Follow a Madhab

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‘Dad, today a new boy came to Madrassa. His name is Hammaad. But he is not a Muslim,’ my little Tasmiya told me.

My wife shot a look of intrigue across to me. ‘Really, darling? How is he not a Muslim?’ I asked her.

‘He comes from a far away place. It’s called Iraq. When we were praying Salah, he put his hands on the side. All the boys are supposed to put the hands on the belly. So Ziyaad told Hammaad that he is not a Muslim.’

I smiled at my seven year old’s innocent naivety. ‘Baby, Hammaad is a Muslim. You see, in Iraq, Imam Hanbal thought the people how to read Salah. He told them that when they stand, their hands must be on the sides. And Imam Abu Hanifa thought us. He thought us to put our hands by our belly. Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Hanbal are friends and Allah Ta’aala likes both of them.’

‘Ok,’ she said and darted away pretending to be teaching an imaginary class.

My wife dunked a biscuit into her tea and my marital instinct told me that she has the look of ‘I want to know more, and you know I expect you to know that.’ So I dutifully obliged.

I explained, ‘During the time of RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam , the rules of Islam were being sent down piecemeal over a period of 23 years. Some rules came down in stages, like alcohol. At one stage it was not Haraam, then it became Haraam to be intoxicated during Salah then alcohol became totally Haraam. Hajj only became Fardh just before RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam could enter his Blessed Grave.

‘So the rules were only finalised just before RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam entered his Blessed Grave. The Sahaba witnessed this. So during the Khilafat of Hadrath Abu Bakr radi Allahu anhu , if any issue came up, he would ask the Sahaba radi Allahu anhum if they knew any Hadith about it. From there he would make a decision and all the Muslims would follow. This is the way it continued.

‘As time went on, The Muslim empire expanded and the Sahaba radi Allahu anhum passed away, resulting in a system that was not well organised. Also there were fewer Sahaba living in each area. If things continued, some people in some areas would not have sufficient access to the rules of Islam and shirkers could cause some rules to become forgotten and unpractised. RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam indicated to us that by the people of knowledge passing away, knowledge would be lost. -Sahih Muslim-The Muslims were witnessing this, first hand.

‘Imam Abu Hanifa radi Allahu anhu rescued the situation. He pioneered organising Fiqh (Islamic Laws) and the principles of Fiqh. He also began classifying Hadith into the Fiqh categories like Taharat, Salah, Haj, etc. Other scholars like Imam Maalik radi Allahu anhu followed suit by classifying his Hadith collection, alMuwatta, into Fiqh topics. The Imams of Fiqh researched and answered most of the questions on Islam. They and their students recorded this authentic research into books and in this way Islamic rules and practices were saved from being lost or being changed. Muslims maintained this original Islam and that’s how we received it. -Al Insaaf Fi Bayaan Isbaab al Ikhtilaaf-

‘The amazing thing is that the Quran actually speaks about this great initiative and the era of Imam Abu Hanifa and the other Imams like Imam Maalik, Shafaee and Ahmad bin Hanbal radi Allahu anhum .

‘Allah Ta’aala says in the Quran, “Oh you who believe whoever amongst you retrogresses concerning his Deen, then Allah will in the near future present such a group of people whom He loves and they love Him; a group that are humble to the believers; stern against the unbelievers, these people would strive in the path of Allah and they would not fear ….. This is the bounty He grants it to whom He wishes and Allah is Waasi’ A’leem.” -alQuran 5:54-

‘Imam Hasan alBasri radi Allahu anhu says that it’s clear that this group will come in an era after RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam . The Sahaba asked RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam about this verse of the Quran. They wanted to know who it referred to. Tafseer Kabeer explains that RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam responded by tapping the Persian Sahabi Salman Farsi radi Allahu anhu on his shoulder and said, This (man) and his kinsman, if Imaan/Knowledge were in the Surayya constellation of stars, a man from Persia would attain it. This Hadith is related with similar wording by Imam Bukhari, Muslim and Ibn Asaakir.

‘Imam Suyuti and Haafidh Ibn Hajr alHaythami radi Allahu anhuma both explain that this Hadith refers to none other than Imam Abu Hanifa radi Allahu anhu , who was also Persian. -Manaqib Imam Aazam- Thus, this Quranic verse and Hadith actually foretell us that Imam Abu Hanifa and the other Imams of Fiqh will do a great service to the Deen and their effort will save us from retrogressing. Also it is very interesting that Allah Ta’aala clarifies that He loves them and they love Him.

‘RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam also foretold about the other Imams. Imam Shafaee’s ancestral lineage meets that of RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam at their ancestor Abd Munaaf. Thus Imam Shafaee radi Allahu anhu is Qureishi. RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam said that You have been established by a Qureishite and you will learn from a Qureishite. -Haafidh Abu Nuaym- Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal radi Allahu anhu says that in this Hadith the phrase ‘you will learn from a Qureishite’ refers to Imam Shafaee radi Allahu anhu . -Imam Bayhaqi in his Manaaqib Shafaee- RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam also said that a Qureishite would fill the corners of the earth with knowledge. Imam Nawawi said that this Hadith referred to Imam Shafaee radi Allahu anhu . -Mujmua Imam Nawawi-

RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam also foretold about Imam Maalik radi Allahu anhu , who lived in Madinah Munawwara. RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam said, ‘Soon people will beat the flanks of camels seeking knowledge, so they will not find anyone more knowledgeable than the scholar of Madina. -Imam Tirmidhi, Imam Haakim- Imam Tirmidhi records that Haafidh Abdur Razzaaq (teacher of Imam Bukhari) said that this Hadith refers to Imam Maalik radi Allahu anhu . Similarly Qaadhi Ayadh radi Allahu anhu records that Imam Sufyaan Maymoon who was a techer of Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal, and Abdullah ibn Mubarak radi Allahu anhum , explained that this narration refers to Imam Maalik radi Allahu anhu . -Siyaar Aalaam an Nubala-

‘This makes it clear that the four Imams were chosen scholars and the Quran and Hadith favourably foretold about them and the great service they would do for Islam.’

‘But Dad, isn’t that like Ijtihaad. Doesn’t the Quran have all our answers?’ asked my energetic teenager.

‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘Our answers come from the Quran. Allah Ta’aala says in the Quran, “And verily, for man’s benefit, in this Quran We have explained everything (to serve as) a model (for application)” -alQuran 18:54- This means that yes, the exact wording and examples given in the Quran are true but furthermore, these examples are a model that teach the principles of Deen which must be applied in all other instances. This is where Ijtihaad and Fiqh harmoniously fit in with the Quran.

‘We even find that RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam himself made Ijtihaad. Once RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam was speaking to the Sahaba u from the Minbar. He spoke about the benefits of striving in the way of Allah Ta’aala. One of the Sahaba’s u asked RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam what was his Raiy. Now Raiy means an educated assessment or opinion that is made whilst there is no clear proof from an Islamic text. So this Sahaba asked “What “Raiy” does (RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) make: if I am killed in the Path of Allah whilst I am patient and seek reward and I do not stage it; would Allah conceal my sins?” RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam replied, “Yes.” Then another Sahabi asked the same question and RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam responded, “Yes, up to (the extent of) what is due, for verily Jibreel has brought this (Message) to me.” -Masnad Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal & similarly Sahih Muslim-

‘The very interesting point in this Hadith, is that the Sahabi radi Allahu anhu asked for RasoolAllah’s sallAllahu alayhi wasallam Raiy. A Raiy is an educated legal view and a Raiy is a part of Ijtihaad. Thus we find that Imam Nawawi and Imam Qurtubi indicate that when RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam first answered ‘Yes’ he did this out of his own Raiy which amounts to his own Ijtihaad. On the second instance when he answered ‘Yes, up to (the extent of) what is due,’ that was based on the Message that Jibreel alayhis salaam had brought from Allah Ta’aala.’

Just then a visitor knocked at our door. It was my son’s mate, Yusuf. His parents had been experiencing a rough relationship, and unfortunately it was affecting Yusuf. He tried to be sweet with his words, but the pain of his parents showed in him being aggressively rebellious. He always preferred the rebellious stance. In the last three months we saw the same Yusuf we knew before, but with a white Kurta. Now he calls himself ‘Yusuf Ibn Ismail. My wife calls him ‘Mufti Google ibn Ismail’.

‘Salaam’

‘Salaam. My dad’s just explaining about Ijtihaad. I never knew that Prophets u themselves practiced Ijtihaad.’

I looked at the two young minds in front of me. I was worried. These kids could buy any new theory that the web throws at them. Anything rebellious can make sense to some teenagers.

I then continued, ‘In fact RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam not only practice Ijtihaad, he advocated it as well. When RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam commissioned Hadrath Mu’adh radi Allahu anhu to Yemen, he asked Hadrath Mu’adh radi Allahu anhu , what would he do if there arose a need for him to give judgement. Hadrath Mu’adh radi Allahu anhu replied that he would judge based on what is in the Book of Allah. RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam then asked him, if it is not found in the Book of Allah, to which he replied through the Sunnah of RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam . Then RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam asked him, If it is not in the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam ? Hadrath Mu’adh radi Allahu anhu replied, I will derive my legal view, leaving no stone unturned. RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam then grabbed him at the chest then said, Praise be to Allah, Who has matched a messenger for the Messenger of Allah, because he pleases RasoolAllah. -Haafidh ibn Saad, Masnad Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Imam Ghazzali in Fadaih Bataniyya-‘

I watched Mufti Google ibn Ismail ram at his touch screen. Then he looked up and blurted, ‘I don’t have a problem with Ijtihaad. The Imams made Ijtihaad, but we need to look into it. We need to check up how correct they have been. You see, today we have technology and so we have access to the Hadith. So I would double-check each Imam’s Ijtihaad and on each ruling I would see who is closest to the Sahih Hadith. Then each time I would follow the one who is closest to the Hadith.’

‘Son,’ I called called Yusuf son because I sincerely wished he was not as blind a follower of the Internet as he was. ‘Unfortunately, this theory is against the word of RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam . RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam said, The era is just ahead of us wherein knowledge will be raised and in it’s place ignorance will descend. He sallAllahu alayhi wasallam also said: “Verily Allah will not constrict knowledge making it lost by removing it from the people, however He will constrict knowledge by removing the scholars …” -Sahih Muslim-

‘In explaining these Hadith, Imam Nawawi radi Allahu anhu says that in the first Hadith we are told that knowledge amongst the people would become less. He says that this would begin from just after the Khulafa Raashideen. One Sahabi asked RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam how would the knowledge go from us when we recite the Quran, which is the Book of knowledge and guidance. (Bazaar) The second Hadith answers: through the passing away of the scholars, knowledge would be lost. Imam Nawawi concludes that the Hadith makes it known that although people would posses knowledge, they would not understand the meaning of it. That is, people would know the verses of the Quran and the narrations of Hadith but they will not understand the meaning of it. -Sharah Nawawi-

I told Yusuf, ‘This is a clear lesson that firstly the generations that come later, will not be as knowledgeable as the generation closer to RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam . Secondly the later generations, like us, might know a Hadith but we would not be able to extract it’s meaning. However the generation close to RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam would be able to extract the meanings of the Hadith. Just bear in mind that Imam Maalik and Imam Abu Haneefa are from the Tabaeen, the generation who met the Sahaba radi Allahu anhum, and are far superior in knowledge than we are.

‘Listen to this beautiful Hadith which will help us understand that the one who relates a Hadith is not the same as a Faqih, one who extracts the rules that a Hadith conveys. Haafidh alAsqalani says that this Hadith has been narrated by 30 Sahaba radi Allahu anhum. -Mosoaat alAsqalani-

‘RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam said, “May Allah make that servant prosper who hears what I have said then he becomes Haafidh of it and he practices it (in some narrations: to the extent that he narrates it to others), it may be that the one who conveys Islamic Laws (Fiqh) is not from amongst those who declare/derive Islamic Laws, and it may be that he conveys Islamic Laws to one who is more versed in Islamic Laws than he is. Three things will not cause betrayal of a Muslim’s heart: a sincere deed for the sake of Allah; the guidance of the Imams of the Muslims and adherence to the Imams, for Verily their warnings extend far beyond them.” -Imam Tirmidhi-

‘This Hadith makes it very clear that being a Haafidh of Hadith does not mean one can necessarily extract the rulings from the Hadith. Furthermore this Hadith instructs us to stick to, to abide by, the verdicts of the Imams. Altogether you can understand that your idea of anybody who has access to Hadith must question the verdicts of the Imams, is an idea that’s against the Hadith. Also your idea that our generation, approximately 1400 years later are more knowledgeable than the Imams of the first generation is totally against the Hadith.

‘Learning one Hadith or even a thousand Hadith is not what it takes to becoming a Mujtahid, to extract rulings directly from the Hadith. Once Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal radi Allahu anhu was asked, If a person became proficient in 100 000 Hadith, can he pass verdicts? Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal radi Allahu anhu said No! Then he was asked If the person was proficient in 200 000 Hadith. Imam Hanbal radi Allahu anhu said No! Finally he was asked, If the person became proficient in 500 000 Hadith, then can he pass verdicts? Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal radi Allahu anhu replied, Maybe. -Insaaf Fi Bayaan Isbaab Alikhtilaaf- Thus we find that scholars like Imam Raazi (b 544 Hijri) have said that in this era, one will not find scholars of that calibre of Mujtahid. -Mahsool fi Ilm Usool-

‘Imam Muslim said that he compiled Sahih Muslim from a selection 300 000 Hadith that he knew. He is such a great scholar of Hadith, but he went up to 300 000 Hadith. On the other hand to just meet the entry level of being a Mujtahid one needs to be proficient in 500 000 Hadith. Furthermore, the Imams did not only study Hadith. Imam Shafaee spent his youth in Makka. But despite knowing Arabic, he studied Arabic for eighteen years, then only did he Study Fiqh. -Imam Bayhaqi in his Manaaqib Shafaee- Imam Abu Hanifa radi Allahu anhu first leant the Quran. Then he learnt each and every Hadith that was known by anybody in his environment. Then for many years he studied the Fiqh of the Imams in his area. Only then did he begin to derive rulings directly from the Quran, Hadith and the Sahaba radi Allahu amhum. -Imam Suyuti in his Manaaqib Abu Hanifa- You’ve got to understand that, that is dedicated scholarship.’

I saw a change on both boys’ faces. I think they realised that scholarship is different from hearing a modern day speaker on the net, and gullibly accepting any theory he throws. I also now realised that Yusuf had been influencing my son on this issue. He hadn’t spoken up until now. And I worried how close had he been to rejecting an important Islamic concept. Was I too late?

‘The Quran is our source of knowledge and guidance. Imam Abu Hanifa would recite an entire Quran in one Rakaat each night. He did this for forty years. -Siyaar Alam Nubala- That’s about 14 000 times. He read it with understanding. He understood Arabic and for each Surah he knew several Hadith and Tafseer of the Sahaba. So if a student reads his text book 14 000 times with understanding, would he know and understand more than a student who just read it twice or thrice? How many times have you recited the Quran with full reference to the Tafseer? Has the Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasallam ever come to you and endorse you? Once during the time of Imam Maalik, Abdul Azeez Durawaardi radi Allahu anhu came to Masjidun Nabawi sallAllahu alayhi wasallam and Imam Maalik was lecturing. Abdul Azeez heard someone say to Imam Maalik, “Come to me, Come to me!” He looked and he beheld the Beloved Nabi sallAllahu alayhi wasallam . Nabi sallAllahu alayhi wasallam had entered his holy grave many years before. But on that day, they saw him sallAllahu alayhi wasallam in person in the Masjid. Imam Maalik radi Allahu anhu went to RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam and RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam interlocked their fingers and they exchanged whatever they exchanged. -ad-Dhahabi, Siyaar Alam Nubala-‘

Relating this brought a tear to my eye. I relished the thought of our Beloved Rasool sallAllahu alayhi wasallam standing there in Masjid un Nabawi sallAllahu alayhi wasallam . I wished I was there. But I wasn’t and at least I could respect Imam Maalik radi Allahu anhu with whom RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam held hands. My son’s eyes also watered. This Deen traces itself to the Beloved Rasool sallAllahu alayhi wasallam .

‘Dad,’ my son called out, ‘you see, there’s a friend at school who keeps saying that the Imams did their studies but it is not necessay to follow them. That would be called Taqleed. We should each do our own research. He says, worst case scenario, if we want to follow them we should not follow one Madhab. Each rule we can jump between Imams.’

I carefully explained, ‘The Quran teaches us Taqleed. Once RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam was preparing to send the Sahaba for a battle. All the Sahaba radi Allahu anhum, excluding the Munafiqs, had volunteered for the battle. Allah Ta’aala revealed the following verse, “Going out is not for all the Believers. Should it not be that a segment from each group be separated so that they gain the Fiqh of the Deen and may warn their respective group when they return to them perhaps they may be safeguarded.” -alQuran 9:122-

‘This means that from each grouping of Sahaba radi Allahu anhum, a segment must remain behind and learn Fiqh. When their particular group returns from their battle, this group must be taught Fiqh from their segment which stayed back. Here we find that the Quran is instructing that the group follow the Fiqh teachings from their small group which did not go to battle. This is Taqleed, instructed by the Quran and practiced during the era of RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam .

‘Whilst the Sahaba were in the presence of RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam , it was ok for them to hear the Hadith and practice. But now, approximately ten months before RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam entered his Blessed Grave, the Quran says that those very same Sahaba radi Allahu anhum , if they are not in the presence of RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam then they must learn the Shariah from those who have acquired the knowledge of Fiqh. This instruction of the Quran is very timely. It comes just before RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam is going to enter his Blessed Grave. This instruction of Taqleed prepares the Ummah that soon we are not going to be in the physical presence of RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam , so when this happens, we the Ummah must make Taqleed. Our Imams must study Fiqh and we must turn to them for the rulings of Fiqh. As this instruction of Taqleed comes from the Quran, it is compulsory for us to follow it.

‘History bears testimony that this is exactly what the Sahaba radi Allahu anhum did. After RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam entered his Blessed Grave, Hadrath Abu Bakr radi Allahu anhu became the Khalif, the leader of the Muslims. alQaasim, the grandson of Hadrath Abu Bakr Siddeeq radi Allahu anhu says that during the Khilafat of Hadrath Abu Bakr radi Allahu anhu six people (further to Hadrath Abu Bakr) would give Islamic Verdicts which the people would follow:

Hadrath Umar bin Khattaab

Hadrath Uthmaan

Hadrath Ali

Hadrath Abdur Rahmaan bin Awf

Hadrath Muaadh bin Jabl

Hadrath Ubay bin Kaab, and

Hadrath Zayd bin Thaabit.

(Haafidh Ibn Saad, Tabaqaat alKubra)

‘At that stage there were hundreds of Sahaba and Tabaeen, but Hadrath Abu Bakr chose six to give Islamic Verdicts and the others followed their verdicts that is they made Taqleed of their verdicts. Here we find that Hadrath Abu Bakr radi Allahu anhu and all the Sahaba alayhis salaam are observing the ruling of Surah Tawba (9:122), a few leading scholars (Mujtahid Faqihs) study an issue and everybody else follows their decision.

‘Hadrath Ubaydullah bin Abi Yazeed said, If Sahabi Ibn Abbaas radi Allahu anhu was asked an Islamic matter, if it was to be found in the Quran he would inform the questioner of the verse. If it was not in the Quran but could be related from the Hadith/Sunnah of RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam, then he would inform the questioner of the Hadith/Sunnah. If however it was not found in the Quran nor from RasoolAllah sallAllahu alayhi wasallam then he would look at the verdicts/practice of Khalif Abu Bakr and Umar radi Allahu anhu and if it was found with them he would inform the questioner accordingly. If it was not found in any of these sources, then only would he apply his Ijtihaad, deducing his legal opinion on the matter. (Haafidh Ibn Saad)

‘Although Sahabi Ibn Abbaas was himself a Mujtahid, he first resorted to following the verdict the Khulafa. These are examples of Taqleed from the pristine lives of the Sahaba radi Allahu anhum.’

‘If we look at that verse from the Quran again, there’s another lesson for us. “Should it not be that a segment from each group be separated so that they gain the Fiqh of the Deen and may warn their respective group when they return to them perhaps they may be safeguarded.” -alQuran 9:122-

It is interesting that each group is asked to learn from their respective party, that means one group should not learn from another. For this reason, Shafaee’s learn their Fiqh from the Shafaee scholars, Hanafi’s learn their Fiqh from the Hanafi scholars, etc. The Quran wants it like that, each group of people must stick to their respective Faqih’s. This is a Quranic instruction and so it is compulsory to follow it. The Quran says that through this method of learning our religion will be safe.

‘So the truth is, by us following one particular Madhab (Hanafi, Shafi, Maliki, Hanbali), we are actually following the instruction of this verse of the Quran. For this reason, we find that all the great scholars did that. Imam Ghazzali, Imam Nawawi and Haafiz alAsqalani followed the Shafaee Madhab, so did. Shaykh Abdul Qaadir Jilani followed the Hanbali Madhab. Qadhi Ayaadh followed the Maaliki Madhab and Imam Fakhrudeen Raazi and Imam Tahtawi followed the Hanafi Madhab.

‘In fact we find that even the Sahaba radi Allahu anhum promoted Taqleed of one Madhab. During the first Islamic century, Abdur Rahmaan bin Hujeera was the Mujtahid based in Egypt. If anyone of his followers asked a question to Sahabi ibn Abbaas radi Allahu anhuma, he would say “You are asking me whilst amongst you is ibn Hujeera and his son?”-Akhbaar Misr wa Cairo, Imam Suyuti- Although Hadrath ibn Abbaas was a Sahabi and ibn Hujeera was a Tabi’, Hadrath ibn Abbaas wanted the people to stick to one Mujtahid’s Madhab.’

Mufti Google ibn Ismail leaned back in his chair; stared between nowhere-land and my face. Then he said, ‘So in fact the Quran, the Sahaba and even Imam Bukhari all advocated following one Madhab. I think you’re right,’ he told me. ‘I think you’re right.’

The two boys looked at each other and mumbled a few words. With a nudge to his elbow, my son said, ‘Dad, I’m glad we had this chat today. Now I understand how Fiqh and the Imams fit in. Also I am happy to be following an Imam. As the Quran verse said Allah Ta’aala is happy with them. -alQuran 5:54- Only thing is, the guy in school keeps on saying, the Imams said, my Madhab is the Sahih Hadith, so if you find a Hadith against the Madhab, then take the Sahih Hadith and reject the Imam’s ruling. You see, his brother is studying in Saudi, and so he quotes all these things to us’

I replied, ‘Imam Nawawi radi Allahu anhu spoke about this. He said, “This which Imam al-Shafaee radi Allahu anhu said does not mean that whosoever sees some Sahih Hadith then starts saying that it is Madhab of Imam Shafaee radi Allahu anhu and thus starts following the Dharir of it. However the reality is that this saying is about that person who has reached the stage of doing Ijtihaad in Madhab.” Imam Nawawi goes on to explain that furthermore the Mujtahid fil Madhab, who wants to check a Hadith against an Imam’s ruling must be able to prove that that Imam was not aware of that Sahih Hadith. -Mujmua Sharah Mahzab, Imam Nawawi-

‘We find that making Taqleed, without second guessing a Mujtahid, can also be found amongst the Sahaba. Hadrath Umar radi Allahu anhu was the second Khalif of Islam. Whenever a new issue came up, and he had to decide what was the correct way, he asked if Hadrath Abu Bakr radi Allahu anhu had addressed this issue. If he did, then without investigating further Hadrath Umar would just follow (Taqleed) the ruling of Hadrath Abu Bakr radi Allahu anhu . -Taareekhul Khulafa, Imam Suyuti- Hadrath Umar radi Allahu anhu , is the second most knowledgable Sahabi, but he made Taqleed without checking up further on how Hadrath Abu Bakr made his decision.

‘Another examples is Sahabi Ibn Abbaas radi Allahu anhu . Hadrath Layth bin Abi Sulaym says that he saw 70 Sahaba who if a legal verdict was sought they just adhered to whatever Sahabi Abdullah Ibn Abbaas radi Allahu anhuma said.

(Haafidh Ibn Saad, Tabaqaat alKubra) So in this example we find that even Sahaba, who are much more learned than us, totally followed a single Mujtahid. We are following in their footsteps.’

I thought to myself, there was this war going on in my kid’s head, and although I was next to him I did not realise it. Luckily we did have this conversation today. It gave me the chance to show him why we follow a Madhab and that doing so is purely from the Quran, Hadith and the Sahaba. I sternly said to myself, “If you’re not going to explain things to your child, Google or some foreigner will.”