Why Follow a Madhhab and How to Choose One?

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The madhhabs have been a reality of our Ummah since the time of the Sahaba: people studied the Qur’an and Prophetic teachings under different Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him, his folk, and companions, and give them peace) and the Companions themselves differed in understanding the details of the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah. These differences were of understanding and methodology and continued to the next generations, until these methodologies were systematized and the rulings derived from them formally recorded by the great scholars of the Age of Mujtahids. Four of these great mujtahids had their schools transmitted and taught more extensively and thus survived, due to the greater strength of their methodology.

The madhhabs, in reality, are a mercy and means of unity in our Ummah. Throughout history, scholars of different madhhabs have studied together, and loved and respected each other.

A madhhab is a school of Islamic law, and each madhhab is based on a systematic methodology of interpreting the Qur’an and Prophetic sunna. Following a madhhab is not an end in itself; rather, it is a means to follow the Qur’an and Sunna in a sound, systematic, and sustainable manner.

Questions Asked?

1. What is a Madhhab? Why is it necessary to follow one?

http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/nuh/madhhab.htm

2. Why Muslims Follow Madhhabs?

http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/nuh/madhhabstlk.htm

3. Would you advise individuals to study hadith from al-Bukhari and Muslim on their own?

http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/nuh/studyh.htm

4. Shaykh Murabtal Haaj’s Fatwa on Following One of the Four Accepted Madhhabs

http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/misc/mhfatwa.htm

5. Understanding The Four Madhhabs: the problem with anti-madhabism

http://masud.co.uk/understanding-the-four-madhhabs-the-pro…/

6. Which Madhhab Do I Follow?

Any of the four Sunni schools of law are valid to follow, and which one chooses to follow is a matter of personal preference and circumstances. One should consider:

(1) Which madhhab you can learn properly, given your life circumstances

(2) Which madhhab you can get your questions answered for

(3) Your personal inclination, and general life considerations (such as family background, community, and so on).

And Allah alone gives success.

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How to Expiate a Broken Oath?

Q: I once made an oath that I won’t do something but I did it. I looked up the expiations for oaths but am unable to do them, even the fasting for 3 days. Will I be forgiven if I pray 2 cycles of repentance prayer and repent from what I did sincerely?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Failing to fulfil an oath made would entail an expiation (kaffara).

An oath is a statement made where a person swears using the Name of Allah Most High, such as “By Allah/I swear by Allah, I will do such and such.” What counts is a verbal utterance, so merely thinking of this or saying it in your mind is of no legal consequence.

Thereafter, if the thing you sought to avoid was a sin, you should also repent for your error.

The time of making the expiation [approximately £2.50 to be given to ten poor persons] is the determiner as to whether or not you are legally “able.” If unable, you must fast three days consecutively which must not be interrupted by menstruation and the like. Further, you must remain unable for all three of these days for your expiation to be deemed valid.

If it is established that you are medically unable to fast three days consecutively, you would wait until you are able later in life. Merely repenting would not be sufficient to lift this duty.

[‘Ala’ al-Din ‘Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-‘Ala’iyya (189); Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (2.120/3.62)]

Please also see: What is the Difference Between a Promise, an Oath, and a Vow? and: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

And Allah Most High knows best.

The End of Times: Isolating Oneself, Sticking to the Majority, and Protection from the Dajjal

Question: What is the meaning of the following hadiths:

“There will come a time when the best property of a Muslim will be sheep which he will take to the tops of mountains and the places of rainfall so as to flee with his religion from the afflictions”

Hudhayfah – radiallâhu ’anhu – said:

The people used to ask the Messenger of Allâh sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam about the good, but I used to ask him about the evil from fear that it would overtake me, so I said: O Messenger of Allâh! We used to be in jâhiliyyah (ignorance) and evil, then Allâh brought this good to us, so is there any evil after this good? He said: “Yes.” I said: And is there any good after that evil? He said: “Yes, but it will be tainted.” I asked: What will taint it? He said: “A people guiding others with other than my Sunnah, you will approve of some (of their actions) and disapprove of others.” I asked: Then is there any evil after that good? He said: “Yes! Callers to the Gates of Hell-Fire, whoever responds to them in that will be thrown into it.” I said: O Messenger of Allâh! Describe them to us. He said: “They will be from our own people and speak our language.” I said: What do you order me to do if that should happen in my own lifetime? He said: “Stick to the Jamâ’ah (united body) of the Muslims and their Imâm.” I said: What if they do not have a united-body nor an Imâm? He said: “Then keep away from all those sects even if you have to bite upon the root of a tree, until death overtakes you and you are in that state.”

Do these hadiths refer to the end of times during the trial of Dajjal? Does this mean that during the trials of Dajjal the believers MUST withdraw from society and move to rural areas? What is expected of the believers during those upcoming trials .

 

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith.

Both hadiths you mention are found in Sahih Bukhari.

Isolation versus Community

Regarding the first hadith, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (rah) mentions that it would seem to refer to the end of time, and that it indicates the merit of isolation in times of tribulation.

However, he also states that, in general, the preference of isolation versus remaining within the community is situation specific: there are some scenarios when isolation is preferred, such as in difficult times so as to protect one’s religious practice; and there are other situations when remaining within the community is better, so as to fulfill communal obligations and rights. [Fath al-Bari]

However, we do not know if this tribulation is specifically at the time of Dajjal’s emergence or beforehand.

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Adhering to the Way of the Majority

Regarding the second hadith, Ibn Hajar (rah) mentions the general ruling that if there are many factions among the Muslims, then as per this hadith, one should avoid the disputation and stick to the majority, as well as adhere to the Noble Sunnah. Some defined the “majority” as the Sahaba, and others defined them as the religious scholars in every age, since neither of these two groups will agree on misguidance. [Fath al-Bari]

Badr al-Din al-Ayni also mentions that the “majority” could either be the Sahaba or the community of scholars in any time period. He adds that the basis of interpreting the majority as the community of scholars is that they are the ones whom Allah has made a proof (hujja) against the evil among creation, and to them do the general laity turn when there is tribulation in their religious practice, such as heretical sects, reprehensible innovations, and the like.

With respect to the first “time of evil” mentioned in the hadith, some commentators said it refers to the time of fitna when our Master Uthman (Allah be well pleased with him) was killed. The subsequent “time of good” then would be the caliphate of our Master Ali (Allah ennoble his face), and the “tainted” aspect of that time would refer to the Khawarij and similar groups that caused tribulation. [Umdat al-Qari]

What is the Way of the Mainstream?

Another key hadith, also found in Sahih Bukhari, helps us understand the way of the mainstream.

Our Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “There will remain a group from my nation manifest [on truth and upholding the Sacred Law], until the matter of Allah comes [the Day of Judgment], while they are manifest.”

And in the next narration in Bukhari, there is the additional phrase “Anyone who betrays or opposes them will not harm them.”

Traditionally, this manifest group was understood to be the righteous scholars of The People of the Sunnah and Majority (Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama’a), the methodology of which is to adhere to one of the four schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, and Hanbali), as well as one of the two schools of theology (Ash’ari and Maturidi).

Yet along with such legal and theological diversity comes an appreciation and respect of valid difference of opinion, which is key in avoiding internal discord. Sunni orthodoxy is predicated upon unity and respect, not necessarily uniformity; this is essential to the strength of its methodology.

For detailed explanations of Sunni Orthodoxy, please see the following articles by Shaykh Nuh Keller, Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad:

What is a Madhhab? Why is it necessary to follow one?

Understanding the Four Madhhabs

Social Implications of Remaining with the Majority

Our Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) highlighted the importance of remaining with the group in several hadiths:

He (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Stick to the group, and beware of being separate. For indeed, Satan is with the one who is alone, yet further from two together. Whoever wishes to live in the best part of Paradise, at its center, then let him stick to the group.” [Tirmidhi]

He (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is also reported to have said, “The group is a mercy, while separation is torment.” [Musnad Shihab]

Allah Most High has placed a very special mercy in the hearts of believers united for Allah. He Most High states, “The believers are but brethren,” (49:10) and our Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) explained the brotherhood of believers when he said, “The example of believers in their mutual love, mercy and compassion is like a single body: if one limb complains of pain, the rest of the body’s limbs call one another [to react], with fever and insomnia.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

What to do if Dajjal Comes?

Linguistically, “dajjal” means “imposter” (kadhdhab), or literally “one who covers over,” since he covers the truth with falsehood, to the extent that he claims divinity. He is also called that because he covers the earth with so many of his followers.

He is also called “maseeh,” which has the meaning of “anointed,” since half his face is “anointed,” such that he has no eye on that side. The Dajjal is the one who brings the greatest tribulation of this life. [Misbah Munir; Tahdhib al-Asma’; Lisan al-Arab]

There are many descriptions of him in the hadith literature, such as, “Verily, your Lord is not one-eyed. Verily, the Masih Dajjal is one-eyed: his right eye is like a floating grape,” and “Between his two eyes is written: Kafir.” [Sahih Bukhari]

The sunna is to seek refuge from the tribulation of Dajjal. The dua of the Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace)—which he recited at the end of the prayer and which he taught the Companions the way he would teach them a surah of the Qur’an—was:

“O Allah, I seek refuge with You from the torment of Jahannam; I seek refuge with You from the torment of the grave; I seek refuge with You from the False Messiah (dajjal); and I seek refuge with You from the tribulations of life and death.” [Sahih Muslim]

اللّهُمَّ إِنَّي أَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ جَهَنَّم وَأَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْقَبْر وَأَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَسِيْحِ الدَّجَّال وَأَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَحْيَا وَالْمَمَات

The sunna is also to recite Surah Kahf, specifically the first ten verses. Our Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Whoever memorizes ten verses from the beginning of Surah Kahf will be safe from Dajjal,” and in another narration, “So whoever among you encounters him [Dajjal], let him recite the opening verses of Surah Kahf.” [Sahih Muslim]

Lastly, if the Dajjal does come during one’s life, then one should do what one should always do: turn wholeheartedly to Allah, and continue to serve Allah’s religion. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said that if a person is planting a seed and the Day of Judgment suddenly begins, he should continue planting the seed. [Musnad Ahmed]

Whether it is the end of the world or not, there is much work to be done, so as to serve this ummah and gain the pleasure of Allah Most High.

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


Also Read:

Who are the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah (1)?

Who are the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah (2)?

Why is Jumu`ah Prayer Held on Friday?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Do we know why Salah Jumu`a is on fridays? I mean, the jews believe that God created the universe in 6 days and rested on the seventh, so they also have to rest that day.

My religion-teacher (who don’t believe in any religion) told our class that the friday prayer is established on fridays because that was the day where people were gathered in the market anyway. Is this true?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.

The Friday prayer (salat al-jumu`ah) is held on Fridays due to the explicit Qur’anic command to do so, ‘O ye who believe! When the call is heard for the prayer of the day of congregation, haste unto remembrance of Allah and leave your trading. That is better for you if ye did but know’ [62:9]

The ‘day of congregation’, here, refers to Friday.

The Prohibition of Trading at the time of the Friday Prayer

Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas mentions, in his commentary of the Mukhtasar al-Tahawi, trade, specifically, is not intended here, rather, anything else which busies one from attending the Friday prayer would also take the same ruling.

Moreover, trading was specifically mentioned here because of the fact that Friday noon was a busy time for traders; so it is as if they are being told, hasten to the trade of the hereafter (akhirah), leave the trading of this world (dunya) and hurry unto the remembrance of God. [Nasafi, Madarik al-Tanzil wa Haqa’iq al-Ta’wil]

The Virtue of Fridays

It is related from the Messenger of God (Allah bless him and give him peace), that he said: “Verily the most virtuous, of your days, is Friday. Send abundant blessings upon me on Fridays because they are presented to me on that day.” [Abu Dawud]

In summary, Fridays are singled out, more emphatically, as days for sending blessings upon the Messenger of God (Allah bless him and give him peace) specifically because the blessings (salawat) are presented to him, accepted. [Abadi, `Awn al-Ma`bud Sharh Sunan Abi Dawud]

And Allah knows best.

The Day of `Arafah: The 9th of Dhu’l Hijjah and the Takbirs of Eid

-Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

The 9th of Dhu’l Hijjah is known as ‘the Day of `Arafah,’ because the pilgrims at Hajj gather at `Arafah in worship, which is one of the three central integrals of the Hajj rituals. Its importance is such that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Hajj is `Arafah.” [Reported in most major hadith works]


The Day of `Arafah is important for those not at Hajj, as well.

Abu Qatada (Allah be pleased with him) related that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him, his family, and companions) said, “Fasting the Day of `Arafah [9thof Dhu’l Hijjah] expiates for two years, one prior and one forthcoming.” [Reported by Muslim, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah]

As such, the scholars concur that it is highly recommended (mustahabb) to fast the Day of `Arafah [9th of Dhu’l Hijjah], even for the one on Hajj in the Hanafi school, if it does not weaken the pilgrim from spending the day busy in worship. [Haskafi, Durr; Kasani, Bada’i`]

The Day of `Arafah is one of the days when supplications (du`a) are more likely to be accepted. [Ibn al-Haajj,al-Madhkhal; Saffarini, Ghidha’ al-Albab]

This is based on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) saying, “The best of supplications are those on the Day of `Arafah.” [Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Malik, and others] Imam al-Baji explained this as meaning, ‘Having most baraka, the greatest reward, and the quickest in being answered.’ [Baji,al-Muntaqa Sharh al-Muwatta]

The Takbirs of Eid Start on This Day: The Fiqh

Allah Most High commanded us to, “Remember Allah through the appointed days.” [Qur’an, 2.203]

Hakim recorded in his Mustadrak, from both Ali and Ammar that they said, “The Messenger of Allah used to… make thetakbirs from the Fajr prayer of the Day of `Arafah and would stop them after the Asr prayer of the final day of the Days of Tashriq [13th of Dhu’l Hijjah].” There is, however, weakness in the chain of narrators, as Imam Bayhaqi mentioned. There are numerous hadiths that have been mentioned on this, as Imam Jamal al-Din al-Zayla`i expounded in his Nasb al-Raya [2.266-269]

This has been established by consensus of the Companions of the Beloved of Allah, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). [Mawaffaq Ibn Qudama, al-Mughni 2.126 #1431]

Legal status:

It is necessary (wajib) for every Muslim (male or female, whether praying in congregation or alone) to make the following takbir (declaration of the greatness of Allah) immediately after each obligatory (fard) prayer.

Time:

From: the Fajr Prayer on the 9th of Dhu’l Hijjah (the Day of `Arafah)

To: the Asr Prayer on the 13th of Dhu’l Hijjah.

Thus, these takbirs last 5 days, and 23 prayers.

The takbirs:

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La ilaha illa Llahu.

Wa Llahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa lillahi Lhamd .

( اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ لَا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُوَاَللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ وَلِلَّهِ الْحَمْدُ )

(Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, there is no god but Allah.

And Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest and to Allah belongs all praise.)

Rulings related to this:

1. The wajib is to recite this takbir once. If done more than this, it is good. [Haskafi, Durr, quoting `Ayni]

2. The position related above that it is obligatory for 23 prayers, whether in congregation or alone, for every Muslim, is the position of Abu Hanifa’s students, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, and it is the position acted upon and chosen for fatwa, because of the strength of their evidence and the inherited practice being on it, and because it is more cautious. [Durrand Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, quoting al-Zahidi] Abu Hanifa’s position, that it lasts only 8 prayers, is supported by evidence, too, though, including the practice of some major Companions such as Ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him), and was taken by some major Hanafi imams, though a minority, such as Ibn al-Humam in hisFath al-Qadir.

3. It is not wrong (rather, it is recommended) to also perform it after the Eid prayer itself because the Muslims have performed it generation after generation, so it is proper to follow their inherited practice (that has been accepted by generation after generation of scholars). [Durr and Radd al-Muhtar]

4. The followers must perform it, even if the imam leaves it. [Durr]

5. Latecomers [those who missed one or more rakat of the congregational prayer] must perform it, but after completing their prayer.

6. It is necessary for the congregation to perform it out loud. [Ibn Abidin,Radd al-Muhtar, quoting Quhustani]

7. It is necessary to make the takbirs immediately after the salams. If one talks, loses one’s wudu, or performs other actions completely foreign to the prayer, one has missed the wajib. [al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya;Durr]

And Allah alone gives success.

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