A HANDY GUIDE
FOR STUDENTS OF DEEN
Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Ghuman
(May Allaah Ta’ala protect him)
(Translated by Moulana Munir Aadam)
نحمده ونصلى على رسوله الكريم
In The Name of Allaah, The Most Gracious The Most Merciful
A HANDY GUIDE FOR STUDENTS OF DEEN (1)
We are ‘muqallideen’ (unconditionally accepting the view of a reliable, proper, authentic scholar in matters pertaining to Deen - religion) of Imaam Abul Hasan Ash’ari (May Allaah Ta’ala have mercy on him) and Imaam Abu Mansur Maaturidi (May Allaah Ta’ala have mercy on him) in `Aqaa’id` (beliefs), whilst we are muqallideen of Imaam Abu Hanifah in Masaa’il (juristic particulars).
Some will object by arguing that did Imaam Abu Hanifah not know Aqaa’id? Why have you then discarded following the expert and instead chosen to follow Imaam Abul Hasan Ash’ari and Abu Mansur Maaturidi in Aqaa’id? Based on this, they are quick to blurt out that the Hanafis are not muqallideen in Aqaa’id, yet they are in ‘Furoo’ (juristic particulars)! Did Imaam Abu Hanifah not know Aqaa’id, they ask?
In response, understand well that when we aver that we follow Imaam Abul Hasan Ash’ari and Abu Mansur Maaturidi in Aqaa’id, the Aqaa’id referred to are indeed the very Aqaa’id of the Ahlus Sunnah. In fact, the well-renowned book of Imaam Abu Hanifah on Aqaa’id, `Fiqhul Akbar` is readily available. What we simply imply is that when the Mu’tazila (a deviant sect) began spreading their incorrect beliefs and notions, then at the time, those who took responsibility for spreading and propagating the correct beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah and refuting the Mu’tazila were these illustrious souls. This is precisely what we imply. In other words, we accept and submit to the interpretations of Imaam Abul Hasan Ash’ari and Abu Mansur Maaturidi in refutation of the Mu’tazila. This does not imply that we give preference to them over Imaam Abu Hanifah.
This is in precisely the same manner that we regard ourselves to be Deobandis. Some are quick to object that if you are really the true followers of Imaam Abu Hanifah, then why do you refer to yourselves as Deobandis? Understand well that there were two groups that laid claim to following and spreading the beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah. One group, with individuals such as Ahmad Radhaa Khan began spreading their interpretations whilst the pious predecessors of the Deobandis began propagating theirs. Now, despite both claiming to be from the Ahlus Sunnah, one treaded a deviant path and thus strayed, whilst the other treaded the correct path and remained firm on the truth. We are therefore Deobandis not in opposition and loggerheads with the Ahlus Sunnah, but rather, in opposing the Barelwis (the innovators).
Similarly, when we declare that we are Maaturidis and Ash’aris, we are not doing so in opposition to the Hanafis, but rather, in opposing the Mu’tazila. In other words, this person is not a Mu’tazila, but he is a Maaturidi or an Ash’ari. Therefore, understand this aspect carefully.
Take note of one further objection and its response; Some may object that in your books, on the one hand you claim to be muqallideen of Imaam Abu Hanifah in ‘Usool’ and ‘Furoo’ whilst on the other, you claim to be muqallideen of Imaam Abul Hasan Ash’ari and Abu Mansur Maaturidi in ‘Usool’ and that of Imaam Abu Hanifah in ‘Furoo’. These two are contradictory, they argue.
The truth is that there is no contradiction between the two. Understand that when we declare that we are muqallideen of Imaam Abu Hanifah in Usool and Furoo, we refer to the Usool (Juristic Principles) through which Masaa’il (juristic particulars) are deduced. In other words, by Usool in the former case is not implied Aqaa’id (beliefs), but `Qawaa’id Kulli-yya` (all encompassing juristic principles) whilst by ‘Furoo’ is meant the Masaa’il (juristic particulars) of Shari’ah deduced from those principles. Therefore, when we aver that we are the muqallideen of Imaam Abu Hanifah in Usool and Furoo we mean precisely that. On the contrary, when we aver that we are the muqallideen of Abul Hasan Asha’ri and Abu Mansur Maaturidi in Usool there we imply Aqaa’id (beliefs). You will have certainly understood now. Here Usool means Aqaa’id (beliefs), whilst there when we aver that we are the muqallideen of Imaam Abu Hanifah in Usool and Furoo, it (Usool) refers to Qawaa’id (all-encompassing juristic principles). There is therefore no contradiction between the two.
AND ALLAAH TA’ALA KNOWS BEST