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A Critique of Muhammad Awwamahs ‘Athar al-Hadith ash-Sharif Fi Ikhtilaf al-Ai’mah al-Fuqaha’ – Part 1- Were Ahadith the Reason Jurists Differed – Shaikh Irshad ul-Haq al-Athari

Compiled, Translated And Annotated
Abu Hibban & Abu Khuzaimah Ansaari


A series of articles based on the critique of Shaikh Irshad ul-Haq al-Athari on the aforementioned book, which has been published in English and has been introduced as follows,

“Influence of The Noble Hadith Upon Differences of Opinion Amongst The Jurist Imams  – A Translation of Shaykh Muhammad Awwamah’s Athar al-Hadith al-Sharif fi Ikhtilaf al-A’immah al-Fuqaha.

A question commonly posed in different circles is: if we all refer to the same sacred texts of the Quran and Sunnah for guidance, why are there so many differences between the schools of Islamic law (madhahib)? In other words, why did the great jurists (fuqaha) of Islam such as the four main Imams and their students differ in their opinions and rulings? This work attempts to answer this very question, focusing on one aspect, namely: how different understandings of the hadith literature influenced and shaped these differences in opinion. In addition, the author responds to some of the misgivings and objections which some people levy against these distinguished luminaries of Islam.

This valuable work is a must-read for students of hadith and fiqh, as well as anyone wishing to gain a better understanding of the differences that occur between the various schools of Islamic law. It will alert the reader to the expertise of the jurist Imams and the effort they exerted in deriving rulings from the Quran and Sunnah. It will also create in him a state of serenity and trust towards the Imams and their schools of law, which are followed by the vast majority of the Muslim Ummah.

“In benefitting from it my soul delighted and my heart was gladdened. Every teacher and student ought to study it, for it averts deviation and oppression and delivers from the criticism directed at the Imams by those who harbour enmity towards them and those who are deprived [of good]. Mawlana Muhammad Zakariya al-Kandahlawi

“I have derived from it some valuable benefits and call upon Allah to give its author unceasing success, and increasing ascendancy, that he may refute those who have deviated from the clear path by calling people to confusion regarding the followed Imams, who disregard the Imams, and who undertake to tear apart the Ummah. Shaykh Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah

“A book I have heard many say is worthy of being inscribed in gold. Undoubtedly, a long awaited translation in English that will help to illuminate many minds. Mufti Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera

The Critique……

There are numerous issues of the deen which the respected jurists differ over. Some of these issues are as such that the companions and tabieen also differed over? When a simple minded person sees these differences he is amazed and shocked as to why these differences exist. They think when we have one Quran, one prophet, one Qiblah and Kabah why do these differences exist.

Numerous scholars have answered these question and differences. Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah has done so in Raf al-Malam An Aimah tul-A’lam, Allamah Ibn Hazm in al-Ihkam Fi Usul al-Ahkam (2/124-134), Allamah Abu Muhammad Abdullah Ibn Muhammad Andalusi in al-Insaf Fi Tanbiyyah Alal Asbab Allati Aw Jabat al-Ikhtilaf, Allamah Sh’arani in Mizan al-Kubra, Allamah Muhammad Hayat Sindhi in Iyqaf Ala Sabab al-Ikhtilaf and Shah Waliullah in Insaf Fi Bayan al-Ikhtilaf and in Hujatullah al-Balighah. They have answered such questions and differences in great detail and in depth, and fulfilled the right of the discussion. May Allah reward the on behalf of all the Muslims.

In recent times two new books have been published one this subject. The first is by Dr. Mustafa Sa’id titled, Athar al-Hadith Fil Qawa’id al-Usuliyyah Fi Ikhtilaf al-Fuqaha and the second is by Shaikh Muhammad Awamahs Athar al-Hadith ash-Sharif Fi Ikhtilaf al-Ai’mah al-Fuqaha. I have not seen the former but the latter of Shaikh Muhamamd Awamahs I have seen which was published by Dar us-Salam from Cairo Egypt and it spans 168 pages. 

The title in itself reflects the ideology and mindset of the author. If we look at the name a little closer ie Athar al-Hadith ash-Sharif Fi Ikhtilaf al-Ai’mah al-Fuqaha, ie the affect (or influence as they have called it) of the noble Hadith in the difference of opinion amongst the jurists, meaning that differences in opinion between the jurists or fuqaha were because of the respected Hadith.

Whereas the Hadith is a solution and rectification for differences. Allah says

“O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.”(Soorah Nisaa:59)

The explainers of the Quran are unanimously agreed that Illal-Allah refers to the Quran and War-Rasul means the Hadith of the Messenger of Allaah (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) (Ibn Kathir 1/518, ad-Dar al-Manthur 2/178, Fath ul-Qadir 1/445, Ibn Jarir 5/147)

If the differences are from the perspective that the disagreements are due the ahadith being authentic, weak or due to other rules and principles, then this is would be a difference in principle ie Usuli, and it has no link or connection with the respected ahadith. If the differences are due to the understanding, attributions, whether they are abrogated, decisive rulings, conflicting narrations, deductions from ahadith or a lack of understanding due to errors, then are these points not applicable to issues and rulings deduced from the Quran.

For instance the understanding of the ayat pertaining to rulings, their abrogation and the abrogated, decisive and indecisive, are there not differences amongst the jurists based on these rulings. Therefore when such and similar differences are present from issues extrapolated from the Quran. If for instance someone in the future, who is disheartened from Islam and Quran decides to write a book titled Athar al-Hadith al-Karim Fi Ikhtilaf al-Ai’mah al-Fuqaha, we ask will his book be seen as something praiseworthy and credited and titled as a phenomenal research!?

Rather no, but what a shame and pity. Whilst benefiting from this book Maulana Atiq Ahmad Qasimi authored an article which was published in the famous deobandi monthly journal of Bayyinat Karachi vol.52 no.4 and no.5, Rabi uth-Thani and Jumada al-Ula 1410H corresponding with Dec 89 and Jan 90. It is also titled something similar to the book ie, “the affect of the knowledge of Hadith ism the disagreement of the jurists.” To Allah be belong to him is our return.

Asbab al-Ikhtilaf al-Fuqaha (pg.10-11)

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One comment

  1. Where is part 2 ….

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