The Vindication of the People of the Maghrib: Concerning the Issue of Sadl Laying the Hands Straight in the

Prayer - in the Maliki Madhhab
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. By Him we seek Assistance.

The following text was sent to me via e-mail from a brother who had studied primary level fiqh and tajweed in North Africa prior to moving to the United States; hence I cannot and do not claim it as my own, and unfortunately, I was not given the name of the author nor can I recall the identify of the sender, other than his Efnet IRC nick name, Sahnoon. The daleel was written by one of the fuqara’ in one of his teaching circles who had compiled the information in order to aid the insight of the people who were interested in the issue. This article was edited with the understanding that all of the various positions of our mujtahideen that have been supported and passed through the generations are valid, and each mujtahid is bound by their ijtihad unless they are presented with proof that they consider stronger than what they based their original ijtihad on, both the absolute and the limited among them. Our duty, as simple Muslims, is to take one of them as our tariqa to the Kitab wa Sunnah, to hear and obey. Imam Sufyan al-Thawri, the famous ‘Iraqi mujtahid said: “If you see a man doing something over which there is a debate among the scholars, and which you yourself believe to be forbidden, you should not forbid him from doing it.” Adhering to this advice would greatly benefit this ummah, draw us away from the petty bickering that some of us do and get us back to the real issue at hand, the near complete domination of the Muslims at the hands of the kufar. That being the case, it is not the intention of myself to in any way degrade or attempt to weaken the positions of our other Imams, but rather, it is merely my intention to show positively that sadl is the dominant, majority position of the Maliki madhhab; a point which is shown by what can be considered “strong” language as you will shortly see in the text. The text I received was of an extremely low level of English, so I have taken careful liberties at upgrading the language in order that it may be read more smoothly and have in no way intentionally interpolated into the text. The notes that I have added were done for three reasons: Firstly, being that much of the weight of evidence lies on the people who have transmitted it, I thought it necessary to, whenever possible, give a brief biographical note in order that people may come to know, even if superficially, who these people actually are, for as Imam Zuhri stated, “This knowledge is deen, so look well to whom you are taking your deen from.” Secondly, I felt it necessary, in some instances, to dispel certain myths and half-truths that are being passed around by certain groups of people who have practically waged war against the Maliki madhhab, focusing on this issue in particular, by attempting to project the image that the later Maliki scholars (some even have the audacity to accuse Malik’s students) were acting contrary to their Imam and placed him above the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam. And lastly, to avoid any interpolation. I do not claim to be a scholar, nor a student of knowledge, and hence I ask the reader not to judge the strength of the madhhab by me, but instead judge it by the strength of the man from who it is primarily derived: There will come a time shortly when people will beat the flanks of their camels searching from East to West in pursuit of knowledge. And they will find no one more knowledgeable than the ‘alim of Madina. Imam al-Tirmidhi, al-Qadi ‘Iyad, Imam adh-Dhahabi and many others relation from Sufyan ibn ‘Uyana (in one transmission), ‘Abd al-Razzaq, Ibn Mahdi, Dhu’aya ibn Imama, Ibn al-Madani, Muhammad Idris ash-Shafi’i and many others, that “We used to consider it to mean Imam Malik.” Imam as-Suyuti list it as one of the hujiyyat of the messengership of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam.


There are many short texts in the ‘Arabic language that are circulated throughout North Africa that deal with this issue. If it were possible, I would rather rely on those text, but unfortunately, the vast majority of the text of the madhhahib have yet to be translated, instead, most people preferring to translate works of contemporary “scholars” who are in all respects inferior to our great Imams of the Salaf & Khalaf. But for now, until other works are translated and published, this will have to do. The first appendix is an excerpt from an answer I received back in late 1998 from Hajj Gibril Haddad. The second appendix is my attempt to explain what was too exhaustive to be placed in the footnotes. I felt that since most people in the West are ignorant of the science of fiqh, there were certain allusions to Maliki principles of jurisprudence that many people may not be aware of, or are contrary to what they have been taught, and hence, in order to somewhat enlighten the readers, I have attempted to explain them as briefly and best as I can, being that they are the principles of this proof to aid its proper understanding. As I said, I’m not an usuli scholar, so please don’t quote me. The third appendix is an excerpt of a fatwa that Shaykh Muhammad ‘Illiyish gave in reply to a question relating directly the issue. The fourth are my references which have over the years helped aid my ability to be able to write my humble appendix. I have titled it, “The Vindication of the People of the Maghrib” because sadl is one of the main issues for which the Malikis, who dominate the Maghrib, are attacked for today. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam stated:

There will always be a part of my Community firm before the truth in the Maghrib until the order comes from Allah.
And the validity of sadl is one of those truths that the people of the Maghrib are firm in upholding, despite the criticism they may receive. This was written while I was residing in Hampton, Virginia, but is in no way connected to the Masjid there, nor to Jamal Badawi, Ahmad Sakr, or Ahmad Noor, the three respective trustees of the masjid. May Allah forgive me for the burden I have taken upon myself, as well as for my speech. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger, and the People of the House. Lumumba K. Shakur 20 Muharram 1422 14 April 2001 Hampton,Virginia The Masjid & Islamic Center of Hampton Roads

The Main Text: Irsal al-Yadayn - The Laying of the Hands
In sha Allah, I will be listing the reasoning that our Maliki scholars have given to support their opinion, that is, laying the arms straight in prayer (sadl).

Proof from Ahadith Regarding Hand Placement 1. Sadl (laying the hands straight in the prayer) is not an action, but rather, it is the natural position of the hands while standing.
This is the asl (root, origin, source)

2. The scholars have differed on the matter of qabd (grasping: holding the left hand with the right). Ibn Rushd1 states in Bidayat
al-Mujtahid (1:137)

Ibn Rushd is ‘Abd al-Waleed Muhammad ibn Rushd, born in Cordova in 520. Generally, he is most famous for being an Aristolean philosopher and Maliki scholar, although he was also a qadi, physician and a master of many other sciences. In the arena of fiqh, he is considered to have reached the level of tarjih, which is the ability to compare the various ijtihad in order to distinguish the sahih, preferred and agreed upon (mashhur) from the weaker opinions, the third level of ijtihad, a level which very few scholars have actually reached. The book quoted, Bidayat al-Mujtahid wa-Nihayat-al-Muqtasid, is considered one of the best books in the discipline.


The reason behind their differing is that there are some ahadith narrating the way the Prophet prayed which did not mention him placing his right hand over his left, and on the other hand, it was reported that the people were ordered to do that. As for the ahadith that Ibn Rushd is referring to, one of the most commonly cited is the hadith of Abu Humaid al-Sa’idi, which is as follows: Muhammad ibn ‘Amir ibn ‘Atta stated: “I heard Abu Humaid al-Sa’idi talking amongst ten of the Sahabah of the Messenger of Allah. Abu Qattada who was among them spoke up and said, “I am the most knowledgeable of you about the prayer of the Messenger of Allah.” They replied, “How can that be when you were not following him for a longer period, nor were you a companion of his before us?” To this Abu Qattada replied, “Yes.” “Well then prove it,” the others challenged. He (Abu Qattada) said, “When the Messenger of Allah stood for prayer, he raised his arms until they were level with his ears, said the takbeer and didn’t being reciting until all of his limbs had rested in their natural position. After finishing his recital, he raised his hands until they were level with his ears, said the takbeer and from there, performed the ruku’. He placed his palms on his knees and posed his back straight, neither raising his head nor lowering it . . . This version of the hadith is narrated by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad, al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud in their Sunan, while Imam alBukhari narrates a shorter version of it in his Sahih. When Abu Humaid finished his description of the prayer, they all stated, “You are truthful, this is the way he used to pray.” The statement of Abu Qattada that, “[A]nd didn’t being reciting until all of his limbs had rested in their natural position” is proof that the Prophet did not always place his right hand over his left, for this is not the natural position at which the limbs rest, rather, this is what is known as sadl. If the Prophet placed his right hand over his left in the prayer all the time, then (at least) one of the Sahabah would have objected to Abu Humaid’s failure to report that in his narration. Furtherstill, and most importantly perhaps, amongst those Sahabah was Sahl ibn Sa’d, the narrator of the hadith: “The people were ordered (literally “used to be ordered”) that a man place his right hand over his left arm in the prayer,” as stated by Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (2:334). 2

3. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr3 narrated in his book, al-Tamheed that:
Mujahid said, “If the right hand is to be placed over the left, then it should be on the palm or the wrist on the chest.” The narrator added from Mujahid, “and he hated that.” It is understood from this that placing the right hand over the left was not what Mujahid was accustomed to, proof that he did not witness the Sahabah doing it.4

4. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr also narrates in the same book (20:76):

The point the author is trying to make is that the evidence is not as clear cut as most people imagine and as some “scholars” attempt to have us believe, as with all instances of ikhtilaf amongst our fuqaha’. The most commonly cited hadith is the one found in the Muwatta’ which states: “Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu Hazim ibn Dinar that Sahl ibn Sad said, "People used to be ordered to place their right hands on their left forearms in the prayer." Abu Hazim added, "I know for sure that Sahl traces that back to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace." We have ahadith such as these, while on the other hand, much of the ahadith that give a general description of the Prophet’s prayer do not mention the right hand being placed over the left.

Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr is Yusuf ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, the Shaykh al- Hadith fi-Maghrib, born in 368 in Cordova. He was considered to have reached the level of mujtahid fi-madhhab, a limited mujtahid, and is hence one of the pillars of the Maliki tariqa. He was originally a Dhahiri, a student of Ibn Hazm, but later abaonded his teacher and switched the the fiqh of Imam Malik, which was dominant in his region. His book, al-Tamheed is a commentary on the Muwatta’ of Imam Malik.

Mujahid was one of the Illustrious Tabi’een, a student of Ibn Abbas among others, who was born during the khalifate of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab. He resided in various parts of the ummah until he died in 102 A.H. He was one of the fuqaha’ of the Tabi’een, one of the greatest amongst them. Only a person with delusion and ignorance of our tradition would consider the notion that Mujahid radiallahu anhu would blatantly disregard the Sahabah’s sunnah and act contrary to them. Hence, the reason the author states that his hatred of qabd is “proof that he did not witness the Sahabah doing it.”


‘Abd Allah ibn al-Izar said, “I used to make tawaf around the Kaba with Said ibn al-Jubayr. Once, he saw a man placing one hand over the other, so he went to him, separated his hands, and then returned to me. From this, we notice that placing one hand over another in prayer was considered by him to be a munkar, because he changed it with his hand, which is only acceptable in relation to the munkarat. Furthermore, it is apparent from this athar that at the Masjid al-Haram, there were few people seen putting their hands over each other in the prayer, indicating that the custom was otherwise. And this was during the time of the Sahabah and Tabi’een.

5. Also narrated in al-Tamheed:
‘Abd Allah ibn Yazid said, “I never saw Said ibn al-Musayyib holding his left hand with his right hand in the prayer, he used to lay them straight. Sa’id ibn al-Musayyib was one of the biggest Tabi’een in Madina, and this was thus the practice of the people of Madina that Imam Malik witnessed.5

6. Ibn Abu Shaybah narrated that al-Hasan al-Basri, Ibrahim al-Nakh’ai, Ibn al-Musayyib, Ibn Sirin, and Sa’id ibn Jubayr all laid
their arms straight in the prayer.6

Imam Malik’s7 View Concerning Sadl and Qabd
1. The dislike of qabd in the fard and its permissibility in the nafl if one is standing for a long time in order to make it easier on him. (i.e. a rukhsa)


Not only was he “one of the biggest” but he was the Imam of the Masjid al-Nabi, one of the “seven fuqaha’ of Madina”. He was arguably one of the greatest scholars of the Tabi’een. Shaykh al-Islam al-Qadi ‘Iyad narrates about Abu Ishaq (d. 369), one of the Abdal and fuqaha’ of North Africa, in his Tartib al-Madarik that he was in the masjid and noticed that a man was praying nawafil outloud during the daytime. So after he finished, Abu Ishaq radia allahu anhu admonished the man by stating, “O man! Malik preferred that it be said silently, especially in the masjid, since it may confuse people.” The man replied, “Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz did what I have done in the Masjid al-Nabi’.” Abu Ishaq responded, “And Sa’id ibn al-Musayyib criticized him for that.” The man replied, “So that statement of Sa’id is evidence?” Abu Ishaq became angry and responded, “O Wretch! The Imam of the Hijra and Abode of the Prophet and the Shaykh of the Tabi’un! You say that about him!? I do not think you will be successful. No, by Allah, I do not think that you will die in Islam.” The people said that the man died as a Mu’tazillah. May Allah be pleased with them both.

All of these men are some of the greatest Tabi’een from the ‘Iraqi region. Al-Hasan al-Basri (d. 110) is the famous zahid and mu’arif from Basra who took many ahadith directly from the Sahabah, Sayyidina ‘Ali in particular, is who reported to have relied on a fatwa from al-Hasan in a ruling, which shows his status as a faqih. Ibrahim al-Nakh’ai (d. 96) is Ibrahim ibn Yazid, the faqih of and hafiz known for his correctness and knowledge and who was in all respects the intellectual grandfather of Imam al-A’zam. Ibn Sirin (d. 110) is Muhammad ibn Sirin al-Basri al-Ansari, the Tabi’ and Imam of ‘ilm al-deen of his time, who took fiqh from the six Imams. And last but not least, Sa’id ibn Jubayr (d. 95), the student of hadith of Ibn Abbas, among others, whom all the authors of the Sunnan narrate from, radiallahu anhuma.

Although this may be a bit redundant, Imam Malik is Malik ibn Anas, the famous Imam and faqih of the Tab’ut Tabi’een. He was born in 95 A.H. and had well over 900 teachers, most notably the “seven fuqaha’ of Madina”, Ibn al-Shihab, about whom ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz said, “You must have Ibn al-Shihab. You will not find anyone more knowledge of the past sunnah than him.” and Jaf’ar as-Siddiq, one of the greatest scholars of Ahl al-Bayt, radiallahu anhu. Malik was the student of some of the greatest Tabi’een in Madina, and the teacher of some of the greatest Tab’ut Tabieen. He was the Imam of the Abode and Hijra of the Prophet, as well as the Imam of his masjid, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam, a title which speaks for itself. His love for the Messenger of Allah was so great that he used to keep the finest Arabian horses that he received as gifts tied outside of his home. When Imam ash-Shafi’i noticed them and asked, ”Who are they for?” Imam Malik replied, “They are a gift for you. Pick which ever you like. How can I demean the blessed ground where the Messenger of Allah walked with the hooves of animals?” It was known that Imam Malik would not mount his horse within the confines of the city of Medina out of reverence for the earth that enclosed the Prophet’s body. He died in 179-radiallahu anhu wa ridwan.


This is the opinion narrated by Ibn al-Qasim8 in al-Mudawanna (1:74)9 and in al-Tamheed (20:75) al-Layth as-Sa’d is reported to have said: The laying of the hands if prayer is preferred, unless he is standing for an extended period and becomes tired, then there is no problem (la ba’as) in putting the right hand over the left.10 Al-Bukhari narrated in his Sahih (1:401) in the chapter entitled, “Using the Hands in Prayer for Help, if it is Part of the Prayer” that Ibn Abbas said: A person can use any part of his body for support. Abu Ishaq placed his head cover (over his arms) in prayer and raised it (as a sling), and ‘Ali placed his palm over his left wrist, unless scratching his skin or straightening his clothes.


Ibn al-Qasim is Abu’l ‘Atiqi ‘Abdu’r Rahman, who was an Imam and faqih who kept the company of Malik for 20 years and was at the latter’s death. He was to Malik what Muhammad Shaybani was to Abu Hanifa. Ibn Wahb said, “If you want this business (referring to Malik’s fiqh and fatawa) then you must have Ibn al-Qasim, he devoted himself to it while we were occupied with something else.” Ashhab, another of Malik’s students said, “If Ibn alQasim’s foot were cut off, it would have more fiqh than Ibn Wahb.” Malik himself said when asked about him, “May Allah preserve him! He is like a bag of sweet musk.” What concerns us here is that Ibn al-Qasim’s transmission were such that his riwaya of the Muwatta’ is considered the strongest, and he is among the men of al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud and al-Nasa’i. A point which will become relevant in the next note.

The Mudawanna was written by Qadi Sahnun who is Abu Sa’id ‘Abdu’s Salam, the Maliki faqih and qadi of the Maghrib. Although he met Malik, he did not get a chance to take from him, instead, his connection was through Imam ibn al-Qasim, Ashhab and Ibn Wahb. He transmitted from Malik more than anyone, which the Mudawwana is a testament to. Ibn al-Qasim said about him, “Tell your friend (i.e. Sahnun) to sit. Knowledge is better for him than jihad and has more reward...The like of Sahnun has not come to us from North Africa nor did I see his like after him.” His station in regards to fiqh is best summarized by 'Amr ibn Yazid who said, "If I had said that Sahnun had more fiqh than all the companions of Malik, I would be telling the truth." Sulaym ibn 'Imran said, "When I asked Sahnun, he answered me from a deep sea and the meaning of his answer was 'Ask more.' Knowledge was in the breast of Sahnun like a sura of the Qur'an for the one who memorized it." He is the main reason why the people of the Maghrib are Maliki to this day. The text of al-Mudawanna states: Ibn al-Qasim said that Imam Malik said (when asked about putting the right hand over the left), “I do not know of this practice as far as obligatory prayers are concerned (la a'rifu dhalika fl l-farida), but there is no harm in someone doing it in voluntary prayers (nawafil ), if he has been standing for a long time, in order to make things easier for himself. The Mudawwana is considered by the Malikis to be the most authoritative book on the ijtihad of Imam Malik, and in most cases, takes preference over any other narrations coming from the Imam. In connection to this quote, from al-Fath al-‘Alii al-Maalik fi-l-Fataawi ‘alaa Madhhab al-Imam Maaliki, (quoted in full in the third appendix) Shaykh alAzhar Muhamamd ‘Illiyish states, The Maliki school has agreed that what Ibn al-Qasim transmits from Malik in the Mudawanna takes priority over other transmissions which contradict it. All of the Imams of the other schools (madhhahib) have shown their acceptance of the aforementioned transmission, adding as follows: “This is the posture of the majority of the followers of Malik and it is the most widespread (mashhur) opinion among them.” Among those who made this statement are scholars such as Imam Nawawi and al-Qurturbi.

Imam Layth ibn Sa’d (d. 175) was a faqih from Egypt about which Imam ash-Shafi’i stated, “He had more fiqh than Malik, but his companions hurt him.” Interestingly enough, Imam Layth ibn Sa’d and Imam Malik ibn Anas had somewhat of a dispute in regards to fiqh, the former criticizing the latter for abandoning sahih ahadith in preference to the practice of the people of Madina, in response to Imam Malik’s criticizing the former for his abandonment of ‘amal, part of which is quoted in the second appendix. That being the case, we are left with two possibilities, either Imam Layth ibn Sa’d abandoned his usual usul in this regards, or he interpreted the ahadith that did not mention qabd, and joined them to their counterparts in the same light as his Madinan and ‘Iraqi contemporaries. Compare the statements of the two Imams. As it concerns us here, I want to briefly dispel a “myth” directly related to this quote. Abu Ameenah Bilal Phillips states in his book on page 70, The Evolution of Fiqh, that, Maalik was tied and beaten until his arms became severely damaged to such a degree that he became unable to clasp them on his chest in salah and thus he began the practice of praying with his hands at his


Thus, putting the hands over each other in prayer is permissible when used as a means for support in cases of standing in prayer for a prolonged period of time, as is narrated of ‘Ali and as Ibn Hazm11 explicted stated in his al-Muhalla (4:113), [A]nd we have narrated of ‘Ali that when he stood in prayer for a long time, he used to hold his left arm with his right hand at the origin of the palm, unless straightening his clothing or scratching his skin. Standing for extending periods of time is a characteristic of the nafl rather than the fard prayer, as the Prophet ordered the imam to be light in the fard. 12 Imam al-Shawkani13 mentioned in Nayl al-Awtar (2:201), [A]nd the narration of irsal (laying the arms straight in prayer) is the narration of the majority of his students, and it is the famous among them (referring to Malik and the Maliki scholars). Imam al-Shawkani also stated: Ibn al-Munthir narrated that Ibn al-Zubayr, al-Hasan al-Basri and al-Nakh’ai all used to lay their arms straight in the prayer, and not put the right hand over the left.14 ‘Abd al-Razzaq15 in his Musanaf ‘Abd al-Razzaq states: “I saw Ibn Jurayr praying while laying his arms straight, and al-Awza’i said that whoever wished to do the same (then let him do so) and whoever wanted to leave it (then let him leave it), and it is also the saying of ‘Atta.” 16
sides according to some reports. [emphasis mine] Although the event that he describes is indeed true, the flogging and subsequent temporary injury, the conclusion that he draws has a very weak historical basis, if any at all, which his statement “according to some reports” attest to. The text of the Mudawwana blatantly contradicts him, which is further supported by the statement of Imam alLayth cited above. If we insist on relying on Bilal Phillips excuse, then we are left with either one of two possibilities: either Bilal Phillips and his sources discovered something that Imam Malik’s students did not, or Imam ibn al-Qasim and/or Qadi Sahnoon are/is lying: one, a man of al-Bukhari, and the latter one of the greatest qadi’s of North Africa. If the story were true, that Imam Malik was so injured by the beating he received that he could no longer use his right arm, why are there no reports of him falling on his face while making sujud since he was so adamant about going down on the hands first? And why are there no reports from neither his closest students nor those who came immediately after him drawing such conclusions? It appears that in the close minded-ness of certain people, unable to discredit an Imam of his stature, in refusal to accept his ijtihad, have resorted making up an excuse for him that will save him from degradation in their eyes. This theory is to be abandoned in light of the overwhelming evidence.

Ibn Hazm (d. 456) is ‘Ali ibn Ahmad ibn Sa’id. He was a wazir, poet and the scholar of al-Andalusia of his era, the Shaykh of Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr. He was a mujtahid al-madhhabi of the Dhahiriyya, who only accepted the Qur’an, Sunnah and ijmaa’’ of the Sahabah as legitimate sources of fiqh, and hence, his strength is primarily in hadith and the athar of the Sahabah, which is why he is quoted here.

The point is the comparison made by Ibn Abbas between Abu Ishaq’s sling and ‘Ali practicing qabd “when he stood in prayer for a long time”, which suggest that it wasn’t a normal practice that was done by either since it would be unnecessary for Abu Ishaq to create a sling for the fard, since the farida are not long enough to tire the limbs.

Imam Shawkani (d. 1250) is Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Shawkani, the Yemeni scholar who was previously a Zaydi before coming to the ‘aqida of Ahl us-Sunnah. He was recognized as an authority in usul al-fiqh along with hadith, which is greatest work, an eight-volume hadith commentary, is quoted from here.

Ibn Zubayr (d. 94) is ‘Urwa ibn al-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwam, the second of the fuqaha’ of Madina, the nephew of Umm al-Mu’mineen Aisha as-Siddiqa, radiallahu anha. He was a student of fiqh of many of the Sahabah, including Aisha, and was considered to have had the most hadith of the people in Madina, and perhaps most importantly, he memorized and transmitted all of the ahadith of his aunt Aisha, radiallahu anha wa anhu.

‘Abd al-Razzaq is 'Abdu'r-Razzaq ibn Hammam al-San'ani, Abu Bakr (126/743-211/826), author of books and considered to be reliable. He died in 211/827. He has a recension of the tafsir of Ma'mar b. Rashid and a large collection of hadiths called al-Musannaf, This collection of hadiths is the earliest extant musannaf. He was from Yemen and began to study hadith at the age of 20. He studied under Ma'mar and Ibn Jurayj. The traditions in the Musannaf come mainly from three people: Ma'mar, Ibn Jurayj, and ath-Thawri.

‘Ata is ‘Ata ibn Abu Rabah (text missing)


2. The permissibility of qabd in both the fard and nafl.
This is the saying of Ashhab17 and Ibn Nafi. It is also the statement of Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr.18

3. The performance of qabd in the fard and nafl.
This is narrated of the two brothers: Mutrif and Ibn al-Majishun from Malik, as stated by Ibn Rushd in al-Tahsil (1:395).

4. The prohibition of qabd.
And this is the narration of the ‘Iraqi scholars from Malik, as mentioned in by al-Bagi in al-Mutawa (1:281). And Allah knows best.

Appendix I: Opinions from the Scholars of the Maliki School
Shaykh Ahmad ad-Dardiri:

Imam al-Awza’i (d.158) is ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Amir . He was the Imam of the people of the Maghrib prior to their conversion to Maliki fiqh. He was a Syrian shaykh who died as a murabit in Beruit. He is ranked amongst the mujtahideen of the Salaf and was slightly younger than Nu’man ibn Thabit, Abu Hanifa. Although Imam Malik considered Sufyan al-Thawri to be more knowledgable, he considered Imam al-Awza’i to be fit to be khalifa. His fame in the world was so great, that when he died, the Muslims carrying his funeral bier were followed by the Jews, Christians, and the Copts in Beruit. He is reported to have said, "I saw myself as if carried up by two angels who camped me in front of the Lord of Power and Might. He said to me: `Are you my servant `Abd al-Rahman who commands good deeds?' I replied: `By Your Power and Might! You know best.' Then they descended again and brought me back where I first was.” Radiallahu anhu wa ridwan.

Ashhab is Ashhab ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Amiri. He was a student of several mujtahideen besides Imam Malik, most notably al-Layth ibn as-Sa’d, but he is mostly known for transmitting the fiqh of Imam Malik, hence he was one of Qadi Sahnun’s teachers. Both he and Ibn al-Qasim were contemporaries and Sahnun was of the opinion that they were equal in stature. Imam ash-Shafi’i said about him, “I have not seen anyone with more fiqh than Ashhab. He achieved supremacy of fiqh in Egypt.” He died in 204.

For reasons that will become obvious, I want to comment again on Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr. Shaykh al-Hadith Ibn ‘Abd alBarr is regarded as one of the carriers of the tradition and one of, if not the, Shaykh of Hadith in his era. He was originally a Dhahiri, a student of Ibn Hazm, but then he later abandoned Ibn Hazm and switched over to the fiqh of Imam Malik. But even after that, due possibly to his previous training, he had a tendency to learn towards the Shafi’i method of thinking (usul) latter in his life. Nonetheless, he wrote two works which are regarded as authoritative in the Maliki madhhab: Kitab al-Kafi and Kitab al-Tamheed. In the Kitab al-Tamheed (10:67-80), Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr states that although the qabd is the preferred view of Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam ash-Shafi’i and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanibal, sadl is the preferred view of Imam Malik and Imam al-Layth, along with being the known practice of Ibn al-Musayyib, and Ibn Jurayr, while Imam al-Awza’i and ‘Atta Ibn Abi Rabah consider both to be equal in weight. Furthermore, he explicitly states in al-Kafi (1:206) that both qabd and sadl are Sunnah. I state this in rebuttal of the statement in Fiqh us-Sunnah where Sayyib Saabiq states: Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr as saying “Nothing has reached me different from that. It is the opinion of most companions and their followers.” Malik mentioned in his al-Muwatta’ and states, “Malik never stopped doing it until he met Allah.” The implications that Sayyid Saabiq attempts to promote is that the Maliki shaykh, Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr narrated that Malik did not practice sadl, in commentary of the hadith about the Messenger of Allah switching the hands of a Sahabi who had is left over his right. This in no way implies that sadl is invalid, for it is known that Imam Malik accepted the validity of qabd, even though he preferred to do otherwise. Also, it is interesting that in Yahya ibn Yahya al-Laythi’s riwayat of the Muwatta’ that hadith is not mentioned, and it is this version which the ummah has accepted.


The Maliki scholar Shaykh Ahmad ad-Dardir19 said in his Arqab al-Maasilik li Madh’hab al-Imam Malik that: It is allowable to grasp the hands during the nafl prayer and it is reprehensible to grasp the hands during the fard.

Shaykh Ahmad az-Zarruq:
And to end this, we would like to quote from one of the greatest Maliki ‘ulama, Shaykh Ahmad az-Zarruq20, in his commentary on the Risala of Ibn Abu Zayd21: The person praying is not to place his right hand over his left in the fard, although it is allowable in the nawafil due to the length that one stands in prayer in order to support oneself in standing. Shaykh at-Turtushi22 said, “It is forbidden to grasp the hands during the fard because it becomes like something he supports himself upon during the prayer” . . . The People of Learning in Madina disagreed regarding the grasping of the hands for support as to whether it was part of the outward aspects of the prayer or not.

Shaykh ‘Usman dan Fodio:
It is mentioned in the Bayan (by Shaykh ‘Uthman ibn Fudio23), Grasping the hands for support during the prayer is summed up in three opinions: 1.


some say it is allowed absolutely it is reprehensible except when standing long in the nawafil it is highly recommended and its matter is to grasp the left wrist with the right hand and place them under the chest.

And Allah knows best.24

Ahmad Dardiri is Abu'l-Barakat Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-'Adawi al-Maliki, who died in 1201. He wrote ash-Sharh as-saghir 'ala Aqrab al-masalik, the book quoted above. Siddi Ahmad az-Zarruq (d. 899) is Abu al-Abbas az-Zarruq Ahmad ibn Ahmad al-Burnusi, the famous Moroccan Sufi, faqih and hadith scholar. Prior to his devotion to tasawwuf, he was considered one of the greatest fuqaha’ of the late Maliki school. After his tasting of tasawwuf and subsequent arrival, he also became one of the most renouned shaykhs of the Shadhili tariqa. An authority of both shari’ah and ihsan, like most of the Shadhilli shuyukh, rahimullah, he is the support of both tariqas.

Ibn Abu Zayd (d. 386) is Abu Muhammad ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abu Zayd al-Qayrawani, Shaykh al-Faqih of North Africa. He was the Imam of the Malikis of his time and the defender of Ahl us-Sunnah during the oppressive reign of the Fatimid dynasty over much of North Africa. He was primarily Ash’ari in ‘aqida and undertook the task to summarize, defend and spread his madhhab. As it concerns us here, Ibn Abu Zayd is the author of the Risala, al-Mukhtassar alMudawwana, and he revised ‘Utibiyya: The Imitation of the People of Madina, Defense of the School of the People of Madina. He, obviously, upheld the position that sadl is preferable to qabd, which can be seen in his Risala, which does not mention qabd at all, of which numerous commentaries have been written, what is written above being an excerpt from one of them.

Shaykh at-Turtushi is Muhammad ibn al-Walid al-Fihri, better known as at-Turtushi. He was a Maliki scholar of fiqh and was born around the year 451 in Andalusia. He eventually taught in Alexandria. He died around the year 520.

‘Usman dan Fodio (d. 1817 C.E.)is ‘Uthman ibn Fudio, the mujahid, mujaddid, Maliki scholar and Qadiri shaykh of Nigeria. In 1806, he waged a jihad against his people, after calling them to the sunnah and away from the shirk and bid’a that many of them had become engulfed in. He was an exceptionally learned scholar of Maliki fiqh, hadith (having studing in Madina among other places), and tasawwuf in the tradition of al-Ghawth al-A’zam ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, radiallahu anhu. After establishing the khalifa, he returned to teaching and studying, and turned over the responsibility of the khalifate to his brother and son, who had assist him in his jihad and tajdeed-rahim’ullah.

May Allah be well pleased with all our scholars. In summary, Imams Malik, Layth ibn al-Sa’d, al-Hasan al-Basri, Ibrahim al-Nakhai, Ibn al-Musayyib, Ibn Sirin, Ibn Juzayr, Ibn Zubayr, Mujahid, Ibn Jurayr, al-Awzai’, and ‘Ata ibn Abu Rabah radi Allahu anhuma are all people who were known to either have prayed sadl in preference to qabd, or have made explicit statements that both are equally valid in acceptability. All of them are men on whom we imitate, the Shuyukh of the Tabi’een and Tab’ut Tabi’een, whose fame and renown have reached the heavens. You can include in that list, from Imam Malik’s teachers, at least Jafar as-Siddiq, Ibn al-Shihab, and the other five fuqaha’ of Madina, namely Abu Bakr ibn 'Abdu'r-Rahman, al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, 'Ubaydullah ibn 'Abdullah ibn 'Utba ibn Mas'ud, Sulayman ibn Yasar, and Kharija ibn Zayd ibn Thabit (ibn al-Zubayr and ibn al-Musayyib completing the seven) being that Malik allude to sadl being the ‘amal of Madina, which the seven fuqaha were. Furthermore, Ibn


Appendix II: Explanation of the Fiqh of Imam Malik as it Relates to the Issue at Hand
In regards to the issue at hand, there are three relevant points of fiqh that I feel need briefly to be discussed: ‘amal, khabar al-wahid, and the qat’i in respects to the dhanni.

Imam Malik’s Risala to Imam Layth ibn as-Sa’d
Imam Malik, in an authenticated letter to Layth ibn as-Sa’d in Egypt, wrote: It has reached me that you give fatwas to the people concerning things which are contrary to what is done by our community of people and in our city. You are the Imam and you have excellence and position with the people of your city, and they need you and rely on what comes from you. Therefore you ought to fear for yourself and follow that whose pursuit you hope will bring you rescue. Allah Almighty says in His Mighty Book, 'The outstrippers, the first of the Muhajirun and the Ansar.' Allah Almighty says, 'Give good news to My slaves who listen to the word and the follow the best of it.' People follow the people of Madina, and the hijra was made to it and the Qur'an was sent down in it, and the halal was made halal and the haram was made haram there since the Messenger of Allah was living among them and they were present at the revelation itself. He commanded them and they obeyed him. He made sunnah for them and they followed him until Allah made him die and chose for him what is with Him, may the blessings of Allah and His mercy and blessing be upon him. Then after him, the people followed those from among his community who were given authority after him. Whenever something happened that they had knowledge about, they carried it out. What they did not have knowledge of, they asked about, and then took the strongest of what they found regarding that by their ijtihad and the recentness of their contract (with the Prophet). If someone disagreed with them or said something else which was stronger than it and better, they left the first statement and acted on this other one. Then the Tabi'un after them followed this path and they followed those sunnan. Since the business in Madina was open and acted upon, I do not think that anyone should oppose it, because of what the Madinans possess of that inheritance which none is allowed to plagiarize or lay claim to. If the people of the other cities had begun to say, 'This is the action which is in our city and this is what happened in it from those before us,' they would not be certain about that and they would not have that which allows them that.25

Imam ash-Shaf’i and His Risala
This is the crux of the Maliki position in his own words. When Imam ash-Shafi’i went to Egypt, he found people doing things that he felt were strange. Upon inquiring into their proofs and reasons, it was apparent that they were acting in accord to various fatawa passed by Imam Malik. In order to ascertain the reasons why Imam Malik held such positions, Imam ash-Shafi’i began looking into Malik’s ijtihadi rulings, and saw that there wasn’t a readily identifiable methodology that Imam Malik had
al-Qasim, Qadi Sahnun, Ibn ‘Ashir, Ahmad az-Zarruq, Ahmad ad-Dirdiri, al-Turtushi, Ibn Abu Zayd, and Muhammad ‘Illiyish did it themselves, while Ibn Abu Shaybah, Ibn al-Munthir, ‘Abd al-Razzaq, Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, Imam alShawkani, Imam al-Sha’rani and ‘Usman dan Fodio have affirmed the validity and reports concerning it, a grand total of 34 people, not including the other scholars of the madhhab that I do not know about. All of them were from either Egypt, Madina, Makkah, ash-Shams, Basra, al-Kufa, al-‘Iraq, the Maghrib, “Black” Africa or Andalusia, the complete gamut of our ummah during the time of the Salaf as-Saliheen and following generations.

Meaning that in his opinion, they could not cite the ‘amal of their city as proof, nor be certain about the validity of the ijmaa’ of their current scholars. Which may be a reference to the Kufans, Allahu ‘alim.


employed, hence he felt it his duty to do such. Immediately afterwards, he wrote his innovative work, al-Risala which began the period of usul al-fiqh. When this work was written, Malik was already gone, and Imam ash-Shafi’i was an Imam in his own right. That being so, there were many positions that Imam Malik held that Imam ash-Shafi’i disagreed with, due mostly to differences of methodology, or usul. With these differences in mind, he wrote his Risala, which became the basis for the definitions and generally propagated procedure of fiqh. For Imam ash-Shafi’i, the first source was the Qur’an, then the Sunnah, then ijmaa’’, and then qiyas, nothing more. But Imam ash-Shafi’i’s methodology was not necessarily the agreed upon methodology of the entire ummah, nor where his definitions, hence, the different scholars in different regions and different methods took the Risala, and adapted it to and for themselves. Imam ash-Shafi’i, although he had studied under Muhammad Shaybani, had at this time became the main proponent of the ahl alhadith, and expressed his schools views within his work. Although no one disagreed with the general identification of the sources that Imam ash-Shafi’i identified, how those sources were handled is the point of departure. Since my intention is to help supplement the understanding of the above text, it is not my concern here to deal with the Qur’an nor qiyas, since the issue of sadl is neither a point of tafsir nor qiyas. I will only briefly try and focus upon the Sunnah and ijmaa’ as it relates to the topic.

The Early Definition and Implications of the Word ‘Sunnah’
The Sunnah, as it is commonly defined, is the “words, actions, tacit approval and characteristics of the Prophet”. This is the definition that was given to it by Imam ash-Shafi’i, which the people of hadith concurred upon. But as is evident in the proceeding quote from Imam Malik, this was not the definition that he understood. To Imam Malik and the people of Madina before and after him, the Sunnah including the totality of the Prophet, the Sahabah and the agreed upon practice of the Tabi’een. Hence, in the mind of Imam Malik, the Sahabah and Tabi’een, in a sense, were held on the same level as the Prophet’s personal sunnah. That is not to say that the Sahabah were equals with the Prophet, but rather, the conclusions and massly accepted ijtihad of the Sahabah and the subsequent rulings of the Tabi’een, were the explanation and extension of the Sunnah, in the same way that the Sunnah is considered to be an explanation and extension of the Qur’an, and hence, Imam ash-Shafi’i’s statement: I do not know anyone among the ulama to oppose (the idea) that the Sunnah of the Prophet is of three types: first is the Sunnah which prescribes the like of what Allah has revealed in His Book; next is the Sunnah which explains the general principles of the Qur’an and clarifies the will of Allah; and last is the Sunnah where the Messenger of Allah has ruled on matters on which nothing can be found in the Book of Allah. The first two varieties are integral to the Qur’an, but the ulama have differed as to the third. Hence in the same manner, the Sunnah is of three other types: the Sunnah of the Prophet as mentioned above, the Sunnah of the Companions which explains and supplements the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, and the last is the Sunnah of the Tabi’een that was transmitted to them from the Sahabah, which they acted upon and ruled in accordance of when they could find nothing in the former. And in the same manner, the first two are agreed upon, while the ulama have differed in regards to the third. Before I continue with Malik, there is an important point that needs to be made that will clarify much of the confusion over the different madhhahib, and that is that hadith and Sunnah are not necessarily synonymous to all the usulieen.

The Mutawatir and the Ahad Riwayat
The whole of this deen is by way of transmission. The Qu’ran is transmitted, the ahadith are transmitted, the athar and fatawa of the Sahabah are transmitted, ijmaa’ is transmitted, and the ijtihad of our early fuqaha’ is transmitted. And accordingly, our scholars of usul and hadith have differed between two basic types of transmission: mutawatir and ahad. The mutawatir is a masstransmission such that it is practically impossible for a lie to have crept into the narration and distorted the text. This is the basis of the infallibility and protection of the Qur’an, and the reason why there is absolutely no doubt in our minds that the Qur’an has not been changed since it was completed. Ahad on the other hand, is that whose chains of transmission have not reached that level of certainty, hence, there is a possibility that it can be a fabrication or distortion. Hadith falls into both of these


categories. That being the case, the mutawatir and ahad both correlate to two different degrees of proofs: qat’i and dhanni, definite and speculative respectively.

The Use of Khabar al-Wahid by Ahl al-Hadith and Ahl al-Ra’y
In relation to the two different schools of the Salaf, the ahl al-ra’y and ahl al-hadith, there was a difference on how they looked at ahadith in light of this categorization. No one disputes the authority and ‘isma of the mutawatir, but the point of disagreement is around the ahad. The ahadith al-ahad or khabar al-wahid are those ahadith whose level of transmission, prior to the period of collection, did not reach the level of mutawatir, which comprise the vast majority of the ahadith that are transmitted. The two different schools had differing views on the authority of such ahadith. The ahl al-hadith, after checking both the sanad and text of the hadith, were generally more willing to adopt the hadith after it could be ascertained that it was not abrogated. But, however, the ahl al-ra’y were stricter in this regard. To the ahl al-ra’y, although the mutawatir was a definite (qat’i) proof, the ahad was dhanni at best, and hence was treated like such. Since the ahad was speculative, it could not impart definite knowledge by itself and since Allah said in the Qu’ran: “[V]erily, conjecture avails nothing against the truth” the fuqaha’ have put stipulations on the acceptance of the ahad. Imam ashShafi’i, and Ahmad both stated that when if the narrators of the ahad were upright, competent Muslims with a retentive memory, a direct connection to the person they transmitted from and were not known to distort the text or chain of ahadith, they accepted them and readily utilized those ahadith in their ‘ijtihad, which is Imam al-Bukhari’s criterion for his Sahih.

Imam Abu Hanifa and His Companions: the Representative of the Madhhab al-Ra’y
The Hanafis however placed two other conditions, namely that the person who transmitted the hadith is not known to have acted contrary to their report, and that it is a matter that does not necessitate the knowledge of a vast number of people. In the first condition, there is a hadith which states that “When a dog licks a dish, wash it seven times, one of which must be with clean earth.” The hadith in question fulfills all the above requirements of Imams ash-Shafi’i and Ahmad, but however, it is known that Abu Hurayra, the Sahabi that the hadith comes from, did not act upon it himself. Because it is known that normally, the criterion for purifying anything is only three washes, an established qa’ida, and since Abu Hurayra is known not to act upon this hadith, Imam Abu Hanifa and his madhhab rejected both its text and attribution to Abu Hurayra. In regards to the second criterion, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam, is reported to have said, “Anyone who touches his sexual organ must make a fresh wudu’.” The Hanafis have rejected this hadith in light of the fact that even though this is an important hadith, it was not an established practice amongst the whole community, and hence, there is too much doubt surrounding its authenticity to be acted upon, for if it were true, it would have been necessitated that it be transmitted and acted upon by all. Another example from the Hanafis is the issue of the wali. The Hanafis have ruled that a wali is not an essential part of the nikkah, and hence a nikkah is valid without one, even though there is a sahih hadith that states, “There is no marriage without a wali,” along with others which state something similar. Their reasoning is that in the Qur’an, Allah states, “If he has divorced her, then she is not lawful to him until she marries (hatta tankiha) another man” (2: 229). The dhahir, outward meaning of the word hatta tankiha implies that a woman has the authority to contract her own marriage, and since the Qur’an is a qat’i and the hadith is ahad, it is rejected since the speculative cannot override the definite. Furthermore, the Hanafis consider the ‘amm of the Qur’an to be definite and hence binding it is dhahir wording and general application, unless there is a qat’i proof to specify (takhsis) its generality. In other words, when there was a clash between a qat’i and a dhanni proof, the qat’i takes priority, and in many instances, the dhanni is disregarded. An example from Imam Malik is the same issue above, that of the dog. The Shafi’is and the Hanbalis have ruled because of this hadith and one similar to it, that both dogs and pigs are nejus. However, in the Qur’an, Allah says, “When they ask you what is lawful to them, say: ‘What is lawful to you is that


which is good and pure and also what you have trained your hunting animals to catch in the manner directed to you by Allah.” (5:4) In this verse, Allah allows for the game which is taken from the mouths of hunting animals to be eaten, without any stipulations attached. One of the animals that the Arabs used to hunt with was dogs. Allah did not make an exception to dogs, hence, the ayat in the Qur’an is general and implicitly implies that the saliva of dogs is pure. Furthermore, there is a qa’ida derived from the Kitab wa Sunnah that “everything is pure until proven otherwise”, and since this hadith is ahad, along with the reasoning that Imam Abu Hanifa gave, it cannot overrule the general principle, thereby specifying something which Allah has apparently made general. In light of the fact that there is no other proof to substantiate it, Imam Malik and his madhhab rejected it and consider all living animals, and that which is pure from humans (i.e. hair, saliva, skin, etc.), to be pure as well. Even to the extent that the left over water that a dog has drunken from is considered tahir for taharah.

Imam Malik and the Madinan Divergence
Imam Malik and the Madinans have added another criterion to accepting the khabar al-wahid apart from what which is mention in relation to Imam ash-Shafi’i and Ahmad: that the hadith in question does not conflict with the ‘amal of ahl al-Madina. The ‘amal of ahl al-Madina as a juristic principle states what Malik mentioned above, that Madina is the inheritor of the sunnah of the Prophet and the sunnah of the Sahabah, and hence the entire city is the visual legacy of the Prophetic Sunnah. The proofs are the ayat stated above, along with ahadith: My community will not agree on an error.26 and Madina is sacred, and throws out its dross as fire cast out the dross of metal. and Islam will cling to Madina as a serpent clings to its hole. In Malik’s view, all of these ayat and ahadith substantiate not only the superiority of Madina spiritually, but in regards to its practice as well, and hence, their practice is a mutawatir transmission of the Sunnah. That being the case, the ‘amal of ahl al-Madina is in his mind, which he inherited from his teachers, a qat’i proof, and when it comes in conflict with a dhanni, such as the khabar al-wahid, either explains the latter’s ambiguity, or completely overrides its text, even when the ‘amal is of the Tabi’een or Tab’ut Tabi’een. The rational reasoning behind this was stated by Imam Malik himself, who said, About so many thousand Companions came with the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam, from a certain expedition at such-and-such a time. About 10,000 of them died in Madina, and the rest split up in the cities. Which would you prefer to follow and whose words would you prefer to take? Those (Tabi’een) in whose presence the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam, died with his Companions I mentioned (i.e. the 10,000 of them who died in Madina), or the one (group of Tabi’een) who died with one or two of the Companions of the Prophetsallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam. The understanding that Malik had comes down to common sense. Imam Malik was the Imam of the Abode and Hijra of the Prophet. Madina, was the first Islamic state established, hence, all the relevant historical occurrences happened in Madina. The majority of the akham revealed by Allah ‘Azza wa Jal were revealed in or in relation to Madina. The Prophet made hijra there, lived out his life there, and died there. Revelation came while he was in the city, and the whole area was illuminated by its effect. The vast majority of the Sahabah, in the efforts to be as close as possible to the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam, followed him to Madina and took up residence there. Most importantly in this respect, the seven companions that were known to pass fatwa spent a considerable amount of time in Madina, including ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud and ‘Abdullah ibn Abbas. It was the seat of the first three Khulafa Rashidun, and ‘Ali spent half of his khalifate in Madina. If there was ever a sunnah established, it was done in Madina. If there ever was a relevant hadith, it was known in Madina. If there ever was a city that deserved to be followed, it was Madina.


It cannot be argued that the physical community of the Prophet was not specifically Madina. I state this since this hadith is often understood to be a reference to the whole ummah, and not just the Prophet’s city as Imam Malik and the Madinans understood it.


The Issue of Ijmaa’
As it can be noticed from the quotes that are dispersed throughout this article, Imam Malik was primarily concerned with Madina and did not feel that any other city had a legitimate claim to be equal, let alone superior. That being the case, it is only natural to conclude that the ijmaa’ that Malik was concerned with was only the ijmaa’ of the Madinans, the seven fuqaha’ in particular. If you turn to the Muwatta’, Malik constantly refer to both ‘amal and Madinan ijmaa’, thus we find numerous statements like, I have never heard any of the people of knowledge and fiqh and those whom people take as an example . . . or I have not heard that any of our predecessors used to do that, and the people of knowledge disapprove of it . . . or This is what we do, and what I have seen the people of knowledge in our city doing. And many other statements along those lines. The earlier Imams of the Salaf were extremely careful not to transmit any false information, hence, instead of declaring outright that there is an ‘ijmaa on an issue, they would simply state, “I have not heard any of the people of knowledge say otherwise,” or something similar out of caution. But with Malik, you will however, never find a statement indicating that something is the ijmaa’ of the entire ummah; primarily because what Malik preferred the statements and conclusions of the people in whose cemeteries over 10,000 Sahabah are buried, as opposed to those with only a handful. Malik’s ‘amal and ijmaa’ can be directly related to two other priniples of fiqh that the ‘ulama have for the most part concurred upon: ijmaa’ and ‘urf. ‘Urf as it is defined by the fuqaha’ are the set of practices and word usages that the upright amongst a particular group of people have considered to be good. In essence, Malik’s ‘amal if actually the ‘urf of Madina. ‘Urf as a juristic principle, by the agreement of the fuqaha, cannot stand alone since ‘urf is rooted in the rationale and intellect of a people as opposed to revelation. But however, in Malik’s eyes, the ‘urf of Madina is a divinely inherited phenomenon, and hence, does have the capacity to stand alone as a proof in the shari’ah. Similarly, the knowledge of the scholars in the city was derived from this same fountain as an inherited reality as opposed to a theoretical speculation. In other words, the ‘amal and ijmaa’ of Madina is inherited from the Lawgiver himself sallallah ‘alayhi wa salam, along with the majority of his most trained specialists, and hence is a part of the Sunnah. The difference between the two is that ‘amal, being the ‘urf, it is a reference to the people at large, laymen and scholars alike, while ijmaa’ is a reference to the scholars, to the exclusion of the masses: the distinction between ‘urf and ijmaa’ to the usuli’een of the other traditions. It is however, important to note, that in the Maliki madhhab, after Imam ash-Shafi’i wrote his Risala, all four of these aspects were adopted and consider as sources of law, the Madinan phenomenon obvious having first preference.

Ahadith vs. ‘Amal
‘Amal in relation to ahadith has five possibilities. It will either: contradict the ahadith, confirm the ahadith, contradict one while affirming another other, explain the ahadith, or speak when ahadith are silent. When ahadith clashes with ‘amal, the latter is preferred over the former. One of Imam Malik’s major shaykhs, Rabi’a Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman, nicknamed Rabi’a al-Ra’y, stated: “I will take a thousand from a thousand before I will take one from one, because that one from one can strip the sunnah out of your hands.” In emulation of his teacher, Malik stated, The practice is more firmly established than ahadith. One whom I emulate said, “It is distressing that it should be said concerning the like of that, “So-and-so related to me from soand-so”


To illustrate the point of hadith and Sunnah not being synonymous, the Sunnah including not just the Prophet, Ibn al-Mahdi, one of Imam Malik’s contemporaries, stated: “An established sunnah from the sunnah of the people of Madina is stronger than hadith.” Ibn al-Qasim and Ibn Wahb, both of al-Bukhari’s “men” and Malik’s two best students, Ahhab being the third, stated: “I saw in Malik’s opinion, ‘amal was stronger than hadith.” This perspective was not something that Imam Malik arbitrarily invented on his own due an exaggerated love and respect that many felt Imam Malik had for Madina, but it was instead the understanding that was taught to him by his teachers. Hence, it was stated by him, that while still learning in his youth he noticed that, The men from the people of knowledge among the Followers conveyed ahadith which had been conveyed to them from others and they said, 'We are not ignorant of this, but the past action is other than it. and I witnessed Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr ibn 'Amr ibn Hazm who was a qadi and his brother 'Abdullah, a truthful man who had memorized many ahadith. When Muhammad gave a judgement in which a hadith had come contrary to the judgement, I heard 'Abdullah criticise him, saying, “Hasn't this and this come in this hadith?” He said, “Yes.” His brother said to him, “Then what is wrong with you? Why don't you give judgement by it?” He said, “Where are the people in respect to it?” i.e. what is the consensus of action in Madina? He meant that the action is stronger than the hadith in it. This understanding can be traced all the way back to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, who stated upon the mimbar of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam, By Allah Almighty, I will make it difficult for a man who relates hadith different from it (i.e. ‘amal) Which is possibly one of the reasons why he ordered that all ahadith collections be burned. When ‘amal confirms ahadith, obviously, it isn’t a major issue. But however, being that ‘amal is a source of shari’ah, it has the effect of raising the grade of a hadith to a level beyond sahih, even when its isnad is da’if, the relevance of which will be seen shortly. The same holds true when it both confirms and contradicts, the correctness of the confirmed hadith is raised above the one that it contradicts, and the latter is disregarded. Being that hadith is an oral transmission, which not all of a society will be aware of, while ‘amal is a custom which is generally known by all, there arises the logical possibility that ‘amal records something that hadith does not. In this case, ‘amal serves as hadith, in that they are both indications of the Sunnah, and is thus utilized as if it was a mutawatir text. When ‘amal contradicts hadith, being that it is regarded as a mutawatir transmission, the ‘amal overrules the text. The whole reason that I have explained all of this is that all the hadith that mention qabd, even though well known, are khabar al-wahid at the level of the Sahabah, while on the other hand, sadl was the ‘amal of the people of Madina as was stated by Malik in the text of the Mudawanna quoted above, and which as I have explained is mutawatir. Since, in Malik’s eyes, the ‘amal takes priority over the ahad, he considered it preferable to act upon the ‘amal of sadl, rather than the hadith of qabd. For as Ibn ‘Uyana stated, Hadith is a place of error for everyone but the fuqaha’ While the ‘amal of ahl al-Madina amounts to an established, visually inherited practice. In sha Allah, I will try my best to give examples of each possibility of the ‘amal/ahadith correlation, to prove all of what I have stated.

Case Study One: Affirmation and Explanation
A concrete example of this is the adhan and ‘iqama of the Malikis. Imam Malik states in his Muwatta’:


Yahya ibn Yahya said: Malik was asked about doubling the adhan and the iqama, and at what point people had to stand when the iqama for the prayer was called. He said, “I have heard nothing about the adhan and iqama except what I have seen people do. As for the iqama, it is not doubled. This is what the people of knowledge in our region continue to do. If we turn to the Risala of Ibn Abu Zayd, we find that the description of the adhan is: Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar. Ashadu anla ilaha ill Allah, Ashadu anla ilaha ill Allah. Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasulillah, Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasulillah. And again, in a louder voice: Ashadu anla ilaha ill Allah, Ashadu anla ilaha ill Allah. Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasulillah, Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasulillah. Haya ‘alas salah, Haya ‘alas-s salah. Haya ‘ala-f falah, Haya ‘ala-f falah. Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, La ilaha ill Allah. Now, if we turn to Sahih Muslim, we find the hadith: Abu Mahdhura said that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam taught him the adhan like this: Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar. Ashadu anla ilaha ill Allah, Ashadu anla ilaha ill Allah. Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasulillah, Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasulillah; and it should be repeated: Ashadu anla ilaha ill Allah, Ashadu anla ilaha ill Allah. Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasulillah, Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasulillah. Haya ‘ala-s salah, Haya ‘alass salah. Haya ‘ala-f falah, Haya ‘ala-f falah. And the narrator added: Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar. La ilaha ill Allah. (Muslim 4:740) None of the ahadith mention the softening and raising of the voice between the two sets of the shahadatyn, even though they mention the repetition, and the people of Madina, apparently, were the only people to call the adhan in this manner. Shaykh al-Islam al-Qadi ‘Iyad narrates in his Tartib alMadarik: Abu Yusuf said to Malik, “You do the adhan with tarjih, but you have no hadith from the Prophet about this.” Malik turned to him and said: “Subhan Allah! I have never seen anything more amazing than this. The call to prayer has been done (here) every day, five times a day, in front of witnesses, and sons have inherited it from their fathers since the time of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam. Does this need “So-and-so from so-and-so”? This is sounder (asahh) in our opinion than hadith. The same situation is in regards to the ‘iqama. The ‘iqama as described in the Risala is: Allahu akbarullahu akbar. Ashadu anla ilaha ill Allah wa ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasulillah, Haya ‘ala-s salati haya ‘ala-f falah, Qad qamatis salat’ul llahu akbaru-llahu akbar. La ilaha ill Allah In sahih Muslim, the hadith just before the one quoted above, its states: Anas said: Bilal was ordered to double the adhan and pronounce the iqama only once. (Muslim 4:739) Imam ash-Shafi’i and Ahmad have interpreted this hadith to mean the manner of calling the ‘iqama which is well known, proof of which lies in both Muslim and Bukhari, which state: Abu Qilaba: Anas said, "Bilal was ordered to pronounce the wording of Adhan twice and of Iqama once only." The sub narrator Isma'li said, "I mentioned that to Ayyub and he added (to that), "Except Iqama (i.e. Qad-Qamatis-Salat which should be said twice)." (Bukhari 1:11:58) and Anas reported: Bilal was commanded (by the Apostle of Allah) to repeat (the phrases of) Adhan twice and once in Iqama. The narrator said: I made a mention of it before Ayyub who said: Except for saying: Qamat-is-Salat [the time for prayer has come]. (Muslim 4:736) But on the basis of the ‘amal of ahl al-Madina, the Malikis have come to a slighty different conclusion. Which is an explanation of the statement in the Muwatta’, “I have heard nothing about the adhan and iqama except what I have seen people do.” So in this case, the ‘amal serves as a ta’wil to the proper


understanding of the hadith in order to derive the Sunnah of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam, as well as a criterion to prefer one text over another.

Case Study Two: Contradiction
There is a ahadith that is recorded in both Sahih Mulim and several other collections which states: He who fast Ramadan and six days of Shawwal, it will be as if he had fasted the whole year. But however, it is narrated in the Muwatta’ that: Yahya said that he heard Malik say, about fasting for six days after breaking the fast at the end of Ramadan, that he had never seen any of the people of knowledge and fiqh fasting them. He said, "I have not heard that any of our predecessors used to do that, and the people of knowledge disapprove of it and they are afraid that it might become a bida and that common and ignorant people might join to Ramadan what does not belong to it, if they were to think that the people of knowledge had given permission for that to be done and were seen doing it. (Muwatta’, 18.22.60) In this instance, both the ‘amal and ijmaa’ of the people of Madina contradicts the outward import of the above ahadith. Because of this, and the reason that Imam Malik gave in response to the question, there is a principle in Maliki fiqh that something is which is inherently permissible can be declared makruh, if affirmed by other proofs, in order that people do not take it to be a wajib. Thus we find in the Bidiyat al-Mujtahid of Ibn Rushd that Malik disapproved of the fasting of Shawwal: [E]ither because people might associate with Ramadan what is not a part of it, or either because the tradition had not reached him or it did not prove to be authentic for him, [the latter of] which is more likely. This incident of refraining or disapproving something in order that the people don’t mistake it for a fard is in essence an extension of sadd adh-dhara’a, blocking the means, at a less forceful level, and incidentally, this principle is a point of ikhtilaf by the Shafi’is and Hanafis who do not agree with it. However, this can be seen in the seerah of the Prophet, when during Ramadan, the Prophet came out for tahujjud three nights in a row, but failed to come out the forth night. When they asked him why, he sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam replied: “I did not want the people to think that it was an obligation upon them.” So thus, in the Maliki madhhab, the fasting of the six days of Shawwal is makruh, immediately following Ramadan. The hadith is instead interpreted to mean that fasting the full Ramadan, and any six days out of the year, is like fasting the whole year, and Shawwal was just an example that was mentioned, when it is even considered at all. Another example of a contradiction is in reference to fasting on Jumah. The other three schools consider to haram to fast on Fridays specifically, based on the hadith, Muhammad ibn ‘Abbas narrated, “I asked Jabir, ‘Did the Prophet forbid fasting on Fridays?’ He replied, ‘Yes.’ and the hadith Abu Hurayra narrated that, “I heard the Prophet saying, ‘None of you should fast on Fridays unless he fasts a day before or after it.” But however, we find in the Muwatta’: Yahya said that he heard Malik say, "I have never heard any of the people of knowledge and fiqh and those whom people take as an example forbidding fasting on the day of jumah. Fasting on it is good, and I have seen one of the people of knowledge fasting it, and it seemed to me that he was keen to do so. (Muwatta’ 18.22.60) And hence, the rule of the prohibition of fasting only on Friday is not upheld by the Malikis.


Case Study Three: Contradiction/Affirmation and Speaking When Silent
In regards to the tasleem, there are many ahadith that narrate the Prophet making tasleemat in a variety of ways. It is narrated in various collections that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam is reported to have made tasleem on both sides, saying “As’salam ‘alaykum rahmatullah”, or “As’salamu ‘alaykum rahmatullah” on the right and “As’salamu ‘alaykum” on left, or “As’salamu ‘alaykum” on both sides, or “As’salamu ‘alaykum” once to the right (Tirmidhi). But, Muhammad ‘Illiyish27 sums up the position of the Maliki madhhab by stating in Mawahib Al-Qadir: Adding 'wa rahmatu-l-lahi wa barakatuh' after the final salam of the prayer is against preferable, as it contradicts the Practice of Medina, although the hadith which indicates it is a confirmed hadith (sahih). Thus we find written in the Muwatta’: He (Ibn ‘Umar) then said, "As’salamu ‘alaykum" to his right, and would return the greeting to the imam, and if anyone said "As’salamu ‘alaykum" from his left he would return the greeting to him. Even though the ahadith alluded to above are all sahih, with the exception of the one which states he merely said, “As’salam ‘alaykum” to the right, the position of the Maliki tariqa is that saying “As’salamu ‘alaykum” is enough, and adding anything to it is against what is preferable, i.e. it is best to leave it. The exact position of the Malikis is stated by Ibn Abu Zayd, who states in his Risala: Then you say, "As-salamu 'alaykum" once, starting to the front and turning to the right a little as you say it. This is what the imam does or anyone doing the prayer by themselves. If you are doing the prayer behind an imam you say the salam once, turning a little to the right, then you return the salam of the imam towards the front and then, if there is anyone on your left who has said the salam, you greet them in return. You do not say the salam to the left if no one has said it to you. Even though the hadith in Tirmidhi is da’if, and from what I know, there are no hadith substantiating the salam said to the imam. The people of Madina, during the time of the Tabi’een had never heard of any hadith which stated other than their adopted method. Hence, the story is told by Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-‘Arabi that a man came into the masjid during the time of Ibn al-Shihab al-Zuhri, and he did two tasleema. Ibn al-Shihab saw this and went up to the man and asked where he was from. The man replied, ‘Al-‘Iraq.” So Ibn al-Shihab asked him, “Where do you get this two taslima from?” So the man replied, “I heard from so-and-so, who heard from so-and-so” giving the full isnad, “that Ibn Abbas said that when the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam, ended his salat, he said “As’salamu ‘alaykum” turing to the right, and then repeated it to the left.” Ibn al-Shihab, replied to this, “I have never heard of that hadith.” Which shows that the two taslima was not an adopted practice of Madina. And Ibn alShihab was so emphatic about the imam only saying one tasleem that when he was in Makkah, after finishing his salat, stood up and said to the Qurashi imam: Remove ‘wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu’. ‘As’salaam ‘alaykum’ is correct. Due to this fact, the hadith that state the Prophet only did taslima once are preferred over all the rest of them, even though they are of a higher grade, and adhering to the others is going against what is preferable. The ‘amal raises the grade of the hadith to beyond sahih, namely to the level of mutawatir, definite knowledge. And the sunnah of a third tasleem by the follower is established, even though there are no known hadith from the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam, ordering it.

Concerning Qabd, Malik and the Muwatta’
The above should be more than enough examples to prove what I have stated about Imam Malik and Madinan ‘amal. The only other issue left to deal with is the fact that Imam Malik quotes two hadith in the Muwatta’ in support of qabd:

Muhammad ‘Illiyish (d. 1881 C.E.) is


Yahya related to me from Malik that ‘Abd al-Karim ibn Abu al-Mukhariq al-Basri said, “Among things the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam said and did are: ‘As long as you do not feel ashamed, do whatever you wish’, the placing of one hand on the other in prayer, being quick to break the fast, and delaying the meal before dawn.” and Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu Hazim ibn Dinar that Sahl ibn Sa’d said, “People used to be ordered to place their right hands on their left forearms in the prayer.” Abu Hazim adding, “I’m sure that Sahl traced it back to the Prophet.” It is known, which I hope I have proven beyond a reasonable doubt, that Imam Malik and much of the Salaf , preferred sadl to qabd. So why did Malik place them in his Muwatta’? Keeping in mind what is narrated in the Mudawanna, as I stated above, all of the possibilities can relate to this issue: If contradicts the ahadith, then Malik was simply acknowledging the fact that the hadith do indeed exist, in the same manner that Imam Muslim narrates ahadith in his sahih that he was known not to act upon, entitling his chapters, “The Proof of Those Who Say Such-and-Such”; hence, he was showing his acceptance of the proof for qabd, acting as a muhaddith as opposed to a mujtahid. Normally, Imam Malik quotes in the Muwatta’ a couple of ahadith from the Prophet, several athar from the Sahabah, and then states what the ‘amal of the people is or the ijmaa’ of their scholars. But in this case, he just quoted the ahadith, which may be an indication of what I just stated. Mujahid said, “If the right hand is to be placed over the left, then it should be on the palm or the wrist on the chest.” The narrator added from Mujahid, “and he hated that.” I have not heard that any of our predecessors used to do that, and the people of knowledge disapprove of it . . . If it confirms some of the ahadith and contradicts others, it would mean that the ahadith are abrogated, and are references to an earlier phase in the prophethood, which is the opinion that Shaykh al-Azhar Muhamamd ‘Illiyish prefers. Part of the possible proof of this lies in the past tense of the second hadith quoted in the Muwatta’. Since the ahad are a dhanni and ‘amal is a qat’i, there is no question that a qat’i can abrogate a dhanni. The ‘amal obviously comes after ahadith, and therefore it is understood that the Sahabah abandoned those hadith that mentioned qabd, otherwise, the Tabi’een would not have adopted it. The objection has been raised by some in order to cast doubt on the possibility of this as spurious by suggesting that, “Was breaking the fast early and delaying the sahur abrogated as well,” in response to the idea that the command for qabd was abrogated in the hadith quoted in the Muwatta’. The idea that only part of a command is abrogated is very highly probable in light of another hadith, namely the hadith that states: “The Imam was only appointed to be followed. Therefore, stand when he stands, sit when he sits, bow when he bows and prostrate when he prostrates.” It is agreed upon by the four madhhahib that the “sit when he sits” command from that hadith was abrogated by amal of the Sahabah that occurred during the illness of the Beloved of Allah, while the rest of the hadith remains fully in tact. Ibn Rushd states in Bidiyat al-Mujahid: The reason behind their differing is that there are some ahadith narrating the way the Prophet prayed which did not mention him placing his right hand over his left, and on the other hand, it was reported that the people were ordered to do that. I do not know of this practice as far as obligatory prayers are concerned (la a'rifu dhalika fl lfarida) . . . Also, consider the hadith, “Pray as you see me pray.” In relation to this idea. The Tabi’een imitated the Sahabah, and the Sahabah adhered to this hadith. In light of this fact, the Tabi’een would not have practiced sadl if they were not taught to do such, and hence, if not the ‘amal alone, the ‘amal and this well-known hadith both combine as a proof of abrogation.


Or, the ‘amal affirms the ahadith in respects to qabd being mubah in the nawafil, and as a result he placed them in the Muwatta’ as proof of his acceptance of qabd; after all, when asked about qabd, he stated: [B]ut there is no harm in someone doing it in voluntary prayers (nawafil ), if he has been standing for a long time, in order to make things easier for himself. This is what we do, and what I have seen the people of knowledge in our city doing.

Conclusion and Summary
In reference to qabd, the issue lies around the fact that Imam Malik and many other Tabi’een and Tab’ut Tabieen were known to have preferred sadl, which all the evidence which has been presented here more than confirms as a historical fact. What is left to the reader is to be able to step out of the ta’assal, the close-mindedness and leave the ikhtilaf to the people who have more rights to it. Otherwise, none of this will make sense and the only result in increased confusion and hatred towards the ahl al-sadl, since I do not think that anyone besides the Raafidiyya could allow themselves to come to the conclusion that the 18 scholars from the Salaf that I mentioned had blatantly deviated from the sunnah, or they were ignorant of something so basic, even if they have the audacity to accuse the Khalaf of such. As I stated in the beginning, it is not my intention to convert people to the Maliki madhhab, but merely to defend our ‘ulama and the ikhtilaf of our heritage. Sadl was the dominant ‘amal of the people of Madina as well as many of the scholars outside of it. Allah Almighty says in His Mighty Book, 'The outstrippers, the first of the Muhajirun and the Ansar.' Allah Almighty says, 'Give good news to My slaves who listen to the word and the follow the best of it.' People follow the people of Madina, and the hijra was made to it and the Qur'an was sent down in it, and the halal was made halal and the haram was made haram there since the Messenger of Allah was living among them and they were present at the revelation itself. He commanded them and they obeyed him. He made sunnah for them and they followed him until Allah made him die and chose for him what is with Him, may the blessings of Allah and His mercy and blessing be upon him. Then after him, the people followed those from among his community who were given authority after him. Whenever something happened that they had knowledge about, they carried it out. What they did not have knowledge of, they asked about, and then took the strongest of what they found regarding that by their ijtihad and the recentness of their contract (with the Prophet). If someone disagreed with them or said something else which was stronger than it and better, they left the first statement and acted on this other one. Then the Tabi'un after them followed this path and they followed those sunnan. I would like to conclude and summarize this discussion with a excerpt from Dr. Yasin Dutton’s book relating to this issue: It is important to emphasize that 'amal and hadith are not mutually exclusive, as Qadi 'Iyad's analysis indicates 'amal may, or may not, be recorded by hadith; and hadith may, or may not, record 'amal. Where they overlap they are a strong confirmation of each other; but where there is contradiction, 'amal is preferred to hadith by Malik and the Madinans, even when the sources of these hadith are completely trustworthy, as indicated in the comment of Ibn Abi Zinad in the above passage. Thus, for example, the standard adhan in Madina, or the way of standing for the prayer with one's hands by one's side (sadl, or irsal al-yadayn), or reciting the prayer without beginning with 'bismillah ir-rahman ir-raheem', or the size of the sa' and the mudd, were matters that were not recorded initially in the form of hadith but were nevertheless known generally amongst the people and understood to have originated in the time of the Prophet. Other practices, however, although recorded in authentic hadiths and even transmitted, for example, in the Muwatta’, were not acted upon by their transmitters precisely because they did not represent the sunnah.


In other words, they were either exceptional instances or earlier judgements that had later been changed, or otherwise minority opinions that held little weight, and which, even though they derived from the Prophet, were nevertheless outweighed by other judgements also deriving from the Prophet. It is for this reason that Ibn 'Uyayna could say that hadiths were a source of misguidance except for the fuqaha', and Malik that Sunnah ('amal) were a more reliable source than hadith. There are a number of striking examples in the Muwatta' of 'amal being preferred to hadith, even though the hadiths in question are considered completely trustworthy. The following examples, where Malik transmits hadiths which he does not consider should be acted upon, serve to illustrate the point: (i) Malik relates two hadiths whose overt import is that the prayer should be done with the right hand holding the left at the wrist (qabd). He makes no comment on this in the Muwatta', but in the Mudawwana Ibn al-Qasim records him as saying: 'I do not know of this practice as far as obligatory prayers are concerned (la a'rifu dhalika fl l-farida), but there is no harm in someone doing it in voluntary prayers (nawafil ), if he has been standing for a long time, in order to make things easier for himself.'- The transmitter of the Mudawwana, Sahnun, also records a hadith to the effect that a number of Companions had reported seeing the Prophet doing the prayer with his right hand placed over his left. However, despite this hadith and the similar reports in the Muwatta', the madhhab of the Mudawwana, which became the major source for later Malikis as summarized in Khalil's, Mukhtasar, was that it was preferable in all circumstances to pray with one's hands by one's sides since this was the predominant 'amal. This way of doing the prayer was also preferred by al-Layth ibn Sa'd, accepted by al-Azwa'i, and recorded from other important authorities such as Sa'd ibn al-Musayyab, 'Urwa ibn al-Zubayr, and Ibn Jurayj. It is, furthermore interesting to note that this practice, although rejected by all the other surviving Sunni madhhahib, is nevertheless that of the Zaidis, the Ithna 'Ashari Shi'a, the Isma'ilis and the Ibadis, thus bolstering the argument for the 'ancient' (i.e. Prophetic) origin of this 'amal, since the differences between these groups and the main body of the Muslims arose at a very early date and on questions of belief and political authority rather than on points of fiqh. There can have been no reason for them inventing such a detail of fiqh, and the obvious inference is that they were merely continuing an established practice.28 The totality of the Shi’a and the Khawarij (Ibadis) with the exception of the Zaydi, upheld the position of the Malikis in respect to sadl. Also, the long gone madhhahib of al-Awza’i and Layth ibn al-Sa’d support this adoption, along with a good portion of the Tabi’een from Madina and al-‘Iraq. And thus, the attacks on the Maliki madhhab in this day and time in relation to this issue are in reality attacks on our Salaf, the Tabi’een of Madina in particular. If the only response to all of this is: “Taqlid! Taqlid!” which I have seen the case to be, About so many thousand Companions came with the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam from a certain expedition at such-and-such a time. About 10,000 of them died in Madina, and the rest split up in the cities. Which would you prefer to follow and whose words would you prefer to take? And for that reason, some of the most authoritative works in the Maliki madhhab uphold this established practice: In the al-Mizan of the Shafi’i faqih ash-Sha’rani states: The explanation of this matter – apart from being something the Legislator sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam provided – lies in the fact that the person praying placing his hands below his chest generally distracts him from fully concentrating on Allah. In such case, letting the arms drop by the sides and occupying oneself and concentrating on Allah is preferable to observation of form. Thus, whoever considers himself unable to concentrate fully on Allah during the prayer due to qabd should preferably let the arms drop by his sides.


The Sources of Islamic Law: The Qur’an, Muwatta’ and Madinan ‘Amal, 20-21


In Risala al-Qaywarani of Ibn Abi Zayd, it states: Going into the state of ihram as far as the prayer is concerned is by saying Allahu akbar and no other expression is acceptable. At the same time your raise your hands level with your shoulders, or lower, and then begin the recitation. If you are doing Subh you recite the Fatiha out loud. You do not say bismi'llahi-r-rahmani'rrahim for the Fatiha nor for the surah which comes after it. If you are by yourself or behind an imam you say ameen after the words, wala'd-daalleen, but you do not say it out loud. An Imam does not say ameen if he is reciting out loud but he does if the recitation is silent. There is, however, a difference of opinion about whether the imam should say ameen when the recitation is out loud. After that you recite one of the larger surahs from the mufassal. If the surah you recite is longer than that, that is good so long as it is not getting too light. The surah is also recited out loud. When you have finished the surah you say Allahu akbar as you go down into ruku' the bowing position of the prayer. In the al-Mukhtassar of Siddi Khalil:
(missing text)

In the al-Mudawanna of Qadi Sahnoon:
(missing text) In Ibn Ashir’s ?: (missing text) In Ibn al-‘Arafa ?: (missing text) Etc. (missing text)

And therefore, I wish to recall the statement of Imam Sufyan al-Thawri: If you see a man doing something over which there is a debate among the scholars, and which you yourself believe to be forbidden, you should not forbid him from doing it.

There will always be a part of my Community firm before the truth in the Maghrib until the order comes from Allah.
And Allah knows best.

Appendix III: The Fatwa of Shaykh al-Azhar, Muhammad ‘Illiyish
From al-Fath al-'Alii al-Maalik fi-l-Fataawi 'alaa Madhab al-Imaam Maalik, vol 1, page 104 to 108. In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. May Allah bless and grant peace to our Master Muhammad, his Family and Companions. I was asked: Praise be to Allah who has made the Book and the Sunnah a way and the ‘Ulama a guide for this Community. Sir, please give us a ruling on the act of letting the arms hang down ones sides while praying (sadl). Is it related to the Sunnah? Was it transmitted that the Prophet, peace be upon him, did so or ordered that it be done? Is it the ijtihad by Ibn al-


Qasim and his followers, not based on any proof (dalil) of the Sunnah, so that the fuqaha have continued to declare that placing one hand over the other (qabd) is unadvisable (makruh) in prayer obiligatory (fard), or do they have something on which to based this? Is the fact that the Prophet, peace be upon him, did so near the end of his life, while ill, a sufficient argument for it to be followed and to abrogate what came before? Please answer us with firm, definitive proof and a convincing argument. Thus you shall be granted absolute joy in Paradise in company of the Master of the sons of Adam, alayhi salam.29 I textually replied as follows: Praise be to Allah, who has provided us the Book and the Sunnah and the straight, accepted path of the schools (madhhahib) of the four high ranking imams; who has conserved them (the schools), by his grace, until the Day of Judgement. Who has made his followers (muqallidun) outstanding, confirmed followers of the Sunnah and the Community (Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jamaa). May blessings and peace be upon our Master Muhammad, who said: "When instability (fitan) appears, along with innovations and my Companions are insulted, may the ‘ulama then demonstrate their science as, if he does not do so, he shall be cursed by Allah, the angels and everybody. Allah shall not accept any effort or justice at all from him." And he said: "When the last of this community curse the first, he who hides a hadith shall have hidden what Allah has revealed." And he said: "Innovators do not appear without Allah making proof appear in the mouth of whom he wishes among His creatures." And he said: "Innovators are the worst creatures in the creation." And he said: "Innovators are hellish dogs". And he said: "Whoever respects an innovator will have taken part in the destruction of Islam." And he said: "Allah does not accept the innovator's prayer, nor fasting, or charity, or pilgrimage, or umra, or jihad, or effort, or justice. He leaves Islam just as a hair leaves the dough." And he said: "When an innovator dies, Islam has triumphed." May there also be said blessings and peace upon his Family, Companions, Followers (Tabi'in), Followers of the Followers (Tab' Tabi'in) and the people of the Sunnah, among the followers (muqallidu) of the Four Imams and Pillars of the Deen30. You must know that letting the arms hang down ones sides (sadl) during prayer is firmly established by the Sunnah. It was done by the Prophet and he ordered that it be done by Consensus (ijma’) among the Muslims. Moreover, there is consensus among the Four Imams that it is permitted to do so during prayer. This is so widely known among the followers of the said Imams that it forms part of the Necessary Knowledge of the Deen (ma'lum mina d-din bi d-darura). This is the first and last way in which the Prophet prayed and ordered others to pray, peace be upon him. The proof that it is the first way in which the Prophet prayed and ordered others to pray is recorded in the hadith selected and mentioned by Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, in the Muwatta, transmitted by Sahl b. Sa'd, to which Al-Bukhari and Muslim adhered, the text of which is: "People were ordered to place their right hand on their left forearm during prayer". The proof of this lies in the fact that they were ordered to place their hands in the aforementioned manner (qabd) implies that previously they let them hang by their sides (sadl). If this were not so, it would be a superfluous and repetitive instruction, something which is unthinkable of the Legislator, peace be upon him. It is likewise perfectly well known that the Companions would not have practiced sadl if they had not seen the Messenger, peace be upon him, do so. It indeed was he who ordered them to do so when telling them: "Pray as you see me pray."

It is important to note that this question was obviously asked by a la-madhhabi, someone who rejects the madhhab, since this is primarily what Shaykh ‘Illiyish is addressing in the second half of the fatwa, as will be seen by the strong, direct language; considering them to be without question mub’tadieen and a great fitnah for the ummah, which the numerous hadith that he quotes are his proof of. It is mainly for this reason that I though this fatwa was the perfect compliment and conclusion to everything that comes before it.

Shaykh ‘Illiyish in another fatwa states that everyone knows that the capacity of absolute ijtihad has not existed for a long time (which was in the late 12th hijra century). Thus, he who believes he has reached that status is someone whose ego laughs at him and with whom Shaytan plays. And even if one admits that a person might achieve such a status, what type of person would believe that such a new absolute mujtahid is better than those of the past and would follow him, leaving aside the previous Imams and the hundreds of scholars who strengthened them?


As to the proof which demonstrates that sadl is the last way in which the Prophet prayed and ordered others to pray, lies in its continued practice by the Companions (Sahaba) and the Followers (Tabi'in). This was to such an extent that Malik said - as transmitted by Ibn Al-Qasim in the Mudawwana: "I do not know", referring to the qabd in obligatory prayer (farida). As it is impossible for them not to have known the last way in which the Messenger, peace be upon him, prayed, or for them to have disobeyed him together, as they followed absolutely everything he did and had a perfect knowledge of his ways of doing things, imitating him in the prayer. Thus, Malik linked their Practice to the legislatory aliya, to hadith sahih which does not contradict the Practice and Consensus (Ijma’). He made these four the fundaments of his method (madhhab). 31 As to qabd in the obligatory prayer, there is a difference of opinion as to whether it is unadvisable (karahah), advisable (nadab) or allowed (ibahah). This is without there being any difference as to the fact that the Prophet, peace be upon him, did so and ordered others to do so. Those in favor of qabd being advisable and permissible disagree as to the manner in which it is to be carried out. Thus, according to the school of Malik, there are four opinions thereon, which are clearly expressed by Imam Ibn 'Arafa and others. Among these opinions, the most widespread (mashhur) and accepted by the majority of the followers of Malik is that transmitted by Ibn Al-Qasim in the Mudawwana: that qabd is unadvisable (karahah), which is thus a proof that qabd had been abandoned by the Companions and by the Followers and that they practiced sadl, just as mentioned. This indicates the abrogation of the legal enforcement of qabd. You should know that Ibn Al-Qasim belongs to the generation of followers of the followers (Tab'ut Tabi'in), one of the greatest generations, whose excellency was prophesied by the Great Messenger, peace be upon him. Likewise, there is Full Consensus (ijma’) as to the imamate, reliability, precision, integrity, scrupulosity and rectitude of Ibn Al-Qasim. The Maliki school has agreed that what Ibn AlQasim transmits from Malik in the Mudawwana takes priority over other transmissions which contradict it. All of the Imams of the other schools (madhhahib) have shown their acceptance of the aforementioned transmission, adding as follows: "That is the posture of the majority of the followers of Malik and it is the most widespread opinion among them". An-Nawawi says (as to sadl) in his commentary of Sahih Muslim: "Al-Laith b. Sa’d is of that opinion." AlQurtubi says, also commenting on said Sahih: "Sadl is backed up by the fact that qabd consists of resting one hand over the other while praying, which is prohibited in the book by Abu Dawud". AshSha'rani says in the Mizan: "The explanation of this matter - apart from it being something the Legislator, peace be upon him, provided - lies in the fact that the person praying placing his hands below his chest generally distracts him from fully concentrating on Allah. In such case, letting the arms drop by the sides and occupying oneself and concentrating on Allah is preferable to observation of form. Thus, whoever considers himself unable to concentrate fully on Allah during the prayer due to qabd should preferably let the arms drop by his sides.” The same thing was stated by ash-Shafi'i in his book Al-Umm', where he said: "There is no harm in letting the arms drop by your sides, if you do not play about". Whoever considers himself able to fulfill both conditions should place his hands below his chest, which would be preferable for him. Thus, the opinions of the Imams are unified, may Allah be pleased with them. You may thus appreciate that the way the question is made does not allow for necessary acceptance of differences and that what is unanimously agreed must be complied with (al-mujma' 'alaih), as it rejects it. You must know that this is a contradiction and a lack of respect is committed, which must be regretted by biting the tongue and knocking ones fingers. As to the contradiction committed, it is clear when he says that "Allah has made the Book and the Sunnah a way for this Community." This implicitly states that what the Imams and their followers said is not a way for this Community. That is a Dhahiri (literalist) deviation. He later contradicted himself by saying that "Allah has made the ‘ulama a guide for this Community." He contradicts himself again when he asks whether "it is an ijtihad by Ibn Al-Qasim and his followers, without being based on any proof (dalil)." In this case, after encountering the ‘ulama, he treats them as traitors and doubts whether to classify them as ignorant or transgressors. Finally, he contradicts himself again by

That being (1) the fatwa of the Sahabah, (2) ahadith (3) the ‘amal of the people of Madina, and (4) the ijmaa’ o the ‘ulama of Madina, not necessarily in that order.


requesting a legal finding from someone who is not even worthy to tread the ground trodden by Ibn AlQasim and his followers.32 As to the lack of respect, this is what is stated when he asks whether "it is an ijtihad by Ibn Al-Qasim, without it being based on any proof whatsoever, so that the fuqaha have followed him." This suggests that Ibn Al-Qasim is not an ‘alim and guide and that he makes ijtihad at random, without basing them on any proof at all. He also suggests that the fuqaha who thereafter followed him blindly, while wavering between ignorance and lack of scruples. How is this possible, if the Messenger, peace be upon him, said: "This deen shall be transmitted by the most spotless (adul) of each generation." And he said: "My Community shall not agree as to an error." And he said: "There will always be a part of my Community firm before the truth in the West (maghreb) until the order comes from Allah." There are also other hadiths. This lack of respect also arises in relation to other Imams who accept this transmission from Ibn AlQasim, whether Hanafis, Malikis, Shafi’is or Hanbalis. Likewise, you must know that lacking respect for Ibn Al-Qasim alone is a great disgrace and scandal. How would you thus lack respect for him and his successors. How would you thus fail to respect them and those who have confirmed them. Moreover, in this case Ibn Al-Qasim does nothing other than to transmit the words of Malik in the Mudawwana as follows: "Malik advised not to place the right hand on the left during obligatory prayer and said: 'I do not know that; although there is no problem when performed during supererogatory prayer which is lengthened in order to help oneself'." The lack of respect is really committed against Malik, just as stated in the hadith which reads thus: "The son of Adam insults the vicissitude of destiny, and I am those vicissitudes." And the hadith: "Do not insult the vicissitudes of destiny, as Allah is said vicissitudes." The hadith which indicates "qabd" was taken by Bukhari and Muslim from the hand of Malik, who transmits it in his Muwatta; however, he judged it inadvisable, according to the transmission of Ibn AlQasim in the Mudawwana. This transmission, by consensus of the people of the madhab, is given priority over any which contradicts it. Thus, it is not allowed to say that the hadith did not come to Malik's knowledge. Neither is one allowed to say that Malik disregarded the hadith on his own initiative, without any grounds, as there is Consensus among the Community as to avoiding attribution of such behavior to Malik. This consensus was by the Followers (Tabi'in), who are among the best generations. The latter, in addition to having interpreted the hadith of "‘alim of Medina" as if it referred to Malik. The same happened to the Followers of the Followers (Tab' at-Tabi'in) down to our days. Thus, there is nothing else to believe than that Malik confirmed the abrogation of said hadith. So he returned to "sadl", the original practice. This is shown in the words of the transmission in the Mudawwana where it says "I do not know of it", that is: I do not know of "qabd" being a practice of the Followers (Tabi'in). The real intention of these dogs is to slander Malik, the Imam of the Imams in hadith, fiqh, ‘amal and scrupulousness (wara’), according to the consensus of the Followers (Tabi'in) and those who succeeded them right down to our days. However, as they knew that slandering Malik is an unbearable act and would be like hurling stones against their own roofs, they took Ibn Al-Qasim as a scapegoat to carry out their intentions, believing he was not important at all and that they could slander him without anything coming of it. This is not so, by Allah! His status is similar to that of Imam Ash-Shafi'i and near to that of Malik. How right Imam An-Naj'i33 was when he said: "If I had seen the Companions (Sahaba) do wudu up to the wrists, that is what I would have done, although it literally says, ‘up to the elbows’". Likewise, I also say that as Malik said in the transmission by Ibn Al-Qasim in the Mudawwana "as he said qabd was not recommendable in obligatory prayer" I have decided not to practice it, in spite of the fact that, if we were to base ourselves on the hadith set forth in the Muwatta and the two Sahihs, we would have to practice it.


Referring to himself, a statement of humility. Even though Shaykh ‘Illiyish was perhaps the greatest scholar of his era, he did rank himself amongst the fuqaha’ by the definition of the usuli’een, that is a mujtahid al-faqih specifically.

Ibrahim al-Nakh’ai


My success depends on none other than Allah. I seek refuge in Him and to Him I return. May Allah bless and grant peace to our master Muhammad, the Beloved and all his family. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "There are three types of person Allah hates most: atheists who are in the Haram, those who wish to establish a custom from the Jahiliyya in Islam and those who demand a man's blood without reason, for the mere wish for it to be spilt." (Transmitted by Al-Bukhari from Ibn 'Abbas.) And he said, peace be upon him: "Have you indeed any consideration in denouncing the shameless? Denounce them, so the people know them!" (Transmitted by Al-Lhatib, according to the transmission by Malik). And he said, peace be upon him: "Are you worried that people discover who is a scoundrel? Denounce the shameless and their wicked deeds and let the people beware of them!” (Transmitted by Ibn Abi Dunya, Al-Hakïm, Al-Häkim, Ash-Shirazi, Ibn 'Udayy, AtTabarani, Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Katib de Bahz Ibn Hakïm from the father of his grandfather.) And he said, peace be upon him: "He who makes the worst transaction is the one who spends his life hoping that time will not bring reality about, abandons this world with no provision at all and comes before Allah without any justification at all." (Transmitted by Ibn Al-Bukhari from Amir Ibn Rabi'a.) And he said, peace be upon him "There are three things I fear for my Community: failure by a wise man, hypocritical argumentation with the Koran and denying Destiny." (Transmitted by At-Tabarani from Abu Darda.)34

Appendix IV: References
Audio Tapes: Abdullahi Ould Boye. Usul al-Fiqh. Translated by Hamza Yusuf - Foundations of Our Methodology. (Audio) California: al-Hambra Productions, 1999. Hamza Yusuf Hanson. Commentary on the Fatwa of Muribtal Hajj Concerning the Issue of Taqlid. (Audio) California: al-Hambra Productions, 1999. Books: ‘Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri. ’Umdat al-Salik. Translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller - Reliance of the Traveller. Maryland: Amana Publications, 1991. Bilal Phillips. The Evolution of Fiqh. Saudi Arabia: International Islamic Publishing House, 1996. Malik ibn Anas. al-Muwatta’. Translated by Aisha ‘Abdu-r Rahman Bewley and Ahmad Thompson. London: Diwan Press. Muhammad ibn Ishma’il. Sahih al-Bukhari. Translated by Muhammad Khan. Saudi Arabia: Dar usSalam, 1994. Muhammad Hashim Kamali. Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence. Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1994. Imam Muslim. Sahih Muslim. Translated by Abdul H. Siddiqui. Pakistan: Sh. Muhamamd Ashraf, 1990. Qadi ‘Iyad al-Yahsubi. Ash-Shifa. Translated by Aisha Abdur-Rahman Bewley-Muhammad: Messenger of Allah. Sayyid Saabiq. Fiqh us-Sunnah. Translated by Muhammad Sa’eed Dabas and Jamal ad-Din M. Zarabozo. Saudi Arabia: American Trust Publications, 1985. Taha Jabir al-‘Alwani. Usul al-Fiqh al-Islami. Translated by Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo and Anas al Shaikh-Ali - Source Methodology of Islamic Jurisprudence. Virginia: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 1994.


Yasin Dutton. The Sources of Islamic Law; The Qur’an, Muwatta’ and Madinan ‘Amal. London: Curzon Press, 1999. Internet Resources: ‘Abdal-Hakim Murad. Understanding the Four Madhhabs: the Problem with Anti-Madhhabism. London: ISLAMICA Magazine, 1995. (Ahmad Masud Khan’s Homepage: Aisha ‘Abdur-Rahman Bewley. The ‘Amal of Madina. (Aisha Bewley’s Homepage: Qadi ‘Iyad al-Yahsubi. Tartib al-Madarik. Translated by Aisha ‘Abdur-Rahman Bewly-Selections from the Tartib al-Madarik of Qadi ‘Iyad. (Aisha Bewley’s Homepage: Muhammad Abu Zahrah. Usul al-Fiqh. Translated by Aisha ‘Abdur-Rahman Bewley - The Fundamental Principles of Imam Malik’s Fiqh. (Aisha Bewley’s Homepage: