Clarifying the Maxim: Our Madhhab is Correct and Possibly Incorrect While the Madhhab of Others is Incorrect and Possibly Correct.
By Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwāmah
Translated by Muntasir Zaman
Objection: The following maxim is often quoted in the books of Fiqh: Our madhhab is correct and possibly incorrect while the madhhab of others is incorrect and possibly correct. What kind of conduct is this with those who hold a different opinion? How can they say this when they granted permission to make Taqlīd and recommended the observance of differences?
Clarification: It is true that they said this, but it is our responsibility to understand it according to their explanation and not according to hearts that are ill mannered towards them or minds that have failed to understand their intent. The correct method of understanding their statement is by establishing the conflict between the two statements. Thus we say:
Their statement regarding Taqlīd is proof of their approval of the madhhab of the one being followed (the Imām), and their recommendation for observing the opposing view is a clearer proof of their approval and regard for the opinion of the one who differs, so how did they make this statement? Read the rest of this entry »
It has become a norm in our era to label acceptable practices in religion as innovations. Unfortunately, our Masājid have become arenas of disputation and debate; luminaries and high-ranking Islamic scholars are branded as innovators. Many issues that have a legitimate basis in religion are rejected under the pretext that they are innovations not found in the early era of Islām. One such issue is the ruling of delivering a lecture prior to the Jumu‘a prayer. Many people claim that the prohibition of delivering a lecture before Jumu‘a can be inferred from Hadīth. Further, they assert that such a practice was not found among our pious predecessors. Hence, it is an innovation.
The article before you is an abridged translation of the treatise “Mashrū‘iyyat al-Dars Qabl Salāt al-Jumu‘a” by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhāb al-Mahiyya. In this article, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhāb has conducted a brilliant research in which he adequately addresses each objection posed by those who assert that the practice is an innovation. He proves that far from being an innovation, numerous Sahāba, Tabi‘ūn and people of knowledge have lectured in their Masājid before Jumu‘a. In fact, he submits that there is a basis for this practice from the blessed Hadīth.
Since this is the most detailed article we have come across on the topic, we felt it appropriate to translate it for the benefit of those interested in the topic. We ask Allāh to accept this effort and make it a means of clarifying any doubts in this regard. Amīn
In recent times, there has been great confusion between two distinct concepts: Ikhtilāf [legitimate disagreement] and Khilāf [illegitimate disagreement]. Many misinformed people, for lack of Suhbah (companionship) of traditional scholars and spiritual guides, read the differences of the Salaf and misinterpreted their Ikhtilāf as Khilāf. Undoubtedly, the Sahābāh (may Allah be pleased with them) were the most united group of individuals to have walked the earth, yet they differed with each other in their verdicts and opinions while remaining within the boundaries of Ikhtilāf. Conversely, the divergences of deviant groups like the Khawārij, Shī‘a and Mu‘tazila in relation to the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jamā‘a are considered Khilāf, as there is no scope for academic tolerance in issues related to the fundamentals of religion.
In a similar light, we regard the mutual disagreements between the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jamā‘a as Ikhtilāf, not Khilāf. Abu ‘l-Baqā’ al-Kafawī [d. 1094 AH] writes:
Ikhtilāf is when there are numerous paths leading to one specific destination. As for Kihlāf, it is two separate paths leading to separate destinations.
Thus, the differences between Imām Mālik [d. 179 AH] and Imām Ibn Abī Dhi’b [d. 159 AH], or between Imām Muhammad al-Dhuhalī [d. 258 AH] and Imām al-Bukhārī [d. 256 AH], will be regarded as Ikhtilāf, as they adopted different routes with the intention of reaching one particular destination.
An example of Ikhtilāf misconstrued as Khilāf is the differences that ensued between Imām al-Bukhāri and the Ahl al-Ra’y in a handful of issues wherein the former alluded to the opinions of the Ahl al-Ra’y with the statement “and some people say.” Unfortunately, this mutual disagreement has become a pretext for vilifying Imām Abū Hanīfa [d. 150 AH] and his illustrious students, who were at the forefront of the Ahl al-Ra’y, with the allegation that they showed disregard for textual proofs. In response to this misunderstanding, many treatises and books were written.
In his introduction to one such work, Kashf al-Iltibās, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattāh Abū Ghuddah [d. 1997 CE] has presented a brilliant analysis of the topic. He first explains the uniqueness of the chapter-headings of Sahīh al-Bukhārī, after which he shows the role of the Hanafīs in the academic development of Imām al-Bukhārī. He also proves that, although there were many issues of disagreement between them, there are an equal number or more issues of agreement. In addition, he discusses various treatises written on this topic. Finally, he summarizes a study conducted by Dr. ‘Abd al-Majīd Mahmūd on the differences between the Ahl al-Hadīth and Ahl al-Ra’y, in particular that of Imām al-Bukhārī and Imām Abū Hanīfa.
In view of the importance of his research, particularly in today’s times, we felt it appropriate to translate this brilliant analysis for the benefit of non-Arabic speaking readers. We have employed an idiomatic translation of some of the passages to make this work more reader-friendly. For the sake of brevity, several passages that were not directly related to the topic were omitted. Moreover, in the summary of Dr. ‘Abd al-Majīd’s study, which covers all twenty-four issues according to his count, only one example was presented, as the purpose of this translation is to present an analysis of this topic, not of addressing the issue itself for which relevant treatises may be consulted.
May Allah make this a means of dispelling doubts concerning the mutual differences of our noble predecessors, Âmīn.
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