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Which Imam did The Sahaba's follow?

8th October 2010
On many occasions people are confronted by those who are trying to confuse Muslims. (A satanic deception).
They ask certain questions about Schools of thought and try to create confussion amongst the Muslims. I have personaly been asked this question many times. I was asked the same Question on my Blog "Reading the Quran during Menstruation". to which I had given a lengthy reply. I have since used the same reply for this blog. (with a little additon)

Firstly I would like to add a Hadith here.

Imam Bukhari has taken proofs from the Quran and Hadith. He has quoted Hadith under the following headings:
"Hold on fast to the Jamaat of Muslims and their Imam"(page 059, Vol 1)
"One who seperates oneself from the Jamaat (of Muslims) even a hand span, will die a death of ignorance"(page 1045, Vol 2)
There is also an order even execute those who seperate themselves from the Jamaat of Muslims and their Imam."...they will leave Islam in the way an arrow leaves its bow...wherever you see them, you should kill them. Their killing will be rewardable on the day of Qiyaamah"(page 75, Vol 2)
"A group of people will emerge from amongst you, who will belittle your Salah over theirs , and your Fasts over teirs, and your actions over theirs, they will recite the Quran, which will not pass their throats (have no effect upon them), the will leave the Deen like an arrow leaves its bow" (page 756, Vol2).
These people will emerge before Qiyaamah. Only those who are deficient in age and knowledge will join them

Imams Muslims, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasai also quote the same.

Before the Prophet(SAW) came to us, there was great Jahilliyah in the World. There was a need for a Prophet to come set things in order. Thus came Our Final Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The Prophet was given help by Allah in the form of Sahaba. The World had a new PERFECT teacher to learn from and to follow. The sahaba were the best of the best students to learn from for the people to come later. Islam started to spread far & wide. Many wars were taking place and many Hufaz of the Quran were made Shaheed, due to the number of Hufaz lost, The Muslims (Sahaba) saw the need of compiling the the Quran together in a form of a book so that the Quran may be preserved. This was the will of Allah and for this reason we have the Quran with us today. Later many opinions were being given as to how one should practice their Deen. Some qouted from what they saw the Prophet (SAW) do in his early days and some quoted from what they saw in the middle days of his life and some quoted from the last few days of his life. Hence there were many many opinions going around every where. Later by the will of Allah came the time for the Great Imams. These great Imams realised the problems that could arise with all these differences in the Ummah, so again by the will of Allah rules were deduced and formulas were set up in order to have a correct codified interpritation of the teachings of the Prophet(SAW) with all the corect references and hadith. The Imams would also comment that if something that they have decided upon and a stronger evidence is found, then this would become their way. This comment was not set out for laymen of the last 1000 years, infact it was set out for the other great Faqih amongst them. Now by the will of Allah, Islam was codified and recorded for the people of the future. With all four schools of thoughts having slightly different understanding of the rulings set out by them on a few aspects, Allah has in this way kept the Sunnah alive for the entire life of the Prophet(SAW). Now comes the time, by the Will of Allah that all the Hadith get noted and written down and preserved for the future. the great Imams who had such vast knowledge of Hadith still followed a school of thought by the will of Allah.

So as you can see, Allah sent the Prophet, The Quran, The Sahaba, The Imams and then the Hadith collectors in this particular order. There is Great Hikmah in this. Allah is the best of planners. Why try to change the plan or go another way.

The Imams of The Sahaba

The Prophet(SAW) sent Hadhrat Musayb bin Umayr(RA) as the first teacher to Madinah at the request of the people of Madina, after the pledge of Aqba.
Whilst Hadhrat Musayb(RA) was in Madina, who did the people follow? Did he call the Prophet(SAW) up and ask him?
Did The Prophet(SAW) send Hadhrat Musaib(RA) to teach or to be followed or just to teach?

(all this was whilst the Prophet(SAW) was alive)

When The answers could not be found in Quran & Hadith, what did the Sahaba do?

Hadhrat Abu Bakr(RA) gave Fatwa and made it clear that it was his Ijtihad and view. The people followed the school of Abu Bakr(RA)

Hadhrat Umar(RA) gave fatwaa from his Ijtihad and view. On one occasion he sent a message to his judges that they also make Ijtihad when passing a ruling if it was not clear from Quran & Sunnah or amongst the senior Sahaba.

Hadhrat Uthmaan(RA) took pledge of Khilafat on the condition that he follow the previous Khalifas.

Hadhrat Ali(RA) used to say "I am making Ijtihad on my view"

Many of the Fatawa of the Khulafa-e-Rashedeen appear in "Musannif ibn Abi Shaibah"

The Prophet (SAW) sent Hadhrat Ma'aaz(RA) to Yemen where he applied Ijtihad to solve many Issues. The entire population of Yemen followed the school of Ma'aaz(RA). He was the Imam for Yemen.

Hadhrat Adbullah ibn Abbas(RA) resided in Makkah, many of his fatwas are listed in "Musannif Abdur Razzaq" & "Musannif ibn Abi Shaiba". The School of thought for Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Abbas(RA) was dominent in Makkah.

Hadhrat Zaid ibn Thabit(RA) resided in Madina. He passed his fatwas there from his understanding of the Quran & Sunnah and from the teachings of the Senior Sahaba(RA).

Hadhrat Anas(RA) was followed in Basra.

Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Masood(RA) was sent to Kufa by Hadhrat Umar(RA) to be the teacher of Kufa. He was followed in Kufa.

On many occasions, proof was not given as they did not give their opinions from their desires, but they gave their rulings from the understanding of the Deen they had learnt from the Prophet(SAW)

During the era of the Tabi'een, many people used to go to Makkah for Hajj. The Khalifa of the time would make the following announcement: "No one is to pass a Fatwa except these two Imams Hadhrat Ata ibn Abi Rabaah and Hadhrat Mujahid (RA)." Thousands of the Fatawa passed by these two appear with no proofs mentioned with these rulings. All the Tabi'een and the Tabe Tabi'een used to practice upon these rulings without any objection or question.

During the era of the Tabi'een, different areas were following different schools.
In Makkah it was the school Hadhrat Ata bin Abi Rabaah
In Madina it was the school of Nafi Mowla ibn Umar
In Basra it was the school of Hassan al Basri
In Kufa it was the school of Ibrahim an-Nakha'i
In Yemen it was the school of Tawoos
In Yamama it was the school of Yahya ibn Abi Katheer
In Sham it was the school of Makhool
In Iraq it was the school of Maimoon bin Mehran
In Khurasaan it was the school of Dahaak

In every city, the people would follow that particular school and on many occasions without any proof.

All this was before the four Imams.
This does not mean the Hadith was not there or the information was not gathered.

So to put it all together and answer the query of who the Companions followed:
The Sahaba followed the Prophet (SAW) and took from the Quran & Sunnah Directly and so too did the four Imams.
....Allah says in the Quran "In the Sight of Allah only Islam is accepted (Sura 13/ Verse 9).
The Prophet (SAW) left behind the Quran and the Sunnah, and the Sahaba, who were living examples of Islam, with whom Allah is happy with. The Prophet (SAW) said "hold fast to My Sunnat and the Sunnat of the Khulafa e Rashedeen" (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, ibn Majah etc). He also said "My Sahaba are like Stars, whomsoever you follow, you will be rightly guided" (Mishkat).

Islam Began to Spread far & wide, thus 2 periods past, the period of the Prophet (SAW) and the period of the Sahaba. During the latter time of the Sahaba, Imam Abu Hanifa grew up and met some Sahaba also. In this era, the complitaion of jurisprudence, the systematic settings of laws, rules, regulations on every subject of Deen, the arguments of jurisprudic principles were codified (later completed by his Students & other Imams of Fiqh). The delibration of every aspect of life, be it, political, social, economical took place. All this was done in the light of Quran and Sunnah (Because the Sahaba and Tabi'een were daily narrating Hadith & reading the Quran. This was not done from heresay or from the air, or by following whims and desires like they are accused of doing). In the time of Imam Abu Hanifa, a group of 40 Chosen, top ranking Ulama would discuss, delibrate and contemplate each law, rule and regulation before it was noted in registers. Delibration from every angle would take place before it was noted. Hence approximately 1.3 million masa'il were listed. (1,300,000) (we are not in the position to take out the strongest opinion, no matter which scholar tries, they are not of the calibre)

The other great Imams of fiqh followed, then the Imams of Hadith began their tremendous and marvellous task of complitaion and codification of the Hadith.

We have now completed 4 periods. 1. The era of The Prophet (SAW), 2. The era of the Sahaba, 3. The era of the Imams of Fiqh, 4. The Imams of Hadith.

Thus, The Quran & Sunnat came first followed by the schools of thought which explained the Sunnah in detail, then the compilation of the Hadith.

There were many Imams of Fiqh but only four survived. These four reached us because, they were codified properly and they had students prepared to continue the transmission of the four schools and finally because Allah desired so. The four schools contain the entire life of our Prophet (SAW).

Muslims are supposed to seek the truth, you name me one scholar in the last 1000 years that was capable of making his own Ijtihad after seeing and studying all the schools with all the evidence they have provided do you even think they can pull out the strongest opinion to fit around the other rulings they had passed. Some of them differed in their opinions, but they all had valid reasons. Each ruling they had passed was in conjunction with another rule for that subject, for each school, every thing fits in perfectly. The Greatest Scholars of Islam have already done all this work for us. There are no new Hadith that will come. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. The deen is perfect. There is no need for people to start giving absurd views and start misleading people. It is unbelievable that sometimes even something that is commen sense, others would like to prove them wrong.

Thank you for your comment, It has also given me the opportunity to write out this comment with such detail that I can now create a whole new blog from this. Jazakallah.

Finally as my favourite speaker on comparative religion, Dr Zakir Naik would say, "I hope that answers your question" The Imams had eyewitnessed the actions of the Senior Tabi'een (Imam Abu Hanifa saw some of the Sahaba), these Tabi'een were not fools to follow their own desires, they followed the Sahaba who followed TheProphet (SAW).

Why Follow 1 Imam
This Fatwa by Shaykh Uthaymeen was posted on a forum from which I have cut & pasted it.

Important advice for the student of knowledge from Imām Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen.

Praise be to Allah.

It is good if a person focuses on one shaikh and makes him his main source, especially if he is a young beginner, for if the young beginner seeks knowledge from a number of people he will be confused. For people are not all of one opinion, especially nowadays. In the past, here in the Kingdom (Saudi Arabia) people never deviated from [the books] al-Iqnā’ [Book of Hanbalī Fiqh by Al-Buhuti] and al-Muntahā [Book of Hanbalī fiqh by Mar`i bin Yusuf], so their fatāwā were all the same and the bases of their fatāwā were all the same; no one differed from another, except in his delivery and style. But now, everyone who has memorized a hadīth or two says, “I am the Imām to be followed. Imām Ahmad was a man and we are men.” So now there is chaos. Everyone is issuing fatāwā and sometimes you hear fatāwā from these people which make you weep and laugh at the same time. I was thinking of recording these fatāwā, but I was afraid that this might make me one of those who seek out their faults of their brothers, so I did not do it lest we transmit things that are as far from the truth as the earth is from the Pleiades.

I say: adhering to one scholar is very important when the seeker of knowledge is just starting out, so that he will not be confused. Hence our scholars forbade us to read al-Mughnī and Sharh al-Muhadhdhab and other books which contain numerous opinions when we were starting out. One of our scholars told us that Shaykh ‘AbdAllah ibn ‘AbdRahmān Bābiteen (May Allah have mercy on him), who was one of the great scholars of Najd, only read al-Rawd al-Murabba’ [Book of Hanbalī Fiqh by Al-Buhuti] and never read anything else. He read it repeatedly but he discussed it in great detail and in great depth.

If a person has gained a great deal of knowledge, then he should look at the views of the scholars so as to benefit from them in both academic and practical terms. But when one is just starting out, my advice is to focus on one particular scholar and not go to anyone else.

[From Fatāwā al-Shaikh Muhammad ibn Sālih al-‘Uthaymeen, Kitāb al-‘Ilm, page # 107]

الحمد لله
هذا جيد كون الإنسان يركز على شيخ من المشائخ يجعله هو الأصل لا سيما المبتدئ الصغير , المبتدئ الصغير إذا طلب العلم على عدة أناس تذبذب , لأن الناس ليسوا على رأي واحد خصوصاً في عصرنا الآن , كان فيما سبق أي قبل مدة كان الناس هنا في المملكة لا يخرجون أبداً عن الإقناع والمنتهى ؛ فتجد فتاواهم واحدة , وشروحهم واحدة , لا يختلف واحد عن آخر إلا في الإلقاء وحسن الأسلوب , لكن الآن لما كان كل واحد حافظاً حديثاً أو حديثين قال : أنا الإمام المقتدى به والإمام أحمد رجل ونحن رجال , فصارت المسألة فوضى , صار الإنسان يفتي , أحياناً تأتي الفتوى تبكي وتضحك وكنت أهمَّ أن أدوَّن مثل هذه الفتاوى لكن كنت أخشى أن أكون ممن تتبع عورات إخوانه فتركته تحاشيناً مني إلا نقلنا أشياء بعيدة عن الصواب بُعد الثريا عن الثرى .
فأقول : ملازمة عالم واحد مهمة جداً ما دام الطالب في أول الطريق لكي لا يتذبذب , ولهذا كان مشائخنا ينهوننا عن مطالعة المغني وشرح المهذب والكتب التي فيها أقوال متعددة عندما كنا في زمن الطلبة , وذكر لنا بعض مشائخنا أن الشيخ عبد الله بن عبد الرحمن بابطين ـ رحمه الله ـ وهو من كبار مشائخ نجد ذكروا أنه كان مكبَّاً على الروض المربع لا يطالع إلا إياه ويكرره , كل ما خلص منه كرره لكن يأخذه بالمفهوم والمنطوق والإشارة والعبارة فحصل خير كثير .
أما إن توسعت مدارك الإنسان فهذا ينبغي له أن ينظر أقوال العلماء يستفيد منها فائدة علمية وفائدة تطبيقية , لكن في أول الطلب أنا أنصح الطالب أن يركز على شيخ معين لا يتعداه .

من فتاوى الشيخ محمد بن صالح العثيمين , كتاب العلم , الصفحة # 107

So There you have it. The Sahaba followed the Imams of their own time and this continued until all the rules were deduced and recorded for all to follow one codified Islam. This gave birth to the four great Imams.

Even the Great Hadith Scholars followed a codified Islam as layed out by the four schools of thoughts. If they followed a school, then what chance have we got in trying to find the strogest opinion. No Chance....

These people think they are very clever with their stupid questions and think they are capable of seeking out the truth for them selves. Well good luck to them as they will going round in circles only to find that their own scholars and their scholars's scholars were following a school of thought.

Shaytan works in strange ways and some times his job becomes so easy he just has to sit back and relax.

Stick to one of the schools, you cant go wrong, InshaAllah. Dont pick & chose the Masa'il from different schools, you will end up living a life of Sin. See the blog by Seifeddine "The importance of following one Madhab and sticking to it". This blog is brilliant with some great examples. Infact I had used that blog to answer a comment left on "salah of the women".
Tags: hanifa
posted by abu mohammed on 8th October 2010 - 4 comments


ummi taalib wrote on 10 Oct 2010
Masha allah, this should go on the forum as well as an article
Blogger's Reply:
Jazakallah. This is what I had intended to do whilst replying to a comment. Unfortunately I dont know how to put it onto a forum, I tried and failed. Never mind the message gets around very fast. it has been viewed so many times, that it has become one of the fastest growing viewed blog. this subject is very important as many of us get caught up in this with the salafi's. InshaAllah my next blog will be "was the Prophet a Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki or Hanbali".

Can you please put it up on the forum. there are many subjects within my blog which are linked to this subject. Jazakallah.
Muhammad Kawu wrote on 2 Dec 2010
May the guidance of Allah be upon you for this contributions of FATWAA.
Yours Brother in Islam, Bissalam.
Blogger's Reply:
Jazakallah, I must stress that I am not a scholar/Alim/Mufti who can answer Islamic Questions. I am a Muslim looking for answers and when found, I share them with others. The work is from a mufti, but not me. Salaam.
k.ibrahim wrote on 30 Jan 2011

Ashahadu An Laa illaaha illal llahu
Wa Ash Hadu Anna Muhammadan Abdu Hu Wa Rasooluhu

''I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah
who is without partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) is the Rasool.''
"O Allah, Shower Your Peace come upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have brought peace to Ibrahim and his family. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious. O Allah, Shower your blessing upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have blessed Ibrahim and his family. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious".
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam, As-Salaam Alaikum!
My Name is Khalid U.Ibrahim. I am in need of your (Du'a) Prayers for ALLAH's Help and Protection. (Ya ALLAH!) OALLAH! I Beg of you to Bestow on us (the Believing Muslims) a Home, a Home of Safety, Security and Peace in this World Life, Out of the Reach of the Dajjal and his army, and also Grant us a Home of Safety,Security and Peace in the Life Hereafter,Out of the Reach of the Fires of Hell!.(Ya ALLAH!) OALLAH! I Beg of you to Increase our Faith and Devotion, and to Bless us with Peace in our Hearts and Souls.(Ya ALLAH!) Please Forgive All The Believing Muslims,(Ya ALLAH!) Please grant All the Believing Muslims the Best in this world Life and the Best in Hereafter, and(Ya ALLAH!) Please Protect us(the Believing Muslims) from own Nafs, and(Ya ALLAH!) Please Protect All the Believing Muslims from the hands of the Dajjal and his army.] {No One in this World care!} (Ya ALLAH!) OALLAH! I Beg of you for the means to do good, and to avoid evil, and Bless us to Love the poor, and I beseech you forgive us(the Believing Muslims) and have mercy on us. And When you subject the people of theWorld to trial, Protect us from being affected by it.(Ya ALLAH!) OALLAH! I Beg of you, your Love and Protection,and the Love of those who Love you, and Grant us the Love of all such actions that will bring us closer to you, with our Love and Devotion to you.(Ya ALLAH!) OALLAH! I thank you for all your Mercy and Protection that you have bestowed on us, and all that you have given us in these trouble times that we are facing,(Al-Hamdolillah!).

Blogger's Reply:
Jazakallah, please see my post regarding the spelling of alHumdulillah. you will find it in the forums under PRAISE.
Abdullah wrote on 11 Jan 2014
salaamu alaykum,

I do agree that is is good to seek ilm (knowledge) from a scholar and better for a student of knowledge, but sticking to just one scholar is no option, in islaam. As we have many many evidences where people of knowlege moved from one place to another just for one hadeeth. As you have provided some of your statement but you did not provided the what isnaad did those narrations had. Of-course, some of the statements taken from Bukharee and Muslim in your article are truth and authentic, no question about it, but other than that everything has to be seen with isnaad, that what kinda chain they have, may they be in abu duwud, tirmhidhi nasaae, or other books like musannaf abdul razzaq or musannaf ibn abi shaybah etc. On following 1 Imaam or 1 scholars my views goes like this:

Linguistically, the meaning of taqleed (blindly following) is following without the evidence, "with closed eyes following someone" and without thinking or without evidence, Imitation or give in (yourself by following others).

(Reference: al-qamoos al-waheed (القاموس الوحید) page 1346)

In the terminology of deen blind-following (تقلید) is:

(ھو تعظيم الرجال وترك الأدلة)

Interpretation of the meaning:

This is to give respect and Honorability (تعظيم) to men (الرجال) and leaving the evidences (دلائل).

(Reference: kitaab al-funoon li-ibn al-aqeel (کتاب الفنون لابن عقیل) volume 3 page 604 with reference to mahnaama at-tawheed (بحوالہ ماہنامہ التوحید) page 9 July 2006.)

Caution: If any follower's (امتی) statements and practice are against to Qur'an wa hadeeth (قرآن و حدیث), and even it's proven that salaf-as-saliheen (سلف الصالحین) were against to that, and even if giving precedence to narrations (تطبیق) was not possible then such statements and practices are never a evidence, but in that case the Qur'an and hadeeth must be followed and such statements and practices are to be left off.

(سیدنا) ma'aaz bin jabal (رضی اللہ عنہ) said:

("...وأما زلة عالم، فإن اهتدي فلا تقلدوه دينكم...")

interpretation of the meaning:

"... and as far as the mistakes of the scholar (عالم) is concern then (listen) if he's upon the guidence (still) do not blindly follow him in your deen ..."

(reference: kitaab az-zahad (کتاب الزہد) volume 1 page 299. 300 hadeeth number: 71 with good chain of narration (وسندہ حسن), jaame'a bayaan al-ilm wa fadhala li-ibn abdul barh (جامع بیان العلم و فضلہ لابن عبدالبر) volume 2 page 136 another publication volume 2 page 111 hadeeth number 955 with authentic chain of narration (و سندہ صحیح) )

The narrator of this narration abdullah bin salama al-maraadi (عبداللہ بن سلمہ المرادی) was thiqqa and sudooq in the eyes of jumhoor muhaditheen (muhaditheen more in number) and this narration is before his forgetfulness (اختلاط).

(reference: fath-hul baari (فتح الباری) of (امام) ibn hajar askalaani (رحمہ اللہ) volume 1 page 408 hadeeth number: 305)

(امام) daruq-qutuni (رحمہ اللہ) and (حافظ) abu naeem al-asbahaani (رحمہ اللہ) and others graded this narration as authentic, also see book written by (حافظ) Zubair Ali zay (رحمہ اللہ): deen main taqleed ka masala page 37 taba'a jadeed.

(سیدنا) abdullah ibn masaood (رضی اللہ عنہ) said:

("لا تقلدوا دينكم الرجال...")

interpretation of the meaning:

"Do not do taqleed in the matters of your deen..."

(Reference: as-sunan al-kubrah lil-behaqi (السنن الکبری للبیہقی) volume 2 page 10 with authentic chain of narration (و سندہ صحیح))

(امام) shaafai (رحمہ اللہ) said:

("کل ما قلت. وکان عن النبی صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم خلاف قولی مما یصح فحدیث النبی صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم اولی، ولا تفلدونی")

Interpretation of the meaning:

"Any thing that I say is against to authentic hadeeth (صحیح حدیث) of nabee (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) (leave my word), so the hadeeth of nabee (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) is best and do not blindly follow me"

(Reference: adaab ash-shafai wa manaqibah libn-abi haatim (آداب الشافعی و مناقبہ لابن ابی حاتم) page 51 with good chain of narration (وسندہ حسن))

(امام) Abu dawud (رحمہ اللہ) asked (امام) Ahmad (رحمہ اللہ) that if (امام) awzai (رحمہ اللہ) was more of the follower of sunnah than (امام) Maalik (رحمہ اللہ)? Upon hearing that Question.. (امام) Ahmad (رحمہ اللہ) said to (امام) abu dawud (رحمہ اللہ):

لا تقلد دينك أحدا من هؤلاء...""

interpretation of the meaning:

"in your deen, do not follow blindly (تقلید) any of them.."

(reference: masaail abi dawud (مسائل ابی داود) page 277)

This shows that scholars of salaf were against to following one person blindly and sticking to them all the time, rather their method was seek knowledge like sahaba did from nabee kareem (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) and that is the method we should apply as well, In-sha Allaah, and Allaah azza wa jal knows the best.
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