Sifatus Salaah


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Sifatus Salaah
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The Method of Salaah in the Light of Authentic Ahadith by Shaikh Muhammad Ilyas Faisal Madina of al-Munawwara. Translated By Maulana Abdul Qadir Vawda (Madrasah Taleemuddeen)


Very often the following question is posed to many people: "Do you follow the Deen of Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.) or the Deen of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)?" "Obviously the Deen of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)," comes the instant reply. The second question is then posed: "Why then do you call yourself a Hanafi?" The person not well versed is perplexed by this question. Doubts are then created in his mind. He soon starts gradually drifting towards the abandoning of taqleed i.e. following one of the four illustrious Imaams viz. Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.), Imaam Shafi'i (R.A.), Imaam Malik (R.A.) and Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal (R.A.).

By means of the type of questions that have been mentioned above, a deliberate attempt is made to create a misconception in the minds of the unwary — that if you are a Hanafi, you are following the Deen of Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.), NOT the Deen of Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). This is an absolute fallacy. Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.), Imaam Shafi'i (R.A.) and the other Imaams did not invent any Deen of their own. They strictly followed the one and only Deen — the Deen of Islam brought by Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). Their followers are hence also following the same Deen — the Deen of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam).


Why Follow an Imam?

The question that arises here is that why then should one follow any of the four Imaams? This can be answered by posing a counter-question: "Do you know all the various laws of Deen? Are you capable of extracting and deriving the laws pertaining to wudhu, salaah, zakaah, etc. directly from the Qur'an and Hadith? Do you know which Hadith has abrogated another? Do you have the ability to reconcile between the various Ahadith which apparently contradict each other? Do you know which verses of the Qur'an are general in their application and which verses are qualified by other texts? etc., etc." If one does not have the knowledge of these aspects, then one definitely does not have the ability to derive the laws directly from the Qur'an and Hadith. In that case the following aayah"Ask those of knowledge if you do not know." (43:7) Hence when we do not have the enormous amount of knowledge and expertise that is necessary to derive the laws directly from the Qur'an and Hadith, we have opted to follow one of those great people who had attained that distinguished mastery in this field, among whom is Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.). Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.) is a Taabi'i (one who has seen a Sahabi). He attained the knowledge of Hadith from approximately 4000 ustaads. His piety was such that for 40 years he performed fajr salaah with the wudhu of Isha salaah (i.e. he did not sleep the entire night) [Tareekhul Baghdad]. His knowledge, brilliance and righteousness was such that all the great scholars of his time attested to his mastery. Thus one can be well assured that such a person is absolutely capable of deriving the laws directly from the Qur'an and Hadith. applies directly to oneself:

Another reason for adopting one of the Imaams as a guide is the following aayah of the Qur'an: Allah Ta'ala says: "And follow the path of those who turn to me" (31:15). In order to "turn" to Allah Ta'ala, two aspects are basic requisites — knowledge and practicing according to that knowledge. In this regard the four Imaams were in an extremely high category. Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.) was regarded by various Ulama of his time as being the most knowledgeable of the people of that era (footnotes of Tahzeebut Tahzeeb Vol. 1, pg. 451). Makki bin Ibrahim, who was one of the renown ustaads of Imaam Bukhari (R.A.), was a student of Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.). Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.) compiled a book of Hadith entitled "Kitaabul Aathaar" from among 40,000 Ahadith. Thus those who follow such a guide can be satisfied that they are strictly following the commands of Allah Ta'ala and His Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam).


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