Errors in ijtihâd; Greatness of Imâm-i A’zâm.


All the rules of Islam are derived from the Qur’ân. The Qur’ân incorporates within itself all the rules contained in the heavenly books sent to all Prophets ‘salawâtullâhi ’alaihim’ and even more. Those with blind eyes, little knowledge and short brains cannot see this fact. These rules in the Qur’ân are of three types. Men of reason and knowledge can easily understand the first type of rules through the verse, through the signal, through the denotation, through the inclusion, through the necessitation and through the conclusion of the Nass. That is, every âyat has various meanings and edicts with respect to its sentence, signal, denotation, inclusion, necessitation and conclusion [1].

[1] To understand this point more clearly an example must be given: An âyat of the Qur’ân declares: “Do not say, ‘Ugh!’ to your parents!” What this âyat points out through these words is:

1- The verse (ibârat-i-nass): Do not use this word “ugh!” towards your parents.

2- Signal (ishârat-i-nass): Do not use the words that will hurt your parents’ hearts. This is what this âyat points out through these words.

3- Denotation (delâlat-i-nass): Do not do anything that may hurt your parents’ hearts.

4- Inclusion (mezmûn-i-nass): Do not beat or kill your parents.

5- Necessitation (iltizâm-i-nass): Do favours to your parents.

6- Conclusion (iktizâ-i-nass): Offending your parents causes disasters; pleasing your parents causes happiness.

Six types of meanings, as exemplified above, have been derived from each âyat that communicates rules.

(Nass) means âyats and hadîths with clear and obvious meanings.

The second type of rules in the Qur’ân cannot be understood clearly. They can be derived through ijtihad[1] and istinbât[2].  ([1] Ability to understand the meanings of symbolic âyats in the Qur’ân. [2] It means to extract the essence of something.)

In the ahkâm-i ijtihâdiyya (rules of the second type that can be understood through ijtihâd), any one of the Ashâb-i kirâm could disagree with the Prophet. Yet these rules could not have been defective or doubtful during the time of our Prophet because if a wrong ijtihad was formulated, Hadrat Jebrâil would descend and the wrong ijtihâd would immediately be corrected by Allâhu ta’âlâ. Thereby, right and wrong were immediately differentiated from each other on the spot. However, rules that were derived after our Prophet ‘sall Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ honoured the next world were not so, and the correct and incorrect ijtihâds remained mixed. It is for this reason that it is necessary both to practise and to believe the rules that were derived during the time of Wahy[3]. ([3] Allah’s commands that come to Prophets directly or through an angel. The entire Qur’ân is Wahy that has come through the angel Jebrâîl.)

It is necessary to practise the rules that were derived after our Prophet also. Yet it does not spoil one’s îmân to doubt about an ijtihâd on which there has been no ijmâ[4]. ([4] Unanimity of the Ashâb-i-kirâm on a religious matter that has not been explained clearly in the Qur’ân or hadîths.)

The third group of rules in the Qur’ân are so profound, so well hidden that human power falls short of understanding and deriving them. They cannot be comprehended unless they are explained by Allâhu ta’âlâ. And this fact has been shown and explained only to our Prophet ‘sall Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’. It has not been explained to anybody else. These rules also are derived from the Qur’ân, yet since they have been explained by the Prophet ‘sall Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’, they are called Sunnat. Concerning the rules of the first and third types, nobody can disagree with the Prophet. All Muslims have to believe and follow them. But on the ahkâm-i ijtihâdiyya, every mujtahid[5] ([5] He who understands the hidden, symbolic meanings in the Qur’ân).has to follow the rule that he has derived. He cannot follow the rules of other mujtahîds. A mujtahid cannot say that another mujtahid has been wrong, or that he has deviated from the righteous way on account of his ijtihâd.

For each mujtahid, his own ijtihâd is correct and right. Our Prophet would command his Sahâbîs whom he sent to distant places to act in accordance with the rules of the Qur’ân on matters they would be confronted with, but in case they could not be found in the Qur’ân, to look them up in hadîths, and in case they could not be found there, either, to act in accordance with their own understandings and ijtihâds. He would forbid them from following others’ inferences and ijtihâds, even if others were more learned and greater than themselves. No mujtahid, none of the Ashâb-i kirâm ‘radiy-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’anhum ajma’în’ ever anathemized another mujtahid or Sahâbî on account of their ijtihâd or called their ijtihâd ‘wrong’. They did not utter such evil terms as ‘sinner’ or ‘aberrant’ about those who disagreed with them.

The greatest of the mujtahids succeeding the Ashâb-i kirâm ‘radiy-Allâhu ta’âlâ anhum ajma’în’ is Imâm-i a’zâm Abû Hanîfa ‘radiy-Allahu ’anh’. This great leader had wara’ and taqwâ in everything he did. In everything he did he followed our Prophet in the fullest sense of the word. He reached such a high grade in ijtihâd and istinbât that no one else could be compared with him.

[There had been people before him who were more learned and greater than he. Yet during their lifetimes aberrations had not spread; therefore, they had not prepared gauges to differentiate what was correct from what was incorrect. Instead they had dealt with more valuable matters.]

Hadrat Imâm-i Shâfi’î[1] (The leader of the Shâfi’î Madhhab, which is one of the four righteous Madhhabs in matters pertaining to Islamic practices) said: “All mujtahids are Imâm-i A’zam

Abû Hanîfa’s children.” He said so because he understood something of the genius of this great leader of ijtihad. Hadrat ’Îsâ (Jesus), after descending from heaven in a time close to the end of the world, will act in accordance with Hadrat Muhammad’s religion and will derive rules from the Qur’ân. Hadrat Muhammad Pârisâ, one of the great Islamic savants, says: “All the rules which Such a great Prophet as Hadrat ’Îsâ will derive through ijtihâd will be in agreement with the rules in the Hanafî Madhhab; that is, they will conform with the great leader’s ijtihâd.” This shows how accurate and how correct the great leader’s ijtihâd is. The Awliyâ  (A person or persons whom Allah loves.) said that they saw through the heart’s eye that the Hanafî Madhhab was like an ocean, while the other Maddhabs were like small rills and brooks. Hadrat Imâm-ı A’zam Abû Hanîfa surpassed everybody also in following the Sunnat in his ijtihâd, and he took even Mursal[1] hadîths as well as Musnad[2] hadîths as documents. He also held the words of the Ashâb-i kirâm superior to his own understanding and findings. He understood better than anybody else the greatness of the grades which the Ashâb-i kirâm ‘radiy-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’anhum ajma’în’ had attained by having the honour of being together with our Prophet ‘sall Allahu ’alaihi wa sallam’. No other mujtahid was able to do so. Those who say that Imâm-i A’zam derived rules from his own mind, that he was not dependent upon the Qur’ân and hadîths are disparaging millions of Muslims, who have been worshipping for centuries on the earth, with having been on a wrong and fabricated path and even with having been outside of Islam. Only block-headed and ignorant people who are unaware of their own ignorance or the enemies of Islam, who want to demolish, to spoil Islam, will say something of this sort. A few ignorant people, a few zindiqs, memorizing a few hadîths and presuming that Islam is no more than that, deny the rules of which they have not heard and of which they have no knowledge. Yes, an insect that has remained in the cavity of a rock will consider the earth and the sky as consisting of only that hole.

The chief of the Ahl-i sunnat and the founder of Fiqh is Imâmi â’zam Abû Hanîfa ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’. Three-fourths of the rules of Islam that are being practised all over the world belong to him. He has a share also in the remaining one-fourth. He is the host, the chief of the family in the Islamic religion. All the other mujtahids are his children.

[All the rules which a mujtahid has derived are called a Madhhab. As of today, out of hundreds of Ahl-i sunnat Madhhabs, only four Imâms’ Maddhabs have been transferred into books, and the others have been partly forgotten. The names and the (Hijri) dates of the deaths of the four Imams are: Abû Hanîfa 150, Mâlik bin Enes Asbahî 179, Muhammad Shafi’î 204, and Ahmad bin Hanbel 241. Non-mujtahids have to follow one of these four Madhhabs in all their practices and acts of worship. This means to say that our Prophet’s ‘sall Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ way is the way shown by the Qur’ân, and the hadîths, i.e. by the (two sources called the) Sunnat; and by the ijtihâd of the mujtahids. Besides these three documents, there is the Ijma’-i Ummat, which is, as is written under the subject of ‘Imprisonment’ in Ibni ’Âbidîn, the words of the Ashâb-i kirâm ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaihim ajma’în’ and those of the Tâbi’în[1]. That is, they are the things which none of them rejected or denied upon seeing them. The Shiites’ claim in the book Minhâj-us-sâlihîn is not correct. They say that it is not permissible to adapt ourselves to a dead person.]

Islamic religion has reached us through these four sources. These four sources are called “Adilla-i shar’iyya.” Everything outside these sources are bid’ats, irreligiousness, and falsities. The inspirations and the kashfs that occur to the hearts of great men of Tasawwuf [see articles 35 and 40, respectively] cannot be proofs or documents for the rules of the Ahkâm-i-islâmiyya. (Kashf will be explained in the following pages.) Correctness of kashfs and inspirations is judged by their compatibility with the Ahkâm-iislâmiyya.

A Walî who has attained a high grade in Tasawwuf or Wilâyat has to follow a mujtahid, like Muslims in lower grades. The Awliyâ such as Bistamî, Junayd, Celâleddîn-i Rûmî and Muhyiddîn-i Arabî were raised in rank by adapting themselves to a Madhhab as everybody else did. Adhering to the rules of the Ahkâm-i-islâmiyya is like planting a tree. The knowledge, the ma’rifat, the kashfs and tajallîs, the divine love and muhabbat-i dhâtiyya[2] that occur to the Awliya are like the fruits of this tree. Yes, the purpose in planting the tree is to get the fruit. But, it is necessary to first plant the tree for obtaining the fruit. That is, unless there is îmân and the rules of the Ahkâm-i-islâmiyya are performed, there can be no Tasawwuf, tarîqat or Awliyâ. Those who claim so are zindîqs[3] and irreligious people.

We should beware from such people more than we would do from a lion. A lion will only take away our life. But such people will take away our faith and îmân. [It is written in the book Maraj-ul-Bahrayn, which quotes Ahmad Zerrûq as saying that Imâm-i Mâlîk ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’ said: “Anybody who dives into Tasawwuf without learning Fiqh becomes a zindiq; and anybody who learns Fiqh and yet is not aware of Tasawwuf, goes astray; but those who obtain knowledge of both Fiqh and Tasawwuf attain the truth. Anybody who learns Fiqh correctly and who tastes the sweetness of Tasawwuf becomes a ‘perfect kâmil’.” All the early men of Tasawwuf were in the Madhhab of a scholar of Fiqh before they attained perfection. The statement, “People of Tasawwuf don’t have a Madhhab” does not mean that they left their Madhhabs, but rather it means that they knew all the Madhhabs and that they always observed the rules of all of them. They performed their duties in accordance with what was best and what was on the safe side. Junayd-i Baghdâdî was in the Madhhab of Sufyân-i Sawrî; ’Abdul Qâdir Geylanî was a Hanbalî; Abû Bakr Shiblî was a Mâlikî; Imâm-i Rabbânî and Jarîrî were in the Madhhab of Hanafî; Harîs-i Muhasibî was a Shâfi’î ‘qaddasallâhu ta’âlâ asrârahum’.]

[1] A person who saw the Prophet at least once when the Prophet was alive is called a Sahabî. It goes without saying that a disbeliever could not be a Sahabî or Ashâb. Ashâb means Muslims who saw the Prophet at least once. All of the Ashâb are called Ashâb-i-kirâm. When we say Ashâb-i-kirâm, we mean all the Muslims who were with him, spoke to him, listened to him, or, at least, saw him. If a person did not see the Prophet, but if he saw one of the Ashâb-i-kirâm, he is called a Tâbi’. The plural form of Tâbi’ is Tâbi’în. When we say the Tâbi’în, we mean all the Muslims each of whom saw at least one Sahabî at least once. A person who saw one of the Tâbi’în is called Taba’-i-tâbi’în. When we say Salaf-i-sâlihîn, we mean the Ashâb-ikirâm, the Tâbi’în and the Taba’-i-tâbi’în.

[2] Love for only Allah without including His Attributes. Divine love is love for Allah together with His Attributes. Please see the sixtieth chapter of the current book, and also the forty-first and the fiftyseventh chapters of the third fascicle, and the thirty-second chapter of the sixth fascicle, of Endless Bliss.

[3] A person who endeavors to defend and spread his own thoughts under the name of Islam, though they are, in fact, incompatible with Islam.








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