Islamic Jurisprudence According to the Four Sunni Schools: Al-Fiqh ‘Ala al-Madhahib al-Arba ‘ah–Volume I Acts of Worship- الفقه على المذاهب الاربعة بالانجليزية
ISLAMIC JURISPRUDENCE ACCORDING TO THE FOUR SUNNI SCHOOLS – Book Sample
The Fiqh according to the Four Madhahib – Islamic Jurisprudence according to the Four Sunni Schools
Sunni Muslims all around the world follow four different schools (madhiihib, sing. madhhab) of jurisprudence (fiqh ): the Malik1, the J:lanafi, the Shafi ‘i, and the J:lanbali. Each of these schools derives its name from the great imam who first set its principles of jurisprudence: Abu Hanifa, Malik ibn Anas, Muḥammad ibn Idris ashShafi’i and A]:lmad ibn J:lanbal. Each represents one possible reading of Muslim orthopraxis or of lslamic law (sharf’ ah), covering such fields as ritual law, family law, inheritance law, as well as laws dealing with economic and political practices.
The madhahib enshrine ikhtilaf
Historically, the four schools originated from the slightly differing approaches taken by Companions of the Prophet and their direct disciples, vis-a-vis the authoritative texts of Islam-the Qur’ an and the Traditions of the Prophet-when applied wherever they settled, in different lands of the Abode of Islam. Through these differing approaches, they allowed for a diversity of auxiliary tools and procedures in the formulation of laws. These were later acknowledged by posterity as equally authoritative interpretations of the Sacred Texts.
Principally, the four madhiihib enshrine the principle of ikhtiliif(disagreement/ difference), which permits a Muslim to choose the interpretation of the religious teachings that best suits his own circumstances and causes the least harm. Two famous traditions of the Prophet Mu):lammad in favour of ikhtiliif are: “Difference of opinion in the Muslim community is a sign of divine favour”; and “It is a mercy of God that the men of knowledge ( ‘ulamii ‘) differ in opinion.” One can also say that ikhtiliif, within the One Sharf’ah, represents a direct translation of the universal Islamic ideal that seeks to combine unity with diversity.
The geographical distribution of the madhahib
The Hanafi School was adopted by the Ottoman and Moghul empires, which means that their former subjects, as well as adjacent territories in Central Asia, would normally be J:lanafi. Thus, present day Turkey, the Central Asian republics, the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh are all Hanafi. Syria, Jordan, and Palestine as well as Egypt all adopted J:lanafi judicial systems during the rule of the Ottomans, who imposed the J:lanafi rite on all their subjects, but did not insist on any changes in the matters of worship, which remained Shafi ‘i.
JURISPRUDENCE ACCORDING TO THE FOUR SUNNI SCHOOLS – Islamic Jurisprudence according to the Four Sunni Schools
The Maliki School hailed from Medina and took root in North Africa, where it is followed in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania, Libya, Upper Egypt, and Sudan, as well as in sub-Saharan and West African states, such as Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Senegal. In Arabia itself, certain sectors of Saudi Arabia-the Hejaz and parts of the Eastern Province-are also Maliki. Malikism is also the school of Kuwait, Bahrain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The Shafi’i School is followed by many in the Hejaz, Egypt, North Yemen, and the Muslims of the East African states of Ethiopia, Eritria, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Numerically speaking, however, the greatest concentration of the Shafi’i School is in South East Asia, where it is followed in: Indonesia, Malaysia, and by the Muslim minority in the Philippines.
The Hanbali School is concentrated mainly in the Najd area of Saudi Arabia, with extensions in Qatar, the North East of Oman and a good part of the Arab Emirates.
Egypt has traditionally accommodated all the four schools since Mamluk times. Each Mamluk Madrassa in Egypt had four sections that accommodated students of each school. Until Muḥammad ‘Ali’s time there were four courts as well, but he limited it to I:Ianafi legislation. However, the dominant rite of Egypt remains Shafi’
Note on the Science of Islamic Jurisprudence
Of all of the sciences of Islam, jurisprudence is the one that by far has engaged the most human labor and intellectual effort. Even the great Qur’ an and Hadith commentaries of the past are replete with the legal implications of the Qur’ an and Hadith. Muslim scholars have always recognized the subtlety and ambiguity of language and developed a stunning methodological hermeneutic to insure that all of the linguistic possibilities were exhausted before coming to any conclusions about what a verse or prophetic statement did or did not mean. As a result, not only a tolerance but a genuine desire for difference of opinion arose within the scholastic tradition of Islam. The juristic schools emerged as a result.
What many Muslims are unaware of is that not only do the various schools differ among themselves, but within each school there is a vast array of difference. Each school developed a normative tradition generally referred to as the ‘dominant’ (mashhur) opinion of the school. This position in tum was nuanced by geographical regions, such as the dominant Andalusian opinion of the Maliki school or the Iraqi position of the Shafi ‘i school.
This leads to great confusion when studying the books of various legal schools without a teacher. Moreover, due to the vastness of each of the schools, it is almost impossible in one lifetime to master one school, let alone three others. Ibn Daqiq al-Id is one of the few people in the history of Islam known to have issued fatwas in two schools due to his mastery of the Shafi’i and Maliki schools. Anyone today who claims to have mastered even one school with its divergent opinions should be viewed with skepticism. It is quite a challenge and takes years of study to master
RITUAL PRAYER – Islamic Jurisprudence according to the Four Sunni Schools
The intention to shorten one’s prayers
Another condition for the validity of shortening prayers is that one must renew one’s intention to do so each time one prays, as explained earlier in the discussion of intention. This view is agreed upon by the Shafiis and the Hanbalis; for the views of the Malikis and the Hanafis, ((According to the Malikis, the intention to shorten prayer at the beginning of the first prayer shortened during one’s journey is sufficient, and there is no need to renew this intention in subsequent prayers. In this respect, it is like the intention to fast the month of Ramadhan on the eve of the first day of this month, which suffices for the rest of the month.
According to the Hanafis, what is required is that one consciously intend to undertake a journey before praying; once the intention to undertake the journey has been confirmed, the obligatory number of rak ‘ahs for each prayer becomes two only. Moreover, as we have seen, there is no need for the intention to include a specification of the number of rak’ahs to be performed.))
Conditions which preclude the shortening of prayers: – Islamic Jurisprudence according to the Four Sunni Schools
Being resident in a place
One situation which precludes the shortening of prayer is that the person has made it his conscious intention to stay in one place for a period of time; each school offers its own detailed ruling concerning what this intention entails. ((ccording to the Hanafis, a traveler may not shorten prayers if he intends to stay in a particular place for fifteen whole consecutive days; if the intention is to stay any less than this, if even by a single hour, he will not be considered ‘resident’.
A traveler is forbidden to shorten prayers in the following situations: (1) When the person has actually stopped moving; thus, if he intends to stay in a particular place but keeps on moving, he is still not considered to be ‘resident’, and he must continue to shorten his prayers. (2) When the location where the traveler intends to stay is fit to reside in.
Thus, if someone intends to stay in a place such as an uninhabited desert, on an island with nothing but ruins on it, or on a sea, he must continue to shorten his prayers. (3) When the site in which the traveler intends to stay is a single place. Hence, if someone intends to stay in two different towns without specifying which of the two he intends to stay in, he must continue to shorten his prayers. (3) When the decision to stay in a particular place has been made independently.
Hence, if a subordinate intends to stay in a given place, his intention will not be valid, and he may not perform his prayers to completion unless he is aware of the intention of the person to whom he is subordinate, as we saw earlier.
If someone intends to travel a distance that can be covered in three days and if he then comes back before completing this distance, he must resume performing his prayers to completion as soon as he makes the decision to return. Similarly, if such a person makes it his intention to stay in a given place before completing the distance he had intended to travel, he must begin performing his prayers to completion in the place at which he has arrived even if it would not be fit to reside in, as will be seen more clearly below.
Lastly, if someone intends to stay in a place for fewer than fifteen days or if he stays in a place but without a conscious intention to do so, he will continue to be deemed a traveler. As such, he must continue to shorten his prayers even if he stays in the place for several years; however, if the person is waiting for the arrival of a caravan, for example, and knows that the caravan will not arrive for at least fifteen days, he is considered to have intended to stay this length of time and must therefore perform his prayers to completion.))
Combining consecutive prayers – Islamic Jurisprudence according to the Four Sunni Schools
Combining two consecutive prayers, either by performing both at an earlier time or by performing both of them later, and the definition of this practice
This practice will be discussed under the following headings: (I) its definition, (2) the ruling on it, and (3) the conditions and reasons associated with it.
Its definition – Islamic Jurisprudence according to the Four Sunni Schools
This practice is defined as someone’s combining the noon and mid-afternoon prayers either by praying both during the time period for the noon prayer or by postponing the noon prayer and performing it with the mid-afternoon prayer during the time period for the latter. The sundown and evening prayers may be combined in the same two ways described here for the noon and the mid-afternoon prayers. As for the dawn prayer, it may never be combined with any other prayer.
It is not permissible for someone who is qualified to be held accountable for the performance of ritual prayer either to postpone an obligatory prayer past its designated time period or to perform it before its designated time period has begun unless it is for one of the reasons listed below.
The reason for this is that God Almighty has commanded us to perform the obligatory ritual prayers during their designated time periods (which were detailed above in the section entitled, ‘The times of the required prayers”). He says, “Verily, for all believers prayer is indeed a sacred duty linked to particular times [ of day ]” ( 4: 103). However, Islam is a religion which lays no undue burden on its adherents; hence, it allows ritual prayers to be performed at other than their originally designated times in situations where performing them on time would cause hardship for the person concerned.
The ruling on this practice and the reasons for it
The ruling on this practice is that it is permitted; as for the reasons and conditions associated with it, they differ in detail among the four schools.(( The Malikis specify the following five reasons for combining two prayers:(I) being on a journey, (2) illnes, (3) rain and mud together with darkness at the end of the month, and ( 4) a pilgrim’s being at ‘Arafah or Muzdalifah. ( 1) Being on a journey:
The term ‘journey’ here refers to any journey, whether the distance traveled is sufficient to warrant the shortening of four-rak ‘ah prayers or not; however, in order for the combining of prayers to be allowed, the journey must not be one which is forbidden or undesirable. Hence, if someone is on a journey which is legitimate, he may combine the noon and mid-afternoon prayers by performing both during the time period for the noon prayer given two conditions: I.
That the sun reaches its zenith while he is staying in the place where he has stopped to rest, and 2. That the traveler intends to depart before the commencement of the time period for the mid-afternoon prayer and not to stop to rest again until after sundown.
If the traveler intends to stop before the sun has taken on a yellowish hue, he must perform the noon prayer before departing and postpone the mid-afternoon prayer until he stops, since he will be stopping during the ‘elective’ time for the mid-afternoon prayer, as a result of which there is no need to perform it early.
If the traveler performs the mid-afternoon prayer early with the noon prayer, it will be valid, but he will be guilty of wrongdoing, and it is recommended that he perform the midafternoon prayer again during its ‘elective’ time period after he stops. If, on the other hand, the traveler intends to stop after the sun has taken on a yellowish hue before sundown, he should perform the noon prayer before departing. With respect to the mid-afternoon prayer,
however, he is free to choose between performing it early and postponing it until he stops. The reason for this is that the mid-afternoon prayer in such a case falls in its ‘imperative’ time period either way since, if he performs it early, he will perform it during its advance ‘imperative’ phase for the sake of travel, whereas if he postpones it,
he will perform it during its legitimate [i.e., usual] ‘imperative’ phase. If the time period for the noon prayer commences (by the sun’s reaching its zenith) while the person is traveling, and if he intends to stop at or before the time when the sun takes on a yellowish hue, he is permitted to postpone the noon prayer and combine it with the mid-afternoon prayer after he stops.
If, on the other hand, he does not intend to stop until after sundown, he may not postpone the noon prayer in order to combine it with the mid-afternoon prayer, nor may he postpone the mid-afternoon prayer until after he stops, since this would involve causing both prayers to be performed outside their designated time periods.
Rather, he is to do a ‘token’ combination of the two prayers, by performing the noon prayer at the end of its ‘elective’ phrase and the mid-afternoon prayer at the beginning of its ‘elective’ phase. Moreover, the same rulings which apply to combining the noon and mid-afternoon prayers apply to the combining of the sundown and evening prayers…))
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