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The Blind Following of Madhhabs

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Foreword

Verily all praise is for Allaah. We praise Him, seek his help and ask for His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allaah from the evil within ourselves and from our evil actions. Whomsoever Allaah guides, none can misguide and whomsoever Allaah misguides, none can guide. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, alone, having no partner and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

To proceed: Anyone who comes across the discussions of the followers of the madhhabs will not doubt that the misfortune of blind-following of madhhabs is one of the causes of decline of the Muslims and their backwardness. It has transformed their minds so that they do not think except with the minds of other people.

The Imaams and their first students - rahimahumullaah - did not blindly stick to their own opinions like these followers who have forgotten a large portion of the advice given by the Imaams. Thus Shaytaan has caused enmity and hatred between them so that they relit a fire which Allaah had extinguished and in reality, they turned away from the sayings of the Mujtahid Imaams and clung onto the hypothetical answers given by late-comers who did not leave anything of the madhhabs except their names.

This fact has been understood by many scholars throughout the ages and so they have written about it and done well. But the work of ‘Allaamah al-Ma’soomee - rahimahullaah - Hadiyyat us-Sultaan ilaa Muslimee Bilaad il-Yaabaan (The Sultaan’s Gift to the Muslims of Japan) is, despite its small size, perhaps one of the most beneficial books written on the subject. This is this due to its excellent style and strength of proofs, to the point that it is a fatal blow to the misfortune of blind-following of madhhabs.

This is a concise version of this book, edited by Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaalee. A few additional explanatory notes, references and comments have been added, marked by the symbol, (Our Notes). This book was translated to English by Dawood ibn Ronald Bukbank.

We ask Allaah, the Blessed and Most High, to make this work beneficial to the Muslims. Those who do not give precedence to anything before Allaah and His Messenger, so that they may unsheathe the sword of knowledge, which is: ‘Allaah says... His Messenger says...’ And ride upon the back of truth, which is acquiring knowledge along with its proof. Thus expelling from Islaam the alterations of those going beyond bounds, the false claims of the deceptive, the misinterpretations of the ignorant and the bigotry of the blind-followers: those who pick and choose from the Qur’aan and divide up their Deen into sects and become separate groups.

Biography [1] of the Author : Shaykh Muhammad Sultaan al-Ma’soomee al-Khajnadee by Sheykh Saleem al-Hilaalee.

• His Time and Environment

He was born in 1297 H in Khajnadah, a town of Mesopotamia, into a noble and wealthy family, known for their knowledge.
The worst manifestation of the following of madhhabs appeared in the later ages when blind-following increased and spread rapidly amongst all the people, to the point that hardly a single place was safe from it. From those lands attacked by blind-following of madhhabs were the lands beyond the Tigris where it encamped with all its callousness and encircled its people just as the bracelet encircles the wrist.

They believed that a Muslim was he who followed Abu Haneefah - rahimahullaah - and that the Maalikees, Shaafi’ees and the Hanbalees and Ahl ul-Hadeeth were all upon error and misguidance. They said that it was not permissible to marry a Shaafi’ee woman since they are unbelievers since they declare ‘I am a believer if Allaah wills.’ They considered it obligatory to give pledge of allegiance to a Soofee Shaykh and that the best of them are the Naqshabandees. They further claimed that Ahl us-Sunnah are the Maatureedees and Ash’arees and that other than them are innovators. It is in the midst of this Soofee/Hanafee environment that al-Ma’soomee grew up.

• His Studies, Journeying in Search of Knowledge and his Teachers
Al-Ma‘soomee began by reading the books and treatises written in the Persian language, the language of the people of his land. Then he began to study the Arabic language and books on logic and philosophy. He studied the works of ‘Aqeedah, such as an-Nasafiyyah, al-’Adudiyyah, at-Tahaawiyyah, Jawharatut-Tawheed, as-Sanoosiyyah and other works, all of them with the two Shaykhs, Muhammad ‘Iwad al-Khajnadee and ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ar-Ragheenaanee al-Bukhaaree.

Having reached the age of twenty-three, he was at a stage where he could begin to research for himself, it was then that the mistakes of the blind-followers, their contradictions and their disobedience to their Imaams became clear to him. He declared this publicly, which caused the blind-followers who had been baptised in the river of blind-following of madhhabs to become furious. When the dispute grew severe al-Ma‘soomee decided to travel to the Hijaaz (the area containing Makkah and al-Madeenah) and set off from the land of Bukhaara in the year 1323H. During his journey he travelled through Istanbul and saw in the capital of the Ottoman Khilaafah such things as would cause the heart of the believer to bleed.

Al-Ma’soomee - rahimahullaah - said, “... then I was happy to come across the book market and some printing houses. There I came across an explanation of al-Aqaa’id un-Nasafiyyah of at-Tiftaazaanee which I had already memorised due to the number of times I had studied it. But I found that this version had the chapter about rulership missing, so I inquired about that. It was said to me that it was because it contained the point that the ruler must be from the Quraysh and that the Khaleefah cannot be from other than them. So when this was noticed by Abul-Hudaa the Shaykh of the Sultaan ‘Abdul-Hameed, he informed the Sultaan that this was the reason for the opposition of the Arabs to the Turks, so this issue must be removed. So ‘Abdul-Hameed ordered the chapter about rulership to be removed, so it was removed and the book was printed without it. When this became clear to me I foresaw the downfall of the Turks, and was greatly saddened.”  (This is a true witness to the role of politics in the spread or decline of the madhhabs)

Then al-Ma’soomee traveled by steamship and passed by Izmir, Alexandria and Suez, finally arriving at Makkah on the eighth of Dhul-Hijjah 1323H.

He performed Hajj and visited some of the scholars of the Hijaaz amongst them Shaykh Shu’ayb ibn ‘Abdir-Rahmaan al-Maghribee al-Maalikee, with whom he studied the two Saheehs, the Muwatta and Mishkaat ul-Masabeeh and he gave him his isnaad and permission to narrate from him. He also met a number of Soofee Shaykhs and al-Ma’soomee was affected by them and gave his pledge of allegiance to Shaykh Muhammad Ma’soomee ibn ‘Abdir-Rasheed al-Mujaddidee an-Naqshabandee, who taught him the Soofee practises and ordered him to keep repeating the name of Allaah and to visualise the Shaykh whilst making dhikr. He then gave him permission to train followers, except that the heart of al-Ma’soomee was not content with these futilities. So he sought the aid of Allaah and began to study the source works of Tafseer and the source books of the Sunnah and their explanation.

Al-Ma’soomee witnessed the innovation of having four separate places of Prayer around the House of Allaah, and would see the Hanafee refusing to pray behind the Shaafi’ee, instead they would sit amongst the rows of people waiting for the Jamaa‘ah of his own madhhab and likewise would the followers of all the other madhhabs. After living there for three years he visited the mosque of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), where he met the scholars of al-Madeenah and studied under them.

Then he decided to travel to Shaam (Greater Syria), and met a number of leading scholars in Damascus.

It was in Damascus that he criticised the Soofee Mawlawee Shaykhs for their involvement in music, whirling dances, and use of the flute and the duff. He also criticised the Rifaa’iyyah al-Bitaa’ihiyyah for their Satanic dhikrs and movements. Then he visited al-Aqsaa mosque and stayed there for a few days, from there he travelled to Egypt and stayed at al-Azhar university in Cairo. From Egypt he bought the works of Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah and his student Ibn ul-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah.

He then set off to return to his family and began teaching in the school founded by his father and became engrossed in the works of Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn ul-Qayyim and Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr - rahimahumullaah - and the truth became clear to him. He was made a muftee of the Sharee’ah courts in 1328H. This stage in the life of al-Ma’soomee was a time of research and seeking the proofs for each matter, so he would compare books and weigh them according to the Book and Sunnah. Thus the correctness of the Salafee methodology became clear to him so he clung to it and began to write in refutation of the earlier and later blind-followers. The Deen was revived in the lands beyond the Tigris and the Salafee thought spread, so that the shrines, tombs and centres of pilgrimage which were worshipped besides Allaah were demolished.

• Trials and Patient Perseverance
In 1917 CE the Bolshevik Communist revolution took place causing many people to be deceived, leading them to go out carrying banners stating: “Laa llaaha Illallaah Muhammad ur-Rasoolullaah” and written underneath it was: “Freedom, Justice and Equality.”

They set up various Islaamic committees and courts, al-Ma’soomee was chosen to head them, so he travelled to Moscow to take part in the council of Shaykhs and representatives. This state of affairs lasted only a few months until the red-cancer bared its fangs under the leadership of Lenin and Stalin who spread their evil and corruption throughout the land. They slaughtered the scholars and transported many thousands of them to the frozen north, where most of them died and some by the grace of Allaah were saved. Al-Ma’soomee too was imprisoned in the year 1342H but released only to be imprisoned again in the year 1344H, but again saved by Allaah, the Most High.

He then left Khajnadah and travelled to Margheeyaan whose people welcomed him, whilst the communists watched him closely. There he was made judge, but he resigned when he became unable to judge by the truth. However the trials and tribulations did not stop for him; he debated with the atheists in Tashkent in a large gathering of people and destroyed their arguments, but when he returned to Marghiyaan, the atheists attacked his house and looted everything in it, including more than a thousand gold guineas. Furthermore, they ordered his arrest and that he be shot, except that Allaah saved him from their plans and he was able to escape in 1928 CE, fleeing to China where he remained for a number of years.

He reached Makkah in 1354H and became a teacher in the Daar ul-Hadeeth. During the months of Hajj he would teach in Masjid ul-Haraam in the Turkish language and the Turkish pilgrims would attend these lessons. Through them he would send letters to his father and family, news of whom had ceased to reach him towards the end of his life. He died in the year 1380H - rahimahullaah - and may Allaah grant him a home in Paradise.

Abu Usaamah Saleem al-Hilaalee
Ammaan, al-Balqaa, Jordan
27th Muharram 1403H

[1] Sources for his biography are Bid’atut-Ta’assub il-Madhhabee of Muhammed ‘Eed ‘Abbaasee (pp. 274 - 275) and  Mukhtasar Tarjumah Haal Muhammad Sultaan which is included in his work Hukmullaah il-Waahid is-Samad fee Hukm it-Taalib minal-Mayyitil-Madad (pp. 47 - 96)

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