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Why Did The Imams Differ?

Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah

category: Knowledge


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Also, he t did not know the regulations of the Majoos in regards to their payment of the jizyah (money tribute). This was until 'Abd-ur-Rahmaan Ibn 'Awf t informed him that the Messenger of Allaah r said: "Treat them like the people of the House (Ka'bah)." [8]

And when 'Umar arrived at Sargh [9] and news reached him that there was a plague in Shaam, he first sought counsel from the Muhaajireen that were with him, then from the Ansaar, then from the Muslims that were present at the Conquest (of Makkah). Everyone of them advised him (r) according to his own personal opinion and not one of them informed him of the Sunnah (in regards to this situation). This was until 'Abd-ur-Rahmaan Ibn 'Awf (r) arrived and informed him of the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (s) concerning plagues and that he (s) said: "If it breaks out in a land while you are in it, then do not leave from it by fleeing. And if you hear news that it has broken out in a land, then do not go near it." [10]

And he (r) and Ibn 'Abbaas were reminded of what should be done when one has doubt in his prayer as to whether or not he has broken his ablution. And the Sunnah for that affair was not conveyed to him (r), until 'Abd-ur-Rahmaan Ibn 'Awf (r) informed him that the Prophet (s) would "Cast away all doubts and work upon that which he was certain of." [11]

And one time 'Umar (r) was on a journey when a wind began to blow violently, so he began to say: "Who will narrate to us a hadeeth concerning the wind?" Abu Hurairah (r) said: "News of this reached me while I was in the last rows of people (on the journey), so I hurried my riding animal until I reached him. Then I narrated to him, what the Prophet (s) commanded should be done at the time when the wind is blowing." [12]

In these instances, 'Umar did not have knowledge of these matters, until those who were not equal to him in terms of knowledge, conveyed it to him. In other instances, the aspect of the Sunnah (which he did not know of) was not conveyed to him and so he ruled or gave a verdict in opposition to it. This is such as when he gave a ruling concerning the blood tribute to be paid for the (loss of one's) fingers; that they vary according to their uses. In spite of this, Abu Moosaa and Ibn 'Abbaas (r) , who were much lower than him in knowledge, knew that the Prophet (s) said: "This and this are equal" meaning the thumb and the little finger. [13] This aspect of the Sunnah was also conveyed to Mu'awiyah (r) during his leadership and so he judged according to it, and the Muslims found no other alternative but to follow that. So this hadeeth was not a sign of deficiency in 'Umar (r) , for the hadeeth did not reach him.

Also, he (r) as well as his son 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Umar and other righteous people used to forbid the muhrim (one in state of Ihraam) from putting on perfume, before going into the state of Ihraam and before the Ifaadah to Makkah, after the casting of the pebbles at 'Aqabah. And the hadeeth of 'Aa'ishah did not reach them in which she said: "I perfumed the Messenger of Allaah (s) for the occasion of his Ihraam before he performed it and for his hill (disembarking from the state of Ihraam), before he did tawaaf (circumambulating)." [14]

Likewise, he used to command the one who was wearing khuffs to wipe over them (during ablution), even if he had sandals on, without restricting a fixed period of time for doing it. Many of the Salaf followed him in that matter and they were not conveyed the ahaadeeth in which the time period (for its validity) is mentioned. And these ahaadeeth are authentically transmitted by some of the companions who were not of equivalent status to him in knowledge. Furthermore, information on this matter has been reported on the Messenger of Allaah (s) through numerous authentic narrations. [15]

The same goes for 'Uthmaan (r) for he did not possess knowledge that the woman whose husband passed away was to complete her 'iddah (waiting period) in her (deceased) husband's home. This was until he heard the hadeeth of Furai'ah Bint Maalik, the sister of Abu Sa'eed Al-Khudree, in regards to her situation when her husband died. And it was that the Prophet (s) told her: "Remain in your (husband's) home until the fixed period of time has been completed." So 'Uthmaan (r) based his opinion on this (hadeeth). [16]

And one time he was given some hunting game, which was caught just for his purpose, as a gift. So he was about to eat it, when 'Alee Ibn Abee Taalib (r) informed him that: "The Prophet (s) returned some meat that was presented to him as a gift." [17]

Similarly, 'Alee (r) said: "Whenever I heard a statement (hadeeth) come from Allaah's Messenger (s), Allaah benefited me with what He willed for me to benefit from it. However, when I heard a statement come from anyone else, I would make him take an oath on it, so if he would swear on it to me, I would then believe him. And once Abu Bakr related a hadeeth to me, and he spoke truthfully" Then he (r) mentioned the famous hadeeth of the prayer of repentance. [18]

Also he, 'Ibn 'Abbaas and others declared the ruling that the woman whose husband dies while she was pregnant, had to complete the longer of the two waiting periods. And the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (s) concerning this matter in the case of Subai'ah Al-Aslamiyyah did not reach them. For when her husband, Sa'ad Ibn Khaulah (r), died, the Prophet (s) ruled that "her waiting period is to endure until she gives birth." [19]

Also, he (r) along with Zaid, Ibn 'Umar and others ruled that a women that is married to a man while being in another land, if her husband dies, that she receives no dowry. In this example, the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (s) concerning the case of Barwa' Bint Waashiq did not reach them. [20]

Discussion on this topic is extremely vast, such that the reports on the companions of the Messenger of Allaah (s) concerning it are numerous and many. As for the reports concerning its occurrence with other than them, from those who came after them, then taking account of all of them is impossible, for verily they reach the level of thousands. And it must be kept in mind that these four companions were the most knowledgeable, the most understanding, the most submissive and fearing, as well as the most virtuous from the entire ummah. And those who came after them are much lower than them in this regard, thus, it is more likely that some aspects of the Sunnah would be unknown to them. And this needs no explanation.

So whoever believes that every hadeeth that was conveyed to one of the Imaams or to one specific Imaam, is authentic, then he is mistaken. And that is a vile and detestable mistake.

And no one should say: "Indeed (all) the hadeeth were transcribed in books and collected, so how could it be hidden from anyone?" This statement is far from correct for indeed these transcription of ahaadeeth, which are well-known in the books of Sunnah, were only collected after the death and disappearance of these Imaams whom are followed by the people, may Allaah have mercy on them. In spite of this, it is not permissible for it to be claimed that all of the hadeeth of the Messenger of Allaah (s) are limited to certain specified books. And even if one were to limit all of the hadeeth of the Messenger of Allaah (s) to such, then still, everything that was in these books was not known to a scholar, nor can this be attained by anyone. Rather there would be with one man, many records of transcribed ahaadeeth and he would not be able to grasp all that was in them. Rather, the ones who existed before these books of transcribed ahaadeeth were collected, were much more knowledgeable of the Sunnah than those who came after them. This is because a lot of what was conveyed to them and considered authentic in their opinion, did not reach us except with a narrator that was unknown or with a cut chain of narration or it was not conveyed to us in its complete form. Thus the place where they would transcribe the ahaadeeth was in their hearts and there would be vast amounts of these recorded transcriptions held within them. This is one matter from the knowledge of legal rulings, of which there is no doubt.

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