What is the Ahmadiyya view of Imam Abu Hanifa and the hanafi fiqh?


An Arab Ahmadi sent a statement of the Promised Messiahas regarding the Hanafi fiqh to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa and said about himself, “I do not attach much importance to the Hanafi fiqh because I am also against qiyas [analogical deduction].” He also asked if he could follow the Zahiri fiqh because it had come up with a compelling theory about following the apparent [zahir] injunctions of the Holy Quran and the Hadith. Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, while replying to this question in his letter dated 21 December 2020, gave the following instructions:

“In his statement, which you have mentioned in your letter, the Promised Messiahas has refuted the views of two groups of his time both of whom had verged on opposite extremes regarding the Quran and the Hadith. Hence, he elucidated the true station of the Holy Quran and the Hadith and admonished his Jamaat to give preference to ahadith over manmade jurisprudence as long as they do not contradict the Holy Quran and the sunnah, regardless of how low their grading may be. Moreover, he said that jurisprudence ought to be based on the Holy Quran, the sunnah of the Messengersa and the Prophetic ahadith. And if one was unable to find the solution to a certain matter from these three sources, then, one ought to follow the Hanafi school of jurisprudence. Moreover, if, because of modern developments, the Hanafi school of jurisprudence is unable to provide correct guidance, the scholars of the Community ought to determine such issues in accordance with their God-given reasoning [ijtihad]. Hence, the Promised Messiahas states: 

‘It is incumbent on my Jamaat to follow any hadith which does not oppose and contradict the Holy Quran and sunnah, regardless of its authenticity and give preference to it over manmade jurisprudence. And if they are unable to find [elaboration on] a certain matter from the hadith, the sunnah or from the Holy Quran, in such a case, they should follow the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, because this school constitutes the majority [among the Muslims] and this is an indication of God’s will. If, because of modern developments, the Hanafi school of jurisprudence is unable to provide an adequate judgement, the scholars of the Community ought to determine such issues in accordance with their God-given reasoning. However, at the same time, they must exercise caution, lest they unjustly denounce the hadith like Maulavi ‘Abdullah Chakrhalavi. Nonetheless, they ought to reject any such hadith which is at variance with the Quran and sunnah.’ (Review Bar Mubahathah Batalavi Wa Chakrhalavi, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 19, p. 212)

By the grace of Allah the Exalted, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya is fully committed to this advice of the Promised Messiahas and whenever ijtihad is required on an issue, the scholars of the Jamaat, under the auspices of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya, thoroughly deliberate such an issue by utilising the method of ijtihad.

It is not right for an Ahmadi to dislike qiyas and, on that basis, consider the Hanafi jurisprudence to be errant. It is not forbidden for scholars and mujtahidin to adopt the method of qiyas while staying within the permissible limits, when deducing from the Holy Quran, the sunnah and the Hadith, because there are many arguments in favour of qiyas in the Holy Quran and the instructions of the Holy Prophetsa. Moreover, the Rightly-Guided Khulafa also employed qiyas during their blessed eras and solved many newly-arisen issues by inferring from incidents from the life of the Holy Prophetsa.

Furthermore, the Promised Messiahas did not like people who mocked Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifarh by calling him ahl ar-ra’y on account of his qiyas. Hence, the Promised Messiahas once addressed Maulvi Muhammad Husain Batalvi who had made a similar error and, while describing the status of Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifarh, said:

‘O Hazrat Maulvi Sahib! Please do not be angry. If you people had had even the slightest good opinion of Abu Hanifarh, the great Imam, then you would not have used such derisive and contemptuous words. You are ignorant of the status of the respected Imam. He was a great ocean and all the others are his estuaries and branches. To call him ahl ar-ra’y is a heavy betrayal! The great Imam, Hazrat Abu Hanifarh, in addition to being preeminent in the sciences related to the Prophetic legacy, also had great expertise in deducing solutions to issues from the Quran. May God Almighty have mercy on Hazrat Mujaddid-e-Alf-e-Thani who has stated in his Maktub on page 307 that Imam-e-Azam has a spiritual relationship with the coming Messiah regarding the inferring of solutions to issues from the Quran.’ (Al-Haqq Mubahatha Ludhiana, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 4, p. 101)

As far as the Zahiri fiqh is concerned, it is important to note in this regard that many of the commandments of the Holy Quran and the Prophetic traditions are such that if they are merely followed literally then one could never attain their spirit and wisdom. Therefore, it is the duty of every Ahmadi to adopt the method which has been pointed out by the ardent devotee of the Holy Prophetsa, who appeared in exact accordance with his prophecies as the Promised Messiah and the Just Arbiter [Hakam ‘Adl] of the current age. [The Promised Messiahas explained it] as per the guidance he received from Allah the Exalted, which has been mentioned above in his own words.” 

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