would be beneficial if we gave some of these here, for perhaps
will admonish or remind those who follow the opinion of the
- nay, of those far below the Imams in rank - blindly,
to their madhhabs or views as if these had descended from
heavens! But Allah, Mighty and Sublime, says:
(O men!) the revelation given to you from your Lord, and
not, as friends and protectors, other than Him. Little is it
remember of admonition."
Abu Haneefah (rahimahullaah)
first of them is Abu Haneefah Nu'maan ibn Thaabit, whose
have narrated from him various sayings and diverse
all of them leading to one thing: the obligation to accept
Hadeeth, and to give up following the opinions of the imams
"When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my madhhab."20
"It is not permitted for anyone to accept our views if they do not
from where we got them."
one narration, "It is prohibited for someone who does not know my
to give verdicts on the basis of my words."
narration adds, "... for we are mortals: we say one thing one
and take it back the next day."
another narration, "Woe to you, O Ya'qub! Do not write down
you hear from me, for it happens that I hold one opinion
and reject it tomorrow, or hold one opinion tomorrow and reject
the day after tomorrow."
"When I say something contradicting the Book of Allah the Exalted
what is narrated from the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa
then ignore my saying."
Malik ibn Anas (rahimahullaah)
for Imam Malik ibn Anas, he said:
"Truly I am only a mortal: I make mistakes (sometimes) and I am
(sometimes). Therefore, look into my opinions: all that
with the Book and the Sunnah, accept it; and all that does not
with the Book and the Sunnah, ignore it."
"Everyone after the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam) will
his sayings accepted and rejected - not so the Prophet
'alaihi wa salaam)."
Ibn Wahb said: "I heard Malik being asked about cleaning between
toes during ablution. He said, 'The people do not have to do
I did not approach him until the crowd had lessened, when I
to him, 'We know of a sunnah about that.' He said, 'What is
I said, 'Laith ibn Sa'd, Ibn Lahee'ah and 'Amr ibn al-Haarith
to us from Yazeed ibn 'Amr al-Ma'aafiri from Abu 'Abdur-
al-Hubuli from Mustawrid ibn Shaddaad al-Qurashi who said, 'I
the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam) rubbing
his toes with his little finger.' He said, 'This hadeeth is
I had not heard of it at all until now.' Afterwards, I heard
being asked about the same thing, on which he ordered cleaning
for Imam Shaafi'i, the quotations from him are most numerous and
and his followers were the best in sticking to them:
"The sunnahs of the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa
reach, as well as escape from, every one of us. So whenever I
my opinion, or formulate a principle, where something contrary
my view exists on the authority of the Messenger of Allah
'alaihi wa salaam), then the correct view is what the
of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam) has said, and it
"The Muslims are unanimously agreed that if a sunnah of the
of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam) is made clear to
it is not permitted for him to leave it for the saying of
"If you find in my writings something different to the Sunnah of
Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam), then speak
the basis of the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah
'alaihi wa salaam), and leave what I have said." In one
"...then follow it (the Sunnah), and do not look sideways
anyone else's saying."
"When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my madhhab."
"You are more knowledgeable about Hadeeth than I, so when a
is saheeh, inform me of it, whether it is from Kufah, Basrah
Syria, so that I may take the view of the hadeeth, as long as it
"In every issue where the people of narration find a report from
Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam) to be saheeh
is contrary to what I have said, then I take my saying back,
during my life or after my death."
"If you see me saying something, and contrary to it is
from the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa
then know that my intelligence has departed."
"For everything I say, if there is something authentic from the
(sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam) contrary to my saying, then
hadeeth of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam) comes
so do not follow my opinion."
"Every statement on the authority of the Prophet
'alaihi wa salaam) is also my view, even if you do not
it from me."
Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimahullaah)
Ahmad was the foremost among the Imams in collecting the
and sticking to it, so much so that he even "disliked that a
consisting of deductions and opinions be written." Because of
"Do not follow my opinion; neither follow the opinion of Malik,
Shaafi'i, nor Awzaa'i, nor Thawri, but take from where they took."
one narration: "Do not copy your Deen from anyone of these, but
comes from the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam) and
Companions, take it; next are their Successors, where a man has a
he said: "Following means that a man follows what comes from the
(sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam) and his Companions; after the
he has a choice."
"The opinion of Awzaa'i, the opinion of Malik, the opinion of Abu
all of it is opinion, and it is all equal in my eyes.
the proof is in the narrations (from the Prophet
'alaihi wa salaam) and his Companions)."
"Whoever rejects a statement of the Messenger of Allah
'alaihi wa salaam) is on the brink of destruction."
are the clear, lucid sayings of the Imams (Allah Exalted be
with them) about sticking to the Hadeeth and forbidding the
of their opinion without clearly- visible evidence, such
mere opinion and interpretation is not acceptable.
whoever adhered to whatever of the Sunnah that was proved
even if it opposed some of the Imams' sayings, he would
be conflicting with their madhhab, nor straying from their path;
such a person would be following all of them and would be
the most trustworthy hand-hold, which never breaks. However,
would not be the case with the one who abandoned any of the
Sunnah simply because it contradicted their views; nay,
a person would be being disobedient to them and opposing their
mentioned sayings, while Allah says:
no, by Your Lord, they can have no (real) faith, until they make
judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no
against your decisions, but accept them with the fullest
He also says:
let those beware who withstand the Messenger's order, lest some
befall them or a grievous penalty be inflicted on them."
Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (rahimahullaah) says:
it is obligatory on anyone who hears of a command of the
of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam) or knows it, to
it to the Ummah, advise them sincerely, and order them to
his command, even if it contradicts the opinion of someone
This is because the authority of the Messenger of Allah
'alaihi wa salaam) has the most right to be respected
followed, over and above the opinion of anyone great who has
contradicted the Messenger's command in any matter. This
why the Companions and those after would refute anyone who
the authentic Sunnah, sometimes being very stern in
refutation, not out of hatred for that person, for they loved
respected him, but because the Messenger of Allah was more
to them, and his command was superior to the command of any
created being. Hence, when the order of the Messenger and that
someone else conflicted, the order of the Messenger would be more
to be enforced and followed. None of this would stop them
the person they had opposed because they knew that he
be forgiven52; in fact, the latter would not mind his
being opposed when the command of the Messenger of Allah
'alaihi wa salaam) was clearly shown to be opposite."
how could they mind that, when they had ordered their
to do so, as we have seen, and had enjoined on them to
any of their views which contradicted the Sunnah. In fact,
Shaafi'i (rahimahullaah) told his companions to attribute the
Sunnah to him also, even if he had not adopted it or had
something contradictory to it. Hence, when the analyst Ibn
al-'Eid (rahimahullaah) collected together, in a bulky volume,
issues in which one or more of the four Imams' madhhabs had
the authentic hadeeth, he wrote at the beginning of
"It is prohibited to attribute these answers to the Mujtahid
and obligatory on the jurists who follow their opinions to
of these so that they do not quote them regarding these and thus
Imams' Followers Leaving their Views if these Contradicted the
to all that we have mentioned, the disciples of the Imams, a
of people from those of old, and a few from those of later
would not accept all of their Imam's views; they actually
many when they found them to be clearly against the Sunnah.
the two Imams, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan and Abu Yoosuf
differed from their shaikh Abu Haneefah "in about a
of the Madhhab", as the books of masaa'il prove. Similarly is
about Imam al- Muzani and other followers of Shaafi'i and other
were we to start giving examples, the discussion would become
long, and we would digress from what we set out to do in
Introduction, so we shall limit ourselves to two instances:
Imam Muhammad says in his Muwatta'(p. 158), "As for Abu Haneefah,
did not regard there being a prayer to ask for rain, but we hold
the imam prays two rak'ahs and then supplicates and holds out
We have 'Isaam ibn Yoosuf al-Balkhi, one of the companions of
Muhammad and a servant of Imam Abu Yoosuf, who "would give
contrary to Imam Abu Haneefah because he did not know the
evidence, and other evidence would present itself to him, so
would give verdicts using that." Hence, he would raise his hands on
(in prayer) and on rising from it", as is the mutawaatir
of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam); the fact that
three Imams (i.e. Abu Haneefah, Abu Yoosuf and Muhammad) said
did not prevent him from practicing this sunnah. This is
approach which every Muslim is obliged to have, as we have
seen from the testimony of the Four Imams, and others.
sum up: I sincerely hope that no follower of an Imam will race to
the principles of this book and abandon benefiting from the
of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam) which it
with the argument that they are contrary to his Madhhab. I
that such a person will instead consider what we have given of
exhortations of the Imams towards the obligation to act on the
and ignore their sayings contradictory to it. I hope also that
will realize that to condemn the attitude of this book is to
whichever Imam he is following, for we have taken these
from those Imams, as we have explained. Therefore,
refuses to be guided by them on this path is in great danger,
such refusal necessitates turning away from the Sunnah, the
to which we have been ordered to refer in cases of difference
opinion and on which we have been commanded to depend.
ask Allah to make us among those about whom He says,
answer of the believers, when summoned to Allah and His
in order that he may judge between them, is no other than
they say, "We hear and we obey" - it is such as these that will
Success. It is those who obey Allah and His Messenger, and
Allah, and keep their duty to Him, who will triumph."63
- "The prophets prayer" - By Sheik Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Al Albani.