Following Shaykh Ibrahim (q.s.) or the Maliki Madzhab

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is an article by Ustadz Fakhruddin Owaisi at-Tijani in response to an issue of swalah as brought up by a Tijani.

The majority of the Tijaniyyah and their shuyukh follow the Maliki madzhab.  However, Shaykh Ibrahim Niyas (q.s.) advised all Tijaniyyah to pray with folded arms.  What is issue with not folding the arms in swalah like the rest of the Malikis?  Why should the Tijaniyyah follow Shaykh Ibrahim's (q.s.) ijtihad rather than the dominant Maliki position?  What do we say to those who would say the Tijanis are doing the same thing as Salafis who also go against the madzahib, preferring to follow the ijtihad of their scholars such as al-Albani or ibn Baz?

In answer, we must differentiate between abandoning the madzahib all together, following some new pseudo-ijtihad that goes against all of them and, showing disdain for the great a’immah of the madzahib; and following a madzhab, but disagreeing with some of its opinions, based on one's personal ijtihad, if one is a mujtahid, while still operating within the madzhab and maintaining the adab with the great a’immah of the madzahib.

The first approach is unacceptable to us, and is the method of the Salafis.  The second scenario is acceptable and was a common phenomena amongst the great scholars of Islam, who followed a madzhab but sometimes disagreed with its opinions based on their personal ijtihad.  This was done by students of Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.), Imam Malik (r.a.) and Imam Shafi’i (r.a.) as well.  Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.) was a Shafi’i but disagreed with the Shafi’i madzhab in certain matters.  The same goes for Imam ibn al-‘Arabi (r.a.) in the Maliki madzhab and Imam al-Lucknawi (r.a.) in the Hanafi madzhab.  Shaykh Ibrahim Niyas (q.s.) did that while remaining a Maliki in most matters.  As devoted muridun of Shaykh Ibrahim (q.s.), we follow his ijtihad in the issue of sadl and qabdh especially when we know that Shaykh Ibrahim (q.s.) revived the sunnah of qabdh by the authorisation of the blessed Rasul (s.a.w.) himself.

Someone asked Shaykh Ibrahim (q.s.), “Why do you pray with qabdh while your own father and even Shaykh Ahmad at-Tijani prayed with sadl?”

He replied, “Allah did prescribe on us to follow anyone in shari’ah except the Rasul (s.a.w.).  As for the thariqa’, I follow Shaykh Ahmad at-Tijani step by step.”

Ustadz Fakhruddin asked Shaykh Mahy Sisi (q.s.) why Shaykh at-Tijani (q.s.) did not revive this sunnah?  He replied that Shaykh at-Tijani (q.s.) had not been given that particular duty by the Rasul (s.a.w.).  It was meant for Shaykh Ibrahim (q.s.).  We note also that Shaykh at-Tijani (q.s.) was followed by only a minority of people in Morocco.  Their numbers were too insufficient to bring about any significant change of practice in the mosques there.  After the appearance of the Grand Faydhah however, Shaykh Ibrahim (q.s.) had millions of followers all over West Africa.  Thus, the time was ripe to revive this sunnah there, and he was Granted that idzn from Rasulullah (s.a.w.).  Shaykh Ibrahim (q.s.) was Shaykh al-Islam and the mujaddid of the age.  Part of the mujaddid's work is to revive sunnah practices neglected by those before him.

Nevertheless, the great Nigerian Tijani khalifah, Shehu Abu Bakr Atiqu (q.s.) wrote that he had read in some old Tijani documents that Shaykh Ahmad at-Tijani (q.s.) used to personally pray with qabdh in private.  He wrote this in Ajwibat Ahl Tashad.


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