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Monday, October 23, 2006

Why Women Should Wear the Veil?



Women throughout the world spend so much money on facial beauty. Companies manufacturing 'beauty' products make huge figures in sales. It would be nothing short saying that the products used on the face far exceed other products. This in itself proves that humans are particularly possessive of their looks - facial expression. People especially women take great pride and time in making up their faces.

Allah Ta'ala has placed the beauty of man and woman in the face. Perhaps the busiest part of the body is the face - used extensively in communication. The face communicates the person's mood and facial expressions and expresses the character and mannerism.


Because so much of identification is assembled by the face, least to mention the beauty of women, Muslim women are required to hide away their beauty. The veil forms part of their concealment.

The Noble Qur'an declares:

"Oh Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women so as not to be annoyed." (Ahzaab 33:59)

Furthermore, the Noble Qur'an declares in Sura Nur verse 31, that the believing women 'should not display their beauty and ornamentation' except to their husbands and immediate family (Mahrams).

Allah Ta'ala says clearly that a woman's body should be covered by loose-fitting, non-transparent clothing so that the shape of her body is not revealed. The Hijaab hides the beauty of the woman's form.

No one can dispute that a woman's primary focus of beauty is her face. Therefore, if Allah Ta'ala places so much of emphasis on hiding the beauty of a woman's body, it's only logical that the centre of greater attraction - the face - should without a doubt also be covered.

Referring to the wives (Radhiallaahu Anhunna) of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) warns the men:

"And when you ask (His ladies) for anything you want, ask them from behind a curtain: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and theirs." (Ahzaab 33:53)

If Allah Ta'ala expects the prophet's wives to be so guarded then surely none of the believing women can claim greater purity of heart and consequently exemption from the directive to hide their beauty.

Hadhrat Aaisha (Radhiyallaahu Anha) says, '(during Hajj in the state of Ihraam) when the male should walk in front of us while in the company of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), then we would drop our veils from the head over the face.'

This Hadith emphatically shows the manner adopted by the honoured wives of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). They have exemplified an extremely dignified way of life for the women of the Ummah.


The letter has been written by a sister who preferred to remain anonymous. Sharing her experiences of wearing hijab and the delight it brought, she has sought to encourage other sisters to do the same.

We hope that this letter will become instrumental in bringing about the desired change in the lives of our mothers and sisters.

My dear sister-in-Islam,
Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

I would like to share with you my experiences of putting on the 'DREADED VEIL'. You see, I too was afraid to put it on. I was afraid of the changes it would bring in my life, the inconveniences, the ridicule from the ignorant ones on the streets and of course, the reactions of my family members and friends.

I knew what Allah's Command was on this matter, however, Shaytan and Nafs, as helpful as ever, brought a lot of important matters to my attention. "It's going to be so awkward at the bar-b-ques and other social gatherings", said the knowledgeable Nafs. How are you going to eat at restaurants, and what about holidays and fun days out?" prompted the Shaytan. "You will miss out on so much!" they both whispered, "Leave it. It will be easier this way!"

However, Allah, Allah the All-Powerful, Allah the Most Patient, Allah the Most Merciful, Who had been watching while I transgressed every law of hijab you could think of, and who had been waiting ever so patiently while I disobeyed the laws sent down in His Book, through His infinite Mercy put a spark of light in my heart, which grew till I had no choice, but to put on the oh-so-dreaded piece of cloth on my face.

My dear beloved sister, no one told me of the deep sense of happiness I would feel. No one told me I would walk down the street dressed in black from head to toe and still feel like a million dollars. No one told me how special it would make me feel.

It didn't matter that many of my friends were not so friendly any more, or that my female relations took offence because I was hiding from their husbands and sons, or that my husband was not exactly over the moon about it. Conversations became stilted, social gatherings became awkward, but my heart knew a peace it hadn't known before. The feeling of being chosen and gifted remains with me even today.

Try it my dear sister-in-Islam. You won't know till you try it. When the Pleasure of Allah touches your heart you won't ever want to go without the 'DREADED VEIL', Insha'Allah!

Wassalam.

Your Sister-in-Islam.

An answer to Dr. Zakir Naik's answer regarding Schools of thought




Composed by M. Yasin Achhodi

In a question posed to Dr. Zakir Naik regarding which school of thought a Muslim should follow, he answered in the following manipulating manner in which a layman can easily be affected with lack of knowledge. His answer will be quoted first followed by the reply. To read his entire article first, please scroll to the bottom.

Dr. Zakir Naik wrote:

1. Muslims should be united

Muslims today, are divided amongst themselves. Such divisions are not endorsed by Islam. Islam believes in fostering unity amongst its followers.

The Glorious Qur’an says:

“And hold fast, altogether, by the rope Which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves.” [Al-Qur’an 3:103]

Which is the rope of Allah that is being referred to in this verse? It is the Glorious Qur’an. The Glorious Qur’an is the rope of Allah which all Muslims should hold fast together. There is double emphasis in this verse. Beside saying ‘hold fast all together’ it also says, ‘be not divided’.

Taqleed and following of an Imam has not broken unity. In the Haramayn, it is the Muqallideen who read together and coexist peacefully whereas the ones who are strictly against it decide to make their own gatherings, Jamaa’ah and also groups.

My question: who has broken unity? A Muqallid or a person with his own views of Deen?

Dr. Zakir Naik wrote:

The Qur’an further says,

“Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger” [Al-Qur’an 4:59]

All the Muslims should follow the Qur’an and authentic Ahadith and ensure that they are not divided among themselves

Why is the remaining verse of the Holy Qur’aan forgotten?

“O you who believe! Follow Allah; follow the Messenger and those of authority (Amr) amongst you.” (Surah al-Nisaa Verse 59)

Abdullah ibn Abbas (ra) says that in this verse, ‘Amr’ refers to the jurists. This explanation is narrated from Mu’aawiyah ibn Salah from Ali ibn Talhah which is a sound chain, Al-Itqaan)

The verse continues, “And if you dispute, then refer to Allah and the Messenger if you really do believe in Allah and in the last day. (Surah al-Nisaa Verse 59)

Allah’s statement subsequently “if you dispute…” proves that those of Amr are indeed jurists because He has ordered everyone else to follow them and then proceed to say that “if you dispute..” Hence Allah has ordered those of Amr to refer the disputed issue to the Book of Allah the traditions of the Prophet. The lay person would be unaware of how to refer the disputed issue to the Book of Allah and to the Sunnah and how their proofs would apply to the situations and events. Thus, it is established that the second command, is for the scholars. (Ahkaamul Qur’aan, vol 2, pg 257)

My question: Why state quarter of the verse as proof for not following scholars when the remainder of the verse denies your claim?

Dr. Zakir Naik wrote:

2. It is prohibited to make divisions in Islam.

The Glorious Qur’an says:

“As for those who divide Their religion and break up Into sects, you have no part in them in the least: Their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.” [Al-Qur’an 6:159]

In this verse Allah (swt) says that one should disassociate oneself from those who divide their religion and break it up into sects.

But when one asks a Muslim, “who are you?” the common answer is either ‘I am a Hanafi or Shafi or Maliki or Hanbali. Some call themselves ‘Ahle-Hadith’.

When a non-Muslim asks, “who are you?” the common answer is “I am a Muslim”
When a Muslim asks, “who are you?” the common answer is, “son of so n so” or “I am a Gujrati/Pakistani/Malaysian” etc. Does this mean that to be a Pakistani is being guilty of the people mentioned in this verse?

I, till today, have not heard “I am a Hanafi” or “Shaafi’ee” being the answer to “who are you?”

Furthermore, Taqleed has not created divisions. This is grave misconception. Ahlus Sunaah Wal Jamaa’ah are proud to follow the Sahaabah. The Islam of the Sahabaah was the complete Islam. They saw Nabi (s) and they saw the Qur’aan in him. The understandings of the Sahaabah is our understanding.

There were differences of opinion in the Sahaabah too. Ibn Abbas (ra) narrates that ‘Umar ibn Khattab gave a sermon at Jabiyah and said, “O people! If you want to know about the Qur’aan, go to ‘Ubaid ibn Ka’b. If you want to know about inheritance, go to Zaid ib Thaabit. If you want to about Fiqh, go to Mu’aadh ibn Jabal. If you want to know about wealth, then come to me for Allah has made me a guardian and a distributor. “ (Tabarani)

We hear it all the time, “oh you follow them, but we follow Qur’aan & Sunnah.” Those who claim to follow the Qur’aan & Sunnah as understood by themselves, please take a moment to observe the following.

Salim ibn Abdullah narrates that Abdullah ibn ‘Umar was asked about a person who owed another person some money and had to pay the load at a fixed time. The creditor then agrees to forgive a portion of the load if the debtor pays before the deadline. Ibn ‘Umar disliked this agreement and forbade it. (Muwatta Imam Malik)

There is no explicit Hadith of the Prophet which has been offered as proof nor was any proof sought from Ibn ‘Umar (ra). It is evident that this ruling was a personal judgement of Ibn ‘Umar.

Abdur Rahmaan narrated that he asked Ibn Sireen about entering public baths. Ibn Sireen said that ‘Umar used to dislike the idea. (Mataalibul ‘Aaliyah by Hafiz Ibn Hajar)

Ibn Sireen, who was one of the most learned followers of the Companions, did not mention any proof except to say that ‘Umar used to dislike the idea.

This is despite the fact that there are several Ahadeeth regarding the issue of public baths.

There are plenty more examples available. Now my question: Who is causing the division? The one who follows a jurist like the Sahaabah and those who followed them did? Or the ones who are breaking all bonds and ties from the people of authority, the people of knowledge and telling everyone not to follow those of authority and to follow only Qur’aan & Sunnah no matter how you understand it? Who is this verse more likely to refer to?

Dr. Zakir Naik wrote:

3. Four Schools of Thoughts

The Islamic world has produced several learned Islamic scholars (Imams), but out of these, four became more famous and their teachings spread in different parts of the world.

It is a misconception that a Muslim should follow any one of these four schools of thoughts i.e. Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali or Maliki. There is no proof whatsoever in the Qur’an or any authentic Hadith that a Muslim should only follow one of these four Imams.

‘Umar Ibn Khattab (ra)’s sermon at Jabiyah in which mentioned who to go to for which subjects is also not mentioned in the Qur’aan. It is very easy to say “it is a misconception,” maybe if the conception was mentioned, the misconception would not remain. To avoid the possibility of contradictions amongst the scholars of differing Ijtihad over a primary source, the laity were encouraged to follow only one Madhhab and Mujtahideen instead of referring to several. This idea gained domination during the 3rd and 4th century AH. One of the most important reasons for this was that a person can not take the judgement which suits his desires best. According to some jurists for example, Talaaq (divorce) takes place whereas according to some, it doesn’t. Most people will no doubt follow the jurist which suits their desire best.

Following desires to the extent that they believe Halaal to be Haraam and Haraam to Halaal is disastrous. Disobedience of this nature is fatal and makes religion and law mere shame. For this reason, the acceptance of following only one Madhhab has successfully continued for around 11 centuries in the majority of Muslims. Furthermore to proudly state its acceptance in the eyes of Allah that it is the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah, those who do follow the Qur’aan, those who do follow the Sunnah, those who do follow the two as understood by the Sahaabah and those who do follow an Imam are those who Allah has accepted to lead prayers in the Haramayn Shareefayn.

My question: Is Qur’aan & Sunnah your only source of making judgements? If yes, why did the Sahaabah not ask for proof from Qur’aan & Sunnah? Why did some Sahaabah refer to other Sahaabah for rulings? Were they not learned enough?

Dr. Zakir Naik wrote:

4. Respect all the Great Scholars of Islam.

We must respect all the great scholars of Islam, including the four Imaams, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi, Imam Hanbal and Imam Malik (may Allah be pleased with them all). They were great scholars and may Allah reward them for their research and hard work. One can have no objection if someone agrees with the view and research of any one or more from these four great scholars of Islam.

Again, please refer to following rulings which suit the desires under number 3. I see no other reason why one would object to their ruling.

Dr. Zakir Naik wrote:

5. All Four Imam said follow the Qur’an and Sunnah.

All the four great Imams said that if any of their Fatwas or teachings contradict Allah’s word, i.e. the Qur’an, or the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) i.e. authentic Hadith, then that particulars Fatwa of theirs should be rejected, and the Sunnah of the Prophet should be followed.

To give you an example in this context – Imam shafi said that when a women touches a man who is in a state of wudhu, the wudhu of the man breaks. However, this ruling of Imam Shafi contradicts the authentic saying of the Prophet.

Narrated Aisha
The Prophet (may peace be upon him) kissed one of his wives and went out for saying prayer. He did not perform ablution. (Sunan Abu Dawood Vol. 1 Chapter No. 70 Hadith No. 179)

Thus this particular teaching of Imam Shafi contradicts the authentic saying of the Prophet. So I reject this specific ruling of Imam Shafi who himself said , “ If I say something, then compare it to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His messenger and if it agrees to them, then accept it and that which goes against them, then reject it and throw my saying against the wall” – This is a saying of ash-Shafi’ee-rahimaullah. See Al-Majmoo’ of an-Nawawee (1/63).

Thus by rejecting this particular teaching of Imam Shafi which contradicts the authentic Hadith, I am practically a better follower of Imam Shafi than those who call themselves ‘Shafi’.

The response to this is; This is the opinion of Ibn 'Umar and some other Sahabah. However, when the Sahabah disagree in a matter, their statements are not a proof unless proof is brought from the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (s). As we stated before, Ibn 'Abbas and the reports from 'Aa'ishah contradict the opinion of Ibn 'Umar and those with their opinion. Thus, the opinion of Ibn Umar is not accepted unless supported with proof from the mouth of the beloved Messenger Muhammad (s). This topic itself is a lengthy topic in which one can not lightly accuse Imaam Shafi’ee (Rahimahullah) of going against a Hadeeth.

Furthermore, everyone learning Ahadeeth and extracting rulings from them in the light of Qur’aan is unreal and somewhat impossible. Not many if not all have the ability to do so. Therefore, to say one can follow a different ruling if they find a Hadeeth which contradicts it, is absurd for a common person.

Bearing in mind, does a common person have enough knowledge to know that there is no other stronger Hadeeth that this ruling? Does the layman have enough knowledge to understand why Imam Shafi’ee uses that Hadeeth as Hujjah and Imam Abu Hanifah uses this?

Dr. Zakir Naik wrote:

Similarly in practice, I claim to be a better follower of Imam Abu Hanifa than those who call themselves ‘Hanafi’. I claim to be a better follower of Imam Hanbal than those who call themselves ‘Hanbali’. I claim to be a better follower of Imam Malik than those who call themselves ‘Maliki”. If being a ‘Ahle-Hadith’ means following Qur’an and authentic Hadith then I claim to be a better follower of the Qur’an and authentic Hadith than those who call themselves ‘ Ahle-Hadith’. All these are mere labels (Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali, Maliki, Ahle-Hadith) that are not endorsed by the Qur’an or the Sahih Ahadith.

The only label or title given by the Qur’an and the Sahih Ahadith is MUSLIM.

Very easy to fall for this last statement, yet the solution and answer is even easier. A Muslim is a person who believes in one Allah and believes in Muhammad (s) as the final Messenger. A Hanafi, Shafi’ee, Hanbali, Maliki does not come contradictory to MUSLIM. As the meaning of Hanafi is not the opposite of what makes a person MUSLIM. Being a Hanafi does not take the Shahaadah away from a MUSLIM. In fact, the following (Number 6) helps.

Dr. Zakir Naik wrote:

6. All the Groups have sub divisions

I personally have no objection if someone calls himself Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali, Maliki or Ahle Hadith. People give different labels to themselves to identify which set of teachings they prefer to follow and to disassociate themselves from those people who follow wrong practices. From history we come to know that all the labels given to different groups, at a later stage the people from that group themselves did not follow their teachings and made new sub-groups. Therefore in all the groups you find a sub-division.

But as far as giving a label to identify what a person practices in Islam is concerned, there can not be better label than what Allah (swt) has given i.e. a Muslim.

We have never labelled ourselves as an entirety ‘Hanafi’ or ‘Shafi’ee’. But to use it to deny Taqleed is using false logic and inaccurate claims. Every title or label has its position. If a person says, “I am a MAN”, does this change the fact that he is a Human? The Qur’aan and Hadeeth says we are ‘son of Adam’, does this mean we can’t say we are son of our blood father? When one can claim that this logic is out of context, then how can saying, ‘I am a Hanafi’ hence not MUSLIM as the Qur’aan labels us be true logic?

Dr. Zakir Naik wrote:

7. Our Prophet was a Muslim

“Who was our beloved Prophet (pbuh)? Was he a Hanafi or a Shafi, or a Hanbali or a Maliki ?” No! He was a Muslim, like all the other Prophets and Messengers of Allah before him.

This is enough to show the desperateness of trying to deny Taqleed. Was Imam Abu Hanifah , Imam Shafi’ee, Imam Ahmad or Imam Malik before our Prophet (s)? A Muslim is a person of Islam. Unless Hanafi, Shafi’ee, Hanbali or Maliki is a religion, one can not use the above to clarify anything which is trying to be proven. The entire context is off track.

Dr. Zakir Naik wrote:

It is mentioned in chapter 3 verse 52 of Al-Qur’an that Jesus (pbuh) was a Muslim.

Further , in chapter 3 verse 67, Al-Qur’an says that Ibrahim (pbuh) was not a Jew or a Christian but was a Muslim.

To clarify my above point, I use this quote of Doctor Zakir Naik. Here he has put a MUSLIM in oppose to Christian or Jew. Christianity and Judaism are religions, so this can be used to prove Jesus was a Muslim. Hanafi or Shafi’ee etc is not a religion, it is mere ignorance to use this out of such context.

InshaAllah I will not have to use any more Qur’aan, Hadeeth, Logic or doctor Zakirs own statements to answer the following as InshaAllah one will be able to understand his lack of awareness by reading his following proofs.

Dr. Zakir Naik wrote:

8. Qur’an says call yourselves Muslims

There is no Qur’anic verse or any authentic Hadith that says you should call yourselves Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali, Maliki or Ahle Hadith.

If anyone poses a Muslim the question who are you, he should say “I am a Muslim, not a Hanafi or a Shafi or a Ahle-Hadith”.

In Surah Fussilat chapter 41 verse 33 Allah (swt) says: “Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) to Allah, works righteousness, and says, ‘I am of those Who bow in Islam (Muslim)?’ “[Al-Qur’an 41:33]

The Qur’an instructs, “Say: I am of those who bow in Islam”. In other words, say, “I am a Muslim”.

The Prophet (pbuh) dictated letters to non-Muslim kings and rulers inviting them to accept Islam. In these letters he mentioned the verse of the Qur’an from Surah Al Imran chapter 3 verse 64:

Say ye: “Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (submitting to Allah’s Will).”[Al-Qur’an 3:64]

9. Lip Service Muslims

Allah knew that even in the Muslim Ummah there will be many people who claim to be Muslims (i.e. claim to submit their will to Allah) but practically will not follow Allah’s commands.

Allah refers to such people in the Qur’an as lip service Believers (Al Qur’an 5:41). Thus we can conclude that those who claim to be Muslims but do not follow Qur’an and Sunnah are Lip-Service Muslims. Those who follow the Qur’an and authentic Hadith should not change their label, and stick to the best label given by Allah (swt) i.e. Muslim and which the Prophet also called himself.

This verse is being used once again against the Muqallideen. This time, the Muqallideen are said to not be following the Qur’aan & Sunnah.

Imagine giving a person the Qur’aan, the Ahadeeth and then saying, live your life according to these rulings. Will that person be able to understand what the Qur’aan means by Quroo’ in the verse where Allah says, “And those women who are divorced should wait for three Quroo’”?

And what type of (Mukhaabarah) will he know or understand in the Hadeeth where Nabi (s) said, “Whoever does not stop the practice of Mukhaabarah should hear the proclamation of war (against him).”? (Mukhaabarah is a certain type of farming. There were several forms of Mukhaabarah practiced) The Hadeeth is fairly general, how would a lay person distinguish between the permitted ones and the forbidden one?

Then there’s one Hadeeth which says, “Whoever has an Imaam, then the Imaam’s recitation is his recitation.” On the other hand, another Hadeeth says, “There is no Salaah for he who does not recite the Faatihah.” How would a common person which Qur’aan and Hadeeth be able to choose which Hadeeth to follow, or what is the middle route, or does it refer to something else, or was the Hadeeth for a particular event only? Obviously one is will have to turn to a learned jurist who has mastered himself in these issues and whom Allah (swt) has blessed unrecognizable wisdom. So when the person asks this jurist/imam, is he now following the Imaam or Qur’aan and Sunnah?

Obviously he is following the Qur’aan and Sunnah as passed on by these scholars as they compiled rulings. And it is common sense that if a person tries to follow all the Madhaahib then he will lead to following the rulings which suit him best.

My question is, who is following a more reliable and sound meaning of the Qur’aan and Sunnah and who is taking literal and incomplete perceptions of the Qur’aan and Sunnah. The obvious answer would be the one who chooses to follow a Madhhab is safer from making his own meaning of Deen whereas following a Madhhab is actually following a sound understanding of Qur’aan and Hadeeth.

Dr. Zakir Naik wrote:

10. The Prophet had said that there would be 73 sects.

Some may argue by quoting the Hadith of our beloved Prophet, from Sunan Abu Dawood Hadith No. 4579. In this Hadith the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said, “My community will split up into seventy-three sects.”

This hadith reports that the prophet predicted the emergence of seventy-three sects. He did not say that Muslims should be active in dividing themselves into sects. The Glorious Qur’an commands us not to create sects. Those who follow the teachings of the Qur’an and Sahih Hadith, and do not create sects are the people who are on the true path.

According to Tirmidhi Hadith No. 171, the prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said, “My Ummah will be fragmented into seventy three sects, and all of them will be in Hell fire except one sect.” The companions asked Allah’s messenger which group that would be. Where upon he replied, “It is the one to which I and my companions belong”.

The answer of Nabi (s) is so strong and true in its wisdom. He did not say, “It is the one who follows Qur’aan & Sunnah.” He said, “It is the one to which I and my companions belong.” Note, the Sahaabah are mentioned. The Sahaabah passed on the true Islam to the Tabi’een. When the Tabi’een followed the Islam of the Sahaabah, they are included in that sect. Now will you say that the Tabi’een aren’t because they followed the Sahaabah and not the Qur’aan and Sunnah? The Tabi’een turned to certain Sahaabah and similarly the Tab’ Tabi’een turned to certain Tabi’een for certain issues. Why did they not look directly into Qur’aan and Hadeeth?

A Madhhab is a compilation of rulings, an understanding of Fiqh related issues. The Islaam we follow is the Islaam of the Sahaabah. Do we have a better understanding of Hadeeth and Qur’aan than these great scholars? If one does, they can feel free to be a Mujtahid and have their own Fiqh. As for those who follow a Madhhab, they are following the Islaam of the Sahaabah.

Dr. Zakir Naik wrote:

The Glorious Qur’an mentions in several verses, “Obey Allah and obey His Messenger”. A true Muslim should only follow the Glorious Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith. He can agree with the views of any scholar as long as they conform to the teachings of the Qur’an and Sahih Hadith. If such views go against the Word of Allah, or the Sunnah of His Prophet, then they carry no weight, regardless of how learned the scholar might be. A true Muslim will not follow any ruling or teaching of any great scholar of Islam if that particular ruling or teaching contradicts the Qur’an and Saheeh Hadith.

Thus, the only school of thought that a Muslim should follow, is that of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The only Madhab that a Muslim should follow, is the Madhab of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). And Allah knows the Best.

By saying the only school of thought you should follow is Prophet Muhammad, you have clearly showed that you do not understand the meaning of “school of thought.” A school of thought is a doctrine, The point of view held by a particular group (dictionary) a set of ideas or opinions which a group of people share about a matter (Cambridge).

The Islaam of Nabi (s) was not a ‘point of view.’ It was the true Islaam in its state. When the narrations varied after the Sahaabah, that is when the need for school of thoughts emerged. That is when a strong opinion was required. A common person can not conclude the Deen with his own understandings.

[END OF ARTICLE AND ANSWERS]
The following questions were posed very nicely upon the above reply:

Questioner wrote:

Brother mash'Allah nice points. I'm guessing that you believe in madhabs and that we should follow them?let me ask you on what basis?Does following a madhab go against the teachings of Rasulullah?Brother if you have a problem with the statement made by our honorable Zakir Naik then oh well.Till now brother mash'Allah nice points,but what you said is the same exact thing people say to approve of madhabs.Why is this?


Reply:

Questioner wrote:

I'm guessing that you beleive in madhabs and that we should follow them?let me ask you on what basis?

On the basis that the Muslims of early years were more knowledgable, more pious and less affected by Shaytaan than us. If you have the ability to extract rulings from Qur'aan in the light of Ahadeeth so it does not contradict other Ahadeeth being aware of the chains of narrations making sure that when you take one Hadeeth for the ruling, the other Hadeeth is not rejected and a valid reason is available, if you are able to distinguish between different terms used for the same ruling or the same word used in different context for multiple rulings, if you are able to distinguish between a weak chain and a sound chain of narrations, if you are able to distinguish between rulings which were permitted for a certain period of time, if you are able to do all this and more then by all means, Taqleed is not for you.

Now ask yourself, are we capable of even 1% that they spent their entire lives on? If everyone becomes this, what will happen to Muslims? The entire Muslim world will differ in rulings and the entire Muslim population will be stuck in books their entire lives.

Now you tell me, on what basis should we not follow a Madhhab and on what basis should we reject what has been a successful way of life from the time of Sahaabah. Like i said above in reply to Dr Zakir Naik, even the Sahaabah (ra) followed other Sahaabah in Fiqh matters and did not look into Qur'aan & Hadeeth as the Sahaabah they followed in the matter knew the ruling better than them. They did not ask for proof in differences of opinions like we do.

Questioner wrote:

Does following a madhab go against the teachings of Rasulullah?

Following a Madhhab is securing oneself to following a steadfast Fiqh instead of a purpose driven misunderstood perception of what a person makes of Ayaat and Ahaadeeth.

Questioner wrote:

Brother if you have a problem with the statement made by our honorable Zakir Naik then oh well.

Ironic that you used the word honorable. In your honor for him, you have forgotten that he dishonored all the verses I mentioned, the Ahadeeth and events of the Sahaabah i mentioned above and also the ways of the Muslims since the 3rd century AH. I'm afraid he lost all his honor upon this one article. This doesn't change the fact the he speaks very good intellectual things. But once he talks about 'Aqaaid or Taqleed, I can't but help feel sorry for him as do many scholars and highly respected and learned Ulamaa-e-Kiraam.

Questioner wrote:

Till now brother mash'Allah nice points,but what you said is the same exact thing people say to approve of madhabs.Why is this?

What I said is not to approve Madhhabs, to approve Madhhabs, there are much stronger and evident literature available. What I said was a simple answer to everything Dr Zakir Naik has said. Any person attacking Taqleed with Qur'aan and Hadeeth can be answered with their own statements because all their statements are incomplete and very easy to be blinded to a simple minded person.

"The Legal Status of Following a Madhab" by Chief Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani is a book i recommend. If any, read this inshaAllah at the least. If you still do not agree then Innallaha Yahdee Man-Yashaau Wa Yudhillu Man-Yashaa.

And Allah knows best.

The article itself
The following is his entire article article. One can easily notice how he manipulates the mind in thinking that Taqleed holds no value.

1. Muslims should be united

Muslims today, are divided amongst themselves. Such divisions are not endorsed by Islam. Islam believes in fostering unity amongst its followers.

The Glorious Qur’an says:

“And hold fast, altogether, by the rope Which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves.” [Al-Qur’an 3:103]

Which is the rope of Allah that is being referred to in this verse? It is the Glorious Qur’an. The Glorious Qur’an is the rope of Allah which all Muslims should hold fast together. There is double emphasis in this verse. Beside saying ‘hold fast all together’ it also says, ‘be not divided’.

The Qur’an further says,

“Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger” [Al-Qur’an 4:59]

All the Muslims should follow the Qur’an and authentic Ahadith and ensure that they are not divided among themselves

2. It is prohibited to make divisions in Islam.

The Glorious Qur’an says:

“As for those who divide Their religion and break up Into sects, you have no part in them in the least: Their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.” [Al-Qur’an 6:159]

In this verse Allah (swt) says that one should disassociate oneself from those who divide their religion and break it up into sects.

But when one asks a Muslim, “who are you?” the common answer is either ‘I am a Hanafi or Shafi or Maliki or Hanbali. Some call themselves ‘Ahle-Hadith’.

3. Four Schools of Thoughts

The Islamic world has produced several learned Islamic scholars (Imams), but out of these, four became more famous and their teachings spread in different parts of the world.

It is a misconception that a Muslim should follow any one of these four schools of thoughts i.e. Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali or Maliki. There is no proof whatsoever in the Qur’an or any authentic Hadith that a Muslim should only follow one of these four Imams.

4. Respect all the Great Scholars of Islam.

We must respect all the great scholars of Islam, including the four Imaams, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi, Imam Hanbal and Imam Malik (may Allah be pleased with them all). They were great scholars and may Allah reward them for their research and hard work. One can have no objection if someone agrees with the view and research of any one or more from these four great scholars of Islam.

5. All Four Imam said follow the Qur’an and Sunnah.

All the four great Imams said that if any of their Fatwas or teachings contradict Allah’s word, i.e. the Qur’an, or the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) i.e. authentic Hadith, then that particulars Fatwa of theirs should be rejected, and the Sunnah of the Prophet should be followed.

To give you an example in this context – Imam shafi said that when a women touches a man who is in a state of wudhu, the wudhu of the man breaks. However, this ruling of Imam Shafi contradicts the authentic saying of the Prophet.

Narrated Aisha
The Prophet (may peace be upon him) kissed one of his wives and went out for saying prayer. He did not perform ablution. (Sunan Abu Dawood Vol. 1 Chapter No. 70 Hadith No. 179)

Thus this particular teaching of Imam Shafi contradicts the authentic saying of the Prophet. So I reject this specific ruling of Imam Shafi who himself said , “ If I say something, then compare it to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His messenger and if it agrees to them, then accept it and that which goes against them, then reject it and throw my saying against the wall” – This is a saying of ash-Shafi’ee-rahimaullah. See Al-Majmoo’ of an-Nawawee (1/63).

Thus by rejecting this particular teaching of Imam Shafi which contradicts the authentic Hadith, I am practically a better follower of Imam Shafi than those who call themselves ‘Shafi’.

Similarly in practice, I claim to be a better follower of Imam Abu Hanifa than those who call themselves ‘Hanafi’. I claim to be a better follower of Imam Hanbal than those who call themselves ‘Hanbali’. I claim to be a better follower of Imam Malik than those who call themselves ‘Maliki”. If being a ‘Ahle-Hadith’ means following Qur’an and authentic Hadith then I claim to be a better follower of the Qur’an and authentic Hadith than those who call themselves ‘ Ahle-Hadith’. All these are mere labels (Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali, Maliki, Ahle-Hadith) that are not endorsed by the Qur’an or the Sahih Ahadith.

The only label or title given by the Qur’an and the Sahih Ahadith is MUSLIM.

6. All the Groups have sub divisions

I personally have no objection if someone calls himself Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali, Maliki or Ahle Hadith. People give different labels to themselves to identify which set of teachings they prefer to follow and to disassociate themselves from those people who follow wrong practices. From history we come to know that all the labels given to different groups, at a later stage the people from that group themselves did not follow their teachings and made new sub-groups. Therefore in all the groups you find a sub-division.

But as far as giving a label to identify what a person practices in Islam is concerned, there can not be better label than what Allah (swt) has given i.e. a Muslim.

7. Our Prophet was a Muslim

“Who was our beloved Prophet (pbuh)? Was he a Hanafi or a Shafi, or a Hanbali or a Maliki ?” No! He was a Muslim, like all the other Prophets and Messengers of Allah before him.

It is mentioned in chapter 3 verse 52 of Al-Qur’an that Jesus (pbuh) was a Muslim.

Further , in chapter 3 verse 67, Al-Qur’an says that Ibrahim (pbuh) was not a Jew or a Christian but was a Muslim.

It is mentioned in chapter 3 verse 52 of Al-Qur’an that Jesus (pbuh) was a Muslim.

Further , in chapter 3 verse 67, Al-Qur’an says that Ibrahim (pbuh) was not a Jew or a Christian but was a Muslim.

8. Qur’an says call yourselves Muslims

There is no Qur’anic verse or any authentic Hadith that says you should call yourselves Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali, Maliki or Ahle Hadith.

If anyone poses a Muslim the question who are you, he should say “I am a Muslim, not a Hanafi or a Shafi or a Ahle-Hadith”.

In Surah Fussilat chapter 41 verse 33 Allah (swt) says: “Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) to Allah, works righteousness, and says, ‘I am of those Who bow in Islam (Muslim)?’ “[Al-Qur’an 41:33]

The Qur’an instructs, “Say: I am of those who bow in Islam”. In other words, say, “I am a Muslim”.

The Prophet (pbuh) dictated letters to non-Muslim kings and rulers inviting them to accept Islam. In these letters he mentioned the verse of the Qur’an from Surah Al Imran chapter 3 verse 64:

Say ye: “Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (submitting to Allah’s Will).”[Al-Qur’an 3:64]

9. Lip Service Muslims

Allah knew that even in the Muslim Ummah there will be many people who claim to be Muslims (i.e. claim to submit their will to Allah) but practically will not follow Allah’s commands.

Allah refers to such people in the Qur’an as lip service Believers (Al Qur’an 5:41). Thus we can conclude that those who claim to be Muslims but do not follow Qur’an and Sunnah are Lip-Service Muslims. Those who follow the Qur’an and authentic Hadith should not change their label, and stick to the best label given by Allah (swt) i.e. Muslim and which the Prophet also called himself.

10. The Prophet had said that there would be 73 sects.

Some may argue by quoting the Hadith of our beloved Prophet, from Sunan Abu Dawood Hadith No. 4579. In this Hadith the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said, “My community will split up into seventy-three sects.”

This hadith reports that the prophet predicted the emergence of seventy-three sects. He did not say that Muslims should be active in dividing themselves into sects. The Glorious Qur’an commands us not to create sects. Those who follow the teachings of the Qur’an and Sahih Hadith, and do not create sects are the people who are on the true path.

According to Tirmidhi Hadith No. 171, the prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said, “My Ummah will be fragmented into seventy three sects, and all of them will be in Hell fire except one sect.” The companions asked Allah’s messenger which group that would be. Where upon he replied, “It is the one to which I and my companions belong”.

The Glorious Qur’an mentions in several verses, “Obey Allah and obey His Messenger”. A true Muslim should only follow the Glorious Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith. He can agree with the views of any scholar as long as they conform to the teachings of the Qur’an and Sahih Hadith. If such views go against the Word of Allah, or the Sunnah of His Prophet, then they carry no weight, regardless of how learned the scholar might be. A true Muslim will not follow any ruling or teaching of any great scholar of Islam if that particular ruling or teaching contradicts the Qur’an and Saheeh Hadith.

Thus, the only school of thought that a Muslim should follow, is that of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The only Madhab that a Muslim should follow, is the Madhab of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). And Allah knows the Best.

THE EMERGENCE OF THE SCHOOLS OF ISLAMIC THOUGHT



By Mufti Yaseen Shaikh

Differences in views and opinions are something that is found naturally in every Community, Religion and Nation. Likewise, this also took place in the Religion of Islam. Sometimes they were of a different nature i.e merely due to prejudice reasons and also some were of a political nature. In this essay I will try my utmost to outline the major differences that occurred in the Theological aspects of the Religion of Islam. Also, I will outline the main groups, their ideologies and basic beliefs and how they emerged in the society.

The groups I will speak about are, Kharijites, Shiites, M’utazilites, and also the Sunnis. I will start with the Kharijites.

1.KHARIJITES or KHAWARIJ: This is derived from the root word ‘kharaja’ which means ‘to go out’.[1]

In literal terms, the word Khawarij may refer to any group, which has separated themselves from the majority or any group who rebels against the government. We come to now this from the letter sent by Ibn-Ibad to the Caliph ‘Abd al-Malik’.

Montgomery Watt writes: “According to this the Caliph seems to have meant by the term ‘Khawarij’ all those groups actively engaged in risings against the government”. [2]

The first group of Kharijites emerged in the time of ‘Ali’ the fourth Caliph. They were a group of people who were supporting Ali in the fierce battle that erupted between Ali and Mu’awiyah. The battle they say was due to a political reason. Some say that Mu’awiyah didn’t recognize the leadership of Ali and for this reason didn’t pledge allegiance to him. On the other hand, some say that the war took place because Mu’awiyah, a kinsman of Uthmaan and also the governor of Syria during his leadership wanted to take revenge on those people who took part in the killing of the previous Caliph, ‘Uthmaan’. Whatever the case, this battle took place in ‘Siffin’ on the upper Euphrates. The war occurred because there was a difference of opinion on the killing of Uthmaan as to, was it just or unjust. There was no result to the war except the fact that both parties agreed to send one man from amongst them who will try to end the dispute according to the principles of the Qur’an. It was on this occasion that the Kharijites emerged saying that there is no reason to have men making the decision. Only the Book, i.e The Qur’an will decide. These were people who were from the supporters of Ali.

Shahrastani writes: “The Khawarij themselves were the ones who initially prepared Ali to send a person from amongst them to try and end the dispute. When Ali appointed Abdullah Ibn Abbas these people were not pleased. They said, “He is from your family.” Then they persisted to send ‘Abu Musa Ash’ari’. Even though Ali was not pleased with this decision the matter settled on his sending. Due to the unhappiness of Ali, the Khawarij left claiming ‘No judgment but Allah’s’. Then they left the battle and gathered at a place called ‘Nahrawan’.” [3]

When separating from Ali, the leader of the Kharijites was ‘Abdullah Ibn al-Kawa’ but the first leader they appointed upon themselves was Abdullah Ibn Wahab al-Rabisi al-Azdi. [4]

Some of the early famous Kharijites were: Ikrimah, Abu Harun al-Abdi, Abu Sha’saa, Ismail Ibn Samee’. From the later famous Kharijites were: Al-Yaman Ibn Rabab, Abdullah Ibn Yazeed, Muhammad Ibn Harb and Yahya Ibn Kamil. [5]

This was just a brief note on how they emerged. Now I will outline their basic beliefs and doctrines.

The reason for their separation was that they believed that Ali and Mu’awiyah were making men as the authority to make judgments and to do so while the Qur’an is present is not permissible. Therefore, both Ali and Mu’awiyah are wrongdoers in the eyes of the Kharijites.

They also believe that a person who commits a major sin termed ‘Kabira’ in Arabic immediately leaves the fold of Islam. He no longer remains a Muslim and instead enters into disbelief. [6]

Also one of their beliefs is that one must claim that he is free from the actions of Uthmaan and Ali. This is also a condition for getting married according to them. 7]

They also believe that if the Ruler is opposing the ‘Sunnah’ in any of his rulings then to leave him and oppose him openly is an obligatory right. [8]

The Azaariqa are one of the major groups from amongst the Khawarij. Shahrastani has outlined their beliefs. He writes: Their belief is that Ali had committed an act of disbelief. Also, Uthmaan, Talha, Zubair, Aaisha and Abdullah Ibn Abbas and all the other Muslims with them are non-believers and therefore will stay in the hell-fire forever.

It is allowed to kill the children and wives of the people who oppose them from amongst them.

An adulterous person shouldn’t be pelted to death due to the fact that there is no mention of this in the Qur’an and also the children of the Polytheists that die before reaching the age of puberty will be with their parents in the hell-fire. Also, to sit and ignore war is an act of disbelief. [9]


2. SHIITES: The meaning of the word ‘Shia’ means party or group. In Islamic terms, Shia refers to that group who exaggerated in their love and support of Ali, the fourth Caliph. Aaisha Bewley writes defining the term ‘Shia’: lit. A party or faction, specifically the party who claim that Ali should have succeeded the Prophet as the first Caliph and that the leadership of the Muslims rightfully belongs to his descendant. [10]

This group started to emerge from the time of Uthmaans martyrdom in 36 A.H. Some scholars say that they started to emerge from the battle that took place between Ali and Aaisha or from the battle of Ali and Mu’awiyah in 37 A.H. Whatever the case, their claim was that Ali was treated unjustly in aspects related to the leadership. He was the rightful Caliph instead of those who preceded him in taking up this post. This belief that occurred in the hearts of some were brought through Abdullah Ibn Saba, a shrewd and notorious Jew from Yemen. He resided Madinah with the intention and motive of observing the weaknesses that were coming about in the Muslims and then to spread some of his own ideas amongst the weakened ones. He outwardly embraced Islam but at heart was a Jew. He claimed that the succession to the Caliphate belongs solely to the family of the Prophet.

The weakened Muslims were influenced by his ideas and they started to spread them throughout the Islamic empire. His followers were known as Saba’is.

Now I will briefly mention some of their ideas and beliefs.

1. Imamate: Imamate means leadership. The shi’as have differed from the mainstream in this belief more than anything else. This is the core element of shi’ite doctrine. They believe that Ali, the son in law of the Prophet was the rightful successor of the Prophet.

Moojan Momen writes: “To the Shi’is, however, the succession to the Prophet is a matter of the designation by the Prophet of an individual (Ali) as Imam. Each Imam designates his successor during his lifetime.” [11]

2. Taqiyyah (Dissimulation)

Tabatabai has defined Taqiyya saying: Our aim is to discuss that kind of Taqiyya in which a man hides his religion or certain of his religious practices in situations that would cause definite or probable danger as a result of the actions of those who are opposed to his religion or particular religious practices. [12]

3. Tabarra- (To free or to exempt)

This is one of the practices adopted by the Shiites in relations to the Companions of the Prophet Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthmaan and many more. They believe that these people were merely there for power and nothing else and after the death of the Prophet they renounced Islam. For this reason the Shi’as exempt and free themselves from them.

The Shi’as like to slander the rightly guided Caliphs that preceded Ali and also they slander Aaisha the wife of the Prophet with all sorts of abuses.

4. Mut’ah (Contract or temporary marriage)

According to Shi’as this is not only lawful but also recommended that a man can marry a woman with the intention of divorcing her after a period of time which could even be a couple of days. According to the Sunnis, this is totally unacceptable.

Tabatabai has tried to justify this by saying that even people in permanent marriages sometimes fall into illegitimate sexual relations. So for this reason the way out is that we make this legal for him by making the contract marriage permissible.

3. MU’TAZILITES (Rationalists)

This is the third school I will like to discuss. The word ‘Mu’tazili’ stems from the root word ‘a’zala’, which means to separate. Aisha Bewley writes defining a Mu’tazilte: “Someone who adheres to the school of the Mu’tazila which is rationalist in its approach to existence. The term means ‘ withdrawers’ because they withdrew to an intermediate position as regards the evaluation of grave and lesser sins, holding to the position that someone who commits a wrong action is neither a believer nor an unbeliever. They also opposed the view that the Qur’an was eternal and uncreated, believing that this would compromise the uniqueness of Allah.” [13]

They call themselves ‘Ahl al-‘adl wa’t-tawhid’ (The people of justice and unity). ‘Justice’, because they say that human actions are not predetermined by Allah or it would be unjust for god to reward or punish people; ‘unity’, because they reject the attribution of any physical and human qualities to Allah, saying that Allah not only is unique, but also he has no multiplicity within him. They hold the view that all anthropomorphic expressions in the Qur’an must be interpreted as metaphors and images, and must not be understood literally. [14]

Montgomery Watt explains the origins of this school in his book ‘The formative period of Islamic thought’. He says, “The account of the origins of Mu’tazilism given by ash-Shahrastani is widely accepted as the standard one, not least among occidental Islamists. According to this account someone once asked al-Hasan al-Basri whether they should regard the grave sinner as a believer or an unbeliever. While al-Hasan hesitated, Wasil ibn Ata’, one of those in the circle, burst into the circle with the assertion that the grave sinner was neither, but was in an intermediate position (manzila bayn al-manzilatayn) literally a position between the two positions. He then withdrew to another pillar of the mosque, followed by a number of those in the circle, whereupon al-Hasan remarked ‘Wasil has withdrawn (i’tazala) from us’. From this remark came the name Mu’tazila. [15]

Now I will highlight some of their beliefs. Some of their beliefs are apparent from the definitions provided above. There are five main principles that are called the ‘Usool al-Khamsah’ (The five principles). These are the fundamental beliefs of the Mu’tazilites. All their other beliefs stem from these five. Doctor Ahmad Mahmud Subhi has highlighted them in the contents of his book ‘Fi I’lm al-Kalam’. He has also gone into depth whilst discussing them in which he has provided us with some valuable and useful information. The Principles are: 1. Tawhid (unity). 2. ‘Adl (justice). 3. Al-Wa’d wal-Wa’eed (the promise and the threat). 4. Al-Manzila bayn al-manzilatayn (the intermediate position). 5. Al-Amr bil-Ma’ruf wal-Nahy an al-Munkar (commanding the good and forbidding the evil). [16]

Here is a brief commentary on the five principles.

Tawhid: The oneness of god. The Muslims unanimously agree upon the oneness of Allah whereas the Mu’tazilites take another meaning. For Allah unity means that he is free and pure from all of the physical and human qualities according to them. [17]

They interpret all those verses of the Qur’an in which the literal meaning shows that Allah has a hand or face or eyes. [18]

From this view of theirs comes the belief of the Qur’an being created. They say this because they do not believe that the Qur’an is a quality of Allah like his other qualities that are uncreated and eternal. They believe that the Qur’an is created because it contains threats and also rewards and orders. If we take the Qur’an to be eternal, then it is necessary that there be such people who the orders and the laws of the Qur’an apply or imply to at all times, where as, in believing that the Qur’an is uncreated, this is impossible, because there has always been a particular time in which there was no one but Allah. Now, if we take the Qur’an to be eternal then whom will the laws apply to in those times. [19]

‘Adl: Justice. This means that Allah is just and will treat his servants in a just manner. The belief of predestination comes from this. That is, Allah hasn’t destined the actions of a person. Otherwise if he did then on the Day of Judgment he would have no right to reward or punish him, as he would be going against the quality of justness. From this also stems the belief of freewill, that man has a choice to do as he wishes. He is not forced to do what Allah has destined for him. If he was forced into his actions then how can he be made responsible for his actions and also accountable for them? If these were predestined and man was forced into his actions then this will be pulling Allah towards being an oppressor, something that is impossible for Allah.

The promise and the threat: This is a subsidiary of the previous belief and principle. I.e. Now that we know that Allah is just and that man is not forced into his actions, instead he has freewill we come to a stage where we will say that Allah has rightfully promised for those who fulfill his commandments a great reward and also threatened those who went against them.

The intermediate position: This is their belief in regards to a person who has indulged in a major sin. He will not be classified an unbeliever nor will he be called a believer. Instead, he is in a stage between the two. So this is exactly in the middle of the belief of the Kharijites and the Sunnis.

Commanding the good and forbidding the evil: This is the only principle from the five that is related to actions. All the others were related to ideologies. The Mu’tazilites apart from Abu Bakr Asamm have agreed upon the necessity of this action for the purpose is that good should not be wasted and evil should not occur. [20]

4. SUNNIS: This is the fourth and last group I will like to mention. They existed ever since the beginning of Islam and their beliefs are in line with those of the companions of the Prophet. Also, they are the mainstream of the Muslim nation. The beliefs of the Sunnis have always been dominant throughout the Muslim empire and all the early rulers of the Muslims were of these beliefs. The parties that opposed these rulers were the ones that started to differ in beliefs also.

Above was a brief discussion on the early schools of Islamic thought.

  1. The Hans Wehr Dictionary of modern written Arabic. P. 231. Published in New York 1976
  2. The formative period of Islamic thought. P. 16. Montgomery Watt. Published in Oxford 1998
  3. Al-Milal wal-Nihal. P. 92. Shahrastani. Published in Beirut, Lebanon 2000.
  4. Footnotes 5 and 6 of Al-Milal wal-Nihal. P. 92. Shahrastani. Published in Beirut, Lebanon 2000.
  5. Al-Milal wal-Nihal. P.109&110. Shahrastani. Published in Beirut, Lebanon 2000.
  6. Sharh al-Aqaa’id al-Nasafi. P. 83. Published in Multan, Pakistan.
  7. Al-Milal wal-Nihal. P. 92. Shahrastani. Published in Beirut, Lebanon 2000
  8. Ibid
  9. Al-Milal wal-Nihal. P. 96&97. Shahrastani. Published in Beirut, Lebanon 2000
  10. A Glossary Of Islamic Terms, p. 21. Aaisha Bewley. Published in London 1998.
  11. An Introduction to Shi’i Islam. P.147. Moojan Momen. Published by Yale University Press 1985
  12. SHI’A, Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai, p. 223. Published in Qum, Iran
  13. A Glossary Of Islamic Terms, p. 190. Aaisha Bewley. Published in London 1998.
  14. A Glossary Of Islamic Terms, p. 179. Aaisha Bewley. Published in London 1998.
  15. The formative period of Islamic thought. P. 209. Montgomery Watt. Published in Oxford 1998
  16. Fi I’lm al-Kalam, p.355. Ahmad Mahmud Subhi. Published in Beirut, Lebanon 1985.
  17. Fi I’lm al-Kalam, p.121. Ahmad Mahmud Subhi. Published in Beirut, Lebanon 1985
  18. Fi I’lm al-Kalam, p.126. Ahmad Mahmud Subhi. Published in Beirut, Lebanon 1985
  19. Fi I’lm al-Kalam, p.131. Ahmad Mahmud Subhi. Published in Beirut, Lebanon 1985
  20. Fi I’lm al-Kalam, p.166. Ahmad Mahmud Subhi. Published in Beirut, Lebanon 1985

What is a Madhhab? Why is it necessary to follow one?




The word madhhab is derived from an Arabic word meaning "to go" or "to take as a way", and refers to a mujtahid's choice in regard to a number of interpretive possibilities in deriving the rule of Allah from the primary texts of the Qur'an and hadith on a particular question. In a larger sense, a madhhab represents the entire school of thought of a particular mujtahid Imam, such as Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi'i, or Ahmad--together with many first-rank scholars that came after each of these in their respective schools, who checked their evidences and refined and upgraded their work. The mujtahid Imams were thus explainers, who operationalized the Qur'an and sunna in the specific shari'a rulings in our lives that are collectively known as fiqh or "jurisprudence". In relation to our din or "religion", this fiqh is only part of it, for the religious knowledge each of us possesses is of three types. The first type is the general knowledge of tenets of Islamic belief in the oneness of Allah, in His angels, Books, messengers, the prophethood of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), and so on. All of us may derive this knowledge directly from the Qur'an and hadith, as is also the case with a second type of knowledge, that of general Islamic ethical principles to do good, avoid evil, cooperate with others in good works, and so forth. Every Muslim can take these general principles, which form the largest and most important part of his religion, from the Qur'an and hadith.

The third type of knowledge is that of the specific understanding of particular divine commands and prohibitions that make up the shari'a. Here, because of both the nature and the sheer number of the Qur'an and hadith texts involved, people differ in the scholarly capacity to understand and deduce rulings from them. But all of us have been commanded to live them in our lives, in obedience to Allah, and so Muslims are of two types, those who can do this by themselves, and they are the mujtahid Imams; and those who must do so by means of another, that is, by following a mujtahid Imam, in accordance with Allah's word in Surat al-Nahl,

" Ask those who recall, if you know not " (Qur'an 16:43),
and in Surat al-Nisa,
" If they had referred it to the Messenger and to those of authority among them, then those of them whose task it is to find it out would have known the matter " (Qur'an 4:83),
in which the phrase those of them whose task it is to find it out, expresses the words "alladhina yastanbitunahu minhum", referring to those possessing the capacity to draw inferences directly from the evidence, which is called in Arabic istinbat.

These and other verses and hadiths oblige the believer who is not at the level of istinbat or directly deriving rulings from the Qur'an and hadith to ask and follow someone in such rulings who is at this level. It is not difficult to see why Allah has obliged us to ask experts, for if each of us were personally responsible for evaluating all the primary texts relating to each question, a lifetime of study would hardly be enough for it, and one would either have to give up earning a living or give up ones din, which is why Allah says in surat al-Tawba, in the context of jihad:

" Not all of the believers should go to fight. Of every section of them, why does not one part alone go forth, that the rest may gain knowledge of the religion and admonish their people when they return, that perhaps they may take warning " (Qur'an 9:122).
The slogans we hear today about "following the Qur'an and sunna instead of following the madhhabs" are wide of the mark, for everyone agrees that we must follow the Qur'an and the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). The point is that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is no longer alive to personally teach us, and everything we have from him, whether the hadith or the Qur'an, has been conveyed to us through Islamic scholars. So it is not a question of whether or not to take our din from scholars, but rather, from which scholars. And this is the reason we have madhhabs in Islam: because the excellence and superiority of the scholarship of the mujtahid Imams--together with the traditional scholars who followed in each of their schools and evaluated and upgraded their work after them--have met the test of scholarly investigation and won the confidence of thinking and practicing Muslims for all the centuries of Islamic greatness. The reason why madhhabs exist, the benefit of them, past, present, and future, is that they furnish thousands of sound, knowledge-based answers to Muslims questions on how to obey Allah. Muslims have realized that to follow a madhhab means to follow a super scholar who not only had a comprehensive knowledge of the Qur'an and hadith texts relating to each issue he gave judgements on, but also lived in an age a millennium closer to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his Companions, when taqwa or "godfearingness" was the norm--both of which conditions are in striking contrast to the scholarship available today.

While the call for a return to the Qur'an and sunna is an attractive slogan, in reality it is a great leap backward, a call to abandon centuries of detailed, case-by-case Islamic scholarship in finding and spelling out the commands of the Qur'an and sunna, a highly sophisticated, interdisciplinary effort by mujtahids, hadith specialists, Qur'anic exegetes, lexicographers, and other masters of the Islamic legal sciences. To abandon the fruits of this research, the Islamic shari'a, for the following of contemporary sheikhs who, despite the claims, are not at the level of their predecessors, is a replacement of something tried and proven for something at best tentative.

The rhetoric of following the shari'a without following a particular madhhab is like a person going down to a car dealer to buy a car, but insisting it not be any known make--neither a Volkswagen nor Rolls-Royce nor Chevrolet--but rather "a car, pure and simple". Such a person does not really know what he wants; the cars on the lot do not come like that, but only in kinds. The salesman may be forgiven a slight smile, and can only point out that sophisticated products come from sophisticated means of production, from factories with a division of labor among those who test, produce, and assemble the many parts of the finished product. It is the nature of such collective human efforts to produce something far better than any of us alone could produce from scratch, even if given a forge and tools, and fifty years, or even a thousand. And so it is with the shari'a, which is more complex than any car because it deals with the universe of human actions and a wide interpretative range of sacred texts. This is why discarding the monumental scholarship of the madhhabs in operationalizing the Qur'an and sunna in order to adopt the understanding of a contemporary sheikh is not just a mistaken opinion. It is scrapping a Mercedes for a go-cart.

THE SHAR'EE ROLE OF TAQLEED



The essence of guidance is derived from the Holy Qurãn - "Hudan li al-Nas" ("A Guidance for Mankind). But this guidance and its laws are based on fundamental principles, the details of which have been entrusted to and consigned by the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) in order to explain them to mankind.

For example, the Holy Qurãn says: "Aqimus-Salaat" ("establish prayer"). It does not define the method as to how the prayer should be established; how the various postures should be performed; the mode of recitation of Surah, etc. The complete method of prayer i.e. "Salaat" is explained by the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam).

  1. "Wa 'Atuz-Zakat" ("And give charity"). Now the Zakaat amounts payable on gold, silver, cattle, land, produce, etc. are only known through the Ahadith and there is no mention of it in the Holy Qurãn.
  2. "Wa Lillahi `ala an-Nas Hij Al-baiti" ("It is obligatory on people to perform the Hajj of the House of Allah.) Here again, the method of Tawaf, the number of circumambulations, the details regarding Arafat, Mina, Muzdalifah, the stoning at the Jimar, etc. have all been explained by the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam).

Thus it becomes imperative to understand the Holy Qurãn in the light of the Ahadith even for major obligatory acts like Salaat, Zakat and Hajj without which it is impossible to act and understand the commands of the Holy Qurãn. The believers are commanded to attain guidance from the Holy Qurãn in accordance with the details explained by the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam). Therefore Allah specifies: "Whosoever obeys the Messenger has indeed obeyed Allah." This obedience to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) would in reality be obedience to Allah Himself.

A direction from the Hadith informs us:

"Also perform your prayer just as you see me perform my prayer." (Bukhari Vol. 1, p. 1076)

It is not said: "Perform your prayer in the manner you may infer from the Holy Qurãn."

Hadith is divided into different categories:-

The sayings of the Holy prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam),

  1. The acts and doings of the Holy prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam),
  2. The sayings, acts and doings of others, approved by the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam).

All these categories of Ahadith give guidance to the Umma.

QIYAS

When the Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) was asked a question he answered and also counter-questioned the questioner, on a similar (analogical) matter, the answer of which was known to him. On the correct reply being given by the questioner, the Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) would say: "The question you had asked is in the same category as this answer of yours."

EXAMPLE: A lady once asked: "Hajj was obligatory on my mother but she passed away. Can I perform it on her behalf?" The Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) replied: "Yes, it would be accepted on her behalf. Tell me, if your mother had a debt would you pay it." She replied in the affirmative. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said: "Fulfill what is on her behalf. Certainly, the duty and right of Allah would be more acceptable." This kind of reasoning is called Qiyas, Ijtihaad, or Istimbat in Shari`a.

These are only used in Shari`a when the Qurãnic or Traditional directives are not specifically spelt out. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) sent Hadrat Mu`adh ibn Jabal (Radhiyallaahu Ánhu) as a Governor and Qaadhi to Yemen. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) gave to Hadrat Mu`adh many instructions and advices even while he held the reins and led the horse with Hadrat Mu`adh mounted on it. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) also asked: "By which law would you dispense justice." He replied: "By the Law of the Holy Qurãn."

"And if you do not find it (i.e. what you seek) in the Holy Qurãn."

He replied: "By the Prophetic Traditions."

"And if you do not find it in there also, then!"

He replied: "Then I would make Ijtihad." The Holy Prophet, (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) expressed his happiness with his reply and fully endorsed and supported his stand and thanked Allah for it. (Abu Daawud Vol 2. p. 149)

When after such an Ijtihad all the scholars agree to its conclusion, it is termed "Ijma", for it must be understood that Qiyas or Ijtihad does not prove an order or command; it only makes it evident and known. It was hidden in the Holy Qurãn or the Ahadith; the Mujtahid, by Dalalatan, 'Isharatan or Iqtdha'an, brought it in the open for the generality of people.

The person who does not have the power of Ijtihad is bound and compelled to follow a Mujtahid and this act of following a Mujtahid is termed Taqlid. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) sent Hadrat Mu`adh ibn Jabal as Qadi so that people could act upon his instructions and guidance derived from the Holy Qurãn, the Ahadith and his Ijtihad. To accept all three would in reality be obedience to Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) as mentioned in Mishkãt Sharif (p. 310). Hadhrat Abu Hurayrah (Radhiyallaahu Ánhu) reported that the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said, "Who has obeyed me, has obeyed Allah and who was disobedient to me has been disobedient to Allah and who obeyed the Amir was obedient to me and who was disobedient to the Amir has been disobedient to me."

PRECEPTS, PROPOSITIONS AND THEIR KINDS

Masa'il or precepts are of four kinds:-

  1. Clear instructions from the Holy Qurãn and Ahadith. No Qiyas is allowed nor Taqlid permissible. The order is to practice on the clear injunction.
  2. In such propositions where there are two injunctions, one earlier, and one later, and through historical evidence both renown, then the earlier proposition is abrogated (Mansukh), whilst the latter command is ordered. Here too Qiyas and Taqlid ~ not permitted.
  3. Those propositions that have two clear injunctions but it is not known which is earlier and which later, i.e. no historical evidence.
  4. Those propositions of which there exist no clear injunctions. Propositions 1 (and 2) are clear. the last two (Propositions 3 and 4) need explanations. Since 3 and 4 are not clear, what must a person do? If he does not practice upon them, he is yet not allowed to go free. The Qurãnic verses state: "Is man under the notion that he will be left free?"'

"Do you think that you have been created in vain?" It is not so, you have to obey Allah's command every second. Now how are we going to obey when it is not known, which is abrogated and which is not. In the fourth kind of proposition when one has no knowledge what is he going to practice on? Allah says: "Do not practice on anything without knowledge:"

Thus the need of Qiyas and Ijtihad. In the third kind of proposition the need is to verify the clear injunction and in the fourth kind it is to find a clear order and command. This is a known fact that everybody does not have the ability or power to make Ijtihad and this verse also makes it clear.

Everybody makes claims of giving opinions but only that ruling is accepted which is in accordance with Shar`iah and of a Mujtahid. The verdict of a Muqallid will not be accepted. The Mujtahid makes Ijtihad while the Muqallid makes Taqlid. Even if the Mujtahid makes a mistake he is rewarded as mentioned in Bukhari, Vol. 1 p. I1092.

Here exists a doubt that there were many Mujtahids among the Sahaaba (Radhiyallaahu Ánhum), the Tabi`in and Tabi` Tibi`n; But only the ‘I'ima 'Arba` i.e. Imaam Abu Hanifah, Imam Maalik, Imam Shaafi`i and Imam Ahmad (Rahmatullaahi Álayhim) are followed and Taqlid made of them. What Is wrong in following the Sahaaba (Radhiyallaahu Ánhum) whose virtues have been abundantly mentioned in the Holy Qurãn and the Ahadith?

There is no doubt that the Sahaaba (Radhiyallaahu Ánhum) have a far greater status and position than the I'ima Arba`a does not make Taqlid of any one of the I'ima Arba` ever thinking them to be greater than the Sahaaba but its simple reason is that for Taqlid it is necessary to know those injunctions in which Taqlid has to be made. The detailed knowledge which can be found in every section and chapter from Kitaab- at-Taharat to Kitab al-Fara'idh, whether it concerns acts of worship, or social and cultural aspects, in every department of knowledge, these were the first and only 'I’ima that gathered them all in every detail. They were schools of knowledge in their own right that codified knowledge in every field. We do not find such codification either of the Sahaaba or other Tabi`in. The only choice we have is to follow them. It must also be borne in mind that Allah had bestowed on them the perfection of knowledge of the Holy Qurãn and the Ahadith. It is said by Shah Waliullah (Rahmatullaahu Álayhi) in the commentary of Muwatta' Imaam Malik, p.6 that these four Imaams together have encompassed the entire knowledge of the Holy Qurãn and Ahaadith to such a degree that not a single Hadith which was reported by the Sahaaba was omitted by them.

Clarification is further required regarding another doubt in most minds: What is the necessity of making Taqlid of only one Imaam? One should be allowed to follow any of the four Imaams in the different Masa'il as was the method in the time of the Sahaaba and Tabi`in. Mazhab was not confined to a single Imam. Why must such concessions not be allowed in our times?

In the time of the Sahaaba, which was the best of times, there was no ulterior motives regarding religious questions. A question was asked to know the correct method and to practice on it. It was not asked for one's convenience as in later times. For example, A person with Wudhu touched his wife which according to the Shafi Mazhab nullifies Wudhu: Now when he is told to make Wudhu, he replies: "I make Taqlid of Imaam Abu Hanifah and it is not a breaker of Wudhu according to his Mazhab, therefore my Salaat will be valid."

Now this person vomits, which according to Hanafi Mazhab, breaks Wudhu. He is now told to make Wudhu. He replies: ‘I make Taqlid of Imam Shafi`i; it is not a nullifier of Wudhu, therefore my Salaat is valid’. If this person (who has on the one hand, touched his spouse, and on the other hand, vomited) has to perform his Salaat with such a Wudhu, it would neither be correct by Imaam Abu Hanifah nor by Imam Shafi`i. In terminology this is known as Talfiq which is agreed upon unanimously to be void and not permitted. This is not Taqlid but following one’s passions and desires for one’s personal convenience which lead one astray. The necessity of following a Mazhab, Imam or Mujtahid is that one would not fall into the temptations of following one's own desires. The Holy Qurãn states:

‘And do not follow desires. You would be led astray from the path of Allah." Thus the need of following only one Imam.

For centuries we have heard of great scholars, jurists, ‘Ulama’ and Auliya who had the treasures of knowledge, who were in their personal capacities libraries with encyclopedic knowledge. Their piety constituted perfect examples in emulation of the Sahaaba. Their entire life was spent in accordance with the Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam). They also followed the 'I'ima Arba’` and it would not be incorrect to say that it was because of this Taqlid that they attained the heights of perfection.

Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) is confined to the four schools. Those that do not confirm to any one of them are called Ahle Hadith or Ghair Muqallid.

Jamiat KZN