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The Imaams' Followers Leaving their Views if these Contradicted the Sunnah

Due to all that we have mentioned, the disciples of the Imaams, a number of people from those of old, and a few from those of later time55, would not accept all of their Imaam's views; they actually ignored many when they found them to be clearly against the Sunnah. Even the two Imaams, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan and Abu Yoosuf (rahimahullaah) differed from their shaikh Abu Haneefah "in about a third of the Madhhab"56, as the books of masaa'il prove. Similarly is said about Imaam al- Muzani57 and other followers of Shaafi'i and other Imaams; were we to start giving examples, the discussion would become exceedingly, long, and we would digress from what we set out to do in this Introduction, so we shall limit ourselves to two instances:

1) Imaam Muhammad says in his Muwatta'58(p. 158), "As for Abu Haneefah, he did not regard there being a prayer to ask for rain, but we hold that the imaam prays two rak'ahs and then supplicates and holds out his wrapping garment ..."

2) We have 'Isaam ibn Yoosuf al-Balkhi, one of the companions of Imaam Muhammad59 and a servant of Imaam Abu Yoosuf60, who "would give verdicts contrary to Imaam Abu Haneefah because he did not know the latter's evidence, and other evidence would present itself to him, so he would give verdicts using that."61 Hence, "he would raise his hands on bowing (in prayer) and on rising from it"62, as is the mutawaatir sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam); the fact that his three Imaams (i.e. Abu Haneefah, Abu Yoosuf and Muhammad) said otherwise did not prevent him from practising this sunnah. This is the approach which every Muslim is obliged to have, as we have already seen from the testimony of the Four Imaams, and others.

To sum up: I sincerely hope that no follower of an Imaam will race to condemn the principles of this book and abandon benefiting from the sunnahs of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) which it contains, with the argument that they are contrary to his Madhhab. I hope that such a person will instead consider what we have given of the exhortations of the Imaams towards the obligation to act on the Sunnah and ignore their sayings contradictory to it. I hope also that he will realise that to condemn the attitude of this book is to condemn whichever Imaam he is following, for we have taken these principles from those Imaams, as we have explained. Therefore, whoever refuses to be guided by them on this path is in great danger, for such refusal necessitates turning away from the Sunnah, the Sunnah to which we have been ordered to refer in cases of difference of opinion and on which we have been commanded to depend.

I ask Allaah to make us among those about whom He says,

"The answer of the believers, when summoned to Allaah and His Messenger, in order that he may judge betweeen them, is no other than this: they say, "We hear and we obey" - it is such as these that will attain Success. It is those who obey Allaah and His Messenger, and fear Allaah, and keep their duty to Him, who will triumph."63

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