Archive for the ‘Why did the Imâms Differ?’ Category

Imam Shaybani’s first encounter with Imam Malik [rahimahullah]

December 1, 2015 Leave a comment

When the young Iraqi jurist, Imam Shaybani [Muhammed Ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani], visited Madina for the first time, he went incognito to the circle of Imam Malik and inquired:

“What is your opinion about a person who is in need of major ablution (ghusl) and who comes to a mosque and finds that the water for ablution is available only in the mosque where a congregational prayer is already in progress?”

Imam Malik replied: “A person who is in need of major ablution cannot enter mosque.”

The young stranger repeated the question several times only to receive the same answer from Imam Malik. Noticing that the young man was not satisfied with the answer, the teacher asked: “What, then, is your opinion?”

“He should make tayammum, enter the mosque, obtain water and make ablution to join the prayer”, came the prompt answer.

Astonished with the clarity and presence of mind of the young visitor, Imam Malik asked: “Where are you from?” “From here,” (pointing to the earth) was the answer.

When he left the company, Imam Malik asked his colleagues as to who the visitor was. When he was told that he was a young disciple of Abu Hanifah from Iraq, he wondered: “But he told me he was from here!” When it was explained to him that while saying so he had pointed to the earth, Imam Malik observed that his second answer was even more astonishing and intelligent.

[Al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi, Tareekh Baghdad (Cairo, 1931), vol. II, pp. 174-175]


  • Everything is not known to anyone except to Allah: No matter how knowledgeable one is, it is always possible that he might not know what other knows even those with lesser knowledge.


  • Manners: Imam Malik did not show his anger to this stranger even though he repeated his question several times.


  • Respect: Imam Malik did not become angry on being told different answer to his by al-Shaybani. He did not say: “How dare he to ask me?” “Who is he to question my knowledge?” since I am the Imam of Madina etc. etc. Rather he respected his knowledge and admired it.



  • Travelling to learn knowledge: Scholars of past used to travel to different parts of world to gain knowledge. Even Musa [alaihi salam] travelled to meet Khidr to gain knowledge from him bestowed on him by Allah.

[Benefit notes by Admin]


Ahle hadeeth and Ahlur Rai [جماعة أهل الحديث و أهل الرأي]

February 16, 2013 Leave a comment


Ahle hadeeth means the follower of Hadeeth. Ahlur Rai means the follower of Rai (human wisdom). Those who seek solutions of all problems of life on the basis of the holy Quran and saheeh Hadeeth are known as Ahle hadeeth. On the other hand… those who take solutions of the problems of life from Fiqhi Usool i.e. the formulas of practical laws made by any earlier scholar, they, according to Shah Waliullah, are known as Ahlur Rai. They do not seek Hadeeth of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and Athar of Sahaba  in making solutions to any problem, rather they try to solve it by making comparison with any Fiqhi decision or any Fiqhi principle given by an earlier Mujtahid Faqeeh and bring out its various branches and sub-branches with the help of Qias i.e. analogical method.(a) In this way, they follow in about all steps the Usool-i-Fiqh designed by their Imam or Faqeeh. As a result, in many cases they give preference the Rai of a person above saheeh Hadeeth.


On the other hand,

the Ahle hadeeth, in every case gives preference to the decision of the holy Quran and saheeh Hadeeth above others and rejects the person’s Rai which opposes the Hadeeth. They do not appraise the Quran and Hadeeth on the basis of Rai, but they appraise Ray on the basis of the Quran and Hadeeth. They give preference to Wahi (revelation) above Rai i.e. human wisdom and consider Rai as explanatory for Wahi. They do not reject Hadeeth on different pleas, at the time when they find any Rai of self or any person they follow contradicts to the Hadeeth; rather they bow before the decision of Hadeeth in all respect. The Ahle hadeeth believes in Ijtihad and considers it permissible to do by all competent Ulama of all ages. They believe in such type of Ijtihad or Rai and Qias which are based on the holy Quran, saheeh Hadeeth and Ijma-i-Sahaba.


For this reason Imam Malik, Shafe‘ii, Ahmad, Ishaque, Imam Bukhari and others, the best Faqeehs and Mujtahids of the Ummah are called Ahle hadeeth, not Ahlur Rai. On the other hand, due to lack of sufficient collections of Hadeeth, Imam Abu Haneefah (Rahimahullah) became more dependants on personal Rai and Qias, for which he was reckoned as Imam of Ahlur Rai i.e. the leader of the followers of Rai. As the world famous historian and social scientist of Morocco Abdur Rahman Ibnu Khaldoon (732-802 A.H.) says,

[The wave of logic also touched the scholars of Ahle Sunnah).As a result, the Fiqh became divided into two main streams by the name of ‘Ahle hadeeth’ and ‘Ahlur Rai’.

One of these was the Tareeqah of the followers of Rai and Qiyas. They were mostly the inhabitants of Iraq.

The second one is the Tareeqah of Ahle hadeeth. They were the inhabitants of Hijaz (Makkah-Madina).

Very few numbers of Hadeeth were there in Iraq. For which they devoted to Qiyas more and they also acquired proficiency in this regard. Therefore, they have been regarded as Ahlur Rai i.e. the followers of Rai. The leader of this group was Abu Haneefah in whose name a Mazhab has been set up]. (b)


This is to note that this is Iraq where the fabrication of Hadeeth has begun first.

Hinting to this, Imam Ibnu Shihab Zuhri (50-124 A.H.) says,

A hadeeth of a half cubit, issued from here, becomes one cubit in length when comes back from Iraq.


Imam Malek (93-179 A.H.) has termed Iraq as a ‘factory of hadeeth adulteration’ . That is one saheeh Hadeeth after much additions and subtractions is circulated from here adulteratedly.(c)


Imam Abu Haneefah (Rahimahullah) was the inhabitant of the city of Kufa in Iraq and his chief disciples were from there. For this reason his followers are named as Hanafee, Kufi, Ahlur Rai, Ahlul Kufa, Ahlul Iraq etc.


(a) Shah Waliullah, Hujjatullahil Baligah (Cairo: 1322 A.H.) P. 1/129; To know in details, see the discussion in the chapter ‘Difference between Ahlul Hadeeth and Ahlur Rai’ P.1/118-122.

(b) Abdur Rahman Ibnu Khaldoon, Tareekh (Bairut: Muassasatul A‘lami, n.d.) Muqaddamah P. 1/446.

(c) Dr. Mustafa Saba‘ii, As-Sunnah (Bairut: Al-Maktabul Islami, 4th edition 1405/1985) P. 79.


[Source: From the book: Ahle hadeeth movement; What and Why? by Dr. Muhammad Asadullah Al-Ghalib, pg, 21-23 ]

Why did the Imâms Differ? [Part 2]

May 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Do Read [Part 1]



The first Reason: The Hadîth did not reach him


Anyone that does not have a hadîth that reaches him is not responsible for being knowledgeable about its obligation. Thus, if a hadîth was not conveyed to him, and he formulated an opinion for that issue based on either the apparentness of an obligating ayah, another hadîth, the necessity of Qiyâs or the need for Istishâb, then sometimes he may be in agreement with that hadîth and at other times he may contradict it.



For the most part, it is due to this reason that many of the statements of
the Salaf have gone in contradiction to the reports mentioned in some
ahâdîth. For certainly, it is not possible for anyone in this ummah to
completely grasp (all) of the hadîth of the Messenger of Allâh .



The Prophets would narrate hadîth, issue religious verdicts, pass
judgements or conduct other matters, and whosoever was present there
would hear him or see him. These people would then convey that
(information) to other groups or to just some individuals whom they would
reach. So knowledge of that affair would end up with whomsoever
Allâh(swt) willed, from the scholars among the Sahâbah, the Tâbi’în and those who came after them.



Then in another gathering, he would again narrate hadîth, issue religious verdicts, pass judgements or conduct other matters. And some of the people that were absent from the first gathering would witness it. They would then convey it to whomsoever they were able to convey it to. So these individuals would possess some knowledge that those people did not and those people would possess some knowledge that these individuals did not. And verily, the scholars among the Sahâbah and those after them were only distinguished from one another due to who possessed more knowledge or who bore its excellence. As for whether one single person can encompass all of the hadîth of the Messenger of Allâh, then this claim is impossible.



An example of this is seen in the rightly guided khalîfahs, who were the most knowledgeable of the ummah concerning the affairs of the
Messenger of Allâh, his Sunnah and his states of being. This is especially So with Abu Bakr As-Siddîq who never separated from the Prophet(sallallahu alaihi wasallam), whether he was present or on a journey. Rather, he was with him the majority of the time, even to the point that he used to spend nights talking to him about the affairs of the Muslims. This goes the same for ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattâb, for the Prophet(saw) would say many times:
“Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and I entered…” and “Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and I left…”


In spite of this, when Abu Bakr was asked on the inheritance of the grandmother, he said:
“There is nothing for you in the Book of Allâh nor have I learned of anything from the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allâh that is for you. However, I will ask the people.”


So he asked them and Al Mughîrah Ibn Shu’bah and Muhammad Ibn Maslamah stood up and testified
“that the Prophet has given her a sixth (of the inheritance).”

[Al-Albânî said in Irwâ-ul-Ghalîl (no. 1680): “It is reported by Abu
Dawûd and At-Tirmidhî from the hadîth of Qabîsah Ibn Dhu’aib in mursal
form. It has different paths of narration that are all mursal, including
the hadîth of ‘Imrân Ibn Husain.”]



This aspect of the Sunnah was conveyed to ‘Imrân Ibn Husain, also.
These three individuals were not equal to Abu Bakr nor to any of the
other (four rightly guided) khalîfahs in terms of knowledge. However,
they were specifically characterized with knowledge of this Sunnah – of which its acting upon has been agreed on by the ummah.



Few more examples inshaAllah in Part 3



Why did the Imâms Differ? Part 1

April 28, 2012 Leave a comment

By Shaykhu-l-Islâm Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 AH / 1328 CE)


This article is taken from the beginning of Shaikh ul-Islam’s (Rahimahullah) treatise” Raf’-ul-Malâm ‘an-il-A’immat-il-A’lâm (Removing the Harms from the Noble Imâms)”.


In this treatise, the Shaikh (Rahimahullah) discusses the reasons why the famous and righteous Imâms, that are followed by the masses of Muslims,
differed in some issues and contradicted the established ahâdîth of the
Messenger of Allâh(subhanahu wa Ta’ala) in some cases. He lists over ten reasons in the introduction of this treatise. However this article only contains the first one. However, it is the most important one, as stated by Ibn Taimiyyah (Rahimahullah). And it is for this reason, as the Shaikh says, that many of the Imâm’s opinions, that contradict the Sunnah, can be explained and
acknowledged. Thus, there is no deficiency on the part of our scholars. Rather, they were rewarded in their correctness as well as in their errors. May Allâh have mercy on them.


This article was translated by Isma’îl ibn al-arkân. The notes where taken from Zuhair Ash-Shâwîsh’s comments and footnotes to this treatise, unless otherwise specified.



All praise is due to Allâh for His countless blessings. I bear witness that
none has the right to be worshipped except Allâh, He stands alone and
with no partners, whether on His earth or in His heavens. And I bear
witness that Muhammad(saw) is His slave, Messenger and the last of His
prophets. May Allâh send His eternal peace and continuous blessings upon
him, his family and his companions until the Day when we shall all meet



To Proceed,


It is binding upon the Muslims, after declaring loyalty to Allâh and his
Messenger, to declare loyalty to the believers as is stated by the Qur’ân.
This especially includes the scholars, for they are the inheritors of the
prophets. And they are the ones whom Allâh has given the status of
bearing the similitude of stars, through which guidance is achieved in
times of darkness, on land and on sea. The Muslims of this nation have
agreed upon their guidance and their knowledge.


“The Scholars”

Before the advent of our Prophet, the scholars of every nation were the
worst of its people. But this is not the case with the Muslims, for indeed
their scholars are the best from among them. They are the delegated
successors of the Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) in regards to his nation and they are the ones who revive what has been caused to die from his (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) Sunnah. It is through them that the Qur’ân is established and through it, they are established. Through them the Qur’ân is articulated and through it, they are articulated.



Following the
Messenger(sallallahu alihi wasallam) upon a firm and certain understanding


It must be known that there is not one scholar, who is accepted widely and willfully by the ummah, that purposely intends to oppose the Messenger of Allâh(subhanahu wa ta’ala) in any aspect of his (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) Sunnah, whether small or large. For indeed, they all agree on the obligation of following the Messenger(sallallahu alaihi wasallam) upon a firm and certain understanding. They also agree that one can accept or reject the statement of any individual from mankind, except that of the Messenger of Allâh.

This is a saying that can be attributed to the Salaf, among them Imâm
Mâlik (rahimahullah).



Therefore when it is found that an opinion, held by one of them, contradicts an authentic hadîth, there is no doubt that excuses must be made for him, in explanation to his abandoning of it.


These excuses can be divided into three categories:


1. The lack of his believing that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said it

2. The lack of his believing that particular issue was affected by that statement

3. His belief that that ruling was abrogated


InshaAllah Part 2 soon.




Differences Among the Sahaba.

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment


The differences of opinion that occurred among the Sahaabah [companions of Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)] were, for the most part, natural and unavoidable. A large portion of it was due to their different reasoning abilities that showed up in their various interpretations of Qur’aanic verses and hadeeths.  There were other causes which led to differences during their time which later disappeared; for example, the wide distribution of hadeeths made it impossible for any individual Sahaabee to be aware of them all, and thus wrong decisions were bound to be made where information was lacking. Obviously, they cannot be blamed for these and similar mistakes, which were not intentional.


Furthermore, it is clear that they readily corrected their wrong decisions when authentic information or more relevant evidence indicated that this should be done. It is this willingness to cast aside wrong decisions in the search for truth that excludes these conflicting rulings from the category of accursed disagreements. In this connection, the Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was quoted by ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas as saying:

“If a judge strives his utmost and makes a correct ruling, he receives two rewards, but if he strives and errs he still receives one.”

(Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 9, pp. 330-1, no. 450 and Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p. 930, no. 4261).


Based on this hadeeth, the Sahaabah are considered absolved from blame for conflicting rulings. However, any discrepancies apparent in their different rulings are not to be glorified and perpetuated.


In fact they themselves disliked disagreements, as is shown in the following narration quoted by ash-Shaafi‘ee’s student, at-Muzanee:

“’Umar ibn al-Khattaab, the second Righteous Caliph, got angry because of a dispute between the Sahaabee, Ubayy ibn Ka‘b, and another Sahaabee, Ibn Mas‘ood, over the performance of Salaah in a single piece of cloth. Ubayy considered it quite all right while Ibn Mas‘ood felt that was so only when cloth was scarce.


‘Umar angrily left his residence and declared, ‘Have two of the companions of Allaah’s messenger disagreed, and they are among those whom the masses watch closely and imitate? Ubayy is correct and Ibn Mas‘ood should desist!


If I hear of anyone disputing about this matter after his point, I will deal with him.”

(Jaami‘ Bayaan al-‘Ilm, vol. 2, p. 83-4.)



Indeed, the early scholars were well aware of the causes of differences between the Sahaabah and the tendency for people to want to perpetuate them. Accordingly, they made definitive statements on the matter in an effort to stave off dogmatism and sectarianism based on conflicting rulings of the Sahaabah.


The following are a few examples of their statements on this vital subject.

Ibn al-Qaasim, who was among the leading students of Imaam Maalik, said,

“I heard Maalik and al-Layth both say the following concerning the differences among the Sahaabah: ‘People say there is leeway for them in it, but it is not so; it was a case of wrong and right rulings.”

(Jaami‘ Bayaan al-‘Ilm, vol. 2, pp. 81-2.)


Ash’hab, another of Imaam Maalik’s students, said,

“Maalik was once asked whether one was safe to follow a ruling related to him by reliable narrators who had heard it from companions of the Prophet (pbuh). He replied, ‘No, by Allaah, not unless it is correct: the truth is only one. Can two opposing opinions be simultaneously correct? The opinion which is correct can be only one.”

(Jaami‘ Bayaan al-‘Ilm, vol. 2, pp. 82, 88-9.)



Imaam ash-Shaafi‘ee’s student, al-Muzanee, put it this way,

“The Companions of Allaah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) disagreed from time to time and declared each other mistaken. Some of them examined the statements of others and researched them thoroughly. Therefore, if all of them felt that whatever they said was correct, they would never have investigated each other’s statements or declared each other mistaken.”


Al-Muzanee also said,

“The following question should be put to the one who allows disagreement, claiming that if two scholars strive to arrive at a decision concerning the same incident one ruling that it is Halaal and the other that it is Haraam, both are correct. ‘Are you basing that judgement on a fundamental text [the Qur’aan or the Sunnah] or on Qiyaas?’ If he claims that it is based on a fundamental text, he should then be asked, ‘How could it be based on a fundamental text when the Qur’aan, [which is the major fundamental text] condemns disagreement?’ If he claims that it is by Qiyaas, he should be asked, ‘How could the fundamental text reject dispute and you in turn deduce from it that dispute is allowed?’ No common person capable of reason would allow that, much less a scholar.”

(Jaami‘ Bayaan al-‘Ilm, vol. 2, p. 89)



Although the Sahaabah differed in the application of some principles, they used to go to great lengths to preserve an appearance of unity and avoid things that would divide their ranks. But, among later scholars and followers who blindly and dogmatically clung to the inherited Math’habs (legal schools of thought), we find the complete opposite. Their differences at one point even led to the splitting of their ranks over Salaah, the greatest pillar of Islaam after the two testimonies of belief. (The Evolution of Fiqh )



Taqleed literally means “putting a necklace on one’s neck,” however, according to its technical meaning, it refers to “following the opinions of others without evidence.” It is permissible for one who has not gained knowledge of the evidence based on the Almighty’s statement:

Ask those who know if you do not know.” (Quran 16:43)


[Source: Taken from Bilal Phillips’s footnotes on the “Radiance of Faith” book by Ibn Qudaama al-Maqdisee P. 140-141.]


Do read: Why did the Imâms Differ? [Part 2]


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