Alhamdulillah, Shaykh Abdul Raheem hafidhahullah mentioned some beautiful points in last Saturday's (29/03/2014) speech on:
Following The Footsteps of Our Pious Predecessors
I request all our respected friends to take a few moments to read and share with all.
Shaykh started with mentioning some virtues of Durood Shareef.
"It is the haq of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam that whenever the name of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam is mentioned, we send durood and salam to Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam. A person who remains silent upon his mention is classed as a bakheel (miser). As long as we send durood to Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam, the angels continue to send blesings on us."
Thereafter Shaykh said:
Who are the pious predecessors? They are those who came before us; from today's date to Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam's era. We should not restrict the title "Salaf" to a few names.
They had all held onto the Quran and put Quran before them. They read, learnt, practiced and propagated the Quran. They also held firmly to the Sunnah. We should also practice upon all the Sunnah. Make a habit of asking if something is Sunnah, not whether it's jaaiz (permissible).
Example: Hadhrat Shibly rahimahullah on his death bed indicated to doing khilaal during wudhu as the khaadim missed it and after not realising Hadhrat himself took the khaadim's hand and did His own khilaal. Hadhrat passed away during the khilaal of the beard while the khaadim's hand was still in Hadhrat's beard. Subhanallah!! Even during the great pains of death, Hadhrat did not miss the Sunnah of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam.
Example: Hadhrat Mawlana Ilyas rahimahullah was severly ill. His socks needed to be removed and indicated this to his khaadim. The khadim attempted to remove the right sock first and Hadhrat shook his foot in denial. The khadim could not understand. He again attempted to do the same and got the same reaction from Hadhrat. Finally Hadhrat's son was called and he explained it's because you are trying to remove the right one first which is against the Sunnah. Then they took off the left sock first.
The Salaf were successful because they used to practice upon the Sunnah due to it being a Sunnah. We are failing because we leave sunnah, thinking it's only Sunnah.
Their knowledge was deep and profound. When Allah swt wishes well for a person, He grants them Hikmah (ie. wisdom and understanding of Deen).
The superiority of an 'Alim (scholar) over an 'Abid (worshipper who has the basic knowledge of deen) is like the superiority of the full moon over the stars or like the virtue of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhu wasallam over a Sahabi radiyallahu anhu.
Allah swt and Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam have ordered us to obey and respect the Ulama. Quran says: "O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey His Messenger, as well as those charged with authority among you." (04:59)
One Hadith says: "And obey those with authority among you". The Hadith of "Ad-Deen An-Naseehah" includes "leaders of Muslims". Imam Nawawi rahimahullah and commentators say 'Leaders' includes the Ulema and the Mujtahideen".
Thereafter, Shaykh mentioned some of the great scholars of the past. He said regarding Hadhrat Imam Abu Hanifa rahimahullah that due to his piety, he prayed the Isha Salaah and Fajr Salaah with the same wudhu for 40 years (ie. He busied himself in worship throughout the night). Khateeb Baghdadi has narrated this from 5 different narrators.
Shaykh also explained that daleel is not restricted to Hadith. There are various forms of deducing masaa'il. Mainly Quran, Hadith, Ijmaa (concensus), Qiyaas (analogy), Urf (Common Knowledge) and istihsaan, to name a few. In fact most of the masaa'il of deen are derived through Qiyaas (analogy). Imam Bukhaari rahmatullahi alayh uses Qiyaas in his Sahih in numerous chapters. The Hadith of Muaaz indicates towards Ijtihad.
Shaykh went on to say that majority of the salafs followed a madhab although they were great legends themselves. For example:
Hanafi: Abu Yusuf, Muhammad bin Hasan, Hafs ibn Ghiyaas, Bishe Ibnul Waleed, wakeel Ibnul Jarraah, Sufyaan Ibn Uyaynah, Badrud-deen Al-'Ayni and many of the recent Muhadditheen liks shaykh Zakariyyah Khandhelvi, Shaykh Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri, Shaykh Rashid Ahmad Gangohi etc. Rahmatullahi alayhim.
Shafiee: Imam Muzani, Al-Buwayti, Rabee Ibn Sulayman, Yunus Ibn Abdil 'Aalaa, Imam Muslim, Ibn Kuzaymah, Muhammad Ibn Nasr Al Marwazi, al-Mawardi, an-Nawawi, Hafidh ibn-Hajar etc. Rahmatullahi alayhim.
Maaliki: Ibn Qasim, Ash-Hab, Yahya ibn Yahya Al-Masmoodi, Suhnoon, Esa ibn Dinaar, Ibn Abdil Barr, Qazi Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi, Qazi Iyadh etc. Rahmatullahi alayhim.
Hanbali: Ibrahim Al-Harbi, Al-Khallal, Al-Khiraqi, Imam Abu Dawood, Ibn Taymiyah, Ibnul Qayyim, Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahaab Najdi, Abdul Aziz Ibnul baaz etc. Rahmatullahi alayhim.
Shaykh then quoted Ibn Rajab rahimahullah who says:
"It is wajib in this day and age to follow a madhab."
And thereafter mentioned that 99% of the Ummah follows a madhab.
Moving on, Shaykh explained to us why we only follow one of the four Imams and not the other Imams of the time such as Hadhrat Sufyan Thawri rahimahullah.
Hadhrat Shaykh Zakariyyah rahimahullah gives the example of a father who has 10 sons and during his lifetime 6 pass away and so only four remain who receive the inheritence. In the same way, after a few centuries, the research of the other great scholars faded away, while those who adhered to these 4 schools of thought elaborated them, established them, and expanded them. So the ummah collectively accepted their research.
Ibn Rajab rahimahullah has said that the establishment of the 4 madhaahib was a blessing of Allah upon the Ummah. Had this not happened, our Ummah would have become similar to the people of the books before us. I.e. Everyone following their own thinking and then corrupting the religion.
Shaykh thereafter mentioned an important point:
"Allah swt will take away knowledge from the world by taking away the Ulama. If people continue to learn, practice and propagate the knowlege they have, then Allah swt will keep it mahfooz (protected)."
Shaykh thereafter gave a humble request to all, that a person should adhere to one madhab; The madhab of the Ulama in your area, So if questions arise, you can refer to them.
Shaykh ended the speech by answering the question:
Why do I have to follow a madhab?
He replied: "For Two reasons: One, It's easy. Because you don't have to do your own research, it's already done, and ready on the plate for you, like the biryani which is cooked for you; you don't need to enquire about the ingredients.
Secondly, It's safer. If a person doesn't have the necessary tools and he does something, he is bound to make a mess of it.
Imam Ghazali says "If someone does not know how to swim and jumps in the ocean, he is bound to drown."
Similarly, a person who is not a hafiz, nor a qualified scholar, nor does he understand Arabic language, he doesn't know all the sciences of tafseer, Hadith, fiqh, their usool etc and he attempts to take masaail on his own will definitely make a mess of his Deen. He will go astray and lead others astray. And on top of that he will face severe questioning on the day of judgement.
Don't listen to such scholars who themselves abandon taqleed and confuse others by criticising the mashaaikh and akaabir who follow a madh'hab. It is the mashaaikh whom Allah swt favoured along with the Prophets alayhimus salaam, the siddiqeen, the shuhadaa and the saliheen. We pray for guidance upon their path 5 times a day.
May Allah give us correct and complete understanding of our Deen and the ability to practice properly. Ameen