Question: Some people say that it is impermissible, prohibited and wrong to follow a scholar (taqlīd) and affiliate with the madhhab of a certain imām without knowing the proofs (adilla, sing. dalīl)) and documentary evidences. But what is the point in casting proofs and documentary texts before religiously ignorant people?
Hadrat Muhammad Hādimī writes:
The four sources of Islam (i.e. al-adillat ash-Shariyya) are proofs and documents for mujtahid scholars only. The proof for us, the non-mujtahids, is the rules communicated by the madhhab we are following, because we cannot derive rules from āyat-i karīmas and hadīth-i sharīfs (nusūs). Even if a rule in a madhhab seems to be disagreeing with an āyat or a hadīth, it does not mean that this rule is wrong. You should instead think so: the āyat/hadīth in question may require a deduction through ijtihād, or it (and thus its embodied ruling) may have been replaced (naskh) by a chronologically successive one, or maybe it is necessary to interpret its meaning into different things. (Barīqa, p. 94)
Just as it is necessary for us to believe in and confirm all of what Rasūlullah sall-Allahu alaihi wa sallam has communicated, even if we fail to understand the proofs of and the ultimate divine reasons in them, so it is necessary for us to believe in and confirm all of the information conveyed through the imāms of madhhabs.
The Tābiūn would follow and adapt themselves to the Ashāb-i kirām without ever searching for their proofs and documentary evidences. It is a commandment of our religion to ask those who know about what we do not know. As a matter of fact, it is purported in an āyat-i karīma, Ask the followers of the Remembrance (Dhikr) if you do not know [Sūrat-un-Nahl 43].
Once on a journey, a stone hit a Sahāba on the head and fractured his skull. While he was sleeping, he experienced a nocturnal emission as well. He asked his companions whether it was permissible for him to make tayammum instead of performing ghusl. They said, No, you cannot make tayammum when there is water available. He performed ghusl and passed away as a result. When they narrated the incident to Rasūlullah, he declared:
(If they knew not, why didnt they ask? The cure for ignorance is to learn by asking. Tayammum would have sufficed for him. He could have placed a piece of cloth on his wound, made masah on it and washed other parts of his body.) [Abū Dāwud]
Both this hadīth-i sharīf and above-mentioned āyat-i karīma enjoin us to refer to those who know about what we do not know and adapt ourselves to them. The purport of an āyat is as follows:
(If they had referred it to the Prophet and Ulu l-amr, they would have learned it.) [Sūrat-un-Nisā 83]
It is written in tafsīr books that the meaning of Ulu l-amr mentioned in the āyat-i karīma is ulamā (scholars).
It is purported in three hadīth-i sharīfs:
(Ulu l-amr are the scholars of fiqh.) [Dārimī]
(Adapt yourselves to ulamā!) [Daylamī]
(Learn what you do not know by asking pious scholars!) [Daylamī]
Question: We are following the Hanafī Madhhab. If we encounter one of our madhhabs rule which seems to be disagreeing with a hadīth-i sharīf, what should we do?
It is reported in religious books:
If you see a rule which seems to be disagreeing with a hadīth-i sharīf, you have to act upon the hadīth-i sharīf. However, this statement is merely theoretical, for the imāms of madhhabs do not say a word which contradicts a hadīth-i sharīf. They are scholars and they never put forth a principle without basing it on a document. For example, it is stated in a hadīth-i sharīf, A namāz without the (sūra of) Fātiha is not valid. However, the scholars of Hanafī Madhhab prohibit a person from reciting the Fātiha behind the imām (when performing the namāz in jamāat) by saying it is makrūh tahrīmī and close to harām. Ostensibly, this rule of Hanafī Madhhab seems to be contrary to the above-mentioned hadīth-i sharīf. Now will we disregard Imām-i Azams ijtihād for the sake of acting upon this hadīth-i sharīf? In that case, we will have dissented from the path of Ahl as-Sunna and become lā-madhhabī [a person who does not follow any madhhab] people.
Hadrat Imām-i Rabbānī declares:
Qirāat [recitation of Qurān al-karīm] is one of the fards of namāz, and it is communicated in a hadīth-i sharīf, A namāz without the (sūra of) Fātiha is not valid. Taking such things into account, I could not understand the exact reason why Hanafī scholars have preferred qirāat-i hukmī [recitation of imām] over qirāat-i haqīqī [recitation of each person in jamāat].
I could not find a clear proof about remaining silent behind the imām in namāz. Despite this, when performing namāz in jamāat, I did not recite the Fātiha behind the imām by obeying my madhhab because I knew that it was to deviate from the right path (ilhād) not to act upon the rule of my madhhab as a consequence of judging its proof to be weak. Observing this rule, I did not recite the Fātiha behind the imām in order not to become a lā-madhhabī person. In the end, Allahu taālā, as the blessing of abiding by the madhhab, shed light on my quandary about why the jamāat following an imām omit the qirāat in namāz in the Hanafī Madhhab. It is because the imām is in the position of performing the qirāat on behalf of the jamāat. The situation is like this: When the people of a village have a common trouble, not all the people in that village go to the authorities to report the situation. But instead, they should elect some people out of them to be their representatives. However, it still is not proper for those elected people to explain the trouble in chorus. In the same way, one person should be chosen as the spokesperson. Since their demand is the same, the spokesperson submit it on behalf of them all. This person, whom they accept as their representative, speaks for them. The virtual speech of this group carried out by the spokesperson by presenting their needs on behalf of them is better than their real speech. So is the case with an imām and jamāat. (Mabda wa Maād, Chapter 30)
When Hadrat Imām-i Azam said, When performing namāz in jamāat, the followers (muqtadī) behind the imām do not read the Fātiha and an additional sūra, ten people hearing about this statement of Hadrat Imām-i Azams came before him:
We have heard that you, saying the imāms recitation suffices, prevent the jamāat from reciting the Qurān when they perform namāz in jamāat. However, a namāz is not a namāz without the Fātiha. We have sound proofs confirming our argument. We came here to discuss this matter in order to elicit the truth, they pronounced.
I am one person, but you are ten. How can I manage to discuss with all ten of you at the same time, Hadrat Imām-i Azam asked.
In which manner do you want to hold a discussion? they countered.
Choose the one who is the most knowledgeable and profound from among you, so that I talk to him only. Let that person speak on behalf of himself and all of you, he offered.
Your offer is agreeable, they come to a mutual agreement.
If he gains a victory against me, it will come to mean that all of you have gained a victory against me. But if I gain a victory against him, it will come to mean that I have gained a victory against all of you. Do you accept this proviso? Hadrat Imām-i Azam inquired.
Yes, we accept it, they replied.
I have achieved a victory over you now, Hadrat Imām-i Azam said.
It is impossible. We have not started our discussion yet! they retorted.
Didnt you accept that the person you chose would speak on behalf of all of you? he asked.
Yes, they answered.
I, too, accept what you have accepted and say what you have said. The imām, followed by the jamāat, recites the Qurān al-karīm both for himself and for the followers. Consequently, the followers do not have to recite it. Is the matter settled once and for all? he finalized the discussion.
In the end, they were all agreed on that.
Hadrat Imām-i Rabbānī declares:
It is not jāiz [permissible] for us to give up the rules of our madhhab and to act upon hadīth-i sharīfs, for we think they do not agree with one another. Some hadīth-i sharīfs, which are seemingly incongruous with the rules of our madhhab, cannot be proofs or documentary texts to challenge the words of our scholars. It is to deviate from the madhhab for a person in the Hanafī Madhhab to recite the Fātiha behind the imām. (Maktūbat, 312th Letter; Mabda wa Maād, 31st Chapter)
A person who does not follow one of the four madhhabs will have dissented from Ahl as-Sunna and become either a person of bida [heretic] or a kāfir [disbeliever]. (Tahtāwī)
The book Kifāya says:
When a non-mujtahid man of the dīn [religion] hears a hadīth, he cannot act upon his own inference from the hadīth. He has to act upon the fatwā which the mujtahids gave after learning the matter from āyat-i karīmas and hadīth-i sharīfs. The same is written in the book Taqrīr.
Is it permissible to recite the Fātiha behind an imām?
Three hadīth-i sharīfs concerning this issue are as follows:
(A namāz without the Fātiha is deficient.) [Tirmudhī]
(Do not recite behind your imām when he is reciting. Read the Fātiha in silence!) [Bayhaqī]
(A namāz without the Fātiha is not valid.) [Bukhārī, Muslim]
In the light of above-mentioned hadīth-i sharīfs and other documents, the Shāfiī scholars determined recitation of the Fātiha behind an imām to be fard [obligatory].
In the Mālikī Madhhab, when the imām recites silently, it is mustahab to recite the Fātiha. When he recites loudly, then one does not recite the Fātiha. To recite the Fātiha in namāz is fard in the Mālikī Madhhab but wājib in the Hanafī Madhhab. Let us take a glance at the following hadīth-i sharīfs:
(When performing namāz behind an imām, remain silent! The recitation of the imām is the recitation of the jamāat.) [Khatīb]
(He who performs one rakat without reciting the Fātiha is never considered to have performed a namāz, except when he performs it behind an imām.) [Tirmudhī]
(What was it? Was there rivalry for the recitation of the Qurān? One of you was reciting with me in namāz.) [Tirmudhī]
The scholars of Hanafī Madhhab, basing their inference on the aforesaid hadīth-i sharīfs and other documents, state that it is makrūh to recite the Fātiha behind the imām.