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The Blind Following of Madhhabs

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13. The Mujtahid may be Correct or Incorrect but the Prophet  is Infallible

It is very strange that they (the blind-followers) know that the mujtahid is sometimes right and sometimes wrong; that is part of what they believe, however, the Prophet  is infallible. Even then, they stick blindly to the saying of the mujtahid as you see and they leave the saying of the Prophet . They should rather have remained firm upon what the mujtahid himself said, instead of clinging to what is falsely attributed to them.  For example the dependence of Hanafees of Mesopotamia (Iraq), upon what is written in Khulaasatul Kaidanee as regards the forbidding of pointing with the forefinger in tashahhud { More details have already preceeded }, even though it is an established Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) and all of the Companions and the mujtahid Imaams in general and of Imaam Abu Haneefah, Abu Yoosuf and of Muhammad – rahimahumullaah, as is stated in the Muwatta of Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaibnanee, Sharh Ma’aanee ul-Aathaar of at-Tahaawee, Fath ul-Qadeer, al-’lnaayah, ‘Umdatul-Qaaree and other recognised books of fiqh of the Hanafee madhhab, so take note.

We have seen people of obedience and worship, yet they are lax about acting upon Hadeeth and do not give it importance. Rather they are more concerned with what is written in the books of their madhhab and think as if the Hadeeth were a rejected matter and this, in reality, is the beginning of ignorance.

Ash-Shaykh Muhammad Hayaat as-Sindee said, “It is binding on every Muslim to strive to understand the meanings of the Qur’aan and Hadeeth and follow them and take rulings from them. And if he is not able, then he should follow the scholars and not stick to a madhhab in particular, since that is like taking it as a Prophet. As for that which the people of our time have invented as regards sticking to a particular madhhab and not permitting moving from one madhhab to another, then that is ignorance, innovation and deviation. We have seen them leaving aside authentic unabrogated [1] Hadeeth and clinging to their madhhabs without any support.”

Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee said, “He who blindly follows anyone in making something forbidden or making it permissible, while there is an authentic Hadeeth opposing that and his blind-following prevents him from acting upon the Sunnah, then he has taken the one whom he blindly-follows as a Lord besides Allaah, the Most High, by making lawful what Allaah has made forbidden. Verily we are for Allaah and will certainly return to Him.”

One of the most astonishing things is that when those who advocate Taqleed, find something from some of the Companions - radiallaahu ‘anhum, which goes against an authentic narration, not finding any explanation, then they say that it is possible that the Hadeeth did not reach him; they do not find anything wrong with that and that is indeed correct .[2]  But when they find a Hadeeth which contradicts the saying of the one whom they are blindly-following, they strive to explain it away by any means, even twisting the words from their meanings. If it said to them, when there is no explanation possible, perhaps the narration did not reach the person whom you are following, they cause havoc and go beyond bounds in condemning him and they cannot take it. Look at these fools who allow that a Hadeeth did not reach a companion - radiallaahu ‘anhum - but do not admit that, that can happen for the leaders of the madhhabs, even though the difference between the two is like the distance between the heavens and the earth. You see them reading the books of Hadeeth and studying them, not to act upon them but to abandon them. If they find a Hadeeth contradicting their madhhab they go to extremes in explaining it away. If they find themselves unable, they say, “Those whom we are following know more about Hadeeth than us. “ Do they not realise that they are establishing the proof of Allaah against themselves by that? If they find a Hadeeth which agrees with their madhhab they are delighted, if they find one which goes against their madhhab they close their minds and will not listen. Allaah, the Most High, says, “But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them and find in themselves no resistance against your decision and accept (them) with full submission.”

[Soorah an-Nisaa (4): 65]
As-Sanad ibn ‘Inaan - rahimahullaah - said in his explanation of the Mudawwanah of Imaam Maalik – rahimahullaah, “We know that no intelligent person can be pleased with mere blind-following; rather that is the way of the ignorant and dull-witted or obstinate fools. We do not say that it is forbidden for everyone, rather we what we declare to be obligatory is knowledge of the proof and the peoples’ sayings and the ignorant have to follow the people of knowledge. Blind-following is accepting someone’s saying and relying upon it without any proof or evidence. This never amounts to knowledge. Following the madhhab of a particular person is in itself a novel innovation, since we know for certain that the Companions - radiallaahu‘anhum, did not do that, but rather they referred back to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger  and to that which seemed correct to them when they could not find the text. Those who came after them did the same, if they did not find a text they performed ijtihaad. Then came the third generation which included Imaams Abu Haneefah, Maalik, then ash-Shaafi’ee and Ahmad - rahimahullaahu ta‘aalaa, who were upon the way of those before them. There was not in their time a particular madhhab which they studied and their followers were upon the same. How many sayings of Maalik and his companions were opposed by his followers? What is very strange is that the people of blind-following claim that theirs is the old way, but rather it was invented more than two-hundred years after the Hijrah and after the passage of the generations whom the Prophet  praised.”

The blind-followers take (the positions of their Imaams) to be their Deen and madhhab, to the extent if you establish a thousand proofs from the texts against them, they would not pay any heed to them. Rather they flee from them like donkeys fleeing from a lion, like most of the people of Bukhaara and their like from the people of India and Turkey living around the two harams, who hang tasbeehs around their necks and wear turbans like domes and constantly read books such as dalaa’il ul-khairaat, khatm khawaajah and even qaseedatul-bardah
[Books full of innovation and shirk] and their like, thinking that they get reward for that, but they will not point when making tashahhud.[3] . I have more then once told them that it is an established Sunnah from Allaah’s Messenger , his noble Companions - radiallaahu ‘anhum - and the mujtahid Imaams - rahimahumullahu ta’aala - and it is  harder upon Shaytaan than being struck with a bar of iron [4] .

They reply by saying, ‘We are Hanafees and in our madhhab it is not allowed, rather it is haraam.’ So I showed them what is in the Muwatta of Imaam Muhammad and Sharh Ma’aamee ul-Aathaar of at-Tahaawee and Fath ul-Qadeer of  Ibn ul-Hammaam. They reply that, that was the saying of their earlier scholars but the later scholars prevented it and left it, so it became abrogated, as is mentioned in al-Mas’oodee’s Kitaab us-Saalat and al-Khulaasah of al-Kaidaaniyyah and they persisted in the fact that it is abandoned .

14. The Truth is not Confined within the Opinion of Anyone except Allaah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him)

The truth is not contained within the opinion of anyone, except with the one who came with the revelation, the most noble of us, Muhammad  . The truth is confined to that which he brought, so if the fair person ponders upon this fact, it will become clear to him that blindly-following the madhhab of a particular Imaam without looking for a proof is ignorance and a huge misfortune. Indeed it is mere following of desire and sectarianism.

Ar-Rabee’ ibn Sulaymaan al-Jeezee said: I heard ash-Shaafi’ee having been asked about a problem by a man, so he said, “It is reported from the Prophet  that he said so and so.” So the questioner said to him, “O Abu ‘Abdullaah, Do you (also) say that?” So ash-Shaafi’ee - rahimahullaahu ta’aalaa - shook with rage and his complexion changed and said, “Woe to you ! What earth would hold me? What heaven would shelter me, if I report something from Allaah’s Messenger  and then do not say in accordance with it?! Yes, upon the head and eyes.” He kept repeating that saying.

In the narration of al-Humaidee, ash-Shaafi’ee is reported as having said, “Have you seen a sash around my middle? Have you seen me coming out of a church?! That I should say, The Prophet I says...and then for you to say, ‘ Do you (also) say according to that’, (How can it be) that I should report from the Prophet  and not say accordingly?!” [5]

Ash-Sha’raanee reports in al-Meezaan: Abu Daawood said, “I said to Imaam Ahmad, Shall I follow al-Auzaa‘ee or Maalik?” He said, “Do not blindly follow anyone of them in your Deen . That which comes from Allaah’s Messenger  and his Companions -  radiallaahu ‘anhum - then take it, as for the Taabi’een after them then you may choose therefrom and Imaam Ahmad said, “Do not blindly follow me, Maalik, Abu Haneefah, ash-Shaafi’ee, al-Auzaa’ee or ath-Thawree - but take from where they took. From the paucity  of a person’s fiqh (understanding) is that he blindly follows a man in his Deen.’’

Ibn al-Jawzee says in his book Talbees Iblees, “In blind-following is a denial of the benefits of the intellect, since it was created to reflect and consider. It is unbecoming that he who is given a lighted candle should extinguish it and walk in the darkness.”


[1] Abrogate: ANNUL, REVOKE.  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary

[2]  There are many examples of this, and therefore the Sahabah were very careful whilst giving an opinion about anything. When Ibn Mas’ood was questioned about the inheritance rights of a woman who had been married without a defined Mahr (dowry), he said, “I am giving my opinion about her. If it is correct, then it is from Allaah, but if it is incorrect, then it is from me and Satan.”
 [Collected in Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Sunan an-Nasaai and Sunan Abu Dawood (English Trans.). vol. 2. p.567, no.2111) and authenticated by al-Albaanee in Saheeh Sunan Abu Daawood, vol.2, p.397-8, no.1858.]

Also Sa’eed reported that ‘Umar used to say that the Deyah (compensation for accidental murder) is given to male paternal relatives of the husband and the woman does not inherit anything from the Deyah of her husband, until ad-Dahhaak ibn Sufyaan said to him, ‘Allaah’s Messenger  wrote to me to give Ashyam ad-Dibaabee‘s wife from her husband’s Deyah. “ so ‘Umar withdrew his opinion.
[Collected in Sunan Abu Dawood (english trans. vol.2, p.826,no.2921) and authenticated by Sheikh al-Albani in Saheeh Sunan Abu Dawood no.2540.]

No one in the Muslim nation understood the Deen more than the Sahaabah, and therefore they never made it obligatory for anyone to follow their opinion, rather they abandoned their opinion as soon as a Hadeeth was made known to them. This attitude was followed by the pious Imaams after the Sahabah, like Imaam Maalik, and it was only the later generations who split the Ummah of Muhammed  into madhabs!
Ibn Wahb one of the main students of Imaam Maalik - rahimahullah said, “I once heard someone ask Maalik about washing between the toes during Wudoo, to which he replied, ‘People do not have to do it’. I waited until most of the people left the study circle and informed him that there is a Hadeeth concerning it. He asked what it was, so I said, that al-Layth ibn Said, Ibn Luhay’ah and ‘Amr ibn Al-Haarith all related from al-Mustawrid ibn Shidaad al-Qurashee that he saw Allaah’s Messenger  rub between his toes with his little finger, Maalik said, ‘Surely that is a good Hadeeth which l have never heard before.’ Later When I heard people ask Maalik about washing between the toes, he used to insist that it must be washed.”
[Ibn Abee Haatim, al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel, (Hyderabad, India: Majlis Daa’irah al-Ma’aarif al-Uthmaaneeyah, 1952), foreword pp. 31-33 ]

[3] These are most probably the experiences of Sheykh Sultan al-Ma’soomee while he used to teach in the Masjid ul-Haraam during the time of Hajj.

[4]  The author here refers to the saying of the Prophet i. “It is certainly harder upon Shayhaan than iron “ (Meaning the forefinger).
[Reported by Ahmad and al-Bazzaar as occurs in Majma’ uz-Zawaaid (2/140). It is declared to be hasan by our Shaykh, al-Albaanee, in his valuable book Sifat Salaat an- Nabee  p.171.]

[5]  The narration of ar-Rabee’ is reported by Abu Nu’aim in al-Hulyah (9/106) and al-Baihaqee reports it with similar wording in Manaaqib ash-Shaafi’ee (1/475) and al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (1/150) with Saheeh isnand. As for the narration of al-Humaidee, it is reported by Abu Nu’aim in al-Hulyah (9/106) and in Dhikr Akhbaar Isfahaan (1/183) by various chains and al-Baihaqee in Manaaqib ash-Shaafi’ee (1/474) with Saheeh isnaad.

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