Beautiful Friends

Friday, April 12, 2013

Why are there FOUR mazhab?

Assalamualaikum all,
Salam hari Jumaat yang barakah.. penghulu segala hari.

Kita mesti pernah bertanya.. kenapa ada empat mazhab kan? Cuba baca ni, tak panjang mana pun.. bismillah..

The Four Imams of Fiqh

The understanding of the laws and code of conduct of Islam is something that has constantly been evolving throughout Islamic history. The first generations of Muslims after the Prophet s.a.w. had a much easier time understanding what is expected out of them as Muslims because they had access to the Sahaba, the companions of the Prophet s.a.w. As history progressed, however, a need arose to codify Islamic laws into organized and easy to access law codes.

The collection and codification of Islamic law has historically been one of the most important, and challenging, tasks that the Muslim community has undertaken in 1400 years of history. To be considered a faqih (an expert in Islamic law – fiqh), one must have mastery of the Quran, the sayings of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w, other sources of law, as well as other subjects such as grammar and history.

The first person who undertook this monumental task was the great scholar Imam Abu Hanifa. He was the trailblazer when it came to codifying fiqh and establishing the basics of how it is to be studied. Through his efforts, the first school of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), the Hanafi school, developed. Today, the Hanafi school is the largest and most influential among the four schools (madhabs) of fiqh.

Then, Imam Malik upheld the importance of hadith in the field of fiqh through his landmark collection of hadith, al-Muwatta.

The third of the four great imams, Imam al-Shafi’i revolutionized the study of fiqh by establishing the field of usul al-fiqh, the principles behind the study of fiqh. Today, his madhab (school of thought), is the second most popular on earth, after the madhab of Imam Abu Hanifa.

For the last of the four great imams, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, his contribution went beyond just fiqh. It also includes the preservation of core Islamic beliefs against political oppression.

Brief background

1) Abu Hanifa’s given name was Nu’man ibn Thabit. He was born in 699 in the Iraqi city of Kufa, to a family of Persian origin. He died in 767 (the year Imam al-Shafi’i was born). His school of law became very popular in the Muslim world not long after his death. As the official madhab of the Abbasid, Mughal, and Ottoman Empires, his school became very influential throughout the Muslim world. Today, it is very popular in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, the Balkans, Egypt, and the Indian Subcontinent.

2) Imam Malik was born in 711 in the city of Madinah, 79 years after the death of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. in that same city. His family was originally from Yemen. Imam Malik’s ideology on fiqh developed into the Maliki madhab (school). As Imam Malik wished, it was not imposed on Muslims as the sole school of Islamic law. Instead, it complemented the other three schools that took precedence in the Sunni Muslim world – the Hanafi, Shafi’i, and Hanbali schools. The Maliki school became very popular in North and West Africa, as well as Muslim Spain. Today it remains the main madhab of North and West Africa. Imam Malik died at the age of 85 in the year 795. He was buried in the Baqee’ Cemetary in Madinah.

3) Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi’i was born in 767 (the year of Imam Abu Hanifa’s death) in Gaza, Palestine. His father died when he was very young, and thus his mother decided to move to Makkah, where many members of her family (who were originally from Yemen) were settled. At the age of thirteen, he was urged by the governor of Makkah to travel to Madinah and study under Imam Malik himself. Imam Malik was very impressed with the intelligence and analytical mind of the young al-Shafi’i, and provided him with financial assistance to ensure that he remains in the study of fiqh. He died in 820. Today, the Shafi’i madhab is the second largest madhab after the Hanafi madhab and is very popular in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Yemen, East Africa, and Southeast Asia.

4) Ahmad ibn Hanbal al-Shaybani was born in 778 in Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. By the time he was 10 years old, he had memorized the entire Quran and began studying the traditions of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w, the hadith. After becoming proficient in the Hanafi Madhab, Ahmad ibn Hanbal began to study Hadith under some of the greatest Hadith scholars. He even met Imam al-Shafi’i in Makkah. Al-Shafi’i helped the young Ahmad move beyond just memorization of hadith and fiqh, and be able to instead also understand the principles behind them. This collaboration between two of the four great imams clearly shows that the schools of Islamic law are not opposed to each other, but rather work hand in hand. Imam Ahmad passed away in Baghdad in 855. The Hanbali Madhab has historically been the smallest of the four.

All credit goes to Puan Eleena.
Semoga ilmu yang dipanjangkan ini.. memberi barakah kepada semua yang membacanya.

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