First some of the history behind this debate.
Soon after Sa`eed Ramadaan al-Bootee had written his ‘Fiqh
as-Seerah’ in which he accused Ahlus Sunnah, the Salafees, of that which
they are free of, Shaykh Naasir [al-Albaanee] asked to open a discussion with
al-Bootee. The topic was to be these accusations and some more specific ones
levelled at Shaykh Naasir himself.
However, for various reasons this discussion never occurred. Then when
al-Bootee wrote his book ‘laa madh-habiyyah’ in which he launched
even more attacks against Ahlus Sunnah, Shaykh Naasir renewed his efforts to
open a discussion with al-Bootee, writing a letter to him which commenced with
This meeting did take place and took more than three hours. The following is
a summarised transcript of this meeting reproduced in the book ‘Bid`atut
Ta`ssub al-Madh-habee’ of Shaykh Eed al-Abbaasee, may Allaah preserve him,
who states that he would soon, insha`Allaah, produce a separate booklet with the
transcript to the whole discussion. He states, "this is [the discussion] O
brother reader, I have quoted it truthfully and sincerely, highlighting its
important points. If you wish to ascertain this for yourself then listen to the
tapes which [you will find] in the possession of either party."
The First Issue:
Shaykh Naasir mentioned what occurred in some of the Mosques wherein a number
of congregational prayers were held for the same prayer and the blind-followers
of one madh-hab preventing them from praying behind a blind-follower of another
madh-hab. This led him to declare the point to be incorrect that al-Bootee made
[in his ‘Laa Madh-habiyyah’] that there was a consensus that the
prayer of a blind-follower of one School behind a blind-follower of another
School was valid. The reality is that there is a great deal of difference over
this issue and in fact the weightiest opinion in the Hanafee and Shaafi`ee
Schools is that it is disliked to pray behind an adherent to another madh-hab.
He asked al-Bootee to prove the correctness of his quote and assertion.
Al-Bootee objected to the words of Shaykh Naasir by saying, ‘the
dislike of a thing does not negate its validity.’
Shaykh Naasir refuted this by saying that it was established in the Books of
Shaafi`ee Fiqh that if a Shaafi`ee follower comes to know that his Hanafee Imaam
has touched an ajnabee woman and that Hanafee led the prayer without performing
wudu` then the prayer of the [Shaafi`ee] follower is invalid.
Al-Bootee replied by saying that this was not what he intended by his words.
What he meant was that the prayer was valid behind an Imaam with the condition
that the Imaam being followed had not done something that invalidated the wudu`
or prayer according to the madh-hab of the follower.
Shaykh Naasir objected to this by saying [that this could not be understood
from his words in his book] because his words were general and hence would
remain upon their generality until some [text] occurred that restricted their
At this juncture there arose a discussion concerning Usul in which the
meaning of general and restricted was discussed wherein al-Bootee fruitlessly
tried to avoid the point that Shaykh Naasir made. His father [who was also
present] aided him in this even though he admitted that the words of Shaykh
Naasir spoke the truth and his son had no idea how to respond!
The discussion concluded with it being agreed that it would have been upon
Dr. al-Bootee to bring some form of restriction to his words by saying: The
scholars have agreed that the prayer of a Shaafi`ee behind a Hanafee and
vice-versa is valid with the condition that the follower not know of anything
the Imaam may have done that invalidated the wudu` or prayer according to the
madh-hab of the follower.
The Second Issue:
Shaykh Naasir asked Dr. Bootee to furnish him with the evidence that would
justify the correctness of the title of his book that the Laa Madh-habiyyah
[Anti-Madh-habees] were the most dangerous innovation destroying the Islaamic
Al-Bootee replied by saying that the evidence lay in his book in that the
Sahaabah used to stick to the madh-habs of their scholars. Likewise those who
followed them, then those who followed them until this day of ours.
This astonished Shaykh Naasir who said: It becomes clear to me that you [he
refers to al-Bootee in the plural] intend by the word madh-habiyyah a meaning
other then what commonly crosses ones mind. For the understood meaning of it is
that the Muslim sticks to one specific Imaam for the entirety of his life in all
of the matters related to his religion. This was never present amongst the
Companions, for they were never divided into different groups wherein each group
followed its specific Mujtahid from amongst the Mujtahid Companions.