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Correcting Modern [insert titles of the confused ignorant] Inclinations of Madhhabs

Compiled, Translated and Annotated

Abu Hibban & Abu Khuzaimah Ansari


The text of a facebook post was shared with me in early November, I wrote half of this response but got occupied with other pressing matters, this has since been completed and being shared now.

The author of this confused piece begins with what one can only describe as a perplexed diatribe. So, if the Salaf and the Sahabah were madhhabs themselves, then why are you binding the madhhabs of those who came later? Why not just follow the Madhhabs of the individual sahabah? The Sahabah issued legals edicts purely based on the nusus, there are so many example which illustrate this established reality, mentioning these clear examples would just lengthen this brief reply to the confused piece.

The notion of accepting just the four Madhhabs and anything besides them is incorrect and not upon guidance, is something that is alien according to the practise of the pious ancestors. Such notions dictate and conclude anything outside the 4 Madhhabs is wrong and therefore we can extrapolate and say anything not known or practised amongst the companions and the earlier pious ancestors is also refuted and rejected. 

This said, it is well known the salaf differed over many affairs and this was also the case amongst the companions, the successors and their successors and even the Imams of the Din. It is also often suggested and ardently pushed, eyes shut, that accepting and following ANY legal edict is considered to be correct. 

This is however an incorrect assertion and something Hafiz Ibn Abd al-Barr has refuted, wherein he goes onto say,

“This madhhab (ie the notion above) is weak according to a whole group (jama’ah) of people of knowledge and the vast majority of jurists and people of intelligence have rejected this notion.”[1]

Did you not read or understand how the Sahabah when given views other than the view of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. Did not the Sahabah say to one another, I am giving you the hadith of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and you are saying such and such. Did you not read the statements of the companions, the same Ibn Abbas RadiAllahu Anhuma you mention, said as Hafiz Ibn Qayyim records,

“Stones are about the rain down upon you from the heavens! I say to you what was said by the Messenger of Allah , and you say what Abu Bakr and Umar said?”[2]

Did you not read what the inclination of the Tabi’in were, did they formulate a madhhab on their teacher, ie the companions. We do not find in a single biographical entry in over 100 works on history and narrators that a single successor was referred to or they referred to themselves as Abbasi, Mas’udi, A’ishawi, Hurairay or Umari. These are just two brief answers to this poor line of argument. BarakAllahu Fikum

The famous illustrious tabi’i, Imam Shu’bah said,

“The hadith of the Messenger of Allah these people narrate to you then hold onto them and whatsoever they tell you from their own opinion (in opposition to the Quran and Sunnah) then reject it by throwing it on the pile of dirt.”[3]

This is the view of the Ahl al-Hadith and the Salafi’s. This is the methodology of the tabi’in, they learnt from their teachers-the companions. Did you not read what Ibrahim al-Nakha’i said when someone mentioned the statement of Sa’id ibn Jubair in front him, he said,

“What will you do with the statement of Sa’id when you have the hadith of the Messenger of Allah .”[4]

If the view of a madhhab coincides with the position and view of the Sunnah, then Alhamdulillah, yet the author does not even clarify his view on the madhhabs. So if the madhhabs are understood to extract views of the Sunnah, what do you think the others do? Who do not follow one of these madhahibs, when their intent is to follow the Sunnah. Who restricted only these madhhabs to be the extractors, why not the others? If you have a scriptural text to limit this restriction (to madhhabs, you rave about) then produce it, and we know that you do not and you never will, ever.

Why is their agitation at the mention of the madhhab of the Ahl al-Hadith or the madhhab of the Salaf? And my friend, you or any other tom dick or harry not believing or even wanting to believe in the existence of the madhhab of the Ahl al-Hadith will not change the facts, no matter how much you scream shout or even cry!

We presume these are the kind of views that were extracted from the Sunnah,

“Whoever is not a Hanbali is not a muslim.”[5]

The next paragraph, of the students of the four imams being easily identified as Salafi’s is assuming and stretching the imagination to the moon as it presumes they were the founders of the madhhab, where did you get this from? We know that the same Imam Dhahabi said

Imam Dhahabi (748H)

“A person who only follows one specific madhhab is the one who is deficient of firm knowledge, just as the situation was with most of the scholars of our times who are mutassab (ie bigoted)”[6]

We should also know his statement concerning madhhabs and its interlink with taqlid in his Tazkirratul huffadh,

Did we not read the statement of Shaikh Taqi al-Din al-Subki’s son? Shaikh Taj al-Din Subki (771H) who said,

“It is unacceptable to Allah, the forcing of people to accept one madhhab and the associated partisanship (tahazzub) in the subsidiary issues of the Din and nothing pushes this fervour and zealously except partisanship and jealousy. If Abu Hanifah, Shaf’i, Malik and Ahmad were alive they would severely censure these people and they would have disassociated themselves from them.”[7]

Shaikh Badi al-Din Shah al-Rashidi Al-Sindhi (1416H) answers some of their points when they say “We truly believe that these four Imams are the inheritors of the Prophet” He answered and said,

“This assertion is not entirely accurate because there were numerous Imams during and before their times who were all inheritors of the Prophet, Mujtahid Mutlaqs and people who guided and directed the Muslims.”[8]

Hafiz Ibn Abd al-Barr cites examples where the companions differed. One such issue was the permissibility of praying in a single garment which lead Umar RadiAllahu Anhu being firm with the companions and telling them not to differ.[9]

Another huge problem with the idea of everything within the four Madhhab is correct and thus a person is obligated to follow them is the desecrating the concept of error or mistake within the Madhhabs. Another angle that is often used to manoeuvre around the “wide, expansive and all tolerant” fiqh approach is again adopting the understanding that everyone is correct.

Whereas the pious ancestors were agreed in accepting and emphasising the ideas and the concept of the enormous possibility of something being correct or wrong.

Imams Malik and Imam Laith Ibn Sa’d said,

“The differences between the companions of the Messenger of Allah is not as the general people say, that their is wide expansive tolerance, when rather this is not the case because they are either right or wrong in them.”[10]

The writer then mentions the issue of kneading dough with the knuckles or the palms. This again is poor comprehension. In hadith and when there tamthil therein, it is usually due to acts which are specific to those objects and the normal or usual action is not the intended meaning, for example not prostrating like how dogs sit, ie with their front limbs flat on the ground because they also sit in other positions and the example of going into sujud and the method of a camel.

The point is, similitudes are made to make a distinction in an action, kneading dough has to always be done with the palms and thus in the example singling out kneading dough and likening it to how a person should support himself when rising from sujud is for the sole intent of singling out the specific and unique action that is related to kneading dough, as the palms are used for numerous things. This is a no brainer.

We do not have the time to go into this issue of fiqh which the scholars have differed over, whether to support oneself with their palms or knuckles while standing, and thus using this example is absurd. Using words like ‘Salafism’s Shaykh al-Albani’ are just crude and pitiable and at that uttered by those who have no idea if they are coming or going!

The writer then goes on to utter 1 cent worth of opinion that Shaykh al-Albani erred! Who are you to say that, when numerous other scholars hold that view which is based on ijtihad due to understanding the nusus? People should know their levels when they speak about such matters, especially when they unjustly make stupid assertions! To be honest the remainder of this diabolic diatribe is not even worth responding to because, this as well as the writer’s other pieces are just utter sheer gibberish which either never make sense or they are false slanderous allegations on the Salafi’s.

The Salafi’s, BarakAllahu Fikum, know the reason why the scholars differed and look at all of the reasons, what they don’t however do, as the ardent ignorant madhhabists do, is to hold on to the view that contradict the clear Sunnah, Furthermore, this point of the writer suggests that everyone is right and we know they cannot be because the who errs gets one reward while the other, 2 rewards, whoever reaches the correct answer.

Let us assume they did know the hadith and they had a view other than that of the nusus, Allah has not obligated you to follow that view and neither for the scholar who made that ruling to also remain on that view. He will be excused as will the one who follows him but only if the truth has not been established on them. Imam Ibn Hazm has touched on this in his numerous works.

The issue is of personal opinion being used in rulings ie Ra’y or not accepting the hadith thinking it to be weak or not as strong, whatever the reason as outlined by the scholars who have authored books on this issues, the main pivotal issue remains that Allah has obligated us to follow the truth, ie the divine texts, and this is the problem, that the writer, his view and others, want a lay person to remain ignorant, when the writer himself deviates from what he has described and exercises his own ijtihad. This is contradictory and double standards.

Shaikh Salih al-Fulani mentions from Abu Hanifah who said

“When I say something contradicting the Book of Allah or what is narrated from the Messenger of Allah , then ignore my saying.”[11]

Shaikh Fulani then transmits from Muhammad Hasan al-Shaybani, the student of Abu Hanifah who said,

“This does not apply to the mujtahid because he is not bound to their views but rather it applies to the blind follower.”[12]

And what did Imam Malik say,

“I am a mortal, I make mistakes and sometimes I am correct. Therefore, look into my opinions, if it agrees with the Book and the Sunnah accept it and if it disagrees with the Quran and Sunnah then ignore it.”[13]

Did Imam al-Shafi’i not say,

“The Muslims are unanimously agreed that if a Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah is made clear to someone, it is not permitted for him to leave it for the statement of anyone else.”[14]

Did you not read the view of Imam Ahmad?

“The opinion of al-Awza’i, the opinion of Malik, the opinion of Abu Hanifah-all of it are opinions and they are equal in my eyes, however evidence is only that which comes from the Prophet .” [15]  

The writer confuses the issues of madhhabs and legitimate difference of opinions, which shows his lack of comprehension, well lets just face it, it is their jahl, the two issues are distinctly different. This highlights the writer has no idea what is on about.

We conclude with the words of Imam Ibn Qayyim who said,

“How can the common lay person have a madhhab? Even if this could be understood it would still not be obligatory upon him or anyone else to have to follow a madhhab of a specific person from the Ummah, to the extent that he accepts all of his sayings and rejects everyone else’s statements. THIS IS A FILTHY INNOVATION INTRODUCED INTO THE UMMAH.”[16]


[1] (Jam’e bayan al-ilm wa fadlihi (2:78)

[2] Zad al-ma’ad (2:195)

[3] Musnad ad-darimi (1:67 no.206)

[4] al-Ihkam fi usul al-ahkam (6:293) of Imam Ibn Hazm

[5] Siyar a’lam an-nabula (18:508), Dhayl tabaqat al-hanabillah (1:52)

[6] Siyar a’lam an-nabula (14:491)

[7] Mu’id an-na’m wa mubid an-naqam (p.76)

[8] Tanqid al-sadid bir-risalah ijtihad wat-taqlid (p.348)

[9]  Jam’e bayan al-ilm (2:84)

[10] Jam’e bayan al-ilm (2:81)

[11] Iqaz al-himam (p.50)

[12] Iqaz al-himam (p.50)

[13] Jam’e bayan al-ilm (2:32)

[14] I’lam al-muwaqi’in (2:361), Iqaz al-himam (p.58)

[15] Jam’e bayan al-ilm (2:149)

[16] I’lam al-muwaqi’in (4:261)

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