Praise be to Allaah, who made Prayer compulsory on His slaves and ordered them to establish it and perform it well; who linked success and felicity to humility in Prayer; who made it the criterion to distinguish between Eeman and Kufr ; and who made it a restrainer from shameful and unjust deeds.
Prayers and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, who was addressed in the Words of the Exalted:
“And We have sent down to you the Message, that you may explain clearly to the people what is sent for them”(Soorah an-Nahl, 16:44),
and who fully carried out this task. The Prayer was one of the most important things which he explained to the people, verbally and practically, even praying on the pulpit once – standing, bowing and prostrating. He obligated us to copy him in his prayer, saying, “Pray as you have seen me praying.” He also gave the good tidings to whoever prayed like him that such a person has a covenant with Allaah that He will enter him into the Garden, saying, There are five prayers which Allaah, Mighty and Sublime, has made compulsory: he who performs ablution well for them, prays them at their proper times, and is complete in their bowings, prostrations and humility, he has a guarantee from Allaah that He will forgive him; but he who does not do so, has no guarantee from Allaah: if He wishes, He will forgive him or if He wishes, He will punish him.
Assalam alaykum warahmatuallahi wa barkatuhu,
I started this note with a sermon which Shaykh Albani Rahimullah delivered in his book from which I prepared this note. I made status updates before on this same subject and it was time to save it in a note for myself first and for others to benefit from.
This note is prepared from the English translation of the book Sifah Salaah an-Nabi (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), min at-takbeer ilaa at-tasleem ka’annaka taraahaa (The Prophet’s Prayer Described, from beginning to end, as though you were watching it)” by Shaykh Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albaani, a great muhaddith of the last century. This book contains comprehensive research done by the Shaykh on the topic across books of hadiths and with detailed explanation on each act of prayer.
Moreover, I choose to focus on the topic of clearing the misconceptions on following of madhabs and Imaams for which Shaykh has given full references and evidences on the subject with saying of Imaams on this topic. My methodology for the note has been to take from the book, and rearranging the same into various sub-topics for better presentation, understanding and debates.
May Allah make for Shaykh Rahimullah place in Jannat al Firdous, Ameen
As Allah SWT says in the Glorious Quran, ,
“The answer of the believers, when summoned to Allaah and His Messenger, in order that he may judge betweeen them, is no other than this: they say, “We hear and we obey” – it is such as these that will attain Success. It is those who obey Allaah and His Messenger, and fear Allaah, and keep their duty to Him, who will triumph.”
(Soorah an-Noor 24:51-52)
“Follow (O men!) the revelation given to you from your Lord, and follow not, as friends and protectors, other than Him. Little is it you remember of admonition.”
(Soorah al-A’raaf, 7:3)
“O you who believe! Give your response to Allaah and His Messenger when he calls you to that which will give you life, and know that Allaah comes in between a man and his heart, and it is He to whom you shall all be gathered.”
(Soorah al-Anfaal, 8:24)
And Rasoolullah saws said,
“Verily the slave prays a prayer of which nothing is written down for him except a tenth, ninth, eighth, seventh, sixth, fifth, quarter, third or half of it
Proceeding with the topic,
Imaam Abu Haneefah rahimahullaah, first of major imam, whose real name is Nu’maan ibn Thaabit, his companions have narrated from him various sayings and diverse warnings, all of them leading to one thing: the obligation to accept the Hadeeth, and to give up following the opinions of the imaams which contradict it:
a. “When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my madhhab.”
b. “It is not permitted (halaal) for anyone to accept our views if they do not know from where we got them.”
In one narration,
“It is prohibited (haraam) for someone who does not know my evidence to give verdicts (fatwa) on the basis of my words.”
Another narration adds,
“… for we are mortals: we say one thing one day, and take it back the next day.”
In another narration,
“Woe to you, O Ya’qub! (Imam Aboo Yusuf rahimullah) Do not write down everything you hear from me, for it happens that I hold one opinion today and reject it tomorrow, or hold one opinion tomorrow and reject it the day after tomorrow.”
c. “When I say something contradicting the Book of Allaah the Exalted or what is narrated from the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), then ignore my saying.”
Imam Maalik ibn Anas (rahimahullaah), 2nd of the 4 major Imams said:
a. “Truly I am only a mortal: I make mistakes (sometimes) and I am correct (sometimes). Therefore, look into my opinions: all that agrees with the Book and the Sunnah, accept it; and all that does not agree with the Book and the Sunnah, ignore it.”
b. “Everyone after the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) will have his sayings accepted and rejected – not so the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam).”
c. Ibn Wahb said: “I heard Maalik being asked about cleaning between the toes during ablution. He said, ‘The people do not have to do that.’ I did not approach him until the crowd had lessened, when I said to him, ‘We know of a sunnah about that.’ He said, ‘What is that ?’ I said, ‘Laith ibn Sa’d, Ibn Lahee’ah and ‘Amr ibn al-Haarith narrated to us from Yazeed ibn ‘Amr al-Ma’aafiri from Abu ‘Abdur-Rahman al-Hubuli from Mustawrid ibn Shaddaad al-Qurashi who said, ‘I saw the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) rubbing between his toes with his little finger.’ He said, ‘This hadeeth is sound; I had not heard of it at all until now.’ Afterwards, I heard him being asked about the same thing, on which he ordered cleaning between the toes.”
Imam Shaafi’i (rahimahullaah), 3rd of 4 Major Imams, whose real name was Muhammed Ibn Idris ash-Shafi, the quotations from him are most numerous and beautiful, and his followers were the best in sticking to them:
a. “The sunnahs of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) reach, as well as escape from, every one of us. So whenever I voice my opinion, or formulate a principle, where something contrary to my view exists on the authority of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), then the correct view is what the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has said, and it is my view.”
b. “The Muslims are unanimously agreed that if a sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is made clear to someone, it is not permitted (Halal) for him to leave it for the saying of anyone else.”
c. “If you find in my writings something different to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), then speak on the basis of the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), and leave what I have said.” In one narration: “… then follow it (the Sunnah), and do not look sideways at anyone else’s saying.”
d. “When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my madhhab.”
e. “You (Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimahullaah) are more knowledgeable about Hadeeth than I, so when a hadeeth is saheeh, inform me of it, whether it is from Kufah, Basrah or Syria, so that I may take the view of the hadeeth, as long as it is saheeh.”
f. “In every issue where the people of narration find a report from the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) to be saheeh which is contrary to what I have said, then I take my saying back, whether during my life or after my death.”
g. “If you see me saying something, and contrary to it is authentically-reported from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), then know that my intelligence has departed.”
h. “For everything I say, if there is something authentic from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) contrary to my saying, then the hadeeth of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) comes first, so do not follow my opinion.”
i. “Every statement on the authority of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is also my view, even if you do not hear it from me.”
Imaam Ahmad, 4th of 4 Major Imams, whose real name is Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimahullaah) was the foremost among the Imaams in collecting the Sunnah and sticking to it, so much so that he even “disliked that a book consisting of deductions and opinions be written.” Because of this he said:
a. “Do not follow my opinion; neither follow the opinion of Maalik, nor Shaafi’i, nor Awzaa’i, nor Thawri, but take from where they took.”
In one narration: “Do not copy your Deen from anyone of these, but whatever comes from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions, take it; next are their Successors, where a man has a choice.”
Once he said: “Following (ittiba) means that a man follows what comes from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions; after the Successors, he has a choice.”
b. “The opinion of Awzaa’i, the opinion of Maalik, the opinion of Abu Haneefah: all of it is opinion, and it is all equal in my eyes. However, the proof is in the narrations (from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions).”
c. “Whoever rejects a statement of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is on the brink of destruction.”
Saying & Actions of other Imams and Follower of Imams leaving their view if it contradicts the Sunnah,
(i) Haafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (rahimahullaah) says: “Therefore it is obligatory on anyone who hears of a command of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) or knows it, to explain it to the Ummah, advise them sincerely, and order them to follow his command, even if it contradicts the opinion of someone great. This is because the authority of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has the most right to be respected and followed, over and above the opinion of anyone great who has unknowingly contradicted the Messenger’s command in any matter. This is why the Companions and those after would refute anyone who contradicted the authentic Sunnah, sometimes being very stern in their refutation, not out of hatred for that person, for they loved and respected him, but because the Messenger of Allaah was more beloved to them, and his command was superior to the command of any other created being. Hence, when the order of the Messenger and that of someone else conflicted, the order of the Messenger would be more fitting to be enforced and followed. None of this would stop them respecting the person they had opposed because they knew that he would be forgiven; in fact, the latter would not mind his instruction being opposed when the command of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was clearly shown to be opposite.”
(ii) Even the two Imaams, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan and Abu Yoosuf (rahimahullaah) differed from their shaikh Abu Haneefah “in about a third of the Madhhab”.
(iii) Imaam Muhammad says in his Muwatta’, p. 158, “As for Abu Haneefah, he did not regard there being a prayer to ask for rain, but we hold that the imaam prays two rak’ahs and then supplicates and holds out his wrapping garment …” 
(iv) We have ‘Isaam ibn Yoosuf al-Balkhi, one of the companions of Imaam Muhammad and a servant of Imaam Abu Yoosuf, who “would give verdicts contrary to Imaam Abu Haneefah because he did not know the latter’s evidence, and other evidence would present itself to him, so he would give verdicts using that.”
Hence, “he would raise his hands on bowing (in prayer) and on rising from it”, as is the mutawaatir sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam); the fact that his three Imaams (i.e. Abu Haneefah, Abu Yoosuf and Muhammad) said otherwise did not prevent him from practising this sunnah.
(Al-Fawaa’id … (p. 116); the author then added a useful note:
“From this can be deduced the falsity of Makhool’s narration from Abu Haneefah: ‘that he who raises his hands during Prayer, his Prayer is ruined’, by which Ameer, the scribe of Itqaani, was deceived, as has been mentioned under his biography. ‘Isaam ibn Yoosuf, a companion of Abu Yoosuf, used to raise his hands, so if the above-mentioned narration had any foundation, Abu Yoosuf and ‘Isaam would have known about it … It can also be deduced that if a Hanafi ignored the madhhab of his Imaam in an issue due to the strength of the evidence against it, this would not take him outside the ranks of the Imaam’s followers, but this would in fact be proper taqleed in the guise of leaving taqleed; do you not see that ‘Isaam ibn Yoosuf left Abu Haneefah’s madhhab of not raising the hands, but he is stil counted as a Hanafi?… To Allaah I complain of the ignorance of our time, when they insult anyone who does not follow his Imaam in an issue because of the strength of evidence against it, and expel him from the fold of that Imaam’s followers! This is not surprising when those who do this are from the ordinary masses, but it is amazing when it comes from those who imitate men of learning but plod along that path like cattle!”
(v) Ibn al-Salaah, a Shafi’ Jurist and Muhaddith said “If a follower of the Shafi school finds a hadith that contradicts his Madhab, the if he possesses the qualifications of an absolute mujtahid or a mujtahid on that particular subject or issue, then he should research the matter and he has the right to independently follow that hadith. If he does not have those qualficiations and it is hard upon him to go against what is stated in the hadith, after he researched the matter and did not find the satisfying response to [why his madhhab did not follow that] hadith, then he may act in accor with that hadith if an Imam other than al-Shafi has acted on the basis of that hadith. In that case. He will be excused for not following the Imam of his Madhab.”
(vi) Al Yafi’ee, A shafi Jurist and historian wrote about Imam al-Nawawi, “In my opinion, whenever he (al-Nawawi) supports his view with authentic hadith, then his view takes precedence. This is certainly to be the case because Imam al-Shafi’ himself once said, “If the hadith is authentic, then it is my madhhab.”
(vii) Imaam al- Muzani and other followers of Shaafi’i and other Imaams, Imaam Muzani said himself at the beginning of his Concise Shaafi’i Fiqh (printed in the margin of Imaam Shaafi’i’s Al-Umm): “This book is a selection from the knowledge of Muhammad ibn Idrees al-Shaafi’i (rahimahullaah) and from the meanings of his sayings, to aid the understanding of whoever wants it, knowing of his forbidding the following of his, or anyone else’s, opinion, so that such a person may carefully look for his Deen in it.”
This is the approach which every Muslim is obliged to have, as seen from the testimony of the Four Imaams, and others.
Athar of the Sahabas
(i) “I was sitting with Ibn ‘Umar (radi Allaahu ‘anhu) in the mosque once, when a man from the people of Syria came to him and asked him about continuing the ‘Umrah onto the Hajj (known as Hajj Tamattu’). Ibn ‘Umar replied, ‘It is a good and beautiful thing.’ The man said, ‘But your father (i.e. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab) used to forbid it!’ So he said, ‘Woe to you! If my father used to forbid something which the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) practised and commanded, would you accept my father’s view, or the order of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) ?’ He replied, ‘The order of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam).’ He said, ‘So go away from me.'
(ii) “Sa’d ibn Ibraaheem (i.e. the son of ‘Abdur Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf) passed judgment on a man on the basis of the opinion of Rabee’ah ibn Abu ‘Abdur Rahmaan, so I informed him of the saying of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) which was contradictory to the judgment. Sa’d said to Rabee’ah, ‘We have Ibn Abi Dhi’b, whom I regard to be reliable, narrating from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) contrary to what I ruled.’ Rabee’ah said to him, ‘You have made your effort, and your judgment has been passed.’ Sa’d said, ‘Most amazing! I enforce the decree of Sa’d, and not the decree of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)! No, I shall withdraw the decree of Sa’d, son of the mother of Sa’d, and enforce the decree of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam).’ So Sa’d called for the written decree, tore it up and gave a new verdict.”
Hadith quoted by those who refuse to follow authentic Sunnah and rather prefer to follow their Imam
A) “The difference of opinion (ikhtilaaf) among my Ummah is a mercy (rahmah)”
Reply- The answer is from two angles:
i) Firstly: This hadeeth is not authentic; in fact, it is false and without foundation. ‘Allaamah Subki said, “I have not come across an authentic or weak or fabricated chain of narration for it”, i.e. no chain of narrators exists for this “hadeeth”! It has also been related with the wordings: “… the difference of opinion among my Companions is a mercy for you” and “My Companions are like the stars, so whichever of them you follow, you will be guided.” Both of these are not authentic: the former is very feeble; the latter is fabricated.
ii) Secondly: This hadeeth contradicts the Glorious Qur’aan, for the aayaat forbidding division in the Deen and enjoining unity are too well-known to need reminding. However, there is no harm in giving some of them by way of example: Allaah says,
“… and do not fall into disputes, lest you lose heart and your power depart” (Quran 8:46);
“And do not be among those join deities with Allaah, those who split up their Deen and become sects – each party rejoicing with what it has !” (Quran 30 : 31-32)
“But they will not cease to differ, except those on whom your Lord bestows His Mercy” (Quran 11:118-119)
Therefore, if those on whom your Lord has mercy do not differ, and the people of falsehood differ, how can it make sense that differing is a mercy?!
Hence, it is established that this hadeeth is not authentic, neither in the chain of narration, nor in meaning; therefore, it is clear and obvious that it cannot be used to justify resistance towards acting on the Book and the Sunnah, which is what our Imaams have commanded us anyway.
B) “Differences among my Sahabah are a mercy for you”
(Declared Mawdoo (fabricated) Hadeeth in Silsilah al-Ahadeeth ad-Daeefah wa al-Mawdoo’ah, vol. 1 pg. 78-79 by Shaykh Al albani)
C) “My Sahabah are like stars. You will be guided by whichever of them you follow”
(Declared Mawdoo (fabricated) Hadeeth in Silsilah al-Ahadeeth ad-Daeefah wa al-Mawdoo’ah, vol. 1 pg. 82-83 by Shaykh Al albani)
D) “Verily my Sahabah are like stars, you will be guided by any statement of theirs you adopt”
(Declared Batil (false) Hadeeth in Silsilah al-Ahadeeth ad-Daeefah wa al-Mawdoo’ah, vol. 1 pg. 81 by Shaykh Al albani)
Thus, all these evidences are totally unacceptable from the point of authencity.
What about differing among the Sahabas?
Ibn al-Qaasim said, “I heard Maalik and Laith saying about the differing of the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), ‘It is not as people say: “There is flexibility in it”; no, it is not like that, but it is a matter of some being mistaken and some being correct’.”
Ashhab said, “Maalik was asked about the person who accepted a hadeeth narrated by reliable people in the authority of the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam): ‘Do you see any flexibility there?’ He said, ‘No, by Allaah, so that he may be on the truth. Truth can only be one. Two contradictory views, can both be correct?! Truth and right are only one.”
Imaam Muzani, a companion of Imaam Shaafi’i said, “The Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) indeed differed, and some of them corrected others. Some scrutinised others’ views and found fault with them. If all their views had been correct, they would not have done so.
Imaam Muzani also said, “There is the one who allows differing and thinks that if two scholars make ijtihaad on a problem and one says, ‘Halaal’, while the other says, ‘Haraam’, then both have arrived at the truth with their ijtihad! It can be said to such a person, ‘Is this view of yours based on the sources or on qiyaas (analogy) ?’ If he says, ‘On the sources’, it can be said, ‘How can it be based on the sources, when the Qur’aan negates differing ?’ And if he says, ‘On analogy’, it can be said, ‘How can the sources negate differing, and it be allowed for you to reason by analogy that differing is allowed?! This is unacceptable to anyone intelligent, let alone to a man of learning.”
‘Umar ibn al-Khattab became angry at the dispute between Ubayy ibn Ka’b and Ibn Mas’ood about prayer in a single garment. Ubayy said, ‘Prayer in one garment is good and fine; Ibn Mas’ood said, ‘That is only if one does not have many clothes.’ So ‘Umar came out in anger, saying, ‘Two men from among the companions of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), who are looked up to and learnt from, disputing? Ubayy has spoken the truth and not cared about Ibn Mas’ood. But if I hear anyone disputing about it after this I will do such-and-such to him’.
To prove two opposites simultaneously is the most hideous absurity.” [Jaami’ Bayaan al-‘Ilm (2/88)]
Shaykh Albani says,
”As for the differing among the Companions, that was unavoidable, natural difference of understanding: they did not differ by choice. Other factors of their time contributed to this, necessitating difference of opinion, but these vanished after their era”
Therefore, the differing of the Companions was not like that of the muqallideen. The Companions only differed when it was inevitable, but they used to hate disputes, and would avoid them whenever possible; as for the muqallideen, even though it is possible in a great many cases to avoid differing, they do not agree nor strive towards unity; in fact, they uphold differing. Hence there is an enormous gulf between these two types of people in their difference of opinion.”
“Hence, it is proved that all differing is bad, not a mercy! However, one type of differing is reprehensible, such as that of staunch followers of the Madhhabs, while another type is not blameworthy, such as the differing of the Companions and the Imaams who succeeded them – May Allaah raise us in their company, and give us the capability to tread their path.
FAULTING THE IMAMS?
There exists another common misconception among muqallideen which bars them from practising the Sunnah which it is apparent to them that their Madhhab is different to it in that issue: they think that practising that sunnah entails faulting the founder of the Madhhab. To them, finding fault means insulting the Imaam; if it is not allowed to insult any individual Muslim, how can they insult one of their Imaams?
Answer: This reasoning is totally fallacious, and borne of not understanding the Sunnah; otherwise, how can an intelligent Muslim argue in such a way?!
The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) himself said, When the one making a judgment strives his outmost and arrives at the correct result, he has two rewards; but if he judges, striving his utmost and passes the wrong judgment, he has one reward. This hadeeth refutes the above argument and explains lucidly and without any obscurity that if someone says, “So-and-so was wrong”, its meaning under the Sharee’ah is “So-and-so has one reward.” So if he is rewarded in the eyes of the one finding fault, how can you accuse the latter of insulting him?! There is doubt that this type of accusation is baseless and anyone who makes it must retract it: otherwise it is he who is insulting Muslims, not just ordinary individuals among them, but their great Imaams among the Companions, Successors the subsequent Mujtahid Imaams and others. This is because we know for sure that these illustrious personalities used to fault and refute each other; is it reasonable to say, “They used to insult each other”? No! In fact, it is authentically-reported that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) himself faulted Abu Bakr (radi Allaahu ‘anhu) in his interpretation of a man’s dream, saying to him, “You were right in some of it and wrong in some of it”- so did he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) insult Abu Bakr by these words?!
One of the astonishing effects this misconception has on its holders is that it prevents them from following the Sunnah when it is different to their Madhhab, since to them practising it means insulting the Imaam, whereas following him, even when contrary to the Sunnah, means respecting and loving him! Hence they insist on following his opinion to escape from this supposed disrespect.
It should be said to them, “If to follow someone means that you are respecting him, and to oppose him means that you are insulting him, then how do you allow yourselves to oppose the example of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and not follow it, preferring to follow the Imaam of the Madhhab in a path different to the Sunnah, when the Imaam is not infallible and insulting him is not Kufr?! If you interpret opposing the Imaam as insulting him, then opposing the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is more obviously insulting him; in fact, it is open Kufr, from which we seek refuge with Allaah!” If this is said to them, they cannot answer to it, by Allaah, except one retort which we hear time and time again from some of them: “We have left this sunnah trusting in the Imaam of the Madhhab, and he was more learned about the Sunnah than us.”
This is why I (shaykh albani) shall briefly limit myself to one approach, a decisive reply by the permission of Allaah. I say:
“The Imaam of your Madhhab is not the only one who was more learned about the Sunnah than you: in fact, there are dozens, nay hundreds, of Imaams who too were more knowledgeable about the Sunnah than you. Therefore, if an authentic sunnah happens to differ from your Madhhab, and it was taken by one of these other Imaams, it is definitely essential that you accept this sunnah in this circumstance. This is because your above- mentioned argument is of no use here, for the one opposing you will reply, ‘We have accepted this Sunnah trusting in our Imaam, who accepted it’ – in this instance, to follow the latter Imaam is preferable to following the Imaam who has differed from the Sunnah.”
Further quotes from other scholars,
Ibn ‘Aabideen quoted from Sharh al-Hidaayah by Ibn al-Shahnah al-Kabeer, the teacher of Ibn al-Humaam, as follows: “When a hadeeth contrary to the Madhhab is found to be saheeh, one should act on the hadeeth, and make that his madhhab. Acting on the hadeeth will not invalidate the follower’s being a Hanafi, for it is authentically reported that Abu Haneefah said, ‘When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my madhhab’, and this has been related by Imaam Ibn ‘Abdul Barr from Abu Haneefah and from other imaams.” This is part of the completeness of the knowledge and piety of the Imaams, for they indicated by saying this that they were not versed in the whole of the Sunnah, and Imaam Shaafi’i has elucidated this thoroughly (see later). It would happen that they would contradict a sunnah because they were unaware of it, so they commanded us to stick to the Sunnah and regard it as part of their Madhhab. May Allaah shower His mercy on them all.
Sha’raani’s words in Al-Meezaan (1/62) are summarised as: “Our belief, as well as that of every researcher into Imaam Abu Haneefah (radi Allaahu ‘anhu), is that, had he lived until the recording of the Sharee’ah, and the journeys of the Preservers of Hadeeth to the various cities and frontiers in order to collect and acquire it, he would have accepted it and ignored all the analogies he had employed. The amount of qiyaas in his Madhhab would have been just as little as that in other Madhhabs, but since the evidences of the Sharee’ah had been scattered with the Successors and their successors, and had not been collected in his lifetime, it was necessary that there be a lot of qiyaas in his Madhhab compared to that of other imaams. The later scholars then made their journeys to find and collect ahaadeeth from the various cities and towns and wrote them down; hence, some ahaadeeth of the Sharee’ah explained others. This is the reason behind the large amount of qiyaas in his Madhhab, whereas there was little of it in other Madhhabs.” Abul-Hasanaat Al-Lucknowi quoted his words in full in An- Naafi’ al-Kabeer (p. 135), endorsing and expanding on it in his footnotes, so whoever wishes to consult it should do so there. Since this is the justification for why Abu Haneefah has sometimes unintentionally contradicted the authentic ahaadeeth – and it is a perfectly acceptable reason, for Allaah does not burden a soul with more than it can bear – it is not permissible to insult him for it, as some ignorant people have done. In fact, it is obligatory to respect him, for he is one of the imaams of the Muslims through whom this Deen has been preserved and handed down to us, in all its branches; also, for he is rewarded under any circumstance: whether he is correct or wrong. Nor is it permissible for his devotees to continue sticking to those of his statements which contradict the authentic ahaadeeth, for those statements are effectively not part of his Madhhab, as the above sayings show. Hence, these are two extremes, and the truth lies in between. “Our Lord! Forgive us, and our brethren who came before us into the Faith; and leave not, in our hearts, any rancour against those who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed Full of Kindness, Most Merciful.” (Al-Hashr 59:10)
Sha’raani also said in Al-Meezaan (1/26): “If it is said: ‘What should I do with the ahaadeeth which my Imaam did not use, and which were found to be authentic after his death?’ The answer which is fitting for you is: ‘That you act on them, for had your Imaam come across them and found them to be authentic, he would have instructed you to act on them, because all the Imaams were captives in the hand of the Sharee’ah.’ He who does so will have gathered all the good with both his hands, but he who says, ‘I will not act according to a hadeeth unless my Imaam did so’, he will miss a great amount of benefit, as is the case with many followers of the Imaams of the Madhhabs. It would be better for them to act on every hadeeth found to be authentic after the Imaam’s time, hence implementing the will of the Imaams; for it is our firm belief about the Imaams that had they lived longer and come to know of those ahaadeeth which were found authentic after their time, they would have definitely accepted and acted according to them, ignoring any analogies they may have previously made, and any views they may have previously held.”
Imaam Nawawi says concerning saying of Imaam Shaaf “When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my madhhab”i: “Our companions acted according to this in the matter of tathweeb (calling to prayer in addition to the adhaan), the conditions on coming out of ihraam due to illness, and other issues well-known in the books of the Madhhab. Among those of our companions who are reported to have passed judgment on the basis of the hadeeth (i.e. rather than the saying of Shaafi’i) are Abu Ya’qoob al-Buweeti and Abu l-Qaasim ad-Daariki. Of our companions from the muhadditheen, Imaam Abu Bakr Al-Baihaqi and others employed this approach. Many of our earliest companions, if they faced an issue for which there was a hadeeth, and the madhhab of Shaafi’i was contrary to it, would act according to the hadeeth and give verdicts based on it, saying, ‘The madhhab of Shaafi’i is whatever agrees with the hadeeth.’
Shaikh Abu ‘Amr (Ibn as-Salaah) says, ‘Whoever among the Shaafi’is found a hadeeth contradicting his Madhhab, he would consider whether he fulfilled the conditions of ijtihaad generally, or in that particular topic or issue, in which case he would be free to act on the hadeeth; if not, but nevertheless he found it hard to contradict the hadeeth after further analysis, he would not be able to find a convincing justification for opposing the hadeeth. Hence, it would be left for him to act according to the hadeeth if an independent imaam other than Shaafi’i had acted on it, and this would be justification for his leaving the Madhhab of his Imaam in that issue.’ What he (Abu ‘Amr) has said is correct and established. Allaah knows best.”
There is another possibility which Ibn as-Salaah forgot to mention: what would one do if he did not find anyone else who acted according to the hadeeth? This has been answered by Taqi ad-Deen as-Subki in his article, The Meaning of Shaafi’i’s saying, “When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my madhhab” (p. 102, vol. 3): “For me, the best thing is to follow the hadeeth. A person should imagine himself in front of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), just having heard it from him: would there be leeway for him to delay acting on it? No, by Allaah … and everyone bears a responsibility according to his understanding.”
The rest of this discussion is given and analysed in I’laam al- Muwaqqi’een (2/302, 370) and in the book of al-Fulaane, (full title:) Eeqaaz Himam ulu l-Absaar, lil-Iqtidaa’ bi Sayyid al- Muhaajireen wal-Ansaar, wa Tahdheeruhum ‘an al-Ibtidaa’ ash- Shaa’i’ fi l-Quraa wal-Amsaar, min Taqleed al-Madhaahib ma’a l- Hamiyyah wal-‘Asabiyyah bain al-Fuqahaa’ al-A’saar (Awakening the Minds of those who have Perception, towards following the Leader of the Emigrants and Helpers, and Warning them against the Innovation Widespread among Contemporary Jurists in the Towns and Cities, of following Madhhabs with Zeal and Party- Spirit). The latter is a unique book in its field, which every desirer of truth should study with understanding and reflection.
This is clear and not confusing to anyone, Allaah Willing.
 Bukhaari & Ahmad
 Maalik, Abu Daawood, Nasaa’i, & Ibn Hibbaan. A saheeh hadeeth, declared saheeh by several Imaams. I have given its takhreej in Saheeh Abi Daawood (451, 1276).
 Saheeh – collected by Ibn al-Mubaarak in az-Zuhd (10/21/1- 2), Abu Daawood & Nasaa’i with a good sanad; I have given its takhreej in Saheeh Abi Daawood (761).
 Ibn ‘Aabideen in al-Haashiyah (1/63), and in his essay Rasm al-Mufti (1/4 from the Compilation of the Essays of Ibn ‘Aabideen), Shaikh Saalih al-Fulaani in Eeqaaz al-Himam (p. 62) & others.
 Ibn ‘Abdul Barr in Al-Intiqaa’ fi Fadaa’il ath-Thalaathah al- A’immah al-Fuqahaa’ (p. 145), Ibn al-Qayyim in I’laam al- Mooqi’een (2/309), Ibn ‘Aabideen in his Footnotes on Al-Bahr ar-Raa’iq (6/293) and in Rasm al-Mufti (pp. 29,32) & Sha’raani in Al-Meezaan (1/55) with the second narration. The last narration was collected by ‘Abbaas ad-Dawri in At- Taareekh by Ibn Ma’een (6/77/1) with a saheeh sanad on the authority of Zafar, the student of Imaam Abu Haneefah. Similar narrations exist on the authority of Abu Haneefah’s companions Zafar, Abu Yoosuf and ‘Aafiyah ibn Yazeed; cf. Eeqaaz (p. 52). Ibn al-Qayyim firmly certified its authenticity on the authority of Abu Yoosuf in I’laam al-Mooqi’een (2/344). The addition to the second narration is referenced by the editor of Eeqaaz (p. 65) to Ibn ‘Abdul Barr, Ibn al-Qayyim and others. If this is what they say of someone who does not know their evidence, what would be their response to one who knows that the evidence contradicts their saying, but still gives verdicts opposed to the evidence?! Therefore, reflect on this saying, for it alone is enough to smash blind following of opinion; that is why one of the muqallid shaikhs, when I criticised his giving a verdict using Abu Haneefah’s words without knowing the evidence, refused to believe that it was a saying of Abu Haneefah!
 This was because the Imaam would often base his view on Qiyaas (Analogy), after which a more potent analogy would occur to him, or a hadeeth of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would reach him, so he would accept that and ignore his previous view.
 Al-Fulaani in Eeqaaz al-Himam (p. 50), tracing it to Imaam Muhammad and then saying, “This does not apply to the mujtahid, for he is not bound to their views anyway, but it applies to the muqallid.”
 Ibn ‘Abdul Barr in Jaami’ Bayaan al-‘Ilm (2/32), Ibn Hazm, quoting from the former in Usool al-Ahkaam (6/149), & similarly Al-Fulaani (p. 72)
 This is well known among the later scholars to be a saying of Maalik. Ibn ‘Abdul Haadi declared it saheeh in Irshaad as- Saalik (227/1); Ibn ‘Abdul Barr in Jaami’ Bayaan al-‘Ilm (2/91) & Ibn Hazm in Usool al-Ahkaam (6/145, 179) had narrated it as a saying of Al-Hakam ibn ‘Utaibah and Mujaahid; Taqi ad- Deen as-Subki gave it, delighted with its beauty, in al- Fataawaa (1/148) as a saying of Ibn ‘Abbaas, and then said: “These words were originally those of Ibn ‘Abbaas and Mujaahid, from whom Maalik (radi Allaahu ‘anhu) took them, and he became famous for them.” It seems that Imaam Ahmad then took this saying from them, as Abu Daawood has said in Masaa’il of Imaam Ahmad (p. 276): “I heard Ahmad say, ‘Everyone is accepted and rejected in his opinions, with the exception of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)’.”
 From the Introduction to Al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel of Ibn Abi Haatim, pp. 31-2.
 Related by Haakim with a continuous sanad up to Shaafi’i, as in Taareekh Dimashq of Ibn ‘Asaakir (15/1/3), I’laam al- Mooqi’een (2/363, 364) & Eeqaaz (p. 100).
 Ibn al-Qayyim (2/361) & Fulaani (p. 68)
 Harawi in Dhamm al-Kalaam (3/47/1), Khateeb in Al-Ihtijaaj bi ash-Shaafi’i (8/2), Ibn ‘Asaakir (15/9/10), Nawawi in Al- Majmoo’ (1/63), Ibn al-Qayyim (2/361) & Fulaani (p. 100); the second narration is from Hilyah al-Awliyaa’ of Abu Nu’aim.
 Nawawi in Al-Majmoo’ (1/63), Sha’raani (1/57), giving its sources as Haakim and Baihaqi, & Fulaani (p. 107). Sha’raani said, “Ibn Hazm said, ‘That is, … found to be saheeh by him or by any other Imaam’.” His saying given next confirms this understanding.
 Related by Ibn Abi Haatim in Aadaab ash-Shaafi’i (pp. 94-5), Abu Nu’aim in Hulyah al-Awliyaa’ (9/106), al-Khateeb in Al- Ihtijaaj bish-Shaafi’i (8/1), and from him Ibn ‘Asaakir (15/9/1), Ibn ‘Abdul Barr in al-Intiqaa’ (p. 75), Ibn al-Jawzi in Manaaqib al-Imaam Ahmad (p. 499) & Harawi (2/47/2) with three routes from ‘Abdullaah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal from his father that Shaafi’i said to him: …etc; thus, it is authentic on the authority of Shaafi’i. This is why Ibn al- Qayyim attributed it definitely to him in I’laam (2/325), as did Fulaani in Eeqaaz (p. 152) and then said: “Baihaqi said, ‘This is why he – i.e. Shaafi’i – used hadeeth so much, because he gathered knowledge from the people of Hijaaz, Syria, Yemen and ‘Iraq, and so accepted all that he found to be authentic, without leaning towards or looking at what he had considered out of the Madhhab of the people of his land when the truth was clear to him elsewhere.
Some of those before him would limit themselves to what they found in the Madhhab of the people of their land, without attempting to ascertain the authenticity of what opposed it. May Allaah forgive all of us’.”
 Abu Nu’aim (9/107), Harawi (47/1), Ibn al-Qayyim in I’laam al-Muwaqqi’een (2/363) & Fulaani (p. 104).
 Ibn Abi Haatim in al-Aadaab (p. 93), Abul Qaasim Samarqandi in al-Amaali, as in the selection from it by Abu Hafs al- Mu’addab (234/1), Abu Nu’aim (9/106) & Ibn ‘Asaakir (15/10/1) with a saheeh sanad.
 Ibn Abi Haatim, Abu Nu’aim & Ibn ‘Asaakir (15/9/2).
 Ibn Abi Haatim (pp. 93-4).
 Ibn al-Jawzi in al-Manaaqib (p. 192)
 Fulaani (p. 113) & Ibn al-Qayyim in I’laam (2/302).
 Abu Daawood in Masaa’il of Imaam Ahmad (pp. 276-7)
 Ibn ‘Abdul Barr in Jaami’ Bayaan al-‘Ilm (2/149).
 Ibn al-Jawzi (p. 182).
 Ibn ‘Aabideen in Haashiyah (1/62), & Lucknowi gave its source in an-Naafi’ al-Kabeer (p. 93) as Ghazaali
 In the same book, In which he has explained his opposing his Imaam in about twenty masaa’il (nos. 42, 44, 103, 120, 158, 169, 172, 173, 228, 230, 240, 244, 274, 275, 284, 314, 331, 338, 355, 356 – from Ta’leeq al-Mumajjid ‘alaa Muwatta’ Muhammad (Important Notes on Muhammad’s Muwatta’
 Ibn ‘Aabideen mentioned him among them in Haashiyah (1/74) & in Rasm al-Mufti (1/17). Qurashi mentioned him in Al- Jawaahir al-Madiyyah fi Tabaqaat al-Hanafiyyah (p. 347) and said, “He was a reliable transmitter of Hadeeth. He and his brother Ibraaheem were the two shaikhs of Balakh of their time.”
 Al-Fawaa’id al-Bahiyyah fi Taraajum al-Hanafiyyah (p. 116)
 Al-Bahr ar-Raa’iq (6/93) & Rasm al-Mufti (1/28
 Al-Fawaa’id … (p. 116
 taken from Commentary on forty Hadeeth An-Nawawi
 taken from Commentary on forty Hadeeth An-Nawawi
 – Imam at-Tahaawi in Sharh Ma’aani al-Aathaar (1/372) & Abu Ya’laa in his Musnad (3/1317) have related, with an isnaad of trustworthy men, from Saalim ibn ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar. – Ahmad (no. 5700) related similarly, as did Tirmidhi (2/82) and declared it saheeh.
 Ibn ‘Asaakir (7/51/1) related from Ibn Abi Dhi’b
 Bukhaari & Muslim.
 Bukhaari & Muslim.