Hadith Related To The Differences Of The Ummah

Contemporary Fatawa, Fiqh / Friday, October 1st, 2010

Q. There is a Hadith quoted very frequently by some writers and orators in which the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallam)is reported to have said: “The Difference of my Ummah is a Divine Mercy”. some people do not accept the authenticity of this Hadith while others maintain it to be authentic. What is the correct position in this respect?

A. This Hadith referred to in the question is mentioned in some of the Books of Hadith with two different versions. Firstly, it is narrated by Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (R.A) that the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallam)has said:”

“The differences between my Ummah are a blessing”.
Secondly, it is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas that the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallam)has said: The difference bet ween my Companions is a blessing.” The first version has been reported by some scholars of Hadith like al-Baihaqi and al-Maqdisi, but they have not based it on any chain of narrators. Therefore, the scholars have not taken it as n authentic hadith, the second version has been given by al-Baihaqi in his Book al-Madkhl and by al-Daylami in his Book al-Firdous. Both of them have given chain of narrators also but the authentic scholars have decided that its chain is to weak to be relied upon. (See al-Siraj al-Munir by al-‘Azizi v.1, p.64). It is, therefore, established that the above quoted Hadith has not been reported through any authentic source on the basis of which it can be held as reliable. Therefore, it should not be quoted as an authentic Hadith of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallam).

However, the sense conveyed by it can be held as true to some extent, because the difference of opinion in the interpretation of the Verses of the Holy Qur’an or the Traditions of the Holy Prophet which occurred between the Companions of the Holy Prophet and between the authentic scholars of Islamic jurisprudence was based on their sincere efforts to find out the truth. Therefore, the ruling of each one of them is based on the sacred source of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah. All such findings are to be held as a possible interpretation of the Shari’ah. Therefore, in the case of a genuine collective need arising out of the ever-changing circumstances, the view of any of the authentic scholars can be adopted to solve a common problem of the Muslim Ummah and it is in this sense that such like differences bet ween the scholars are nothing but a Divine blessing for the collective cause of the community. But it is true only in relation to the sincere differences of interpretation which have occurred between the competent scholars of the Shari’ah who are called the ‘mujthids’. It does not apply to the sectarian differences which have done nothing but to divide the Ummah between several groups and sects each one reproaching the other and waging a continuous war against him without a sincere effort to find out the real intention of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah. This type of differences can never be taken as a blessing, rather they are a curse for the community which should be eliminated as far as possible.

Q. I have learned from on of my relative s who has learned Arabic that most of the arguments propounded by Imam Abu Hanifa are based on the weak narrations of Ahadiths. i would like to know the correctness or other wise of this statement.
(A.B. Siddique. Mauritius)
It is totally wrong allegation that all the rulings given by Imam Abu Hanifa are based on the weak Ahadith. This baseless propaganda has been in vogue since a number of centuries and the honest scholars of Hadith and Fiqh have vehemently refuted it on very solid grounds even admitted this in a number of their writings. Imam Al-Sharani has devoted a separate chapter in his book Al-Mizaan Al-Kubra to establish this fact that the rulings are taken by Imam Abu Hanifa on the Holy Quran and authentic Ahadith and on the practice of the noble companions of the holy prophet ( Sallaho Alaihi Wasallam)

Although the arguments on which the views of Imam Abu Hanifa are based have been explained by numerous scholars, yet Maulan Zafar Ahmed Usmani a well know scholar of the subcontinent of the Indo-Pakistan has written a voluminous book on the very subject under the title i laussunan which has been published in 20 volumes, each comprising at least 300 pages . The whole book is dedicated to explain the strength of arguments advanced by Imam Abu Hanifa and his followers. On can differ from some of the arguments given by Hanafi Jurists but the same applies to other views also and it does not mean that the whole Madhab of Imam Abu Hanifa is based on weak arguments.

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