“Rasulullah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Make things easy! And do not make them complicated! Be cheerful! And do not be repulsive.””

Bukhari (via oneislam)

This hadith echoes the thoughts in my head right now. Whenever I find myself delayed in the performance of my dhuhr salaah, I have to fight the tendency to want to debate (in my head) whether I should refer to the Shaf’i or Hanafi madhab to determine whether or not it is still permissible for me to perform dhuhr. 

I’ve chosen to follow the Shaf’i view on this. My reason being that I cannot see how it would be possible for two Muslims (a Shaf’i and a Hanafi) to be standing side by side, with one performing Dhuhr and the other performing Asr at exactly the same time, and have both of their salaah accepted as having been read within the prescribed window for that prayer. It’s illogical!

Islam always makes sense to me. Logical sense. This situation defies logic. So for this reason (amongst others) I find it impossible to respect these differences between the madhabs. If the Shaf’i followers believe that they are acting within the bounds of the Sunnah, and the Hanafi followers also believe that they’re acting within these same bounds, then is it not possible that in fact a combination of the two madhabs are in fact within the bounds of the Sunnah anyway? 

The more I try to rationalise this, the more entangled I feel! But I refuse to apply a label to myself in the process other than being a Mu’min (a Believer!) and nothing else. Unless something was specifically forbidden, I will make it as easy as possible for me to practise my deen. This world is insane enough as it is, let alone the enormous trials that are placed on anyone that resists hedonism or liberalism. Anyone trying to live a decent, respectable, and modest life, regardless of religious persuasion, is fighting against the massive currents of corruption, immodesty, and vulgarity. Add to this the ridiculous burdens placed on top of Muslims to try to determine which one of the madhabs we’re supposed to follow and the numerous debates and arguments and inconsistencies that go with that, and it’s not difficult to understand why the youth are so rebellious these days. 

We’ve created a legacy of Islam that is prone to ridicule, and we fool ourselves by arrogantly believing that we’re standing out because we’re the strangers that Rasulullah (SAW) referred to. I doubt that we are. I think that the moment we align with a group that considers itself to be of those strangers, we cease to be strangers and therefore cannot ever be certain of our status. Yet we persist in our divisions, and our sects and our folly with words and interpretations and man-endowed titles of scholarly supremacy! 

Just the thought of it all is horribly disheartening. 

2 responses to “Madhabs…why?”

  1. Aoa,

    On the point about the start of ‘asr, both positions are valid although the later stary time one is the preferred opinion. A hanafi scholar inforned me that the minor opinuon could be acted upon due to a need such as work, etc.

    On the general issue of juristic difference, isn’t it the accepred understanding that since there cannot be contradictory truths, that one scholar is correct and the other incorrect BUT the one who is incorrect is valid as long as he judges sincerely, with knowledge and a dound methodology.

    One God knows which of the two is correct

    Wassalam, hanif

    • Wa Alaykumussalaam Hanif,

      I really appreciate you taking time to share your thoughts on this. My concern is the emphasis we place on a ‘preferred’ opinion versus a ‘weaker’ opinion. In these discussions I am constantly reminded of the incident when two companions returned from a journey and the one spoke to Rasulullah (SAW) about the fact that the two of them had read salaah differently. The one had shortened his salaah as allowed in the Sunnah, while the other had read his full salaah. Rasulullah (SAW) replied by simply confirming that both were correct.

      I struggle to understand why we feel a need to be so prescriptive of the Sunnah that it takes us to the point of divisions in our communities and even families. Even the Hanafi scholars these days are being divided up by who reigns from Deoband and who doesn’t. So now we’re developing schools within schools! It does not bode well for the Ummah.

      I honestly believe that if we applied as much effort in regulating community matters as much as we emphasise personal matters, we’ll enjoy much more success in achieving harmony. But unfortunately we’ve lost sight of what a true Muslim community even looks like, or how it should operate, because we’re so fixated on the need to define the individual behaviours of men and women, and over emphasise the issues of hijab and shortened pants, that we automatically assume that that is what dictates the balance and harmony in a community.

      The concern I have with the second point you’ve made is that differences of opinion will always abound. Unless something is definitively outside the bounds of Shari’ah, why do the Ulema also not practice the advice of leaving alone that which is doubtful? Why do they insist on defining a specific opinion on something that is obviously open to latitude in practice and interpretation? The Qur’an teaches us that any omissions were out of mercy and not in error, so if something was left unclarified, it stands to reason that the mercy in that is that we are allowed to practice latitude in our implementation thereof.

      No madhabs or sects needed.

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