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Quran and Islamic Jurisprudence - Part 30
Usul al-Fiqh is the brainchild of Imam Shafi’i
By Dr. Maher Hathout

Malik 93 A.H. – 174 A.H.

• Malik was born in Yemen and lived in Medina.

• He never travelled anywhere except to Makkah for performing Haj. He was a Medinan man. On the contrary,Imam Abu Hanifa traveled a lot and Imam Malik was home based.

• There were many hadiths compared to Abu Hanifa during Malik’s time and in his place.

• He collected hadiths

• He wrote a book called al-Muwatta which was a collection of hadith that was edited and made easy.

• He was a student of Rabiah of the opinion school of thought, the school that considers that rationality and thinking play a role.

• He was also a student of Al-Leith ibn Saad, a man who really believed in rationality.

• He befriended Al-Leith ibn Saad, an Egyptian, a very rich man, but Malik himself was a poor man.

• The Egyptian supported Malik financially even though Al-Leith ibn Saad’s opinions were contradictory to Malik’s opinion. Later on ibn Saad put Malik on a pay role.

• He hated arguments, philosophy.

• He did not want to do debates.

• He said that he did not want to talk about anything that does not have any practical implication. He did not believe in hypothesis.

• He preferred people’s doing over Hadith al-Ahad (singular hadith; isolated).

• He did not believe in the fasting for six days after the Ramadan because Medinan people did not observe that.

• His life in Medina affected him to a greater extent.

• He believed that the consensus of the sahaba (companions) is binding to the ummah of Islam.

• He did not approve the idea of qiyas (analogy). According to him, analogy is giving one’s own opinion and Islam does not have place for that. He said that he cannot do analogy unless it is mentioned in the Quran or sunnah or the people of Median did that.

• During his time, old people left Medina and new people came; he developed the doctrine of common good. He said on the matters that are not clear in the Quran or in the hadith and not in Medinan people, he considered what is good for the people. The doctrine of common good expanded and this shows how the circumstances affected him.

• Abu Hanifa was a man of hypothesis, whereas Malik wanted to see things and was not hypothetical.

• Imam Malik had aversion to fatwas and he always said, “I think” or “it occurs to me” rather than saying this is haram or halal.

• He said that obeying the ruler, even if the ruler is unjust is better in order to avoid chaos. He was of the opinion that a year of tyranny is better than a day of fitna (trial).

• He completely avoided politics.

Shafi’i (Mohammad ibn Idris) 150 A.H. – 204 A.H.

• Imam Shafi’i was born in Gaza, Palestine.

• He started his scholarship as Ahl al-Hadith that everything should be supported by hadith and resented the ideas of opinion.

• His active life was in Baghdad, Iraq.

• During Hajj, he met Al-Leith ibn Saad, an Egyptian and befriended him. Al-Leith ibn Saad supported Shafi’i financially and spiritually.

• Shafi’i went to Egypt after the death of Al-Leith ibn Saad. He was astonished as well as shocked to find that ibn Saad’s writings were burnt. He was involved in collecting those from ibn Saad’s students.

• Living in Egypt changed Shafi’i radically. He was no longer Ahl al-Hadith person and started looking at things in a different way.

• Imam Malik’s views did not cope up with the issues and Shafi’i expanded the scope of Malik’s thought.

• He changed his teaching from Iraq to Egypt. And his illuminating teaching was that he considered what he taught in Iraq is good for Iraq and what he is teaching in Egypt is good for Egypt i.e. what is suitable for the situation and issues in Iraq, may not be suitable for the situation in Egypt.

• He spent his last seven years in Egypt.

• In Iraq, he developed himself in linguistic and grammar in Arabic. He was a poet. It should be noted that at that time, people felt poets are not worthy to be good scholars. Shafi’i disproved that.

• Even though he changed his ideas, it came out with opinions. Imam Shafi’i was conservative.

• When he was in Egypt he was 50 years old and he developed Halaqas (settings for education) in Ibn ‘Amr Ibn Al-’Aas mosque. He developed Usul al-Fiqh stating the commonality in rules should guide the process of codification. Usul al-Fiqh is the brainchild of Imam Shafi’i.

• He wrote a book called Al-Umm (The Mother).

• Imam Shafi’i was a threat to fanatics.

(The writer is Sr. Advisor, Muslim Public Affairs Council)

The Prayer of Penitence (Salatul Taubah)
Abu Bakr reports

“I heard the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam saying: ‘Allah forgives the man who commits a sin (then feels ashamed), purifies himself, offers a prayer(According to a report recorded by Ibn Hibban, Al-Baihaqi, and Ibn Khuzaiman, a two rak’at prayer) and seeks His forgiveness.’ Then he recited the ‘ayyah: ‘And those who, when they do an evil thing or wrong themselves, remember Allah and implore forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? – and will not knowingly repeat (the wrong) they did. The reward of such will be forgiveness from their Lord, and gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever – a bountiful reward for workers’” [al-‘Imran: 135-136]. This is related by Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’I, Ibn Majah, al-Baihaqi, and at-Tirmidhi who calls it hasan.

At-Tabarani records in al-Mu’jam al-Kabir, with a hasan chain, from Abu ad-Darda’ that the Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “Whoever makes wudu’ and perfects the wudu’ and them stands and prays two rak’at or four rak’at, obligatory or non-obligatory, and perfects therein his ruku’ and sujjud and then asks for Allah’s forgiveness, he will be forgiven.”

The Prayer for Need (Salatul Hajah)

Ahmad has on sound authority reported from Abu Darda that the Prophet Sallallahu Alehi wasallam said: “He who makes wudu, and does it properly, then prays two rak’at, Allah will grant him whatever he may pray for, sooner or later.”

Best Time for Tahajjud

It is best to delay this prayer to the last third portion of the night. Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger of Allah said: “Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring: ‘Who will call on Me so that I may respond to him? Who is asking something of Me so I may give it to him? Who is asking for My forgiveness so I may forgive him?’” This is related by the group.

‘Amr ibn Abasah reports that he heard the Prophet (Pbuh) say: “The closest that a slave comes to his Lord is during the middle of the latter portion of the night. If you can be among those who remember Allah, the Exalted One, at that time then do so.” This is related by al-Hakim who grades it sahih according to Muslim’s standards, and at-Tirmidhi calls it hasan sahih. An-Nasa’I and Ibn Khuzaimah also recorded it.

Abu Muslim asked Abu Dharr: “Which late-night prayer is the best?” He said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah the same that you asked me and he said, ‘The (one done during) middle of the latter half of the night, and very few of it.’” This is related by Ahmad with a good chain.

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr reports that the Prophet said: “The most beloved fast to Allah is the fast of David. And the most beloved prayer to Allah is the prayer of David. He would sleep half of the night and then pray during the next third of the night and then sleep during the last sixth of the night. And he would fast one day and not fast the next.” This is related by the group except at-Tirmidhi.

(Fiqh us – Sunnah)