The jurisprudence of Imam Malik & forged hadith

You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah. (Holy Qur’an 33:21)

This is an entry written to show the masses how sectarianism among the Muslims were in full force after the civil war among the Muslims.

What better example to use than the prayer of the Blessed Messenger (saw).

This entry will attempt to show how some with in the Sunni faction altered the hadith narrations so as to make themselves outwardly distinct from the Salaf (first few generations of Muslims).

Specifically when it comes to the method of the prayer.

Defending the prayer of the Blessed Messenger (saw) as was the practice of the people of Madinah in his time.

This entry will also show that Imam Malik (may Allah have mercy on him) resisted the changes to the pray as given by the Blessed Messenger (saw).

He left subtle clues (hints) to the discerning eye.

What I am talking about is Sadl vs Qabd (letting the arms hand to the sides in the prayer vs gripping them above or below the navel).

I will attempt to show the sectarian influence upon the hadith.

Imam Malik (May Allah have mercy on him)  prayed (sadl) because it is what he saw as the practice of the people of Madinah and it’s not because he was beaten which is a lie that has been circulated by rival factions with in the Sunni faction that do not want the ‘cat out of the bag’ so to to speak.

Let us first dismiss the allegations brought by certain factions with in the Sunni faction against other factions with in the Sunni faction as regards Imam Malik (May Allah have mercy on him).

 Allegation #. 1 Imam Malik only prayed like that because he was beaten so badly that he couldn’t pray with one hand over the other.

“He was severely beaten in the year 764 CE by the order of the Ameer of Madeenah, because he made a legal ruling that forced divorce was invalid. This ruling opposed the ‘Abbaasid rulers’ practice of adding in the oath of allegiance given to them by the masses the clause that whoever broke the oath was automatically divorced. Malik 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 Salaah and thus he began the practice of praying with his hands at his sides according to some reports.” ( pg 78.The Evolution of Fiqh Islamic Law & The Madh-habs) By Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips International Islamic Publishing House.)

You may check the following link to make sure that I am quoting him accurately: “some reports” such as? Doesn’t  our respected brother Abu Ammenah Bilal Philips have to give his evidence or are we just suppose to accept what he said?

https://islamfuture.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/the-evolution-of-fiqh-islamic-law-and-madh-habs.pdf

 

I  believe that such a claim cannot be verified by and in any of the traditionally relied upon books of the Sunni faction.. One will be hard-pressed to find any evidence substantiating this argument.

Remember what Allah said in the (Holy Qur’an: 2:159)

“Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by the cursers.”

So where is the proof?

Secondly how could Imam Malik (may Allah have mercy on him) not have enough strength to clasp his hands on his chest but still be able to do the tabkir, (raise his arms to begin the prayer) go into ruku, (bow and place his hands on his knees) go into sajdah (place his elbows at an angle when going into prostration) and to push his hands up from sujuud since Imam Malik’s view is that the knees go up than the hands after sajdah? What about all the other Tabieen (successors) who prayed the way Imam Malik did? Did each and everyone of them have their arms broken as well?

Allegation # 2 The Malikis get their prayer from the Shi’a in Iran!

Now let me ask you people something why would Muslims of the Sunni faction go and ask the Muslims of the Shi’a faction how to pray?

A follow up thought is this, Why don’t the Malikis of the Sunni faction follow the Shi’a faction in everything on the prayer like raising the hands in ruku and going into sujud? Or making sujud on a stone? Or placing the knees before the hands? Or saying the whole prayer out loud?

The Malikis also don’t include the basmallah before Al Fatiha like the Shi’a do.

Also a very good question would be where did the Shi’a faction get their prayer from? Do the shi’a follow some guy who got his arms broken too! The Shi’a faction don’t follow Imam Malik because they don’t accept him as one of their rightly guided Imams.

We should have tangible evidence of things that we say. May Allah (swt) have mercy on us all.

“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talk (lahwal hadeeth) to mislead from the path of Allah without knowledge (ilm), and takes it by way of mockery. For such there will be humiliating torment. (Holy Qur’an 31:6)

I see this verse as applying directly to those people who will take the Hadith (oral traditions) over the Sunnah (the practice). Those who have no understanding (no fiqh).

In this instance there is a divide in with in the paradigm of the Sunni faction between those who will take the Hadith (oral traditions) over the established Sunnah (practice) of the Amal of Madinah (mass transmitted practice) that Imam Malik (may Allah have mercy on him) held too.

The point being Imam Malik saw the living sunnah (practice) around him every day. For the Imam Malik the Amal (practice) of the people of Madinah is established sunnah.

Something very interesting concerning Maliki jurisprudence.

In fact a principle of the Maliki school of jurisprudence is that even if there is a ‘sahih’ or sound hadith that clashes with the Sunnah of Madinah Imam Malik drops it.

Why?

Because If we are talking in terms of what has more weight, one of Imam Malik’s teachers said to him, “I would rather take 1000 from 1000 because that 1 from 1 can strip the sunnah right out from your hands!”

Many the mass transmitted practice is more reliable than lone narrator reports (which the majority of the hadith so happen to be)

The vast majority of Hadith are which means narrations one from one. To paraphrase Imam Malik it would be like saying, ‘look people I live in the city where the 10,000 companions are buried, and which the Blessed Himself is buried (saw). If there ever was a sunnah established or practiced we know about it because we see and live it every day!’

That was the gist of his argument.

To me the following examples show corruption in the hadith traditions that try and promote grasping of the hands in prayer.

The motivation behind the corruption in these hadith traditions are politically motivated. Some people with in the Sunni faction wanted to distinguish itself overtly from the Shi’a factiont and the Ibadi faction.

Now, I will give what I believe to be the original accounts of Sadl, and the transformation of it into Qabd, and for what I believe to be political motives someone found it important to try and undermine the way we understand the prayer of the Blessed Messenger (saw).

An ‘original’ orally transmitted report…

In the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaibah, the following can be found:

Yahyaa Ibn Sa’eed declared to us: On the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn Al- ‘Eezaar. He said: “I used to accompany Sa’eed ibn Jubair: So, he saw a man praying while placing one of his hands on the other. This one on this one and this one on this one. So, he went, separated them, and then returned (to me).” The Musannaf is one of the earliest hadith canons in Islamic history.

Ibn ‘Abd Al-Barr in his book al-Tamheed narrates that (20:76):

‘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.

The corrupted oral transmission of the story and the attempt to change it.

The Hadith of Ibn Masud

Actually reported in Abu Dawud and Sunan of Nasai

“The Prophet saw me placing my left hand on my right hand in Salat. So he took my right hand, and then placed it over my left hand.”

Abu Dawud’s chain is: Muhammed ibn Bakkar from Hushaym ibn Bashir from

Al-Hajjaj ibn Abu Zaynab from Abu Abi-Uthman from Ibn Mas’ud.

Nasa’is chain is: Hushaym ibn Bashir from Al Hajjaj ibn Abu Zaynab from Abu Abi

‘Uthman from Ibn Mas’ud.

In the chain is Hushaym ibn Bashir

Dhahabi states in Al Mizan [5/431], and Ibn Hajar states in

Taqrib al-Tahdhib [2/269] that he: “Often used trickery in his reports to convince others to accept unacceptable chains of narration in addition to being guilty of conveying subtly distinguishable incomplete chains of narration (kathir at-tadlis wa al-irsal al-khafi).”

The Hadith of Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah Reported by Ahmad and Daraqutni

“The Messenger of Allah passed by a man who was praying while placing

his left hand on the right hand. So he snatched it and placed the right on the left.”

But this is reported by way of Al Hajjaj ibn Abu Zaynab -from Abu Sufyan-from Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah.

Al Hajjaj ibn Abu Zaynab has been declared to be weak by ‘Ali ibn Al-Madini, Nasa’i, Ahmad, and Daraqutni as stated by Dhahabi in Al Mizan [1/462].

My comments after using reasoning logic and deduction:

Now in the original report we see that someone was praying with hands folded (qabd) to which offense was taken and so their hands were separated during the prayer. Now what happens is that in order to support the practice of folding one hand over the other (qabd) the highest authority in the land the Blessed Prophet himself (saw) is invoked in the story.

To make the argument more clever the issue is not even the releasing of the hands but ‘how the hands were folded’. So the person who hears the narration would assume that folding vs leaving at the sides is not an issue at all, but would learn that the person in the narration simply folded it the wrong way. Than Ibn Hajar gives sweeping condemnation of Hushaym ibn Bashir in his commentary. It’s interesting to see that Hushaym Ibn Bashir in all three reports gets his information from Al Hajjaj ibn Abu Zaynab who does not fair any better when he is critically examined.

What was added: The Blessed Prophet (saw) was seen doing it to make it more authoritative

What was changed: The issue was on how to fold the hands properly (sadl: laying of the hands) was taken out completely.

An ‘original’ orally transmitted report.

Muwatta of Imam Malik 9.15 Placing One Hand on the Other in the Prayer

Yahya related to me from Malik that ‘Abd al-karim ibn Abi-LMukhariq Al Basri said, “Among the things the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, 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 (one places the right hand on the left), being quick to break the fast, and delaying the meal before dawn.”

The corrupted oral transmission of the story and the attempt to change it.

The Hadith of ‘Aisha bint Abu Bakr Reported by Daraqutni and Bayhaqi

Aisha said: “Three things are from prophecy: Making haste to break fast, delaying the predawn meal, and placing the right over the left during Salat.”

Point 1) Ibn Hazm related it in Al-Muhalla [4/113] as a statement of ‘Aisha but without a chain.

Point 2) There is a break in the chain. So it even cannot be ascribed to ‘Aisha.

Hafiz ibn Hajar said in Talkhis al-Habir [1/223]:

“Daraqutni and Bayaqi related it as a statement of ‘Aisha. And it has a break in its chain.”

Comments: Now we do not even apparently have the complete chain of this. Now I do not see devilry at work at every corner, however, if you compare the statement in the Muwatta of Imam Malik, and than look at the following it is word for word with two very huge changes.

The change is now some unknown comes along and either intentionally and maliciously invokes Aisha ( may Allah be pleased with her) to make it authoritative (after all she’s the Blessed Messengers’ wife and spent so much time with him, so she would be an authority).

Or the reporter relying upon memory makes a mistake. I believe the former that the change is intentional due to what was actually changed. So this is a very obvious question. What is from the prophecy or from the prophet? Did he say place the right hand over the left? Or did he say that doing such indicates that a person really has no shame?

Two ‘original’ orally transmitted reports

In the following I will give you two ‘original’ reports of the hadith in the Muwatta of Imam Malik  and than the attempt to combine the two hadiths into one, this being due to oral corruption in the transmission.

Muwatta of Imam Malik 9.15 Placing One Hand on the Other in the Prayer

Yahya related to me from Malik that ‘Abd al-karim ibn Abi-LMukhariq Al Basri said, “Among the things the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, 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 (one places the right hand on the left), being quick to break the fast, and delaying the meal before dawn.”

Muwatta of Imam Malik 9.15 Placing One Hand on the Other in the Prayer

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 added, “I know for sure that Sahl traces that back to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.”

The corrupted oral transmission of the story and the attempt to change it.

Hadith of Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas reported by Daraqutni.

“Verily we -assembly of Prophets-have been ordered to hold our right hands over our left hands.”

Weakness #1 One of the transmitters, Talha ibn ‘Amr, has been classified as being an unreliable narrator. The author of Awjaz al-Masalik says, “And in its chain is Talha ibn ‘Amr who is relinquished (matruk). Likewise it is mentioned in Al-‘Ayni (Sharh of) Al-Bukhari.”

Dhahabi said in Al-Mizan (3/54): “Ahmad and Nasai’i said (about Talha)” “(He is) relinquished in hadith. And Bukhari and Ibn Al-Madini said: “He is insignificant” (Laysa bi shayin).”

Comments: It can be seen above the original hadith statement in the Muwatta of Imam Malik slowly evolved into a statement that the Prophets were ‘ordered’ to place one hand over the other.

Finally the two hadiths were joined together to get the following ‘Sahih’ narration.

(Ibn Hibban relates it in his sahih, (13-14/3 #1767)

“The prophets were ordered to delay the suhoor and expedite the breaking of the fast and hold with our right hands our left hands in our prayer”

Comments: So here you have it the finished product. What were two distinct hadiths in the Muwatta of Imam Malik were transformed into one hadith that combined elements of both.

In this new hadith we find that it wasn’t people who were ordered it was the Prophets who were ordered and of course the only one to give orders to the prophets is Allah. So what this hadith effectively does is eliminate any doubt on where such an order would come from.

Also as in the ‘Aisha Hadith’ quoted above the original hadith in the Muwatta of Imam Malik was changed so that instead of folding the hands in the fard prayer being an act of shame it becomes meritorious; and not only that but something directed by the divine himself!

And this is also supported by the fact that ibn Turkamaanee, the Shaykh of al-Haafidh az-Zayla’i mentioned in his ‘al-Jawhar’ two weak hadeeth to support his madhab where he quotes:

“Ibn Hazm said, “it is reported to us from Abu Hurayra who said, ‘place the hand upon the hand below the navel.’ And from Anas who said, ‘three are from the manners of the Prophethood: hastening the iftaar, delaying the suhoor, and placing the right hand upon the left below the navel in the prayer.”

4) The hadeeth that ibn Hazm mentions in ‘al-Muhalla’ in ta’leeq form from Anas with the wording, ‘three are from the manners of the Prophet-hood: hastening the iftaar, delaying the suhoor, and placing the right hand upon the left below the navel in the prayer.’

Ash-Shaikh Haashim as-Sindee said in his letter, ‘Diraahim as-Surra’, ‘and from them is what az-Zaahidee mentioned in his ‘Sharh al-Qudooree’, and ibn Ameer al-Haaj and ibn Najeem mentioned in ‘al-Bahr ar-Raa’iq’, that it is reported from the Prophet (SAW), “three are from the habit of the Messengers: hastening the iftaar, delaying the suhoor, and placing the right hand upon the left below the navel in prayer.” He said: I have not come across the sanad to this hadeeth except that az-Zaahidee added that it is reported by Alee bin Abu Taalib (RA) {3} from the Prophet (SAW). But ibn Ameer al-Haaj and ibn Najeem said, “that the reporters of hadeeth do not know the wording, ‘below the navel’ from a marfoo or mawqoof narration.”’

Anas reports that there are three aspects from the character of Nubuwwa [Prophethood]: to open fast early, to delay the suhur [pre-dawn meal], and to position the right hand over the left one beneath the navel while in salat. [al-Jawharal-naqiyy 2:31*]

Further examples:

1) The hadith of Sahl ibn Sa’ad, “Abdullah ibn Maslama related to us from Malik from Abu hazim from Sahl ibn Sa’d. He said:

“The people were ordered that a person is to place the right hand over his left forearm during Salat.” Abu Hazim said: “I know only that he attributes that (yanmi dhalika) to the Prophet.” Isma’il said: “(I know only that) That is attributed (yunma dhalika). And he didn’t say: “He attributes” (yanmi). ( Bukhari, 224/2)

The weakness of this hadith

In spite of being in both the Muwatta of Imam Malik and the ‘sahih’ of Bukhari is not definitive proof that the Prophet’s sunnah was to pray while holding his left hand with his right hand. What weakens such an assumption made from this hadith are the following:

1) This is not an explicit statement, report or action of the Blessed Messenger.

2) Sahl does not say that the prophet gave the order,so it’s possible someone else gave the order.

3) The saying, “I know only that he attributes that (yanmi dhalika) to the Prophet” is not the statement of Sahl. Rather is is the statement of the Tab’i, Abu Hazim. So there is no certainty that Sahl actually attributed this to the Prophet, since Abu Hazim is merely conjecturing about what he remembers.

4) The statement of Ismail that, “(I know only that) That is attributed (yunma dhalika).” And he didn’t say: “He attributes” (yanmi)” further emphasizes the belief that Abu Hazim didn’t actually hear Sahl attribute that order to the Prophet.

5) The above mention hadith further corroborates with what is in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaibah,

“Ibn ‘Ulayyah declared to us: On the authority of Ibn ‘Aun about Ibn Seereen that he was asked about the man who holds his right hand with his left. He said: “That was merely done because of the Romans’ (influence).”

Also people who claim that Imam Malik only prayed sadl because his arms were broken need to look at the above hadith if the people were indeed ‘ordered’ to pray one hand over the other means that they didn’t always do that!

It means indeed there was a time the Blessed Messenger (s.a.w) and his companions prayed with their arms to the side ,and this hadith is absolute proof of it.

Something interesting is this. The Muwatta of Imam Malik which is the first formulation of Islamic Law, after the Holy Qur’an has only two hadiths about the placement of the hands. Both of these hadiths say something very strongly about this issue.

Muwatta of Imam Malik 9.15 Placing One Hand on the Other in the Prayer

Yahya related to me from Malik that ‘Abd al-karim ibn Abi-LMukhariq Al Basri said, “Among the things the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, 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 (one places the right hand on the left), being quick to break the fast, and delaying the meal before dawn.”

So in the first hadith if you really have no shame go ahead and clasp your hands. Of course the second hadith as mentioned above shows that the people were ordered to place one hand over the other. I find this interesting because as we have seen above the hadith in the Muwatta of Imam Malik was latter deliberately changed and attributed to Aisha.

I also find it interesting that of the tens of thousands of hadiths that Bukhari had available to him on the matter that he would only choose the ones mentioned above. When it comes to clasping the hands, putting them on the chest or below the navel, Bukhari is simply silent.

I also find it highly interesting that of the many hadith reports Malik had available to him that he would only mention the two above. So the question would be. Who was Malik’s target audience? Was this indeed a controversial issue and matter for those students who needed correct knowledge in far away lands? So did Imam Malik feel these two hadiths were sufficient to clarify the matter?

Conclusion:

The proto-Muslim community all prayed with their hands (arms) to the side. After the fitna (the civil war among the companions) there began profuse fabrication of oral traditions.

Over time some with in the Sunni faction fabricated oral traditions to support placing one arm or one hand over the other in prayer as a means of making themselves distinct from the Ibadi faction and the Shi’a faction.

For me personally I do not hold deem it wrong to pray with your hands above your navel or below your navel. Your prayer and the way you prayer is between you and Allah (swt).  The objective of this entry was to show attempted forgery with in the hadith corpus.  The objective of this entry is not to attack the form of prayer anyone chooses to do.

You can see the Ibadi in Oman praying here:

You can see the Shi’a prayer here:

You can see the emir of Dubai (A Sunni of the Maliki school) doing prayer here:

Now think about that.

Here you have three distinct factions of Muslims (Sunni-Maliki, Shi’a and Ibadi) all praying Sadl (arms to the sides). What are the chances that these three groups who are historically hostile to each other contrived this practice?

The proof is out there for anyone to see that there are indeed fabricated hadith chains that made their way into the ‘sahih’ collections.

“But there are, among men, those who purchase vain hadith, without knowledge or meaning, to mislead from the Path of Allah and throw ridicule on the path: for such there will be a Humiliating Penalty.(Holy Qur’an 31:6)

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