Chapter Sixteen

Who are the Ghayr Muaqllid/Ahle Hadith?

It is common now to see young activists prowling the mosques, criticising other worshippers for what they believe to be defects in their worship, even when their victims are following the verdicts of some of the great Imams of Islam. The unpleasant, hypocritical self-righteous atmosphere generated by this activity has the effect of discouraging many less committed Muslims from attending the mosque at all. No-one now recalls the view of the early scholars, which was that Muslims should tolerate contradictory interpretations of the Sunnah as long as these interpretations have been held by reputable scholars.

Dangers of not following

1) Imam Abu Mansur ibn Muhammad Al-Faqih says: “I was once in ‘Adan a city of Yemen. A villager appeared in our presence and began a discussion with us. During the course of his talk, he mentioned that whenever the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) performed Salaah (in an open area) he placed a standing goat before him. I refuted his statement; upon which he produced a (hand) written book in which was recorded: “He (the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)) placed before himself an ‘Anzah (a certain kind of staff, so that if someone passes in front of him, but beyond the staff, the passer will not be sinning). This person was confused between ‘Anzah and ‘Anazah. The first refers to a certain type of staff, and the other means a goat. This is in Bukhari 1/71.”1 The Arabic speaking person was even found to have been misled in spite of knowing the Arabic language.

2) It is mentioned in Bukhari (1/30,43) that ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) and other companions report from the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) that the person who has intercourse with his wife and does not ejaculate, has only to perform ablution and not bath. If a person acts upon this Hadith, then it can only be termed deviance, as this law had been abrogated (Mansuk). This is an example of being misled by reading a Hadith that contains an abrogated law. This is very common, and many people are misleading in this way.

3) In another narration of Bukhari 1/39 it is reported that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “I pour over my head thrice”, and he indicated with both his hands. A sister claims to be the ‘followers of Hadith”. She maintains, and is persistent, that the Hadith only obligates one to throw their hands full of water over the head for ghusl from Janabah. She claims that cleanliness can be attained in this way, and that there is no need to pour water over the whole body. She insisted she read this hadith in Bukhari. However, a more detailed narration contains the following words thereafter: “…then he pours over the rest of his body.””

4) Muhaddith-e-Kabir (the great Muhaddith) Allama Zia-ul-Mustafa told us of an incident that took place with a student of his father he said: Allama Mufti Ateeq ur Rahman a student of Allama Shadrush Sharia’ah Allama Amjad ‘Ali and Sadrul Afazil, was a resident on the boarder of Nepal. He went for a Milad program to a village called Janda Nagar. On his way he saw a chap stood upright with his hands tied on his chest rocking from right to left, not only that but he was rocking in Ruku and in Sajda too. Mufti Ateeq ur Rahman was surprised and thought ‘O Allah what is this fellow doing.’ He waited until he completed what he was doing and asked him, he said ‘I was performing Salaah.’ He asked what type of Salaah was this? It is in the Hadith that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would offer his Salaah whilst moving (Hilke) he said. Mufti Ateeq ur Rahman said: ‘I have been reading and teaching hadith for many years but have not come across such hadith’. He said, ‘O Moulana you will not find it. Hadith are for the Ahle Hadith, it is in Bukhari.’ Mufti saab said, ‘I have been teaching Bukhari for 20 years I have not found such Hadith. Go and get it and let me see.’

This chap ran and bought a copy of Imam Hajar Asqalani’s ‘Buloogh-ulMaram’ narrated by Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would offer prayer short but complete.’ Mufti saab looked at the book and there were two columns one in Arabic and one in Urdu. Now in the old Urdu books the two types of different Ye (the short and big) would be written the same, hence it would either be Yee or Yai and vice versa. The chap said, ‘Look here is the hadith that the Prophet would pray his Salaah whilst (Hilke) moving.’ Mufti Saab said, ‘You fool it says (Halki) short. Subhanallah! We find that reading a Hadith without an insight will misguide and never mind understanding the Hadith they can’t even understand the Translation. 2 .

5) Whilst leading the Friday prayer at the local prison a chap who did not follow Taqleed said to me, “The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, Do not perform Ruku (bow) or Sajda (prostration) like a chicken,” I didn’t understand why he said this to me and I had read this hadith so I asked for an explanation and he said, “You perform it very quickly.” I said I pray the Tasbeeh three times and it is Fardh (obligatory) the time it takes to say ‘Subhanallah’ once. I have not seen a chicken peck the time it takes to say ‘Subhana-Rabiyyal A’la’ three times, but it goes down and soon as it picks up its feed it comes straight up within a second if that. The chap didn’t even understand how a chicken pecks and a person who stays in Ruku/Sajdah for the time it takes to say ‘Subhanallah’ three times. If he can’t differentiate that then how will he be able to understand the conflicting Hadith! Subhanallah!

6) Shaykh Said Ramadan al-Buti, who has articulated the orthodox response to the anti-Madhhab trend in his book: Non-Madhhabism: The Greatest Bida Threatening the Islamic Sharia, likes to compare the science of deriving rulings to that of medicine. “If one’s child is seriously ill,” he asks, “does one look for oneself in the medical textbooks for the proper diagnosis and cure, or should one go to a trained medical practitioner?” Clearly, sanity dictates the latter option. And so, it is in matters of religion, which are in reality even more important and potentially hazardous: we would be both foolish and irresponsible to try to look through the sources ourselves and become our own muftis. Instead, we should recognise that those who have spent their entire lives studying the Sunnah and the principles of law are far less likely to be mistaken than we are. Another metaphor might be added to this, this time borrowed from astronomy. We might compare the Qur’anic verses and the hadiths to the stars. With the naked eye, we are unable to see many of them clearly; so, we need a telescope. If we are foolish, or proud, we may try to build one ourselves. If we are sensible and modest, however, we will be happy to use one built for us by Imam al-Shafi’i or Ibn Hanbal, and refined, polished and improved by generations of great astronomers. A madhhab is, after all, nothing more than a piece of precision equipment enabling us to see Islam with the maximum clarity possible. If we use our own devices, our amateurish attempts will inevitably distort our vision. A third image might also be deployed. An ancient building, for instance the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, might seem imperfect to some who worship in it. Young enthusiasts, burning with a desire to make the building still more exquisite and well-made (and no doubt more in conformity with their own time-bound preferences), might gain access to the crypts and basements which lie under the structure, and, on the basis of their own understanding of the principles of architecture, try to adjust the foundations and pillars which support the great edifice above them. They will not, of course, bother to consult professional architects, except perhaps one or two whose opinion pleases them, nor will they be guided by the books and memoirs of those who have maintained the structure over the centuries. Their zeal and pride leave them with no time for that. Groping through the basements, they bring out their picks and drills, and set to work with their usual enthusiasm. Just imagine with every Muslim now a proud Mujtahid, and with Taqlid dismissed as a sin rather than a humble and necessary virtue, the different views which caused such pain in our early history will surely break surface again. Instead of four Madhhabs in harmony, we will have a billion Madhhabs in bitter and self-righteous conflict. No more brilliant scheme for the destruction of Islam could ever have been devised.

It is probably for this reason that Hafiz ibn ‘Abdil Barr (D: 423AH) states: “As for studying Hadith in the manner that students of today study it, without obtaining some knowledge of Fiqh and contemplating it’s meaning (properly) this is disliked according to a group of the scholars.”3

A man has a child who suffers from some infections. All the doctors in the town examined him, and agreed to a specific treatment for him, and warn his father against giving him an injection of penicillin, and that if he does, he will be exposing the child’s life to destruction. Now, the father knows from having read a medical publication that penicillin helps in cases of infection. So, he relies on his own knowledge about it, disregards the advice of the doctors since he doesn’t know the proof for the what they say, and employing instead his own personal conviction, treats the child with penicillin injections, and thereafter the child dies. Should such a person be tried, and is he guilty of a wrong for what he did, or not?” As Sufyan al-Thawri said: If you see a man doing something over which there is a debate among the scholars, and which you yourself believe to be forbidden, you should not forbid him from doing it. The alternative to this policy is, of course, a disunity and rancour which will poison and cripple the Muslim community from within. While the Qur’an and the Sunnah are divinely protected from error, the understanding of them is not. And someone who derives rulings from the Qur’an and hadith without training in Ijtihad or “deduction from primary texts” will be responsible for it on the Day of Judgment, just as an amateur doctor who had never been to medical school would be responsible if he performed an operation and somebody died under his knife


A person cannot do anything in the world without following someone. In every little aspect of life or action you need to follow rules set by someone or a body. Even great Scholars like Imam Bukhari said this Hadith is weak in narration as he heard it from such and such a person and another Hadith is strong as he followed the chain of narration to be authentic, so he also followed someone to come to the conclusion that a Hadith is authentic or not. When praying Salaah you follow the Imam, the Muslims will follow an Islamic ruler, the carriage boxes of a train follows the main engine, there are never two Imams leading the prayer at the same time, no two rulers ruling at the same time and in Shariah you follow one Imam how can you have two Imams. If those who follow others besides the four Imams will be misguided, similarly the idol worshippers came out of the folds of Islam as they worship others besides Allah Almighty

Ghair Muqalids foretold

Al-Qurtubi (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: “One of the knowers of Allah said: A certain group that has not yet come up in our time but shall show up at the end of time will curse the scholars and insult the jurists.” 4 Imam Tahawi (may Allah have mercy upon him) writes: “The learned men of the first community and those who followed in their footsteps – the people of virtue, the narrators of ahadith, the jurists and analysts – must only be spoken about in the best way. Anyone who speaks ill of them is surely not on the right path.” 5 If you consider carefully the above-mentioned texts, you will realise that the one who censures you from following [the Imams] is truly a deviant. And I am using the word “deviant” to describe them only because the scholars [before me] have labelled this little band and their view (madhhab) as deviant. “Umar ibn al- ‘Aziz said, ‘Never give one whose heart is deviant access to your two ears, for surely you never know what may find fixity in you.’”

I ask Allah to make you and me from those who listen to matters and follow the best of them


Exalted is Allah beyond the claims of this rebellious sect and splinter group! We charge them, before Allah, with wrongdoing, ugly deeds, and aberrations. We ask Him, “Guide them and cause them to repent and return to Your right Religion and the straight path of the Companions of Your Prophet!” for the Islamic Ummahs today is in dire need of reunification, not separation! We must come together, not remain obdurate. We must understand and love one another, not hate and avoid and envy each other. We ask Allah (The Exalted) for a good ending, be for ourselves and for them, as well as all those who are actively pursuing a program of reform among Muslims.

Also among those who claim that they are “Salafis (Wahabis)” whereas they own nothing of such a claim except a title without meaning so as to achieve dishonour in this worlds and thereby acquire its superiority and high levels of leadership through their corrupt claims – are those unleash their tongues with complete licence to attack and insult the early Imams, especially the accomplished Four Imams – Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam al-Shafi’i, and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. They cast aspersions on their status by charge them with ignorance, error, or deliberate alterations of legal rulings, justifying their charges by citing a Qur’anic verse which they understand in its literal sense or a hadith concerning which they have no idea what the Imams actually said! Then they call upon the uneducated general public to take position of any of the Imams, saying, “Here is the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah in front of us; what need have we to imitate So-and-so or So-and-so, when ‘They are men and we are men’?”

It is not allowed for anyone whatsoever to take whatever ruling he fancies from the Qur’an and Sunnah except after duly referring to what the Imams said concerning that ruling. For the Imams are:

1) Nearer in time to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)

2) More knowledgeable, and

3) Far more versed than us in whatever was related from him and in the verses and hadiths – whatever is abrogated, or understood in a narrow, specific sense, or elucidated by other evidence, just as it is found in the science of principle (usul). And on what basis will that denier of followership of the Imams take the principles of legal rulings directly from the Qur’an, in complete disregarded of its Hadith?”… Therefore, even if the slogan that “the Quran is in front of us and so is the Sunnah of the Prophet” is true, yet falsehood is meant by it! 6

Amongst the signs of the Day of Judgement, one of them is:

“People will curse their ancestors and speak ill of them.” 7

Narrated Hudhayfa bin Al-Yaman (may Allah be pleased with him): The people used to ask Allah’s Apostle about good, but I used to ask him about evil for fear that it might overtake me. Once I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! We were in ignorance and in evil and Allah has bestowed upon us the present good; will there by any evil after this good?” He said, “Yes.” I asked, “Will there be good after that evil?” He said, “Yes, but it would be tainted with Dakhan (i.e. Little evil).” I asked, “What will it’s Dakhan be?” He said, “There will be some people who will lead (people) according to principles other than my tradition. You will see their actions and disapprove of them.” I said, “Will there be any evil after that good?” He said, “Yes, there will be some people who will invite others to the doors of Hell, and whoever accepts their invitation to it will be thrown in it (by them).” I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Describe those people to us.” He said, “They will belong to us and speak our language” I asked, “What do you order me to do if such a thing should take place in my life?” He said, “Adhere to the group of Muslims and their Chief.” I asked, “If there is neither a group (of Muslims) nor a chief (what shall I do)?” He said, “Keep away from all those different sects, even if you had to bite (i.e. eat) the root of a tree, till you meet Allah while you are still in that state.” 8

‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet said, ‘Islam began as something strange, and it will revert to being strange as it was in the beginning, so good tidings for the strangers.’ Someone asked, ‘Who are the strangers?’ He said, ‘The ones who break away from their people for the sake of Islam.’” 9

Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) told me: “I was walking with the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: ‘I swear I fear for my Ummah other than the Antichrist (Dajjal) far more than I fear him!’ He repeated it three times. I said: ‘Messenger of Allah! What is it you fear more than the Dajjal for your Ummah?’ He replied: ‘Misguided leaders.’” 10 Narrated by ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (may Allah be pleased with him): “…Until, when no ‘Alim is left, the people will take ignorant men for teachers. These will be questioned, and they will reply without knowledge. They are themselves misguided and misguide others.”11

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