Source: The Prophet's Prayer Described
Abu Haneefah (rahimahullaah)
The first of them is Abu Haneefah Nu'maan ibn Thaabit, whose companions have
narrated from him various sayings and diverse warnings, all of them leading to
one thing: the obligation to accept the Hadeeth, and to give up following the
opinions of the imaams which contradict it:
1. "When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my madhhab."
2. "It is not permitted for anyone to accept our views if they do not
know from where we got them."
In one narration, "It is prohibited for someone who does not know my
evidence to give verdicts on the basis of my words."
Another narration adds, "... for we are mortals: we say one thing one day,
and take it back the next day."
In another narration, "Woe to you, O Ya'qub! Do not write down everything
you hear from me, for it happens that I hold one opinion today and reject it
tomorrow, or hold one opinion tomorrow and reject it the day after
3. "When I say something contradicting the Book of Allaah the Exalted or what
is narrated from the Messenger (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam), then ignore my
Maalik ibn Anas (rahimahullaah
As for Imaam Maalik ibn Anas, he said:
1. "Truly I am only a mortal: I make mistakes (sometimes) and I am correct
(sometimes). Therefore, look into my opinions: all that agrees with the Book and
the Sunnah, accept it; and all that does not agree with the Book and the Sunnah,
2. "Everyone after the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) will have his
sayings accepted and rejected - not so the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa
3. Ibn Wahb said: "I heard Maalik being asked
about cleaning between the toes during ablution. He said, `The people do not
have to do that.' I did not approach him until the crowd had lessened, when I
said to him, `We know of a sunnah about that.' He said, `What is that ?' I said,
`Laith ibn Sa'd, Ibn Lahee'ah and `Amr ibn al-Haarith narrated to us from Yazeed
ibn `Amr al-Ma'aafiri from Abu `Abdur-Rahman al-Hubuli from Mustawrid ibn
Shaddaad al-Qurashi who said, `I saw the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu
`alaihi wa sallam) rubbing between his toes with his little finger.' He said,
`This hadeeth is sound; I had not heard of it at all until now.' Afterwards, I
heard him being asked about the same thing, on which he ordered cleaning between
As for Imaam Shaafi'i, the quotations from him are most numerous and
beautiful, and his followers were the best in sticking to them:
1. "The sunnahs of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam)
reach, as well as escape from, every one of us. So whenever I voice my opinion,
or formulate a principle, where something contrary to my view exists on the
authority of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam), then the
correct view is what the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) has
said, and it is my view."
2. "The Muslims are unanimously agreed that if a sunnah of the Messenger of
Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) is made clear to someone, it is not
permitted for him to leave it for the saying of anyone else."
3. "If you find in my writings something different to the Sunnah of the
Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam), then speak on the basis of
the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam), and leave
what I have said."
In one narration: "... then follow it (the Sunnah), and do not look sideways
at anyone else's saying."
4. "When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my madhhab."
5. "You are more knowledgeable about Hadeeth than I, so when a hadeeth is
saheeh, inform me of it, whether it is from Kufah, Basrah or Syria, so that I
may take the view of the hadeeth, as long as it is saheeh."
6. "In every issue where the people of narration find a report from the
Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) to be saheeh which is
contrary to what I have said, then I take my saying back, whether during my life
or after my death."
7. "If you see me saying something, and contrary to it is
authentically-reported from the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam), then
know that my intelligence has departed."
8. "For everything I say, if there is something authentic from the Prophet
(sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) contrary to my saying, then the hadeeth of the
Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) comes first, so do not follow my
9. "Every statement on the authority of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa
sallam) is also my view, even if you do not hear it from me."
>Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimahullaah) >
Imaam Ahmad was the foremost among the Imaams in collecting the Sunnah and
sticking to it, so much so that he even "disliked that a book consisting of
deductions and opinions be written." Because of this he said:
1. "Do not follow my opinion; neither follow the opinion of Maalik, nor
Shaafi'i, nor Awzaa'i, nor Thawri, but take from where they took."
In one narration: "Do not copy your Deen from anyone of these, but whatever
comes from the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions, take
it; next are their Successors, where a man has a choice."
Once he said: "Following means that a man follows what comes from the
Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions; after the
Successors, he has a choice."
2. "The opinion of Awzaa'i, the opinion of Maalik, the opinion of Abu
Haneefah: all of it is opinion, and it is all equal in my eyes. However, the
proof is in the narrations (from the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) and
3. "Whoever rejects a statement of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu
`alaihi wa sallam) is on the brink of destruction."
SHAYKH SAALIH AL-FAWZAAN was
asked: Is it permissible for one who sticks to a particular madhhab in
matters of worship, to turn away from it and stick to another madhhab whenever
he wants? Or is it binding upon a Muslim to stick to just one madhhab until he
dies? And is there a difference in how the Prayer should be performed between
the four madhhabs or not? And what has been related from the Prophet sallallaahu
alayhi wa sallam concerning how the Prayer should be prayed?
The Shaykh, hafidhahullaah, responded: The issue of sticking to a madhhab has
in it some detail. If a person has the ability to know the ruling from its
proof, and to deduce the ruling from its proof, then it is not permitted for him
to cling to a madhhab. rather, it is upon him to take the ruling from the
evidence - if he has the ability to do so. However, this is rare amongst the
people, since this is a quality of the mujtahideen from the people of knowledge;
those that have reaced the levels of ijtihaad. As for one who is not like that,
then he cannot take the rulings directly from the evidences. And this is the
predominant case amongst the people, especially in these latter times. So [in
such a case] there is no harm in adopting one of the four madhhabs and making
taqleed of one of them. However, he should not make blind taqleed such that he
takes all that is in the madhhab; whether it is correct or incorrect. Rather, it
is upon him to take from the madhhab that which - in his view - does not clearly
oppose the evidence. As for those views in the madhhab which clearly oppose the
evidence, then it is not permissible for the Muslim to take it. Rather it is
upon him to adopt what is established by the proof, even if it is in another
madhhab So his leaving the madhhab for another madhhab in order to follow the
evidence is something good; this is a matter which is good - rather it is
obligatory;since following the evidence is an madhhab in order to follow the
evidence is something good; this is a matter which is good - rather it is
obligatory;since following the evidence is an obligation.
As for adopting one madhhab sometimes and another at other times, then this
moving is from the angle of following ones desires and seeking concessions, and
this is not permissible. Meaning, that whatever accords with ones whims and
desires, from the sayings of the people of knowledge, is taken - even if it
opposes the proof; and whatever opposes ones whims and desires is left - even if
it has a proof. This is the following of whims and desires, and we seek refuge
in Allaah [from that]. Thus, moving from one madhhab to another, due to
following ones desires, or due to ease or seeking concession; then this is not
permissible. As for moving from one madhhab to another due to following an
evidence, or to flee from a saying that does not have a proof, or from an
erroneous view - then this is a matter that is encouraged and sought from a
Muslim. And Allaah knows best.
As for the issue concerning the differences between the four madhhabs in the
Prayer, then the four madhhabs - and all praise is for Allaah - are in Prayer,
then the four madhhabs - and all praise is for Allaah - are in agreement about
most of the rulings concerning the Prayer, in general. Their differences are in
some of the details of the Prayer. From [such differences] are, for example,
that [one of them] may consider something to be prescribed, whilst another may
not consider it to be prescribed; one may consider something to be obligatory,
whilst another may consider it to be recommended; and so on. So the differences
are in the details of the Prayer. But as for the rulings of the Prayer in
general, then there is no difference - and all praise is for Allaah
20 Ibn `Aabideen in al-Haashiyah (1/63), and in his essay Rasm al-Mufti (1/4
from the Compilation of the Essays of Ibn `Aabideen), Shaikh Saalih al-Fulaani
in Eeqaaz al-Himam (p. 62) & others. Ibn `Aabideen quoted from Sharh
al-Hidaayah by Ibn al-Shahnah al-Kabeer, the teacher of Ibn al-Humaam, as
"When a hadeeth contrary to the Madhhab is found to be saheeh, one should act
on the hadeeth, and make that his madhhab. Acting on the hadeeth will not
invalidate the follower's being a Hanafi, for it is authentically reported that
Abu Haneefah said, `When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my
madhhab', and this has been related by Imaam Ibn `Abdul Barr from Abu Haneefah
and from other imaams."
This is part of the completeness of the knowledge and piety of the Imaams,
for they indicated by saying this that they were not versed in the whole of the
Sunnah, and Imaam Shaafi'i has elucidated this thoroughly (see later). It would
happen that they would contradict a sunnah because they were unaware of it, so
they commanded us to stick to the Sunnah and regard it as part of their Madhhab.
May Allaah shower His mercy on them all.
22 Ibn `Abdul Barr in Al-Intiqaa' fi Fadaa'il ath-Thalaathah al- A'immah
al-Fuqahaa' (p. 145), Ibn al-Qayyim in I'laam al- Mooqi'een (2/309), Ibn
`Aabideen in his Footnotes on Al-Bahr ar-Raa'iq (6/293) and in Rasm al-Mufti
(pp. 29,32) & Sha'raani in Al-Meezaan (1/55) with the second narration. The
last narration was collected by `Abbaas ad-Dawri in At- Taareekh by Ibn Ma'een
(6/77/1) with a saheeh sanad on the authority of Zafar, the student of Imaam Abu
Haneefah. Similar narrations exist on the authority of Abu Haneefah's companions
Zafar, Abu Yoosuf and `Aafiyah ibn Yazeed; cf. Eeqaaz (p. 52). Ibn al-Qayyim
firmly certified its authenticity on the authority of Abu Yoosuf in I'laam
al-Mooqi'een (2/344). The addition to the second narration is referenced by the
editor of Eeqaaz (p. 65) to Ibn `Abdul Barr, Ibn al-Qayyim and others.
If this is what they say of someone who does not know their evidence, what
would be their response to one who knows that the evidence contradicts their
saying, but still gives verdicts opposed to the evidence?! Therefore, reflect on
this saying, for it alone is enough to smash blind following of opinion; that is
why one of the muqallid shaikhs, when I criticised his giving a verdict using
Abu Haneefah's words without knowing the evidence, refused to believe that it
was a saying of Abu Haneefah!
24 Ar.: fatwaa
25 i.e. Imaam Abu Haneefah's illustrious student, Abu Yoosuf (rahimahullaah).
26 This was because the Imaam would often base his view on Qiyaas (Analogy),
after which a more potent analogy would occur to him, or a hadeeth of the
Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) would reach him, so he would accept that
and ignore his previous view. Sha'raani's words in Al-Meezaan (1/62) are
"Our belief, as well as that of every researcher into Imaam Abu Haneefah
(radi Allaahu `anhu), is that, had he lived until the recording of the
Sharee'ah, and the journeys of the Preservers of Hadeeth to the various cities
and frontiers in order to collect and acquire it, he would have accepted it and
ignored all the analogies he had employed. The amount of qiyaas in his Madhhab
would have been just as little as that in other Madhhabs, but since the
evidences of the Sharee'ah had been scattered with the Successors and their
successors, and had not been collected in his lifetime, it was necessary that
there be a lot of qiyaas in his Madhhab compared to that of other imaams. The
later scholars then made their journeys to find and collect ahaadeeth from the
various cities and towns and wrote them down; hence, some ahaadeeth of the
Sharee'ah explained others. This is the reason behind the large amount of qiyaas
in his Madhhab, whereas there was little of it in other Madhhabs."
Abul-Hasanaat Al-Lucknowi quoted his words in full in An- Naafi' al-Kabeer
(p. 135), endorsing and expanding on it in his footnotes, so whoever wishes to
consult it should do so there.
Since this is the justification for why Abu Haneefah has sometimes
unintentionally contradicted the authentic ahaadeeth - and it is a perfectly
acceptable reason, for Allaah does not burden a soul with more than it can bear
- it is not permissible to insult him for it, as some ignorant people have done.
In fact, it is obligatory to respect him, for he is one of the imaams of the
Muslims through whom this Deen has been preserved and handed down to us, in all
its branches; also, for he is rewarded under any circumstance: whether he is
correct or wrong. Nor is it permissible for his devotees to continue sticking to
those of his statements which contradict the authentic ahaadeeth, for those
statements are effectively not part of his Madhhab, as the above sayings show.
Hence, these are two extremes, and the truth lies in between. "Our Lord! Forgive
us, and our brethren who came before us into the Faith; and leave not, in our
hearts, any rancour against those who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed
Full of Kindness, Most Merciful." (Al-Hashr 59:10)
27 Al-Fulaani in Eeqaaz al-Himam (p. 50), tracing it to Imaam Muhammad and
then saying, "This does not apply to the mujtahid, for he is not bound to their
views anyway, but it applies to the muqallid."
Sha'raani expanded on that in Al-Meezaan (1/26):
"If it is said: `What should I do with the ahaadeeth which my Imaam did not
use, and which were found to be authentic after his death?' The answer which is
fitting for you is: `That you act on them, for had your Imaam come across them
and found them to be authentic, he would have instructed you to act on them,
because all the Imaams were captives in the hand of the Sharee'ah.' He who does
so will have gathered all the good with both his hands, but he who says, `I will
not act according to a hadeeth unless my Imaam did so', he will miss a great
amount of benefit, as is the case with many followers of the Imaams of the
Madhhabs. It would be better for them to act on every hadeeth found to be
authentic after the Imaam's time, hence implementing the will of the Imaams; for
it is our firm belief about the Imaams that had they lived longer and come to
know of those ahaadeeth which were found authentic after their time, they would
have definitely accepted and acted according to them, ignoring any analogies
they may have previously made, and any views they may have previously held."
28 Ibn `Abdul Barr in Jaami' Bayaan al-'Ilm (2/32), Ibn Hazm, quoting from
the former in Usool al-Ahkaam (6/149), & similarly Al-Fulaani (p. 72)
29 This iswell known among the later scholars to be a saying of Maalik. Ibn
`Abdul Haadi declared it saheeh in Irshaad as- Saalik (227/1); Ibn `Abdul Barr
in Jaami' Bayaan al-'Ilm (2/91) & Ibn Hazm in Usool al-Ahkaam (6/145, 179)
had narrated it as a saying of Al-Hakam ibn `Utaibah and Mujaahid; Taqi ad- Deen
as-Subki gave it, delighted with its beauty, in al- Fataawaa (1/148) as a saying
of Ibn `Abbaas, and then said: "These words were originally those of Ibn `Abbaas
and Mujaahid, from whom Maalik (radi Allaahu `anhu) took them, and he became
famous for them." It seems that Imaam Ahmad then took this saying from them, as
Abu Daawood has said in Masaa'il of Imaam Ahmad (p. 276): "I heard Ahmad say,
`Everyone is accepted and rejected in his opinions, with the exception of the
Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam)'."
30 From the Introduction to Al-Jarh wat-Ta'deel of Ibn Abi Haatim, pp.
31 Ibn Hazm says in Usool al-Ahkaam (6/118):
"Indeed, all the fuqahaa' whose opinions are followed were opposed to
taqleed, and they forbade their companions from following their opinion blindly.
The sternest among them in this regard was Shaafi'i (rahimahullaah), for he
repeatedly emphasised, more than anyone else, following the authentic narrations
and accepting whatever the proof dictated; he also made himself innocent of
being followed totally, and announced this to those around him. May this benefit
him in front of Allaah, and may his reward be of the highest, for he was the
cause of great good."
32 Related by Haakim with a continuous sanad up to Shaafi'i, as in Taareekh
Dimashq of Ibn `Asaakir (15/1/3), I'laam al- Mooqi'een (2/363, 364) & Eeqaaz
33 Ar.: halaal
34 Ibn al-Qayyim (2/361) & Fulaani (p. 68) 35 Harawi in Dhamm al-Kalaam
(3/47/1), Khateeb in Al-Ihtijaaj bi ash-Shaafi'i (8/2), Ibn `Asaakir (15/9/10),
Nawawi in Al- Majmoo' (1/63), Ibn al-Qayyim (2/361) & Fulaani (p. 100); the
second narration is from Hilyah al-Awliyaa' of Abu Nu'aim. 36 Nawawi in
Al-Majmoo' (1/63), Sha'raani (1/57), giving its sources as Haakim and Baihaqi,
& Fulaani (p. 107). Sha'raani said, "Ibn Hazm said, `That is, ... found to
be saheeh by him or by any other Imaam'." His saying given next confirms this
Nawawi says: "Our companions acted according to this in the matter of
tathweeb (calling to prayer in addition to the adhaan), the conditions on coming
out of ihraam due to illness, and other issues well-known in the books of the
Madhhab. Among those of our companions who are reported to have passed judgment
on the basis of the hadeeth (i.e. rather than the saying of Shaafi'i) are Abu
Ya'qoob al-Buweeti and Abu l-Qaasim ad-Daariki. Of our companions from the
muhadditheen, Imaam Abu Bakr Al-Baihaqi and others employed this approach. Many
of our earliest companions, if they faced an issue for which there was a
hadeeth, and the madhhab of Shaafi'i was contrary to it, would act according to
the hadeeth and give verdicts based on it, saying, `The madhhab of Shaafi'i is
whatever agrees with the hadeeth.' Shaikh Abu `Amr (Ibn as-Salaah) says,
`Whoever among the Shaafi'is found a hadeeth contradicting his Madhhab, he would
consider whether he fulfilled the conditions of ijtihaad generally, or in that
particular topic or issue, in which case he would be free to act on the hadeeth;
if not, but nevertheless he found it hard to contradict the hadeeth after
further analysis, he would not be able to find a convincing justification for
opposing the hadeeth. Hence, it would be left for him to act according to the
hadeeth if an independent imaam other than Shaafi'i had acted on it, and this
would be justification for his leaving the Madhhab of his Imaam in that issue.'
What he (Abu `Amr) has said is correct and established. Allaah knows best."
There is another possibility which Ibn as-Salaah forgot to mention: what
would one do if he did not find anyone else who acted according to the hadeeth?
This has been answered by Taqi ad-Deen as-Subki in his article, The Meaning of
Shaafi'i's saying, "When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my
madhhab" (p. 102, vol. 3): "For me, the best thing is to follow the hadeeth. A
person should imagine himself in front of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa
sallam), just having heard it from him: would there be leeway for him to delay
acting on it? No, by Allaah ... and everyone bears a responsibility according to
The rest of this discussion is given and analysed in I'laam al- Muwaqqi'een
(2/302, 370) and in the book of al-Fulaane, (full title Eeqaaz Himam ulu
l-Absaar, lil-Iqtidaa' bi Sayyid al- Muhaajireen wal-Ansaar, wa Tahdheeruhum `an
al-Ibtidaa' ash- Shaa'i' fi l-Quraa wal-Amsaar, min Taqleed al-Madhaahib ma'a l-
Hamiyyah wal-'Asabiyyah bain al-Fuqahaa' al-A'saar (Awakening the Minds of those
who have Perception, towards following the Leader of the Emigrants and Helpers,
and Warning them against the Innovation Widespread among Contemporary Jurists in
the Towns and Cities, of following Madhhabs with Zeal and Party- Spirit). The
latter is a unique book in its field, which every desirer of truth should study
with understanding and reflection. 37 addressing Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal
38 Related by Ibn Abi Haatim in Aadaab ash-Shaafi'i (pp. 94-5), Abu Nu'aim in
Hulyah al-Awliyaa' (9/106), al-Khateeb in Al- Ihtijaaj bish-Shaafi'i (8/1), and
from him Ibn `Asaakir (15/9/1), Ibn `Abdul Barr in al-Intiqaa' (p. 75), Ibn
al-Jawzi in Manaaqib al-Imaam Ahmad (p. 499) & Harawi (2/47/2) with three
routes from `Abdullaah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal from his father that Shaafi'i said
to him: ...etc; thus, it is authentic on the authority of Shaafi'i. This is why
Ibn al- Qayyim attributed it definitely to him in I'laam (2/325), as did Fulaani
in Eeqaaz (p. 152) and then said: "Baihaqi said, `This is why he - i.e. Shaafi'i
- used hadeeth so much, because he gathered knowledge from the people of Hijaaz,
Syria, Yemen and `Iraq, and so accepted all that he found to be authentic,
without leaning towards or looking at what he had considered out of the Madhhab
of the people of his land when the truth was clear to him elsewhere. Some of
those before him would limit themselves to what they found in the Madhhab of the
people of their land, without attempting to ascertain the authenticity of what
opposed it. May Allaah forgive all of us'."
39 Abu Nu'aim (9/107), Harawi (47/1), Ibn al-Qayyim in I'laam al-Muwaqqi'een
(2/363) & Fulaani (p. 104).
40 Ibn Abi Haatim in al-Aadaab (p. 93), Abul Qaasim Samarqandi in al-Amaali,
as in the selection from it by Abu Hafs al- Mu'addab (234/1), Abu Nu'aim (9/106)
& Ibn `Asaakir (15/10/1) with a saheeh sanad.
41 Ibn Abi Haatim, Abu Nu'aim & Ibn `Asaakir (15/9/2).
42 Ibn Abi Haatim (pp. 93-4).
43 Ibn al-Jawzi in al-Manaaqib (p. 192)
44 Fulaani (p. 113) & Ibn al-Qayyim in I'laam (2/302).
45 Ar.: ittibaa'
46 Abu Daawood in Masaa'il of Imaam Ahmad (pp. 276-7)
47 Ibn `Abdul Barr in Jaami' Bayaan al-'Ilm (2/149).
48 Ibn al-Jawzi (p. 182)2)