Islam that has been transmitted to us by Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala in his Qur’an, his Rasul (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam), the blessed Companions and the great scholars of Islam (alayhi rahmah) who have been following their Straight Path for more than one thousand years of Islam’s history.

The first question that should be raised is: “What differentiates one sect from another sect??” The answer to this is simple and definitive! Know that the chief characteristic that distinguishes one sect from another, lies not in the differences of opinion that its scholars have attained by making Ijtihad from the sources of the Shari’ah (this leads to the formation of the Madhhabs), but rather the actual belief (Aqeedah or I’tiqad in Arabic) that the scholars and laity of the sect in question are clinging onto – since the founding of their respective sect.

According to the unknown author of the book Belief and Islam (pp. 78-9), the faith of the People of the Sunnah and Jama’ah was spread as follows: “Nowadays, some mouths frequently use the name of “Salafiyya“. Every Muslim should know very well that in Islam there is nothing in the name of the Madhhab of Salafiyya but there is the Madhhab of the Salaf as-salihin who were the Muslims of the first two Islamic centuries (i.e; the Companions, their successors and the followers of the successors) which were lauded in a Hadith sharif. The ulama of Islam who came in the third and fourth centuries are called Khalaf as-sadiqin. The i’tiqad (belief) of these honourable people is called the Madhhab of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah. This is the Madhhab of Faith, tenets of faith. The beliefs held by the Sahaba (alayhim ar-ridhwan) and by the Tabi’un (rahimahumullah) was the same. There was no difference between their beliefs. Today most Muslims in the world are in the Madhhab of Ahl as-Sunnah (i.e; most Muslim’s claim to be Sunni’s). All the seventy-two heretical groups (see later for the actual Hadith and its commentary) of bid’ah appeared (mainly) after the second century of Islam. Founders of some of them lived earlier, but it was after the Tabi’un that their books were written, and that they appeared in groups and defied the Ahl as-Sunnah.

Rasulullah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) brought the beliefs of Ahl as-Sunnah. The Sahaba (radhiyallahu anhum) derived these teachings of Faith from the source (the Qur’an and Sunnah). And the Tabi’un (successors), in their turn, learned these teachings from the Sahaba. And from them their successors learned, thus the teachings of Ahl as-Sunnah reached us by way of transmission and tawatur (through many undeniable chains of transmission). These teachings cannot be explored by way of reasoning. Intellect cannot change them and will only help understand them. That is, intellect is necessary for understanding them, for realizing that they are right and for knowing their value. All the scholars of Hadith held the beliefs of the Ahl as-Sunnah. The Imams of the four Madhhabs in deeds, too, were in this Madhhab. Also, al-Maturidi and al-Ashari (rahimahumullah), the two Imam’s of our Madhhab in beliefs, were in the Madhhab of the Ahl as-Sunnah. Both of these Imams promulgated this Madhhab. They always defended this Madhhab against heretics and materialists, who had been stuck in the bogs of ancient Greek philosophy. Though they were contemporaries, they lived in different places and the ways of thinking and behaving of the offenders they had met were different, so the methods of defence used and the answers given by these two great scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah were different. But this does not mean that they belonged to different Madhhabs (rather they were both from the Ahl as-Sunnah). Hundreds of thousands of profoundly learned ulama and awliya (friends of Allah) coming after these two exalted Imams studied their books and stated in consensus that they both belonged to the Madhhab of the Ahl as- Sunnah.

The scholars of the Ahl as-Sunnah took the evidential source language (nass from Qur’an and Sunnah) with their outward meanings. That is, they gave the verses and Hadiths their outward meanings, and did not explain away (ta’wil) the nass or change these meanings unless there was a darura (necessity) to do so. And they never made any changes with their personal knowledge or opinions. But those who belonged to heretical groups and the la-Madhhabi (those who do not belong to one of the four Madhhabs) did not hesitate to change the teachings of Faith and Ibadat (worship) as they had learned from (the books of) Greek philosophers and from sham scientists, who were Islam’s adversaries.” 

What is Ahl as Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah according to Classical Scholars

Let us now see what the definition of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah was according to the classical scholars of this aided, Victorious sect (Tai’fatul-Mansoorah) of Islam.

Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad ibn Hajar al-Haytami (d. 974/1567; R. A.)

Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Haytami defined the Sunni Muslims as follows in his book Fath al-jawad: “A Mubtadi (innovator) is the person who does not have the faith (Aqeedah) conveyed unanimously by theAhl as-Sunnah. This unanimity was transmitted by the two great Imam’s Abu’l Hasan al-Ashari (d.324/936; Rahimahullah) and Abu Mansur al- Maturidi (d.333/944; Rahimahullah) and the scholars who followed their path.” Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Haytami also said in his bookal- Fatawa al-Hadithiyya (pg. 205): “Man of bid’ah means one whose beliefs are different from the Ahl as-Sunnah faith. The Ahl as- Sunnah faith, is the faith of Abu’l Hasan al-Ashari, Abu Mansur al- Maturidi and those who followed them. One who brings forth something which is not approved by Islam becomes a man of bid’ah.”

Imam Ahmad Shihab ad-Din al Qalyubi (d.1069/1659; R. A.)

Imam al-Qalyubi wrote on the fourth volume of his marginalia to the book Kanz ar-raghibin: “One who departs from what Abu’l Hasan al-Ashari and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (Allah’s mercy be upon them) reported is not a Sunni. These two Imam’s followed the footprints of Rasulullah (Peace be upon him) and his Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them all).”

Imam Abdullah ibn Alawi al-Haddad (d. 1132 AH; Rahimahullah),

Imam al-Haddad stated in The Book of Assistance (pg. 40): “You must correct and protect your beliefs and conform to the pattern of the party of salvation, who are those known from among the other Islamic factions as the “People of the Sunnah andJama’ah” (Ahl as- Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah). They are those who firmly adhere to the way of the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim), and of his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all). 
If you look with a sound understanding into those passages relating to the sciences of faith in the Book (Qur’an), the Sunnah, and the saying of the virtuous predecessors, whether they be Companions or followers, you will know for certain that the truth is with the party called the Ashari (NB-the Maturidi’s are also upon the truth), named after the Shaykh Abu’l Hasan al-Ashari, may Allah have mercy on him, who systematized the foundations of the creed of the people of the truth, and recorded its earliest versions, these being the beliefs with the Companions and the best among the followers agreed upon.”

Imam Abdal Ghani an-Nablusi (d. 1143/1733; Rahimahullah)

Imam an-Nablusi stated in his book al-Hadiqat an-Nadiyya(vol. 2, pg. 103): “Jama’ah is rahma, that is, the union of Muslims on truth brings Allahu ta’ala’s Compassion. Division is adhab, that is, separation from the Community of Muslims brings about punishment from Allahu ta’ala. Hence, it is necessary for every Muslim to unite with those who are on the right path. He must join and believe like them even if they are only a small group. The right path is the path of as-Sahaba . Those who follow this path are called Ahl as- Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah. It should not confuse us that many heretical groups appeared after the time of as-Sahaba . Al-Imam al- Bayhaqi (d. 458/1066; Rahimahullah) said, ‘When Muslims go astray, you should follow the right path of those who came before them! You should not give up that path even if you are left alone on the path!’

Najm ad-Din al-Ghazzi (d. 1061/1651; Rahimahullah)

He wrote: ‘Ahl as-Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah are those ulama who keep on the right path of Rasullullah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) and as-Sahaba . As-Sawad al-Azam, that is, the majority of Islamic scholars, have followed this right path. The Firqatun-Naajiyyah which was defined to be the group of salvation among the seventy three groups is this true Jama’ah.’ The Qur’an declares, ‘Do not disunite!’ This verse means ‘Do not disunite in I’tiqad, in the teachings of beliefs!’ Most ulama, for example, Abdullah ibn Masood (radhiyallahu anhu), interpreted this verse as above and said that it meant, ‘Do not deviate from the right path by following your desires and corrupt ideas.’ This verse does not mean that there should be no disagreement in the knowledge of Fiqh. It forbids separation which causes discord and dissension in the knowledge of I’tiqad (see Imam al-Qurtubi’s opinion later). The disagreement in the knowledge (of Fiqh) derived through Ijtihad in the field of practices (Amal) is not a discord, because such disagreement has brought to sight the rights, the fards and the subtle teachings in Amal and ‘Worship (worship). As-Sahaba (alayhim ar-ridhwan), too, differed from one another in those teachings that explained the daily life, but there was no disagreement among them in the knowledge of I’tiqad.”

Allamah Sayyid Ahmad at-Tahtawi (d. 1231/1816; Rahimahullah)

Allamah Sayyid Ahmad at-Tahtawi, a great Hanafi Fiqh scholar of Egypt, wrote on the subject of ‘Zabayih’ in his Hashiya al-Durr al- Mukhtar:

According to the majority of scholars of Tafsir, the verse, ‘They parted into groups in the religion,’ referred to the people of bid’ah who would arise in this Ummah. In a Hadith reported by Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), Rasulullah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) said to Aisha (radhiyallahu anha), ‘The verse about the partitions into groups in the religion refers to the people of bid’ah and to the followers of their nafs who would arise in this Ummah.’ Allah declared in the 153rd verse of Surah Al-An’am,‘This is My Straight path, so follow it! Follow not other ways, lest you be parted from His way!’ (that is, Jews, Christians, and other heretics departed from the right path; you should not part like them!). In the 103rd verse of Surah Al-Imran, Allah declares, ‘And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah, and do not separate!’ (see later for a brief commentary). Some scholars of Tafsir said that Allah’s rope meant Jama’ah, unity. The command, ‘Do not separate’, shows that it is so and the Jama’ah are the possessors of Fiqh and Ilm (knowledge).

One who descents from Fuqaha (scholars of Fiqh) as much as a span falls into heresy, becomes deprived of Allah’s help and deserves Hell, because the Fuqaha have been on the right path and have held on to the Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) and on to the path of al– Khulafa ar-Rashideen, the Four caliphs (alayhim ar ridhwan). 
As-Sawad al-Azam, that is, the majority of the Muslims, are on the path of Fuqaha. Those who depart from their path will burn in the fire of Hell. O believers! Follow the unique group which is protected against Hell! And this group is the one that is called Ahl as-Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah. For, Allah’s help, protection and guidance are for the followers of this group, and His wrath and punishment are for those who dissent from this group. Today, this group of salvation comes together in the Four Madhhabs, namely the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali.”

It is very important to have unity in the Ummah, and to achieve this goal of unity it is incumbent that the whole Ummah has the correct and preserved Aqeedah of the Salaf as-salihin (alayhim ar ridhwan); since Allah will no doubt ask us about our Aqeedah if it is not in conformity with the divine revelation and what his Messenger (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) transmitted to us. The way of the Salaf as Salihin is the way of the saved sect of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah. And we should all know that the Jama’ah is the sect which has the most correct and united Aqeedah out of all other Jama’ahs. To know what is the real Jama’ah, one must look into the Qur’an and Hadith for evidence. If one was to look deeply in to this matter with an open and scholarly mind, one will come to the conclusion that this great Jama’ah is the one which is composed of the foremost scholars of Qur’anic commentary, Hadith, Fiqh and other Islamic sciences; it is no doubt the Jama’ah which has had the greatest following throughout Islamic history in terms of scholars and laity, and this alone is the main body of Islam which represents the views of the great mass of believers (as-Sawad al-Azam) as we shall see from the Hadith evidence below. Let us now see what Allah ta’ala has said about unity and schism in the Holy Qur’an.


(1) Surah al-Imran (3:103):

“And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah and be not divided.”

Imam Sayf ad-Din al-Amidi (d. 631/1233; Rahimahullah) said in his al-Ihkam pg. 295 with regard to the above Qur’anic verse: “Allah has forbidden separation, and disagreement with consensus (‘Ijma‘) is separation.” Hence, if Allah has forbidden separation then surely we must all unite on the unanimously accepted Aqeedah of our pious predecessors. And I have already quoted Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (Rahimahullah) as saying: “This unanimity (in aqeedah) was transmitted by the two great Imam’s Abu’l Hasan al-Ashari and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (rahimahumullah) and the scholars who followed their path.”

Mahmoud Ayoub wrote in The Qur’an and Its Interpreters (vol. II, 275-6): “Ibn Kathir (d. 774/1373; Rahimahullah) interprets the ‘rope of God‘ in verse 103 as ‘The covenant of God,’ citing in support of this interpretation verse 112 below (in Surah al-Imran). Another view, he adds, is that ‘The rope of God’ here refers to the Qur’an, as reported on the authority of Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) who said that ‘The Qur’an is God’s strong rope and the straight way.’ He cites another Hadith, on the authority of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (radhiyallahu anhu), where the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) declared, ‘The book of God is God’s rope stretched from heaven to earth.’ Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) reported -that the Messenger of God (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Surely this Qur’an is God’s strong rope, manifest light, and beneficial source of healing. It is protection for those who hold fast to it, and a means of salvation for those who abide by it.’

Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) interprets the injunction, ‘and do not be divided’ to mean strict adherence to unity among Muslims. He reports on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘God will be pleased with three acts from you, and wrathful with three others. He wishes that you worship Him alone without associating any thing with Him; that you hold fast all together to the rope of God and be not divided; and that you show loyalty to those whom God has set in authority.’ (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, II, pp. 83-4)

Qurtubi (d. 671/1273; Rahimahullah) agrees with Tabari (d. 923 CE; Rahimahullah) and Ibn Kathir regarding the meaning of ‘the rope of God‘ in verse 103. He cites with approval the famous traditionist Ibn al-Mubarak (d. 181/797; Rahimahullah) who said, ‘Surely unity is God’s rope; therefore hold fast all together to ‘its firm handle’ (see Qur’an 2:256).’ Qurtubi adds that ‘God enjoins concord and forbids dissension, for in disunity is perdition, and in unity salvation.’

Qurtubi offers two possible interpretations of the phrase ‘And be not divided‘: ‘Be not divided in your religion as were the Jews and Christians divided in their religions’ and ‘Be not divided in following different false opinions and purposes. Rather, be brothers in God’s religion.’ As a jurist, Qurtubi observes that, ‘There is no indication in this verse of the prohibition of disagreement in the branches (furu‘) [of fiqh] as this in reality is not dissension. This is because true dissention is one wherein concord and unity become virtually impossible.

As for disagreement in judgements based on personal effort (ijtihad), it is due to differences in deducing obligations (fara’id) and the minutiae of law.’ On page 279, Imam al-Razi (d. 606/1210; Rahimahullah) was quoted as saying in conclusion to his commentary on the above verse: ‘If a person going down into a well must hold fast to a rope in order that he may not fall in, so also the Book of God, His covenant, religion and obedience to Him, as well as unity and harmony among the people of faith are means of security for anyone who holds fast to them from falling into the bottom of Hell.'”

(2) Surah al-Imran (3:105):

“And be not like those who separated and disputed after the clear proofs had come unto them: For such there is an awful doom.”

(3) Surah al-Imran (3:110):

“Ye are the best community that has been raised up for mankind. Ye enjoin the good and forbid the evil; and ye believe in Allah”

(4) Surah Al-An’am (6:159):

“As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, thou has no part in them in the least: Their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.”

(5) Surah Al-Mu’minun (23:52-53):

“And verily this Ummah of yours is a single Ummah and I am your Lord, so keep your duty unto Me. But they have broken their religion among them into sects, each sect rejoicing in its tenets.”

(6) Surah Al-Rum (30:32):

“Those who split up their Religion, and become Sects, each sect exulting in its tenets.”

(7) Surah Al-Nisa (4:115):

“He that disobeys the Apostle (Muhammad) after guidance has been made clear to him and follows a way other than that of the believers, We appoint for him that unto which he himself hath turned, and expose him unto Hell – a hapless journey’s end!”

(8) Surah Al-An’am (6:153):

“This is My Straight path, so follow it. Follow not other ways, lest ye be parted from His way. This has he ordained for you, that ye may ward off (evil).”


Imam Abu Dawood

Imam Abu Dawood (Rahimahullah) has quoted the well known Hadith concerning the division of the Muslim Ummah into seventy- three sects in his Sunan (3/4580, English edn):

Abu Amir al- Hawdhani said, “Mu’awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan (radhiyallahu anhu) stood among us and said, ‘Beware! The Apostle of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) stood among us and said’: ‘Beware! The People of the Book before (you) were split up into 72 sects, and this community will be split up into 73, seventy-two of them will go to Hell and one of them will go to Paradise, and it is the majority group (Jama’ah).

Another version of the above Hadith has been reported by Hafiz Ibn Kathir (Rahimahullah) in The Signs Before The Day of Judgement (pg. 14):

“Awf ibn Malik reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘The Jews split into 71 sects: one will enter Paradise and 70 will enter Hell. The Christians split into 72 sects: 71 will enter Hell and one will enter Paradise. By Him in Whose hand is my soul, my Ummah will split into 73 sects: one will enter Paradise and 72 will enter Hell.’ Someone asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), who will they be?’ He replied, ‘The main body of the Muslims (al-Jama’ah).’

Awf ibn Malik (radhiyallahu anhu) is the only one who reported this Hadith, and its isnad is acceptable.” And in another version of this Hadith the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) goes on to say that the saved sect,

…Are those who follow my and my Sahaba’s path” (Tirmidhi,vol. 2, pg. 89)

Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad al-Sirhindi (d. 1034/1624; Rahimahullah) who is regarded by many people in the Indian sub-continent as a great renovator of the Tenth Islamic Century (Mujaddid alf Thani) wrote in his Maktubat (Vol. 3, Letter 38):

“It was declared in a Hadith that this Ummah would part into 73 groups, 72 of which would go to Hell. This Hadith informs us that the 72 groups will be tormented in the Fire of Hell. It does not inform us that they will remain in torment eternally. Remaining in the torment of Hell Fire eternally is for those who do not have Faith. That is, it is for disbelievers. The 72 groups, on account of their corrupt beliefs, will go to Hell and will burn as much as the corruptness of their beliefs. One group, the 73rd, will be saved from Hell Fire because their belief is not corrupt. If among the members of this one group there are those who committed evil deeds and if these evil deeds of theirs have not been forgiven through repentance or intercession, it is possible that these, too, will burn in Hell as much as their sins. All of those who are in the 72 groups will go to Hell. But none of them will remain in Hell eternally. Not all of those who are in this one group will go to Hell. Of these only those who have committed evil deeds will go to Hell. The 72 reported groups of bid’ah, which will go to Hell, should not be called disbelievers, because they are Ahl al-Qibla (people of the Qibla in prayer). But, of these, the ones who disbelieve those facts in the Deen that are indispensably required to be believed, as well as those who deny the rules of the Shari’ah which every Muslim has heard and knows, become disbelievers.”

In another letter (vol. 1, letter 80) he said:

“There is no doubt whatsoever that the sect that made conforming to the conduct of the Prophet’s Companions (radhiyallahu anhum) necessary, that alone is the Ahl as Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah.”

Shaykh Abdal Qadir al-Jilani (d. 561/1166; Rahimahullah) stated in his commentary to the above Hadith in Ghunyat at-Talibin (pg. 90), “The Believer should adapt himself to the Sunnah and to the Jama’ah. The Sunnah is the way shown by Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). The Jama’ah is composed of the things done unanimously by the Sahaba who lived in the time of the four caliphs called Khulafa’ ar-Rashidin (and others in their path). A Muslim must prevent the multiplication of the men of bid’ah and keep away from them, and should not greet them (as given in many Hadith on this issue). Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimahullah), the Imam of our Madhhab, said that greeting a man of bid’ah meant loving him since it had been declared in a Hadith, ‘Disseminate (your) greeting (salaam)! Love one another in this way!” He also said (pg. 143): “The title, Ahl as-Sunnah, which the innovators have expressed for themselves is not appropriate for them.”

Ibn Taymiyya

Ibn Taymiyya hit the right point when he described those who are the real Sunni’s in his Aqeedat-il-Wasitiyyah (pg. 154):

Their creed is the religion of Islam which was sent to the world by Allah through the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). But the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘My Ummah will get divided into 73 sects and each one will go to Hell save one and that one is the Jama’at.‘ Also in one Hadith he said, ‘They are those people who will follow this path which I and my Sahaba follow today.‘ Therefore they have caught hold of Islam unalloyed from every adulteration and these are the people of Ahl as-Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah. This group includes the truthful, the martyrs and the virtuous; it includes the minarets of guidance, lamps in the darkness and owners of such superiorities and virtues who have been already mentioned. It includes the saints and also those Imams on whose guidance Muslims are unanimous. It is this successful group about which the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has said: ‘One group from my Ummah will always remain dominant with truth; the opponents will never be able to harm its members or afflict them upto the Doomsday.


Imam Muslim (Rahimahullah) has collected a number of variant Hadith on the saved sect. He has related a longer version of the last Hadith quoted above:

“Abdal Rahman ibn Shamasa al-Mahri said: ‘I was in the company of Maslama bin Mukhallad and Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-Aas (radhiyallahu anhu).’ Abdullah said, ‘The Hour shall come only when the worst type of people are left on the earth. They will be worse than the people of pre-Islamic days. They will get what ever they ask off Allah.’ While we were sitting Uqba ibn Amir came, and Maslama said to him, ‘Uqba, listen to what Abdullah says.’ Uqba said, ‘He knows, so far as I am concerned, I heard the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) say: A group of people from my Ummah will continue to fight in obedience to the Command of Allah, remaining dominant over their enemies. Those who will opose them shall not do them any harm. They will remain in this condition until the Hour over takes them.‘ (At this) Abdullah said, ‘Yes. Then Allah will raise a wind which will be fragrant like musk and whose touch will be like the touch of silk; (but) it will cause the death of all (faithful) persons, not leaving behind a single person with an iota of faith in his heart. Then only the worst of men will remain to be overwhelmed by the Hour.'” (Sahih Muslim, 3/4721, English ed’n, see also Sahih al-Bukhari, 9/414, English ed’n)

Imam Nawawi

Imam Nawawi (d. 676/1277, Rahimahullah) said in his Sharh Muslim (vol. 2, pg. 143):

“The group of people (mentioned in the above Hadith) consists of scholars, jurisprudents, authorities on Hadith, those who enjoin Good and forbid Evil and all such persons who do good deeds. Such righteous persons may be found spread all over the world.”


Imam al-Tirmidhi (Rahimahullah) said:

“The explanation of al- Jama’ah according to the people of knowledge: They are the people of Fiqh, knowledge and Hadith.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 4/2167; Ahmad Shakir ed’n)


Imam Bukhari (Rahimahullah) stated in his Sahih (vol. 9, chapter. 10, English ed’n),

“The statement of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam): ‘A group of my followers will remain victorious in their struggle in the cause of the Truth.’ Those are the religious(ly) learned men (Ahl ul-Ilm).”


Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Rahimahullah) said about this group:

“If it is not the people of Hadith, then I do not know who they may be.” (Sahih Muslim Sharif-Mukhtasar Sharh Nawawi, vol. 5, pg. 183, W. Zaman )


Qadi Iyad (Rahimahullah) said in ash-Shifa (pg. 188):

“In a Hadith from Abu Umama (radhiyallahu anhu), the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, `A group of my community will remain constant to the truth, conquering their enemy until the command of Allah comes to them while they are still in that condition.‘ He was asked, ‘Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), where are they?’ He replied, `In Jerusalem.'”


Imam Muslim (Rahimahullah) has related in his Sahih (3/4553) under the chapter heading ‘Instruction to stick to the main body of the Muslims in the time of the trials and warning against those inviting people to disbelief’, a Hadith on the authority of Hudhaifa ibn al-Yaman (radhoyallahu anhu), who said:

“People used to ask the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) about the good times, but I used to ask him about (the) bad times fearing lest they overtake me. I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, we were in the midst of ignorance and evil, and then God brought us this good (time through Islam). Is there any bad time after this good one?’ He said, ‘Yes‘. I asked, ‘Will there be a good time again after that bad time?’ He said, ‘Yes, but therein will be a hidden evil.‘ I asked, ‘What will be the evil hidden therein?’ He said, ‘(That time will witness the rise of) the people who will adopt ways other than mine and seek guidance other than mine. You will know good points as well as bad points.’ I asked, ‘Will there be a bad time after this good one?’ He said, ‘Yes. (A time will come) when there will be people standing and inviting at the gates of Hell. Whoso responds to their call, they will throw them into the fire.’ I said, ‘Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), describe them for us.’ He said, ‘All right. They will be a people having the same complexion as ours and speaking our language.’ I said, `Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), what do you suggest if I happen to live in their time?’ He said, ‘You should stick to the main body of the Muslims and their leader’ I said, ‘If they have no (such thing as the) main body of the Muslims and have no leader?’ He said, ‘Separate yourself from all these factions, though you may have to eat the roots of trees until death comes to you and you are in this state.’

The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“A group of people from my Ummah will continue to fight in obedience to the command of Allah, remaining dominant over their enemies. Those who will oppose them shall not do them any harm. They will remain in this condition until the Hour overtakes them.”

(4) Abu Hurayra (radhiyallahu anhu) reported the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as saying:

Who (ever) defected from the obedience (to the Amir) and separated from the main body of the Muslims – then he died in that state – would die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahiliyya (pre-Islamic ignorance). And he who is killed under the banner of a man who is blind (to the cause for which he is fighting), who gets flared up with family pride and fights for his tribe – is not from my Ummah, and whoso from my followers attacks my followers (indiscriminately) killing the righteous and the wicked of them, sparing not (even) those staunch in faith and fulfilling not his obligation towards them who have been given a pledge (of security), is not from me.” (Sahih Muslim, 3/4557 & 4555; English ed’n)

Imam al-Bayhaqi

Imam al-Bayhaqi (d. 458/1066; Rahimahullah) stated in his: The Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith (pg. 42-3), under the fiftieth branch of faith (50 – Holding firmly to the position of the majority):

“Allah Most High has said: Hold fast, all together, to the rope of God, and do not be disunited. [3:103].

Imam Muslim (Rahimahullah) relates on the authority of Abu Hurayra (radhiyallahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Whoever is disobedient, and departs from the majority, and then dies, has died in a state of Jahiliyya.’

He also relates the following Hadith on the authority of Ibn Shurayh (radhiyallahu anhu):

After I am gone, there will come days of corruption and turmoil. When you see people damaging the unity of the Community of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), you must fight them, whoever they may happen to be.

Abdal Hakim Murad

Abdal Hakim Murad (the translator of the above book) said in the footnote to the fiftieth branch of faith:

“Orthodoxy in Islam is defined as the doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna wa’l Jama’ah, the People of the Sunna and the Community. To know whether a doctrine or practise is orthodox or heretical, the Muslim is required to find out whether it is recognised by the majority of Muslim scholars (see later for Imam al-Munawi’s commentary). Thus even without looking into their theology, he will know that sects such as the Isma’ilis, the Khariji’s, the Wahhabi’s, the Twelver Shi’a and others (not to mention anti-Islamic groupings such as the Ahmadiya and the Bahais) are to be repudiated.'”

Ibn Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) reported the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as saying:

One who found in his Amir [the ruler of the Islamic state, holding the station of caliphate] something which he disliked should hold his patience, for one who separated from the main body of the Muslims even to the extent of a handspan and then he died, would die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahiliyya.” (Sahih Muslim, 3/4559; English ed’n & Sahih al-Bukhari, 9/257; English ed’n)

Imam’s Ahmad and Abu Dawood (rahimahumullah) said that Abu Dharr (radhiyallahu anhi) reported the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as saying:

He who separates from the main body (of the Ummah) by even a hand’s breadth from the Community he throws off Islam from his neck.
(Mishkat-ul-Masabih, 1/185 & Sunan Abu Dawood, 3/4740)

The following five Hadith have been mentioned by the great scholar of Hadith, Hafiz Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597/1201; Rahimahullah) in his Talbis Iblis in the section entitled: Adherence to the Sunnah and Jama’ah. A section of the above work has been translated by Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips in to English, on pages 4-5.

Hafiz Ibn al-Jawzi was noted for his exceptional stringency in accepting Hadith, and he has been known to have declared some of the Hadith in Bukhari/Muslim to be Da’eef, as well as declaring some sound Hadith to be fabricated! Nevertheless, I would like to make it clear to those readers who are unaware of the status of Bilal Philips, that he has heavily depended on the classifications of al-Albani in most of his books! If the esteemed reader is convinced that the errors of al-Albani are most apparent, then one should beware of the status of those Hadiths that have been used by Bilal Philips (on account of his accepting al-Albani’s classifications). Bilal Philips seems to be a leading critic of Taqleed who has been swept away by the tide of modern day “Salafiyyism”; and it seems that he has ‘blindly’ accepted the classifications of al-Albani without himself reverifying al-Albani’s classifications! I ask you, is this not a clear cut example of Taqleed? If it has been proven that al-Albani’s classifications are unreliable, would it not be just for Bilal Philips to re-verify all the Hadiths that have been authenticated by al-Albani and correct any misclassifications in his books? Allah know’s best.

(7) ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that on one occasion Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) stood up among them and said, “Whoever among you desires the centre of paradise should keep close to the Jama’ah for the Devil closely accompanies the solitary individual and is more distant from two.” (Collected by Imam Tirmidhi)

(8) And ‘Arfajah (radhiyallahu anhu) reported (Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu alayhi wasallam, as saying): “that Allah’s hand is over the Jama’ah and the Devil is with whoever deviates from the Jama’ah.” (Collected by Imam al-Tabarani )

(9) ‘Abdullah ibn Masood; (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that once Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) drew a line in the dust with his hand and said, “This is the straight path of Allah.” Then he drew a series of lines to the right of it and to the left and said, “Each of these paths has a devil at its head inviting people to it.” He then recited (Qur’an 6:153), “Verily this is my straight path so follow it and do not follow the (twisted) paths.” (Collected by Ahmad, Nisai and Darimi; see Mishkat ul-Masabih, 1/166)

(10) Mu’adh ibn Jabal (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “The Devil is like a wolf among humans as a wolf is among sheep; it snatches the stray sheep. So beware of the paths which branch off and adhere to the Jama’ah, the masses and the masjid.” (Collected by Imam Ahmad; NB- The version given in Mishkat, 1/184, also on the authority of Imam Ahmad does not have the addition ‘the masses and the masjid.’)

(11) And Abu Dharr (radhiyallahu anhu) reported from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that, “Two are better than one, and three better than two; so stick to the Jama’ah for verily Allah, Most Great and Glorious, will only unite my nation on guidance.‘ (Collected by Ahmad )

(12) Al-Harith al-Ashari (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “I bid you to do five things: to remain attached to the main body (Jama’ah of Muslims), listen to your ruler (the Khalif of the Islamic state) and obey him, and migrate, and fight in the way of Allah. And he who detaches himself from the main body of the Muslims (Jama’ah) to the extent of one span of hand, he in fact, throws off the yoke of Islam from his neck, and he who calls with the call of ignorance, he is one from the denizens of Hell beyond doubt, even if he observes fast and says prayers and considers himself as a Muslim.” (Musnad Ahmad, vide: Selection from Hadith, no. 288; by A.H. Siddique)

(13) Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as saying: “Follow the great mass (as- Sawad al-Azam) for he who kept himself away from it, in fact would be thrown in Hell Fire.” (Ibn Majah; vide: Mishkat, 1/174, by A.H. Siddiqui). The translator of Mishkat-ul-Masabih (A.H. Siddiqui, pg. 113) said in the footnote to the last Hadith: “There is a good deal of difference of opinion as to what the term Sawad al-Azam implies. The overwhelming majority of the scholars are of the view that As- Sawad al-Azam means the largest group of the learned scholars and pious persons whose opinions are held in high esteem in Islam.”

Imam al-Shafi’i

The Imam said in his Risala (pg. 252-3): “Sufyan (ibn Uyayna) told us from Abd al-Malik ibn Umayr from Abd al-Rahman ibn Abd Allah ibn Masood from his father, that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, `God will grant prosperity to His servant who hears my words, remembers them, guards them, and hands them on. Many a transmitter of law is no lawyer (faqih) himself, and many may transmit law to others who are more versed in the law than they. The heart of a Muslim shall never harbour vindictive feelings against three: sincerity in working for God; faithfulness to Muslims; and conformity to the community of believers (Jama’ah) – their call shall protect (the believers) and guard them from (the Devil’s) delusion.'” (vide: Sunan al-Darimi, vol. 1, pp. 74-6; Ibn Hanbal, vol. 6, pg. 96;
Musnad al-Shafi’i, vol. 1, pg. 16; Mishkat-ul-Masabih, 1/228; and al-Bayhaqi in his al-Madkhal ). Imam al-Shafi’i said (pg. 253): “The Apostle’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) order that men should follow the Muslim community is a proof that the I’jma‘ (consensus) of the Muslims is binding.”

Imam al-Shafi’i (Rahimahullah) stated in al-Risala (pg. 286-7): “And Sufyan (also) told us from `Abd Allah ibn Abi Labid from `Abd Allah ibn Sulayman ibn Yasar from his father, who said: `Umar ibn al-Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) made a speech at al-Jabiya in which he said: The Apostle of God (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) stood among us by an order from God, as I am now standing among you, and said: Believe my Companions, then those who succeed them (the Successors), and after that those who succeed the Successors; but after them untruthfulness will prevail when people will swear (in support of their saying) without having been asked to swear, and will testify without having been asked to testify. Only those who seek the pleasure of Paradise will follow the community, for the devil can pursue one person, but stands far away from two. Let no man be alone with a woman, for the devil will be third among them. He who is happy with his right (behaviour), or unhappy with his wrong behaviour, is a (true) believer.‘” (see also Musnad al-Shafi’i, vol. 2, pg. 187; and Ibn Hanbal, vol. 1, pg. 112-13, 176-81). Imam al-Shafi’i said in conclusion to this Hadith: “He who holds what the Muslim community (Jama’ah) holds shall be regarded as following the community, and he who holds differently shall be regarded as opposing the community he was ordered to follow. So the error comes from separation; but in the community as a whole there is no error concerning the meaning of the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and analogy (qiyas).”

Imam Hakim

Imam Hakim (1/116) has related a Sahih Hadith from the Prophet (sallallaahu alqyhi wasallam) in the following words: “My Ummah shall not agree upon error.”

Imam al-Tirmidhi

Imam al-Tirmidhi (4/2167) reported on the authority of Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), who said: “Verily my Ummah would not agree (or he said the Ummah of Muhammad ) would not agree upon error and Allah’s hand is over the group and whoever dissents from them departs to Hell.” (see also Mishkat, 1/173)

Imam al-Azizi

Imam al-Azizi (d. 1070/1660; Rahimahullah) quoted Imam al- Munawi’s (d. 1031/1622; Rahimahullah) commentary to the last Hadith in his al-Siraj al-munir sharh al-Jami al-saghir (3.449), as follows:- Allah’s hand is over the group (al-Azizi:) Munawi says, “Meaning his protection and preservation of them, signifying that the collectivity of the people of Islam are in Allah’s fold, so be also in Allah’s shelter, in the midst of them, and do not separate yourselves from them.” The rest of the Hadith, according to the one who first recorded it (Tirmidhi), is:- and whoever descents from them departs to hell.

Meaning: that whoever diverges from the overwhelming majority concerning what is lawful or unlawful and on which the Community does not differ has slipped off the path of guidance and this will lead him to hell.” (vide: The Reliance of the Traveller, pg. 25)

The Schools of Islamic Fiqh (Jurisprudence): A Brief Introduction

[Translated and partly prepared by: Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi, Maulana Afzal Qasmi, Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi]

Meaning of Fiqhi Schools

Fiqhi School is basically the name of different trends which have been adopted to derive solution of matters from the principal Shariah sources. The concept of Fiqhi schools was not prevalent in the period of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and the companions as it is today, but the basis of these trends was found and they were known in the period of the companions. These trends turned in to the form of Fiqhi schoos in the last period of the Sahaba (companions) and their successors. These trends got more accurate and new building erected at the foundation of separate rules and regulations.

Background of Fiqhi Schools

In the previous lines, it has been mentioned that at the time of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) sometimes two different companions used to differ in understanding the saying of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). In these examples, there was possibility of taking different meanings since these examples were related to non-principal and partial matters. There is no place for such difference of understanding in the basic principles of religion. Therefore, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) held right two opposite meanings of a guidance. Even, in the Glorious Qur’an, at many places there was possibility of taking various meanings. This difference of understanding sometimes was based on the word having two opposite meanings. Sometimes, the word had two meanings; one real and the other metaphor.

Sometimes, the outer condition of the word gave a meaning and after contemplating the word or looking in to the context it gave another meaning. Some of the companions have adopted the first trend, so they used to stick to the outer meaning of the verses and Hadith. While some others tried to go in to the depth of the matter keeping the spirit of the Shariah and context in their view, and they used to issue orders accordingly. There is a famous account that once the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) ordered a group of the companions to offer the prayer of Asr in the locality of the Banu Quraizah. The companions went out and the time of ‘Asr approached in the mid way. A group of the companions said that the Prophet meant that we reach quickly, so they offered ‘Asr prayer in the mid way. While the rest, acting upon the outer meaning of the order, first reached to Banu Quraizah and they could only offer ‘Asr prayer after Isha. When the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was apprised of the incident, he objected none of the two.
When the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) left for his heavenly abode, the companions faced new issues about which there were no clear orders in the Glorious Quran and Hadith. So, the companions contemplated in to those matters in the light of the Quran and Hadith. As before, this contemplation was of two kinds and their opinions differed because of the difference in trends. The Tab’een (those who followed the companions) learnt the knowledge of Islam from the companions and thus theses trends shifted to them. The new issues and matters came up in abundance and they solved them according to their trends. Basically, it was this difference of trends which was associated with some other reasons that caused the formation variant jurisprudential interpretations. These Fiqhi scholars were in different cities of the Muslim rule and each had a circle of students and followers around him. Thus, their interpretations got the shape of a Fiqhi Maslak.

Logic of the Prevalent Fiqhi Schools

In the beginning, there were many Fiqhi schools and their followers. But as the time passed by, the followers of some schools, under various reasons, got lesser and lesser. All of their Fiqhi opinions and interpretative judgments were not compiled, and they became a part of the history. Only some of their opinions are found in few books and writings of the early authors. The other Fiqhi schools succeeded to win such scholars and jurists who compiled all the opinions and findings the particular school. They set up the rules and regulations and propagated them. Later, these Fiqhi schools enjoyed such scholars of Fiqh who transferred this asset to their successors and rendered a marvelous service to safeguard this treasure. These schools survived. In Ahlus Sunnah, there are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali Fiqhi schools, while in the Shiites there are Ja’fariyah and Zaidiyah Fiqhs.


Introduction of Hanafi School of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence)

Fiqh Hanafi is the oldest of all four Sunni Fiqhi schools. The Fiqhi rules and matters were first compiled in this school. This school spread the most in the Islamic world and it is followed by a majority of the Muslims. This Fiqh is attributed to Imam Abu Hanifah and therefore is called Hanafi. It came in to being at Kufa and the compilation was carried out by collective research and interpretations. This Fiqh is originally based on the opinions, fatwas, judgments and thinking methods of the outstanding Companion Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) and fourth Caliph Hadhrat Ali bin Abu Talib (radhiyallahu anhu). These opinions, fatwas, judgments and thinking methods reached Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) by the channel of Hammad bin Abi Sulaiman, Hadhrat Ibrahim Nakh’ee and Hadhrat Alqamah. (Rahimahumullah) Imam Muhammad bin Hasan Shaibani (rahimahullah), the renowned disciple of Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah), recorded the thousands of mas’alas (issues or cases) in to form of a book which were derived and compiled by a panel of forty ablest students and friends of Imam Abu Hanifah. Imam Abu Yusuf Ya’qub bin Ibrahim Ansari, the other student of Imam Abu Hanifah, played a prominent role in compiling and spreading Fiqh Hanafi.

Imam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh)

The name of Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) is Nu’man bin Sabit. Abu Hanifah is his nickname. He was born in 80 Hijri in Kufa, a city of present day Iraq. As a profession, his family was cloth merchant and he also took in the same profession. A famous scholar of Kufa, Sha’bi apprehended his sharp-mindedness and sought him to achieve education. So, he joined the prominent circle of Hadhrat Hammad bin Abi Sulaiman (rahimahullah) and remained in his company till his demise. He benefited from all the scholars of Hadith in Kufa. He traveled Hijaz many a times and learned from the scholars and other educated ones. He benefited from Imam Malik (rahimahullah) in Madinah and Imam Malik (rahimahullah) also benefited from him. He had so many teachers; among them are senior Tab’een (the successor of the companions of Prophet) from Makkah, Madinah, Iraq and Syria. He himself was a Tab’ee, since he had the honour of visiting some companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), though he did not narrate from them. After the demise of Hadhrat Hammad (rahimahullah) , all of his students agreed that Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) , the youngest of them, is ablest among them to succeed their Shaikh. So they forced him to take over his position. This circle had the grand collection of the derivation method of Hadhrat Umar Farooq (radhiyallahu anhu), traditions and fatwas of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu), rulings and thoughts of Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) and the Hadiths and traditions of scholars of Hadith in Kufa. Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) was bestowed matchless mind, power of understanding and derivation, expansion and depth in knowledge. He had good moral characters and held a high position in fearing Allah, piety, righteousness and nobility. He was prosperous, so he used to spend wealth wholeheartedly in the path of Allah. He was famous in honesty in dealings and business. Because of these virtues, his circle of teaching earned fame far and wide and prominent scholars started to attend his classes where this generous teacher encouraged them and discussed the academic matters openly. He observed the Umayyad sultanate and witnessed its decline. The Abbasid caliphate was established before his eyes. Some Alvis also made armed efforts to gain power. Realizing them as able for the position, he extended oral and financial support to them. When the Abbasid caliphate was established the Caliph Mansoor offered him the post of Qazi, most probably, in order to test his loyalty to his government. He denied it and as a punishment was whipped lashes at public place and was put in to prison. He was then about seventy years old. He continued teaching while he was in prison and the punishment of whips also continued. Ultimately, he died in prison in 150 H in the month of Rajab and was buried in the graveyard of Khaizuran.

Method & Characteristics

The Fiqh of Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) bears this characteristic that it was collectively formulated. Hadhrat Umar Farooq (radhiyallahu anhu) populated the city of Kufa with keen interest and sent Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) as teacher and Qazi with this letter: “O people of Kufa! I prefer you on myself by sending Ibn Mas’ood.” So much of the companions turned to Kufa that it accommodated more than one thousand companions. Hadhrat Ali Murtaza (radhiyallahu anhu), the fourth Caliph of Islam, made it his capital. Later, this city competed the cities of Makkah and Madinah in Hadith and Islamic sciences. This city was newly built, therefore the new coverts, who were from urban background and brought with them an asset of Greek and Persian sciences and philosophy, inhabited there in a big number. The mixing of Arabs with Iranian culture created countless many new problems and issues. On the other side, there came up so many sects due to political differences and amalgamation of religions and nations. Some of them were secretly involved in anti-Islamic efforts. One of these phenomena was to forge false Hadith. Every sect forged Hadith to support its view. The cities of Hijaz; Makkah and Madinah, were secure from such kinds of special cases to an extent.

Hadhrat Umar Farooq (radhiyallahu anhu) had a special relation with Iraq. He himself sent Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) to Kufa. Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was given the title of Muhaddith from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) i.e. ‘his tongue and heart spoke according to the revelation‘. There were several verses in the Glorious Quran which were revealed according to his opinion. Hadhrat Umar Farooq (radhiyallahu anhu) prevented the companions to go out of Madinah in his time of caliphate. He formed two groups among the companions. He used to consult smaller group of the elder companions in special cases. And, whenever there happened to occur any important matter he used to assemble all of the companions for consultations. His style of derivation was that he used to deliberate in the depth of the Qur’an and Hadith, used to keep the objectives of Shariah and the interest of the Muslims before his eyes, observed the circumstances and used to reach a conclusion by collective decision. His interpretative judgments and Awwaliyaat (pioneering judgments) are well known, and they not only played a key role to enliven the Islamic Shariah in the wide Islamic caliphate but also provided a firm basis for his successors. This style of derivation was circulated in Kufa by Hadhrat Ali and Abdullah bin Mas’ood (rashiyallahu anhum). Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu)and his disciples, Alqamah and Ibrahim Nakh’ee (rahimahumullah), on one hand applied strict laws in accepting narrations so that no false Hadith is accepted. On the other hand, they avoided attributing Hadith directly to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and liked to narrate attributing to companions and Tab’eens lest an incorrect meaning is associated to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Thirdly, they applied their reasons and issued fatwas. These were the characteristics and styles that Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) inherited.

Collective Compilation of Fiqh

When Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) formed his penal to compile Fiqh he selected forty people from among his students. They were experts of Qur’anic exegesis, Hadith, Asma ur Rijal (complete record of the narrators), language, literature, logic, philosophy, analogy, history, mathematics and several other sciences. He himself had the experience of trade and marketing. He started this noble mission of compiling Fiqh. It was thus that a matter was presented before the panel and each member used to express his view, and he himself put his opinion. Sometimes, the discussion continued till a month on a single matter. When a decision was reached on he ordered to record it down. The matter was discussed in the light of Quran and Hadith. If they did not find any evidence in any of them, they turned to the sayings of the companions. Having failed they used to apply analogy. All the members also sometimes discussed analogy and some times discrete in legal matters. The conclusions of the discussion were written down in registers. Thus, the Mas’alas of Fiqh were compiled in a new order. This order was known as Fiqhi order; starting from chapter of prayers, dealings and ending at inheritance. It is said that thus 500,000 matters were compiled and 38000 matters of them were related to prayers.

Method of Derivation

Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) himself describes his method of derivation: “First of all I look in to the Noble Quran, then search the matter in the Hadith of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and take the narrations of the Faqeeh (jurist) narrators. If the matter is not found in the Quran and Hadith, then I turn to the sayings of the companions. If their opinions differ then I prefer any of them. If the opinions of the companions contradict the opinions of others I never go against the opinions of the companions. And, when it come to the opinions of Ibrahim Nakh’ee, Hasan Basari, Ibn Seereen, Saeed bin Musayyib and others then I also apply mind and interpret as they do.

Principle Books

After the collective compilation of the Fiqh matters, some companions of Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) wrote books. There is no book recorded on Fiqh by Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) . But, the books of his disciple Imam Muhammad Shaibani (rahimahullah) are considered to the first and foremost source of Hanafi Fiqh. In Fiqh Hanafi there are three types of books:

(1) Books of ‘Zahir Al-Riwayah’
(2) Books of ‘Nawadir’
(3) Fatawa and Waqiaat.

The contents of Zahir Al-Riwayah are most trusted ones. Zahir Al-Riwayah is a collection of six books written by Imam Muhammad (rahimahullah).

1. Al-Jami’ Al-Sageer: Eesa bin Aban and Muhammad bin Sama’ah narrated this book from Imam Muhammad (rahimahullah). In this book, Imam Muhammad (rahimahullah) narrated from Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) through Imam Abu Yusuf (rahimahullah) . But, this book does not contain proofs.

2. Al-Jami’ Al-Kabeer: This book is like the previous one, but it deals with the subjects in details.

3. Ziyadaat: This is the complementary of Al-Jame’ Al-Kabeer.

4. Al-Mabsoot: This is also known as ‘Al-Asl’. In this book, Imam Muhammad (rahimahullah) has collected the thousands of Mas’alas that were derived by Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) . This book deals with Ahadith that is followed by Mas’alas and the variant opinions of the contemporary Ulama.

5. Al-Siyar Al-Sageer: This book deals with the subject of Jihad and international laws.

6. Al-Siyar Al-Kabeer: This is his last Fiqhi book that was narrated by Abu Sulaiman Jauzjani.

Muhammad bin Ahmad Marwazi, known as Hakim Shahid, amassed all of Imam Muhammad’s (rahimahullah) books with the name of ‘Al-Kafi’ after the deletion of repeated matters.
Imam Sarkhasi has written its detailed commentary named as ‘Al-Mabsoot’.

Nawadir comprises the matters that are found in books other than the books of Imam Muhammad (rahimahullah) or in the books of Imam Abu Yusuf (rahimahullah) or Imam Hasan bin Ziyad (rahimahullah) . The collection of Nawadir consists of:

1. Harooniyaat: Imam Muhammad (rahimahullah) dictated it in the reign of Caliph Haroon Al-Rashid, this book is attributed to the Caliph.

2. Kisaniyaat: The narrations of his student Shoaib bin Sulaiman Kisani.

3. Ruqyaat: These are the matters that he expressed while he was Qazi in Ruqa area.

4. Kitabul Mujarrad: It is written by Hasan bin Ziyad.

5. Kitabul Amali: It is attributed to Imam Abu Yusuf (rahimahullah).

Nawazil were the Mas’alas about which there was no mention in the aforementioned books and the succeeding scholars of Fiqh derived solutions keeping these books before them. Kitab Al-Nawazil of Abul Lais Samarqandi, Majmoo’un Nawazil wal Waqi’aat of Natifi and Al-Waqi’aat of Sadr Shahid are well known among scholars.

                     MALIKI FIQH

Introduction of Maliki School of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence)

Fiqh Maliki came in to being after the Fiqh Hanafi in historical order. This was a good mixture of Hadith and reason. It was founded in the city of the Prophet Madinah and was called Maliki after the name of Imam Malik bin Anas (rahimahullah) . Madinah was the holy city where each and every house was enlightened with the rays of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). The citizens of Madinah had the honour to accompany the Prophet for a long time and they were directly addressed in the revelations and the matters of Shariah. When the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) left for his heavenly abode, there were a many companions who stayed at Madinah. Specially, the environment of Madinah was resounding with the traditions, narrations and fatawa of Hadhrat Umar, Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar, Hadhrat Aaishah, Hadhrat Zaid bin Sabit, Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhum) and so on. The Fiqh Maliki is based on the traditions and opinions of these companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

Imam Malik (rahimahullah)

Imam Malik bin Anas bin Malik bin Abu Aamir Asbahi (rahimahullah) was born in Madinah in 93 Hijra. His father, uncle and grandfather were great scholars of Hadith. His great grandfather Abu Aamir (radhiyallahu anhu) was a companion of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) who embraced Islam in second year of Hijra and participated all the battles with the Messenger except Badr. The environment of Madinah was resonating with the voices of Hadith when Imam Malik (rahimahullah) was born. The elder Tab’een and their students were busy in teaching and learning Hadith. Imam Malik (rahimahullah) obtained the knowledge of Hadith from senior Tab’een and their successors. First of all, he attended Abdur Rahman bin Hurmuz and benefited from him for a long period. From among his prominent teachers is Hadhrat Nafe’ (rahimahullah) , (the freed slave of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar and his academic heir), Muhammad bin Shihab Zuhri, Imam Jaffar bin Sadiq, Muhammad bin Yahya Ansari (rahimahumullah) etc. He gained the knowledge of Fiqh exclusively by Rabi’ah bin Abdur Rahman (rahimahullah) who is known as Rabi’atur Rai. Apart from these scholars of Hijaz, selected Ulama, Scholars of Hadith and sheikhs would come from every nook and corner of the Islamic world to Madinah at the time of Hajj and there would hold circles and classes of learning and narration. Imam Malik (rahimahullah) benefited greatly from these occasions and attended the circles of great scholars. When he reached the scholarly position that, according to Sufyan bin Uyainah (rahimahullah) , the foretelling of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) befitted him that ‘people will travel the world for knowledge and they will not find any scholar greater than that of Madinah’ and seventy other sheikhs certified that he became able to start his own circle, then he started his circle in the Mosque of the Prophet with a elegance that his circle was an ideal of staidness and sedateness. He would take bath and put on best of dresses, apply perfume and then would go to class. Scented woods and perfumes also were incensed occasionally. He used to give lectures with such an elegance that no noise was heard when the pages were turned. He would not tolerate even a petty improper movement or noise. When anyone posed him a question he used to answer him. Generally, his students used to read out and he would rectify the mistakes. His lectures were attended by many of his significant teachers as well.

Imam Malik (rahimahullah) was bestowed with special privileges. On one hand, he was a great Muhaddith and has a high and authentic chain of narration. Those who narrated from him were Rabi’atur Rai, Yahya bin Sa’eed and Musa bin Uqbah (from among his teachers), Imam Abu Hanifah, Sufyan Sauri, Lais bin Sa’d, Awza’ee, Imam Abu Yusuf etc (from among his coetaneous). Among his prominent students are Imam Shafi’i, Abdullah bin Mubarak, Imam Muhammad bin Hasan Shaibani (rahimahumullah) and so on. His second characteristic was that he was a great scholar of Islamic Jurisprudence and Mujtahid (authority to interpret in Islamic matters). Outstanding Ulama and Imams of Fiqh have benefited from his Fiqhi views. The Caliphs Haroon Al-Rasheed, Abu Jaffar Mansoor and Mahdi and Mamoon also attended his lectures. In the beginning of Abbasid period he also had to pass through troubled conditions. In the reign of Caliph Mansoor, when Nafs Zakiyyah raised the claim of caliphate, Imam Malik supported him. Mansoor disliked it and tried to look for a pretext to catch him. Imam Malik (rahimahullah) was of the opinion that forced Bay’ah (pledge of allegiance) conditioned with divorce is unacceptable. The Governor of Mansoor in Madinah asked him to avoid issuing such fatwas. When he did not stop he was so lashed at his naked arms that it was disjointed.

He stayed throughout of his life in Madinah. He was so conscious about the honour of Prophet’s city that he did not even like to ride at places where the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) set his steps. He died in Madinah in 179 Hijra and was buried in Jannat-ul Baqee, the famous graveyard of Madinah.

Characteristics & Salient Features

Fiqh Maliki has acquired this prominence that it is a beautiful composite of narration and reason. Imam Malik (rahimahullah) , on one hand, was a great Muhaddith and has absorbed the Ahadith of the companions of Madinah. He himself compiled the pioneering Hadith book named ‘Muwatta’. While, on the other hand, he is a torchbearer of Fiqh. He has recorded his Fiqhi views with the views and opinions of the companions and their successors. He derived Mas’alas keeping the commonweal and objective of Shariah in view. He gave commonwealth so importance that it is counted one of the characteristics of Fiqh Maliki.

The Style of Derivation

Imam Malik (rahimahullah) obtained knowledge staying in Madinah and there he started teaching. He benefited fully from the Ahadith and fatwas of companions in Madinah and get enlightenment from them. He was well aware of the Ahadith of the companions of Madinah and he used to trust them more. So this impression seems to overshadow Fiqh Maliki. The people of Medina witnessed the life of Prophet very closely and were directly trained by the Prophet. Hence, a general practice of people of Madinah was very important to him and he used to consider their practice as Ijma (consensus). He gave it such importance that if Khabr-e-Wahid (narration of single person) contradicted their practice he would not trust the Hadith of the single narrator.

The style of his derivation was that first of all he looked in to the Qur’an, then in the traditions of the Prophet. In traditions he used to rely more on the scholars of Hadith from Hijaz and practice of Madinite citizens. He preferred the fatwas and rulings of Hadhrat Umar and Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), then the fatwas of the other companions of Madinah and then those of the seven Scholars of Fiqh in Madinah. When he did not find any proof in Hadith he would turn to analogy. Also, he tried his level best to shut the door of evil sources. Instead of looking in the incident he would look in to the cause of the matter and prevent the causes that may lead to Haram or evil.

Fundamental Books

The first and foremost of Fiqh Maliki books is Muwatta of Imam Malik (rahimahullah) in which he collected Hadith with Fiqhi views. The second book is ‘Al-Mudawwnatul Kubra’ that contains matters that were answered by Imam Malik (rahimahullah) . First, his pupil Asad bin Furat (rahimahullah) recorded it from Abdur Rahman bin Qasim (rahimahullah) . But, Abdus Salam Saeed Sahnoon (rahimahullah) prepared a copy of it and presented it to bin Qasim (rahimahullah) who made corrections. This manuscript was known as Mudawwanah. Among the early books of Fiqh Maliki are ‘Al-Waziha’ of Abdul Malik bin Habib, ‘Utaibah’ of Muhammad bin Abu Bakr and ‘Muwaziyah’ of Muhammad bin Muwazi Misri. Among his promninent pupils are Abdullah bin Wahab, Abdur Rahman bin Qasim, Ashhab bin Abdul Aziz and Abdul Malik bin Majishoon.

                    SHAFI’I FIQH

Introduction of Shafi’i School of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence)

Fiqh Shafi’i is the third Fiqhi school of Islamic Jurisprudence attributed to Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah). Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah), on one hand, is a student of Imam Malik (rahimahullah) , he learnt the Fiqh Maliki and Hijazi thoughts from him. On the other hand, he attended Imam Muhammad bin Hasan Shaibani (rahimahullah) and learnt Fiqh Hanafi and Iraqi style of Fiqh. Apart from having acquired these two Fiqhs, he directly benefited from other Fiqhi trends and the Imams. So, he benefited from Umar bin Abu Salma (rahimahullah) , a disciple of Imam Awzai (rahimahullah) whose Fiqh was prevalent in Syria. In Egypt, the Fiqh of Imam Lais bin Sa’d (rahimahullah) was followed so he benefited from his disciple Yahya bin Hassaan (rahimahullah). Thus, the Fiqh Shafi’i accumulated all the virtues of all known Fiqhi schools and trends. Being a towering Islamic Jurist, Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) was a great Muahaddith. He had aquired the narrations of the Muhaddith of Makkah Sufyan bin Unainah (rahimahullah) and the narrations of Muhaddith of Madinah, Imam Malik bin Anas (rahimahullah). The Fiqh of Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) was founded at Makkah. Then, passing from Madinah, Iraq and Baghdad it arrived in Egypt. There it reached its peaks. As the Fiqh Hanafi is greatly impressed by the views of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood and Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallah anhum)and the Fiqh Maliki has heavily benefited from the opinions of Hadhrat Umar and Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar (radhiyallahu anhum), the Fiqh Shafi’i has drew inspiration from the views of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu).

Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah)

The name of Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) is Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Idrees. His family tree joins that of the Prophet at his ninth great-grandfather Muttalib bin Abd Munaf. He was a member of Quraish tribe. He was born in 150 Hijra in Gaza city of Palestine. This was not his native place but his father happened to visit that place and expired there. At the age of two, his mother took him to his ancestral home at Makkah. He learnt the eloquence and nuance of Arabic language in the tribe of Huzail and memorized the Holy Qur’an. Then, he associated himself with Muslim bin Khalid Zanji (rahimahullah), the Sheikh and Mufti of Haram, and completed his education. Then, he came in Madinah to Imam Malik (rahimahullah) to learn the Qur’an and Hadith. He had already memorized the Muwatta of Imam Malik. Imam Malik (rahimahullah) was very impressed by him. Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) was not financially well so he looked for a source of income. Eventually he was given the governorship of Najran. He went to Najran and discharged his duties with much honesty and trustworthiness. Haroon Al Rashid was then Caliph and he was disturbed on the account of Alvis’ uprisings. Somebody complained him that Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah)  tends to the Alvis. As a result, he was summoned to Baghdad and later discharged after clarification and some recommendations. Utilizing his presence in Iraq, he joined the circle of Imam Muhammad (rahimahullah) and learnt Hanafi Fiqh. He held discussions with Imam Muhammad (rahimahullah) and studied the books of Hanafi Fiqh. Then, he returned to Hijaz and stayed there for nine more years. In this span of time, he busied himself in learning and teaching. He used to meet the selected scholars of Islamic world who visited Makkah at the time of Hajj. He would narrate from them as they narrate from him. Again, he visited Baghdad. Till this time his method of derivation and interpretation had been set up. So, many scholars joined him and he dictated some of his books to them. These opinions are called ‘Old Maslak’ or Iraqi Views. After about two years, he left Baghdad and till that time there came up a team of scholars who followed his Fiqh. Thrice, he returned to Baghdad and after a few months’ stay proceeded to Egypt. Here, he reviewed his previous opinions and in many matters he retracted and adopted new opinions. In Egypt, he authored his new books and with the power of his interpretations spread his school of Islamic Jurisprudence. Previously, the Maliki School of Fiqh was prevailing in Egypt, but with the advent of Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) his Fiqhi School dominated there. The new books he compiled in Egypt and the new ideas which he expressed there are called ‘New Maslak’. He died in Egypt in 204 Hijri and was buried therein.

Characteristics & Distinguishing Qualities

Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) was luckiest among all the Imams that he was bestowed ‘comprehensiveness’. Due to stay in Hijaz. He gathered a pile of Ahadith and traditions. Makkah was his native place; he attended Imam Malik (rahimahullah) in Madinah. Then, he explored Iraq and Egypt. Thus, he became a great scholar of Hadith in his age. In the field of Fiqh, he learnt the derivation style of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) in Makkah and that of Hadhrat Umar and Abdullah bin Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) in Madinah from Imam Malik (rahimahullah) . Then, in Iraq he learnt Hanafi Fiqh from Imam Muhammad (rahimahullah) , in Syria he learnt the Fiqh of Imam Awza’ee (rahimahullah) and in Egypt the Fiqh of Imam Lais bin Sa’d (rahimahullah) . Besides, he was conferred with a tremendous power of imagination and accumulation and best of interpretative styles. So he absorbed the virtues of all the Fiqhi schools and avoided the positions that were not up to his standard. Till his age, the compilation of Hadith had begun and he himself had collected Ahadith exploring different cities. He observed that the other schools of Fiqh have applied analogy in matters about which Hadith is found so he extracted rulings according to Hadith. So, the tendency to support and defend Hadith overpowered him. The scholars of Fiqh in Iraq had conditioned that only the Ahadith will be accepted that are narrated by a number of people, and the scholars of Madinah were of the opinion that only the Ahadith will be accepted that match the practice of Madinite citizens. He opposed them and did not allow widening the area of analogy.

The Fiqh Shafi’i bear this characteristic that the founder of this Fiqh himself compiled a big part of his School. Thus, he recorded the rules and regulations and the derivation method of his Fiqhi School in the shape of a book. And, with his best power of interpretation he proved his methods and styles. The other distinct feature of this Fiqh is that the founder himself spread and publicized his Fiqh traveling in different cities. This was the reason that great Islamic scholars were among his followers and students. Great scholars of Hadith and compilers of Hadith books tended to this Fiqh and genius personalities of Islamic history followed it.

Principle Books

Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) himself authored the principle books of his Fiqh. His master piece of work is “Al-Umm‘ which he wrote in Baghdad and made some modifications while his stay in Egypt. His second famous book is ‘Al-Risalah‘ that deals with the rules of derivation and inference. It is the first book on the subject. This book contains the complete compiled principles of Fiqh Shafi’i. There are some other books that are attributed to him but the aforementioned two books are well known. The other significant books on Fiqh Shafi’i are ‘Mukhtasar‘ of Imam Buwaiti (student of Imam Shafi’i) and the book of Imam Muzani (rahimahullah) . Among his distinguished students are Rabi bin Sulaiman Muradi (rahimahullah) who narrated and propagated his books, Ismail bin Yahya Muzani (rahimahullah) whose books are considered base for Fiqh Shafi’i and Yusuf bin Yahya Buwaiti (rahimahullah) . The trio benefited from him in Egypt. His students in Iraq were Ibrahim bin Khalid Kalbi, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Hasan bin Muhammad bin Sabbah bin Zafrani and Ahmad bin Yahya bin Abdul Aziz Baghdadi (rahimahumullah).

Derivation Method

Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) has described his derivation method in his book ‘Al-Umm‘ in detail. Concisely, it is that first of all he looked in to the Glorious Qur’an and took the outer meaning unless there is a proof that the outer meaning is not intended. Then, he would turn to Hadith. In Hadith, he used to take Khabr Wahid (traditions narrated by one to one person). Then, he would opt for Ijma (consensus) and finally he would go for analogy.

                  HANBALI FIQH

Introduction of Hanbali School of Fiqh

This is fourth Fiqhi school of Ahlus Sunnah attributed to Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (rahimahullah) . Fiqh Hanbali falls in the last in historical order. The personality of Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) is more Muhaddith than Faqeeh, therefore this aspect seems to dominate his Fiqh. Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) who accumulated all the Fiqhi trends and interpretations, was his main teacher. He paid most of his attention to Hadith. So he became a genius Muahaddith and compiled the great encyclopedia of Hadith ‘Al-Musnad‘. Despite the fact that he was enjoying the virtues of Fiqh and Ijtehad, he did not like to compile his opinions and interpretations. But, it was destined that his Fiqhi School not only survived but also developed in the Islamic world as one of the dominant Fiqhi schools of Ahlus Sunnah. The Hanbali Fiqh was evolved and passed through all the stages of development in Iraq.

Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (rahimahullah)

His name is Ahmad bin Hanbal bin Hilal Zuhli Shaibani (rahimahullah). He was born in 164 Hijri in Baghdad and grew up in orphan-hood. His father was a prominent soldier, but he died in Imam Ahmad’s (rahimahullah) childhood. He was not financially strong, so he inherited hard work, determination and firmness against troubles. To begin with, he memorized the Glorious Qur’an. Then, he busied himself in learning in Baghdad and paid special attention to Hadith. He attended the famous Muhaddith of Baghdad Hushaim bin Bashir (rahimahullah). Then, he started traveling from place to place in search of Hadith. He journeyed five times to Basra and five times to Hijaz. He learnt from Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) in Baghdad and acquired the knowledge of Fiqh and Hadith. When Imam Shafi’i was leaving Baghdad he said that Ahmad bin Hanbal (rahimahullah) has a leading position in seven things: Quran, Hadith, Fiqh, Linguistics, asceticism, dispense with the world and piety. Similarly, he learnt from Sufyan bn Uyainah, Abu Bakr bin Ayyash, Waki bin Jarrah, Abdur Rahman bin Mahdi and Saeed bin Qattan (rahimahumullah) .The historic incident of his life is the matter of ‘Khalq-e-Quran‘ which he faced with determination and courage. The Caliph, Mamoon asked him to believe that Qur’an is a creation of Allah’ with so strictness that the most valorous people were shaken. But, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (rahimahullah) demanded proof from the Qur’an and Hadith. He was given severest of punishments and put in trouble for a long period, but he stood firm. This incident was written with golden ink in the History of safeguarding the beliefs and faith of Muslims.

Characteristics & Important Features

Fiqh Hanbali owns some characteristics as other Fiqhi schools have special qualities. Though, Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) was expert of Hadith and Fiqh, but Hadith was his favourite subject. Therefore, instead of compiling his Fiqhi views and fatwas he took interest in compiling Hadith. From his early age, he started compiling Hadith. His ‘Musnad‘ consists of more than forty thousand traditions. His interest in Sunnah was so established that it dominated his school of Fiqh. So, he regarded the Holy Qur’an and Hadith as basic source and benefited from the fatwas of the companions. Then, he would refer to Weak and Mursal Ahadith (that were not directly narrated by the Prophet). Finally, he resorted to analogy.

The main characteristic of Fiqh Hanbali is that they, unlike other Fiqhi Schools, have regarded wisdom (Hikmat) more important than reason (Illat). They have utilized the rule of ‘Isteshab‘ which means that the already proved matter will be maintained until there happens something contradictory. Then, they have the principles of ‘public interest’ and ‘shutting down the door of evils’.

Principle Books

As mentioned above, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (rahimahullah) did not like to compile his Fiqhi opinions and interpretative judgments. But, his able students, among whom are his two sons as well; Salih bin Ahmad and Abdullah bin Ahmad (rahimahumullah) , who recoded it. The most brilliant among his students are Abu Bakr Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hani, Ahmad bin Hajjaj Marwazi and Ishaq bin Ibrahim known as Ibn Rahwaih (rahimahumullah) . The trio have authored ‘Kitabus Sunan‘ in Fiqh. But, the credit of recording and compiling all the fatwas and views of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal goes to Abu Bak Khallal who compiled his fatwas in two hundred parts. This was later summarized by Abul Qasim Kahrqi and Abdul Aziz bin Jaffar Ghulam Khallal. The summary of Kharqi earned so popularity that three hundred commentaries were written on it, among which the ‘Al-Mughni‘ of Ibn Qudamah (rahimahullah) stands out as most distinguished one.

Style of Derivation

Imam Ahmad’s (rahimahullah) style of derivation was so that he used to put the Qur’an and Hadith foremost. Thereafter, he preferred the fatwas of the companions. Then, he would turn to Weak and Mursal Ahadith (that were not directly narrated by the Prophet). At last, he resorted to analogy. To him analogy was the last option in unavoidable circumstances. He used to state: I like Weak Hadith in comparison to applying reason.


The Position of the Hands in Salaat [Hanafi view]

[By Maulana Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Yusuf]


Upon entering some masjids, a person finds a multitude of different people. He observes some standing in prayer with their hands clasped together beneath the navel, some with their hands folded on the chest, and some with their hands just beneath thechest. He also sees a few praying with their hands at their sides.

After observing such a scene, the question that very often arises in the mind of these observes is: “What is the correct method of placing the hands while in prayer??” or “Where did the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) place his hands??”The following discussion will seek to answer these questions and determine the Sunnah (and most preferred) method of positioning the hands while standing in prayer.

The first point needs to be clarified here is that all the positions mentioned in the hadiths are permissible, and the difference of opinion is only concerning which is the most preferable method out of them.

The second point is that there are very few rigorously authenticated [Sahih] hadiths concerning this issue, and most of the reports which explain the different ways of positioning the hands in salat have been classified as extremely weak or slightly defective. This makes the issue a bit more complicated than others. Nonetheless, it is hoped that by the end of this topic, the sunnah and more preferable method of positioning the hands in salat will become evident.

The First Difference of Opinion

The first difference of opinion is concerning whether the hands should be clasped together or not. Imam Malik Rahamtullah Alaih’s more popular opinion, as related by Ibn al-Qasim, is that the hands should be left hanging at the sides. A second view of his, related by Ibn al-Mundhir, is that the hands should be brought together and placed on the body.

Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi’i and Imam Ahmad (rahimahumullah), as well as the majority of scholars, are of the opinion that the hands should be clasped together and not left to hang at the side. The great Maliki scholar Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (rahimahullah) states regarding this:

There is nothing reported from the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) which contradicts this [majority opinion], and this is the unanimous view of all the Companions and Followers [tabi’in] (Awjaz al-masalik 2:116)

The Second Difference of Opinion

Now, among those of the latter view, there is a difference of opinion as to exactly where on the body the hands should be positioned after clasping them together. Imam Abu Hanifa and Abu Ishaq al-Marwazi (rahimahumullah) from the Shafi’i school assert that the hands should be positioned below the navel. Imam Muhammad bin Idrees al- Shafi’i’s view, according to al-Wasit and Kitab al-Umm, is that they should ve positioned beneath the chest. This is his most popular opinion. A second opinion of his as mentioned, as mentioned in al-Hawi, is that the hands should be placed directly on the chest.

There are three opinions related from Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (rahmatullah alaih),the first of which is similar to that of Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alaih). Ibn Hubayra said this was his more popular opinion. Imam Ahmad rahmatullah alaih’s second opinion is similar to that of Imam Shafi’i rahmatullah alaih, and the third opinion is that a person has the choice of either placing his hands beneath his navel or on his chest, since both of these methods are derived from the sunnah.

The scholars state that there are no authentic hadiths that substantiate Imam Malik rahmatullah alaih’s Opinion of leaving the hands at the sides. Some have mentioned the reason for it to be profound fear, awe and reverence for Almighty Allah; that once a person is standing before Him,he forgets to his hands together and they are left to hang at the sides. Whatever the case maybe, there are reports to be found of some Companions praying with their hands on their sides [see Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2: 391]

On the other hand, there are numerous narrations which establish tbat the Messenger Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam placed his hands on his body while standing in prayer and did not leave them hanging on his side. These narrations however vary greatly as to where exactly on his body he placed his hands. One very popular narration on this issue is that of Wa’il ibn Hujr (radhiyallahu anhu), which is found in numerous hadith collections. The scholars however have labelled this narration as being problematic [mudtarib] and inconsistent. In one version of this narration, which is found in sahih Ibn Khuzayma, Wa’il Ibn Hujr radhiyallahu anhu says:

“I performed prayed with the Messenger of Allah Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam. He placed his right hand upon the left one on his chest”

The version of Musnad al-Bazzar states “near his chest” instead of “upon his chest,” and the version of Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba states, “beneath the navel.” The first two versions support the view of those who claim it is more preferable to place the hands on the hands on the chest or just below it, and the third version supports the Hanafi view. It should be noted, however, that all three versions contain some type of a weakness. Each version will be analyzed in the following sections along with other narrations to determine their status and the reasons for their weakness.

The First Version

1.The version of Wa’il Ibn Hujr radhiyallahu anhu’s narration, transmitted by Ibn Khuzayma in his Sahih, contains the words “Upon his chest” and is probably the weakest of them all. There are a number of reasons for this:

(a) Mu’ammal Ibn Isma’il is one of the narrators of this version. He has been called a weak narrator, ever since he erred in his narrations after his books were buried and he was subsequently forced to narrate from memory. Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) states, “His narrations are rejected” [munkar al-hadith]. ‘Allama Dhahabi rahimahullah statea, “He makes many errors” [kathir al-khata] Abu Zur’a states,His narrations contain many errors” [Fath al-Mulhim 2:40]

(b) This narrations, although found in many other books through various chains, does not contain the words “on the chests” in any other version. Versions of it are found in Sunan Abi Dawud, Nasa’i, Ibn Majah and in the Musnad of Abu Dawud al-Tayalisi. None of them, however, contain the addition “on the chest” ‘Allama Nimawi states that this is only found in the version of Mu’ammal Ibn Isma’il (and transmitted by Ibn Khuzayma).
Hence, it is a weak and unauthenticated version

(c) Another point is that Mu’ammal Ibn Isma’il relates this hadith from Sufyan al-Thawri (rahimahullah). Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani (rahmatullah alaih) states that the link between Mu’ammal Ibn Isma’il and Sufyan al-Thawri rahimahullah is weak [Fath al-Bari 206U], This is another weakness of this version

(d) Sufyan Al-Thawri rahimahullah himself was of the opinion that the hands should be positioned beneath the navel. So when his narration is found to be in contradiction with his personal opinion, this narration of his  will not be accepted according to the principles of hadith study [usul al-hadith]

(e)Some have stated that all the narrations of Sahih Ibn Khuzayma are authentic. However, this is not true.’Allama Suyuti rahimahullah states in his Tadrib al-rawi that Sahih ibn Khuzayma contains some weak and munkar [rejected] reports. Furthermore, Ibn Khuzayma rahimahullah, like Tirmidhi, routinely comments after every narration stating its level of authenticity. However, following this narration of Wa’il ibn Hujr (radhiyallahu anhu), he does not make any comments whatsoever regarding its authenticity. This narration therefore cannot be classified as authentic just because it is part of his collection. It is clear that if it had been a rigorously authenticated hadith, he would have surely designated it as such.

(f)Some have said even if this hadith was accepted to be authentic, the placing of the hands on the chest would definitely be considered an isolated [shadh] practice-something Allah’s Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam did a few times solely to inform his Companions of its permissibility [Bayanan li’l-jawaz]. In no way can it be proven from this narration that placing the hands on the chest in salat was a permanent practice of the Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam.

The Second Version

2.The second version of Wa’il ibn Hujr radhiyallahu anhu’s narration, found, in Musnad al-Bazzar, contains the words “near the chest” and is also weak. One of its narrators is Muhammad ibn Hujr regarding whom Imam Bukhari rahimahullah states,”His matter is unsettled.” ‘Allama Dhahabi rahimahullah states, “Some of his narrations are rejected” (Majma’al- zawa’id 2:135) Hence, this version is also weak and must be rejected.

Other Narrations

3. Another narration which mentions the placing of the hands on the chest is the narration of Hulb radhiyallahu anhu transmitted by Imam Ahmad rahimahullah:

“The Messenger of Allah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam would turn from his right and left side, and would place this [hand] upon his chest” (Musnad Ahmad)

‘Allama Nimawi has established with convincing evidence that there is an error in the wording of this hadith. In place of the words “ala hadhihi” [“upon the other hand”] the copyist has mistakenly written “ala sadrihi” [“on his chest”] (Atharal-sunan 87]. The narration cannot stand as evidence either.

4. Another similar narration found in Sunan al-Bayhaqi states:

‘Ali radhiyallahu anhu, [in order to] explain the meaning of the verse, “Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and Sacrifice” [al-Qur’an: 108:2], placed his right hand over the center of his left one and positioned them on his chest, as though indicating that the meaning [tafsir] of this verse was to position the hands in this manner” [Sunan al-Bayhaqi 2:30]

However, ‘Allama Ibn al-Turkumani al-Mardini, in his book al-jawhar al-naqi establishes that both the chain [isnad] and text [matn] in this narration are inconsistent. Imam Bayhaqi rahimahullah has mentioned a similar narration from Ibn Abbas radhiyallahu anhu in which there is the narrator Rawh ibn al-Musayyib. About him, Ibn Hibban states:

He narrates fabrications. It is not permissible to narrate from him.

‘Allama Sa’ati writes:

It is not correct to attribute this exegesis [tafsir] to ‘Ali or Ibn ‘Abbas radhiyallahu anhum. The correct meaning of the verse, as Ibn Kathir rahimahullah states, is that it is regarding the sacrifice (qurbani) [Al-Fath al-Rabbani 3:174 U]

Of the four narrations that have been analyzed so far, each one has been defective. There are some other narrations similar to these which state that the Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam did not position his hands beneath his navel. The explanation of the Hanafis for them is that the Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam did, at one time or another, place his hands on his chest or just below it. However, he did this only to demonstrate the permissibility of such a posture [bayanan li’l-jawaz], whereas the normal and routine practice of the Messenger Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam was to place his hands below his navel. The following narrations will establish this point more clearly.

Wa’il ibn Hujr radhiyallahu anhu relates:

I saw Allah’s Messenger (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam)lacing his right hand upon the left one below his navel in prayer (Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba,Athar al-Sunan)

This is the third version of Wa’il ibn Hujr’s (radhiyallahu anhu) narration, mentioned at the beginning of the chapter, containing the words “below the navel.” Some Hanafi scholars have stated that this version cannot be used as conclusive evidence for the Hanafi opinion, because the words “below the navel” are only to be found in some editions of Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba, and not in them all. This is aside from the fact that, as we mentioned, it has an inconsistent text.

However, it is quoted in Fath al-Mulhim that ‘Allama Qasim ibn Qurlubgah has judged this version to be of sound transmission. ‘Allama Muhammad Abu’l-Tayyib al-Madani writes in his commentary on Sunan al-Tirmidhi that this narration has a strong chain, and Shaykh ‘Abid Sindhi states, “Its narrators are trustworthy.” Also, a number of scholars have verified that the addition, “below the navel,” is to be found in many manuscripts of Musannaf Ibn Shayba, even if it is not found in the recently published editions [see Athar al-sunan 148]

Therefore, despite the problematic nature of Wa’il ibn Hujr radhiyallahu anhu’s narration, this version of it cannot be rendered totally unacceptable, since there are many other reliable reports that strengthen it.

2. ‘Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) states:

To place one palm over the other beneath the navel is from the sunnah acts of prayer (Sunan al-Bayhaqi 312 U, Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba 1:391)

It is a known fact that whenever a Companion utters the words, “It is from the Sunnah,” regarding any action, it means it is something acquired from the Messenger of Allah Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam himself. Hence, ‘Ali radhiyallahu anhu could have only  reported this practice as Sunnah after observing Allah’s Messenger Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam do it.

The problem with this narration is that it contains ‘Abd al-Rahman Ibn Ishaq in its chain, who had been classified as weak. The Hanafis have not fully relied on this narration as a basis for their opinion, but since there are many other narrations which reinforce it, it could still stand as supplementary evidence.

3. Hajjaj ibn al-Hasan relates:

Either I heard Abu Mijlaz saying it or I enquired from him, “How should one position his hands [during prayer]??” He replied, “He should place the inner portion of his right hand upon the back of the left one beneath the navel” Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba 1:390)

The transmission of this hadith is sound [hasan], as ‘Allama ibn al-Turkumani al-Mardini states in his book al-jawhar al-naqi

4. Ibrahim al-Nakh’ai rahimahullah relates:

One should place his right hand upon the left one beneath the navel while in prayer (Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba 1:390)

The transmission of this hadith is also sound [hasan]

5. Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu)narrates:

The placing of one hand over the other in prayer should be beneath the navel [al-jawhar al-naqi 2:31 U]

6.Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that:

There are three aspects from the characteristics of prophethood [nubuwwah]: to open fast early; to delay the pre-dawn meal [suhur]; and to position the right hand over the left hand beneath the navel while in prayer (al-jawhar al-naqi 2:31)


The scholars have provided various other reasons as to why the hands are best placed beneath the navel and why this method has been classified as most preferable.

(1) Although most of the hadiths on this issue are weak in one way or another, the narrations presented by the Hanafis have been judged to be more sound than the rest.

(2) The great Hanafi Jurist Ibn al-Humam (rahimahullah) states

Due to the inconsistency and contradictions found between the various narrations, it is best to resort to analogy and reasoning.
Standing before the Lord demands a posture which expresses respect and reverence. Since positioning the hands  beneath the navel is probably the most respectful way of standing, it will be considered most superior. On the other hand, the reason for women being instructed to position their hands on their chest , is so that greater concealment (and modesty) can be achieved (Fath al-Qadir)

(3) ‘Allama Badr al-Deen ‘Ayni (rahimahullah), the author of the great commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari, ‘Umdat al-Qari, writes:

To position the hands beneath the navel holds great virtue. It is a posture which signifies great respect. It displays greater contrast to the postures of the disbelievers.

He also writes:

This is the same posture in which one stands before the rulers [of this world]

He then writes:

Placing the hands on the chest creates a similarity with women, hence, that cannot be classified as the sunnah for men (‘Umdat al-qari 3:16 U )


It could be concluded that although the hadiths presented by the various schools of thought contain some form of weakness or other, the hadiths presented by the Hanafis have received less criticism, and they have many stronger reports to supplement the weaker ones. Therefore, the hadiths presented as evidence for placing the hands on or below the chest cannot be taken to denote the normal practice of Allah’s Messenger (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam). The Hanafis do agree, however, that the Messenger (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) sometimes placed his hands upon his chest and below it to express
permissibility of such a posture [bayanan-li’l jawaz]

Placing the hands beneath the navel exhibits a greater amount of respect and humility, and just as many postures of prayer for a male differ from that of a female, the method of positioning the hands also differs between them.

The Distance to be kept between the feet during Salaat [Hanafi view]

  [By Maulana Abdar-Rahman ibn Yusuf]

One question that is probably in the minds of many people is: How should I stand in prayer [salaat]?? Should I stand with my legs wide apart so that my feet touches to the next person?? Or should i stand to my own comfort without touching the feet of the next person?? Or should i stand with the gap of four fingers between as some people do?? Questios of these nature has confused the minds of many people, and they would like to discover the precise Sunnah method of standing in the prayer [salaat].

This chapter attempts to answer these questions and offers the reader a clear view on the correct Sunnah posture, It should be understood at the outset that the discussions on this point by the scholars are very few in comparison to the detailed discussions found on the other key issues of Salaat. Thus, very limited information is found in the many books of jurisprudence regarding this issue. In fact, the precise views of even the four Imams too on this issue is quite difficult to determine.

There are number of Hadith on this issue that emphasizes on maintaining orderly rows during the prayers. These narrations are usually accompanied by a warning from the Messenger of Allah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam on the consequence of not straightening the rows during Salaat, one such narration states:

Straighten your rows, or else Allah will cause discord between your hearts” [Sunan Abi Dawud: 1:97]

There are also other narrations which contain similar admonitions.

When a musalli [person praying] observes others spreading their feet apart and touching them to the feet of the next person, he cannot help but wonder from where such a method was derived. The upholders of this view present a hadith in which the Companions touched their feet together (i.e each one joined his feet with those of the person next to him) after receiving admonition from the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam)to straighten the rows, This Hadith, though quoted as being a proof in support of this view, does not in any way make the joining of the feet a wajib [necessary]act as the supporters of this opinion so claim.

The following sections of this chapter will work to clarify this point by first discussing the different opinions on the issue of positioning the feet in the prayer. Therefore, the above Hadith will be independently analyzed in-depth in an attempt to explain its true implications.

To form an orderly row, whether by joining the feet together or not, is undoubtedly a very important requirement for the congregational prayer. It is also the Imam’s responsibility to ensure that this is done correctly before he initiates the prayer. Although, technically speaking, having the rows in perfect order cannot be classified as an integral of fard of the prayer, it is definitely an important Sunnah due to the strict instructions that have been related about it from the Messenger of Allah [Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam]


We will begin by stating some of the opinions of the Hanafi school on the issue of feet position in prayer. In all, there seems to be two dominant opinions found in the Hanafi texts. The first of these calls for a gap of four fingers to be left between the feet of a person when he is praying. This opinion is found in Imam Ibn ‘Abidin Rahimahullah’s authoritative commentary on ‘Allama Haskafi’s al-Durr al-mukhtar, where it states:

The gap to be left between a person’s feet should be equal to that of four fingers of the hand, because this [amount] is very effective in creating [the posture of ] submission and humility [sought in prayer] [Radd Al-Mukhtar 1:299]

Leaving a gap equal to four fingers has been described by the fuqaha [jurists] as being the superior method, as it sometimes proves quite uncomfortable to stand with legs spread wide apart for an extended period of time. This discomfort makes concentration difficult and often results in the loss of focus and devotion in the prayer.

The second method according to the Hanafi school can be understood from the following. In Ma’arif al Sunan, a commentary of Sunan al-Tirmidhi by the late Hadith scholar ‘Allama Yusuf binnori [rahmatullah alayh], it is stated that there is no mention, among authentic Hadith narrations, of a stipulated amount of space to be left between between one’s own feet during the prayer. For this reason, it could be concluded that the sunnah method of positioning the feet in prayer is whatever distance a person finds convenient and comfortable while praying [Ma’arif Sunan 2: 298]

A Hadith is reported in Sunan al-Nasa’i which states that:

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud [Radhiyallahu Anhu] saw a person standing in prayer with his two feet together [i.e touching each other] and judged it to be against the sunnah. He advised the person that if he had practised murawaha it would have been more preferable [Sunan al-Nasa’i 1: 142]

The Arabic word murawaha usually means to stand on one foot and then the other, alternating between them as one becomes tired. However, another meaning of murawaha is to leave a slight gap between the feet, and this seems to be the most probable meaning of this word in reference to the above narration, since the person had been standing with his feet together. If we take this latter meaning of the term murawaha, the hadith means that Hazrat ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud [Radhiyallahu Anhu] instructed the person to maintain a small gap between his feet, since the Sunnah was not to completely join the feet together [nor to keep them so far apart]

From the above, We learn of the flexibility of the Hanafi school on this issue. It would therefore be permitted for a person to stand with a gap between his feet equal to or greater than the width of four fingers.

In determining the opinion of the Shafii’s on this issue, a careful study of their literature reveals that their most popular view is that a person shouls maintain  gap equal to one hand span between his feet [Nihayat al-muhtaj 1:347 U], However, it is recomended in Al-Anwar, another text on Shafi’i fiqh, that the gap should only be four fingers- as is one view of the Hanafis. Furthermore, the great Shafi’i scholar Imam Nawawi [Rahmatullah Alaih] concludes:

It is undesirable [makruh] to join the feet together; it is preferable [mustahab] to keep some distance between them. [Sharh al-Muhadhdhab 3:266 U]

In total, we have three opinions of the Shafi’i school: 1] a gap equivalent to one hand span; 2] A gap of four fingers; 3] as much a gap as the person deems necessary. The first opinion is particular to the Shafi’i school, whereas the latter two opinions are common to both the Shafi’i and Hanafi schools.

One has probably noticed by now that not a single opinion mentions that a person’s feet must be joined together with the feet of the adjacent person(s). If indeed this was the correct and sunnah way of standing in prayer, it would have undoubtedly been accepted as such.


There is  hadith in Sunan Abi Dawud which describes the Companions joining their feet with each other to form oderly rows. Abu’l Qasim al-Jadali reports:

I heard Nu’man Ibn Bashir Radhiyallahu Anhu relate the the Messenger of Allah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam faced the people and instructed, “Straighten your rows, By Allah, you should straighten your rows or else Allah will create disagreement between your hearts” Nu’man Ibn Bashir Radhiyallahu Anhu then said, “I saw each person join his shoulders with those of the next person” [Sunan Abi Dawud 1:104]

This is one of the Hadith put forward as evidence by those who assert that each person’s feet should be joined with the next person’s during congregational prayer. Some of them are overtly particular about this, so much so that if someone standing next to them happens to draw in their feet, these people would adjust their legs even further just to maintain foot contact with their neighbour. They continuously criticize those who do not leave a wide gap between their feet, as though the sunnah method is only what they claim.

In vain, however, are their attempts to use the above hadith and other similar hadith to establish that joining the feet in Salaat is necessary [wajib]. This is true for a number of simple reasons:

1) The words which actually describe the joining of the feet are not the words of the Messenger of Allah [Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam], but are rather the words of the narrator. Hence, this portion of the Hadith is not a direct statement from the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam himself [marfu’] , but rather the narrator’s description of the reaction of the Companions to the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam’s warning. In fact, this observation added by the narrator cannot be found in the majority of the narrations that emphasize having orderly rows. Hence, it becomes quite clear that the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam did not command the joining of the feet together, but merely commanded that the lines be straightened. In order to fullfil the command, the Companions employed this method of joining the feet.

2) The Hadith of Nu’man ibn Bashir radhiyallahu anhu merely tells us about the behaviour of the Companions before the prayer began, In other words, the observed behaviour of the Companions was to join their ankles, knees and shoulders together prior to the prayer’s commencement. Nowhere in the hadith does it indicate that this posture was maintained throughout the prayer.

3) If for the sake of argument, we were to accept that the joining of the feet was maintained throughout the prayer, a number of questions arise, One such question is whether the feet should be joinec together in all postures of the prayer or only during the standing posture [qiyam]. If the answer is that it is required only during the standing posture, then the next questions are “What is the evidence for that??” and “Why is this arrangement confined to the standing posture only and not required in any other posture??” If the answer is that it is necessary in all postures of prayer, then the question is: “How will the people in each row go about joining their feet and shoulders together while in prostration or in the sitting posture??” Clearly, it would be quite impossible to achieve this.

Moreover, if the counter-argument is that it is only necessary to have the feet together while in qiyam because of its difficulty in the other postures of prayer, then the reply is that it is also very difficult for a row of people to ensure that this joining arrangement is maintained between them during the standing posture as well.

4) Based on the above-mentioned hadith, if it is deemed necessary to join the shoulders and feet together, then why have the knees been excluded from the ruling?? In the above narration of Sunan Abi Dawud, the Companions joined their knees together as well. It should therefore follow that the joining of the knees also be treated as an obligatory act throughout the prayer. However, one must be warned that standing even for a short while with one’s knees joined to the next person’s knees can be quite painful. This is even impossible in some cases, when there is a significant size difference between two people standing besides one another.

5) Another inteepretation of the above hadith offered by some scholars is that the narrator Nu’man Ibn Bashir Radhiyallahu Anhu only intended to show how the Companions attempted to form extremely straight rows at the instructions of the Messenger of Allah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam, and not that they actually joined their feet,shoulders and ankles together. It is for this reason that the title of this chapter in Sahih al-Bukhari, “Chapter on the Joining of the Shoulders and Feet Together While Forming the Rows,”
has been classified by Hafiz Ibn Hajar Rahmatullah Alaih as an exaggeration. He writes in his commentary. Fath al-Bari, that:

“[Imam Bukhari’s] reason for choosing this specific title is to exaggerate (mubalagha) the importance of straightening the rows and filling the gaps in between” [Fath al-Bari 2:247]

It is deduced from this statement that the above-mentioned narration is not to be taken literally. Imam Shawkani, who is constantly referred to by the Ghair Muqallideens, also does not take the hadith’s literal interpretation. He writes in his Nayl al-awtar:

[The statement] means: place the parts of the body [shoulders, etc.]in line with each other, so that the shoulder of each person performing prayer is in level with the shoulder of the next person. This was everyone’s shoulders, knees and feet will be in a single straight line [Nayl al-awtar 3:65 U]

In clear words, he indicates that the actual reason for joining the shoulders and other body parts, was to straighten the rows and because the joining itself was an obligatory act.

6) Hadhrat Anas Raziyallahu Anhu has also stated in a narrarion of Ma’mar, which Ibn Hajar Rahimahullah has recorded in his Fath al-Bari, that:

“If I were to attempt this [joining shoulders and feet together] with anybody today, they would scurry away like reative mules” [Fath-al-Bari 2:247]

It is apparent from Anas Radhiyallahu Anhu’s statement that even the Companions did not continue this practice after the death of the Messenger of Allah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam (Sunnah Mustamirra), the Companions would never never have abandoned it, let alone speak of it in such a manner

7) Once it is established that the primary reason for the Companions joining their feet together was to achieve perfect order in their rows, it can be easily understood that this joining of the feet is not required any longer, since, in most of the masjids and places of worship today, the lines are well marked on the carpets, marbles and floor coverings. By standing together with their heels on the markings, the worshippers will automatically come together in perfectly straight rows. Hence, there is no need to be overtly critical and go around ensuring that everyone’s feet have been joined together.

Other points to be considered

A noteworthy point to mention now is that many of those who assert hat the feet be joined together are normally observed widening their feets even during their individual prayers. In fact, on many occasions, they widen them beyond shoulder width. Even if they consider the joining of the feet in congregational prayer to be necessary, It does not mean they must alsi widen their feet beyond shoulder width. The reason for this is that if every body stood shoulder to shoulder and joined their feet together, the gap between the two feet would only be as wide as the shoulders. It would be quite impossible to spread them any more and still maintaun shoulder contact.

Another reason why one should not overspread his feet during individual prayer is that the above-mentioned hadith only describes the Companions joining their feet while im congregation. Hence, this hadith cannot be used as evidence for widening the feet for individual Salaat.


In the end, we can conclude, without fear of contradiction, that those who insist on joining the feet together have failed to comprehend the true meaning of the hadith, and, as such ,do not have any evidence to support their position. It is not possible to follow the Qur’an and Hadith by always employing verbatim translations, which is the methodology of the Literalists [Zahiriyya], whose many views majority of scholars have not accepted. The grave consequences of following this type of methodology is quite apparent.

Indeed, it is important to come together during prayer, but this is normally achieved by joining the shoulders together (which had been ordered in the hadiths) and standing with the heels on the lines. It is virtually impossible not to leave any gaps at all as some people insist.

The wisdom behind the Hanafi school’s [Occasional] Preference of Weak Hadith

[By Maulana Zakariyya Kandlawi Rahimahullah]

Occasionally,  the  Hanafi  school  of  thought  awards  preference  to  those  hadiths  which  have  a  weaker  chain  of narrators  or  even  to  those  hadiths  whose  chains  of  narration  may  not  be  as  superior  to  the  others.  This  is  so  because the  narrations  may  possess  some  other  more  superior  preferential  factors.  For  example,  the  fact  that  a  hadith  is  in greater  conformance  with  the  text  of  the  Qur’an  is  one  of  the  most  noteworthy  preferential  factors  that  render  a particular  hadith  superior  to  those  that  contradict  it,  according  to  the  Hanafi  school.

  This  makes  a  great  deal  of sense,  because  the  words  of  many  of  the  hadiths  are  not  the  actual  words  of  Allah’s  Messenger (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam .  In  most cases,  they  are  the  words  of  the  narrators  who  narrated  the  meaning  of  the  hadith,  On  the other  hand,  the  words  of  the  Qur’an  are  the  actual  words  (of  Allah)  transmitted  by  the  narrators. 

Therefore,  from two  conflicting  narrations,  the  narration  which  is  in  greater  conformance  to  the  text  of  the  Qur’an  will  obviously gain  more  preference  over  the  other  narration. In  one  example  of  the  above  principle,  the  Hanafi Madhab award  preference  to  the  narration  that  does  not  mention  raising of  the  hands  in  salat  over  the  narration  which  does  mention  it.  This  is  so  simply  because  the  Holy  Qur’an  declares,

“And  stand  before  Allah  with  ease  and  tranquillity”  (Surat  al-Baqara  2:238)

Hence,  from  among  the  conflicting narrations,  the  Hanafi Madhab award  preference  to  those  hadiths  which  conform  more  closely  to  this  form  of  tranquillity.

This  ruling  is  also  established  from  other  previous  occurrences.  In  the  early  days  of  Islam,  it  was  permissible  to speak  (and  to  make  salãm)  in  salat,  but  this  was  gradually  abrogated  and  the  salat  metamorphosed  into  a  more tranquil  action.  Hence,  the  narrations  which  conform  more  to  tranquillity  are  more  juridically  preferable  in  the Hanafi  school. In  addition,  the  narrations  which  do  not  mention  any  recitation  while  performing  salat  behind  the  Imam  are awarded  preference  over  those  narrations  which  mention  this  practice.  This  is  so  because  of  the  Qur’anic  verse,

“And  when  the  Qur’an  is  being  recited,  listen  to  it  attentively  and  remain  silent”  (Surat  al-A’raaf  7:204).

Similarly,  it  is  better  to  delay  the  Fajr  and  ‘Asr  prayers  because  it  is  in  greater  conformance  with  the  Qur’anic  verse,

“And  glorify  the  praises  of  your  Lord  before  sunrise  and  before  sunset”  (Sura Qaf  50:39). 

Before sunrise”  and “before  sunset”  means  a  time  which  is  close  to  them.  A  period  of  three  to  four  hours  before  sunrise  or  sunset  is  not normally  referred  to  as  being  “before”  sunrise  or  “before”  sunset.  Hence,  the  Hanafis  are  of  the  opinion  that  it  is better  to  delay  the  Fajr  and  ‘Asr  prayers.  Furthermore,  the  Hanafi Madhab have  chosen  the  qunut  (a  supplication  made  in the  witr  salat)  of ‘Allahumma  inna  nastainuka…”  in  the  witr  salat  because  they  were  considered  as  two  sürats  of the  Holy  Qur’an.