by Mufti Taqi Usmani
Sha'ban is one of the meritorious months for which we find some particular instructions in the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (saw). It is reported in the authentic ahadith that Prophet Muhammad (saw) used to fast most of the month in Sha'ban. These fasts were not obligatory on him but Sha'ban is the month immediately preceding the month of Ramadan. Therefore, some preparatory measures are suggested by Prophet Muhammad (saw). Some of these are given below:
- The blessed companion Anas (ra) reports that Prophet Muhammad (saw) was asked, "Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadan?" He replied, "Fasts of Shaban in honor of Ramadan."
- The blessed companion Usama ibn Zaid (ra) reports that he asked Prophet Muhammad (saw): "Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Sha'ban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month." Prophet Muhammad (saw) replied: "That (Sha'ban) is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting."
- Ummul Mu'mineen 'Aishah (ra) says "Prophet Muhammad (saw) used to fast the whole of Sha'ban. I said to him, 'Messenger of Allah, is Sha'ban your most favorite month for fasting?' He said, 'In this month Allah prescribes the list of the persons dying this year. Therefore, I like that my death comes when I am in a state of fasting."
- In another Tradition she says, "Prophet Muhammad (saw) would sometimes begin to fast continuously until we thought he would not stop fasting, and sometimes he used to stop fasting until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah (saw) fasting a complete month, except the month of Ramadan, and I have never seen him fasting in a month more frequently than he did in Sha'ban."
- In another report she says, "I never saw the Messenger of Allah (saw) fasting in a month so profusely as he did in the month of Sha'ban. He used to fast in that month leaving only a few days, rather, he used to fast almost the whole of the month."
- Ummul-Mu'mineen Umm Salamah (ra) says: "I have never seen the Messenger of Allah fasting for two months continuously except in the months of Sha'ban and Ramadan."
These reports indicate that fasting in the month of Sha'ban, though not obligatory, is so meritorious that Prophet Muhammad (saw) did not like to miss it.
But it should be kept in mind that the fasts of Sha'ban are for those persons only who are capable of keeping them without causing deficiency in the obligatory fasts of Ramadan. Therefore, if one fears that after fasting in Sha'ban, he will lose strength or freshness for the fasts of Ramadan and will not be able to fast in it with freshness, he should not fast in Sha'ban, because the fasts of Ramadan, being obligatory, are more important than the optional fasts of Sha'ban. That is why Prophet Muhammad (saw) himself has forbidden the Muslims from fasting one or two days immediately before the commencement of Ramadan. The blessed Companion Abu Hurairah (ra) reports Prophet Muhammad (saw) to have said, "Do not fast after the first half of the month of Sha'ban is gone."
According to another report Prophet Muhammad (saw) has said: "Do not precede the month of Ramadan with one or two fasts."
The essence of the above-quoted ahadith is that Prophet Muhammad (saw) himself used to fast most of the month of Sha'ban, because he had no fear of developing weakness or weariness before the commencement of Ramadan. As for others, he ordered them not to fast after the 15th of Sha'ban for the fear that they would lose their strength and freshness before Ramadan starts, and would not be able to welcome the month of Ramadan with enthusiasm. The Night of Bara'ah
Another significant feature of the month of Sha'ban is that it consists of a night which is termed in Shariah as "Laylatul-bara'ah" (The night of freedom from Fire). This is the night occurring between 14th and 15th day of Sha'ban. There are certain traditions of Prophet Muhammad (saw) to prove that it is a meritorious night in which the people of the earth are attended by special Divine mercy. Some of these traditions are quoted as follows:
What Should be Done in this Night?
- Ummul-Mu'mineen 'Aishah (ra) is reported to have said, "Once Prophet Muhammad (saw) performed the Salah of the night (Tahajjud) and made a very long Sajdah until I feared that he had passed away. When I saw this, I rose (from my bed) and moved his thumb (to ascertain whether he is alive). The thumb moved, and I returned (to my place). Then I heard him saying in Sajdah: 'I seek refuge of Your forgiveness from Your punishment, and I seek refuge of Your pleasure from Your annoyance, and I seek Your refuge from Yourself. I cannot praise You as fully as You deserve. You are exactly as You have defined Yourself.' Thereafter, when he raised his head from Sajdah and finished his salah, he said to me: 'Aishah, did you think that the Prophet has betrayed you?' I said, 'No, O Prophet of Allah, but I was afraid that your soul has been taken away because your Sajdah was very long.' He asked me, 'Do you know which night is this?' I said, 'Allah and His Messenger know best.' He said, 'This is the night of the half of Sha'ban. Allah Almighty looks upon His slaves in this night and forgives those who seek forgiveness and bestows His mercy upon those who pray for mercy but keeps those who have malice (against a Muslim) as they were before, (and does not forgive them unless they relieve themselves from malice).'"
- In another Tradition Sayyidah' Aishah (ra) has reported that Prophet Muhammad (saw) has said, "Allah Almighty descends (in a manner He best knows it) in the night occurring in the middle of Sha'ban and forgives a large number of people more than the number of the fibers on the sheep of the tribe, Kalb."
Kalb was a big tribe the members of which had a very large number of sheep. Therefore, the last sentence of the hadith indicates the big number of the people who are forgiven in this night by Allah Almighty.
- In yet another Tradition, she has reported Prophet Muhammad (saw) to have said, "This is the middle Night of Sha'ban. Allah frees in it a large number of the people from Fire, more than the number of the hair growing on the sheep of the tribe, Kalb. But He does not even look at a person who associates partners with Allah, or at a person who nourishes malice in his heart (against someone), or at a person who cuts off the ties of kinship, or at a man who leaves his clothes extending beyond his ankles (as a sign of pride), or at a person who disobeys his parents, or at a person who has a habit of drinking wine."
- Sayyidna Mu'adh ibn Jabal (ra) reports that Prophet Muhammad (saw) has said: "Allah Almighty looks upon all those created by Him in the middle Night of Sha'ban and forgives all those created by Him, except the one who associates partners with Him or the one who has malice in his heart (against a Muslim)".
Although the chain of narrators of some of these traditions suffers with some minor technical defects, yet when all these traditions are combined together, it becomes clear that this night has some well founded merits, and observing this night as a sacred night is not a baseless concoction as envisaged by some modern scholars who, on the basis of these minor defects, have totally rejected to give any special importance to this night. In fact, some of these traditions have been held by some scholars of hadith as authentic and the defects in the chain of some others have been treated by them as minor technical defects which, according to the science of hadith, are curable by the variety of their ways of narration. That is why the elders of the ummah have constantly been observing this night as a night of special merits and have been spending it in worship and prayers.
In order to observe the Night of Bara'ah, one should remain awakened in this night as much as he can. If someone has better opportunities, he should spend the whole night in worship and prayer. However, if one cannot do so for one reason or another, he can select a considerable portion of the night, preferably of the second half of it for this purpose, and should perform the following acts of worship:
What Should Not be Done in This Night
- Salah. Salah is the most preferable act to be performed in this night. There is no particular number of Rak'at but preferably it should not be less than eight. It is also advisable that each part of the Salah like qiyam, rukoo' and sajdah should be longer than normal. The longest surahs of the Holy Qur'an one remembers by heart should be recited in the Salah of this night. If someone does not remember the long surahs, he can also recite several short surahs in one rak'ah.
- Tilawa. The recitation of the Holy Qur'an is another form of worship, very beneficent in this night. After performing Salah, or at any other time, one should recite as much of the Holy Qur'an as he can.
- Dhikr. One should also perform dhikr (recitation of the name of Allah) in this night. Particularly the following dhikr is very useful:
One should recite Salah (durood) on Prophet Muhammad (saw) as many times as he can. The dhikr can also be recited while walking, lying on bed and during other hours of work or leisure.
- Dua. The best benefit one can draw from the blessings of this night is prayers and supplications. It is hoped that all the prayers in this night will be accepted by our Lord, insha-Allah. Prayer itself is an 'Ibadah, and Allah Almighty gives reward on each prayer along with the fulfillment of the supplicator's need. Even if the purpose prayed for is not achieved, one cannot be deprived of the reward of the prayer which is sometimes more precious than the mundane benefits one strives for. The prayers and supplications also strengthen one's relation with Allah Almighty, which is the main purpose of all kinds and forms of worship.
One can pray for whatever purpose he wishes. But the best supplications are the ones made by Prophet Muhammad (saw). These are so comprehensive and all-encompassing prayers that all the human needs, of this world and the Hereafter, are fully covered in the eloquent expressions used in them. Actually, most of the prophetic prayers are so profound that human imagination can hardly match their greatness.
Several books in various languages are available which provide these prophetic prayers, and one should pray to Allah Almighty in accordance with them, whether by reciting their original Arabic text or by rendering their sense in one's own language.
- There are some people who cannot perform any additional Salah or recitations for any reason, like illness or weakness or being engaged in some other necessary activities. Such people also should not deprive themselves completely of the blessings of this night. They should observe the following acts:
- To perform the Salah of Maghrib, 'Isha' and Fajr with Jama'ah in the mosque, or in their homes in case of their being sick.
- They should keep reciting the dhikr, particularly the one mentioned in para (c) above, in whatever condition they are until they sleep.
- They should pray to Allah for their forgiveness and for their other objectives. One can do so even when he is in his bed.
- The women during their periods cannot perform salah, nor can they recite the Qur'an, but they can recite any dhikr, tasbeeh, durood sharif and can pray to Allah for whatever purpose they like in whatever language they wish. They can also recite the Arabic prayers mentioned in the Qur'an or in the hadith with the intention of supplication (and not with the intention of recitation).
- According to a hadith, which is relatively less authentic, Prophet Muhammad (saw) went in this night to the graveyard of Baqi' where he prayed for the Muslims buried there. On this basis, some of the fuqaha hold it as mustahabb (advisable) in this night to go to the graveyard of the Muslims and recite Fatihah or any other part of the Qur'an, and pray for the dead. But this act is neither obligatory nor should it be performed as regularly as an obligatory act.
- As mentioned earlier, the Night of Bara'ah is a night in which special blessings are directed towards the Muslims. Therefore, this night should be spent in total submission to Allah Almighty, and one should refrain from all those activities, which may displease Allah. Although it is always incumbent upon every Muslim to abstain from sins, yet this abstinence becomes all the more necessary in such nights, because committing sins in this night will amount to responding to divine blessings with disobedience and felony. Such an arrogant attitude can invite nothing but the wrath of Allah. Therefore, one should strictly abstain from all the sins, particularly from those mentioned in the Hadith No. 3 quoted earlier in this article, because these sins make one devoid of the blessings of this night.
- In this night some people indulge in some activities which they regard as necessary for the celebration of the Night of Bara'ah, like cooking some special type of meal, or illuminating houses or mosques, or improvised structures. All such activities are not only baseless and innovated in the later days by ignorant people, but in some cases they are pure imitation of some rituals performed by non-Muslim communities. Such imitation in itself is a sin; performing it in a blessed night like the Night of Bara'ah makes it worse. Muslims should strictly abstain from all such activities.
- Some people spend this night in holding religious meetings and delivering long speeches. Such activities are also not advisable, because these acts can easily be performed in other nights. This night requires one to devote himself for the pure acts of worship only.
- The acts of worship like Salah, recitation of the Qur'an and dhikr should be performed in this night individually, not collectively. The Nafl Salah should not be performed in Jama'ah, nor should the Muslims arrange gatherings in the mosques in order to celebrate the night in a collective manner.
On the contrary, this night is meant for worshipping Allah in solitude. It is the time to enjoy the direct contact with the Lord of the Universe, and to devote one's attention to Him and Him alone. These are the precious hours of the night in which nobody should intervene between one and his Lord, and one should turn to Allah with total concentration, not disturbed or intermitted by any one else.
That is why Prophet Muhammad (saw) observed the acts of worship in this night in total seclusion, not accompanied by anyone, not even by his favorite life companion Sayyidah 'Aishah (ra) and that is why all forms of the optional worship (Nafl Ibadah), are advised by him to be done in individual, not in collective manner. Fast of the 15th Sha'ban
On the day immediately following the Night of Bara'ah, i.e. the 15th of Sha'ban, it is mustahabb (advisable) to keep fast. Prophet Muhammad (saw) is reported to have recommended this fast emphatically. Although the scholars of hadith have some doubts in the authenticity of this report, yet it is mentioned earlier that the fasts of the first half of Sha'ban have special merits and Prophet Muhammad (saw) used to fast most of the days in Sha'ban. Moreover, a large number of the elders (salaf) of the Ummah have been observing the fast of the 15th of Sha'ban. This constant practice indicates that they have accepted the relevant hadith as authentic.
Therefore, it is advisable to fast the 15th of Sha'ban as an optional (nafl) fast. One can also keep a fast of qada on this day and it is hoped that he can also benefit from the merits of this fast. [Courtesy of al-balagh.net]
By Mufti Taqi Usmani
Rajab is the seventh month in the Islamic lunar calendar. This month was regarded as one of the sacred months (Al-Ashhur-al-hurum) in which battles were prohibited in the days of the Holy Prophet . It is also a prelude to the month of Ramadan, because Ramadan follows it after the intervening month of Sha'ban. Therefore, when the Holy Prophet sighted the moon of Rajab, he used to pray to Allah in the following words:
"O Allah, make the months of Rajab and Sha'ban blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadan (i.e. prolong our life up to Ramadan, so that we may benefit from its merits and blessings)."
Yet no specific way of worship has been prescribed by the Shari'ah in this month. However, some people have invented some special rituals or practices in this month, which are not supported by reliable resources of the Shari'ah or are based on some unauthentic traditions. We would like to explain here the correct position about them.
1. Celebration of Lailatul Mi'raj
It is generally believed that the great event of Mi'raj (ascension of the Holy Prophet to the heavens) took place in the night of 27th of Rajab. Therefore, some people celebrate the night as "Lailatul- Mi'raj" (the night of ascension to heavens).
Indeed, the event of mi'raj was one of the most remarkable episodes in the life of our beloved Holy Prophet . He was called by Almighty Allah. He traveled from Makkah to Baitul-Maqdis and from there he ascended the heavens through the miraculous power of Allah. He was honored with a direct contact with his Creator at a place where even the angels had no access. This was the unique honor conferred by Allah to the Holy Prophet alone. It was the climax of the spiritual progress which is not attained by anybody except him. No doubt the night in which he was blessed with this unparalleled honor was one of the greatest nights in the history of this world.
But, Islam has its own principles with regard to the historic and religious events. Its approach about observing festivals and celebrating days and nights is totally different from the approach of other religions. The Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet did not prescribe any festival or any celebration to commemorate an event from the past, however remarkable it might have been. Instead, Islam has prescribed two annual celebrations only. One is Eid-ul-Fitr and the other is Eid ul-Adha. Both of these festivals have been fixed at a date on which the Muslims accomplish a great 'ibadah (worship) every year. Eid-ul-Fitr has been prescribed after the fasts of Ramadan, while Eid-ul-Adha has been fixed when the Muslims perform the Hajj annually. None of these two eids is designed to commemorate a particular event of the past which has happened in these dates. This approach is indicative of the fact that the real occasion for a happy celebration is the day in which the celebrators themselves have accomplished remarkable work through their own active effort. As for the accomplishments of our ancestors, their commemoration should not be restricted to a particular day or night. Instead, their accomplishments must be remembered every day in the practical life by observing their teachings and following the great examples they have set for us.
Keeping this principle in view, the following points should be remembered with regard to the "Lailatul-mi'raj":
(1) We cannot say with absolute certainty in which night the great event of mi'raj took place. Although some traditions relate this event to 27th night of the month of Rajab, yet there are other traditions that suggest other dates. Al-Zurqani, the famous biographer of the Holy Prophet has referred to five different views in this respect: Rabi-ul-Awwal, Rabi-u-Thani, Rajab, Ramadan and Shawwal. Later, while discussing different traditions, he has added a sixth opinion, that the mi'raj took place in the month of Zulhijjah.
Allama Abdulhaq Muhaddith Dehlawi, the well-known scholar of the Indian subcontinent, has written a detailed book on the merits of Islamic months. While discussing the 'Lailatul-mi'raj' has mentioned that most of the scholars are of the view that the event of mi'raj took place in the month of Ramadan or in Rabi-ul-awwal.
(2) It is also not known in which year the event of Mi'raj took place. The books of history suggest a wide range between the fifth-year and the twelfth year after the Holy Prophet was entrusted with prophethood.
Now, if it is assumed that the event of Mi'raj took place in the fifth year of his prophethood, it will mean that the Holy Prophet remained in this world for eighteen years after this event. Even if it is presumed that the mi'raj took place in the twelfth year of his prophethood, his remaining life-time after this event would be eleven years. Throughout this long period, which may range between eleven years and eighteen years, the Holy Prophet never celebrated the event of mi'raj, nor did he give any instruction about it. No one can prove that the Holy Prophet ever performed some specific modes of worship in a night calling it the 'Lailatul-mi'raj' or advised his followers to commemorate the event in a particular manner.
(3) After the demise of the Holy Prophet also, no one of his companions is reported to celebrate this night as a night of special acts of worship. They were the true devotees of the Holy Prophet and had devoted their lives to preserve every minute detail of the sunnah of the Holy Prophet and other Islamic teachings. Still, they did not celebrate the event of mi'raj in a particular night in a particular way.
All these points go a long way to prove that the celebration of the 27th night of Rajab, being the lailatul-mi'raj has no basis in the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet or in the practice of his noble companions. Had it been a commendable practice to celebrate this night, the exact date of this event would have been preserved accurately by the Ummah and the Holy Prophet and his blessed companions would have given specific directions for it.
Therefore, it is not a Sunnah to celebrate the Lailatul-mi'raj'. We cannot declare any practice as a sunnah unless it is established through authentic sources that the Holy Prophet or is noble Companions have recognized it as such, otherwise it may become a bid'ah about which the Holy Prophet has observed in the following words: "Whoever invents something in our religion which is not a part of it, it is to be rejected."
Being mindful of this serious warning, we should appreciate that the 27th night of the month of Rajab is not like 'Lailatul-qadr' or 'Lailatul-bara'ah' for which special merits have been mentioned expressly either y the Holy Qur'an or by the Holy Prophet .
However, all the recognized modes of 'ibadah (worship) like Salat, recitation of the Holy Qur'an, dhikr, etc. are commendable any time, especially in the late hours of night, and obviously the 27th night of Rajab is not an exception. Therefore, if someone performs any recognized 'ibadah in this night from this point of view nothing can stop him from doing so, and he will be entitled to the thawab (reward allocated for that recognized 'ibadah insha-Allah.) But it is not permissible to believe that performing 'ibadah in this night is more meritorious or carries more thawab like 'Lailatul-qadr' or 'Lailatul-bara'ah', because this belief is not based on any authentic verse or on a sunnah of the Holy Prophet . Similarly, it is not a correct practice to celebrate this night collectively and to invite people to special ritual congregations.
(4) Some people suggest some special modes of worship to be performed in this night. Since no special mode of worship is prescribed by the Shari'ah in this night, these suggestions are devoid of any authority and should not be acted upon.
It is believed by some that the Muslims should keep fast on 27th of Rajab. Although there are some traditions attributing special merits to the fast of this day yet the scholars of hadith have held these traditions as very weak and unauthentic reports which cannot be sufficient to establish a rule of Shari'ah. On the contrary, there is an authentic report that Sayyidna 'Umar, Radi-Allahu anhu, used to forbid people from fasting on this day, rather to compel them to eat if they had started fasting.
It should be borne in mind here that a "nafl" fast can be observed any day (except the six prohibited days of the year); therefore, fasting on 27th of Rajab is not prohibited in itself. What is prohibited is the belief that fasting on this day is more meritorious than fasting in other normal days. One should not fast in this day with this belief. But if someone fasts therein, believing it to be a normal nafl fast, there is no bar against it.
Sacrifice (qurbani) in the month of Rajab
In the days of ignorance (jahiliyyah) the Arabs used to offer the sacrifice of a goat in the month of Rajab. This sacrifice used to be called "Atirah' or 'Rajabiyyah'. This sacrifice was offered in the name of different so-called gods and their icons. In the beginning of Islam, this custom was retained, but the Muslims modified it by offering the sacrifice of 'Atirah in the name of Allah instead of the false gods. But finally, this custom was abandoned and the Holy Prophet prohibited the offering of 'Atirah. In a tradition of Sayyidna Abu Hurairah, Radi-Allahu anhu, reported by both al-Bukhari and Muslim, the Holy Prophet has said: "Fara' is nothing and 'Atirah is nothing."
Abu Hurairah, Radi-Allahu anhu, has explained in the same tradition that 'Fara" was the first child of a she-camel. Whenever a she-camel delivered its first child, the Arabs used to sacrifice it in the name of their so-called gods, while the 'Atirah' was a goat used to be sacrificed in the month of Rajab. Since the Holy Prophet stopped both these customs, 'Atirah is no longer a recognized practice.
'Umrah in the month of Rajab
Ibn 'Abidin, the well-known scholar of the Islamic jurisprudence, has mentioned that the people of Makkah (in his days) used to perform 'umrah in the month of Rajab. Perhaps they believed that performing 'umrah in this month is more meritorious than in other months. Then Ibn Abidin himself has rejected the authenticity of this practice, because no tradition of the Holy Prophet is found to this effect. Conversely Sayyidah 'Aishah, Radi-Allahu anha, has expressly negated the presumption by saying that the Holy Prophet never performed an 'umrah in the month of Rajab (Sahih Muslim 1:409)
However, Ibn 'Aibidin has quoted a narration that 'Abdullah ibn Zubair, Radi-Allahu anhu, completed the renovation of Ka'bah shortly before 27th of Rajab, and as a sign of gratefulness he performed 'umrah and slaughtered some animals. But this report cannot form the basis of a recognized annual practice, firstly because the report is not very authentic, and secondly because it does not mention that Abdullah ibn Zubair, Radi-Allahu anhu, had adopted it as a continuing practice. At the most, he performed 'umrah once as a sign of gratefulness on the completion of Ka'bah. It does not mean that he performed it as a characteristic of the month of Rajab. Therefore, performing 'Umrah in this month is like performing it in any other month and no special merit can be attached to it merely because it has been performed in the month of Rajab.
The Salat of "Ragha'ib"
Another special mode of worship attributed by some people to this month is the Salat of Raghai'b. According to the custom of such people, this Salat is performed in the night of first Friday of the month of Eajab. The Salat of Raghaib is said to consist of twelve rak'ats to be performed in pairs with six salams, and in each rak'at the surah al-qadr is recited three times followed by the Surah-al-ikhlas. This type of Salat is also not based on any sound source of Shari'ah. Therefore, almost all the jurists and scholars of Shari'ah have held that the Salat of Raghaib is a baseless practice and it is not permissible to treat it as a recognized practice of this month. It is true that there is a tradition, narrated by Razin, the author of a book of hadith, which attributes the origin of this practice to the Holy Prophet but almost all the scholars of the science of hadith have held it to be absolutely unauthentic. Therefore, no importance can be attached to it.
Distribution of Breads:
Another baseless practice in the month of Rajab is that the people bake special types of breads and, after reciting some verses and prayers on them, distribute them among their friends and neighbors. This custom has two different shapes.
1). In some communities, this custom is celebrated on 17th of Rajab on the assumption that Sayyidna Ali, Radi-Allahu anhu, was born on 11th of Rajab and the 17th of Rajab is the day on which his 'Aqiqa (Shaving of his head) was performed. In order to celebrate this happy event, the breads of some special type are prepared and after reciting Surah Al-Mulk on them, they are distributed among the relatives and friends. These breads are generally called "breads of Tabarak" because Surah Al-Mulk is usually recited on them.
This practice is baseless because it is never proved that Sayyidna Ali, Radi-Allahu anhu, was born on 11th of Rajab or that his Aqiqa was performed on 17th of this month and, as explained earlier, even if these events are proved to have happened in those days, their commemoration through these specific rituals is not warranted by the Shari'ah.
2). A more common practice of this type is observed on 22nd of Rajab whereby some breads and meals of a special type are prepared and distributed among the people. Since these special meals are usually placed in some bowls made of clay, the custom is usually known as "Koonda", an Urdu equivalent of such bowls. It is usually believed that the custom is designed to make 'isal-al-thawab to the soul of Sayyidna Jafar Al-Sadiq who himself has directed his followers to observe this custom and has promised them that whoever observes it, his desires will be fulfilled.
All these assumptions also have no basis at all, neither historically, nor according to the principles of Shari'ah. In fact, the date of 22nd of Rajab has no concern whatsoever with Sayyidna Jafar al-Sadiq, Rahimah-u-Allah. According to the historians, he was born on 8th of Ramadan 80 A.H. and died in Shawwal 148 A.H. No specific event of the life of Sayyidna Jafar al-Sadiq is proved to have happened on this date. The people believing in the custom refer to a coined story mentioned in an unauthentic book named "Dastaan-e-Ajeeb".
Briefly stated, the gist of the story is that a poor woodcutter lived in Madinah in the days of Jafar Al-Sadiq. He went abroad to earn his livelihood. His wife was employed in the house of the Prime Minister. Once she was cleaning the courtyard of the Prime Minister when Sayyidna Jafar al-Sadiq passed by her. It was 22nd of Rajab. He advised her to bake some breads of a special type and make 'isal-al-sawab to him. According to this story, he promised her that if her desire is not fulfilled after this practice, she can catch hold of him at the doom's day. On hearing this, the woman made a vow that if her husband will come back with a considerable wealth, she will observe the custom of "Koonda". On the same day her husband, who was in another country, found a valuable treasure in the earth and came back with it to Madinah where he established himself as a rich man and started living in a magnificent castle. When his wife told the story to the wife of the Prime Minister, she disbelieved her and because of this disbelief, she and her husband, the Prime Minister, were punished by Allah. He was removed by the king from the prime minister-ship and was imprisoned in a jail and was ordered to be hanged. While being in the prison, the wife of the Prime Minister remembered that she had disbelieved the story of Jafar al-Sadiq told to her by her maidservant and their misery might be the punishment of their disbelief. On this point, she and her husband repented before Allah and made a vow to observe the custom of "Koonda", if they are released from the jail. After they made such a vow, the whole scenario of the events changed suddenly. The king released the Prime Minister from the jail and reinstated him on his former position.
As it can be seen by any reasonable person, this story is totally forged on the face of it. The person who has coined this story did not even know that Madinah had never a king nor a Prime Minister. All the Muslim rulers were named as caliphs and had no Prime Minister at all. In the days of Umayyads, their capital was Damascus and in the days of Abbasids, their permanent seat was in Baghdad.
It is ironical that the story of such a woodcutter is not even known to anybody in Madinah, nor in any city of the Arab countries. No Arabic book has ever referred to it. It has no mention except in an Urdu book 'Dastaan-e-Ajeeb', the author of which is unknown. One can easily see that a custom based on such a fallacious and mythical story can never be an Islamic custom. Islam has always been far away from such superstitions.
Therefore, this baseless custom should completely be avoided by the true Muslims. Some historians have opined that in fact, this custom has been coined by some Shi'ites because the date of 22nd of Rajab is the date of the demise of Sayyidna Mu'awiyah whom they take as their biggest enemy. They took that date as a happy occasion and made the Sunni Muslims also to celebrate it on the pretext of the above mentioned story.
Be that as it may, it is evident that such customs have crept into the Muslim society by their long association with Hindus who commemorate different historical events of their religion in the like manner. The Muslims must be careful about these customs, because they are not only an invention of ignorance but also the imitation of non-Muslims in their religious rituals. No doubt the "'isal-al-thawab' to the soul of a deceased Muslim, and particularly to a pious person is not only permissible but also a commendable practice but the Shari'ah has not prescribed a particular date, nor a particular mode to do so. If someone wants to make "'isal-al-thawab" to Sayyidna 'Ali, Radi-Allahu anhu, or to Ja'far al-Sadiq, he can do it any day and by performing any act of worship, like Salat, fast, Sadaqah, dhikr etc. There is no reason why it should be restricted to a special type of meal or bread distributed on a particular date. What makes this practice worse is the fact that the people accustomed to this practice deem it as necessary as a fard (obligation); rather they treat it as more necessary than fard because they do not care to perform the obligatory Salat or to fulfill the rights of men obligated on them, but they are very strict and punctual to perform these activities. Moreover, if a person does not observe this practice, they reproach him and call him with bad names. Such behavior makes this custom a bid'ah which is condemned by the Holy Prophet as a misguidance. Therefore, the Muslims must abandon all such practices and should not cling to it only because it has been the practice of their society for many years. A Muslim is supposed to follow the dictates of Shari'ah and not the practice of the society, if it violates any of its principles.
The upshot of the above discussion is that the Shari'ah has not prescribed any specific way to observe the month of Rajab or to perform a specific mode of worship or a ritual in any one of its dates. However, being a prologue to the month of Ramadan, it should be availed of for preparing oneself for Ramadan and one should pray Allah to make him reach the blessed month and to benefit from its unique merits.
[Courtesy of alBalagh.net]
Meaning of Fiqhi Schools
'Fiqhi School is basically the name of different trends which have been adopted to derive solution of matters from the principal Shariah sources. The concept of Fiqhi schools was not prevalent in the period of the Prophet and the companions as it is today, but the basis of these trends was found and they were known in the period of the companions. These trends turned in to the form of Fiqhi schoos in the last period of the Sahaba (companions) and their successors. These trends got more accurate and new building erected at the foundation of separate rules and regulations.
Background of Fiqhi Schools
In the previous lines, it has been mentioned that at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) sometimes two different companions used to differ in understanding the saying of the Prophet. In these examples, there was possibility of taking different meanings since these examples were related to non-principal and partial matters. There is no place for such difference of understanding in the basic principles of religion. Therefore, the Prophet (pbuh) held right two opposite meanings of a guidance. Even, in the Glorious Quran, at many places there was possibility of taking various meanings. This difference of understanding sometimes was based on the word having two opposite meanings. Sometimes, the word had two meanings; one real and the other metaphor. Sometimes, the outer condition of the word gave a meaning and after contemplating the word or looking in to the context it gave another meaning. Some of the companions have adopted the first trend, so they used to stick to the outer meaning of the verses and Hadith. While some others tried to go in to the depth of the matter keeping the spirit of the Shariah and context in their view, and they used to issue orders accordingly. There is a famous account that once the Prophet (pbuh) ordered a group of the companions to offer the prayer of Asr in the locality of the Banu Quraizah. The companions went out and the time of Asr approached in the mid way. A group of the companions said that the Prophet meant that we reach quickly, so they offered Asr prayer in the mid way. While the rest, acting upon the outer meaning of the order, first reached to Banu Quraizah and they could only offer Asr prayer after Isha. When the Prophet (pbuh) was apprised of the incident, he objected none of the two.
When the Prophet (pbuh) left for his heavenly abode, the companions faced new issues about which there were no clear orders in the Glorious Quran and Hadith. So, the companions contemplated in to those matters in the light of the Quran and Hadith. As before, this contemplation was of two kinds and their opinions differed because of the difference in trends. The Tab’een (those who followed the companions) learnt the knowledge of Islam from the companions and thus theses trends shifted to them. The new issues and matters came up in abundance and they solved them according to their trends. Basically, it was this difference of trends which was associated with some other reasons that caused the formation variant jurisprudential interpretations. These Fiqhi scholars were in different cities of the Muslim rule and each had a circle of students and followers around him. Thus, their interpretations got the shape of a Fiqhi Maslak.
Logic of the Prevalent Fiqhi Schools
In the beginning, there were many Fiqhi schools and their followers. But as the time passed by, the followers of some schools, under various reasons, got lesser and lesser. All of their Fiqhi opinions and interpretative judgments were not compiled, and they became a part of the history. Only some of their opinions are found in few books and writings of the early authors. The other Fiqhi schools succeeded to win such scholars and jurists who compiled all the opinions and findings the particular school. They set up the rules and regulations and propagated them. Later, these Fiqhi schools enjoyed such scholars of Fiqh who transferred this asset to their successors and rendered a marvelous service to safeguard this treasure. These schools survived. In Ahlus Sunnah, there are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali Fiqhi schools, while in the Shiites there are Ja’fariyah and Zaidiyah Fiqhs.
Translated and partly prepared by:
Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi, Maulana Afzal Qasmi, Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Imam Azam Abu Hanifa Mosque, Iraq
Introduction of Hanafi School of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence)
Fiqh Hanafi is the oldest of all four Sunni Fiqhi schools. The Fiqhi rules and matters were first compiled in this school. This school spread the most in the Islamic world and it was followed by a majority of the Muslims. This Fiqh is attributed to Imam Abu Hanifah and therefore is called Hanafi. It came in to being at Kufa and the compilation was carried out by collective research and interpretations. This Fiqh is originally based on the opinions, fatwas, judgments and thinking methods of the outstanding Companion Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood and fourth Caliph Hadhrat Ali bin Abu Talib. These opinions, fatwas, judgments and thinking methods reached Abu Hanifah by the channel of Hammad bin Abi Sulaiman, Hadhrat Ibrahim Nakh’ee and Hadhrat Alqamah. Imam Muhammad bin Hasan Shaibani, the renowned disciple of Imam Abu Hanifah, recorded the thousands of mas'alas (issues or cases) in to form of a book which were derived and compiled by a panel of forty ablest students and friends of Imam Abu Hanifah. Imam Abu Yusuf Ya’qub bin Ibrahim Ansari, the other student of Imam Abu Hanifah, played a prominent role in compiling and spreading Fiqh Hanafi.
Imam Abu Hanifah
The name of Imam Abu Hanifah is No’man bin Sabit Zooti. Abu Hanifah is his nickname. He was born in 80 Hijri in Kufa, a city of present day Iraq. As a profession, his family was cloth merchant and he also took in the same profession. A famous scholar of Kufa, Sha’bi apprehended his sharp-mindedness and sought him to achieve education. So, he joined the prominent circle of Hadhrat Hammad bin Abi Sulaiman and remained in his company till his demise. He benefited from all the scholars of Hadith in Kufa. He traveled Hijaz many a times and learned from the scholars and other educated ones. He benefited from Imam Malik in Medina and Imam Malik also benefited from him. He had so many teachers; among them are senior Tab’een (the successor of the companions of Prophet) from Makkah, Medina, Iraq and Syria. He himself was a Tab’ee, since he had the honour of visiting some companions of the Prophet (pbuh), though he did not narrate from them. After the demise of Hadhrat Hammad, all of his students agreed that Abu Hanifah, the youngest of them, is ablest among them to succeed their Shaikh. So they forced him to take over his position. This circle had the grand collection of the derivation method of Hadhrat Umar Farooq, traditions and fatwas of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood, rulings and thoughts of Hadhrat Ali and the Hadiths and traditions of scholars of Hadith in Kufa. Imam Abu Hanifah was bestowed matchless mind, power of understanding and derivation, expansion and depth in knowledge. He had good moral characters and held a high position in fearing Allah, piety, righteousness and nobility. He was prosperous, so he used to spend wealth wholeheartedly in the path of Allah. He was famous in honesty in dealings and business. Because of these virtues, his circle of teaching earned fame far and wide and prominent scholars started to attend his classes where this generous teacher encouraged them and discussed the academic matters openly. He observed the Umayyad sultanate and witnessed its decline. The Abbasid caliphate was established before his eyes. Some Alvis also made armed efforts to gain power. Realizing them as able for the position, he extended oral and financial support to them. When the Abbasid caliphate was established the Caliph Mansoor offered him the post of Qazi, most probably, in order to test his loyalty to his government. He denied it and as a punishment was whipped lashes at public place and was put in to prison. He was then about seventy years old. He continued teaching while he was in prison and the punishment of whips also continued. Ultimately, he died in prison in 150 H in the month of Rajab and was buried in the graveyard of Khaizuran.
Method & Characteristics
The Fiqh of Imam Abu Hanifah bears this characteristic that it was collectively formulated. Hadhrat Umar Farooq populated the city of Kufa with keen interest and sent Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood as teacher and Qazi with this letter: “O people of Kufa! I prefer you on myself by sending Ibn Mas’ood.” So much of the companions turned to Kufa that it accommodated more than one thousand companions. Hadhrat Ali Murtuza, the fourth Caliph of Islam, made it his capital. Later, this city competed the cities of Makka and Medina in Hadith and Islamic sciences. This city was newly built, therefore the new coverts, who were from urban background and brought with them an asset of Greek and Persian sciences and philosophy, inhabited there in a big number. The mixing of Arabs with Iranian culture created countless many new problems and issues. On the other side, there came up so many sects due to political differences and amalgamation of religions and nations. Some of them were secretly involved in anti-Islamic efforts. One of these phenomena was to forge false Hadith. Every sect forged Hadith to support its view. The cities of Hijaz; Makka and Medina, were secure from such kinds of special cases to an extent.
Hadhrat Umar Farooq had a special relation with Iraq. He himself sent Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood to Kufa. Hadhrat Umar was given the title of Muhaddith from the Prophet (pbuh) i.e. 'his tongue and heart spoke according to the revelation'. There were several verses in the Glorious Quran which were revealed according to his opinion. Hadhrat Umar Farooq prevented the companions to go out of Medina in his time of caliphate. He formed two groups among the companions. He used to consult smaller group of the elder companions in special cases. And, whenever there happened to occur any important matter he used to assemble all of the companions for consultations. His style of derivation was that he used to deliberate in the depth of the Quran and Hadith, used to keep the objectives of Shariah and the interest of the Muslims before his eyes, observed the circumstances and used to reach a conclusion by collective decision. His interpretative judgments and Awwaliyaat (pioneering judgments) are well known, and they not only played a key role to enliven the Islamic Shariah in the wide Islamic caliphate but also provided a firm basis for his successors. This style of derivation was circulated in Kufa by Hadhrat Ali and Abdullah bin Mas’ood. Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood and his disciples, Alqamah and Ibrahim Nakh’ee, on one hand applied strict laws in accepting narrations so that no false Hadith is accepted. On the other hand, they avoided attributing Hadith directly to the Prophet (pbuh) and liked to narrate attributing to companions and Tab’eens lest an incorrect meaning is associated to the Prophet (pbuh). Thirdly, they applied their reasons and issued fatwas. These were the characteristics and styles that Imam Abu Hanifah inherited.
Collective Compilation of Fiqh
When Imam Abu Hanifah formed his penal to compile Fiqh he selected forty people from among his students. They were experts of Quranic exegesis, Hadith, Asmaur Rijal (complete record of the narrators), language, literature, logic, philosophy, analogy, history, mathematics and several other sciences. He himself had the experience of trade and marketing. He started this noble mission of compiling Fiqh. It was thus that a matter was presented before the panel and each member used to express his view, and he himself put his opinion. Sometimes, the discussion continued till a month on a single matter. When a decision was reached on he ordered to record it down. The matter was discussed in the light of Quran and Hadith. If they did not find any evidence in any of them, they turned to the sayings of the companions. Having failed they used to apply analogy. All the members also sometimes discussed analogy and some times discrete in legal matters. The conclusions of the discussion were written down in registers. Thus, the Mas'alas of Fiqh were compiled in a new order. This order was known as Fiqhi order; starting from chapter of prayers, dealings and ending at inheritance. It is said that thus 500,000 matters were compiled and 38000 matters of them were related to prayers.
Method of Derivation
Imam Abu Hanifah himself describes his method of derivation: "First of all I look in to the Noble Quran, then search the matter in the Hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) and take the narrations of the Faqeeh (jurist) narrators. If the matter is not found in the Quran and Hadith, then I turn to the sayings of the companions. If their opinions differ then I prefer any of them. If the opinions of the companions contradict the opinions of others I never go against the opinions of the companions. And, when it come to the opinions of Ibrahim Nakh’ee, Hasan Basari, Ibn Seereen, Saeed bin Musayyib and others then I also apply mind and interpret as they do.
After the collective compilation of the Fiqh matters, some companions of Imam Abu Hanifah wrote books. There is no book recorded on Fiqh by Imam Abu Hanifah. But, the books of his disciple Imam Muhammad Shaibani are considered to the first and foremost source of Hanafi Fiqh. In Fiqh Hanafi there are three types of books:
(1) Books of ‘Zahir Al-Riwayah’
(2) Books of ‘Nawadir’
(3) Fatawa and Waqi;aat.
The contents of Zahir Al-Riwayah are most trusted ones. Zahir Al-Riwayah is a collection of six books written by Imam Muhammad.
1. Al-Jame’ Al-Sageer: Eisa bin Aban and Muhammad bin Sama’ah narrated this book from Imam Muhammad. In this book, Imam Muhammad narrated from Imam Abu Hanifah through Imam Abu Yusuf. But, this book does not contain proofs.
2. Al-Jame’ Al-Kabeer: This book is like the previous one, but it deals with the subjects in details.
3. Ziyadaat: This is the complementary of Al-Jame’ Al-Kabeer.
4. Al-Mabsoot: This is also known as ‘Al-Asl’. In this book, Imam Muhammad has collected the thousands of Mas'alas that were derived by Imam Abu Hanifah. This book deals with Ahadith that is followed by Mas'alas and the variant opinions of the contemporary Ulama.
5. Al-Siyar Al-Sageer: This book deals with the subject of Jihad and international laws.
6. Al-Siyar Al-Kabeer: This is his last Fiqhi book that was narrated by Abu Sulaiman Jauzjani.
Muhammad bin Ahmad Marwazi, known as Hakim Shahid, amassed all of Imam Muhammad’s books with the name of ‘Al-Kafi’ after the deletion of repeated matters. Imam Sarkhasi has written its detailed commentary named as ‘Al-Mabsoot’.
Nawadir comprises the matters that are found in books other than the books of Imam Muhammad or in the books of Imam Abu Yusuf or Imam Hasan bin Ziyad. The collection of Nawadir consists of:
1. Harooniyaat: Imam Muhammad dictated it in the reign of Caliph Haroon Al-Rashid, this book is attributed to the Caliph.
2. Kisaniyaat: The narrations of his student Shoaib bin Sulaiman Kisani.
3. Ruqyaat: These are the matters that he expressed while he was Qazi in Ruqa area.
4. Kitabul Mujarrad: It is written by Hasan bin Ziyad.
5. Kitabul Amali: It is attributed to Imam Abu Yusuf.
Nawazil were the Mas'alas about which there was no mention in the aforementioned books and the succeeding scholars of Fiqh derived solutions keeping these books before them. Kitab Al-Nawazil of Abul Lais Samarqandi, Majmoo’un Nawazil wal Waqi’aat of Natifi and Al-Waqi’aat of Sadr Shahid are well known among scholars.
Translated and partly prepared by:
Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi, Maulana Afzal Qasmi, Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Introduction of Maliki School of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence)
Fiqh Maliki came in to being after the Fiqh Hanafi in historical order. This was a good mixture of Hadith and reason. It was founded in the city of the Prophet Medina and was called Maliki after the name of Imam Malik bin Anas. Medina was the holly city where each and every house was enlightened with the rays of the Prophet. The citizens of Medina had the honour to accompany the Prophet for a long time and they were directly addressed in the revelations and the matters of Shariah. When the Prophet (pbuh) left for his heavenly abode, there were a many companions who stayed at Medina. Specially, the environment of Madinah was resounding with the traditions, narrations and fatawa of Hadhrat Umar, Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar, Hadhrat Aaishah, Hadhrat Zaid bin Sabit, Hadhrat Abu Hurairah and so on. The Fiqh Maliki is based on the traditions and opinions of these companions of the Prophet (pbuh).
Imam Malik bin Anas bin Malik bin Abu Aamir Asbahi was born in Medina in 93 Hijra. His father, uncle and grandfather were great scholars of Hadith. His great grandfatherAbu Aamir was a companion of the Prophet (pbuh) who embraced Islam in second year of Hijra and participated all the battles with the Messenger except Badr. The environment of Medina was resonating with the voices of Hadith when Imam Malik was born. The elder Tab’een and their students were busy in teaching and learning Hadith. Imam Malik obtained the knowledge of Hadith from senior Tab’een and their successors. First of all, he attended Abdur Rahman bin Hurmuz and benefited from him for a long period. From among his prominent teachers is Hadhrat Nafe’, (the freed slave of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar and his academic heir), Muhammad bin Shihab Zuhri, Imam Jaffar bin Sadiq, Muhammad bin Yahya Ansari etc. He gained the knowledge of Fiqh exclusively by Rabi’ah bin Abdur Rahman who is known as Rabi;atur Rai. Apart from these scholars of Hijaz, selected Ulama, Scholars of Hadith and sheikhs would come from every nook and corner of the Islamic world to Medina at the time of Hajj and there would hold circles and classes of learning and narration. Imam Malik benefited greatly from these occasions and attended the circles of great scholars. When he reached the scholarly position that, according to Sufyan bin Uyainah, the foretelling of the Prophet (pbuh) befitted him that ‘people will travel the world for knowledge and they will not find any scholar greater than that of Medina' and seventy other sheikhs certified that he became able to start his own circle, then he started his circle in the Mosque of the Prophet with a elegance that his circle was an ideal of staidness and sedateness. He would take bath and put on best of dresses, apply perfume and then would go to class. Scented woods and perfumes also were incensed occasionally. He used to give lectures with such an elegance that no noise was heard when the pages were turned. He would not tolerate even a petty improper movement or noise. When anyone posed him a question he used to answer him. Generally, his students used to read out and he would rectify the mistakes. His lectures were attended by many of his significant teachers as well.
Imam Malik was bestowed with special privileges. On one hand, he was a great Muhaddith and has a high and authentic chain of narration. Those who narrated from him were Rabi’atur Rai, Yahya bin Sa’eed and Musa bin Uqbah (from among his teachers), Imam Abu Hanifah, Sufyan Sauri, Lais bin Sa’d, Awza’ee, Imam Abu Yusuf etc (from among his coetaneous). Among his prominent students are Imam Shafi’i, Abdullah bin Mubarak, Imam Muhammad bin Hasan Shaibani and so on. His second characteristic was that he was a great scholar of Islamic Jurisprudence and Mujtahid (authority to interpret in Islamic matters). Outstanding Ulama and Imams of Fiqh have benefited from his Fiqhi views. The Caliphs Haroon Al-Rasheed, Abu Jaffar Mansoor and Mahdi and Mamoon also attended his lectures. In the beginning of Abbasid period he also had to pass through troubled conditions. In the reign of Caliph Mansoor, when Nafs Zakiyyah raised the claim of caliphate, Imam Malik supported him. Mansoor disliked it and tried to look for a pretext to catch him. Imam Malik was of the opinion that forced Bai'ah (pledge of allegiance) conditioned with divorce is unacceptable. The Governor of Mansoor in Medina asked him to avoid issuing such fatwas. When he did not stop he was so lashed at his naked arms that it was disjointed.
He stayed throughout of his life in Medina. He was so conscious about the honour of Prophet’s city that he did not even like to ride at places where the Prophet (pbuh) set his steps. He died in Medina in 179 Hijra and was buried in Jannat-ulBaqee, the famous graveyard of Medina.
Characteristics & Salient Features
Fiqh Maliki has acquired this prominence that it is a beautiful composite of narration and reason. Imam Malik, on one hand, was a great Muhaddith and has absorbed the Ahadith of the companions of Medina. He himself compiled the pioneering Hadith book named ‘Muwatta’. While, on the other hand, he is a torchbearer of Fiqh. He has recorded his Fiqhi views with the views and opinions of the companions and their successors. He derived Mas'alas keeping the commonweal and objective of Shariah in view. He gave commonweal so importance that it is counted one of the characteristics of Fiqh Maliki.
The Style of Derivation
Imam Malik obtained knowledge staying in Medina and there he started teaching. He benefited fully from the Ahadith and fatwas of companions in Medina and get enlightenment from them. He was well aware of the Ahadith of the companions of Medina and he used to trust them more. So this impression seems to overshadow Fiqh Maliki. The people of Medina witnessed the life of Prophet very closely and were directly trained by the Prophet. Hence, a general practice of people of Medina was very important to him and he used to consider their practice as Ijma (consensus). He gave it such importance that if Khabr-e-Wahid (narration of single person) contradicted their practice he would not trust the Hadith of the single narrator.
The style of his derivation was that first of all he looked in to the Quran, then in the traditions of the Prophet. In traditions he used to rely more on the scholars of Hadith from Hijaz and practice of Medina citizens. He preferred the fatwas and rulings of Hadhrat Umar and Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar, then the fatwas of the other companions of Medina and then those of the seven Scholars of Fiqh in Medina. When he did not find any proof in Hadith he would turn to analogy. Also, he tried his level best to shut the door of evil sources. Instead of looking in the incident he would look in to the cause of the matter and prevent the causes that may lead to Haram or evil.
The first and foremost of Fiqh Maliki books is Muwatta of Imam Malik in which he collected Hadith with Fiqhi views. The second book is ‘Al-Mudawwnatul Kubra’ that contains matters that were answered by Imam Malik. First, his pupil Asad bin Furat recorded it from Abdur Rahman bin Qasim. But, Abdus Salam Saeed Sahnoon prepared a copy of it and presented it to bin Qasim who made corrections. This manuscript was known as Mudawwanah. Among the early books of Fiqh Maliki are ‘Al-Waziha’ of Abdul Malik bin Habib, ‘Utaibah’ of Muhammad bin Abu Bakr and ‘Muwaziyah’ of Muhammad bin Muwazi Misri. Among his promninent pupils are Abdullah bin Wahab, Abdur Rahman bin Qasim, Ashhab bin Abdul Aziz and Abdul Malik bin Majishoon.
Translated and partly prepared by:
Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi, Maulana Afzal Qasmi, Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Introduction of Hanbali School of Fiqh
This is fourth Fiqhi school of Ahlus Sunnah attributed to Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal. Fiqh Hanbali falls in the last in historical order. The personality of Imam Ahmad is more Muhaddith than Faqeeh, therefore this aspect seems to dominate his Fiqh. Imam Shafi’i who accumulated all the Fiqhi trends and interpretations, was his main teacher. He paid most of his attention to Hadith. So he became a genius Muahddith and compiled the great encyclopedia of Hadith 'Al-Musnad'. Despite the fact that he was enjoying the virtues of Fiqh and Ijtehad, he did not like to compile his opinions and interpretations. But, it was destined that his Fiqhi School not only survived but also developed in the Islamic world as one of the dominant Fiqhi schools of Ahlus Sunnah. The Hanbali Fiqh was evolved and passed through all the stages of development in Iraq.
Imam Ahmad bin Hanbali
His name is Ahmad bin Hanbal bin Hilal Zuhli Shaibani. He was born in 164 H in Baghdad and grew up in orphan-hood. His father was a prominent soldier, but he died in Imam Ahmad's childhood. He was not financially strong, so he inherited hard work, determination and firmness against troubles. To begin with, he memorized the Glorious Quran. Then, he busied himself in learning in Baghdad and paid special attention to Haidth. He attended the famous Muhaddith of Baghdad Hushaim bin Bashir. Then, he started traveling from place to place in search of Hadith. He journeyed five times to Basra and five times to Hijaz. He learnt from Imam Shafi’i in Baghdad and acquired the knowledge of Fiqh and Hadith. When Imam Shafi’i was leaving Baghdad he said that Ahmad bin Hanbal has a leading position in seven things: Quran, Hadith, Fiqh, Linguistics, asceticism, dispense with the world and piety. Similarly, he learnt from Sufyan bn Uyainanh, Abu Bakr bin Ayyash, Waki bin Jarrah, Abdur Rahman bin Mahdi and Saeed bin Qattan. The historic incident of his life is the matter of 'Khalq-e-Quran' which he faced with determination and courage. The Caliph Mamoon asked him to believe that 'Quran is a creature of Allah' with so strictness that the most valorous people were shaken. But, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal demanded proof from the Quran and Hadith. He was given severest of punishments and put in trouble for a long period, but he stood firm. This incident was written with golden ink in the History of safeguarding the beliefs and faith of Muslims.
Characteristics & Important Features
Fiqh Hanbali owns some characteristics as other Fiqhi schools have special qualities. Though, Imam Ahmad was expert of Hadith and Fiqh, but Hadith was his favourite subject. Therefore, instead of compiling his Fiqhi views and fatwas he took interest in compiling Hadith. From his early age, he started compiling Hadith. His 'Musnad' consists of more than forty thousand traditions. His interest in Sunnah was so established that it dominated his school of Fiqh. So, he regarded the Holy Quran and Hadith as basic source and benefited from the fatwas of the companions. Then, he would refer to Weak and Mursal Ahadith (that were not directly narrated by the Prophet). Finally, he resorted to analogy.
The main characteristic of Fiqh Hanbali is that they, unlike other Fiqhi Schools, have regarded wisdom (Hikmat) more important than reason (Illat). They have utilized the rule of 'Isteshab' which means that the already proved matter will be maintained until there happens something contradictory. Then, they have the principles of 'public interest' and 'shutting down the door of evils'.
As mentioned above, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal did not like to compile his Fiqhi opinions and interpretative judgments. But, his able students, among whom are his two sons as well; Salih bin Ahmad and Abdullah bin Ahmad, who recoded it. The most brilliant among his students are Abu Bakr Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hani, Ahmad bin Hajjaj Marwazi and Ishaq bin Ibrahim known as Ibn Rahwaih. The trios have authored 'Kitabus Sunan' in Fiqh. But, the credit of recording and compiling all the fatwas and views of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal goes to Abu Bak Khallal who compiled his fatwas in two hundred parts. This was later summarized by Abul Qasim Kahrqi and Abdul Aziz bin Jaffar Ghulam Khallal. The summary of Kharqi earned so popularity that three hundred commentaries were written on it, among which the 'Al-Mughni' of Ibn Qudamah stands out as most distinguished one.
Style of Derivation
Imam Ahmad's style of derivation was so that he used to put the Quran and Hadith foremost. Thereafter, he preferred the fatwas of the companions. Then, he would turn to Weak and Mursal Ahadith (that were not directly narrated by the Prophet). At last, he resorted to analogy. To him analogy was the last option in unavoidable circumstances. He used to state: I like Weak Hadith in comparison to applying reason.
Translated and partly prepared by:
Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi, Maulana Afzal Qasmi, Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Introduction of Shafi’i School of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence)
Fiqh Shafi’i is the third Fiqhi school of Islamic Jurisprudence attributed to Imam Shafi’i. Imam Shafi’i, on one hand, is a student of Imam Malik, he learnt the Fiqh Maliki and Hijazi thoughts from him. On the other hand, he attended Imam Muhammad bin Hasan Shaibani and learnt Fiqh Hanafi and Iraqi style of Fiqh. Apart from having acquired these two Fiqhs, he directly benefited from other Fiqhi trends and the Imams. So, he benefited from Umar bin Abu Salma, a disciple of Imam Awzai whose Fiqh was prevalent in Syria. In Egypt, the Fiqh of Imam Lais bin Sa’d was followed so he benefited from his disciple Yahya bin Hassaan. Thus, the Fiqh Shafi’i accumulated all the virtues of all known Fiqhi schools and trends. Being a towering Islamic Jurist, Imam Shafi’i was a great Muahddith. He had aquired the narrations of the Muhaddith of Makka Sufyan bin Uainah and the narrations of Muhaddith of Medina Imam Malik bin Anas. The Fiqh of Imam Shafi’i was founded at Makka. Then, passing from Medina, Iraq and Baghdad it arrived in Egypt. There it reached its peaks. As the Fiqh Hanafi is greatly impressed by the views of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood and Hadhrat Ali and the Fiqh Maliki has heavily benefited from the opinions of Hadhrat Umar and Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar, the Fiqh Shafi’i has drew inspiration from the views of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas.
The name of Imam Shafi’i is Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Idrees. His family tree joins that of the Prophet at his ninth great-grandfather Muttalib bin Abd Munaf. He was a member of Quraish tribe. He was born in 150 Hijra in Gaza city of Palestine. This was not his native place but his father happened to visit that place and expired there. At the age of two, his mother took him to his ancestral home at Makka. He learnt the eloquence and nuance of Arabic language in the tribe of Huzail and memorized the Holy Quran. Then, he associated himself with Muslim bin Khalid Zanji, the Sheikh and Mufti of Haram, and completed his education. Then, he came in Medina to Imam Malik to learn the Quran and Hadith. He had already memorized the Muwatta of Imam Malik. Imam Malik was very impressed by him. Imam Shafi’i was not financially well so he looked for a source of income. Eventually he was given the governorship of Najran. He went Najran and discharged his duties with much honesty and trustworthiness. Haroon-ur-Rashid was then Caliph and he was disturbed on the account of Alvis’ uprisings. Somebody complained him that Imam Sha’ee tends to the Alvis. As a result, he was summoned to Baghdad and later discharged after clarification and some recommendations. Utilizing his presence in Iraq, he joined the circle of Imam Muhammad and learnt Hanafi Fiqh. He held discussions with Imam Muhammad and studied the books of Hanafi Fiqh. Then, he returned to Hijaz and stayed there for nine more years. In this span of time, he busied himself in learning and teaching. He used to meet the selected scholars of Islamic world who visited Makka at the time of Hajj. He would narrate from them as they narrate from him. Again, he visited Baghdad. Till this time his method of derivation and interpretation had been set up. So, many scholars joined him and he dictated some of his books to them. These opinions are called ‘Old Maslak’ or Iraqi Views. After about two years, he left Baghdad and till that time there came up a team of scholars who followed his Fiqh. Thrice, he returned to Baghdad and after a few months’ stay proceeded to Egypt. Here, he reviewed his previous opinions and in many matters he retracted and adopted new opinions. In Egypt, he authored his new books and with the power of his interpretations spread his school of Islamic Jurisprudence . Previously, the Maliki School of Fiqh was prevailing in Egypt, but with the advent of Imam Shafi’i his Fiqhi School dominated there. The new books he compiled in Egypt and the new ideas which he expressed there are called ‘New Maslak’. He died in Egypt in 204 H and was buried therein.
Characteristics & Distinguishing Qualities
Imam Shafi’i was luckiest among all the Imams that he was bestowed ‘comprehensiveness’. Due to stay in Hijaz. He gathered a pile of Ahadith and traditions. Makka was his native place; he attended Imam Malik in Medina. Then, he explored Iraq and Egypt. Thus, he became a great scholar of Hadith in his age. In the field of Fiqh, he learnt the derivation style of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas in Makka and that of Hadhrat Umar and Abdullah bin Umar in Medina from Imam Malik. Then, in Iraq he learnt Hanafi Fqih from Imam Muhammad, in Syria he learnt the Fiqh of Imam Awza’ee and in Egypt the Fiqh of Imam Lais bin Sa’d. Besides, he was conferred with a tremendous power of imagination and accumulation and best of interpretative styles. So he absorbed the virtues of all the Fiqhi schools and avoided the positions that were not up to his standard. Till his age, the compilation of Hadith had begun and he himself had collected Ahadith exploring different cities. He observed that the other schools of Fiqh have applied analogy in matters about which Hadith is found so he extracted rulings according to Hadith. So, the tendency to support and defend Hadith overpowered him. The scholars of Fiqh in Iraq had conditioned that only the Ahadith will be accepted that are narrated by a number of people, and the scholars of Medina were of the opinion that only the Ahadith will be accepted that match the practice of Medina citizens. He opposed them and did not allow widening the area of analogy.
The Fiqh Shafi’i bear this characteristic that the founder of this Fiqh himself compiled a big part of his School. Thus, he recorded the rules and regulations and the derivation method of his Fiqhi School in the shape of a book. And, with his best power of interpretation he proved his methods and styles. The other distinct feature of this Fiqh is that the founder himself spread and publicized his Fiqh traveling in different cities. This was the reason that great Islamic scholars were among his followers and students. Great scholars of Hadith and compilers of Hadith books tended to this Fiqh and genius personalities of Islamic history followed it.
Imam Shafi’i himself authored the principle books of his Fiqh. His master piece of work is "Al-Umm' which he wrote in Baghdad and made some modifications while his stay in Egypt. His second famous book is 'Al-Risalah' that deals with the rules of derivation and inference. It is the first book on the subject. This book contains the complete compiled principles of Fiqh Shafi’i. There are some other books that are attributed to him but the aforementioned two books are well known. The other significant books on Fiqh Shafi’i are 'Mukhtasar' of Imam Buwaiti (student of Imam Shafi’i) and the book of Imam Muzani. Among his distinguished students are Rabi bin Sulaiman Muradi who narrated and propagated his books, Ismail bin Yahya Muzani whose books are considered base for Fiqh Shafi’i and Yusuf bin Yahya Buwaiti. The trios benefited from him in Egypt. His students in Iraq were Ibrahim bin Khalid Kalbi, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Hasan bin Muhammad bin Sabbah bin Zafrani and Ahmad bin Yahya bin Abdul Aziz Baghdadi.
Imam Shafi’i has described his derivation method in his book 'Al-Umm' in detail. Concisely, it is that first of all he looked in to the Glorious Quran and took the outer meaning unless there is a proof that the outer meaning is not intended. Then, he would turn to Hadith. In Hadith, he used to take Khabr Wahid (traditions narrated by one to one person). Then, he would opt for Ijma (consensus) and finally he would go for analogy.
Translated and partly prepared by:
Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi, Maulana Afzal Qasmi, Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi