I’m happy and proud to be fronting this new course which I have put all of my efforts into and I hope to make it the most comprehensive and practical seminar taught on this subject in modern day intensive-style courses.
Teaching/studying the fiqh of any subject brings its own difficulties with it in today’s modern Muslim societies with the never-ending debate surrounding Traditionalism, Taqlīd, the Madhāhib, the revival of the school of Ahl’l-Ḥadīth, modern day ijtihād on the rise, the promotion of a more open approach with Fiqh’l-Aqalliyāt (“the fiqh of minorities”) etc.
This course will deal with all these issues head on and then also focus on expounding the muʿtamad (established/official) positions of the Ḥanafi madh-hab and the supporting evidences (reflecting the majority of the UK), the Ḥanbali madh-hab (personal choice) and then a look at the evidences and how the other Imāms derived their opinions with a particular focus on the issue of making tarjīh – which might be described as the way of Ahl’l-Ḥadīth (not the Ale-Hadees group!) with its inherent benefits and dangers.
The course will also present what I believe to be the most detailed history available in English of the development of the Ṣalāh. Also, there shall be large portions devoted to the internal aspects of the prayer, and trying to appreciate the spiritual benefits in a practical way to effect immediate change in our daily lives. All in all, this is going to be a knock-out course insha’Allāh.
So who is it aimed at? I’d say:
1. Those who don’t know anything about their prayer and want in on the deal that makes Ṣalāh the most beloved act to Allah jalla wa ʿalā
2. For those who want the answers to those thousands of questions that we all have concerning daily situations that involve the Ṣalāh
3. For Ḥanafis and Ḥanbalis who want to know more detail about their prayer
4. And finally for those students of knowledge who want to study and understand the detailed evidences that the ʿUlemā’ picked through and derived their final rulings and the basis for that. By this I mean those who follow an Ahl’l-Ḥadith/“Salafi” approach to fiqh
Those I don’t think it will be suitable for are those advanced students of knowledge who follow the Shāfiʿī (unless in Canada and the US where the focus will change to this madh-hab) and Māliki madh-habs. These folks will only benefit from understanding the history of the Ṣalah, the inner-aspects and perhaps seeing how the other ʿUlemā’ derived their positions.
In the UK, the London course has sold out for now (although you can put yourself on a waiting list here) and the course will be coming to Birmingham soon after insha’Allah and then further North to Bradford not too long after that, so make sure you don’t miss out.
Yaʿni be there or be … the bottom melted dredges of a tub of Häagen-Dazs Strawberry Cheesecake. :-)
Finally, for those who have been asking me about the Ḥanafi aspects of the course, I’ve pasted below brief binder notes of some of the sources and Imāms we’ll be looking at in much more detail as part of the Seminar. I hope it can also be a benefit for those who have reference site accounts so that we can promote the madh-hab from an orthodox point of view instead of letting our “friends” from the Orientalists control the agenda.
The Ḥanafi School
Founded by Imām Abu Ḥanīfah Nu’mān Ibn Thābit (d. 148h), probably the single most important and outstanding character when it comes to the history and spread of Islamic Law throughout the world. And hand in hand with his excellence, comes the controversy that greatness brings and thus it is correct to say that during his time, he was the most praised man of his generation and the most criticised.
He was Persian (which also probably aided the spread of his teachings), incredibly clever, and would only arrive at a final ruling after discussing that mas’alah with his top students and contemporaries who have become Mujtahidīn in their own right.
His school has always been often unfairly criticised for its founding principles, its seeming dependence on personal opinion over textual evidences, its sometime fanatical followers and partisanship, and its differences to the majority of other scholars from time to time. Yet those who study the school carefully will not fail to be in awe of the might, intellect and sheer blessing of this school’s teachings.
Imām al-Shāfiʿī (d. 206h) said, “Mankind is completely indebted to Abu Ḥanīfah in fiqh.”
Ibn Ḥajr al-Haytami al-Makki (d. 974h) said, “Some of the Imāms have said: the sheer quantity and quality of the companions and students of Abu Ḥanīfah have not been witnessed before; and never have so many scholars and laypeople benefitted as much as they have from him.”
Ibn al-Athīr (d. 606h) said, “If there wasn’t some kind of secret wisdom in this from Allāh jalla wa ʿalā, it wouldn’t be that half of this Nation from its very earliest times to our time now, are worshipping Allāh jalla wa ʿalā according to the madh-hab of this great Imām.”
He said this over 800 years ago. So what then today?! It’s an even more compelling argument. And all of these accurate statements are coming from non-Ḥanafi scholars.
The key authorities in the Ḥanafi School
Zufar (d. 158h) – Imām, one of the three main companions of Imām Abu Ḥanīfah. He was one of the most talented scholars in fiqh and ḥadīth, and with Imāms such as ʿAbdullāh ibn al-Mubārak and Wakīʿ Ibn al-Jarrāḥ amongst his students, it is easy to see why when Imām Abu Ḥanīfah passed away, Imām Zufar was unanimously declared as the Imām of the school and its master. He has very little in terms of written works because of his concern in preserving the madh-hab, teaching it, and thus kept himself busy giving fatwa in the service of the people. He was appointed the Qāḍī of Baṣrah and passed away only a short time after Abu Ḥanīfah.
Al-Qāsim al-Masʿūdi (d. 175h) – one of the noble companions of the Imām
Abu Yūsuf al-Qāḍi (d. 182h) – a key Imām in his own right and the second main companion of Abu Ḥanīfah. Along with Muḥammad Ibn al-Ḥasan and Abu Ḥanīfah, these three constitute what is known today as the Ḥanafi school. His most famous book is Kitāb’l-Kharāj which was written for the service of the Caliphate at the time – Harūn al-Rashīd – who also made him the chief judge in Baghdād. He also authored Kitāb’l-Āthār, a collection of his own ḥadīth narrations and it is from here that we also find the main narrations of Abu Ḥanīfah which a separate book called the Musnad of Abu Ḥanīfah has probably been taken from. Abu Yūsuf took the place as head of the school after the death of Imām Zufar.
Yaḥyā Ibn Zakariyyā (d. 182h) – of the kibār, a companion of Imām Abu Ḥanīfah
‘Abdullāh Ibn al-Mubārak (d. 181h) – Imām of Ahl’l-Sunnah, Mujtahid and companion of Imām Abu Ḥanīfah. ‘Abd’l-Rahmān al-Mahdi said, “I have never seen the like of him.” He studied under all the major Imāms and companions of his time, including Imām Mālik, the two Sufyāns and also some of the major Atbāʿ al-Tābiʿīn. It is said that he left the positions of Abu Ḥanīfah towards the latter end of his life.
Muḥammad Ibn al-Ḥasan al-Shaybāni (d. 189h) – Imām, Mujtahid, arguably the most famous of the three companions of Imām Abu Ḥanīfah yet he often held divergent opinions to Abu Ḥanīfah and thereby worthy of his own madh-hab. It is his books that are chiefly responsible for transmitting the key fiqh positions of Abu Ḥanīfah, including his al-Mabsūṭ. He also has a version of Kitāb’l-Āthār, a collection of his own ḥadīth narrations. He studied under Abu Ḥanīfah, Mālik, Sufyān al-Thawrī, Sufyān al-Awzāʿī, and was made Qāḍī by the Khalīfah Hārūn al-Rashīd. His most famous student was the great Imām al-Shafiʿī.
Yaḥyā Ibn Saʿīd al-Qaṭṭān (d. 198h) – Muḥaddith, the Imām of Jarḥ w’l-Taʿdīl. Abu al-Walīd al-Ṭayālisī said about him, “I have never seen anyone so knowledgeable about ḥadīth and the narrators as Yaḥyā Ibn Saʿīd.” He was from the very highest calibre of the scholars, saying once, “If I was only to narrate from those who I’m happy with, it would only be five people.” He used to give fatwa according to the position of Imām Abu Ḥanīfah
Wakīʿ Ibn al-Jarrāḥ (d. 197h) – Imām, Muḥaddith. Imām Aḥmad said about him, “Learn from his books.” He used to give fatwa according to the position of Imām Abu Ḥanīfah.
Yaḥyā Ibn Maʿīn (d. 233h) – the great Mūhaddith, as Imām Ahmed said about him, “If Yaḥyā hasn’t heard the ḥadīth then it’s not a ḥadīth.” Aḥmad also said, “The most knowledgeable of all of them concerning the narrators.” Ibn Maʿīn is the Imām of ḥadīth criticism (naqd) and his service to the science of ḥadīth is unparalleled. He followed many Ḥanafi positions and studied under Muḥammad Ibn al-Hasan.
Al-Nasafi (d. 295h) – al-Ḥāfidh, the Mufassir and Muḥaddith
Al-Taḥāwi (d. 321h) – Imām in Ḥadīth and ʿIlm, famous author of ḥadīth and creed works
Abu Bakr al-Jaṣṣāṣ (d. 370h) – the noted Imām of Uṣūl, Fiqh and Ḥadīth and author of the most famous Ḥanafi book on ‘Ulūm’l-Qur’ān from a fiqhi angle entitled Aḥkām’l-Qur’ān.
Abu Bakr al-Sarakhsi (d. 483h) – Faqīh, author of the famous “Kitāb’l-Mabsūṭ”, a fiqh manual of the highest calibre in over 30 volumes based upon an earlier work of Muḥammad Ibn al-Ḥasan al-Shaybāni. Its discussion of the different opinions within the Ḥanafi school as well as the other madhāhib make this a masterpiece.
ʿAlā’l-Dīn al-Kāsāni (d. 587h) – Faqīh, author of the much celebrated Ḥanafi fiqh manual “Badā’iʿ al-Ṣanā’iʿ fī Tartīb’l-Shāriʿ”, his mahr for the hand of the daughter of his teacher!
Burhān’l-Dīn al-Marghīnānī (d. 593h) – the Mufassir, Faqīh and author of one of the key authoritative texts in Ḥanafi law “al-Hidāyah” as well as “Bidāyat’l-Mubtadī”. In the area of Muslim personal law, it has been the major source relied upon by courts in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.
Jalāl’l-Dīn al-Zaylaʿī (d. 762h) – Ḥāfidh, he is perhaps one of the most important figures in the history of the Madhāhib and the Ḥanafi madh-hab in particular because of his excellence in fiqh and ḥadīth as a Muḥaddith. He defended the Ḥanafi school and its positions of fiqh that opponents claimed were not based on textual evidences or mostly weak ḥadīth and thereby produced a work of excellence that the Islamic world has struggled to match – “Nasb’l-Rāyah Takhrīj Aḥādīth al-Hidāyah”. It is not simply a thorn in the side of the enemy but a sword through those opponents who mercilessly attacked the Ḥanafis from the early times. For our current social context, it is a book of unparalleled importance for all students of knowledge to study and respect.
Kamāl’l-Dīn Ibn al-Humām (d. 861h) – author of the great Fatḥ’l-Qadīr fiqh manual yet he was unable to complete it before his death
Ibn ʿĀbidīn (d. 1252h) – Allāmah, poet, Faqīh and author of the masterpiece of Ḥanafi fiqh “Radd’l-Muḥtār” which is a commentary to al-Haskafi’s “al-Durr’l-Mukhtār”. It is considered by many of the modern day Aḥnāf to be the relied upon authority in the madh-hab due to its depth and excellence, as well as giving indications to the answers for modern day problems due to its relatively recent completion. Originally Damascene, his lineage extends directly to the Prophet from Imām Zayn’l-ʿĀbidīn.