Wednesday, 9 May 2012

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Page 37.

Chapter two: A brief selection of the praises showered on Imam Abu Hanifa:

1. When the verse of Sura Juma', "...and others among them who have not as yet met up with them" was revealed, the Prophet (saw) placed his hand on Salman (ra) the Persian saying, "If Imaan (deen) had been on Pleiades, then men - or he said- a person from among them would have reached it.
Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tafseer.

Hafiz Suyuti said, "This hadith is an authentic and reliable basis for the inference that reference was to Imam Abi Hanifa."

The student of Hafiz Suyuti said, "Our teacher was convinced that this narration doubtless referred to Imam Abu Hanifa because none from Persia attained his rank in Islamic knowledge ('ilm)."

2. Sam’ani said in al-Ansaab: “He (Imam Abu Hanifa) engrossed himself in the pursuit of knowledge (‘ilm) and went to great lengths in acquiring it until he achieved what none besides him achieved. One day he came to (Caliph) Mansur when ‘Isa ibn Abaan was present. He (Ibn Abaan) said to Mansur, ‘This is the (preeminent) scholar in the world today.’”*

*Quotations from no.2 to 10 are all from Qawaa’id fi ‘Uloom il Hadith, pp. 308-331.

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3. Yazid ibn Harun* said, “I met a thousand men (scholars) and I wrote traditions from most of them. I found five of them to be greater than the rest in jurisprudence (fiqh), fear of Allah (taqwa) and knowledge (‘ilm). The foremost among them was Abu Hanifa.”

4. It was reported from ‘Abdullah ibn Mubarak, “I came to Kufa** and asked the scholars there who the greatest scholar in their land was. Without exception, they took the name of Imam Abu Hanifa.”

5. Hafiz Ibn Khusraw narrated with his chain from Muhammad ibn Salama that Khalaf ibn Ayyub said, “Knowledge (‘ilm) came down from Allah (swt) to Muhammad (saw). Then it passed on to his Companions, then to the Followers. Then it went to Abu Hanifa and his companions.”

It is not hidden that knowledge in that age was nothing other than knowledge of the Qur’an and hadith (‘Ilm al Hadith wa’l Qur’an). Hence, the greatest scholar of that time was the one with the most knowledge of the Qur’an and Hadith.

6. Ibn al-Qayyim said in I’lam al Muwaqqi’in that Yahya ibn Aadam*** said, “Nu’man (Abu Hanifa) gathered all the hadith of his city. His gaze was thus on the final traditions which the Prophet (saw) left behind.”

*In the words of Hafiz Ibn Hajar in Tahdhib al-Tahdhib he was, “One of the eminent and well-known huffaz. Ahmad ibn Hanbal, ‘Ali ibn al-Madini and a host of others have reported from him.”

**Indeed Kufa was the home of 1500 Sahaba of whom 70 were Badris; leave alone the other cities of Iraq. Refer to Fiqh Ahl al-Iraq wa Hadithuhum by Imam Kawthari, pg. 42.

***He is among the teachers (Shuyukh) of the shuyukh of Imam Bukhari. His hadith are narrated in Sahih Bukhari and he was a contemporary of Imam Abu Hanifa in Kufa.

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7. Ibn Khaldun, the historian says, “What indicates that he (Abu Hanifa) was of the senior Mujtahideen in the field of hadith is that his Madhhab gained acceptance among them (Mujtahideen) and they turned to it and gave it recognition after discussion and due investigation.”

8. Ibn Hajar (Makki) said in his Qala’id that Sufyan al-Thawri said, “We were like sparrows in front of a hawk before Abu Hanifa. Truly, Abu Hanifa was the leader of the scholars.”

9. Imam Shafi’ (rah) said that Imam Malik (rah) was asked, “Did you see Abu Hanifa?” He said, “Yes! I saw a man who if he wished to prove to you that this pillar was of gold could prove it.”

10. Khatib al-Baghdadi reported with his chain from Ibn Karamah that he said, “we were with Waki’ ibn al-Jarrah one day when a person said, ‘Abu Hanifa has erred.’ Waki’ spoke, ‘How could Abu Hanifa err when he has with him the likes of Abu Yusuf, Zufar and Muhammad with their analogy(qiyas) and juristic reasoning (ijtihad), the likes of Yahya ibn Zakariyya Abu Zaaida, Hafs ibn Ghiyath and Hibban and Mandal, the sons of ‘Ali with their hifz and understanding of narrations, Qasim ibn Ma’an and his mastery of language and linguistics and Dawud ibn Naseer al-Ta’i and Fudayl ibn ‘Iyad with their abstinence from this world (Zuhd) and fear of Allah (taqwa)? A person with such students and companions can hardly err. If he does, then they will return him to the truth.”

11. Imam Sha’rani said in al-Mizan that Imam Shafi’ (rah) left out the Qunut when he visited Imam Abu Hanifa’s grave and it was time for Fajr. He said, “How can I recite the Qunut in the presence of the Imam when he does not allow it?”

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Page 40.

Imam Sha’rani adds that the reason that Imam Shafi’i did that was to show respect to the Mujtahid Imams, placing them and all their statements on a noble and high pedestal for they never said anything but after knowing an evidence from the hadith of the Prophet (saw).*

12. The following are the praises that Ibn Taymiyya (undisputed Imam of the Salafis) lauded on Imam Abu Hanifa, “These are the scholars who study and research knowledge day and night. They have no personal interest with anyone. In fact, they assert preference to this Companion’s statement sometimes and that Companion’s statement sometimes according to the proofs of the Shari’ah that they behold; like Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib and the Fuqaha’ of Madinah…and their counterparts, the likes of ‘Alqama, Aswad, Qadi Shurayh, then Ibrahim al-Nakha’i, ‘Amir al-Shabi, Hakam ibn ‘Utayba, Mansur ibn ‘Utayba up to Sufyan al-Thawri, Abu Hanifa, Ibn Abi Layla, Shareek and then Waki’ ibn Jarrah, Abu Yusuf, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan and their peers. **

13. He (Ibn Taymiyya) said in another place, “The Imams of the traditionists, Qur’anic exegesis (tafseer), Purification of the Soul (tasawwuf) and Jurisprudence (fiqh) such as the four Imams (Abu Hanifa, Shafi’, Maalik and Ibn Hanbal) and their followers (students).”

14. Imam Bukhari (rah) said, “I have never found myself more inferior and incapable than before Ibn al-Madini.” This same Ibn Madini together with Imam Ahmad and Yahya ibn Ma’een are the students of Yahya ibn Sa’eed al-Qattan. And he (al-Qattan) would teach them with such majesty between ‘Asr and Maghrib that he would recline against a pillar of the mosque while the three would stand in front of him with arms folded, listening to his lectures on hadith and getting their doubts and questions about hadith and masa’il answered. 
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Page 41.

Then note that `Allama Kurdari has listed Yahya al-Qattan among the students of Imam Abu Hanifa and the Ahl Shoora’ (consultative assembly) of his school. He would attend Abu Hanifa’s lessons and benefit from them and would give rulings on his Madhhab. He was the first author of Tarikh al-Rijaal (biographies of hadith narrators). He said with reference to Imam Abu Hanifa, “Allah is my witness that I do not lie when I say that I did not find anyone more correct in his judgment than Imam Abu Hanifa. And I followed him in most of his views.”*

15. Hafiz al-Hadith Makki ibn Ibrahim was the Imam of the traditionists of Balkh and the teacher of Imam Bukhari. Bukhari has included many of his narrations in his Sahih. From amongst the loftiest chains- the 22 Thulathi hadith of Bukhari- twenty are from Hanafi narrators and 11 are from Makki ibn Ibrahim alone. This great distinction (of the number of Thulathiyat in Bukhari) is because of predominantly Hanafi narrators. He is also a student of Abu Hanifa who stayed with him and learnt from him day and night. He says, “Imam Abu Hanifa was the greatest scholar of his time.”

And scholar (‘alim) in the language of the hadith scholars is one who is accomplished in the text and chains (mutun wa isnad) of the ahadith.

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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

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7.1 We live in an area where the Hanafi School is prevalent. Scholars and books of this school are freely found. Had we chosen another school then it would have been difficult to ascertain the laws applicable to daily use. This is because scholars do not possess the same depth of understanding and insight into another school as they do in their own. Because of their study and engrossment in the study and teaching of their school, they cannot achieve the same expertise in another school. This happens even though the study of the books of other schools is possible which is known to the people of knowledge (Ahl al-‘Ilm)

7.2 The factors in choosing a school for those who embrace Islam or who are guided by Allah after plodding the path of Salafism and misguidance to taqleed and Sunnah are:

1. Presence of reliable and knowledgeable scholars who are accessible for reference for one’s daily juristic issues.
2. Adequate literature on the school.


8.1 A query: The Qur’an censures blind following in the verse, “When it is said to the disbelievers: ‘Follow the laws revealed by Allah, they answer………This shows that it is evil to follow the ways of one’s predecessors when we have the Qur’an and hadith. Also, it is stated in another verse that when you have a dispute refer it to Allah and his Messenger. So, we should not refer to an Imam/Mujtahid.

ANSWER: The mere translation of the verse shows that the taqleed of the disbelievers has no affinity with the taqleed under discussion. The following of the disbelievers has been condemned for two reasons:

They would reject the Verses and Commandments saying, ‘We do not accept it. We would rather prefer following our predecessors.’ Secondly their elders lacked understanding of the religion and guidance. These two factors are non-existent in the taqleed under discussion. The followers of the schools do not reject the Verses and Narrations. Rather, the Muqallid says, ‘Our religion (Deen) is the Qur’an and hadith. However being ignorant (lacking knowledge/competence) in legal reasoning (ijtihad) and extraction of rules (istinbat), I have a good opinion of a certain scholar who was thoroughly versed in the words and meanings of the verses and narrations. Thus I consider his opinions based on the Qur’an and hadith to be the most correct and strongest. I am therefore, acting on the sources under his guidance.’

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In short, no follower rejects the Qur’an and narrations. And the Imam he chose does not lack guidance or knowledge as is proven through reliable, continuous transmission from generation to generation (tawatur). Because both reasons for censure are absent here, the taqleed under discussion be beyond the ambit of this verse. And how could following the schools be the purport of the verse? Then the verse would be in clear contradiction to those traditions that establish the validity of taqleed.


9.1 Just as it is permissible to deduce Islamic laws through legal reasoning, similarly it is also permissible to subject a narration to rationale and to act in accordance with that rationale. This might entail specifying the sphere of the command (Ahkam) or placing it in one of several possibilities or restricting a general rule or acting on the inner meaning rather than the obvious meaning. This is not in conflict with the narrations nor does it amount to rejecting it. Such ijtihad is permissible and taqleed of such ijtihad too. 

9.2 Imam Bukhari narrates in his Sahih from Ibn ‘Umar (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said to the Companions after the battle of Ahzab: ‘None of you should offer ‘Asr before reaching Bani Qurayda.’ ‘Asr came while some companions were still on the way. They were split on the issue. 

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Some said that they would offer prayer because this was not the purport of what the Prophet (saw) said – rather, he was emphasizing speed and haste in reaching there before ‘Asr. This incident was brought to the Prophet’s notice. He did not reprimand or criticize anyone. During this incident, some understood the actual meaning by their quwwat-e-ijtihadiyya (power to reason legally). The meaning that they understood was one of two possibilities and they performed the prayer. Huzur (saw) did not reprimand them saying, ‘Why did you discard the obvious meaning?’ Nor did he declare them to be rejecters of hadith.

9.3 To object to any masa’la saying that it is in conflict to the narrations depends on 3 things:

1.  The meaning and purport of the juristic issue is properly understood by the objector.
2. Its evidence is known.
3. The Imam’s procedure of inference is known.

If any of these factors remain obscure to the objector, then his judgment will be erroneous. E.g. Imam Abu Hanifa’s statement that Salah al-Istisqa’ is not Sunna is well-known. The apparent meaning of this opinion seems to be in conflict with the narrations because it is mentioned there that the Prophet (saw) performed Istisqa’. But the meaning of the statement of the Imam is that it is not Sunna al-Muakkada. Once the Prophet (saw) performed prayer and supplicated for rain. On other occasions he just supplicated without performing this prayer. So, we find the following narration in Bukhari, 

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“Anas (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) was delivering the sermon on the day of Friday (Juma’) when a man stood up and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Horses and goats have perished. Pray to Allah for rain.’ The Prophet of Allah stretched out his hands and made supplication.

The purport of the saying of Imam Abu Hanifa is further revealed by the following text of Hidaya, ‘We (Ahnaf) say that he (saw) did it on one occasion and omitted it on another. Therefore, it is not Sunna.’ ‘Awwalayn.

Once the correct meaning is understood, the question of opposition is dispelled. Similar is the case when the proof is obscure. For e.g. many ahadith are reported for one mas’ala. Now by merely looking at one of the narrations it will be wrong to aver that a Mujtahid has opposed the narration. The Mujtahid has drawn a ruling from the other hadith and presented a valid interpretation for this one. An example of this is the question of reciting Fatiha behind the Imam (Qira’h Fatiha Khalf al-Imam). The traditions in this regard differ. 

Sometimes a single narration holds scope for several varying possibilities. The Mujtahid understands a certain possibility (within that hadith) to be stronger on the basis of his (power of) legal reasoning. He then makes an inference. This too is not in conflict with the hadith. An example of this is that it is reported that if a person passes in front of you while you are in prayer then you should ward him off. One meaning is that the literal meaning applies. The other possibility taking into account other principles and rules is that this hadith is by way of warning and a deterrent for passing in front of a Musalli. 

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If a Mujtahid prefers the second possibility then it cannot be argued that he has discarded the hadith. In fact his practice is precisely in keeping with the hadith.
Similarly if the procedure of inference is obscure then too the judgment of conflict will be erroneous. For e.g. Imam Abu Hanifa says that the period of breastfeeding extends till 2 ½ years. The proof which is the Qur’anic verse, “Its carrying and weaning…” is well-known but its popular explanation is exceptionally faulty. In ‘Madaarik’ the tafseer of “hamluhu” is reported from the Imam as “bil akuf” (with hands). By this explanation all objections are dispelled. The meaning of the ayat then is that after birth, the maximum period of the baby being carried around in the arms and its weaning is 30 months. There is no problem with this exegesis and the view of the Imam is easily substantiated. 

In conclusion, judging a juristic issue to be in conflict with the traditions is the prerogative of a person who is well-versed in the traditions and also possesses keen insight with strong perception. A scholar with one attribute but not the other is not capable to proclaiming that the juristic decision is in violation of the narrations.

It is proven in hadith (refer 10.3) that one does not qualify for being a Mujtahid just by being a Hafiz of Hadith. The unbiased reader can understand from this that when a traditionist can be ignorant to the details and procedure of inference then how can the illiterate of today fathom all the various ways which a Mujtahid employs in his deduction of issues. Indeed it is the most audacious stupidity to call the Muqallid a discarder or rejecter of traditions. May Allah reform their condition.

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In this regard whenever experts have found any statement in conflict with a Shari’ proof they have omitted the statement at once. Examples of this are the issues of the prohibition of consuming even a small quantity of an intoxicant and farming on a profit-share basis (muzara’at). It is clear in the books of the Hanafis that in these two issues the view of Imam Abu Hanifa is discarded. The number of such discarded views probably does not even reach ten. In this regard, this lowly servant (Hakim al-Ummah) made an investigation and besides five or six issues in which I had some reservations, not a single answer was found to be against the narrations. I even recorded the various ways in which the juristic answers correspond to the traditions in a treatise. Unfortunately the work was lost.

Even then, it is unlawful to revile a Mujtahid because his error is unintentional. It is a juristic (ijtihadi) mistake and he will be rewarded for this too as is in the narrations.
This we have said according to our knowledge. Otherwise it is quite possible that Imam Abu Hanifa had access to a narration that we are unaware of.

9.4 Ibn Taymiyya says in Raf’ al-Malaam ani’l ‘Aimmah al-‘Alaam that the forms of inferences from the traditions and Qur’anic verses are so many that no Mujtahid can be attacked for his inference. This book is worth a read. (Al-Ifaadat al-Yawmiyya)

9.5 Even if we were to assume that some narrations did not reach Imam Abu Hanifa we find Muhammad, Abu Yusuf, Zufar ibn Hudayl, Ibn al-Mubarak, Hasan ibn Ziyad and other eminent students of Imam Abu Hanifa living in the era of the hadith compilation. 

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Following them came Imam Tahaawi, Karkhi, Haakim (author of Kaafi), ‘Abd al-Baqi ibn Qani’, Mustaghri, Ibn al-Sharqi, Zayla’i and other memorizers and critics of traditions among the Hanafis who flourished during the age of perfection of the standards of examining the narrations of the Prophet (saw). They were completely aware of the rigorously authenticated (sahih), weak (da’if), well-known (mashhur) and single-chained (aahad) narrations.Thus they omitted any analogical deduction of Imam Abu Hanifa that they perceived to be in conflict with the traditions.

Jurists of the caliber of Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan, Abu Yusuf, Zufar and Hasan differed (with the Imam) in a significant portion of his school. The Hanafi school of Law is based on the collective statements of Imam Abu Hanifa and these students and associates. (Muqaddima ‘Ila al-Sunan, Fawaaid-u-Shatta)

10. The objection: The Qur’an and traditions are before us. We can refer directly to them.

10.1 He who does not possess Quwwat-e-Ijtihadiyya (see no.11) has no right to resort to ijtihad.

10.2 Hadrat ‘Adiyy ibn Hatim (ra) narrated that when the verse, “And eat and drink…” was revealed he took a white thread and a black thread and kept it. During the night he looked at it but the two threads were not distinguishable from each other. In the morning he informed the Prophet (saw) who replied, “Your pillow is exceptionally large for the white and black threads (which actually imply the dawn light and darkness of the night) to be under it.”
Notwithstanding the fact that this noble Companion was an Arab who spoke Arabic he erred in understanding the purport of the Qur’anic verse because of not possessing the ability of ijtihad. The Prophet (saw) brought this to his notice in a humorous way. In other traditions he did not voice his disapproval of Ijtihaad from certain Companions. This shows that the Companion in question did not possess the ability for ijtihad and so the Prophet (saw) did not credit him for his opinion and perception. 

10.3 Hadrat Ibn Mas’ud(ra) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said, “May Allah keep that person happy and prosperous who listens to my traditions, retains it and passes it on to others. Indeed how many of those who pass on knowledge are not versed in it themselves and often a man passes on knowledge to one who understands  it better than the one who delivered it.
Imam Shafi’, Bayhaqi in al-Madhkal, Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah and Darimi who narrated this from Hadrat Zayd ibn Thabit (ra).
There is clarity in this hadith that some memorizers of hadith may not understand the meanings of the narrations or possess (deep) understanding of it.

10.4 A simple, straightforward test of this matter is to take a 100 bylaws at random from a book of Islamic jurisprudence in which the source evidences are not mentioned and trace their sources in the Qur’an and hadith.

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Furthermore the principles governing the bylaws should be proven from the sources or indications of the Qur’an and narrations or with sound rational arguments. Then will one understand the limits of one’s own intelligence and the worth of the Faqih’s understanding. Allah willing, this will become evident and in the future no one will venture to make preposterous claims.

10.5 ‘Abdullah ibn Mubarak (rah) said, “Were it not that Allah rescued me with Abu Hanifa and Sufyan, I would have been just like the others.”
In other words, Allah saved him through Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Sufyan Thawri from the perplexity and confusion in which a narrator is embroiled in when seeing conflicting and opposing narrations. The Imams would show him how the two (seemingly opposing traditions) are reconciled or which one enjoys first preference, thus explaining the meanings of the two to him.

Indeed this was the case with many narrators who were rescued by none other than the Fuqaha-e-Muhadditheen, those who were experts in both narration and reasoning (diraayat).

Qadi Iyad narrated the following in Tadreeb al-Madaarik under the biography of ‘Abdullah ibn Wahb Qurayshi Misri, the student of Imam Malik (rah) – v3, pp. 231/6:
Yusuf ibn ‘Adiyy said, “I found some people to be jurists, not traditionists and some to be traditionists and not jurists. Only ‘Abdullah ibn Wahb did I find to be a jurist, traditionist and ascetic.”
Ibn Wahb said, “Had Allah not rescued me through Malik and Layth, I would have gone astray.” He was asked, “How is that?” He answered, “I immersed myself in narrations and became perplexed. I would present my doubts to Malik and Layth who would tell me which tradition to take and which to leave (due to unreliability, abrogation or some other factor). End of Qadi Iyad’s note.

Hafiz Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr also documented this in Intiqa’ with a similar text. Our Shaykh, the research scholar (Muhaqqiq) al-Kawthari annotated it with the following words:
“Ibn ‘Asaakir’s text with his chain upto Ibn Wahb is: ‘Had it not been for Malik ibn Anas and Layth ibn Sa’ad, I would have perished. I was under the impression that everything narrated from the Prophet (saw) had to be carried out.’ In one narration he says, ‘I would have gone astray.’ i.e. in view of the conflict between the traditions which happens to many narrators who are strangers to Islamic jurisprudence and cannot distinguish between a tradition that enjoys practical status from one that is the opposite.”

There are 2 kinds of hadith. While both are authentic, it is not necessary that practical expression is given to all narrations just on the basis of their authenticity. Some lack the ability to distinguish between these two types and it is not within everyone’s understanding to differentiate between the ones’ for practical use and the ones’ which are not.

For instance, it comes in the narrations that one who consumes liquor for the fourth time should be killed (Mishkat). This view is not held by any scholar.

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This tradition is abrogated as it is reliably reported that a person was brought to the Prophet (saw) after having consumed liquor for the fourth time but he was not put to death. (Mirqat al-Mafatih)

10.6 Qadi Bishr ibn Walid said, “We would be with Sufyan ibn ‘Uyayna when a problematic juristic issue would come to us. He would ask, ‘Is there anyone from the companions of Abu Hanifa here?’ My name would be taken. He would say to me, ‘Answer.’ I would then answer. Then he would remark, ‘Safety in Deen is to refer to the fuqaha’.’”

11. What is Quwwat-e-Ijtihadiyya?

11.1  Now hear the traditions from which the meaning of Quwwat-e-Ijtihadiyya will become clear.

a. ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “The Qur’an was revealed in seven readings. Every verse has an apparent meaning and an inner meaning. And for every horizon is a view.” Mishkat al-Masabih from Sharh al-Sunna.

In other words, the apparent meaning of the verse can be understood through the Arabic language and the hidden meaning through intellectual and reasoning powers adorned with the fear of Allah.

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b. Narrated 'Urwa: I asked 'Aisha : "How do you interpret the statement of Allah,. : Verily! (the mountains) As-Safa and Al-Marwa are among the symbols of Allah, and whoever performs the Hajj to the Ka'ba or performs 'Umra, it is not harmful for him to perform Tawaf between them (Safa and Marwa.) (2.158). By Allah! (it is evident from this revelation) there is no harm if one does not perform Tawaf between Safa and Marwa." 'Aisha said, "O, my nephew! Your interpretation is not true. Had this interpretation of yours been correct, the statement of Allah should have been, 'It is not harmful for him if he does not perform Tawaf between them.'
The Shaykhayn, Muwatta’ Malik, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi and Nasaa’i.

c. Speaking on the virtues of the Companions, Hadrat Ibn Mas’ud said, “They are the most virtuous of the entire Muslim nation, their hearts are pure, possessed of the most profound knowledge they were (yet) very open and informal. “

d. Hadrat Ibn Juhayfa narrated, “I asked `Ali (ra): Do you have some knowledge that is not in the Qur’an?” He answered, “I swear by that Being who split the seed and created life, we do not have any (extra) knowledge except for a distinct perception in (understanding) the Qur’an which Allah gives to whoever he pleases.”
Sahih al-Bukhari, Sunan Tirmidhi and Sunan Nasaa’i.

e. Hadrat Zayd ibn Thabit narrated, “During the battle with the people of Yamama, Abu Bakr sent someone to call me. 

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When I came to him, I saw ‘Umar with him. Abu Bakr spoke to me, “’Umar came to me and informed me that many recitors of the Qur’an fell.” He said, “I fear that if this continues then a large portion of the Qur’an will be lost to us. Therefore I advise you to instruct that the Qur’an be collected (in book form).” I answered, “How can I do something which the Messenger of Allah never did?” ‘Umar replied, “By Allah, there is only good in this.” He repeated this again and again until I became satisfied and understood what he had understood.”
Sahih al-Bukhari and Jame’ Tirmidhi.

Collectively from the five quoted traditions, the following points become clear:

Some meanings of the text sources are obvious while some are hidden and subtle. The latter are mysteries, wisdom and reasons.
The level of understanding the texts varies from people to people. Some only understand the apparent while others fathom the deeper meanings.
In  this disparity in comprehension virtue and merit are not due to a mere difference in understanding but this is exclusive to a special level of depth and penetration which is worthy of consideration. 
This special understanding is a bestowal of Allah and is not the result of human effort.
The summary of Quwwat-e-Ijtihadi's nature (from the above mentioned narrations) is that it is an exclusive ability of understanding and deduction by which its possessors discover the deeper, subtle meanings of the source-texts (Nusus) and the mysteries and reasons for the commands pertaining to practice and belief in a convincing manner. Others cannot reach where they have reached.

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Sometimes their hearts would become content with another view and they retracted from their first opinion. This ability is called 'fahm', 'fiqh', 'ijtihad' and 'istinbat'. Other terms are also used for it in the Qur'an and narrations. 

12. Did the Imams prohibit their taqleed?

12.1 Query: The Imams themselves have said that it is unlawful to adopt their view until the proof is known. Those you make taqleed of, therefore prohibit this selfsame taqleed.
Answer: The audience of the Imams is not those who do not possess the capacity for Ijtihad. Otherwise this statement will clash with those narrations that permit it and also with their own practice and other statements. The clash with their practice is that it is not documented anywhere that the Mujtahid offered proof when answering every question. Similarly there was no strictness or insistence in recording the proofs of their Edicts which they compiled e.g. Al-Jami' al-Saghir etc. It is obvious that an answer is given for practice whether it be verbal or in a book. So the practice of the Imams is taqleed per se.

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A ruling of Imam Abu Yusuf on a juristic issue effectively counters the contention (of the anti-taqleed choir) that the Imams forbade Taqleed. It is reported in Hidaya, 'Awwalayn from Abu Yusuf that if a person has blood removed from his body while fasting and then he intentionally eats and drinks thinking that his fast has broken on the basis of the narration, "The fast of both, the cupper and the cupped is broken", then such a person will have to necessarily keep Kaffara. Presenting the argument for the issue, he said, "It is obligatory for the layman to follow the jurists as he has no understanding of the narrations."

This statement clearly shows that the earlier statements of the Imams is addressed to people who can perform Ijtihad, not those who cannot. Accordingly , pondering on the statement reveals this restriction, 'until the proof is known' which shows that they were speaking to scholars who could understand the proofs. He who lacks the ability for Ijtihad may hear the proof but he cannot understand it. Imposing the comprehension of proofs on a person who lacks the capacity for it is takleef ma laa yutaaq (imposing the unbearable) which is null and void in the Shari'ah. So it is clear that this address is to the Sahib-e-Ijtihad and not laymen.

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12.2 Ibn Taymiyya said, "The Imams barring taqleed is only for the one who has the ability to derive commandments from the proof."
Fatawa ibn Taymiyya*

13. The error of judging the narrations of the Jurists on the criteria of the Traditionists:

13.1 Coming to those narrations that are weak on the criteria of the traditionists, firstly all those rules and principles are presumptive on which the tradionists have based the strength and weakness of the narrations, the main factor being the credentials of the narrator. In certain principles, therefore the traditionists are themselves divided.

Similarly a narrator being reliable or unreliable is also presumptive (speculative, non-categorical). Therefore the scholars of hadith differ in many narrators. Also the condition for declaring a narrator weak is conditional to many restrictions and it is not conceded that all conditions are found everywhere. Books on this subject confirm this. When these rules and principles are presumptive then how can they be binding on all? The jurists have formulated principles to judge the strength and weakness of the narrations on the basis of evidence which is presented in the works of principles of jurisprudence. So it is possible for a narration to be unreliable for the hadith collectors but worthy of being used as a basis for commandments according to the Jurists. 

*Al-Kalam al-Mufeed fi Ithbaat al-Taqleed, pg.233.

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Secondly weakness (dhu’f) is not an inherent quality in the hadith. It is due to the narrator. Thus it is quite possible that the Mujtahid received the hadith with an authentic chain and it (the chain) was later tarnished by the addition of a weak narrator. This later weakness does not harm the earlier contention and proof of the Imam.
Once a Mujtahid has employed a narration in his argument – bearing in mind that using the narration for this is dependent on its authenticity- then he has actually authenticated the tradition. This is the purport of the statement of the scholars, “When a Mujtahid advances a hadith in an argument, its authenticity is implied.” (In fact its authenticity is a necessary corollary stemming from his acceptance of the narration as the basis of formulation of a Law)

13.2 It is fitting to mention here that the Thulathiyyat (traditions in which there are only three links/narrators to the Prophet [saw]) narrated by Imam Bukhari (rah) and other hadith scholars are very few. (Such narrations are much prized by hadith scholars) This can be judged from the fact that in the whole of Sahih al-Bukhari, there are not more than 20-22 thulathiyat.

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Imam Abu Hanifa (rah) by virtue of being a tabi’i and being born earlier has narrations that are predominantly thulathiyat. In fact, there are even Thunaiyyat (ahadith with only two narrators up to the Prophet [saw]) to his credit. Hence Imam Sha’rani al-Shafi’i writes, “I have studied authentic copies of the three masanid of Imam Abu Hanifa endorsed by the Huffaz of hadith. I found every hadith to be of the excellent and righteous tabi’un, the likes of Aswad, ‘Alqama, ‘Ata’, Ikrima, Mujahid, Makhul, Hasan al-Basri and others.”

Thus between the Imam and the office of Prophethood all the narrators were upright and righteous scholars and they were eminently saintly people. None of them was a liar or accused of mendacity. This is the reason that the Imams of Hadith and the scholars have concluded that the ahadith with which the Mujtahid Imams have formulated (schools of) Fiqh are much more reliable and trustworthy than the later ahadith because these eminent fuqaha’ were the teachers (mentors and in fact asatizah of the asatizah) of the later hadith scholars (muhadditheen). Further they were closer in time to the era of Prophethood and the Companions. Falsehood had not become widespread during the best of times (Khayr al-Quroon). Therefore whatever weakness (dhu’f) developed due to the narrators (ruwaat) was the harvest of later generations. (Malfuzat-e-Muhaddith Kashmiri, pp 147/8)

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page 9 to page 17.


The objective and purpose of taqleed have been clarified earlier. The accusation of taqleed being blind following in the sense of not being governed by reason or purpose is therefore palpably false.

When the Muqallid (Follower or person who makes taqleed) follows an Imam or Madhhab he understands it to be a trustworthy guide and the safest course to obedience to the commands of Allah (swt) and the teachings (Sunna) of the Messenger (saw). He concedes his lack of competence in understanding the Qur’an and hadith. Resorting to a self-study of the Book and the Hadith and forming his own opinion is akin to bartering away his faith. He thus opts for the safest and surest way to the obedience and pleasure of Allah and his Messenger (saw) which is Taqleed. Is this being reckless? Is this blind following? May Allah save us from the deception of Satan and the evil schemes of the Nafs. Aamin.

When none of the connotations of ‘blind’ portray the true (meaning of) taqleed, the usage of this word in relation to the same is crass ignorance or malicious obstinacy. May Allah save us from the evils of the tongue and the Nafs.

The taqleed of taqleed-rejecters:

As far as the taqleed rejecters’ are concerned, it should be understood that according to their own principle (of taqleed being haram) it is impossible for them to practice on the hadith. This is because practicing on hadith is only possible through taqleed of the scholars in the issue of the traditions being rigorously authenticated (sahih), weak (da’if), imperative for following (wajib al-‘amal), Mustahab (allowed) or impermissible. 


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And it is obvious that this is strict taqleed in the laws of the Shari’ah. Doubtless, the question of a hadith being incumbent for practice or vice versa or disallowed for practice or vice versa is an issue pertaining to commands (Ahkam). It is for this reason that the jurists discuss the various laws governing the Sunna – its acceptance, rejection, employment, relaxation and the rules pertaining to the narrators – in Fiqh and Usul al-Fiqh; these issues being elements of Ahkam (Laws).

When the rejecters reject taqleed then what gives them the right to make taqleed of the hadith scholars in these issues and on what basis do they declare the views and juristic reasoning of the traditionists in the field of hadith classification to be conclusive evidence in the Shari’ah?

3. Taqleed during the Prophet’s (saw) era:

3.1 Narrated Al-Aswad bin Yazid: Mu'adh bin Jabal came to us in Yemen as a teacher and a governor, and we (the people of Yemen) asked him about (the distribution of the property of) a man who had died leaving a daughter and a sister. Mu'adh gave the daughter one-half of the property and gave the sister the other half. 
Bukhari, Kitab al-Fara'id, Volume 8, Book 80, Number 726. 

The version in Abu Dawood adds, "This was in the Prophet's (saw) lifetime." 

We learn from this hadith that taqleed was in vogue during the blessed era of the Prophet (saw). The questioner did not ask for proof. 


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He accepted the fatwa of Hadrat Mu’adh purely on the basis of the latter’s integrity. This is taqleed. Then there is no evidence of the Prophet (saw) disagreeing with the fatwa or its implementation. Nor for that matter is any difference or rejection recorded. Thus, permissibility of taqleed and its freely open practice during the Messenger’s (saw) lifetime is established.

3.2. Yahya related to me from Malik that Yahya ibn Sa'eed said that Sulayman ibn Yasar told him that Abu Ayyub al-Ansari once set off to do Hajj and then, when he reached al-Naziya, on the road to Makka, his riding beasts strayed. He reached ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab on the day of sacrifice and told him what had happened and ‘Umar said, "Do what someone doing Umra would do, and then you can leave ihram, and then when the hajj next comes upon you, do it and sacrifice whatever animal is easy for you."
Muwatta’ Malik, Hajj, chapter 20, hadith 162.

From this hadith we learn that those Companions who could not make Ijtihad would make taqleed of the Mujtahideen Sahaba. Hadrat Abu Ayyub was also a Companion and he did not ask Hadrat ‘Umar for evidence of his fatwa. 

3.3 Incidents of this nature among the Companions and even during the blessed era of Allah’s Messenger (saw) and fatawa without references and proofs among the Sahaba or among the Tabi’un and Companions have been documented with such abundance that it is a difficult task to compile them all. Those who are versed in hadith literature are well aware of this. 

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4. Following a particular Imam or School: 

4.1 Hadrat Hudhayfa (ra) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said: “I don’t know how long I will be with you people. Therefore, follow these two after me.” The Messenger (saw) indicated Abu Bakr (ra) and ‘Umar (ra). 
Jame’ Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad (5/399), “Fada’il al-Sahaba” (479), Tahawi in “Sharh Mushkil al-Athar” (1233), Ibn Hibban (6902), Ibn Sa’ad (2/334).

Also Imam Tirmidhi narrated, "Hudhaifa (ra) said: The Prophet (saw) said, “Follow these after me: Abu Bakr and Umar.”
Jame' Tirmidhi, Al-Manaqib, hadith 3662.

The meaning of “after me” is; during their Caliphate. So, the order is to follow them during their respective terms of Caliphate. Obviously, the Caliph is a single person. The conclusion is to follow Hadrat Abu Bakr (ra) and Hadrat ‘Umar (ra) during their Caliphates. 

So, the Prophet (saw) instructed that one particular person be followed for a specific time.  Nowhere did he say that proof for Ahkam should also be enquired. Nor was it a standard practice for ascertaining the proof for every mas’ala. This is nothing but following an Imam or Madhhab.

4.2 see 3.1


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Just as taqleed being Sunna is proven from this hadith as mentioned in 3.1, similarly this hadith confirms Taqleed of an Imam or Madhhab. The reason being that when the Prophet (saw) sent Hadrat Mu’adh to Yemen to teach the commandments of the religion he most assuredly gave permission to the Yemenis to refer to him in all their affairs. This is taqleed of an Imam.

4.3 Narrated Hudhayl bin Shurahbeel: Abu Musa was asked regarding (the inheritance of) a daughter, a son's daughter, and a sister. He said, "The daughter will take one-half and the sister will take one-half. If you go to Ibn Mas'ud, he will tell you the same." Ibn Mas'ud was asked and was told of Abu Musa's verdict. Ibn Mas'ud then said, "If I give the same verdict, I would stray and would not be of the rightly-guided. The verdict I will give in this case will be the same as the Prophet did, i.e. one-half is for daughter, and one-sixth for the son's daughter, i.e. both shares make two-thirds of the total property; and the rest is for the sister." Afterwards we came to Abu Musa and informed him of Ibn Mas'ud's verdict, whereupon he said, "So, do not ask me for verdicts, as long as this learned man is among you."
Bukhari, Kitab al-Fara'id, Volume 8, Book 80, Number 728, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi. (This is Bukhari's version)

Anyone can understand from the statement of Abu Musa (ra), “As long as he is among you, do not refer to me” that he instructed them to take all their questions to him (Ibn Mas’ud). And this is taqleed of an Imam; to refer all of one’s queries, due to some determining factor to one scholar and act according to his ruling.

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Why is it necessary to follow an Imam or a School of Law?

5.1 It needs to be kept in mind that the necessity of something (in the Islamic Shari’ah) is established in one of the following ways:
The Qur’an or Hadith lay special emphasis on some act e.g. Prayer, Fasting, etc. This kind of compulsion is called Wujub bi`l-dhaat.

The act itself is not emphasized; but it is not possible to perform those deeds that have been emphasized in the Sources without resorting to this particular act. In that case, this act will be considered as compulsory. This is the purport of the scholars’ words: “The foundation of a Wajib is also Wajib.” For e.g. consider the writing of the Qur’an and hadith. Nowhere is this directly emphasized in the Shari’ah. Rather, the following hadith clearly proves the non-compulsion of writing. 

From Ibn ‘Umar (ra) that the Messenger (saw) of Allah said:  “We are an unlettered nation, we do not write or calculate. The month is such-and-such or such-and-such – meaning sometimes it is twenty-nine and sometimes it is thirty.” (Bukhaari, 1814; Muslim, 1080)

The hadith itself indicates its meaning. So, when writing itself is not compulsory then how can writing something in particular be wajib?

But preserving the Qur’an and hadith is emphasized. And this is not possible without resorting to writing and printing. Thus, these are regarded as necessary. Accordingly, there is an implied agreement in the entire Muslim Nation for the past 14 centuries on its incumbency. This is called Wujub bi’l ghayr.


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After understanding the types of Wujub (Shari’ compulsion) and their nature, now know that when it is said that following a single Imam or school is necessary then it means Wujub bi’l ghayr and not Wujub bi’l dhaat. So there is no need to bring proof from the Qur’an and narrations that specifically mention this (kind of) taqleed by name. Despite the clear message of the earlier hadith that writing is not compulsory it has nonetheless been considered essential. Further this is not viewed as contradictory to the tradition. Similar is the case of following a single Imam or school (taqleed shakhsi) where there is no need to produce evidence from the sources (Nass).

Yes, there is a need for proving two premises, viz.:

  1. The disadvantages of not following an Imam or school of law in the present state of the Ummah.
  2. The religious compulsion of these factors.

The following religious necessities will be adversely affected in the absence of following a school:

  • Sincerity of intention, viz that the purpose of religious knowledge (‘ilm) and ‘amal (deeds) be only the Deen.
  • Deen be the determinant (in everything that is done)
  • Abstaining from acts harmful to one’s faith.
  • Abstaining from opposing the consensus (ijma’) of the people of truth (Ahl al-Haqq).
  • Abstaining from crossing the limits of the Divine Law.

The above (matters) being compulsory in themselves (wajib bi’l dhaat) are clearly proven from the Prophetic narrations.

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Experience has shown that those who renounce taqleed of an Imam or School (often) fall victims to insincerity and following their nafs. They harm their religion, oppose Consensus and transgress the divine limits. (Examples are too numerous to quote for a small work and only one who is blind to reality will contradict this. A single example is cited for those who are in search of the truth)

E.g. A man made minor ablution (wudu’). Then he cut himself and his ablution became invalid according to the Hanafiyya. So he said, ‘I adopt the fatwa of Imam Shafi’ who does not consider wudu’ to break after bleeding from a cut.’ Then he touches a woman with passion which according to Imam Shafi’s school nullifies his ablution. Here he uses the fatwa of Abu Hanifa which says that his ablution is still intact. He prays without renewing his minor ablution. Now his prayer is void according to all Imams in view of the wudu’ being broken by consensus, irrespective of the nullifying factor. (He has flirted with the schools in following his nafsani desires and breaking the consensus. So while he believes that his prayer is in order, it is actually null and void)

The reason for this corruption (that ensues on leaving taqleed) is that corruption (spiritual) and base motives have settled in the dispositions of most men nowadays. This is clear and has been prophesied in the narrations on trials (Fitan). The people of knowledge and narrations are aware of this.

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6.1 It was proven earlier that following an Imam is a must. Also picking and choosing opinions from different Imams is fraught with harm. So it is imperative to follow an Imam, the principles and particulars of which are compiled and codified in such a manner that solutions to all juristic queries are (easily) available. Then there will be no need to refer to other views. By divine design, this quality is to be found only in the 4 schools, Hanafi, Shafi’, Maliki and Hanbali. Adopting one of these 4 is imperative as opting for a 5th will result in the same problems and flirting with different schools in the desire to remain unfettered (from the religion). Hence, taqleed has been confined to the 4 schools for centuries, this being the practice of the majority (jamhoor) of scholars. Some have even recorded consensus that the Ahl al-Sunna wa’l Jam’ah is confined to these 4 schools.

6.2 Codification of the Mujtahid’s school is compulsory for taqleed. Taqleed (direct) of the Companions (Sahaba) is difficult because none of these schools are compiled or codified. However, we follow the Companions through the 4 Imams.

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Sunday, 6 May 2012

Page 8

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CHAPTER 1: Taqleed, Ijtihad and the Fuqaha’.

What is Taqleed?

Taqleed means to accept someone’s statement on the basis of a favorable opinion about him in the confidence that he speaks on the basis of proof without asking him for it (the evidence).
The objective of Taqleed is ease in following the Qur’an and Hadith.
The rejectors of taqleed whose flag is shakily held by the group that calls itself the Salafiyyoon/Salafiyyah insolently dub taqleed as “blind following”.

‘Blind’ bears the following connotations*:
Without foresight, discernment, intellectual perception or adequate information
Not governed by purpose or reason

The very nature of taqleed demands discernment, intellectual perception and adequate information because developing a favorable opinion that a certain Mujtahid Imam is qualified in the Islamic sciences and worthy of being followed is dependent on these factors. Taqleed can, therefore, never be blind following in this sense.

*Reader’s digest Oxford complete word-finder.


Page 7.

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This compilation is almost purely narration (naql) i.e. it consists almost entirely of quotations, extracts and excerpts. We have minimized the use of our own words because of two reasons. Firstly, what is collected here is not our personal opinion. Secondly, the statements of our elders and senior scholars obviate the need for our comments. Considering their knowledge (‘ilm) and God-wariness (taqwa), their understanding and commentary of the Shari’ah far outweigh what we can produce. After all, we are only ‘blind followers’ (muqallideen). Although we have relied on quotations, we have amended some texts to facilitate comprehension and/or for brevity. 
Books and theses on Taqleed are numerous. This document however is intended to be a textbook on this subject. It is only in educating ourselves in the basics of this religious requirement that we can thwart the menace of Salafism. Allah is the giver of Guidance and He is the best of Helpers.
Wa Salam.
Jami’ah Masihiyya Ashrafiyya,
6th of Ramadan al-Mubarak, 1428/ 18th September 2007 CE.
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Thursday, 3 May 2012

Page 6

As a matter of fact, these modernist scholars with their shallow understanding of the Qur’an and Sunna and their rigidly blind following of Ibn Taymiyya are currently engaged in an all out effort to rob people of their practice of the Qur’an and Hadith in the most elaborately beautiful way outlined by the four schools ( Madhahib al-Arba’ah) viz the Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki and Hanbali maslaks.  So, it has become obligatory for the scholars of truth ( ‘Ulama-e-Haqq) to expose the evil of these peddlers of the abandonment of taqleed.

Ignorance and arrogance have become major hurdles for the anti-taqleed propagandists. As a result they refuse to leave their obtuse understanding of the Shari’ah and accept it as understood and practised by the four schools over the last 14 centuries. This document is therefore not directed to the votaries of the abandonment of taqleed. It is for the safety and strength of those who have the wonderful path of taqleed to follow.

This monograph is mostly a condensation of a lengthy treatise on Taqlid and Ijtihad by the reviver* of his time, Hakim al-Ummah, Mawlana ‘Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi (rah). Hadrat named his book, “ Al Iqtisad fi’t Taqleed wa’l Ijtihad”. Because this compilation and translation is primarily a condensed form of Mawlana Thanwi’s book, we have omitted references to page numbers from the original work. Apart from Hakim al-Ummah’s work, some quotes  have also been taken from other reliable and authoritative works, references of which have been given in the footnotes. 

*Imam Abu Dawud has narrated a hadith that Allah will certainly, at the turn  of every century, raise for the upliftment of this Ummah, a person who will revive the teachings of the Deen (mujaddid).

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Page 5

Once Hadrat Bahlul passed by a scholar who was quarreling with someone. 
Bahlul (rah) said, “ If this person had gnosis (ma’rifah) of Allah, he would not have wasted his time quarreling with an ignoramus.”
Life is short and temporary. Its goal is divine pleasure (attained) through obedience to Allah (swt) and Muhammad (saw), His beloved Messenger. Keeping this very short stay in a temporary abode in mind, people who have realised the purpose of their existence are continuously in pursuit of the closeness of Allah. 
As much as a scholar blessed with gnosis hates being drawn into arguments and prefers the worship of his beloved Allah, sometimes circumstances dictate that he come to the defense of the True Faith against the falsities of the people of falsehood.
Among the people of falsehood in these times are the modernist Salafis who have nothing better to do in life that to criticise the authentic schools of fiqh (madhahib/masalik) and vilify their followers. They have appointed as their leaders (Imams) their own whims and fancies and have left no stone unturned in their effort to waylay the faith of the unwary and innocent followers of the Madhahib in general and the Hanafiyya in particular.