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What is the proof for us?

Question: Some people say that it is impermissible, prohibited and wrong to follow a scholar (taqlîd) and affiliate with the madhhab of a certain imâm without knowing the proofs (adilla, sing. dalîl)) and documentary evidences. But what is the point in casting proofs and documentary texts before religiously ignorant people?
Hadrat Muhammad Hâdimî writes:
The four sources of Islam (i.e. al-adillat ash-Shar’iyya) are proofs and documents for mujtahid scholars only. The proof for us, the non-mujtahids, is the rules communicated by the madhhab we are following, because we cannot derive rules from âyat-i karîmas and hadîth-i sharîfs (nusûs). Even if a rule in a madhhab seems to be disagreeing with an âyat or a hadîth, it does not mean that this rule is wrong. You should instead think so: the âyat/hadîth in question may require a deduction through ijtihâd, or it (and thus its embodied ruling) may have been replaced (naskh) by a chronologically successive one, or maybe it is necessary to interpret its meaning into different things. (Barîqa, p. 94)

Just as it is necessary for us to believe in and confirm all of what Rasûlullah “sall-Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam” has communicated, even if we fail to understand the proofs of and the ultimate divine reasons in them, so it is necessary for us to believe in and confirm all of the information conveyed through the imâms of madhhabs.

The Tâbi’ûn would follow and adapt themselves to the Ashâb-i kirâm without ever searching for their proofs and documentary evidences. It is a commandment of our religion to ask those who know about what we do not know. As a matter of fact, it is purported in an âyat-i karîma, “Ask the followers of the Remembrance (Dhikr) if you do not know” [Sûrat-un-Nahl 43].

Once on a journey, a stone hit a Sahâba on the head and fractured his skull. While he was sleeping, he experienced a nocturnal emission as well. He asked his companions whether it was permissible for him to make tayammum instead of performing ghusl. They said, “No, you cannot make tayammum when there is water available.” He performed ghusl and passed away as a result. When they narrated the incident to Rasûlullah, he declared:
(If they knew not, why didn’t they ask? The cure for ignorance is to learn by asking. Tayammum would have sufficed for him. He could have placed a piece of cloth on his wound, made masah on it and washed other parts of his body.) [Abû Dâwud]

Both this hadîth-i sharîf and above-mentioned âyat-i karîma enjoin us to refer to those who know about what we do not know and adapt ourselves to them. The purport of an âyat is as follows:
(If they had referred it to the Prophet and Ulu ‘l-amr, they would have learned it.) [Sûrat-un-Nisâ’ 83]

It is written in tafsîr books that the meaning of Ulu ‘l-amr mentioned in the âyat-i karîma is ‘ulamâ’ (scholars).

It is purported in three hadîth-i sharîfs:

(Ulu ‘l-amr are the scholars of fiqh.) [Dârimî]

(Adapt yourselves to ‘ulamâ’!) [Daylamî]

(Learn what you do not know by asking pious scholars!) [Daylamî]

Question: We are following the Hanafî Madhhab. If we encounter one of our madhhab’s rule which seems to be disagreeing with a hadîth-i sharîf, what should we do?
It is reported in religious books:
If you see a rule which seems to be disagreeing with a hadîth-i sharîf, you have to act upon the hadîth-i sharîf. However, this statement is merely theoretical, for the imâms of madhhabs do not say a word which contradicts a hadîth-i sharîf. They are scholars and they never put forth a principle without basing it on a document. For example, it is stated in a hadîth-i sharîf, “A namâz without the (sûra of) Fâtiha is not valid.” However, the scholars of Hanafî Madhhab prohibit a person from reciting the Fâtiha behind the imâm (when performing the namâz in jamâ’at) by saying it is makrûh tahrîmî and close to harâm. Ostensibly, this rule of Hanafî Madhhab seems to be contrary to the above-mentioned hadîth-i sharîf. Now will we disregard Imâm-i A’zam’s ijtihâd for the sake of acting upon this hadîth-i sharîf? In that case, we will have dissented from the path of Ahl as-Sunna and become lâ-madhhabî [a person who does not follow any madhhab] people.

Hadrat Imâm-i Rabbânî
Qirâat [recitation of Qur’ân al-karîm] is one of the fards of namâz, and it is communicated in a hadîth-i sharîf, “A namâz without the (sûra of) Fâtiha is not valid.” Taking such things into account, I could not understand the exact reason why Hanafî scholars have preferred qirâat-i hukmî [recitation of imâm] over qirâat-i haqîqî [recitation of each person in jamâ’at].

I could not find a clear proof about remaining silent behind the imâm in namâz. Despite this, when performing namâz in jamâ’at, I did not recite the Fâtiha behind the imâm by obeying my madhhab because I knew that it was to deviate from the right path (ilhâd) not to act upon the rule of my madhhab as a consequence of judging its proof to be weak. Observing this rule, I did not recite the Fâtiha behind the imâm in order not to become a lâ-madhhabî person. In the end, Allahu ta’âlâ, as the blessing of abiding by the madhhab, shed light on my quandary about why the jamâ’at following an imâm omit the qirâat in namâz in the Hanafî Madhhab. It is because the imâm is in the position of performing the qirâat on behalf of the jamâ’at. The situation is like this: When the people of a village have a common trouble, not all the people in that village go to the authorities to report the situation. But instead, they should elect some people out of them to be their representatives. However, it still is not proper for those elected people to explain the trouble in chorus. In the same way, one person should be chosen as the spokesperson. Since their demand is the same, the spokesperson submit it on behalf of them all. This person, whom they accept as their representative, speaks for them. The virtual speech of this group carried out by the spokesperson by presenting their needs on behalf of them is better than their real speech. So is the case with an imâm and jamâ’at. (Mabda’ wa Ma’âd, Chapter 30)

When Hadrat Imâm-i A’zam said, “When performing namâz in jamâ’at, the followers (muqtadî) behind the imâm do not read the Fâtiha and an additional sûra,” ten people hearing about this statement of Hadrat Imâm-i A’zam’s came before him:

“We have heard that you, saying the imâm’s recitation suffices, prevent the jamâ’at from reciting the Qur’ân when they perform namâz in jamâ’at. However, a namâz is not a namâz without the Fâtiha. We have sound proofs confirming our argument. We came here to discuss this matter in order to elicit the truth,” they pronounced.

“I am one person, but you are ten. How can I manage to discuss with all ten of you at the same time,” Hadrat Imâm-i A’zam asked.

“In which manner do you want to hold a discussion?” they countered.

“Choose the one who is the most knowledgeable and profound from among you, so that I talk to him only. Let that person speak on behalf of himself and all of you,” he offered.

“Your offer is agreeable,” they come to a mutual agreement.

“If he gains a victory against me, it will come to mean that all of you have gained a victory against me. But if I gain a victory against him, it will come to mean that I have gained a victory against all of you. Do you accept this proviso?” Hadrat Imâm-i A’zam inquired.

“Yes, we accept it,” they replied.

“I have achieved a victory over you now,” Hadrat Imâm-i A’zam said.

“It is impossible. We have not started our discussion yet!” they retorted.

“Didn’t you accept that the person you chose would speak on behalf of all of you?” he asked.

“Yes,” they answered.

“I, too, accept what you have accepted and say what you have said. The imâm, followed by the jamâ’at, recites the Qur’ân al-karîm both for himself and for the followers. Consequently, the followers do not have to recite it. Is the matter settled once and for all?”
he finalized the discussion.

In the end, they were all agreed on that.

Hadrat Imâm-i Rabbânî declares:
It is not jâiz [permissible] for us to give up the rules of our madhhab and to act upon hadîth-i sharîfs, for we think they do not agree with one another. Some hadîth-i sharîfs, which are seemingly incongruous with the rules of our madhhab, cannot be proofs or documentary texts to challenge the words of our scholars. It is to deviate from the madhhab for a person in the Hanafî Madhhab to recite the Fâtiha behind the imâm. (Maktûbat, 312th Letter; Mabda’ wa Ma’âd, 31st Chapter)

A person who does not follow one of the four madhhabs will have dissented from Ahl as-Sunna and become either a person of bid’a [heretic] or a kâfir [disbeliever]. (Tahtâwî)

The book Kifâya says:
When a non-mujtahid man of the dîn [religion] hears a hadîth, he cannot act upon his own inference from the hadîth. He has to act upon the fatwâ which the mujtahids gave after learning the matter from âyat-i karîmas and hadîth-i sharîfs. The same is written in the book Taqrîr.

Is it permissible to recite the Fâtiha behind an imâm?

Three hadîth-i sharîfs concerning this issue are as follows:

(A namâz without the Fâtiha is deficient.) [Tirmudhî]

(Do not recite behind your imâm when he is reciting. Read the Fâtiha in silence!) [Bayhaqî]

(A namâz without the Fâtiha is not valid.) [Bukhârî, Muslim]

In the light of above-mentioned hadîth-i sharîfs and other documents, the Shâfi’î scholars determined recitation of the Fâtiha behind an imâm to be fard [obligatory].

In the Mâlikî Madhhab, when the imâm recites silently, it is mustahab to recite the Fâtiha. When he recites loudly, then one does not recite the Fâtiha. To recite the Fâtiha in namâz is fard in the Mâlikî Madhhab but wâjib in the Hanafî Madhhab. Let us take a glance at the following hadîth-i sharîfs:

(When performing namâz behind an imâm, remain silent! The recitation of the imâm is the recitation of the jamâ’at.) [Khatîb]

(He who performs one rak’at without reciting the Fâtiha is never considered to have performed a namâz, except when he performs it behind an imâm.) [Tirmudhî]

(What was it? Was there rivalry for the recitation of the Qur’ân? One of you was reciting with me in namâz.) [Tirmudhî]

The scholars of Hanafî Madhhab, basing their inference on the aforesaid hadîth-i sharîfs and other documents, state that it is makrûh to recite the Fâtiha behind the imâm.

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