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Ijtehad, Qiyas, Ijma and Uruf doctrines of Imam Azam through his Fiqa

Today in Islam newly firqa’s which came in to existence during last three centuries particularly after fall of Ottoman Empire in First World War have tried to erase doctrines of Fiqa jurisprudences

Post by on Friday, December 31, 2021

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Many of the prophetic Companions performed various acts through their own personal reasoning, (ijtihad), and that the sunna and way of the Prophet (SAW) practised what the Sacred Law had established and not in conflict with it and to reject those which were otherwise. According to the principles and primary texts of Sacred Law  whatever is attested to by the law as being good is acknowledged as good, and whatever is attested to by the law as being a contravention and bad is rejected as a blameworthy but calling every tareeqat  practised by various Islamic scholars ,Awaliya’s as Bidant, new thing is totally biased interpretation of Bidath { New practice}but legally speaking it is not really an innovation but rather an inferable sunna as long as the primary texts of the Sacred Law attest to its being acceptable. Sahi Bukhari and  Sahi Muslim relate from Abu Hurayra (Allah be well pleased with him) that at the dawn prayer the Prophet (SAW ) said to Bilal, “Bilal, tell me which of your acts in Islam you are most hopeful about, for I have heard the footfall of your sandals in paradise“, and he replied, “I have done nothing I am more hopeful about than the fact that I do not perform ablution at any time of the night or day without praying with that ablution whatever has been destined for me to pray.”

This was innovative practice of Hazrat Bilal to pray at times of Ablutions  in his own way whatever has been destined for him and sound of his sandals echoed in paradise .The critics of qayas and ijma cant therefore call any new thing or new practice which does not contradict with Islam as Bidat ,

Today in Islam newly firqa’s which came in to existence during last three centuries particularly after fall of Ottoman Empire in First World War have tried to erase doctrines of Fiqa jurisprudences.  Some theological groups started underplaying role of fiqa and jurisprudences in Islam. The debates  what is sunna and what is bida or reprehensible innovation has confused small section of hard liners who have started projecting Islam as primitive and orthodox religion which is not accommodative to  positive and pragmatic practices which do not conflict with any basic principle of Islam .

Without a doubt, one of the greatest events which has impacted upon Muslims after defeat in First World War was emergence of ideologies from Najad Saudi Arabia which started campaign rejecting Imam e Azam and other Imams and their scholarly works. The adherence to Fiqa or Madhab school of jurisprudence was halted resulting in to confusion and chaos. After end of the Ottoman Caliphate  an event that marked not only the passing of temporal, political authority, but in many respects the passing of the consensus of orthodox Sunni Islam as well.


No one familiar with the classical literature in any of the Islamic legal sciences, whether Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir), hadith, or jurisprudence (fiqh), can fail to be struck by the fact that questions are asked today about basic fundamentals of Islamic Sacred Law (Sharia) and its ancillary disciplines that would not have been asked in the Islamic period not because Islamic scholars were not only  brilliant enough to produce the questions, but because they already knew the answers.

In order to negate contribution of all four Imam’s of Sunni Fiqa and Imam e Jaffar of Shia Fiqa as well as great Sufi scholars and Awaliyas having their own Tareeqat to hold their masses with them the hard core elements launched innovative campaign of Pan Islamization with uniform dress, practices, culture, language and thoughts on style of Umayyad ideology of Islamic state of Iraq & Syria.

Every true lover of Humanity need to realise that radical vision of Islam has already failed. It was because of Umayyad Karbala Tragedy occurred during time of Yazeed which divided Muslims and later because of Arab superiority concept division occurred in Muslim ranks in name of Arab and non Arabs .Turkey and Iran culture came into conflict with Arab culture. These people never realised that all five Fiqa ,Madhab which have their own following according to convience of followers and all Sufi Tareeqat’s of thousands of Hanafi ,Jaffari  ,Shafi ,Maliki Awaliya’s have millions of followers intheir own way and this diversity was actually strength of unity of Islam .These hate mongers started war against all Islamic ideologies anf fiqa which were successfully in practice for last 11 centuries. However last three centuries witness emergence of radical groups who discouraged Muslims to read fiqa books of Imam’s and offer their respect to their Sufi Awaliy’s who actually spread Islam through their Tareeqat including spiritual Music and Sama. This hate campaign  within rather than achieving goal of  forced pan Islam  by slaughtering local spiritual faiths caused dissension ,conflict and sectarian wars which destroyed great image of Islam built during Previous 11 centuries ..

The Shirk and Bidat was two edged weapon used by these Pan Islamic Hard line campaigners against all five established Fiqa’s. While attacking jurisprudences or Tareeqat of Awaliya’s the most usable quote hammered by these forces of conflict was, BIdat.

“Beware of matters newly begun, for every matter newly begun is innovation, every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in hell.”

What this Hadith means is very necessary to be debated .The Hanafi  scholars say that the above hadith does not refer to all new things without restriction, but only to those which nothing in Sacred Law attests to the validity of. The use of the word “every” in the hadith does not indicate an absolute generalization, for there are many examples of similar generalizations in the Qur’an and sunna that are not applicable without restriction, but rather are qualified by restrictions found in other primary textual evidence.            

The Hanafi  Scholars of Fiqa believe  that the sunna and way of the Prophet (SAW ) was to accept new acts initiated in Islam that were of the good and did not conflict with established principles of Sacred Law, and to reject things that were otherwise.

Accordingly above Hadith collected by Abu Hanifa and reproduced in Sahi Bukhari about Hazrat Bilal’s own self created practice of reciting darood and Dua at the time of ablution which made Great prophet listen the sound of his footsteps in Paradise reached the conclusions that self intention to enrich soul by adopting self created practices by his own inference have been confirmed by Great Prophet (SAW) during his life time as they are in conformity with basic text of Quran sharief .

The most important factor about acceptance of new practices as justified by Hanafi scholars is that new matters in Islam may not be rejected merely because they did not exist in the first century but must be evaluated and judged under Ijmah, Ijtehaad, Qayas and Uruf according to the comprehensive methodology of Sacred Law, by virtue of which it is and remains the final and universal moral code for all peoples until the end of time.

Learned Hanafi Scholars with full confidence quote Hazrat Ibn Hajar Asqalani from his book Fath al-Bari that the hadith shows it is permissible to use personal reasoning (ijtihad) as propounded by Imam e Azam Abu Hanifa   in choosing times for acts of worship which varies from region to region, place to place and tribe to tribe. Similarly appearance of  new Crescent also is subject to Ijtehad, consensus rather than imposed uniform decision applicable to all irrespective to any regional difference of time of appearance of such crescent .Hazrat Abu Hanifa was visionary therefore through methodology of Qiyas, Uruf, Ijtehad and Ijma took care of sensitivities of all local calendars ,traditions and civilizations rather than imposing only Arab dictates which was in vogue during Umayyad era from Islamic state of Iraq & Syria.

The most important  hadith collected by Hazrat Abu Hanifa and reproduced in Sahi  Bukhari is  about Khubayb who was among first few muslims who followed Great Prophet SAW in Mecca  before Hijrat . When he was to be prosecuted he as last wish of his life asked to pray two rakas before being executed by idolaters in Mecca. This desire was based on his own reasoning and was not sunna till that time. Accordingly he was the first to establish the sunna of two rak’as for those who are steadfast in going to their death. These Hadiths are explicit evidence that Hazrat  Bilal and  Hazrat Khubayb used their own personal reasoning (ijtihad) in choosing the times of acts of worship, without any previous command or precedent from the Prophet (SAW ) other than the general demand to perform the prayer.

The Talib’s of Hazrat Abu Hanifa during life time of Imam e Azam had heared from Abu Hanifa the quote   related to   Rifa’a ibn Rafi  which has been reproduced in Sahi Bukhari and Sahi Muslim also .Hazrat Rifa ibn e Rafi has said, “When we were praying behind the Prophet (SAW) and he raised his head from bowing and said , “Allah hears whoever praises Him”, a man behind him said, “Our Lord, Yours is the praise, abundantly, wholesomely, and blessedly therein.” When he rose to leave, the Prophet (SAW)  asked “who said it”, and when the man replied that it was he, the Prophet  said, “I saw thirty-odd angels each striving to be the one to write it.” Ibn Hajar says in Fath al-Bari that the hadith indicates the permissibility of initiating new expressions of dhikr in the prayer other than the ones related through hadith texts, as long as they do not contradict those conveyed by the hadith.


Learned Hanafi Scholars also refer Hadith collected by Hazrat Abu Hanifa and reproduced in Sahi Bukhari which relates from Aisha (RA) that the Prophet (SAW)  deputed  a man at the head of a military expedition who recited the Qur’an for his companions at prayer, finishing each recital with al-Ikhlas (Qur’an 112). When they returned, they mentioned this to the Prophet (SAW) who told them, “Ask him why he does this”, and when they asked him, the man replied, “because it describes the All-merciful, and I love to recite it.” The Great  Prophet (SAW) said to them, “Tell him Allah loves him.” Further, it will be noticed that all the preceding hadiths are about the prayer, which is the most important of bodily acts of worship, and of which the Prophet (SAW)  said, “Pray as you have seen me pray“, despite which he accepted the above examples of personal reasoning and spiritual communications from spirit to Allah through its own language  because they did not depart from the form defined by the Lawgiver, for every limit must be observed, while there is latitude in everything besides, as long as it is within the general category of being called for by Sacred Law.

This is the sunna of the Prophet (SAW) and his way and is as clear as can be Hanafi  scholars infer from it that every act for which there is evidence in Sacred Law that it is called for and which does not oppose an unequivocal primary text or entail harmful consequences is not included in the category of reprehensible innovation (bida), but rather is of the sunna, even if there should exist something whose performance is superior to it.

The most acceptable episode researched by Hazrat Abu Hanifa during his life time and reproduced by Sahi  Bukhari relates from Abu Said al-Khudri that a band of the Companions of the Prophet (SAW)  departed on one of their journeys, alighting at the encampment of some desert Arabs. The leader of the encampment was stung by a scorpion, and his followers tried everything to cure him, and when all had failed. They came to Companions out of whom one recited healing words Surah Fatiha over the victim which had spiritual effect on him and he was instantly cured .In lieu of this spiritual healing encampments accompanying victim offered camel to companions. They came to the Prophet (SAW) and told him what had occurred, and he said, “How did you know it was of the words which heal? You were right. Divide up the camel and give me a share too as it has been offered out of love and gratitude.”

The Hadith is explicit that the Companion did so because of his own personal reasoning (ijtihad), and since it did not contravene anything that had been legislated, the Prophet (SAW) confirmed him therein because it was of his sunna and way to accept and confirm what contained good and did not entail harm and this confirmation becomes  definitive precedent.

(Khwaja Farooq Renzushah is author of twenty books including novels, spiritual and literary books .He has remained Commissioner of Srinagar, V.C, SDA,Director Information ,Director LB, Dy.commissioner Budgam and Additional Commissioner Kashmir. He has built Khankah Panah Chrar sharief, Holy shrine of Hazrat Bulbulshah and many other Holy shrines of Hanafi sufi Saints) 





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