Q: I am a Sunni Muslim following the Hanafi school of thought and I reside in a small state of India where the population of Muslims is only 8% i.e. approximately 220,000, almost all which identify with the Sunni sect and follow the Hanafi madhab. In matters of spiritual and religious guidance we laymen consult our local imams, most of who acquired their education from other states and almost all of them follow the teachings of Darul Uloom, Deoband, India.
However, after reading some published text materials on religion and many online lectures, I am very confused as these writers and orators claim to be of the Sunni sect, following the teaching of Hajarat Imam Abu Hanifa in case of Fiqh, etc. but differ a lot from what the imams at our local mosque preach. Most of us highly regard the writer of ‘Heavenly Ornament’ Hajarat Asraf Ali Thanwi Mujaddid e Alf thani, along with the ‘Tablighi’ movement, ShahWali Ullah,etc. and condemn the teaching of Abul Ala Maududi, Dr. Zakir Naik, Ahmed Deedat, etc. These scholars however, contradict our imams and condemn Asraf Ali Thanwi Mujaddid e Alf thani and his elk as heretics (innovators) while accepting Maududi. I am very confused on whose words to take as I have no source for authenticating what our local imams preach or what the orators and the published text suggest. Although not much, I do understand that our Nabi (pbuh) declared that the group that holds firmly to his way and the way of the Sahaabah (ra) are the rightly guided ones. However each claims to be this ‘rightly guided ones’ all the while endorsing different and conflicting ideologies.
In light of the above conflicts, I am at a religious dilemma as to which one may be the right one to follow. I shall be highly obliged if you advise me on this matter and help me identify the way of the ‘rightly guided ones’. Kindly intimate me which one Hanafi madhab is the right group?
A: The Qur’an commands us to investigate before passing judgement in any matter. We are prohibited from passing judgement by merely speculating or guessing. If any claim is made against a person, Shar’ee evidence and proof is required in order to prove the claim. If misrepresentation takes place or a person’s statements are misconstrued or things are attributed to him which are not true, then this will amount to slander in the sight of Allah Ta’ala. The consequence of slander is extremely serious. If one has any reservation regarding any quotation, then he may quote the statement of Hazrat Thaanwi (Rahmatullahi Alay) from his own works, in his language, and in the correct context that he had spoken. Insha Allah, if you look at the works of Hazrat Thaanwi (Rahmatullahi Alayh), you will not find any discrepancy in it.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Zakaria Makada
Checked & Approved:
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)