An Interesting Dialogue With a Ghayr Muqallid

Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alaih) was conducting a Bukhari Shareef lesson in Kanpur when a person entered and posed a question which was totally unrelated to the lesson. Nevertheless the following discussion ensued between Hadhrat Mufti Saheb and the Ghair Muqallid[1]:

Ghair Muqallid: What is your personal opinion regarding the mas’ala of Qiraat Khalfal Imaam (the muqtadee reciting behind the Imaam in Salaah)?

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: I will answer once you inform me which mazhab you subscribe to.

Ghair Muqallid: I am an Ahle-Hadith.

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: Now you may present your question.

Ghair Muqallid: What is your personal opinion regarding the mas’ala of Qiraat Khalfal Imaam (the muqtadee reciting behind the Imaam in Salaah)?

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: Your question is quite disturbing.

Ghair Muqallid: It is strange that a mere question could disturb someone.

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: Certainly! It is for this reason the Qur’an has forbade us from posing certain questions. Does the Qur’an not command us:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَسْأَلُوا عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ إِن تُبْدَ لَكُمْ تَسُؤْكُمْ

“O You who believe! Do not pose such questions which, if explained to you, will cause you pain.”

Ghair Muqallid: And may I ask in which way did my question disturb you?

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: I am disturbed on account of the fact that you are enquiring about my personal opinion in this issue. Are you going to go by whatever I say? You ought to be asking what the Hadith has to say regarding this mas’ala.”

Ghair Muqallid: Yes! That is exactly what I meant.

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: Al-Hamdulillah! Your inner condition reveals that you consider whatever I am going to tell you to be in accordance to that which appears in the Hadith (for this reason you have inquired from me regarding my personal opinion). Now that you have understood this, listen attentively! It is not compulsory for the muqtadi to recite behind theImaam in Salaah.

Ghair Muqallid: Will you present to me your proof for saying it is not compulsory for themuqtadi to recite behind the Imaam?

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: Once again you have disturbed me through your question.

Ghair Muqalllid: How is that?

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: You claim to be an Ahle-Hadith (a follower of the Hadith) whereas in this situation you have abandoned the teachings of the Hadith. The Hadith instructs the claimant to furnish proof not the defendant. Since you are claiming that it is compulsory for themuqtadi to recite behind the Imaam in Salaah, it is your duty to furnish the proof:

البينة على المدعي

Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: It is the duty of the claimant to produce proof in substantiation of his claim.

Hafiz Ibnus Salaah in his “Muqaddamah” has categorically stated that this Hadith is amashhoor Hadith.

I am not the one who claims that it is compulsory for the muqtadee to recite behind the Imaam. Instead, it is you. Despite that, you still demand proof from me and act contrary to this Hadith:

البينة على المدعي

Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: It is the duty of the claimant to produce proof in substantiation of his claim.

Certainly this is not what is expected from a person who claims to be Ahle-e-Hadith (a follower of the Hadith).

Nevertheless, I will still explain to you (why reciting behind the Imaam is not compulsory). To prove compulsion, one needs an absolutely authentic proof known in Shari’ah as (نص قطعى).

In our case, the proof i.e. the Hadith which establishes reciting behind the Imaam is not an absolutely authentic proof (nass-e-Qati).

Ghair Muqalllid: Here’s my proof …

لا صلاة لمن لم يقرا بفاتحة الكتاب

There is no Salaah for he who did not read Surah Faatiha.

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: Inform me, in which juz of the Qur’an does this appear? In whichSurah does this verse appear? Certainly this is no verse of the Qur’an. Instead this is a Hadith which falls under the category of khabrul waahid. Don’t you even know the meaning of an absolutely authentic proof? (دليل قطعي)

Nevertheless since you have presented this Hadith, can you please explain how you have concluded from this Hadith that it is compulsory to recite behind he Imaam?

For a long time I have been waiting to ask the Ahle-Hadith how do they conclude from thisHadith that it is compulsory for the muqtadi to recite Surah Faatihah. Consider the narration of Hadhrat Ubadah bin Saaamit (Radiyallahu Anhu):

“Once, after the completion of the Salaah, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) enquired from the Sahaba (Radiyallahu Anhum) as to who among them were reciting during the Salaah. Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said:

لعلكم تقرؤون خلف إمامكم

It seems that you are reciting behind your Imaam

From this Hadith we understand that reciting behind the Imaam was not a command of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). Similarly, we come to know that reciting behind theImaam was not a common practice during the era of Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).

Had this been the common practice of Sahabah or the command of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) would have not enquired from them whether they were reciting behind the Imaam. Furthermore, had this been the instruction of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), the companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) would have replied:

“Oh our master (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), as per your instruction we are reciting behind the Imaam.”

It is for this very reason, we do not find that the prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) ever questioned the Sahabah whether they recited ‘subhana rabbiyal azeem’ in ruku, ‘subhana rabbiyal a’ala’ in sajda or attihiyaat?

Why didn’t Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) ask regarding these aspects? This is due to the fact that this was the general practice of the Sahabah (Radiyallahu Anhum) which everyone was carrying out as per the instruction of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).

However, in the case of reading behind the Imaam, the question was posed: “Who from amongst you were reciting behind me in Salaah?”

Some of the Sahabah (Radiyallahu Anhum) then timorously answered: “We were reciting behind you O Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)! Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) then said:

“Do not recite anything (behind your Imaam) with the exception of Surah Faatiha, for there is no Salaah for the one who does not recite Surah Faatiha … (Bazlul Majhood)

Ghair Muqalllid: “… You see! This is exactly what I mentioned to you!”

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: “Certainly! But, allow me to explain to you the correct meaning of this Hadith. On one hand Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) prohibits reciting behind theImaam through the following words: لا تقرءوا (do not recite behind the Imaam!) and on the other hand Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) makes an exclusion by saying إلا (except for…). (So we have a prohibition together with an exclusion.) Thus the prohibition denotes impermissibility whilst the exclusion denotes permissibility. Definitely we understand that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam),will not prevent you from doing a certain thing and at the same time allow you to do that very same thing. So could you explain to me which thing is Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) preventing us from and which thing is Rasulullah(Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) allowing us to do. If we are being allowed to recite Surah Faatiha(behind the Imaam), then what are we being prohibited from?

Ghair Muqalllid: “Everything besides Surah Faathihah will be left under the prohibition. In actual fact, what I mean is that the Hadith is stopping us from reciting anything (i.e. Surah) after Surah Faatiha like reading some other verse or like joining another Surah to Surah Faatiha.

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: “Very well. Let us make i’itibaar of this Hadith. Are you familiar with the terminology of the Muhaditheen when they mention i’itibaar?

Ghair Muqalllid: “Certainly I am familiar with this terminology. I’itibaar means to accept and acknowledge something.”

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: NO! This is not what i’itibaar means. According to theMuhadditheen, i’itibaar means to carry out a comprehensive study in order to gather the various chains of a certain Hadith which are recorded in the books of Hadith. The purpose for carrying out this study is so that one may be able to keep before him the various texts of the same Hadith and pass a correct judgement. Now, making i’itibaar of this Hadith, we find different wordings appearing in different Ahaadith. The following text appears in one Hadith:

لا صلاة لمن لم يقرأ بفاتحة الكتاب فصاعدا

There is no Salaah for the one who does not recite Surah Faatiha and something else (over and above Surah Faatiha).

In another text it appears:

فما زاد

There is no Salaah for the one who does not recite Surah Faatiha and something additional

In yet another text it appears:

وما تيسَّر

There is no Salaah for the one who does not recite Surah Faatiha and whatever else you find easy to recite.

Another text reads:

وسورة معها

There is no Salaah for the one who does not recite Surah Faatiha coupled with another Surah.

Yet another text reads:

وآيتين معها

There is no Salaah for the one who does not recite Surah Faatiha and two more verses.

Keeping all these texts before us, we understand that it is permissible for one to recite more than Surah Faatiha. Now, you explain to me if this is the case, then what exactly are we not supposed to recite behind the Imaam?

If you have any reservations regarding the authenticity of these texts, I will show it to you from the original works.

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb continued: “Let us leave these questions to be answered by the learned scholars. I wish to ask you another mas’ala. Tell me, if you entered the Masjid whilst the Imaam is in ruku’, what will you do? Will you join him in ruku’ or not?

If you don’t join him then you (being an Ahle-Hadith) will be abandoning the Hadith which says: ‘Join the Imaam in whichever posture you find him in’ (Musannaf Abdur Razzaaq 2/281)

And if you do join him in ruku’, then what about your Surah Faatiha?

You could recite it in ruku’, but then you will be contradicting the Hadith which prohibits reciting Qur’an in ruku’ (Nasai).

You could do as some of the Ahle-Hadith do i.e. despite them joining the Imaam in ruku’, they repeat the rakaat after the Imaam makes salaam. If you do accordingly, you will be abandoning the Hadith wherein Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Who joins theImaam in ruku’ has got the rakaat. (Bazlul Majhood)

Now tell me, how can one call himself an Ahle-Hadith when he has ignored all these Ahaadith of Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)? In fact (from the Ahaadith mentioned) he has not practised on a single Hadith.

Ghair Muqalllid: How do I come out of this problem? I am cornered from all sides.

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: “What a simpleton you are! After I have cornered you from all sides, you are asking me for a way out.”

Ghair Muqalllid: “If you had found the Imaam in ruku’, what would you do?”

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: “Why are you now referring to me? Has your stock of Ahaadithdepleated? And if I do tell you, will you go by what I say?”

Ghair Muqalllid: (Silent)

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: “If I do tell you, will you promise to adopt taqleed as we do?”

Ghair Muqalllid: “Please don’t entangle me with your arguments.”

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: “You have become so entangled, as if there is no way out of it. As for me, I would simply refer the matter to Hadhrat Imaam Abu Hanifa. I would go up to him and say: “Hadhrat! I am cornered from all sides, please show me a way out.”

Imaam Abu Hanifa would say: “Son! The Hadith is explicit: “In whichever posture you find theImaam, join him.” Son! Follow the Hadith and go directly into ruku’, for it is impermissible to contradict the Hadith.”

Furthermore, understand O my son! The Hadith has prohibited us from reciting Qur’an duringruku’. Hence do not recite Surah Faatiha in the state of ruku’, for indeed it is a grave offence to contradict the Hadith.

And my dear son! The Hadith says: Who joins the Imaam in ruku’, has got the rakaat. So regard that rakaat as counted and do not repeat it. Otherwise you will be committing a serious crime by ignoring the Hadith.

I will then enquire: “O Imam Saheb! What about the Hadith:

لا صلاة لمن لم يقرأ بفاتحة الكتاب

There is no Salaah for he who does not recite Surah Faatiha.

Imam Abu Hanifa would reply:

“Son! This Hadith refers to the one who is not behind an Imaam, e.g. someone who is performing Salaah alone or this Hadith refers to the Imaam himself.

If the Imaam or the one performing Salaah alone does not recite Surah Faatiha, the Salaah will not be complete.

As for the one following the Imaam, then there are other Ahaadith relating to him. For example the narration which says:

إذا قرأ فأنصتوا

When the Imaam recites then remain silent. (Muslim)

من كان له إمام فقراءة الإمام له قراءة

Who has an Imaam, the recitation of his Imaam will be sufficient for him (Hence there is no need for him to recite anything behind the Imaam). (Tabraani, Dara Qutni, Ibne Majah … See Bazlul Majhood)

الإمام ضامن

The Imaam is made responsible for the entire congregation. (Tirmizi)

After all, there must be something which the Imaam has taken responsibility of.

Ghair Muqalllid: The narrator of that Hadith is a kazzaab (liar).

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb:

إذا قرأ فأنصتوا

When the Imaam recites then remain silent. (Muslim)

This Hadith is a Hadith narrated by Imaam Muslim in Muslim Shareef. How dare you find fault with the narrator?

Anyway, who is this narrator? Let me make a note of him. Who knows, he might appear in one of your proofs and I will use it against you.

Ghair Muqalllid: There’s nothing wrong with this Hadith. I was referring to the other Hadith which says:

من كان له إمام فقراءة الإمام له قراءة

Who has an Imaam, the recitation of his Imaam will be sufficient for him (Hence there is no need for him to recite anything behind the Imaam). (Tabraani, Dara Qutni, Ibne Majah … See Bazlul Majhood)

In this narration there is a kazzaab (liar).

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: “And who is this kazzaab narrator?”

Ghair Muqalllid: “Jaabir Ju’fi”

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: “And which Muhaddith ruled Jaabir Jufi as a kazzaab?”

Ghair Muqalllid: “Abu Hanifa”

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: Subhanallah! You mean you are actually relying upon what our Imaam Abu Hanifa said regarding a narrator of Hadith! This is fantastic. For years people have been saying Abu Hanifa does not know Hadith. Today, it pleases me to hear from your mouth that Imaam Abu Hanifa was well acquainted with Hadith.

In fact, from your statement we also learn that Imaam Abu Hanifa must have written a book onHadith in which he discussed at length the narrators of Hadith. Would you be kind enough to quote the book wherein Imaam Abu Hanifa had recorded this?

Ghair Muqalllid: (Silent)

The Azaan of Asr was then called out and the Ghair Muqallid got up and started leaving.

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: “Join us Hanafees for one Salaah at least. You may by all means recite behind the Imaam if you wish.”

Ghair Muqalllid: “I’m in a hurry. I have some important work.”

Hadhrat Mufti Saheb: “Well then listen to this Hadith before you leave. It appears in the narration of Sihah (authentic narrations) that whenever Shaytaan hears the Azaan he runs away whilst passing wind. (Bukhari, Muslim and Mishkaat)

The furthest distance the voice of the Muazzin reaches, all objects within that range be it the stones, sand, etc., will bear testimony for him on the Day of Judgement. Shaytaan therefore escapes out of fear that his name will be enlisted amongst those who will intercede for theMuazzin.

At the same time, another Hadith says:

من تشبه بقوم فهو منهم

He who imitates a nation; he will be counted from amongst them (Mishkaat)

Hence, (after hearing the Azaan) if you are going to leave in this manner without performingSalaah, you will be resembling Shaytaan.

‘Awjazul Masaalik’ quotes the statement of Imaam Maalik:

“In wudhu, use your hand to clean your nose. Do not blow your nose in a manner which resembles the snorting of a donkey.”

Hence you should not resemble Shaytaan by leaving without performing Salaah.

The Ghair Muqalllid left without saying anything.

[1] Salafi