Ahlul Hadith and Ahlur-Ray
Bis Millahi Ir-Rahman Ni-Rahim
Some Ghali Muta’asib Ahnad of Indo-Pak claim that the Ahlul Hadith of their country are a new sect, having no precedent, are created by British, and many other lies.
Now either these people are extremely ignorant or great liars who want to deceive laymen. The term Ahlul Hadith is not only used for scholars of Hadith and Imams of Jarh and Ta’dil, and about a school of creed, but also for a group of scholars who had different rules from the Ahlur-Ray Ahnaf on the role of Khabar Ahad compared to the Holy Quran, Qias, and others.
Now the term Ahlul Hadith has been used many times by Imam Tirmidhi in his Sunnan. It has used a lot about narrators and knowledge of Jarh and Ta’dil. Like on the tenth Hadith, Imam Tirmidhi said: “Ibn La’ihah is weak according to Ahlul Hadith. Yahya ibn Qattan and others weakened him because of his memory.” And this expression is used in great quatity: This narrator is Thiqah for Ahlul Hadith, this one is weak, this Hadith is weak for Ahlul Hadith.
Secondly, Imam Tirmidhi also used the term “Ahlul Hadith” to show the creed of the Salaf. Imam Tirmidhi narrated in the chapter: “What is narrated about the Khulud (staying forever) of people of Paradise and Hell” a Hadith mentioning the vision of Allah and Allah putting His foot in the hell, and them Imam Tirmidhi wrote: “This Hadith is Hassan Sahih, and it has been reported from the Prophet (saw) a lot of narrations similar to this mentioning the topic of the vision of Allah, that people will see Allah, and the mention of the foot and matters similar, and the Madhab of people of knowledge from Imams like Sufyan Ath-Thawri, Malik ibn Anas, ibn Al-Mubarak, ibn ‘Uyaynah, Waki’ and others is that they mention these matters and they say: “These Ahadith are narrated, and we believe in them and it is not said “How?” and this is what is chosen by Ahlul Hadith, that these matters should be narrated as they came, and there should be believe in them, and there should not be any Tafsir (other than literal meaning) and there should not be cast any doubt, and it should not be asked: “How?”
So here Ahlul Hadith means the creed of the Salaf. Likewise Imam Sabuni entitled one of his work on creed: “’Aqidatu Salaf wa Ashabil Hadith”
And Imam Tirmidhi also used the term Ahlul Hadith for a group of people that hve opinions in Fiqh. In the chapter: “What is narrated about Tamattu’”, Imam Tirmidhi writes: “
وأهل الحديث يختارون التمتع بالعمرة في الحج وهو قول الشافعي وأحمد وإسحاق
And Ahlul Hadith preferred the Tamatu’ of ‘Umrh in Hajj and this is the saying of Ash-Shafi’i, Ahmad and Ishaq.
And in many chapters, when mentioning the opinions of scholars, Imam Tirmidhi mentioned the term “Our companions” and he also mentioned a group by “Ahlul Kufah”.
Like the chapter of the person who forgets the prayer. He mentioned the view of Ash-Shafi’i, Ahmad and Ishaq that they chose the opinion of ‘Ali that the man forgetting the prayer should pray it whenever he reminds, and Imam Tirmidhi mentioned that the people of Kufah chose the saying of Abu Bakrah that he who slept and woke up at time of ghurub Shams did not pray but after the Ghurub of he sun, then Imam Tirmidh wrote: “As for our companions, they preferred the saying of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib”
Imam Tirmidhi mentioned the Hadith of the Prophet (saw) that the one who reached one rak’ah of Fajr before Tulu’ of the Sun, then he has caught the Fajr prayer and the one who reached one rak’ah of ‘Asr before Ghurub of the sun has reached the prayer of ‘Asr. He then wrote: “This Hadith is Hassan Sahih, and by this say our companions, and Ash-Shafi’i, and Ahmad and Ishaq”
About the two Saktah (silences) in the prayer, Imam Tirmidhi wrote: “And this is the saying or more than one person of knowledge, they consider recommended for the Imam to make Saktah after the beginning of the prayer and after finishing the Qira’ah, this is the view of Ahmad, and Ishaq and our companions”
In the chapter about the man who married ten women then became Muslim, Imam Tirmidhi wrote: “And the action is upon the Hadith of Ghaylan for our companions, among them Ash-Shafi’i, Ahmad and Ishaq”
After mentioning a Hadith about the invocation at the beginning of the prayer, Imam Tirmidhi wrote: “And the action is upon this (hadith) for Ash-Shafi’i and our companions” then Imam Timridhi mentioned a different view of Ahmad.
So one can clearly see that in these quotes about preferences of Fiqh, Imam Tirmidhi mentions the views of his companions, and Ash-Shafi’i, Ahmad and Ishaq are included in his companions, and that people of Kufah are mentioned separately. And in chapter of Tammatu’, At-Tirmidhi clearly mention the preference of Ahlul Hadith as a school of though.
So it shows the weakness of the claim of people that Ahlul Hadith only refers to Imams of Jarh and Ta’dil and knowledge of Hadith or to a school of creed.
Rather Ahlul Hadith is a school of Fiqh with had different rules from Ahlur-Ray.
Then Shah Waliullah mentionned in his book "Insaf fi Bayan Sabab Al-Ikhtilaf" a chapter entitled "The reasons for difference between Ashabul Hadith and Ashabul Ray"
And there is a similar chapter in his book "Hujjatullah Al-Balighah"
As for Insaf, it has been translated in english by Taha in London.
It is written p 77: "The position of the Madhab of (Imam) Ahmad in relation to the madhab of (Imam) Shafi'i is like the madhab of (Imam) Abu Yusuf and (Imam) Muhammad (to the madhab of Abu Hanifa). Despite that his madhab was not recorded with the madhab of Shafi'i during the (time of) recording like the madhab of those two was recorded together with the madhb of Abu Hanifa. "
So according to Shah Waliullah the Madhab of Ahmad is close to that of Shafi'i and they could have been recorded together and nowadays there could have been a madhab called Shafi'i including Hambalis. So it shows that the division of Ahlul Hadith between Shafi'i and Hambalis is artificial, and there difference in Usul and Furu are like Abu Yusuf and Muhammad's differences with Abu Hanifa.
Then Shah Waliullah says further on the same page: "As for the madhab of Shafi'i, of all madhahib it has had more frequently mujtahid mutlaq and mujtahid fil Madhab. Among all the madhahib it is the most principled, scholastic and abounding in interpretation of the Quran and explanation of Ahadith. It is the most sound in chains of authorities and narration...As for Bukhari, although he was affiliated to Shafi'i and agreed with him in most of (the principles of) fiqh, he disagreed with him in many things. (But) what he did on his own is not considered as part of Shafi'i madhab. As for Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi, both of them were mujtahids affiliated to Ahmad (ibn Hambal) and Ishaq, and similarly we think of Ibn Majah and Al-Darimi, and Allah knows best.
It should also be known to him (the one involved in fiqh) that the subject matter of Shafi'i's madhab consists of Ahadith and athar (and which) are recorded, well-known and used (as original sources). This kind (of distinction) is not found in any other madhab. Among the constituents of his madhab his Kitab Al-Muwatta (of Imam Malik). Although it was earlier than Shafi'i, he based his madhab on it. (Likewise are) Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, and the books of Abu dawud, Al-Tirmidhi, ibn Majah and al-Darimi, then the musnad of Shafi'i, Sunan Nasa'im Sunan Daraqutni, Sunan of Baihaqi and Sharh al-Sunnah of Baghawi.
As for Muslim and Abul 'Abbas Al'Asamm (d 246/860Ad) the compiler of musnad al-Shafi'i and (kitab) al-Umm, and those mentionned by us after him, are devoted to the madhab of Shafi'i, and they all adhere to the same principles. And if you take note of what we have mentionned it will become clear to you that whoever opposes the madhab of Shafi'i will be deprived from the office of Al-Ijtihad Al-Mutlaq. (It is also worth noting) that the science of Hadith has declined to benefit the one who does not try to study under Shafi'i and his companions"
End of Shah Waliyullah's words
Here are some comments
1) Imam Bukhari is not a Shafi'i and As-Subki and others falsely attributed him to Ash-Shafi'i's madhab, as said by Anwar Shah Kashmiri, and he is a Mujtahid Mutlaq. Zakariyah Kandhalwi in his introduction of Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi's sharh of Bukhari also mentionned that Imam Bukhari is a mujtahid mutlaq. People falsely think he is Shafi'i because of agrement in famous opinions for which Imam Bukhari wrote special books like "Juzz Qira'ah Khalf Al-Imam" and "Juzz Raful yadayn".
Yet Shah Waliyullah is right that Imam Bukhari and other Muhadith agree with the principles of Fiqh of Imam Shafi'i. They are Muhaqiq scholars and after checking they saw the rules of Imam Ash-Shafi'i as stronger. Just like Abu Yusuf and Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan saw Imam Abu Hanifa's rules as stronger. So they did not make taqlid of him, but their Usul were similar and they had little difference in Usul of Fiqh, hence little difference in Fiqh.
And it is not that Muhadith were Muqalid of Ash-Shafi'i and they quoted and authenticated Ahadith with Ta'asub, rather Al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi followed Hadith. And At-Tirmidhi mentionned Ash-Shafi'i among his companions as well as Ahmad and Ishaq.
2) Instead of saying Ash-Shafi'i based his madhab on Malik, Ahmad has little difference with Shafi'i, Muhadith are affiliated to Shafi'i's madhab and principles of fiqh and affiliated to Ahmad and Ishaq, it is more exact to say that Muhadith adhere to the Madhab of Ahlul Hadith whose Imam are Malik, Shafi'i, Ahmad and Ishaq, and there principles of fiqh are that of Ahlul Hadith.
Witness of Ahnaf's Kibar that Ahlul Hadith is a school of thought
Mulla Katib Chalpi quoted in his ‘Kashf Az-Zunun” p 89 (ed Egypt) Imam ‘Ala Ud-Din Hanafi from his book “Mizan Al-Usul”:
“And the majority of works in the field of Usul Al-Fiqh belong to Ahlul I’tizal (Mutazilah) who oppose us in Usul (creed) and (belong) to the Ahlul Hadith who oppose us in Furu’ (Fiqh), and there is no reliance on their works.”
So ‘Alaudin Hanafi named a group called Ahlul Hadith opposing Ahnaf in Furu’, meaning in usul Al-Fiqh and Fiqh, and its shows that rules or Ahnaf in Usul Al-Fiqh are different from Ahlul Hadith. And this group is not a new invented one by British, but a well-known group to scholars.
‘Allamah Bazdawi Hanafi wrote in his Usul about Khabar Ahad: “Some Ahlul Hadith say that (Khabar Ahad) leads to knowledge of Yaqin (certitude).”
Abdul ‘Aziz Al-Bukhari Hanafi commentator of Usul Al-Bazdawi wrote in his Kashf Al-Asrar: “The majority of Ashabul Hadith opted for the view that the Akhbar that are judged to be authentic by their experts leads to knowledge of Yaqin”
So it shows that Ahnaf differ with Ahlul Hadith about Khabar Ahad leading to Yaqin.
Also on Khabar Mursal, Abdul ‘Aziz Al-Bukhari criticized Ahlul Hadith for their rejection of Mursal Hadith saying: “They called themselves Ashabul Hadith, attached themselves to the defense of Hadith and action upon it, then they rejected what is from its stronger category (meaning Mursal)”
Also about the permissibility of Ijtihad for Prophets, it is written in another place in Kashf Al-Asrar: “And this is reported from Abu Yusuf from our companions, and this is the madhab of Malik, Ash-Shafi’i, and the majority of Ahlul Hadith”
So one can see that in Usul Fiqh there is a school called Ahlul Hadith. What ignorance and lies brought by Ghali Muta’asib Ahnaf that Ahlul Hadith is a new sect invented by British, having no precedent, while Kibar of AHnaf say that Ahul Hadith oppose them in usul Al-Fiqh, on Khabar Ahad, Mursal and other issues.
Ibn Khaldun wrote in his Muqadimmah p 389 ed Egypt: “And Fiqh is divided in two ways: the way of Ahlur-Ray and Qiyas and they are Ahlul ‘Iraq and the way of Ahlul Hadith and they are Ahlul Hijaz, and Hadith was little in Ahlul ‘Iraq as we have explained before, so they performed a lot of Qias and became experts in it, this is why they are called Ahlur-Ray, and the leader of their group upon which and around whose companions a Madhab was built is Abu Hanifah.
Shahrastani wrote in his “Milal wa Nihal”: “Then the Mujtahid among the Imams of the community are restrained into two categories and there is no third: Ashabul Hadith and Ashabur-Ray. Ashabul Hadith are the people of Hijaz, the companions of Malik ibn Anas, the companions of Muhammad ibn Idris Ash-Shafi’i, the companions of Sufyan Ath-Thawri, the companions of Ahmad ibn Hambal, the companions of Dawud ibn ‘Ali ibn Muhammad Al-Asbahani, and they were only named Ashabul Hadith because of their care to obtain Ahadith and transmit the narrations and build the Ahkam on the clear texts and they do not turn to Qias Al-Jali or Khafi when they find a narration…As for the Ashabur-Ray, they are the people of ‘Iraq, and they are the companions of Abu Hanifah An-Nu’man ibn Thabit and among his companions are Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan, Abu Yussuf Ya’qub ibn Muhammad Al-Qadhi, Zufar ibn Huzayl, Al-Hassan ibn Zyad Al-Lului, ibn Sama’ah, ‘Afiyah Al-Qadhi, Abu Muti’ Al-Balkhi and Bishr Al-Marisi. And they were only named Ashabur-Ray because of their care to obtain a form of Qias and the meaning extracted from rulings and basing their formulations on them, and sometimes they will favour the Qias Al-Jali over the Ahad narrations”
Witness of Shafi’i scholars about the existence of Ahlul Hadith school and Madhab.
All quotes below are from “Tahrik Azadi Fikr” of Isma’il Salafi
Imam Nawawi wrote in Sharh Sahih Muslim about Tayamum: “The obligatory actions (of Tayamum) are wiping the face and the two hands, and this is the Madhab of ‘Ata, Makhul, Al’Awza’I, Ahmad, Ishaq, ibn Munzir and the majority of Ashabul Hadith”
Imam Nawawi wrote in the chapter of Musaqat: “And this is the saying of Malik, Ath-Thawri, Al-Layth, Ash-Shafi’i, Ahmad and all Fuqahah Al-Muhadithin”
On Muzara’ah, Imam Nawawi wrote: “And this is the saying of Ibn Abi Laylah, Abu Yussuf, Muhammad and all people of Kufah, and the Fuqahah Al-Muhadithin and Ahmad and ibn Khuzaymah.”
About Shuf’ah, Nawawi wrote: “Al-Hakam, Ath-Thawri, Abu ‘Ubaydah and a group of Ahlul Hadith said he cannot take it…And the second (opinion) is that it is obligatory and this is the saying of Ahmad, Abu Thawr and Ashabul Hadith”
Hafiz ibn Hajar wrote about wiping face and two hands in Tayamum: “And this is the view of Ahmad, Ishaq, ibn Jarir, ibn Munzir, ibn Khuzaymah and Abu Jahm and others reported it from Malik, and Al-Khatabbi reported it from Ashabul hadith.”
So One can see that Nawawi and ibn Hajar both attribute a saying in Fiqh to Ahlul Hadith. So this group exists.
Imam Az-Zahabi wrote in his Tazkiratul Hufaz about Baqi ibn Makhlad: “They opposed Baqi with Ta’asub because of his manifesting the madhab of Ahlul Athar, and the Emir of Andalus Muhammad ibn AbdirRahman Al-Mardani defended him, transferred his books (in another place) and told Baqi to propagate his knowledge.”
So Hafiz Az-Zahabi talked about a Madhab named as that of Ahlul Athar. What a shame for people calling this madhab a creation of British, what ignorance or Talbis!…This is the state of Muta’asib people! And nowadays Muta’asub Muqalid oppose scholars like Baqi ibn Makhlad. Ta’asub Madhabi, what a filthy disease!
Hafiz Zahabi wrote about Abu ‘Abdillah Muhammad ibn Abi Nasr Al-Humaydi: “He was pious, thiqah, Imam in Hadith and its defects, a muhaqiq in knowledge of verification and his Usul were on the madhab of Ashabul Hadith agreeing with the Book and the Sunnah.”
So for Imam Zahabi, there is a madhab of Ashabul hadith that has Usul Al-Fiqh.
Hafiz Suyuti quoted in his Sawn Al-Mantiq p 47 from As-Sam’ani (d489H) in his “Al Intisar li Ahlil Hadith”: “Two groups use to criticise Ashabul Hadith: Ahlul Kalam and Ahlur-Ray”
Ibn Taymiyah and Ibnul Qayim mentioning Ahlul Hadith
Shaykh Al-Islam writes about Ahlul Hadith in Qawaid An-Nuraniyah: “Ahlul Hadith took about the matter of drinks from the saying of the people of Madinah and all the people of the cities agreeing with the Sunnah Al-Mustafidah from the Prophet (saw) and his companions on the forbiddance.,, And on the topic of foods they took from the saying of people of Kufah because of the authenticity of the Sunnan from the Prophet (saw) about the forbiddance of every wild beats with fangs and every bird with talons and the forbiddance of the flesh of donkeys”
And likewise in many places of this book, Ibn Taymiyah mentioned the preferences in Fiqh of Ahlul Hadith.
Ibn Taymiyah writes in Naqd Al-Mantiq” : “The Fuqahah of Hadith are more knowledgeable than other Fuqahah, their Sufiyah are more following the Messenger that Sufiyah of other groups, and their rulers are more knowledgeable about the Prophetic politics (Syasiyah) than rulers of others, and their laymen have more right to allegiance (Wilayah) to the Messenger than others”
Shaykh Isma’il Salafi quoted in “Hujjiyat Hadith” Hafiz Ibnul Qayim saying in his Sawa’iq Al-Mursalah: “Everybody knows that the Ahlul Hadith are the most truthful of all groups as said by Ibn Al-Mubarak: “I found the religion to the Ahlul Hadith, the Kalam to the Mutazilah, the lies to the Rawafid and the tricks (Hyal) with Ahlur-Ray””
So Both Ibn Taymiyah and Ibn Qayim Al-Jawziyah mentioned the Ahlul Hadith and their qualities.
Shaykh Al-Islam ibn Taymiyah mentioned in his Risalah “Sihatu Madhab Ahlil Madinah” that he been translated in English under the name: “The Madinan Way” that the school of the people of Madinah is stronger that of the people of Kufah. And he mentioned many examples to show this. But he also puts Imam Shafi’i under the school of Madinah, and tells that Layth ibn Sa’d and Al-Awza’i were close to this school. So it shows that this school is that of Ahlul Hadith.
He said p 33 of English translation: “Ash-Shafi’i was known for his efforts to follow the Book and the Sunna and his earnest striving to refute those who opposed that. He followed the school of the people of Hijaz…Then Ash-Shafi’i went to Egypt and wrote his new book and in his speech and writing he was ascribed to the school of the people of Madina such as Malik. He used to say: “Some of our companions” meaning the people of Madina or some of the men of knowledge of Malik or Malik himself…Ash-Shafi’i was one of the companions of Malik and he was known as one of his companions. He chose to live in Egypt at that time because they followed the school of the people of Madina and those Egyptians who had a similar position, such as Al-Layth ibn Sa’d and his like. Some of the people of the west followed the school of those men and some of them followed the school of al-Awza’i and the people of Syria. The school of the people of Syria and Egypt are close, but the people of Madina are considered better by all.
Since Ash-Shafi’i was a man who sought knowledge and saw proofs in sound hadiths and other things, he had to follow them, even if it was in opposition to the position of his Madinan companions. Therefore he undertook what his opinion demanded of him and he composed a dictation on the questions of ibn Al-Qasim and displayed some divergence from Malik in certain things. Ash-Shafi’i was good in what he did and undertook what he had to…Abu Yusuf and Muhammad Ash-Shaybani were the followers of Abu Hanifa and they were particularly connected to him, as Ash-Shafi’i was particularly connected to Malik, but their disagreement with Abu Hanifa is close to Ash-Shafi’i’s disagreement with Malik.” End of ibn Taymiyah’s words
So one can see according to Ibn Taymiyah Ash-Shafi’i’s madhab, and Shah Waliullah said that Ahmad’s madhab is close to that of Shafi’i like difference between Abu Hanifa and his students. So the matter of having Maliki, Shafi’i and Hambali madhab is a matter of students recording madhab together or separately. Yet Malik, Shafi’i, Ahmad, Layth, Al-Awza’i had same rules and were upon the same school: Ahlul Hadith.
Then in the same risalah, Ibn Taymiyah mentions in some places the view of Ahlul Hadith agreeing with that of the people of Madinah.
He said p 43 on a matter of transaction: “The people of Madina and the people of Hadith differ from them (people of Kufa) in respect of all that”
Also on p44: “That is what the people of Madina and the people of Hadith believe.”
On p 36 Shaykh Al-Islam mentions the Fuqahah of Hadith, and they are Ahlul Hadith:
“It is known that the school of the people of Madina, in respect of drinks, is more rigorous than the school of the Kufans. The people of Madinah and all other cities and the fuqaha of Hadith make every intoxicant unlawful. So every intoxicant is considered to be wine and is therefore unlawful. If a lot of it makes one intoxicated, then a little of it is unlawful. The people of Madina do not argue about that, neither their earlier nor their later people, no matter whether the drink is from dates, grains, honey, horses’ milk or anything else.
The Kufans, however, only consider wine to be that which becomes fermented from pressed grapes. If it is cooked before it becomes strong so that two-third evaporates, then they consider it to be lawful. The nabidh of dates and raisins is unlawful for them when it intoxicate if it is fresh, but if is cooked, the least amount of cooking makes it lawful, even if it still intoxicates!”
So one can clearly see that the school of Ahlul Hadith exists, the Fuqahah Al-Mahaditheen’s madhab has rules different from Ahnaf.
Note : the quotes from Hanafi, Shafi'i scholars, and Qawaidf Nuraniyah and Naqd Al-Mantiq of Ibn Taymiyah come from the great work of shaykh Isma'il Salafi entitled "Tahrik Azadfi Fikr" and the quote of ibnul Qayim comes from his book "Hujjiyat Hadith"
May Allah send Salah and Salam on the Prophget (saw)