Why do we follow a madhhab?

Details of the Question

Why do we follow a madhhab?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Rational Evidences about the Necessity of Following a Madhhab

Unfortunately, this century contains many spiritual diseases. Spiritual diseases spread rapidly because it is the end of time; the people who lack the sciences that are like antidote catch these diseases and ruin their otherworldly lives.

One of these diseases is the disease of not having a madhhab (sect/denomination). You probably heard the following statement from many people: "I base my views on the Quran. I can deduce my own decree myself. Why should I be subject to a madhhab? Did the Prophet have a madhhab? My madhhab is the path of the Prophet; I do not follow any madhhabs."

You probably heard the statement above and similar ones from the people without a madhhab many times. As we have mentioned, it is the end of time when belief of people flies away like a bird and spiritual diseases surround people. 

As Feyyaz Internet Services, we regard it as a duty to prepare works that will protect belief and that will be a cure for spiritual diseases. We want the consent of our Lord when we did it. Our aim in this work is to stop this disease of not having any madhhabs, which threatens Muslims, to offer a cure to the hearts injured by this disorder and to show sane and just people how wrong the way of the unfortunate people who invite people to abandon madhhabs is.   

In this work, we will be guests of two imaginary friends and we will listen to the conversation between them. One of these friends is a person who does not follow any madhhabs and advocates having no madhhab. The other is a person who believes in the necessity of following a madhhab.

If anyone watches this work with his conscience, he will inshallah get rid of the disease of having no madhhab. In this work, the necessity of being subject to a madhhab is proved with the certainty of two plus two equals four. Help and assistance, guidance and salvation come from Allah. Now we are listening to the conversation of two imaginary friends.

A- I do not follow any madhhabs. I will not give up this view until I it is proved to me that it is necessary to be subject to a madhhab. You should know that I am very stubborn. It is not easy to convince me.

B- Do not worry! The truth is always victorious and superior no matter how stubborn you are. I will inshallah convince you and I will cause you to recover from the illness of having no madhhab with the permission of Allah. However, I would like something from you. Since qadar made us friends in this work, let us have a golden rule between us. This golden rule is as follows: Let mind and conscience be the referee between us. Let us talk to each other in order to discover the truth, not stubbornly. Let us not oppose each other stubbornly regarding what intellect and reason accept.  

A- All right! Let mind and conscience be the referee. I will captivate your mind and conscience and free you from the slavery of madhhab.

B- Let us start! I say, "Let the one who is right win." And I want you to listen to these words well. There are two different verses (signs) of Allah Almighty. The first one is the Quranic verses that come from His attribute of kalam. The second one is the verses (signs) created in this universe, which we call the book of the universe and which come from His attribute of power. Everything, from a bird to stars and from a butterfly to galaxies, is a sign of this second book: “the book of the universe”.

We cannot understand these signs in the universe, which is the second book, through our own mind; we need teachers to teach us the book of the universe.

For example, we refer to astronomers for signs like the sun, moon, stars, and galaxies written on the page of the sky and we learn from them what we wonder. We do not start to examine them by taking the telescope right away; and we do not judge based on our thoughts.

We also refer to marine scientists for fish, waves, corals, and other signs written in the sea and ask them about the facts related to them. We do not put on a diving suit and dive in the sea.

For the other signs written on the page of the earth, we refer to physicists, geographers, doctors, in short, the specialists of those scientists; and we need their knowledge.

Similarly, we have to refer to the specialists and scholars and we need them in order to understand the verses of the Quran, which is the first book, and the hadiths of the Prophet. The position of a person who tries to understand the Quran, which is the first book, without using those scholars as a guide is the same as that of a person who tries to understand the universe, which is the second book, without using scientists as a guide. Both of them will be wrong; they will decide based on their own thoughts.

A- You speak very persuasively and I think you are playing mind games. You almost convinced me with what you said. However, as I told you at the beginning, it is not easy to convince me.

B- There was a golden rule between us. The rule was as follows: Mind and conscience would be a referee between us. We would not oppose each other stubbornly regarding an issue that mind and conscience accepted.

A- Just a minute; you go too fast. Tell me what you said again; I will listen to you by using my mind and my conscience as the referee.

B- I say that we refer to scientists in order to understand the signs written in this book of the universe and we accept what they say because they have the right to speak regarding the issue. For example, a person who has not studied astronomy thinks that the sun is as big as an apple but an astronomer knows that the sun is bigger than the earth 1,300,000 times.

When a person who has not studied medical science looks at blood, he sees only something red but a doctor can see red blood cells, white blood cells and thrombocytes.

Similarly, when a person who has not studied engineering looks at a river, he sees only water but an engineer can see the dam behind it and the potential electric power in it.

When a person who is not aware of botany looks at a flower, he sees only the apparent beauty of it but a botanist can see the secrets inside that flower and write a book about it.

It is possible to increase the examples. The common point of all these examples is as follows: We can understand very few of the signs which Allah wrote in the book of the universe with His pen of power; therefore, we apply to a specialist of that science to reach the true knowledge.

Why do we not refer to a specialist in order to understand the verses of the Quran, which is the first book and regard it odd though we refer to a specialist in order to understand the signs written in the book of the universe? Is it not really strange that man who needs a guide even for the smallest worldly affair thinks that he does not need a guide and a teacher in order to understand the religion, which is the biggest thing in the world?

A- You are really pushing me and you are speaking logically. However, I will not surrender to you easily and be defeated immediately. Yes, you spoke nicely and logically. I accept that. However, you said: We refer to experts in order to understand the signs in the book of the universe. Why should we not do the same thing in order to understand the verses of the Quran?

In response to this, I say: I can deduce my own decree. I am an expert on this. The scholars of four madhhabs deduced decrees from the Quran and hadiths. The sources are obvious; so, I can do it myself.

B- A person cannot an expert by saying I am an expert. I want to ask you a question before we see whether you are a specialist or not:

A pharmacist makes drugs from flowers. Is it reasonable to climb mountains saying, "All drugs are made from flowers. Why should we buy them from a pharmacist’s"?

Yes, drugs are made from flowers and plants. This is true. However, it is necessary to study chemistry for years and to become a pharmacist, a specialist, a chemist. A person who tries to make drugs with the flowers he collects from the mountain without knowing chemistry will only harm himself.

Likewise, we have to learn the decrees of the Quran and the Sunnah, which are our spiritual drugs, and take them from mujtahid scholars, who are - so to speak -  the pharmacists of this issue. For, this knowledge was bestowed on them. That is, a person who decrees based on what he finds by leaving four madhhabs aside is like a person climbing the mountain to make drugs. Do you think this person is intelligent?

Or, this person is like a person who says, "All laws are available in the constitution book. If I read this book from the beginning to the end, I will become a professor of the constitution. I will not need to listen to the constitution professors anymore. "

Yes. This statement is meaningless; a person cannot become a professor of the constitution only by reading the constitution book. Similarly, a person cannot become a mujtahid by reading the translation of the Quran.

Or, this person is like a person who says, "I will discover the laws of physics on my own. I do not need to imitate Einstein and other physicists. They are humans like me. They used numerals and made calculations. I can do the same calculations using the same numerals and obtain the right results."

These are some true parts in this statement. Yes, Einstein is a human like him and he made calculations using numerals in his profession. What is wrong in this is that this person assumes that he is as talented as Einstein. The evidence that he is not as talented as Einstein is that history does not mention more than a few Einsteins. If it were so easy to be an Einstein, there would be thousands of people like Einstein. So, what matters is not numbers. What matters is obtaining the best results using those numerals.

Similarly, what matters is not reading the Quranic verses or hadiths. What matters is to deduce the right decree the Quran and hundreds of thousands of hadiths. This special talent was given to Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi, Imam Malik, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and similar scholars.

You could be a good fiqh or tafsir scholar but you can never be a mujtahid. You can never reach the level of Abu Hanifa and the scholars like him. For, Allah bestowed something different upon them. It is not a talent that they obtained by working, but it is a gift of Allah.

A- I see that you are a hard nut to crack. I confess that I have difficulty in finding answers to what you say. I did not guess that this discussion would be so difficult. How do you find so many words?

B- You and people like you who do not accept madhhabs think that we have no words to say and no evidence to defend our case. That is why you think you are right. However, you should know that we have many words and irrefutable proofs regarding every issue that we defend. No matter what issue is in question regarding our profession, we will defeat, convince or silence our opponent.

A- However, it is hard to catch me. If you close a hole, I will escape from another hole. If you answer one question, I will come up with another.

B- If your skill is to escape from one hole to another, my skill is to close every hole. Let us see if you can find a hole to escape at the end of this discussion?

A- Now I have entered a hole and I am asking you the following question: I am also a scholar. Why should I not make ijtihad? What do I not have that they have?

B- Look how I will close the hole you are in now. However, listen carefully and use your mind and conscience as the referee! Here is the answer to your question:

The nature of truth is the same but its manifestations in individuals are different. For example, the fly also flies, but not like an eagle. Wheat also produces ears, but not like a tree. The mirror also shows the sun, but not like the ocean.

Just like these examples, the manifestations of the truth of ilm (knowledge) in individuals are different. Its manifestations on people like Abu Hanifa and the scholars similar to him are not the same as its manifestations on us in this century. Yes, both of them are ilm but there are great differences.

It is similar to this: Mathematics is taught in elementary school but engineers do not graduate from elementary school. For, the mathematics taught in elementary school is not enough for engineering. This century is elementary school compared to that century. Science is taught; scholars are raised but mujtahids are not raised. For, the elementary school of this century is not suitable for raising mujtahids. We will mention later what an unmatched ability mujtahid scholars have and why it is not possible to reach them. For now, I do not open this door and tell you only this: We apply to specialists in order to obtain correct information about the material world and the things in it; similarly, we have to apply to the specialists of the religion in order to reach correct information in religious issues. These specialists are mujtahid scholars.

A- You said a lot of things but I still do not understand why I cannot make ijtihad. What prevents it?

B- What prevents it is your inability to do this. Now I will tell you why you cannot make ijtihad from a different aspect. Your obstinacy will probably end after this.  

I am also a scholar. Why cannot I make ijtihad?

A- You uttered many things but I still do not understand this: “Why cannot I make ijtihad?”

B- What prevents it is your inability to do it. Now I will tell why you cannot make ijtihad from a different viewpoint. You will probably give up your stubbornness this way.  

In each profession, there are titles expressing ‘accumulation of knowledge’. Concepts like assistant, doctor, assistant professor, associate professor and professor are titles expressing accumulation of knowledge and competence of knowledge. Just as there are such titles in every profession so too are there titles showing levels and degrees of fiqh scholars in the science of fiqh. Each title indicates the level of knowledge of the fiqh scholar in that level. These titles and levels of knowledge are divided into seven. These levels are as follows:  

1- The level of Mujtahid fish-shar: This is the level of the scholars who are absolute mujtahids. These scholars introduced methods and rules in order to deduce decrees from the Quran, Sunnah, ijma (consensus) and qiyas (analogy), which are the four evidences; and they deduced decrees from them according to the rules they introduced. Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi, Imam Malik and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal are the scholars in this level.

The 2nd level is the level of Mujtahid fil-madhhab: They are the scholars who are mujtahids in madhhab. In other words, they did not introduce methods and rules in order to deduce decrees but they deduced decrees according to the rules introduced by madhhab imams based on the four evidences. Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad and similar scholars are in this level.

A- Do you mean Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad could not determine the rules of ijtihad and they imitated Abu Hanifa in ijtihad methodology?

B- Yes. Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad, the great scholars of Hanafi madhhab, imitated Abu Hanifa and made ijtihad according to the methods and rules he introduced. What did you think? Did you think it was very easy?

The 3rd level of fiqh scholars is the level of mujtahid fil-masala: They are scholars who can make ijtihad only in some issues. They deduce decrees according to the methods and principles of the madhhab related to the issues that the imam of the madhhab did not mention and make ijtihad. However, it is necessary to deduce this decree according to the rules of the madhhab. Imam Tahawi, Ahmad b. Umar, Imam Sarakhsi and similar scholars are in this level of the science of fiqh.

A- Do you mean Imam Sarakhsi cannot make ijtihad about an issue about which the imam of the madhhab made ijtihad?

B- Yes, that is right. Even a well-known scholar like Imam Sarakhsi, who is known as "Shams al-Aimma", that is, "Sun of the Imams", cannot put forward his own idea and cannot make ijtihad related to an issue about which the imam of the maddhab made ijtihad. He can make ijtihad according to the methods and principles determined by the imam of the madhhab only related to an issue about which the imam did not mention and make ijtihad. This religion has been maintained with this sensitivity. Would this religion have been maintained like this if everyone had decreed based on his own view? How do you and people like you dare to make ijtihad though Imam Sarakhsi, who is known as "Sun of the Imams", could not make ijtihad and could not act contrarily to the imam of the madhhab?  

The 4th level of fiqh scholars is the level of Ashab at-takhrij: They are scholars who are not in the level of ijtihad but who explain only a short and closed decree of muqtahids. They did not deduce decrees from evidences. Abu Bakr Ahmed b. Ali ar-Razi, known by the nickname al-Jassas, is a scholar in this level. Yes, the famous scholar al-Jassas is only a muqallid, that is, a scholar who imitated the imam of the madhhab and who could not make ijtihad. I wonder if you are more knowledgeable than al-Jassas since you dare to do something that he could not do. You should know that this daring comes from your ignorance and the courage given by your ignorance.

A- I have difficulty in understanding. Why could al-Jassas not do something that I can do easily? Why did he follow the imam of a madhhab?

B- He did not and could not do it because he knew his place. He did not overstep the limits. And he was afraid of being exposed to the wrath of Allah by making mistakes. For this reason, he left the task of making ijtihad to the fiqh scholars in the first three levels, who were more competent than him. However, you and people like you do not know your place and you are not worried that you could make mistakes and be exposed to the wrath of Allah. You speak based on your own thoughts and you think you are superior to scholars like al-Jassas.  

The 5th level of fiqh scholars is the level of Ashab at-tarjih: They are scholars who can choose among one of the several narrations reported from mujtahids. They are muqallids. Muqallid means a person who imitates. The scholars of Ashab at-tarjih did not make ijtihad in fiqh decrees; they imitated imams of madhhabs and acted based on their ijtihads. Their quality is that they can choose one of the several ijtihads made related to the same issue. That is, if there were a few opinions related to an issue, they could act based on the one that they preferred among those views. Abul Hasan Quduri and similar scholars are in this level. Just think about it: A scholar like Abul Hasan Quduri cannot make ijtihad and can only prefer one of the different views. How can you make ijtihad so easily and speak so blatantly?

The 6th level of fiqh scholars is Ashab at-tamyiz: Those who are in this level are also muqallid and are subject to a madhhab imam. Their quality is that they can list and write various narrations about an issue according to their strength. They do not include any rejected narrations in their books.

As for the 7th level of fiqh scholars, it is the level of Ashab al-fatwa: I want you to pay particular attention to this level. The scholars in this level are muqallids who can distinguish weak narrations from strong ones and they are also subject to a madhhab imam. They are considered as fiqh scholars because they understand what they read very well and they explain it to other muqallids who cannot understand them. That is, the reason why they are called fiqh scholars is that they can understand the works of the mujtahids very well. They cannot make ijtihad.

After explaining these seven levels of the mujtahids in his work entitled “Hukuk-u İslamiye ve Istılahat-ı Fıkhiye Kamusu”, Ömer Nasuhi mentions Ibn Abidin as a scholar in the seventh layer. Ibn Abidin is one of the greatest Hanafi fiqh scholars of the ninth century; he wrote a book of six volumes called “Raddul-Muhtar”; each volume consists of more than nine hundred pages.

In other words, Ibn Abidin, who is one of the great fiqh scholars of the ninth century and who is the writer of the book called “Raddul-Muhtar”, which all of the fiqh scholars of today use as  resource book, is only a muqallid and cannot make ijtihad; he imitates Abu Hanifa and is subject to him about fiqh issues.

In that case, how can you make ijtihad, which Ibn Abidin cannot make, though you cannot read and understand the book he wrote?

You can understand how difficult to make ijtihad is through the following examples:

Sheikh al-Islam Abus-Suud Efendi, who is well-known with his nickname "the mufti of people and jinn", states the following about Imam al-Ghazali, who is famous for his nickname “Hujjatul-Islam”, that is, “Islam’s Evidence: “It is not permissible to rely on the statements of Imam Ghazali and similar scholars, who are not mujtahid, related to the issues of ijtihad."

Just think about it: a scholar like Imam Ghazali, who is called “Hujjatul-Islam cannot make ijtihad but becomes subject to Imam Shafi and accepts his madhhab related to fiqh issue. And Abus-Suud said says, "If Imam Ghazali utters a statement that is contrary to his own madhhab, it is not permissible to rely on it."

Now I ask you: even a great scholar like Imam Ghazali, who is regarded as the sun of the century he lived in, cannot make ijtihad and becomes subject to Imam Shafi; how can you and people like you want to make ijtihad and regard yourselves competent to make ijtihad? Are you a better scholar than Imam Ghazali since you try to do something that Imam Ghazali could not do?

Jalaluddin Suyuti memorized 200,000 hadiths. He met the Prophet (pbuh) 70 times in the realm of yaqaza (wakefulness). In other words, the Prophet (pbuh) became a guest of Jalaluddin Suyuti for 70 times after his death and became visible to him. What kind of a rank does Jalaluddin Suyuti have since he attained the honor of talking to the Prophet 70 times?  In addition, he wrote four hundred works in various branches of ilm (science). When such a person wanted to make ijtihad, the scholars of that century prevented him from making ijtihad by saying, "The era of ijtihad passed; you are not able capable of making ijtihad."

Now I am asking you again: how dare you try to make ijtihad though Jalaluddin Suyuti, who memorized 200,000 hadiths with their chains of narrators, who is a writer of 400 different works, and who talked to the Prophet while he was awake 70 times could not make ijtihad? Do you think you are a better scholar than Suyuti? There were 200,000 hadiths in his memory. Do you have 200 hadiths in your memory? You and people like you cannot even understand the works of Suyuti. How can you catch up with him and be superior to him? A person who thinks he is superior to him decrees with his own view and becomes superior to him in his imagination. In fact, in a place where you are drowned, Jalaluddin Suyuti’s heels do not even get wet.

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi describes the difficulty of ijtihad as follows: "It is a rule of methodology that if a person who is not a fiqh scholar is a mujtahid in fiqh methodology (usul al-fiqh), he is not regarded as reliable in consensus of fiqh because he is regarded as ordinary compared to them."

Let me explain this statement a bit. In fact, you are a great scholar; you have probably understood it but I will simplify and explain it. Fiqh methodology is a deep science that teaches the methods and rules of fiqh. It takes a lifetime to learn this science, let alone being a mujtahid in it. However, even if a person attains the rank of ijtihad in this science with a special talent bestowed on him, he cannot issue fatwas, cannot deduce decrees from four evidences and his statements are not regarded as reliable.  Nursi’s following statement is also significant: "He is regarded as ordinary compared to them." The original word he uses lexically means illiterate person. So, even if he is a mujtahid in fiqh methodology, he is considered as an illiterate child compared to madhhab imams.

If mujtahids of fiqh methodology are like illiterate children compared to madhhab imams, what will the rank of you and people like you who are unaware of fiqh methodology be? How can you fulfill the task of deducing decrees from four evidences, which cannot be done even by a mujtahid of fiqh methodology?

Once, somebody said, "They say there cannot be a prayer without wudu, but I did it (I performed a prayer without wudu)." In fact, only you think you did it but it is not accepted. You think you make ijtihad just like this man. You say, "I made ijtihad." However, it is impossible. What you say has no value. You think you are making ijtihad but what you are actually doing is throwing yourself into fire.

A- Who identified these seven levels? I do not accept them. I do not have to accept them.

B- Then I will ask you a question: Who identified the titles like assistant, doctor, associate professor and professor?

A- The academicians dealing with educational affairs must have determined them.  

B- Do you mean the relevant experts and specialists determined them?

A- Yes, probably.

B- Have you objected to these titles so far? Or have you ever seen anyone objecting to them?

A- No, I have not objected and I have not seen anyone objecting to them.

B- Suppose that you saw something like this: An illiterate person said, "Who determined these titles? I do not recognize them. I am a professor too. I do not have to undergo the training they determined in order to obtain the title of professor. I regard myself as a professor. This acceptance is enough for me." What would you say to a person like that?

A- In fact, I would not even answer these ridiculous words; I would only laugh. It is nonsensical to say anything to a person who utters so much nonsense. He cannot even read and write but he declares himself a professor. I would not say anything to this man and leave him alone, saying he is mad.

B- Are you any different from this man? You are the same. He denies the accumulation of knowledge required for titles such as doctors, associate professors and professors, and declares himself a professor. You deny the levels of fiqh scholars and accept yourself as a mujtahid. In fact, you do not regard being a mujtahid enough; you even claim to be in one of the first three levels that can make ijtihad.

It is possible to understand the person who accepts himself as a professor in a way though he is not a professor. For, the title of professorship is not a title that is obtained with great difficult. However, it is very difficult to understand people like you. For, there is a distance as far as the distance between the earth and the sky between the level where you see yourself and the real position of your level. Your position looks like that of a cricket which thinks it is the sun!

A- Come off it and tell me about the Quran. Are madhhabs mentioned in the Quran?

The verses of the Quran that order to follow a madhhab – 1

A- Come off it and tell me about the Quran. Are madhhabs mentioned in the Quran?

B- You always act like that. When you are pushed in the corner, you start to say, “Does it exist in the Quran?” I will ask you something: Does everything have to be in the Quran? If something is not in the Quran, is it not accepted? If so, I want to ask you: Are the numbers of rak’ahs mentioned in the Quran? For instance, how many rak’ahs is the fard of the morning prayer and how should it be performed? Can you show it to me in the Quran?

The Quran says give zakah. Can you show me in the Quran from what goods and at what rate does zakah need to be given? For instance, what is the rate of zakah for honey? What is the rate of zakah for cereals? What is the rate of zakah for camels? Can you show me these and other issues about zakah in the Quran? No, because these things about zakah are not mentioned in the Quran. Should we determine a criterion about zakah since the Quran does not mention it or should we learn it from the Sunnah?

I can increase the examples and even give you more than one thousand examples. What I mean is that the Quran is not the only source of Islam. Along with the Quran, the Sunnah, consensus (ijma) and analogy (qiyas) are also evidences in Islam.

What do you want to find in the Quran when you say, "Are madhhabs mentioned in the Quran?" In other words, do you expect Allah Almighty to order one of the four madhhabs to His slaves? Or do you expect Him to give an order by mentioning Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi and others by saying, "O my slaves! Follow Abu Hanifa! Follow Imam Shafi!" Do you expect this?

You are so ignorant about the spirit of the Quran and its purpose of revelation! If you understood some of the wisdom of the purpose of revelation of the Quran, you would not ask a question like "Are madhhabs mentioned in the Quran?"

A- Do you speak so because you could not show madhhabs in the Qur'an? I repeat the same thing: Show me madhhabs in the Qur'an. Otherwise, I will not accept madhhabs.

B- My brother! The Quran does not mention madhhabs and imams of madhhabs clearly. However, the Qur'an teaches us the principles that we will act upon and that surround every moment of our lives. I understand that you are unaware of these principles. And you think that I do not know about the Quran, and that you will push me to the corner with the Quran. Then, I will speak to you with the language of the Quran and its principles. Let us see how much you know about these principles of the Quran!

The following is stated in verse 58 of the chapter of an-Nisa: “Allah doth command you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due.” We are ordered to give trusts to the people to whom they are due. This is a principle that applies to all of our affairs. Since Allah ordered us to give each trust to the people to whom they are due, the question to which we have to search for and find an answer is this: It is a trust to deduce decrees from the Book and Sunnah and to give a fatwa - that is, to make ijtihad - about an issue. Who is the person to whom this trust needs to be given? And to whom will this trust be given?

Now I ask you:

  • A person who memorizes one hundred thousand hadiths with their chains of narrators is called a hafiz of hadith. Are imams of madhhabs whom hafizes of hadith follow related to fiqh issues qualified people of trust or ignorant people like you who have not memorized even one hundred hadiths let alone one hundred thousand?  
  • Are the scholars who are in the first three layers of fiqh scholars, (mujtahid fi-shar, mujtahid fil-madhhab and mujtahid fil-masala) qualified people of trust in deducing decrees from evidences or brave ignorant people like you who are not even aware of the levels of fiqh scholars?
  • Are the imams of four madhhab, whom the scholars like Imam Ghazali, Imam Rabbani, al-Jassas and Imam Suyuti, who came in each century and enlightened their centuries with their knowledge and taqwa followed, qualified people of trust or people like you who are deprived of taqwa and knowledge?
  • Imam Malik was a person who was adherent to the Sunnah very much. He showed great respect to the Prophet (pbuh). Even when he was old, he did not mount any animal in Madinah and would say, "I cannot ride an animal in this city where the Prophet of Allah is buried. I would feel ashamed if I traveled riding an animal on the land where the body of the Messenger of Allah is buried." When he narrated a hadith, he would make wudu first, put on clean and new clothes, wear a nice perfume; then, he would narrate the hadith respectfully and solemnly. Is a person having such good manners qualified for fatwa or people like you who are deprived of good manners?
  • Imam Malik acted very carefully so that the people from whom he narrated hadiths should be reliable, ascetic, pious and qualified people of hadith. He expressed his sensitivity in this regard as follows: "I have seen seventy people under these columns (he pointed to the columns of Masjid an-Nabawi) saying, 'The Prophet (pbuh) said this and that.' I have not received anything from any of them. They were probably reliable enough to entrust the Treasury but none of them were competent enough to report hadiths." Is Imam Malik, who was so meticulous in accepting and reporting hadiths, qualified for ijtihad or you and people like you who are unaware of the science of hadith?

Now tell me this: The Quran orders us to entrust things to qualified people. Who are the qualified people for ijtihad?

A- I want a clear Quranic verse from you. You show me the verse that mentions entrusting things to qualified people. Is that verse about madhhabs?

B- I told you at the beginning directly that it was not about madhhabs. However, it is a principle and it applies to all trusts. Even organs like the eye, tongue and mind are things entrusted to us. To give them to qualified people means to use them so that they will fulfill their original duty.

A- Show me another verse. I have not been satisfied with that. Do you have another verse to show me?

B- I will show you another one but before I show it, I will tell you the same thing. The verse does not have to mention directly to follow a madhhab. We may and we must apply the general principles of the verses in the issue of madhhab along with other issues in our lives. That is the purpose of the revelation of the Quran.

The following is stated in verse 110 of the chapter of Aal-i Imran: “Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah.”

In the verse above, this ummah and the scholars of this ummah are described by Allah as the people who enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. In that case, what this ummah order unanimously must be good and what they forbid unanimously must be bad. It cannot be otherwise. In other words, they cannot forbid what is right and enjoin what is wrong. For, it is contrary to the statement of the Quranic verse, which is not possible.

Since whatever this ummah, and especially its scholars, orders is good and whatever they forbid is evil, having no madhhab must be haram and following a madhhab must be wajib. For, the scholars of this ummah have forbidden having no madhhab stating that it is a bad thing and ordered us to follow a madhhab for 14 centuries. Now let us quote some of those statements:

Imam Ghazali states the following: A person who is not a mujtahid must be subject to a madhhab imam. It is not permissible for muqallids, that is, those who cannot deduce decrees from the Quran and hadiths, to act contrarily to the decrees of the imam of the madhhab that they imitate and follow. There is no one stating that they can. Such a person has to follow the imam in all aspects. If he opposes the imam of his madhhab, it is a bad deed and he becomes a sinner because of this opposition. There are no mujtahids among the people who live in this century. Those who are not mujtahids respond to the questions they are asked only by transferring the answers from the imam of the madhhab. It is not permissible for a person to act contrarily to the ijtihad of his madhhab imam.  

Ahmad bin Muhammad Tahtawi states the following: A person who moves away from what fiqh scholars say for a hand span goes astray. The way of salvation is in four madhhabs called Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah. These four madhhabs are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi and Hanbali. A person who does not follow one of these four true madhhabs becomes a person of bid'ah and goes to Hell.

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi states the following: Let your qiblah be the four madhhabs in your prayer of truth.

Abdulghani Nablusi states the following: It is not permissible today to follow any madhabs other than the four madhhabs. For, to follow any madhabs other than the four madhhabs means to abandon consensus, which is not permissible.

Imam Rabbani states the following: To abandon madhhabs and to be without a madhab is unbelief. A person who abandons one of the four madhhabs removes the rope of Islam from his neck.

Ibn Malak says: All of the Muslims living today are muqallids. In other words, they are people of taqlid and have follow a madhhab. No matter how knowledgeable a muqallid is, he cannot make ijtihad. However, they can only report the decrees of mujtahids.

Ibn Abidin and Shawahidul-Haqq state the following: Islamic scholars unanimously state that a scholar who could make ijtihad alone was not born after the fourth century. Now all Muslims have to follow one of the four madhhabs. For, there is no scholar who can understand the Quran and all of the hadiths and who can deduce decrees from them today. If a person follows a madhhab, it means he follows the Quran and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah.

When the great scholar Jalaluddin Suyuti said he was a mujtahid, his contemporary scholars asked Suyuti a question: "The previous scholars gave two different answers about this issue. A person who is in the lowest level of ijtihad can choose one of them. If you are a mujtahid, choose one of them and inform us about it.” Suyuti feared Allah and felt worried that he could not choose the right one; he could not dare to choose one.

Thereupon, Ibn Hajar said: Since it is so difficult to prefer between two hadiths, which is the lowest level of ijtihad, it should be understood that it is impossible to become an absolute mujtahid. 

Sheikh al-Islam Zakariyya says: If the imams of madhhabs had not explained the ambiguous hadiths and verses, we could not have understood any of them or we would have misunderstood them.

In his book called Bariqa, the great scholar Muhammad Hadimi, says: "There are four religious evidences as the Book, Sunnah, consensus and analogy only for the mujtahid scholars at the level of ijtihad. The evidence for muqallids, that is, those who are not mujtahids, is the decree of the madhhab they follow and the view of the imam of the madhhab. For, muqallids cannot deduce decrees from verses and hadiths.

Imam Shafi states the following: May Allah damn those who do not like Abu Hanifa’s views and ijtihads! For, all mujtahids are like the children of Abu Hanifa.

Tajuddin Subki says: It is necessary to show respect to the imams of madhhab, who are the inheritors of the Prophets. A person who talks against the imams of the religion moves toward destruction. All of their statements are based on evidence.

Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari says: Having no madhhab is a bridge to having no religion.

Tahtawi states the following: Only four of the tens of Ahl as-Sunnah madhhabs were recorded; the others were partly forgotten. Those who are not mujtahids have to follow one of these four madhhabs in all of their deeds and worshipping.

Abdurrahman Silhati and Imam Nablusi state the following: To imitate a madhhab does not mean to deviate from the Book and the Sunnah. On the contrary, to follow what the madhhab imam knows from the Book and the Sunnah means to follow the Book and the Sunnah.

It would be a separate book if we were to quote all of the statements regarding the issue. For, all scholars stated over 14 centuries that it was necessary to be subject to a madhhab and that it was not permissible to have no madhhab. I find these quotations enough so as not to lengthen the issue any longer and now I say to you:

It is stated in verse 110 of the chapter of Aal-i Imran that this ummah was evolved as the best of peoples for mankind and that the main reason for being the best ummah is enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong. That is, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong is a characteristic of this ummah. And this ummah will never agree unanimously on something wrong as the Prophet puts it: "My ummah will never agree unanimously on wrong things." In that case, We can reason as follows:  

  • As the Quran puts it, the characteristic of this ummah is enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong.
  • As the Prophet (pbuh) puts it, this ummah will never agree unanimously on wrong things.
  • Therefore, an issue that is agreed on unanimously will be right, not wrong.

And since the issue that is agreed on unanimously will be right, being subject to a madhhab must also be right. For, all of the Islamic scholars agreed on this issue and they all said that it was necessary to be subject to a madhhab. In addition, even those great scholars who knew a hundred thousand hadiths with their chains of narrators themselves imitated those great imams of madhhabs by being subject to a madhhab.

A- Your explanations are reasonable; I accept them. However, the relationship you established with the verse is distant in my opinion. It cannot be proved that it is necessary to be subject to a madhhab only by the characteristic of this ummah enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong.

B- I do not say, "This verse is only about madhhabs." I say this: This verse states that what this ummah, and especially the scholars of this ummah, orders unanimously is good and what they forbid unanimously is evil. Now you can use it related to any issue you wish. A short way to find out what is good and what is bad is to look at the alliance of the ummah. That is, if the whole ummah says something is bad, that thing cannot be good. If they say it is good, it cannot be bad. The scholars of this ummah say having no madhhab is bad. Something that they unanimously agree to be bad cannot be good. That is what I say.

A- I think the relationship you established is still distant. What you say is reasonable but indirect. You should show me a stronger verse.

B- I can show you more verses. However, I warn you again: I do not say that this verse was sent down about madhhabs. I say when we look at the issue in the light of the principle declared by this verse, it becomes clear that it is necessary to be subject to a madhhab. Do not accuse me of misinterpreting the verses.

The verses of the Quran that order to follow a madhhab – 2

The following is stated in verse 7 of the chapter of Aal-i Imran: “…but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge...”

The word mutashabih mentioned in the verse means verses whose meanings are hidden and that have a meaning different from its apparent meaning.

The word rasikh lexically means deep knowledge in science, soundness, being fully constant and settling.

It is stated in the verse that the meaning of the mutashabih part of the Quran can only be known by Allah and rasikhun (those who are firmly grounded in knowledge) and that the others will not be able to understand the mutashabih part of the Quran. In that case, we can say that the only way to understand the mutashabih part of the Quran is to be firmly grounded in knowledge or to apply to those who are firmly grounded in knowledge.

Imam Rabbani explains being rasikh in knowledge as follows: “Rasikh scholars have satisfied their souls fully and hence attained the truth of shari’ah, which consists of following and being subject to the Prophet (pbuh). This perfection does not exist in others. We will explain one sign of being rasikh here so that those who know apparent meanings will not claim to be rasikh and will not think that their evil-commanding soul is satisfied soul. A rasikh scholar has a great share in the interpretation and explanation of the mutashabih part of the Book and the Sunnah. Besides, they have a great share in the secrets of the muqatta’a letters at the beginning of some chapters of the Quran.

It means those who are rasikh are the people who reach the cores of sciences with their knowledge and deeds, and who combine the knowledge they obtain by studying with the secret knowledge given by Allah.

Many statements and explanations were made about being rasikh in ilm (knowledge). I find the explanation above enough so as not to lengthen the issue and want to deal with the part of the verse that indicates following and being subject to madhhab imams. 

Attention is attracted to two issues in the verse above:

1- The existence of the mutashabih part in the Quran,

2- The meaning of this mutashabih part being known only by Allah and those who are firmly grounded (rasikh) in knowledge.

Now I ask you this question: Since the Quran has a mutashabih part and since only Allah knows and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge can understand it, are you one of those who are firmly grounded in knowledge? If you are not – it is clear that you are not – what will you do in order to understand this mutashabih part?

The only thing you can do is to apply to those who are firmly grounded in knowledge. If you do not apply to rasikh people and if you try to understand the meaning of the mutashabih part of the Quran yourself, you will not understand it or you will misunderstand it, ruining yourself. For, Allah states that only those who are rasikh in knowledge can understand it. We explained the meaning of being rasikh in knowledge above; you are definitely not one of them.  

In addition to the mutashabih part of the Quran, there are also mutashabih hadiths. They are more than the mutashabih verses in the Quran. In that case, it is necessary to do the same thing as we do about the verses, that is, to apply to rasikh scholars to understand the mutashabih hadiths and learn the real meaning of them from those scholars.

Since it has become clear that we, who are not rasikh in knowledge, have to apply to those who are rasikh in knowledge in order to understand the mutashabih parts of the Quran and hadiths, I want to ask you the following questions:

  • Is Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, who memorized one million hadiths with their chains of narrators rasikh in knowledge, or you and people like you, who have not memorized even a hundred hadiths?
  • Are madhhab imams who know the terminological and lexical meanings of the Quran and their parts like khass, amm, mushtarak, sarikh, kinaya, zahir, nass, khafiyy, mushkil, mutashabih, dall bil-ibare, dall bil-iqtida, dall bil-ishara, nasikh and Mansukh are rasikh scholars or you, who can only read the Quran?
  • Is Imam Muhammad, who is intelligent enough to memorize the whole Quran in a week, rasikh in knowledge, or you who have not memorized even ten pages of the Quran?
  • Is Imam Shafi, who is a genius that covers the page next to the page that he reads and when they ask him why he does so says he memorizes the whole page when his eye catches the sight of it, is rasikh or you who forget things easily and who forget the food you eat one day before let alone memorizing what you read and not forgetting what you memorize?
  • Is Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, who learned the knowledge that could be learned in forty years only in three months when he was ten years old and who memorized 90 books word by word, rasikh in knowledge or you ignorant people, who have difficulty in understanding a book you read?
  • Is Abu Hanifa, who is like the father of all fiqh scholars as Imam Shafi puts it, rasikh in knowledge or you poor people, who regard insulting great scholars as a sign of perfection?

It is possible to increase the questions. The only answer we give to those questions is this: The four madhhab imams and the scholars that follow their path are rasikh in knowledge. And we learn the mutashabih parts of both the Quran and hadiths from them.

A- Your questions brought me to my senses but there is a lot more for me to surrender. What you say is logical but I want to see a verse that orders to follow a madhhab more clearly. I think you do not know such a verse. Therefore, you beat about the bush.

B- There are several verses but I see that you want to see the name of Abu Hanifa and the other imams in the Quran. You say you will not accept if you do not see them. I have already told you that it is impossible. Your purpose is not to learn but to deny by obstinacy. There was a golden rule between us. We were not supposed to oppose by obstinacy related to the things that the mind and conscience accept. Do your mind and logic not accept what I tell you?  

A- They do… If they were clearer, they would accept more easily.

B- Then, I will show you a clearer verse:

The verses of the Quran that order to follow a madhhab – 3

The following is stated in verse 115 of the chapter of an-Nisa: “If anyone contends with the Messenger even after guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that of believers, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell,- what an evil refuge!”

Imam Shafi showed this verse as an evidence that ijma (the unanimous agreement of Islamic scholars on an issue: consensus) is an evidence in shari’ah  and that it is haram to oppose a decree about which there is ijma. Imam Shafi explains how this verse is an evidence for ijma as follows:  

As this verse states, it is forbidden and haram “to follow a path other than that of believers”. In that case, it must be wajib to follow the way of believers. Besides, Allah Almighty threatens believers against two things by this verse:

1- To oppose the Messenger of Allah,

2- to follow a path other than that of believers.

In that case, it is understood that to oppose the Prophet and “to follow a path other than that of believers” is a reason for threat alone. Thus, it becomes definite that it is haram to oppose a decree on which there is unanimous disagreement, that is, ijma, and that it is wajib to follow ijma. For, the expression “not to follow the path of believers” means “to follow a path other than that of believers”; since it is haram to follow a path other than that of believers, it becomes wajib to follow the way of believers, that is, ijma. For, it is impossible to go beyond these two opposites.

Since this verse is a clear evidence that ijma is an evidence of shari’ah and that it is not possible to oppose Islamic scholars regarding an issue on which Islamic scholars unanimously agree, having no madhhab must be haram. For, Islamic scholars unanimously agree that the Muslims who are not mujtahids have to follow a madhhab. I quoted some of their statements before. There is no disagreement among the scholars regarding the issue. No Islamic scholar advised having no madhhab; the scholars that enlightened the centuries in which they lived like the sun like Imam Ghazali, Imam Rabbani, Imam Sarakhsi, who is well-known with the nickname the Sun of Imams, and Imam Qurtubi followed a madhhab imam related to fiqh issues and became subject to that imam.

You have to do one of the two things to be able to deny the obligation of following a madhhab:

Firstly, you have to prove that ijma is not an evidence. For, if you cannot prove it, you will have to accept that ijma is an evidence of shari’ah. Since there is an ijma of Islamic scholars on following a madhhab, to accept ijma means to accept to follow a madhhab. This shows that having no madhhab is opposition to ijma and hence it is not permissible.

It is not possible for you to do it, that is, to deny that ijma is an evidence of shari’ah. For, it is wajib to act in accordance with ijma as the verse we have interpreted and the other verses and hadiths indicate. Nobody can refute the statement of those verses and hadiths. 

Since you cannot apply the first alternative, you have to follow the second way in order to be able to deny madhhabs. The second way is as follows:

You have to show an ijma on having no madhhabs. If you can do it, you can advocate having no madhhabs claiming that you follow ijma. Otherwise, you will have to accept that you oppose ijma. 

It is not possible for you to do it. For, Islamic scholars and Ahl as-Sunnah scholars have formed a great ijma agreeing unanimously regarding the issue that having no madhhab is haram for 14 centuries. Only very few ignorant people like you advocate having no madhhab.

A- I confess that the explanation you made with this verse shook me a bit. I found some ways of objecting to the explanations of the previous verses but I have nothing to say against this verse. I have been persuaded a bit but I am at the beginning of the road. You need to cope with me some more. Do you have any other verses to show?

B- Do not worry. Evidences and verses will not run out if you listen conscientiously. I hope your conscience will lead you to guidance.

The verses of the Quran that order to follow a madhhab – 4

Let me show you another verse. The following is stated in verse 59 of the chapter of an-Nisa: “O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you.”

Allah Almighty asks three kinds of obedience from us in that verse:

1. Obedience is obedience to Him.

2. Obedience is obedience to His Messenger.

3. Obedience is obedience to ulul-amr (those charged with authority).

What is meant by ulul-amr here? According to Ibn Abbas, who understands the Quran in the best way, Jabir Ibn Abdullah, Imam Mujahid, Imam Hasan, Imam Ata and many other scholars, what is meant by the phrase “ulul-amr” is scholars. Imam Qurtubi writes in his tafsir that Imam Malik holds the same view. According to Imam Dahhak, ulul-amr is the fiqh scholars who know the religion the best. Jalaluddin Suyuti, who is a great scholar that memorized 200.000 hadiths, states in his work called “Itqan” that ulul-amr is the scholars of the religion and fiqh.

A- However, there is no clear statement about who “ulul-amr” is in the verse.

B- Let me tell you about a general rule: “Regarding a controversial issue in a branch of science or art, the words of the geniuses of that science and art are valid. No matter how intelligent a person is, his view is not valid and is not taken into consideration if he is not an expert in that science or art.”

For instance, the view of a great engineer is not taken into consideration regarding a minor disease. The view of doctors is valid regarding the science of medicine and the view of an ordinary doctor is preferred to the word of a genius in another branch of science.

The scholars who understand the Quran in the best way and whose names we have mentioned and not mentioned agree unanimously that ulul-amr, whom we are ordered to obey, is religious scholars. Their view is valid regarding the issue. For, they are the geniuses of this science. The views of others against their unanimous agreement is like the buzzing of a mosquito against thunder.

Another evidence showing that ulul-amr mentioned in the verse is scholars is this: In that verse, Allah definitely orders us to obey ulul-amr. The people whom Allah definitely orders us to obey must definitely be infallible. For, if they are not infallible, it means Allah orders us to obey them even when they are wrong, which is impossible, since the order is definite. That is, the people whom Allah orders us to obey must definitely be infallible. These infallible people are either the individuals of the ummah or a group of ummah. They cannot be the individuals of the ummah because individuals cannot be infallible; besides, it is not possible for the ummah to find such rare people and to learn the religion from them; and the weakness of the ummah regarding the issue is obvious.

Therefore, the phrase ulul-amr mentioned in the verse must be a group; and this group is the group of mujtahid scholars who have the authority to issue fatwas in the ummah. Individuals might make mistakes but Islamic scholars do not agree on something wrong. Thus, it is concluded that the phrase ulul-amr mentioned in the verse is the group of scholars. In addition, the following verse also proves that scholars are called ulul-amr:

“Nor should the Believers all go forth together: if a contingent from every expedition remained behind, they could devote themselves to studies in religion, and admonish the people when they return to them,- that thus they (may learn) to guard themselves (against evil).” (at-Tawba: 122)

It is stated in this verse that scholars should admonish people and that people should guard themselves; accepting the words of scholars are rendered wajib for the people who are admonished. From this point of view, it is appropriate for scholars to be given the name ulul-amr. In conclusion, we can say that we are ordered to obey ulul-amr along with Allah and His Messenger. What is meant by ulul-amr here is the mujtahid scholars of this ummah. For,

1- A scholar like Ibn Abbas who says, “If I lose the halter of my camel, I will find it in the Quran”, a researcher like Jalaluddin Suyuti, who memorized 200.000 hadiths and hundreds and thousands of scholars like them agree unanimously that what is meant by ulul-amr is scholars; the words of others are of no value in the presence of their words. 

2- The ulul-amr to be obeyed must be infallible so that they will be obeyed. If they are not infallible, obedience in case of sins is also necessary, which is not permissible. In fact, no individual except prophets is infallible. In that case, the ulul-amr to be obeyed must be a group, not an individual. Such a group can consist of scholars only. In conclusion, obedience to scholars regarding an issue on which scholars agree is the order of the verse; and scholars agreed on the necessity of following a madhhab. 

In addition, we want to attract attention to the remaining part of the verse: The verse continues as follows: “If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger.” This divine statement proves that along with ijma (consensus), qiyas (analogy) is also right and a religious evidence:

We are ordered by the verse to refer an issue about which we differ to Allah and His Messenger. An issue about which people differ cannot have been mentioned clearly in the Quran and hadiths. For, if an issue about which people differ had been stated clearly in the Quran and hadiths, there would have been no need to disagree about it.   

The method to use in order to settle such a question is to take it to Allah and His Messenger as the verse orders it, that is, to deduce a decree by comparing it to the issues whose decrees are clearly stated in the Quran and hadiths. It means this verse orders qiyas, which means looking for an issue similar to the one whose decree is not stated among the issues whose decrees are stated and deducing a decree by comparing them.

Now, my question to you is this: Since qiyas is an evidence in shari’ah and there are many issues to be settled by qiyas, who will make qiyas? 

● Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, who memorized one million hadiths or you who have not memorized even 100 or 200 hadiths?  

● Imam Muhammad, who memorized the whole Quran in a week, Said Ibn Uyayna, who memorized the whole Quran when he was only four years old, or you who read the translation of the Quran and regard yourselves as scholars?

● Abu Hanifa, who is the father of all fiqh scholars according to the statement of Imam Shafi, or ignorant and brave people who make decrees based on their own thought without being aware of fiqh methodology and rules? Who will make qiyas? We say, “Madhab imams who are experts in this field make qiyas.” You, who are people without madhhab, say, “We can also make qiyas.” However, it is necessary to know the Quran and hadiths very well in order to make qiyas. All of the madhhab imams were geniuses who knew more than five hundred thousand hadiths with their chains of narrators. 

● How many hadiths do people who compare themselves with those imams have in their memory?

● How many hadith narrators do they know?

● Do they know about jarh and ta’dil, nasikh and mansukh, and tariq al-wurud of hadiths?

● Do they know very well about the issues that madhhab imams know very well like terminological and lexical meanings, khass, amm, mushtarak, sarikh, kinaya, zahir, nass, khafiyy, mushkil, mutashabih, dall bil-ibare, dall bil-iqtida, dall bil-ishara, nasikh and mansukh?

● Let alone knowing them very well, do you know their meaning?

How do you dare to make ijtihad though you do not know them? Are you not afraid of making a decree that Allah will not be pleased with? Are you not worried that the decree you will deduce will be contrary to hadiths and that you will oppose the Prophet? You probably get your courage from your ignorance. May Allah protect us from being ignorant like that and from following such ignorant people!

A- By Allah, I do not know what to say and how to oppose. When I started to debate with you, I thought I would easily defeat you. However, you stood against me with virtually tanks and planes, not with cannons and rifles. I have never heard about what you have mentioned. My obstinacy has ended. I want to learn more. Can you show me some other verses?

B- I definitely will.

The verses of the Quran that order to follow a madhhab – 5

The following is stated in verse 83 of the chapter of an-Nisa: “When there comes to them some matter touching (Public) safety or fear, they divulge it. If they had only referred it to the Messenger, or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have tested it from them (direct)…”

The root of the word “istinbat” translated as “the proper investigators” is “nabt”, which means the first water drawn from a well. A fiqh scholar’s making decrees from hadiths and verses by making ijtihad is likened to drawing water from a well due to its difficulty and hardship, and it is called “istinbat”.

The suffix “s” in the phrase “the proper investigators would have tested it from them” refers to ulul-amr (those charged with authority) and is an evidence for ijtihad. It means istinbat is an attribute of ulul-amr as the verse puts it, and Allah orders us to refer to ulul-amr who can make istinbat.

Those to whom issues need to be referred to, that is, ulul-amr, mentioned in the verse are scholars who own knowledge and ijtihad according to Fakhruddin ar-Razi. Ibn Abidin reported the same meaning and showed Ayni as evidence for his view.  

Fakhruddin ar-Razi says, “That verse indicates four things.” He lists them as follows:

1- It is necessary to make istinbat and ijtihad related to the issues whose decrees are not stated clearly.

2- Istinbat, that is, ijtihad, is a religious evidence.

3- The Messenger of Allah is in charge of istinbat.

4- It is wajib for ordinary people who are not mujtahids to imitate mujtahids related to fiqh decrees. For, it is clearly stated in the verse that those who are not well aware of decrees related to issues need to refer to people of istinbat, that is, mujtahid scholars.   

If you still prefer having no madhhab after these explanations and say, “I am a person of istinbat”, I will ask you the following questions:  

  • How many hadiths are there in your memory?
  • From whom did you learn these hadiths?
  • How many of the narrators in their chains do you know?
  • Do you know about jarh and ta’dil, nasikh and mansukh, and tariq al-wurud of hadiths?    

How do you dare to make istinbat and ijtihad, which scholars known as hadith hafizes who knew 100,000 hadiths with their chains of narrators, and scholars like Imam Ghazali, Imam Rabbani, Imam Sarakhsi and Jalaluddin Suyuti could not dare?

There are more verses that I can show you. However, I will not quote them so as not to bore the people who are listening to our conversation. If you want to see them too, you can enter the website seyrangah.com and examine the other verses by downloading the e-book of this work from the link below this video. 

A- I will visit that page and see the verses not because there is a doubt in my mind but because I want to strengthen my belief regarding the issue. For, I now believe that it is necessary to follow a madhhab. In fact, you persuaded me at the beginning but my obstinacy led me here. I could not accept it for a while due to my conceit. However, I surrender now and thank you for saving me from having no madhhab. However, there are many questions related to madhhabs in my mind. If you answer those questions, you will save me from this disease. 

B- Before hearing your questions, I want to quote some of the hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh). These hadiths will guide you. The Prophet insistently advised us to follow a scholar and warned us against the evils of bad scholars. Some of the hadiths regarding the issue are as follows:

  • Follow scholars! For, they are the lights of the world and the hereafter. (Daylami)
  • Scholars are guides that show the way to salvation. (I. Najjar)
  • If it were not for scholars, people would be destroyed. (Imam Mawardi)
  • Ask righteous people about what you do not know and learn from them. (Tabarani)
  • The best people are the Muslims living in my age. The best ones after them are the ones that will come after them. After that, lies will prevail; do not believe in their words and deeds. (Bukhari, Muslim)
  • A person who has the following two characteristics will be recorded among the slaves who show patience and who thanks: If a person looks at somebody who is superior to him in terms of religion and follows him and if he looks at somebody who is inferior to him in terms of the world and thanks Allah, Allah will record this person as a person who shows patience and who thanks. (Ibnul As)

The Prophet warned us against the evil of bad scholars in many hadiths. We will mention some of them:

  • Allah will remove the scholars who act in accordance with their knowledge in order to remove knowledge from you. Ignorant people will remain. They will answer the questions of those who ask about religion based on their own minds and cause people to deviate from the right path. (Bukhari)
  • At the end of time, scholars will die and ignorant people will replace them. They will issue wrong fatwas without knowing; they will go astray and cause others to go astray too. (Bukhari)
  • My ummah will be destroyed because of bad scholars and ignorant worshippers. The worst of the worst are bad scholars. The best of the best are good scholars.  (Darimi)
  • I fear from deviant imams rather than Dajjal (Anti-Christ) about you. (Imam Ahmad)
  • At the end of time, scholars and knowledge will decrease; ignorance will increase. Ignorant and heretic clerics will issue wrong fatwas, cause mischief and deviate people from the right path. (Bukhari)
  • “There will come such a time that Islam will be dominant; merchants will do business traveling overseas without fearing and cavalrymen will fight in the way of Allah. Then, a nation will emerge; they will read the Quran and say:  ‘Who can read better than us? Who are better scholars than us? Who has more fiqh knowledge than us?’ Then, the Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘They are from you, from this ummah; and they are fuel for Hell.” (Tabarani and Bazzar)

Learn these hadiths very well. Now it is time for the answers to your questions. Ask them. I hope I will give you convincing answers and save you from this disease fully.

The Reason for the Emergence of Madhhabs

A- My first question: Where did madhhabs emerge from? I wonder about it.

B – The question “Where did madhhabs emerge from?” is a question like the following questions: Where did the profession of a doctor emerge from? Where did engineering emerge from? Where did tailoring emerge from? For, being a madhhab imam is a profession like the other ones. Madhhabs and madhhab imams emerged due to the same reasons as the other profession.

Doctors emerged because not everybody can know the causes of diseases and how to treat them. Therefore, a person who has no knowledge in medicine has to consult somebody who is very good at medicine for the treatment of his illness. That person is a doctor. That is, the reason for the emergence of doctors is people’s being unable to discover the causes for diseases and methods of treatment. 

The profession of engineering occurred because not everybody can make the calculations about constructing a building and draw projects. Therefore, a person has to consult somebody who knows the issue. That person is an engineer. That is, the reason for the emergence of engineering is people’s lack of knowledge in engineering and the impossibility of everybody’s being an engineer.   

The reason for the emergence of tailoring and other professions is the same: People cannot know the subtleties of those professions and they need help about them. 

Being a madhab imam is a profession like that. The reason for the emergence of this profession is people’s inability to deduce decrees from the Quran and the Sunnah and their inability to make qiyas by comparing the issues about which there are no decrees by comparing them to those about which there are decrees.

We ask scholars about the issues that we do not know. Scholars report us the fatwas they learn from the books by reading them. Similarly, after the death of the Prophet, the great majority of Muslims were unable to deduce decrees from the Quran and the Sunnah; therefore, they asked the scholars who could make ijtihad and learn the answers from them. Those scholars virtually carried out the duty of prophethood and taught the decrees of the Quran and the Sunnah to those who did not know. The hadith “scholars are inheritors of prophets” probably points out this duty.

There were many mujtahid imams in the Era of Bliss. However, the fatwas of those mujtahids were not conveyed to the following generation. With the effect of divine wisdom, the imams of only 4 madhhabs and their students were accepted by the ummah; the fatwas issued by them, the decrees they deduced and the qiyases they made were recorded in a secure way; they reached us by tawatur.

It means the reason for the emergence of madhhabs is people’s inability to deduce decrees from the Quran and the Sunnah, hence asking mujtahid imams about the issues they did not know. 

A- Yes, your answer is reasonable. Now, I am asking my second question: Did madhhabs exist during the time of the Prophet (pbuh)?

Did madhhabs exist during the time of the Prophet (pbuh)?

Now, I am asking my second question: Did madhhabs exist during the time of the Prophet (pbuh)?

B- There were no madhhabs during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) because there was no needs for madhhabs. The Companions asked the Prophet himself about the issues they did not know and acted in accordance what they learned from the Prophet. That is, in that age, the Prophet himself carried out the duty of the madhhab imams who would be born one century later. 

Madhhabs emerged after the death of the Prophet. The Muslims who could not find the Prophet to ask questions asked mujtahid imams who knew the Sunnah of the Prophet and the Quran very well. Those scholars gave the answers they found in the Quran and the Sunnah to the ummah. The fatwas issued by those scholars were accepted by the people and consequently, the ummah of Muhammad, except some unfortunate people, accepted them as their guides to understand the fiqh aspect of the Quran and the Sunnah.

That is, there were no madhhabs during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) because there was no needs for madhhabs. Everybody saw the practice of the Prophet himself and imitated him; they learned things by asking the Prophet himself. Madhhabs emerged after the death of the Prophet and they taught the practices of the Prophet to the ummah. 

A- I liked this answer. My third question is as follows: What madhhab did the Prophet follow?

What madhhab did the Prophet follow?

A- This is my third question: What madhhab did the Prophet follow?

B- This question is a question that people with no madhhabs and irreligious people ask in order to drive Muslims into a corner. For, if the person who is asked this question says, “The Prophet had no madhhab”, the one who asks the question will say, “How did these madhhabs emerge then?” If he says, “The Prophet followed Hanafi or Shafi madhhab”, he will make a mistake by attributing a madhhab to the Prophet. If he keeps silent without answering, he will be defeated and approve that the person who asks the question is right. That is, he will lose in any case.

It is good that you have asked this question. We will give the answer to it here so that those who follow a madhhab will be saved from being overwhelmed by this nonsensical question asked by people with no madhhab. We will use some examples in the answer to this question. I will give you three examples now. Listen carefully!

1st Example: Imagine a source of water and a pool formed by this source. There are four colors in the water flowing from the source. The water of the pool pours into four different channels. Blue, red, yellow and green.  These four colors exist in the pool in a mixed way; when the water moves toward the channels, a different color enters each channel. The blue color of the water enters a channel, red color enters another channel, yellow channel into a different channel and the green color into a different channel.

Now, the person standing next to the pool and seeing four different colors in these four channels asks: "What is the color of this pool?"

Now if we say "yellow", the pool is not yellow; if we say "red", the pool is not red either; And if we say "green", it is not green. If we say, "These waters do not come from this pool", it is not true ... If we do not answer, this will please the person who asks the question.

Then, it is necessary to give him the following answer, which is true and shows the truth: The water source and the pool are none of these colors; the source and the pool have such a color that they contain all these colors and all these colors belong to them. Each channel shows a color of the pool based on its own ability.

Similarly, the Prophet (pbuh) is a divine source and a pool of divine revelation. The religious decrees, which are like the life water of this pool, reach us through madhhabs, which are like channels. So to speak, each madhhab conveys a color of this pool to us and enables us to drink that life water. So, the Prophet (pbuh) is neither Hanafi, nor Shafi; he is neither Maliki nor Hanbali. The Prophet (pbuh) is a divine pool that has gathered the decrees of all these madhhabs in his shari’ah and the source of the truth. 

2nd Example: Imagine a tree with four branches; each branch has a different fruit. There are apples on one branch, grapes on another branch, dates on a different branch and strawberries on the last branch.

An insane person looks at that magnificent tree and says, “What tree is this?”

If we say, “it is an apple tree”, he will deny the grapes on the branch; if we say, "it is a grape tree", he will deny the dates; if we say "it is a palm tree", he will deny the other fruits.

The answer to be given to him is as follows: This tree is such a tree that it cannot be named with the name of any fruit it produces. Perhaps this tree is a miracle of power that harbors all these fruits.

Similarly, the Prophet – so to speak – is such a tree. The four branches of this tree are the four madhhabs. On every branch, there are different fruits of prophethood. The Prophet (pbuh) is neither Shafi nor Maliki; he is neither Hanafi nor Hanbali. The Prophet is a luminous tree that contains all these madhhabs in his core and body.

3rd Example: An insane person who sees the seven colors of the sun asks: "Is the sun blue? Is it red? Is it…..etc.?"

If we say "blue", the sun is not blue; if we say, "red", the sun is not red; if we say "orange", the sun is not orange; or, if we say another color, the sun is not that color.

Then, the truth is as follows: The sun is a divine object that contains all these colors;  and these seven colors emerge from its core.

Likewise, the Prophet (pbuh) is such a bright sun. The four madhhabs are colors of this sun. This divine sun cannot be named with any of these colors. However, it can be said that these four colors, that is, the four madhhabs are reflections filtered from the sun, showing one aspect of the sun. This sun has all these colors. His name is neither Shafi nor Maliki, neither Hanafi nor Hanbali. His name is Hz. Muhammad, the sun of the truth (peace be upon him).

A- You explained it in a really very nice way. Not a single word can be said against this explanation. Now I will ask another question whose answer I want to learn very much. What is the reason for the disagreement among sects? How can something be sunnah in a madhhab, wajib in another or halal in one and makruh in another? How is that possible? How can different decrees related to the same issue exist though the religion is the same?

Why are views different though the Quran and the Sunnah are the same?

A- Now, I will ask another question whose answer I want to learn very much. What is the reason for the disagreement among sects? How can something be sunnah in a madhhab, wajib in another or halal in one and makruh in another? How is that possible? How can different decrees exist related to the same issue though the religion is the same?

B- The disagreement among madhhabs misgives people who do not have enough fiqh knowledge and causes them to ask themselves the following two questions: 1- Why are views different though the Quran and the Sunnah are the same? 2- Which one of these views is true?

Satan and enemies of Islam attack them with these two questions by benefitting from their ignorance regarding the issue; they even deceive some of them, driving them away from the straight path. Let us answer these two questions, presenting water of life to the hearts that are hurt by those questions. Let us start with the second question.

The second question is as follows: How can all of the different decrees of four madhhabs be true and right? The truth is one and it does not change.

The answer to this question, whose answer seems to be very difficult and which misgive many Muslims about madhhabs because its answer is unknown, is very easy. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi gives a nice and convincing answer to this question. Thanks to this answer, it is clearly understood that all of the different decrees regarding the issue can be true and right. Let us quote the answer:

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi states the following:

If you say: The truth is one; how can the different ordinances of the four madhhabs be true?

The Answer: The same water governs in five different ways in five ill people of different disposition:

  • For one, the water is a cure for his illness, and according to medicine, necessary (wajib).
  • For another, it is like poison for his sickness and harmful, and medically prohibited (haram).
  • For another, it causes a small amount of harm, and is reprehensible (makruh) medically.
  • For another the water is beneficial and without harm; according to medicine that is sunnah for him.
  • And for yet another it is neither harmful nor beneficial; he can drink it with good health, and for him it is medically permissible (mubah).

Thus, here the truth has become numerous; all five are true. It has become wajib for one, haram for another, makruh for another, and Sunnah and mubah for the other.

Can you say: “The water is only a cure, only wajib; there are no other decrees about it?” You cannot say so. For, the decree of the water changes according to ill people and characteristics.

Similarly, every decree of the religion and shari’ah is water of life for people. Divine decrees change based on those who follow madhhabs like the water in the example having five different decrees based on five characteristics. While one decree is wajib for a person, it can be haram for another and mubah for yet another. Denying this is nonsense like claiming that the water in the example has only one decree about all patients. Denying this is like denying the universality of Islam or accepting that all people have the same characteristics. 

Madhhab imams deduced decrees that were appropriate for the characteristics of the people living in their regions like a doctor. A decree that is like medicine – wajib – for a Muslim living in a certain region can be poison – haram – for a Muslim living in another region. 

For instance, those who follow Imam Shafi generally live in the countryside and desert compared to Hanafis; therefore, they are deprived of social life that regards congregation as one person. Thus, each of them reads al-Fatiha after the imam in order to express themselves in the presence of Allah and to request from Allah. Hanafis, who follow Abu Hanifa, generally live in cities, leading a civilized and social life; therefore, the congregation is regarded like one person and an individual speaks on behalf of the congregation; and the congregation approves him in the heart. The imam’s word is regarded as the word of the congregation. Acting upon this secret, Hanafis do not read al-Fatiha behind the imam. The imam reads on behalf of them and the others approve the imam through their hearts. Then, it is true and right to read al-Fatiha after the imam according to Shafis. It is a necessity and outcome of their characteristics and natures. According to Hanafis, it is true and is based on a wisdom not to read al-Fatiha; and their nature is appropriate for it. Therefore, Imam Shafi decreed from the Quran and the Sunnah that it was necessary to read al-Fatiha behind the imam while Abu Hanifa decreed from the same evidences that it was necessary not to read al-Fatiha behind the imam. The evidences that are available include both decrees. Each imam deduced the decree that was in accordance with the nature of the people living in their own regions from those evidences. Allah is pleased with both states.

This issue will be understood fully with the explanations we will make soon. Therefore, I do not want to lengthen the issue.

Now, I will answer the question, “Why are views different though the Quran and the Sunnah are the same?” However, before answering the question, let us explain the reasons for not being able to able understand the disagreement among madhhabs and being astonished by it. Thanks to this, it will be understood easily that this disagreement is an obligatory outcome.   

Why cannot we understand the disagreement among madhhabs?

The biggest cause for not being able to understand the reason for the disagreement among madhhab is a person’s confusing Allah’s words with human words. That is, a human statement can have one or two meanings; therefore, a person thinks Allah’s speech is also like that. However, the eternal speech has the characteristic of including endless meanings. Each word of the Quran is virtually a sea and includes endless meanings. Each mujtahid deduces different meanings from those words and verses and reach different conclusions. Therefore, not to want any disagreement and to want the existence of only one madhhab means to want Allah’s pre-eternal speech to have only a few meanings like human speech and to be unaware of the nature of divine speech. Then, the first thing to correct is to learn the nature of Allah’s pre-eternal speech and not to liken it to human speech. 

To want the existence of only one view in an issue originates from not being able to understand the universality of Islam. For, it is not possible for human beings who have different natures, living conditions, continents, customs, etc. to be subject to the same decrees related to the details of issues. In that case, disagreement is an obligatory outcome of universality.

A- You are right. To want the existence of only one view in an issue is like to accept that all human beings have the same nature and living conditions. However, human beings are different from one another in terms of their nature, living conditions and the regions they live in.   

B- Yes, exactly. To want the existence of only one madhhab originates from not knowing the nature of Allah’s mercy and generosity. For, Allah eased the practice of His religion, showed different decrees that He would consent to and allowed practicing the decree of another madhhab in case of necessity. This is a result of Allah’s mercy and generosity.

A- Yes, our Lord is really merciful and generous related to practicing our religion.

B- To want the existence of only one madhhab means to want to reverse the decree “There is no compulsion in religion”. For, if there were only one decree regarding an issue, it would be very difficult to practice Islam for people. For instance, to touch a woman does not invalidate wudu in Hanafi madhhab but it does in Shafi madhhab. During hajj and umrah, tawaf (circumambulation) and sa’y have to be performed by having wudu; hajjis following Shafi madhhab make wudu by imitating Hanafi madhhab for tawaf and sa’y; thus, when they touch a woman by mistake, their wudu is not invalidated. If there were only one decree and if touching a woman definitely invalidated wudu, it would be very difficult to perform hajj and umrah. Bleeding invalidates wudu in in Hanafi madhhab but it does not in Shafi madhhab. In case of a necessity, a Hanafi person whose wound bleeds or who undergoes an operation makes wudu by imitating Shafi madhhab and performs prayers with this wudu until this bleeding ends. The bleeding will not invalidate his wudu. If there were only one decree regarding the issue and if bleeding definitely invalidated wudu, performing prayers would be very difficult for a person who had a wound, who had a traffic accident, etc., and many people would probably give up performing prayers. Thus, disagreement is a necessary outcome of the fact “There is no compulsion in religion”.

A- Yes, I understand the hadith of the Prophet ‘Difference of opinion in my Community is a mercy‘ better now. If there were only one decree regarding an issue, it would be very difficult for people to practice Islam. 

B- Yes, exactly. To want the existence of only one madhhab is also due to thinking that the Prophet (pbuh) did only one thing while practicing something. However, the Prophet (pbuh) had different practices related to various issues – including the way of performing prayers – and each madhhab imam adopted one of those practices. Besides, there is no disagreement about the issues that the Prophet did not have different practices and about which there was only one nass (verse and hadith). It means disagreement is a result of the different practices of the Prophet 

A- It means the Prophet had only one way of practice regarding the issues that are agreed unanimously and everybody agreed about them. So, the differences originate from different practices of the Prophet.

B- Yes, exactly.

A- Yes, what you say is very reasonable. I have never thought about what you have told me. I have never heard them from anyone. I thought I was a person that knew a lot of things but it is clear that I do not know anything. 

B- It is never too late to mend. You need to thank Allah that you did not die like that and that Allah guided you. Now, we will deal with the reasons for the disagreements among madhhabs. There are various reasons for different views about any issue. We will deal with only one of these reasons: “the possibility of verses and hadiths having different meanings”. I want to give the first example from the chapter of al-Kawthar.

Disagreement caused by verses having different meanings -1

B- Now, let us deal with the disagreement among madhhabs. Now, we will deal with the reasons for the disagreements among madhhabs. There are various reasons for different views about any issue. We will deal with the possibility of verses having different meanings. I want to give the first example from the chapter of al-Kawthar:

The following is stated in the chapter of al-Kawthar: “To thee have We granted the Fount (of Abundance). Therefore to thy Lord turn in Prayer and Sacrifice. For he who hateth thee, he will be cut off (from Future Hope).” (al-Kawthar: 1-2)

The decree of sacrificing an animal is wajib according to Abu Hanifa and sunnah according to Imam Shafi, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad. This disagreement astonishes those who do not know about the science of fiqh and makes them say, “How can something be wajib in one madhhab and sunnah in another madhhab?” However, it is possible as we will see now and it is the result of the possibility of a verse having different meanings:

Abu Hanifa explained the first two verses of the chapter of al-Kawthar as follows: The addressee in verse 1 “To thee have We granted the Fount (of Abundance)” is Hz. Muhammad (pbuh). Kawthar (the Fount of Abundance) here is a grant to the Prophet. The addressee in verse 2 “Therefore to your Lord turn in Prayer and Sacrifice” is the ummah of Muhammad, not Hz. Muhammad alone. What is the ummah ordered here is to perform five daily prayers. The order to sacrifice is for the ummah. Therefore, it is wajib to sacrifice an animal.

A- Yes, so far so good. What did the other madhhab imams say regarding the issue?

B- Imam Shafi and Imamayn (Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad) interpret those verses as follows: The addressee of the both verses of the chapter is Hz. Muhammad (pbuh).  Verse 1 “To thee have We granted the Fount (of Abundance)” expresses the grant given to the Prophet. Verse 2 “Therefore to thy Lord turn in Prayer and Sacrifice” also addresses the Prophet. For, night prayer (tahajjud) was fard for the Prophet. The order “Sacrifice!” in the verse was given to the Prophet personally and sacrificing an animal was rendered fard for the Prophet only. It is Sunnah for the ummah because of being subject to the Prophet.

A- This decree is quite reasonable too. If the addressee in the verses is the Prophet, sacrificing an animal must be fard for the Prophet and sunnah for us, the ummah.

B- As it is seen, it is possible that the addressee of verse 2 is both the ummah of Muhammad and the Prophet himself. The verse can be explained in two ways. The verse before and the verse after it are suitable for such interpretation. If the addressee in verse 2 is the ummah of Muhammad, five daily prayers is meant by the verse and we are ordered to sacrifice animals. However, the view of Imam Shafi and Imamayn is also possible; then, the addressee in verse 2 is the Prophet. In that case, the prayer mentioned in the verse is the night prayer, which is fard for the Prophet, and the order to sacrifice is for the Prophet, not the ummah. Due to this possibility, sacrificing an animal is sunnah for us, not wajib.

As it is seen, the disagreement is not about whether sacrificing an animal is a kind of worshipping or not; it is about the decree of this worshipping. For, as the verse clearly expresses, sacrificing an animal is a kind of worshipping. There is no disagreement about it. The disagreement is about the decree of the worshipping; and the reason for it is the verse having both meanings. Besides, each madhhab imam used hadiths as evidence for their views. In this part, we will not deal with the hadith aspect of the issue since our topic is the disagreement about understanding the Quran.

In that case, not to be able to understand that sacrificing is wajib in a madhhab and sunnah in another and to want the existence of only one decree is a result of being unaware of the nature of divine speech. The pre-eternal speech is not like human speech; therefore, it does not indicate only one meaning.

A- Yes, it is very interesting. I have never listened to such a lesson up to now. I wish I had learned before what you have told me. I regret for the time that passed. This ilm (knowledge) is so nice. 

B- Yes it is. It is nice when we listen to it from the qualified people, without trying to interpret it ourselves. The qualified people are the scholars. Let us deal with the second example about the verses of the Quran including different meanings:

The following is stated in verse 97 of the chapter of Aal-i Imran: “…whoever enters it (the Kaaba) attains security...”

According to Abu Hanifa, if a person who needs to be killed according to the Shari’ah takes refuge in the Kaaba, he is not harmed and punished there. The only thing to do is to force him to leave the Kaaba by depriving him of food and drink and to punish him when he comes out.  

According to Imam Shafi, if such a person takes refuge in the Kaaba and does not come out, he is punished there, without waiting for him to come out.  

A- The verse says, ‘whoever enters it (the Kaaba) attains security’. However, Abu Hanifa and Imam Shafi deduced two different decrees from the verse. What is the reason for the disagreement?

B- It is a case that will astonish those who do not know the science of fiqh and the nature of pre-eternal speech.  
Two different decrees related to the same issue! However, if a person knows the nature of divine speech, he will understand that these different decrees are normal and that it is a characteristic of pre-eternal speech. Now, let us find out the reason for the disagreement:

The verse says, “whoever enters it (the Kaaba) attains security”. The “security” mentioned in the verse is worldly security according to Abu Hanifa and a person who enters the Kaaba must be free of all kinds of worldly dangers. According to Abu Hanifa, life security is one of them. In that case, if a person who needs to be punished according to the shari’ah takes refuge in the Kaaba, he is not harmed. For, Allah states in his book that a person who enters the Kaaba attains security.   

A- Yes, if we understand the security in the verse as worldly security, life security must be included in it. In that case, if a person who needs to be punished takes refuge in the Kaaba, he must not be harmed. What does Imam Shafi say regarding the issue?

B- Imam Shafi interpreted the “security” mentioned in the verse as being free from torture in the hereafter. That is, according to Imam Shafi, a person who enters the Kaaba becomes free of otherworldly dangers, not the worldly ones. The circumambulation (tawaf), sa’y and the other worshipping performed by a person enables that person to be forgiven by Allah and is saved from the torture of Hell.  Therefore, according to Imam Shafi, the decree of the verse is related to the hereafter, not to the world. Consequently, if a person who needs to be punished takes refuge in the Kaaba, he is ordered to come out; if he does not come out, he is punished there.  

A- Yes, if the security in the verse is understood as being free from torture in the hereafter, the decree “if a person who needs to be punished takes refuge in the Kaaba, he is ordered to come out; if he does not come out, he is punished there” is right.   

B- As it is seen, the possibility of the word “security” in the verse having different meanings causes the verse to have different meanings. If the “security” in the verse is worldly security, a person is not punished there. Abu Hanifa preferred this possibility. If the “security” in the verse is being free from torture in the hereafter, punishment can take place there. Imam Shafi preferred this possibility. Besides, each madhhab imam used hadiths as evidence for their views. In this part, we will not deal with the hadith aspect of the issue since our topic is the disagreement about understanding the Quran. 

A- Yes, I understand it better that Allah’s speech does not have only one meaning, unlike human speech. Therefore, different decrees can be deduced from the same verse. 

B- Yes, exactly. It means to want the existence of only one decree related to “whether a person who takes refuge in the Kaaba can be punished there or not” is due to not knowing these two aspects of the verse and due to thinking that Allah’s speech is a speech like human speech having only one meaning. If you say, “Which one of these decrees is right?”, we answered that question before. We can say that Allah Almighty is pleased with both decrees.  

A- I get excited as you talk. I had read the verse that you explained before but none of what you told me came to my mind. I see that the verse has such deep meanings. Will you give another example? I take pleasure as if I am eating honey when I listen to you.  

B- May Allah not deprive you of your enthusiasm and pleasure! Since you take so much pleasure from learning, I will give you one more example. The following is stated in verse 11 of the chapter of an-Nisa: “ …(The distribution in all cases ('s) after the payment of legacies and debts.”

Allah Almighty expresses how inheritance is to be shared in verse 11 and 12 of the chapter of an-Nisa and states that debts are to be paid before sharing. According to this verse, the debts of a person who dies are paid before the inheritance is shared; and his will, if he has, is fulfilled from one-third of his wealth. After that, the remaining wealth is shared among the inheritors in the way that Allah states.    

Abu Hanifa interpreted the word “dayn” (debt) as “debts to people”. According to Abu Hanifa, the debts of a person to other people are taken from the inheritance and paid to the creditors even if he does not state it in his will. However, debts like zakah and hajj, which are the rights of Allah, are not taken from the inheritance if the person does not state it in his will. Accordingly, if a person does not state in his will that rights of Allah should be paid from his inheritance and if the inheritors do not want to pay those debts of their own accord, debts related to Allah are not taken from the inheritance and these debts are not paid.

A- That is, Abu Hanifa interpreted the word “dayn” (debt) in the verse as “debts to people” and says that the debts of a person who dies to people are taken from the inheritance paid to the creditors even if he does not mention it in his will if the person does not have a will and that debts like zakah and hajj, which are the rights of Allah, are not taken from the inheritance if the person does not mention it in his will. For, he interprets the word debt as debts to people. Is there a different decree regarding the issue? What do the other madhhab imams say regarding the issue?

B- Imam Shafii interpreted the word “dayn” (debt) in the verse as “debts to both people and Allah”. According to Imam Shafii, debts like zakah and hajj, which are the rights of Allah, are taken from the inheritance even if the person does not state it in his will. It does not matter whether the inheritors give permission regarding the issue or not. 

A- Yes, if we accept the word ‘debt’ as debts to both people and Allah, it is necessary to take debts like zakah and hajj, which are the rights of Allah, from the inheritance even if the person does not state it in his will as Imam Shafii says. 

B- The meaning of the word “dayn” in the verse being left as general and its possibility of having two meanings causes disagreement about the decree. If it had been stated in the verse clearly as “after the debts to people are paid” or as “after the debts to both people and Allah are paid”, there would be no disagreement since the verse would be clear. It means since the verse has a general meaning, it includes both meanings. Besides, each madhhab imam used hadiths as evidence for their views.

A- Yes, since the verse has a general meaning, it includes both meanings and causes two different decrees to emerge.

B- Yes, exactly. Consequently, we say that as the nature of the pre-eternal speech is understood, it will be realized better that disagreement is an obligatory outcome. For, to want the existence of only one decree related to “whether it is necessary to take the debts to Allah from the inheritance if it is not stated in the will” originates from not knowing that the word “debt” in the verse includes both meanings.  

A- This example was very nice. As you tell them, I think that there are so many issues that I do not know and have never heard in the Quran.

B- May our Lord teach us what we do not know and enable us to act in accordance what we know! You excitement makes me excited too. Let me give you another example: The following is stated in verse 90 of the chapter of al-Maida:

Disagreement caused by verses having different meanings -2

B- The following is stated in verse 90 of the chapter of al-Maida: "O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper."

Another issue about which there is disagreement is whether eau de cologne can be used and whether it is permissible to perform prayers with clothes smeared with eau de cologne. According to Abu Hanifa and Imam Abu Yusuf, it is permissible to perform prayers with clothes smeared with eau de cologne. According to Imam Muhammad and the other madhhab imams, it is not permissible to use eau de cologne and to perform prayers with clothes smeared with eau de cologne.

This disagreement astonishes those who are unaware of the science of fiqh and misgives some people. The one responsible for this astonishment and suspicion is the person himself. That is, he is guilty. If he had spent some time studying religious sciences, he would not have had that suspicion and would not have been overcome by delusions. For, as you will see now, when the reason for disagreement is explained and understood, there will be no doubt and delusion regarding the issue.

Allah states that intoxicants are an abomination by saying, "O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper." It is known that it is fard to be free from impurities in prayer. That is, the clothes of the person who will perform prayers and the place where he performs prayers must be clean. It is not permissible to perform prayers with dirty clothes. We will deal with the reason for the disagreement:

The Arabic word translated as "intoxicant" is "hamr". Allah states in the verse that "hamr" is dirty. Since the decree of the verse is clear, there is no disagreement about the dirtiness of "hamr". Hamr is dirty according to four madhhabs. The disagreement is about what hamr is. For, it is not clearly mentioned what hamr is in the verse.

According to Abu Hanifa and Imam Abu Yusuf, hamr is the name of the intoxicating drink that is made from grapes and that is let aside without being boiled and that becomes sharp by forming foams. The other alcoholic drinks are called "nabidh". It is haram to drink nabidh like hamr. However, nabidh is not dirty. What is haram is the intoxicant that is made from grapes. Therefore, if some intoxicant made from nabidh smears a person's clothes, it does not invalidate prayer since nabidh is not dirty. What invalidates prayer is hamr smearing a person's clothes. Eau de cologne is made of nabidh, not hamr. It is haram to drink it but it is not dirty. It is permissible to use it, and it does not invalidate prayer when it smears a person's clothes.

According to Imam Muhammad and three madhhab imams, hamr is the name of every intoxicant; it does not have to be produced from grapes. Therefore, all intoxicants are dirty and they invalidate prayer. The alcohol in eau de cologne is   intoxicant and it is hamr. Then, it is not permissible to use it and to perform prayers with clothes smeared by it. 

To sum up, according to Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Abu Yusuf, eau de cologne does not invalidate prayer because the alcohol in eau de cologne is not produced from grapes. That is, it is not hamr but nabidh. Nabidh is clean, not dirty. 

According to Imam Muhammad and three madhhab imams, eau de cologne does not invalidate prayer because hamr is not the name of the alcohol produced from grapes only, but the name of every intoxicant. Since the alcohol in eau de cologne is intoxicant, it is hamr. Hamr is dirty as the verse states it. Being freed from dirty things is one of the fards of prayer. Therefore, eau de cologne invalidates prayer. 

As it is seen, the disagreement is about the meaning of hamr; it is not about "whether hamr is clean or dirty". For, the phrase "hamr is dirty" mentioned in the verse does not leave any open door for ijtihad. Ijtihad is not in question for things whose decrees are stated clearly. The verse clearly states that hamr is dirty. What is unclear is what hamr is. 

Different decrees emerged due to the disagreement about the meaning of the word "hamr". To say "The religion is one; therefore, the decree must be one" originates from not knowing this deep meaning of ‘hamr' and its inclusion of both decrees.

A- Yes, I understand it. Different decrees emerged due to the disagreement about the meaning of the word ‘hamr'. To want the existence of one decree originates from not knowing that this word has different meanings. Based on which decree shall we practice?

B- You can use eau de cologne by preferring rukhsah (permission) and you can perform prayers with clothes smeared by eau de cologne. However, it is better to act upon taqwa (piety) and azimah (enforcement), and not to use eau de cologne. Those who use eau de cologne can prefer taqwa by washing the organs that touched eau de cologne before performing a prayer.

A- I had heard the issue "whether using eau de cologne is permissible or not" and I had laughed at it. When you have explained the issue in detail, I am surprised and feel a bit angry. I feel angry with those who did not teach us about them.

B- You are right to be angry. The people who are really in charge of this duty have forgotten about their duty and we fulfill it. I thank my Lord, who enabled us to do it. Let me give you another example:

The following is stated in verse 6 of the chapter of al-Maida: "O ye who believe! When ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; Rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles."

The four fard deeds of wudu are stated in that verse. We will deal with the deed of washing the face here. The verse clearly orders us to wash the face. Since the decree of the verse is clear, it is fard to wash the face while making wudu in all four madhhabs. There is no disagreement about it. The disagreement is about what the face covers and whether the ears are included in the face. The reason for this disagreement is due to the fact that the boundaries of the face is not stated in the verse.

According to Hanbali madhhab, it is wajib to wipe the ears while making wudu. Hanbalis show the hadith "The ears are part of the head" and that the Prophet's wiping his ears in every wudu as evidence for it.

According to the other three madhhabs, it is Sunnah to wipe the ears. The scholars of the other three madhhabs regard the hadith "The ears are part of the head" shown by Hanbalis as weak. Ibn Salah even says, "There are a lot of signs of weakness about this hadith. It is not strengthened because it is reported through several ways" Imam Shawkani says, "The hadiths regarding the issue do not confirm this issue; they only indicate that it is mustahab. Only a clear evidence can make something wajib."

As it is seen, the disagreement about the boundaries of the face caused the disagreement about the decree. Hanbalis say it is wajib to wipe the face acting upon the hadith "The ears are part of the head". However, Hanafi, Shafi and Maliki madhhabs say it is Sunnah to wipe the ears decreeing that the hadith about the ears is weak. 

A- It means you say that the disagreement about the boundaries of the face caused the disagreement about the decree.

B- Yes, exactly. I want to attract attention to the following point: There is no disagreement that it is fard to wash the face while making wudu. For, the decree of the verse is clear. There is no place for ijtihad here. There is also no disagreement about wiping the ears while making wudu because the Prophet (pbuh) wiped his ears while making wudu. The disagreement is related to the decree of wiping the ears. It is wajib according to Hanbalis but it is Sunnah according to the other three madhhabs. One of the following things was necessary for the non-existence of this disagreement:

  1. If the boundaries of the face had been stated clearly in the verse, there would have been no disagreement.
  2. If the hadith "The ears are part of the head" had not been weak but mutawatir, there would have been no disagreement.
  3. OR, if there had been another mutawatir hadith regarding the issue, there would have been no disagreement.

It means the reason for disagreement is the general decree in the Quran and the Sunnah.

A- My Allah! There are so many treasures in the verses of the Quran!

B- There are treasures but the keys to those treasures have been given to real scholars. We reach those treasures to some extent by reading their works. Alhamdulillah!

There are some more verses I want to show you. However, I refer them to the e-book so as not to bore the listeners. You can examine the other examples by downloading the work about madhhabs from the link under this video.

A- Inshaallah I will download and examine them. We have mentioned the disagreement related to understanding verses of the Quran up to now. The same thing is probably valid related to hadiths. Is that right.

B- Yes it is. That is, words including various meanings are in question for hadiths too. However, I do not want to deal with this issue now so as not to bore our listeners. If you want to see them too, you can enter the website www.seyrangah.tv and examine those hadiths and their analyses by downloading the e-book of this work from the link under this video.

A- Indeed, the disagreement among madhhabs is full of wisdoms and the issue is clear. However, since people do not know about what you have explained, they think the disagreement is a fault. I understand from what you have told me that ilm (knowledge) is necessary for all Muslims. I see that problems are easily solved thanks to ilm.

B- There are other reasons for the disagreements among madhhabs too. I refer to those reasons to the books of fiqh methodology. If you wish, you can apply to those books and find out about those reasons.

A- Inshaallah I will learn them too. By the way, I want you to answer another question. This is my question:

Why do some people today claim to be superior to the Companions and mujtahids?
What is the reason for this claim of superiority to the Companions and mujtahids?
Who makes those claims?

Who claims to be superior to the Companions and mujtahids?  

A- I will ask you one more question. I wonder about something. Why do some people today claim to be superior to the Companions and mujtahids? What is the reason for this claim of superiority to the Companions and mujtahids? Who makes those claims?

B- There are 4 groups who claim to be superior to the Companions and equal to mujtahid scholars:

The first group consists of people who are very conceited, who have left the circle of taqwa, who have indulged in haram things and who do not even fulfill fards. Those people propagate their idea of having no madhhab under the cause of being equal to those great mujtahid scholars and they fulfill their irreligiousness under the cause of superiority to the Companions. 

The reason for the claim of superiority to mujtahid scholars by people having no madhhab: Those people having no madhhab commit haram deeds, follow their desires and become addicted to harams; they cannot get rid of sins and cannot perform the fard deeds that prevent sins. They speak as follows in order to find an excuse: “This issue is ijtihad. Madhhabs disagree with one another regarding this issue. In that case, it is unnecessary to act in accordance with that decree. Besides, they are human beings like us; they might make mistakes. We can make ijtihad like them too; we can worship as we wish. Why do we have to be subject to them?” Those unfortunate people take their heads out of the chain of madhhab with this delusion of Satan’s. It means the main reason for denying madhhabs is the desire to introduce an Islam that is in accordance with their souls because the Islamic decrees are hard for their souls. They want a religion in which there are no orders like five daily prayers, zakah, sacrificing animals and tasattur (hijab), and in which debauchery and the desires of the soul are permissible. 

However, this is not the only thing. For, what is on the shoulders of madhhab imams is only the theoretical part of the religion; not fards and harams. However, people with no madhhab want to abandon and change even the fards of the religion. When they say, “we are better than them”, it is not enough. For, mujtahids can interfere in theories and make ijtihad related to the details that are not definite, not in fards. In fact, those people with no madhhab hardly perform five daily prayers; some of them reduce the five daily prayers to two. The women among them deny the orders of the religion like hijab and sharing inheritance, and oppose fards of Islam. Then, their problem is not only denying mujtahids. For, they attack the Companions, who are the carriers and supporters of Islamic decrees and the narrators of hadiths and dare to deny the hadiths reported by them.

A- Subhanallah! I have always wondered what a person living in this age wants from the Companions and why he attacks them. I see what they want now. They want to deny the hadiths in order to understand the Quran based on their own desires. In order to deny hadiths, they attack the Companions, who are the narrators and carriers of those hadiths and try to defame them. It is a very dangerous disease.  

B- Yes, exactly. In that case, we can list the steps that end in having no madhhab as follows:

  1. A person indulges in sins and cannot save himself from sins. He cannot perform the fards that prevent sins.
  2. He wants the haram deeds that he commits to be halal and the fard deeds that he cannot perform not to be fards.
  3. With the motive of this desire, he attacks mujtahid imams and says, “I can make ijtihad like them; they are human beings like me.” Thus, he makes ijtihad based on the desire of his soul.
  4. However, he sees that it is not enough to deny mujtahids. For, they deduced decrees from the Quran and the Sunnah, from the theoretical part of the religion. Ijtihad was not made and cannot made related to the fards of the religion. In fact, this person is away from performing the fards of the religion. This time, he looks at a higher level and attacks the Companions, who are the carriers and supports of the religious decrees and the narrators of hadiths. He accuses them of telling lies – God forbid – and denies hadiths.
  5. However, he does not find it enough. For, there are clear Quranic verses about fards. This time, he looks at a higher level, the Quran. He interprets its verses as he wishes. He deduces decrees based on the desires of his soul. In the end, he becomes a poor person without madhhab who does not even deserve compassion.  

Alas! All people of truth agree unanimously that let alone these animals in the form of human beings, real people, the great saints, who are the most perfect people among real men have not even been equal to the ordinary Companions. A person who closes his eyes to the sun makes it the night only for himself.

A- Yes, you are right. It is really unfortunate to speak like that for the Companions who are praised in the Quran. Who is the 2nd group?

B- The 2nd group that claims to be superior to the Companions and mujtahid scholars is the poor group that regard themselves as scholars. They have studied some ilm and this ilm has brought about egoism and conceit in them. They try to prove the inferiority of the Companions and mujtahids in order to show their superiority. Their state is like the state of the candle challenging the sun: The candle is jealous of the sun and attacks the sun in order to prove so to speak the superiority of its light and says, “O people! Do you call what the sun has a light? Look at my light. My light is bigger than that of the sun. Come and be enlightened with my light.”

With those words, the candle can deceive those who do not know the sun. Those people think that the candle is the sun because they do not know about the sun. 

Similarly, some people without madhhab today challenge the knowledge of mujtahids, which is like the sun, with their knowledge, which is like a candle. They say we are more knowledgeable than them; follow us, not them. 

We do not know whether we should be surprised by or laugh at those people, who do not have even 500 hadiths in their memory, when they challenge the mujtahids who memorized 500.000 hadiths with their chains of narrators.

A- I am astonished now. It means the real ilm is to know one’s place first before knowing something. They despise the Companions and mujtahids in order to show their superiority. Is that right? It is very bad. Who is the 3rd group? 

B- The 3nd group that claims to be superior to the Companions and mujtahid scholars is the members of the wrong madhhabs, which are outside Ahl as-Sunnah. The reason why they attack the Companions and mujtahids is as follows: They see that their creed is different from that of the Companions. The hadiths reported from the Companions and the decrees deduced by mujtahids from the hadiths are opposite to their faith. Instead of abandoning their wrong beliefs, they attack the Companions and mujtahids and claim to be superior to them. They say, “They are human beings like us. Such and such Companions that reported these hadiths are such and such people. It is not possible to trust in what they say. These hadiths are fabricated. Mujtahids made mistakes and made wrong ijtihads. That is the case.”

This 3rd group tries to refute the Companions and mujtahids and their words by attacking them in order to put across their wrong creeds. They attack the Companions, who tell the truth, and despise mujtahids in order to propagate their wrong ideas.

A- Yes, I think this group is the most dangerous. For, they show themselves as people practicing Islam and being on the true path. They attract the interest of people by doing so; then, they try to show their wrong creed as the true creed. It is easy to be deceived by and to follow these people if one does not have knowledge. Therefore, I say ilm, ilm and ilm.

B- Hereby, we want to warn them and address them as follows: O unfortunate people! How can you attack and despise the Companions of the Messenger of Allah? Have you not heard the hadiths of the Messenger of Allah about his Companions? What will happen to you when those distinguished Companions get hold of you on the Day of Judgment? Are you not afraid of it? Come and give up this treachery and repent before it is too late!  

A- Who is the 4th group that claims to be superior to the Companions and mujtahid scholars?

B- The 4th group that claims to be superior to the Companions and mujtahid scholars is as follows:

“Those who love the life of this world more than the Hereafter, who hinder (men) from the Path of Allah and seek therein something crooked: they are astray by a long distance.” The chapter of Ibrahim: 3

This 4th group is the people hired by the powers that are contrary to Islam. Their only duty is to spread mischief among Muslims and to harm the creed of Muslims. In return for this duty, they receive worldly rewards from the powers that hire them. They sell their religion for the world. Our Lord will definitely question them; He will melt the gold and silver they get and sear their bodies in hellfire.

A- This is probably what they call selling the religion in return for the world. When a person has no belief, this is what happens to him. 

B- May Allah Almighty protect you, me and the ummah of Muhammad from the mischief of these 4 groups!

A- Amin! May Allah be pleased with you! You have taught me many things and became a means to guide me to the true path. Do you have anything else to say me?

B- There are some other questions that are asked about madhhabs: “Can ijtihad be made today?” “Why cannot a great saint reach the level of an ordinary Companion?” It is stated in some hadiths that some believers and people of taqwa will be in the same level as and higher than the Companions during the time when bid’ahs become widespread. What is the meaning of those hadiths if it is not possible to reach the level of the Companions? “Is it permissible to imitate another madhhab?” If you want to learn the answers to those questions and read a short compilation about the lives of madhhab imams, you can enter the website www.seyrangah.tv, download and read the e-book of this work from the link under this video. My last word to you is this: We became a means to guide you to the true path with the permission of Allah. You can be a means for the guidance of others by trying to spread this work. Regard this service to the religion as an opportunity!  May Allah be pleased with us and those who serve this religion sincerely! May He make us His slaves and members of the ummah of Muhammad! May He make this work atone for our sins! May He not deprive us from the honor of serving this religion because of our mistakes!

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