21 - The la-madhhabi author writes on the 385 the page:
"It was permissible for the imams of the religion to perform ijtihad. They wrote down the documents of the conclusions they drew. If someone follows the way concluded by his imam instead of what a document, an ayat or a hadith states, or what he himself finds out suggests, he becomes a heretic. Imam Malik, Ahmad and ash-Shafi'i said so, too."
These three great imams of the Ahl as-Sunnat and also al-Imam al-Azam Abu Hanifa (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaihim) said it for those profound 'ulama' called "mujtahid imams." A mujtahid had to follow the document, an ayat karima or a hadith ash-Sharif, he came across. He cannot follow either the ijtihad of another mujtahid or his own. This is due to it not being permissible to perform ijtihad on the subjects clearly stated in an ayat karima or a hadith ash-Sharif.
Al-Hadimi wrote: "We are not mujtahids but muqallids. For us the muqallids, the words of those 'ulama' of fiqh called mujtahids are documents. If an ayat karima or a hadith ash-Sharif that we know seems incongruous with their words, it is necessary for us to follow not what we understand from the ayat or the hadith but their words; it is not permissible to say that they did not see that document or that they saw but could not understand it." [Al-Hadimi, Bariqa, p.376.]
The la-madhhabi author thinks Ibn Taymiyya and his novice Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya are mujtahids. He obeys what they understood of ayats and hadiths and does not like the ijtihads of the imams of our religion. Whereas, as he admits above, our imams wrote down also the ayats and hadiths they took as documents together with the statements they concluded as ijtihad. This author likens Ahl as-Sunnat, who obey the imams of Islam, to Christians and Jews who, ignoring Allahu ta'ala's Book, follow priests and rabbis. He becomes so rude as to say that Muslims are polytheists. How nice it would be if he would realize that he himself is in heresy because of following the ignorant, non-mujtahid men who are unable to understand the greatness of the 'ulama' of Ahl as-Sunnat.
Ibn 'Abidin wrote at the beginning of the subject on tahara: "Muqallids do not have to find and see the documents of mujtahids." The Wahhabi author does not believe this, either. He quotes the hadith ash-Sharif said onto Muaz, which in fact refutes his heretical beliefs. Because he has a good knowledge of Arabic, his native language, he quotes many ayats and hadiths in order to show his every word documented. However, because he is poor in reasoning, logic and judgement, he cannot see that the ayats and hadiths he quotes as documents for his words, in fact, bring into light that his argument is corrupt and unsound. He also reports al-Imam al-Azam Abu Hanifa (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) as having said to his disciples, "Take ayats and hadiths and ignore my statements!" Al-Imam al-Azam said this to his disciples who were mujtahids, but this author supposes that it refers to muqallids like us and like Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn al-Qayyim, Muhammad 'Abduh, Sayid Qutb and Mawdudi, who should have read and learned the books of an imam al-madhhab and tried to attain bliss by following that imam.
This author quotes on page 393 the ayat al-karima, "If you invite munafiqs to Allahu ta'ala and to His Messenger, they turn their faces away and do not come," and likens Ahl as-Sunnat to munafiqs. He says,
"Ahl as-Sunnat turn away from ayats and hadiths and insist on following their imams of madhhabs and thus become polytheists."
Here, again, he calumniates the Muslims who are Ahl as-Sunnat. Because we do not believe their wrong, distorted interpretations of ayats and hadiths, he alleges that we have deviated from the right path. We say to him: "We do not turn away from ayats. We disobey not them but your wrong interpretations of them. Their meanings are not what you understand of them. Their correct meanings were told to as-Sahabat al-kiram (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhum) by our Prophet (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam), and the 'ulama' of Ahl as-Sunnat (rahimahum-Allahu ta'ala) learned them by acquiring them from as-Sahabat al-kiram and wrote in their books what they comprehended. They wrote openly what was stated openly; they performed ijtihad on ambiguous ones things wrote what they understood through ijtihad. We have been following what these great 'ulama' understood and wrote. We do not want to be deceived and led away from the right path by following the la-madhhabi's misinterpretations. Not we but you are the ones who have turned away from the Book and the Sunnat!"
Muhammad Hasan Jan as-Sirhindi al-Mujaddidi (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaih) wrote:
"The ah'kam (rules, laws) of Islam were made known to us, the ordinary Muslims, by profound scholars ('ulama') and perfected pious Muslims (salihun). They were muhaddithun and mujtahids (rahimahum-Allahu ta'ala). The muhaddithun studied the hadiths and selected the genuine ones. And the mujtahids drew rules from ayats and hadiths. We do all our 'ibadat and affairs in accordance with these rules. Since we live in a age far later than that of Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) and cannot distinguish nasikh from mansukh, and muhkam (with open meaning) from muawwal (with meaning not openly understood) nasses and cannot know how actually concurrent the nasses that seem contradictory are, why have to follow a mujtahid. Because, there is no way other than following a mujtahid who lived not much later than Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) and who was a profound alim possessing much taqwa and was proficient in deducing rules and who understood the meanings of hadiths correctly. Even Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, who is now regarded as a great scholar by the la-madhhabi, wrote in his "I'lam al-muqiin that is was not permissible for one who did not have these qualities to make conclusions from the Nass, that is, the Book and the Sunnat. The book Kifaya says, 'When an 'ami (non-mujtahid learns ahadith ash-Sharif, he is not permitted to act according to what he himself understands of it. A meaning other than what he understands of it might have to be given to it, or it can be mansukh. Whereas, the fatwas of mujtahids are not so.' The same is written in Taqrir, the commentary to Tahrir, which, after saying, 'It can be mansukh,' adds, 'He has to obey what the 'ulama' of fiqh said.' Sayyid as-Samhudi (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), in his Al-'Iqd al-Farid, quoted Imam Abu Bakr ar-Razi, on the authority of Ibn al-Humam who was one of the superiors of the Hanafi 'ulama', as saying, 'Profound 'ulama' unanimously declared that non-mujtahid Muslims should be prevented from following [directly] the Companions of the Prophet and that they should follow the words of those 'ulama' who came later and gave the explicit, codified and clear explanations.' Muhibbullah al-Bihari al-Hindi (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), who passed away in 1119 A.H. (1707), wrote in his Musallam as-subut and its annotation Fawatih ar-rahamut: 'Profound 'ulama' unanimously declared that non-mujtahid Muslims should be prevented from following the Companions of the Prophet and that they should follow those 'ulama' who explained Islam in explicit, codified rules. Taqi ad-din 'Uthman ibn as-Salah ash-Shahr az-Zuree (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) [577-643 A.H. (1181-1234)] deduced from this that it was not permissible to follow anybody other than the four imams.' It is written in Sharh al-minhaj al-usul: 'Al-Imam al-Haramain ['Abd al-Malik an-Nishapuri ash-Shafi'i, who passed away in 478 A.H. (1085)] wrote in his book Burhan that non-mujtahid Muslims should not follow the madhhabs of the Companions of the Prophet. They should follow the madhhabs of the four aimmat al-madhahib.'
"It is seen that those who do not obey the above-mentioned ijma' of the 'ulama' are heretics, because as-Sahabat al-kiram (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhum ajmain) were busy with jihad and disseminating Islam and did not have time to write books of tafsir and hadith. Rasulullah's (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) nur diffused into their blessed hearts so much so that they did not need to learn through books. Each of them found the right way with the power of that nur. After the best century [the first century of Islam], there appeared disagreement in opinions and knowledge. There appeared some inconsistent narrations (khabars) related from as-Sahabat al-kiram and the Tabiin. Those who looked for the right path got confused. Allahu ta'ala, as a favor, selected the four salih and muttaqi (Allah-fearing) imams from among this blessed umma. He bestowed upon them the superiority of drawing rules from nasses. He decreed that all Muslims would attain salvation by following them. He ordered Muslims to follow them. This order of Allahu ta'ala is in the 58th ayat karima of Surat an-Nisa', which declares: 'Oh you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Rasul and obey your Ulu 'l-amr!' Here 'Ulu 'l-amr' means 'profound scholars who have attained to the degree of mujtahid' and these 'ulama' are the well-known four [mujtahid] imams of the four madhhabs. The 82nd ayat of Surat an-Nisa' clearly states that the superior people who are called Ulu 'l-amr in the above ayat are these mujtahids: 'Ulu 'l-amr are the 'ulama' who can draw rules from nasses.' Some said that Ulu 'l-amr were 'rulers' or 'governors.' If they meant 'those rulers who could draw rules from [or perform ijtihad based on] nasses,' they were right. Rulers might have been Ulu 'l-amr if they were 'ulama' but not because they were rulers! The Four Caliphs and 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhum ajmain) were the rulers who were also 'alims. Ignorant, sinful or disbelieving rulers cannot be like them, for, the Hadith declares, 'One should not obey the sin-provoking words of anybody! [Yet rising against the law or rebellion against the State is never ja'iz (permissible). Muslims should always support the State; if the State becomes weak, fitna and revolution occur, which are worse than the worst administration.] The 15th of the Surat Luqman declares, 'If they force you to attribute something, which you do not know, as a partner to Me, do not obey this command of theirs.' The hadith ash-Sharif clearly defines what 'Ulu 'l-amr' means: a hadith ash-Sharif narrated by 'Abdullah ad-Darimi says, 'The 'ulama' of fiqh are the Ulu 'l-amr.' Al-Imam as-Suyuti quoted Ibn 'Abbas (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhuma) in his tafsir book Itqan as saying, 'The Ulu 'l-amr are the [four leading] 'ulama' of fiqh and Islam.'This is also written on page 375 of the third volume of At-tafsir al-kabir, on page 124 of the second volume of Sharh al-Muslim and in the tafsir books Ma'alim at-tanzil and Nishapur. These clear definitions given in ayats and in the books of hadith and tafsir show not only that it is necessary to obey the mujtahids but also clarifies that the la-madhhabi's statement, 'It is polytheism and bidat to obey somebody other than Allah and the Prophet,' to be heretical and nonsensical. On this subject, there are many other hadiths and khabars:
"1) Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) asked Muaz ibn Jabal (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaih) how he was going to judge when he ordered him to go to Yaman as a judge. 'According to Allahu ta'ala's Books,' he said. "What if you cannot find [a solution] in Allah's Book?' asked Rasulullah. 'I will look at Rasulullah's sunnat,' he answered. And when asked, 'If you cannot find in Rasulullah's sunnat, either?' Ma'adh said, 'I will do it according to what I understand as a result of my ijtihad.' Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) put his blessed hand on Muaz's chest and said, 'Al-hamdu li'lillah! Allahu ta'ala made His Rasul's rasul (deputy) agree with Rasulullah's approval.' At-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud and ad-Darimi wrote this hadith ash-Sharif in their books. This hadiths Sharif openly indicates that 'Ulu 'l-amr' means 'mujtahids' and that Rasulullah is pleased with those who obey them.
"2) A hadith ash-Sharif narrated by Abu Dawud and Ibn Maja says, ' 'Ilm is composed of three parts: al-Ayat al-muhkama, as-Sunnat al-qa'ima and al-Faridat al-'adila!' The great scholar of hadith 'Abd al-Haqq ad-Dahlawi, while expanding this hadith ash-Sharif in Ashi'at al-lama'at, his Persian commentary to Mishkat, wrote: 'Al-Faridat al-'adila is the knowledge conformable to the Book and the Sunnat. It refers to ijma' and qiyas, for, ijma' and qiyas were drawn from the Book and the Sunnat. Therefore, ijma' and qiyas were counted as equivalent and similar to the Book and the Sunnat and were called al-Faridat al-'adila. Thus it was ordered as a wajib to do one's deeds conformable to both of them. Consequently, the meaning of the hadith ash-Sharif became that the sources of Islam were four, namely the Book, the Sunnat, ijma' and qiyas.'
"3) 'Umar ibn al-Khattab (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) appointed Shuraih as a Qadi and told him: 'look at what is revealed explicitly in the Book. Do not ask others for such matters! If you cannot find [an answer to what you are asked] in it, resort to the Sunnat of Muhammad ('alaihi 's-salam)! If you cannot find in it, either, perform ijtihad and give you answer according to how you understand.'
"4) When plaintiffs came, Hadrat Abu Bakr (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) used to look at Allahu ta'ala's Book and make decisions based on what he found in it. When he could not find in it, he would answer according to what he had heard from Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam). If he had not heard [anything concerning the matter in question], he would ask as-Sahabat al-kiram (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhum ajmain) and settle the question according to their ijma'.
"5) When he was asked to judge, 'Abdullah ibn Abbas (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhuma) used to give the answer he would find in the Qur'an al-karim. When he could not find it in it, he would quote what he had heard from Rasulullah. If he had not heard anything from him, he would ask Abu Bakr or 'Umar (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhuma). When they could not give an answer, he would decide according to his ra'y (observation, reasoning).
"Now, we shall explain that asking mujtahid scholars means asking the four aimmat al-madhahib. Since the time of as-Sahabat al-kiram and the following centuries up to now, all Muslims have followed (taqlid) these four imams. There has formed ijma' on following them. The hadiths, 'My umma will not have ijma' (will not agree) on dalala,' and, 'Allahu ta'ala's approval is in [your having] ijma'; he who deviates from the jamaat will go to Hell,' openly indicate that this ijma' is sahih.
"The second document which proves that it is wajib to follow the four imams is the 71st ayat al-karima of Surat al-Isra: 'On that day, We will call each group with their leaders (imams)!' Qadi al-Baidawi (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) wrote in interpretation of this ayat karima that it meant 'We will call each umma with the prophet whom they accepted as their leader and with those whom they followed in their religion. The same is written in Madarik. Al-Imam al-Baghawi, in his tafsir Ma'alim at-tanzil, quoted Ibn 'Abbas as saying, 'They will be called with their rulers who will have taken them to salvation or to heresy,' and Said ibn Musayyab as saying, 'Each people (qawm) will gather around their rulers who will have led them to goodness or to wickedness.' In Tafsir-i Husaini [and in the tafsir Ruh al-bayan], it is written that they will be called by [the name of] their imam al-madhhab, for example, 'Oh Shafi'i' or 'Oh Hanafi' will be said. From this has been deduced that those imams who were kamil and mukammil will intercede for those who follow them. Al-Imam ash-Sharani wrote in his Al-mizan al-kubra: when Shaikh al-Islam Ibrahim ibn al-Laqani [(rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), a Maliki scholar of kalam] passed away [in 1041 A.H. (1632)], some sulaha' saw him in a dream and asked him how Allahu ta'ala had treated him; the Shaikh al-Islam said that, when the questioning angels seated him, Imam Malik came and said, 'Is it apt to ask such a person whether he believes in Allahu ta'ala and His Rasul? Leave him alone,' and that they left him. It is written again in Al-mizan: 'The superiors of tasawwuf and the 'ulama' of fiqh will intercede for those who obey them. They will be with them when they submit their souls to Allahu ta'ala, while being questioned by Munkar and Nakir in the grave and during the Resurrection, Gathering and Judgement and on the Sirat Bridge. They will not forget them. While the superiors of tasawwuf will help their followers at every fearful place, will not mujtahid imams protect them? These [mujtahid imams] are the aimmat al-madhahib. They are the guards of this umma. How fortunate you are my brother! Follow whichever you wish of the four aimmat al-madhahib and attain happiness!' As it is seen, everybody will be called by the name of his madhhab's imam on the Day of Judgement. The imam will intercede for those who obey and follow him. All the four Aimmat al-madhahib were superior as such. In the 15th ayat of Surat Luqman, Allahu ta'ala declares, 'Follow in the footsteps of those who have turned to Me in repentance.' It has been unanimously reported that the four imams had the quality of inaba, that is, turning to Allahu ta'ala in repentance.
"The third document which proves that it is wajib to follow the four imams is the 114th ayat al-karima of Surat an-Nisa'. In this ayat karima, Allahu ta'ala declares: 'We will drag the person who, after learning the way to guidance, opposes the Prophet and deviates from the believers' path along the direction to which he has deviated, and then We will throw him into Hell, the terrible.' Hadrat al-Imam ash-Shafi'i was asked which ayat karima proved that ijma' was a source [for Muslims]. To find a documentary proof, he read through the Qur'an al-karim three hundred times and found this ayat karima to be the answer. Since this ayat karima prohibits one from deviating from the believers' path, it is wajib to follow this path. The tafsir book Madarik, after interpreting this ayat karima, writes: 'This ayat karima shows that ijma' as a source, and it is not permissible to ignore ijma' just as it is not permissible to ignore the Qur'an and the Sunnat.' And the tafsir al-Baidawi writes in the interpretation of this ayat karima: 'This ayat shows that it is haram to ignore ijma'. Because it is haram to deviate from the believers' path, it is wajib to follow this path.' The sulaha' and 'ulama' of this umma said that it is wajib to follow a madhhab and that it is a great sin to be la-madhhabi. To oppose this consensus of the 'ulama' means to disobey this ayat karima, for Allahu ta'ala declared in the 110th ayat of Surat al 'Imran: 'You are of that umma who is benevolent to human beings. You command [them] to do what is right. You prohibit what is wrong.' The 'ulama' of this umma said that it was very wrong to be la-madhhabi and that Muslims should not be la-madhhabi. Therefore, he who, thinking that it is permissible to be la-madhhabi, disobeys this command of the 'ulama' will be denying this ayat karima.
"Question: 'Are not the Qadiyanis, Nitcherees and other la-madhhabi people believers? Doesn't following them mean following the believers' path?'
"Answer: The scholars of these la-madhhabi people say that they obey only two of the four sources of al-adillat ash-Shariyya. They refuse to accept the other two sources, thus separating from the majority of Muslims and dissenting from the path of Ahl as-Sunnat wal-Jamaat. Following them will not save one from Hell. People of the Shai, Khariji, Mutazila, Jabriyya and Qadariyya groups claim to be obeying their scholars, too. We confute the la-madhhabi by giving them the same answers they give to these groups.
"The fourth document proving that following a madhhab is wajib is the 43rd ayat al-karima of Surat an-Nahl or the 7th ayat al-karima of Surat al-Anbiya': Allahu ta'ala declares, 'If you do not know, ask the people of dhikr (ahl adh-dhikr)!' This ayat karima commands those who do not know how to do their 'ibadat and affairs to learn by asking those who know. In the ayat al-karima, it is commanded 1. to learn by asking, 2. to ask not anybody or the ignorant of Islam but to ask 'ulama', and 3. to ask what is not known. Therefore, when one is not efficient enough to search and find a solution for one's problem in the Qur'an al-karim or the Hadith ash-Sharif, one should ask and learn from the majtahid [or from the books written by the 'ulama'] of the madhhab to which one belongs. If one asks him and acts according to what one learns from him, one will be following (taqlid) him. If one does not ask or disobeys or denies what the mujtahid said, one becomes a la-madhhabi person.
"Who are the ahl adh-dhikr' mentioned in the ayat al-karima? Are they the aimmat al-madhhahib or ignorant men of religious post? The answer is in the hadith ash-Sharif recorded by Ibn Mardawaih Abu Bakr Ahmad [al-Isfahani, who passed away in 410 A.H. (1019),] on the authority of Anas ibn Malik: Upon saying, 'One may perform salat, fast and go on hajj and ghaza, but he might be a hypocrite,' the Prophet was asked, 'From where does his hypocrisy come?' The Prophet said: 'He is a hypocrite because he despises, dislikes his imam. His imam is of ahl adh-dhikr.' From this, it can be concluded that 'ahl adh-dhikr' means 'Ulu 'l-amr' which was defined in the explanation of the first document above. According to the genuine (sahih) reports, Ulu 'l-amr were the 'Ulama' ar-rasikhin and the four aimmat al-madhahib. The ayats 'Only the possessors of 'aql (reason) can understand'; 'Indeed the possessors of 'aql can understand,' and 'Oh the possessors of 'aql! Take warning!' indicate the superiority of the four aimmat al-madhahib. Those ignorant and heretical men who have not received faid from possessors of zuhd and taqwa and from men of Allah and who, having learned some Arabic and Persian, give meaning to nasses, that is, ayats and hadiths, with their narrow minds are very far from having the qualities of the aimmat al-madhahib. These la-madhhabi people are the heretics referred to in the hadiths, 'Those who, though having no knowledge of tafsir, interpret the Qur'an al-karim by themselves will be seated on stakes of fire in Hell,' and 'The time will come when there will be left no alim of Islam and the ignorant, appointed to be religious officers, will issue fatwa unknowingly. They will not be on the right path and will lead everybody off the right path.' It is written in the book Mishkat that Jabir (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) narrated that once one of his friends was wounded on the head while on a journey and asked if it was permissible to put on an amulet. [Du'a (prayer) and/or ayats from the Qur'an al-karim in written form.] He was told it was not and that he should wash his head; his friend washed his head and he died. On arrival in Medina, everything was reported to Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam), who declared: 'They caused his death. And may Allahu ta'ala cause their death! Why did they not ask what they did not know? The remedy for ignorance is to learn by asking.' While it was harshly said, 'May Allahu ta'ala cause their death!' for those Sahabis who did not ask more learned ones but gave a fatwa by themselves, what should be said to those contemporary people who regard themselves as men of religious authority and who, without having read the books of the Islamic 'ulama', attempt to interpret the Qur'an al-karim and the Hadith ash-Sharif with their empty heads and short sights, and thus destroy Muslims' religion and belief? It will be correct to call such people the 'thieves of religion and belief.' May Allahu ta'ala protect us from the harm of such thieves of the religion! Amin! Muhammad Ibn Sirin [passed away in Basra in 110 A.H. (729)] said, 'Be careful about the person from whom you learn your religion! Hadrat Abu Musa 'l-Ashari, though he was among the notables of the as-Sahabat al-kiram, used to hesitate to issue a fatwa in 'Abdullah ibn Masud's presence and would say, 'You should not ask me anything in the presence of this ocean of knowledge,' for, 'Abdullah ibn Masud was more learned and knew more fiqh than Abu Musa 'l-Ashari (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhuma). Al-Imam ash-Shafi'i, though he was a profound alim, omitted reciting the Qunut prayer in the morning salat and the raising of the two hands after ruku' every time when he performed salat near al-Imam al-Azam Abu Hanifa's grave. When the reason was asked, he said, 'My respect for that great imam prevents me from acting unconformably to his ijtihad in his presence.' Al-Imam al- Azam was such a superior alim of Islam. To understand his superiority one must be an alim like the great alim al-Imam ash-Shafi'i, who knew that al-Imam al-Azam was alive in his grave and avoided acting unconformably to his madhhab. Righteously, these great imams (rahimahumu'llahu ta'ala) were the specialists of fiqh. They enjoyed the glad tiding expressed in this hadith ash-Sharif related by al-Bukhari: [Imam Muhammad al-Bukhari was the leader of the 'ulama' of hadith and passed away in Samarqand in 256 A.H. (870 A.D.).] 'If Allah wants to do favors for a man, He makes a faqih of him.'
"In summary, the rules of Islam should be learned from the 'ulama' of fiqh or from the mujtahids of one's madhhab. One should not learn them from hadiths or tafsirs. The hadith ash-Sharif, 'Each person has been created to do a [certain] work,' is the document of our words. The 'ulama' of the hadith ash-Sharif were created to study the hadiths and to select the sahih ones, and the 'ulama' of tafsir to understand correctly and communicate the meanings in the Qur'an al-karim; all of them worked hard to carry out their duties and attained their goals. And the 'ulama' of fiqh were created to draw rules from the nasses of the Qur'an al-karim and the Hadith ash-Sharif. These great 'ulama' (rahimahum-Allahu ta'ala), too, attained the zenith of knowledge and made the job of the ignoramuses like us easier. With the help of their profound knowledge and taqwa, given by Allahu ta'ala, they made those nasses that seemed unconformable agree with each other and separated those muhkam from those muawwal, those earlier from those later, and those nasikh from those mansukh. Therefore, the whole of this blessed umma all over the world has united in following these great imams and believed that being in their footsteps was the key to the Ah'kam al-Islamiyya (Rules of Islam). All 'alims, fadils (those virtuously superior of their time), sulaha', the muttaqi (Allah-fearing), walis, qutbs, awtad, and all those who have been on the way of Allahu ta'ala and loved Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) have submitted themselves to these leaders of the Ah'kam al-Islamiyya. The collection of the writings of the 'ulama' of hadith, of the specialists of tafsir and of the great mujtahid imams of fiqh made up the Islamiyyat al-Muhammadi. It is wajib for us, the ignorant and non-gifted, to follow these great 'ulama' of Islam. The only way to salvation is the way shown by these imams. Only those who follow this way will attain salvation. Those who obey the people who, obeying the nafs, draw meaning from the Qur'an al-karim and the Hadith ash-Sharif according to their own understanding will suffer calamity. The 90th ayat of Surat al-Anam declares, 'Allah guided them [to the right path], so follow their guidance.' Those who were granted guidance are not the la-madhhabi, but those great imams who were the founders of madhhabs (rahimahum-Allahu ta'ala).
"Question: 'I believe now that the Ulu 'l-amr whom we are ordered to obey are the mujtahid imams, that the 'ulama' who are called ahl adh-dhikr, too, were them, and that it is wajib to follow them. How is it understood whether one should follow a certain one of them or all of them? Isn't it sufficient for any act to suit any one of the four?'
"Answer: Because on many points the ijtihads of the four imams disagree, it is not possible to follow two, three or four imams at the same time. An affair regarded as wajib by one was regarded as haram by another. For example, the bleeding of the skin breaks an ablution according to al-Imam al-Azam, while it does not do so according to al-Imam ash-Shafi'i. Al-Imam ash-Shafi'i said that if a man touched a woman's skin, both of them would lose their ablutions, while al-Imam al-Azam said they would not. Similar cases of disagreement exist also between Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. If one follows, let us say, al-Imam al-Azam in such a controversial affair, he will not have followed the other. If he acts conformably to other imams, he will have not followed al-Imam al-Azam in this affair (rahmat-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihim ajmain). It is impossible to act in agreement with all four of the imams in such an affair; there are also many cases which prevent one from acting in agreement with three or even two imams at the same time. Such [controversial] affairs should be done by following only one imam. [The rest of the answer is given in that of the next question.]
"Question: 'If we do some affairs according to one imam, some other affairs according to another imam, some others according to a third imam, and the remaining according to the fourth imam, we will be in accord with all the four imams. Isn't this correct?'
"Answer: Such behavior is an act of making fun of Islam. It causes the disappearance of halal and haram, which is prohibited, a haram. A hadith ash-Sharif written in [the Sahih of] Muslim declares: 'A hypocrite is like a ewe between two rams. She shuttles back and forth between the two.' Another hadith ash-Sharif written in [the Sahih of] al-Bukhari, declares: 'The wicked human beings are those who are two-faced. They display one face to some and another face to others.' These are the people referred to in the 38th ayat al-karima of Surat at-Tawba, which declares: 'Nasi (postponement of a sacred month) causes excessive disbelief by which disbelievers are misled. They allow a month one year and forbid it another year.' [Allahu ta'ala has forbidden some actions before Islam, like war and killing human beings, in some certain months. Disbelievers used to forbid such actions in some months of one year but, in an another year, allow them in those months and forbid them in other months. In other words, they took what Allahu ta'ala had forbidden (haram) as permitted (halal) and what Allahu ta'ala had permitted as forbidden. Allahu ta'ala declares in the ayat that such unbelievers were in excessive disbelief and that they, by doing so, deceived themselves. Those who, saying that an action is halal in a madhhab while being haram in another, attempt to change the rules of Islam to suit their desires are like these unbelievers.]
"It is written in the book Tahrir al-usul by Ibn al-Human, in Mukhtasar al-usul by 'Uthman ibn al-Hajib al-Maliki [who passed away in Alexandria in 646 A.H. (1248) and in the book Durr al-Mukhtar that it is prohibited, by an unanimous declaration, to give up following a madhhab while continuing to do an affair and the related affairs started according to that madhhab. And the book Bahr ar-ra'iq says: 'It is wajib for the one who follows al-Imam al-Azam to adapt himself always to the Hanafi madhhab. Unless there is a darura (strong necessity or compulsion), he is not permitted to do an affair according to another madhhab. As said by the great alim Qasim [ibn Katlubugha al-Misri al-Hanafi, who passed away in 879 A.H. (1474)], it is unanimous that one is not permitted to quit the madhhab he has been following.' In the book Musallam as-subut [by Muhibbullah al-Bihari al-Hindi al-Hanafi, who passed away in 1119 A.H. (1707)] it is written: 'One who is not a mujtahid mutlaq [that is, an imam al-madhhab] must follow a mujtahid mutlaq even if he himself is an alim.'
"Imam 'Abd al-Wahhab ash-Sharani wrote on the 24th page of his work Al-mizan: 't is wajib for an alim who has not attained to 'ayn al-ula to adapt himself to one of the four madhhabs. If he does not, he will deviate from the right path and cause others to go astray.'
"Ibn 'Abidin (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaih) wrote on page 283 of Radd al-Mukhtar: 'The 'ami is not permitted to change his madhhab. He must adapt himself to the madhhab he likes [of the four madhhabs].' 'Ami means non-mujtahid Muslim.
"Shah Wali-Allah ad-Dahlawi (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) wrote in his book Al-'Iqd al-jayyid: 'A person who occupies a religious post but has not reached the degree of employing ijtihad is not permitted to practice according to what he himself understands of a Hadith ash-Sharif, for, he cannot distinguish mansukh, muawwal or muhkam hadiths from one another.' The same is written in Mukhtasar by Ibn Hajib. Again Shah Wali-Allah ad-Dahlawi (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) wrote in his work Fuyud al-Haramain: 'The Hanafi madhhab is the most valuable madhhab. The one most suited to the Prophet's Sunnat codified in the Sahih of al-Bukhari is this madhhab.'
"Dana Ganj Bakhsh-i Lahoree (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) wrote in his work Al-kashf al-mahjub that Yahya ibn Muaz ar-Razi (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaih) [who passed away in Nishapur in 258 A.H. (827)] saw Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) in his dream and said, 'Oh Rasul-Allah! Where shall I find you?' whereupon Rasulullah said, 'In Abu Hanifa's madhhab!'
"Ibn Human (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaih) wrote in his book Tahrir: 'It is a unanimity that one is not permitted to leave the madhhab which he has been following or according to which he has begun to do his affairs.'
"Mawlana 'Abd as-Salam wrote in his commentary to Jawhara: [Abd as-Salam ibn Ibrahim al-Laqani al-Maliki (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala alaih), who passed away in Egypt in 1078 A.H. (1668 A.D.), wrote Ittihaf al-murid as a commentary to his father's Jawharat at-tawhid, which was in poetic form.] 'The one who follows one of the four madhhabs in his 'ibadat and affairs to be done according to ijtihads will have carried them out in conformity with Allahu ta'ala's command.'
"Al-Imam ar-Rabbani Mujaddid al-Alf ath-Thani (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaih) wrote in his book Mabda' wa Ma'ad: 'Allahu ta'ala revealed to this faqir that the congregation's not reciting behind the imam according to the Hanafi madhhab is right.'
"Hadrat Shah 'Abd al-'Aziz ad-Dahlawi (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) [who passed away in Delhi in 1239 A.H. (1823), in the interpretation of the ayat karima, 'Do not ascribe partners unto Allah!' wrote: 'One should obey six kinds of people: mujtahids in the knowledge of Islam, mashayikh at-turuq al-'aliyya...'
"Al-Imam al-Ghazali (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaih) wrote in the subject 'Al-amru bi 'l-maruf' of his work Kimya' as-saada: 'No alim permitted anybody to do any affairs unconformable to the madhhab he follows.'
" 'Abd al-Haqq ad-Dahlawi (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaih) wrote in his book Sifr as-saada: 'The building of the Islamic religion is based on these four pillars [that is, madhhabs]. For the one who has followed one of these ways and opened one of these doors, to move into another way and expect to open another door is an absurd game. He will have upset the coherence of his affairs and deviated from the right path.' Again in the same book is written: 'Following one of the four madhhabs is a consensus of the 'ulama' and the best way for the Muslims of the Last [the present] Age. Religious and worldly order can be maintained in this way. Everyone follows the madhhab of his choice; after following a madhhab for some time, changing to another madhhab undoubtedly shows one's distrust in his former madhhab, and deeds and words get spoilt and put into disorder. The 'ulama' of Islam who came later have agreed on this unanimously. This is the truth of the matter. The benefit is in this.'
"Imam Muhammad al-Kuhistani [al-Hanafi (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), who passed away in Bukhara in 962 A.H. (1508),] wrote before 'Kitab al-ashriba' in the commentary to Mukhtasar al-wiqaya: 'Those who, like the Mutazila, believed that reality (haqq) was variable [that is, various conflicting ijtihads would be right in the view of Allahu ta'ala,] said that the 'ami was permitted to mix (talfiq) the madhhabs just as he liked. The 'ulama' of Ahl as-Sunnat said that the truth was not variable and, therefore, the 'ami had to follow only one imam. This is dealt with in detail in the book Al-kashf. Searching for and doing the permitted, easy things in all madhhabs is called talfiq. One who does so is a sinner, which is explained explicitly in Ash-Sharh at-Tahawi by Said ibn Masud.'
"Question: 'Should a Muslim, who believes that the talfiq (unification) of madhhabs is to make a game of Islam and admits that it is not permissible to change one's madhhab, say that the madhhab he follows is the right one?'
"Answer: There are documentary reasons for the followers of every madhhab to say so. We will tell in the following the evidences favoring that it is better to follow our madhhab-the Hanafi madhhab:
"Among the four aimmat al-madhahib, al-Imam al-Azam Abu Hanifa Numan ibn Thabit (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaih) [who passed away in Baghdad in 150 A.H. (767) was the one who lived in the time closer to as-Sahabat al-kiram's who were the most learned, the most profound in fiqh, and who possessed wara' the most. Imam 'Abd al-Wahhab ash-Sharani (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaih) [who passed away in Egypt in 973 A.H. (1565)], though he was a Shafi'i, wrote equitably about al-Imam al-Azam: '(One should never speak ill of him, for he was the greatest of the four imams (al-Imam al-Azam), the first madhhab founder, the one whose documents resembled those of Rasulullah (sall-allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) the most and who saw the most the way as-Sahabat al-kiram and the Tabiin lived. Every word of his is based on the Qur'an al-karim and the Hadith ash-Sharif. He never said anything out of his own opinion.' It is an unjustifiable imputation of some scholars of hadith to use the term Ashab ar-ra'y (people of opinion) for this great imam and his disciples for whom the great alim 'Abd al-Wahhab ash-Sharani used the title 'Rabbani alim' and wrote that he had never said anything out of his own opinion. May Allahu ta'ala forgive those who said so.
"Ibn Hajar al-Makki (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), one of the prominent 'ulama' in the Shafi'i madhhab, wrote a special book telling about al-Imam al-Azam, namely Al-khairat al-hisan fi manaqibi'n-Numan. [Ahmad at-Tahawi al-Hanafi's relevant work 'Uqud al-marjan fi manaqib'l Abi Hanifati'n-Nu'man is also well-known. At-Tahawi passed away in 321 A.H. (933 A.D.).]
"Ibn 'Abidin (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), one of the Hanafi scholars, wrote in the preface to his work Radd-al-Mukhtar: 'The most apparent evidence showing the greatness of al-Imam al-azam is that his madhhab was the one which spread most widely. Other madhhab imams regarded all his words as documents. The 'Ulama' of his madhhab have issued fatwas based on his words everywhere even after him. Most awliya' attained to perfection by striving in accord with his madhhab. The Muslims of Anatolia, the Balkan Peninsula, India, Pakistan and Turkistan know solely his madhhab. Though the 'Abbasid Dynasty followed the madhhab of their ancestor [Hadrat 'Abbas, a Sahabi], most of the Qadis, judges and 'ulama' of their time were Hanafis. They practiced Islam according to this madhhab for about five hundred years. After them, the Seljuqi and later the Harazmi rulers and the great Ottoman State all followed the Hanafi madhhab.'
"The Great alim Muhammad Tahir as-Siddiqi al-Hanafi [who passed away in 981 A.H. (1573)] wrote in his book Majma' al-bihar fi ghara'ibi 't-tanzil wa lata'ifi 'l-akhbar: 'The evidence indicating that Allahu ta'ala is pleased with al-Imam al-Azam is that He made it easier for his madhhab to spread every place. If there had not been a Divine Effect in this dissemination, the majority of Muslims would not have followed his madhhab.'
"Al-Imam ar-Rabbani Mujaddid al-Alf ath-Thani Ahmad al-Faruqi (qaddas-Allahu sirrahu 'l-'Aziz) wrote in the 55th letter of the second volume of his Persian work Maktubat: 'Al-Imam al-Azam Abu Hanifa resembled [Prophet] 'Isa ('alaihi 's-salam). Because the blessings of wara' and taqwa were granted to him and because he lived up to the Sunnat as-Saniyya; he attained to a very high degree in deducing rules from the nasses and in ijtihad. Some 'ulama' could not appreciate this ability of his, and, because the rules he had found out through ijtihad were very subtle, they thought that he had not obeyed the Book and the Sunnat and called him a man of opinion. Because they could not reach the reality of his knowledge and could not understand what he had understood, they were mistaken as such whereas, al-Imam ash-Shafi'i ('alaihi 'rahma), understanding some of the knowledge he had understood said that all the 'ulama' of fiqh were Abu Hanifa's disciples in fiqh. Muhammad Parisa (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) [who was a great alim and wali of Bukhara and passed away in Medina in 822 A.H. (1419)] wrote in his book fusul-i sitta that, when Hadrat 'Isa ('alaihi 's-salam) descends [in Damascus], his ijtihad and a'mal will be in conformity with al-Imam al-Azam's madhhab. May be this statement points to the resemblance between the Greatest Imam and 'Isa ('alaihi 's-salam):
Most of the 'ulama' and sulaha' [and awliya'] of this umma belonged to the Hanafi madhhab. The la-madhhabi, in many of their books, for example, Al-jarhu ala Abu Hanifa, have maligned such an alim who lived up to his 'ilm, have called his muqallids (followers of his madhhab) 'kafirs' and even wrote insolently: 'He who reads fiqh books becomes a disbeliever.' I wonder what could be the reason for these unfortunate people to attack this great and blessed imam in such a manner? They are not aware that enmity against him means enmity against this umma. Most of what we have written from the beginning of the fourth section of [this book] Al-usul al-arba'a up to here has been extracted from Mawlana Mahbub Ahmad al-Mujaddidi al-Amratsaree's work Al-kitab al-majid fi wujubi 't-taqlid.
"The book Al-musnad al-kabir al-Imam Abu Hanifa was collected in ten sections by Abu 'l-Muayyad Muhammad ibn Mahmud al-Harazmi, who passed away in 665 A.H. (1266). In the first section, akhbar (hadiths) and athar (saying of Sahabis) praising al-imam al-Azam were quoted. He also quotes, in the first section, the hadith ash-Sharif which was related to him by Sadr al-kabir Sharaf ad-din Ahmad ibn Muayyid in Harazm. This hadith ash-Sharif, related on the authority of Abu Huraira (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh), says: 'Among my umma, there will come a man called Abu Hanifa. On the day of Resurrection he will be the light of my umma.' Another hadith ash-Sharif, related through the same chain, says, 'Among my umma, there will come a man. His name will be Numan and he will be called Abu Hanifa. He is the light of my umma.' Again through the same chain, a hadith ash-Sharif was related on the authority of Anas ibn Malik, which says: 'There will come a man after me, named Numan ibn Thabit and called Abu Hanifa. Allahu ta'ala will strengthen His Religion and my sunnat through his hand.' According to a khabar again through the same chain of transmitters, he was reported as saying, 'Let me inform you of a person called Abu Hanifa who will live in Kufa. His heart will be full of knowledge and hikma (wisdom). Towards the end of the world people called Bananiyya will perish because of not appreciating him.' The la-madhhabi oppose these hadiths, saying that, among those who related them, there were people whose authority was not well known. We reply to them that the posterity's not knowing does not prove the early generation to be defective. They might say that these hadiths do not exist in the Kutub as-sitta (the 'Six Books' of the Hadith as-Sharif); however, the number of hadiths is not limited to those in the Six Books. It has been unanimously reported [by 'ulama'] that there are many sahih hadiths in other books of hadith, too. In the hadith ash-Sharif written in at-Tirmidhi on the authority of Abu Huraira, it is declared, 'If iman goes to the planet Venus, a man of Faris (Persian) descent will bring it back.' This reference is certainly to al-Imam al-azam." [Muhammad Hasan Jan as-Sirhindi al-Mujaddidi (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala alaih), Usul al-arba'a fi tardid'l-wahhabiyya, Persian text published in India in 1346 A.H. (1928 A.D.)and reprinted in Istanbul in 1975. Hasan Jan passed away in Hyderabad, Pakistan, in 1349 A.H. (1931).]
A hadith ash-Sharif related by Hakim on the authority of 'Abdullah ibn Masud and quoted in Durr al-mansur by Imam 'Abd ar-Rahman as-Suyuti (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaih) [who passed away in Egypt in 911 A.H. (1505)] declares, "Each of the books that descended before [the Qur'an al-karim] was composed of one kind of harf or word and each communicated only one thing. The Qur'an al-karim descended in seven harfs communicating seven things: zajr (restraint), amr (order), halal, haram, muhkam (clearly stated), mutashabih (with hidden meanings), and mithal (example, historical reports). Of these, know halal as halal! Know haram as haram! Do what is ordered! Do away with what is prohibited! Take warning from mithals! Obey the muhkam! Believe in the mutashabih! Say, 'We believe all of them. Our Rabb has revealed them all!' " [This hadith sharif is quoted also on page 406 of the Wahhabite book.] 'Allama Muhammad Hamid, the Khatib and mudarris at he Sultan mosque in Hama, Syria, writes about the Hanafi madhhab in detail and proves that it is wajib to follow one of the four madhhabs in his work Luzumu ittiba-i madhahibi 'l-aimma, which was published in 1388 A.H. (1968) and reprinted in Istanbul in 1984.
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