Thursday, November 25, 2010

of Hanbali and Mazhab

For this semester. we're learning "Umdah al-Fiqh" which is one of the famous beginner's texts in Hanbali school ("mazhab")

The text was authored by al-Imam Muwaffaquddin Ibnu Qudamah al-Maqdisee who was one of the most prominent scholars of Hanbali mazhab.

He is also called "Shaikh al-Mazhab" (The scholar/leader of mazhab) and in Hanbali terminology, the word "as-Shaikhan" (the two Shaikhs) refer to the Ibn Qudamah and the Ibn Taymiyyah al-Jadd (the grandfather) [who is the grandfather of Shaikh alIslam Ibnu Taymiyyah and the compiler of Muntaqa al-Akhbaar, the basis of Imam as-Shaukanee's commentary (Nailul Autoor).This is as opposed to the as-Shaikhan in Hadeeth terminology which refers to Imam alBukharee and Imam Muslim.

Going back to the Hanbali mazhab, although it is the "youngest" of the four schools of jurisprudence, it is by far, the most "flexible" of all. It is actually a "myth" to think Hanbali mazhab as very rigid and strict.

What I meant by "flexibility" is that opinions from either Imam Ahmad himself ("riwayah"/narrations") or from scholars within the mazhab itself encompass other 3 mazhabs as well.

Another characteristic of the Mazhab is that it does not restrict the "acceptable opinions within the mazhab" (wujooh) to certain numbers of scholars. Therefore the "process of Ijtihaad" within the Mazhab is an ongoing process. Opinions of the Hanbalite scholars of modern days can be considered as part of the opinons within the mazhab.

However, this does not mean that Mazhab Hanbali does not have a "standard" or "official" stance. The "official" stance of Mazhab basically revolves around 3 Hanbali scholars: al-Mardawee, alHajjawee and alBuhutee.

As a finishing note, one should aspire to learn "fiqh of mazhab" based on mazhab texts as it paves the way for you to acquire your "malakat fiqhiyyah" (Fiqh Aptitute) although one should also strive to learn "fiqh adillat" (Fiqh of the Evidences (alQuran and asSunnah) as both should come hand in hand.

It is a dangerous mistake to assume fiqh of mazhab is born out of wild and haphazard imagination of fore scholars. Rather, it is a careful and precise steps based on clear principles derived from the Quran and Sunnah!

Friday, November 12, 2010


One of the greatest scholars of the past, Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah used to write very fast. He used to finish writing one whole(!) book in just one sitting, usually after Asr prayer until Maghrib

As a natural consequence of fast writing, his handwriting is generally not the best legible handwriting.

So illegible that after a few days, when he wanted to review his writing or notes, he could not even understand it!

So much he even needed to get his students who are used to his "style" of writing to decipher what exactly he wrote!

"A sample of Sh. alIslam Ibn Taymiyyah's handwriting"

It is said that one of the many contributing factors that his works initially were not well read and spread was due to handwriting!

Going back to my present reality as a doctor, it goes without saying how important communication is, because most of our work is centred around getting and giving the "right" information be it verbally or written in the "right" way

Many a time, we often get misled or turned off by people not giving or getting the right information. Once, we had a patient who we were told had left sideness weakness with preliminary diagnosis of TIA/stroke and eventually had CT Brain (which was normal) but if you take proper history, you would know that she actually had classic "sciatica"!

Similarly with handwriting, some handwriting can make your head spinning and some is so scrumptiously good, so good that it makes you read to the last letter.

Especially with handover, although I think myself as a very good handwriting reader, there were many instances where I was scracthing my head to understand poor handwriting,.

Sometimes with poor handwritten notes, people tend to overlook illegible parts which may or may not contain vital information, which in real life, can be the deciding point between life and death.

Fortunately, most of the time, the system usually provides layers of " protective walls" in place to prevent adverse events!

And some handwriting may give a different impression from what it is originally intended for..

"Probably colonising....."
I leave it your imagination.
(Apologies for my wife. I took it from her site)