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The Methodology of the Salaf Concerning Ijtihad and Taqlid
  The Sayings of the Four Imams on Taqlid
Author: Imam al-Albani
Source: The Prophet's Prayer Described
Article ID : MNJ060002  [41060]  
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Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimahullaah)

Imaam Ahmad was the foremost among the Imaams in collecting the Sunnah and sticking to it, so much so that he even "disliked that a book consisting of deductions and opinions be written."[43] Because of this he said:

1. "Do not follow my opinion; neither follow the opinion of Maalik, nor Shaafi'i, nor Awzaa'i, nor Thawri, but take from where they took."[44]

In one narration: "Do not copy your Deen from anyone of these, but whatever comes from the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions, take it; next are their Successors, where a man has a choice."

Once he said: "Following[45] means that a man follows what comes from the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions; after the Successors, he has a choice."[46]

2. "The opinion of Awzaa'i, the opinion of Maalik, the opinion of Abu Haneefah: all of it is opinion, and it is all equal in my eyes. However, the proof is in the narrations (from the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions)."[47]

3. "Whoever rejects a statement of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) is on the brink of destruction."[48]

FOOT NOTES

20 Ibn `Aabideen in al-Haashiyah (1/63), and in his essay Rasm al-Mufti (1/4 from the Compilation of the Essays of Ibn `Aabideen), Shaikh Saalih al-Fulaani in Eeqaaz al-Himam (p. 62) & others. Ibn `Aabideen quoted from Sharh al-Hidaayah by Ibn al-Shahnah al-Kabeer, the teacher of Ibn al-Humaam, as follows:

"When a hadeeth contrary to the Madhhab is found to be saheeh, one should act on the hadeeth, and make that his madhhab. Acting on the hadeeth will not invalidate the follower's being a Hanafi, for it is authentically reported that Abu Haneefah said, `When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my madhhab', and this has been related by Imaam Ibn `Abdul Barr from Abu Haneefah and from other imaams."

This is part of the completeness of the knowledge and piety of the Imaams, for they indicated by saying this that they were not versed in the whole of the Sunnah, and Imaam Shaafi'i has elucidated this thoroughly (see later). It would happen that they would contradict a sunnah because they were unaware of it, so they commanded us to stick to the Sunnah and regard it as part of their Madhhab. May Allaah shower His mercy on them all.

21Ar.: halaal

22 Ibn `Abdul Barr in Al-Intiqaa' fi Fadaa'il ath-Thalaathah al- A'immah al-Fuqahaa' (p. 145), Ibn al-Qayyim in I'laam al- Mooqi'een (2/309), Ibn `Aabideen in his Footnotes on Al-Bahr ar-Raa'iq (6/293) and in Rasm al-Mufti (pp. 29,32) & Sha'raani in Al-Meezaan (1/55) with the second narration. The last narration was collected by `Abbaas ad-Dawri in At- Taareekh by Ibn Ma'een (6/77/1) with a saheeh sanad on the authority of Zafar, the student of Imaam Abu Haneefah. Similar narrations exist on the authority of Abu Haneefah's companions Zafar, Abu Yoosuf and `Aafiyah ibn Yazeed; cf. Eeqaaz (p. 52). Ibn al-Qayyim firmly certified its authenticity on the authority of Abu Yoosuf in I'laam al-Mooqi'een (2/344). The addition to the second narration is referenced by the editor of Eeqaaz (p. 65) to Ibn `Abdul Barr, Ibn al-Qayyim and others.

If this is what they say of someone who does not know their evidence, what would be their response to one who knows that the evidence contradicts their saying, but still gives verdicts opposed to the evidence?! Therefore, reflect on this saying, for it alone is enough to smash blind following of opinion; that is why one of the muqallid shaikhs, when I criticised his giving a verdict using Abu Haneefah's words without knowing the evidence, refused to believe that it was a saying of Abu Haneefah!

23 Ar.:haraam

24 Ar.: fatwaa

25 i.e. Imaam Abu Haneefah's illustrious student, Abu Yoosuf (rahimahullaah). 26 This was because the Imaam would often base his view on Qiyaas (Analogy), after which a more potent analogy would occur to him, or a hadeeth of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) would reach him, so he would accept that and ignore his previous view. Sha'raani's words in Al-Meezaan (1/62) are summarised as:


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