Spirituality for Peace

Reading Sheikh Ramadan al-Bouti’s Refutation to La-Madhahabiyyah (Anti madhabism)

Mohammed Saeed Ramadan Al-Bouti was a world-renowned Sufi scholar popularly renowned as 'modern Ghazali.'

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Spirituality for Peace Reading Sheikh Ramadan al-Bouti’s Refutation to La-Madhahabiyyah (Anti madhabism)M

ohammed Saeed Ramadan Al-Bouti was a world-renowned Sufi scholar popularly renowned as ‘modern Ghazali.’ He was born in 1929 in the region of Butuan, Turkey. At the age of four, his father, Mullah, emigrated to Damascus, the Syrian capital, along with his father, Mullah Ramadan al-Bouti. Bouti, who had learnt by heart Ibn Malik’s version of al-Fiyyah at his tender age, memorized the Holy Quran within only six months. He studied Shari’ah and other Islamic Sciences from Al-Azhar University and served in several educational institutions throughout his valuable life.

Ramadan al-Bouti‘s strong stance against the radical Islamists was not to revolt against the rulers but to rescue them from the clear misguidance. This prominent scholar, who engaged in serious efforts for the betterment and upliftment of the Muslim community, bid farewell in an explosion of Islamic State militants while he was teaching in the mosque during the Syrian civil war in 2013.

“La-Madhahabiyyah” is a modern argument that threatens the Islamic Shariah, which has now grown exponentially, and it can be described as ”anti madhabism”. The book “La-Madhahabiyyah ” faced many critical readings such as Madhab’s partition is a bida’a authored by Nasiruddin Albani, Mahmud Mahdi Istanbul and Khairudheen Wanali. Al-Buti, in the second edition of this book, vehemently negated the arguments put forward by Albani and others, adding some crucial notes to the book.

La-Madhahabiyyah (Anti madhabism) is an attempt to understand the Islamic Shariah directly from its two main sources, the Qur’an and Hadith, instead of following the four Imams of Madhhab. They mainly rely on the prophetic saying that the lessons of Islam are apprehendable to the whole society. So, the exponents of Anti-madhabism treat believing in one of madhabs as kufr and ask to follow the veracious Quran directly in lieu of the Imams. These types of baseless arguments are vividly refuted by Ramadan al-Bouti with much intellectual essence.

Madhabs were developed as a methodology to enforce the statutes and laws of Islam through which the Islamic civilization got enriched. After the demise of Prophet PBUH, the engagements of Islamic civilization got spread in every nook and corner of the world; thus Islam had started interacting with populous varied cultures. Islamic scholars played a crucial role in this cultural displacement. Through them, the common mass came to know the true essence of Islam from the very first century onwards itself.

The capability of enforcing religious rules was constrained in the hands of Mujtahids and the Muslims started adhering to them for religious engagements and dealings.

That’s why, the mujthahids should clearly perceive the vast ideas of Quran and hadith along with a thorough knowledge in Arabic language, Islamic history and ijmaah, qiyas and Maqasid.

Taking these facts into account, there are four Madhabs in Islamic laws and a believer should adhere to one of them without any hesitation. The Imams of these four madhabs are Imam Abu Haneefa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi and Imam Ahmad.

The believers started adhering to these Imams as the common Sahabas adhered to the Khulafa-e-Rashideen. Al-Booti substantiates these strong arguements throughout his book.

Since the first century of Islam, the Khawarij were treated as radical Islamists who dealt with the religious laws directly relying on Qur’an and a few hadiths. Their major propaganda was to kill the Prophet’s companions–Usman and Ali–for creating unwanted divisions among islamic society. On the other hand, Shi’ism was based on a hierarchical structure giving some extra importance to Imam Ali, disdaining all other scholars, even the Prophet. Contrary to these two fractions, Sunni Islam and its valuable laws got evolved with much harmony. But, the proponents of anti-madhabism argued, referring to Ibn Kaldun, that the madhabs were generated purely for political reasons. However, Ramadan al-Bouti negates this argument by his keen observation of the famous book Al-Muqaddima penned by Ibn khaldun. In this book, Ibn Khaldun elucidates the significance of adhering to Madhhabs. The book also sheds the light upon the adverse impacts of anti-madhabism in the Oriental Muslim societies in nineteenth century.

The proponents of La-Madhahabiyyah suggest that they should choose the modern way to propose, by omitting the Madhabs, which are the standard methods of approach to all the issues that affect people both personally and socially. The final chapter includes a brief appendix on a discussion of contestations with anti-madhabists. Taking such an herculean task, Ramadan al-Bouti vividly put forward the loopholes of erroneous engagements of anti-madhabism.

The author, Muhammad Shibli Jouher, is Graduate student of Calicut university and is doing his Islamic studies at Madheenathunnor college of Islamic science.

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