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 Deen. Secondly, 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
CHAPTER ONE: TAQLEED, IJTIHAAD AND THE FUQAHA
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’eef, Waajibul Amal, Mustahab 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. Salaah, Saum, 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 Saheeh, Dha’eef, Mashhoor 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 fehm, fiqh, raai, ijtihaad, istimbaat 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