Imam Muslim was not a muqallid

Bismillah Alhamdulillah, Was Imam Muslim a Muqallid as Modern muqallideen claim? No, Imam Muslim was not a Muqallid and he did not do taqleed. A tremendous article by Shaikh Siddique Raza (Hafizahullah) in urdu entitled “Kya Muhadditheen muqallid thay?” i.e Were the Muhadditheen muqallid? from the monthly magazine of Shaikh Zubair Ali Zai “Al Hadeeth” 77. This article is translated by brother Raza Hasan.

Refer to the following 3 articles for a detailed list of Muhadditheen/Salafs and their rejection of Taqleed:
1) Muhadditheen were not Muqallid Part 1:
2) Muhadditheen were not Muqallid Part 2:
3)100 proofs Salaf us Saaliheen were not Muqallideen:


Muqallideen use many different tactics to prove their unproven Taqleed. They concoct many things to satisfy the people, one of which includes that the writers and collectors of the books of ahadeeth were Muqallid. The people who have extended tongues say many other things too, but right now, our discussion is restricted to the Muhadditheen.

1- Ameen Okaarvi from the Deobandi School of thought titled “Wakeel-e-Ahnaaf (The Lawyer of Ahnaaf), Tarjumaan ul-Islaam (Representative of Islam), Munaazir-e-Islaam (Debater of Islam)” and has been given many other titles (by deobandis only), writes:

“Whereas, all the books of ahadeeth that we have today, are either written by Mujtahideen or by Muqallideen, who are mentioned in Tabaqaat Hanafiyyah, Tabaqaat Maalikiyyah, Tabaqaat Shaafi’eeyyah, and Tabaqaat Hanaabilah…. There does not exist a single reliable book of hadeeth in which believing in Ijmaa and Ijtihaad is considered to be Haraam & Shirk; or believing in Fiqh has been prohibited. Not even one reliable reference can be presented concerning its compiler that he was neither able to do Ijtihaad nor did he do Taqleed, that’s why he was a Ghayr Muqallid.”[Tajalliyaat Safdar: 1/113; Published in Multan, Majmoo’ah Rasaail: 3/13]


2- Mufti Ahmed Mumtaaz Saahib “Ra’ees Daar ul-Ifta Jaami’ah Khulafa Raashideen, Karachi” writes:

“This is why in these two last issues, Muhadditheen – rahimahumullah also do the Taqleed of Mujtahideen – rahimahumullah. Therefore, it is due to this taqleed that the mention of Muhadditheen (rahimahumullah) is only found in 4 types of books: (1) Tabaqaat Hanafiyyah, (2) Tabaqaat Maalikiyyah, (3) Tabaqaat Shaafi’eeyyah, (4) Tabaqaat Hanaabilah. No Muhaddith or a Historian has ever written a book named ‘Tabaqaat Ghayr Muqallideen’ in biographies of Muhadditheen”[Asli Chehra, P. 7]


It can easily be understood from these two quotes that they have tried to prove the authors of all the books of ahadeeth to be Muqallid.

Okaarvi Sahab had only written that the Muhadditheen are either Mujtahideen or Muqallideen, but while copying him, Mufti Ahmed Sahab, went even more ahead and tried to prove all the Muhadditheen to be Muqallid.

Anyway, this is correct that the mention of Muhadditheen is only found in these 4 tabaqaat, however, this is not correct at all that it is the result of the same Taqleed – meaning, they [the tabaqaat] are the cause of Muhadditheen being Muqallid.

On the contrary, it is the result of these Muqallideen being engaged in Taqleed that upon seeing the mention [of Muhadditheen] in these 4 tabaqaat, they think that the Muhadditheen were Muqallid.


So what is the actual reason for the existence of these tabaqaat? If we say something from our own selves then it is possible that ta’assub might come in the way of accepting our remarks. Therefore, we will present a “big” reason for it from the books of “Major Deobandi Scholars” themselves. It is possible that they might accept the reality then. See below:


1- Their “Shaikh ul-Hadeeth (of deoband), al-Muhaddith al-Kabeer (of deoband)” Zakariyyah Kaandhalwi writes:

“An issue here is that: Were Ahl ul-Hadeeth and Aimmah Muhadditheen Muqallid or Ghayr Muqallid? And if they were Muqallid then who did they do Taqleed of? There is a difference of opinion in it among the Scholars. And the thing is that a person who is big [respected/Major Scholar], everyone wants that he should join his party, because he has too much value & attraction, and everyone tries to pull him towards himself….”[Taqreer Bukhaari: 1/52, Published in Daarul Aha’at Karachi, Vol 1 Pg 41 in another version]


So what is the reason that the mention of Muhadditheen is found in 4 Tabaqaat? It has many other reasons, but the reasons that are made clear from the statement of Zakariyyah Deobandi are as follows:

i- It is the result of Muhadditheen being big [great] personalities

ii- Everyone wants that the big [great] personalities should join his party

iii- There is “attraction” in proving big personalities to be theirs.


Because of this attraction, everyone seems to pull big personalities towards them. For example: Hanafis say that so-and-so was a Hanafi, Shaafi’ees say that he was a Shaafi’ee, Maalikis and Hanbalis also try to prove him to be theirs. A big reason that these 4 Tabaqaat came into existence is this “Attraction”. What is more is that many of the Muhadditheen have been added in these 4 Tabaqaat merely because of studentship also. Moreover, we do not also lack the amount of Muhadditheen who have been added in 2 to 3, in fact in all 4 Tabaqaat at the same time. If the reason is only to indicate their being the student or to indicate that they gained benefits from those Imaams, then there does not seem anything wrong in it. But above that reason, the attempt to prove Muhadditheen to be Muqallid is absolutely intolerable.


2 – The “Imaam Ahl-e-Sunnat” of Muqallideen, Sarfaraz Khan Safdar writes: “If one is a Jaahil (ignorant), he should do taqleed of Scholars. And Taqleed is only for a Jaahil who is unaware of the proofs of Ahkaam….” [Al-Kalaam ul-Mufeed: P. 234]


Notice what he wrote: “And Taqleed is only for a Jaahil”! Na’oozubillah Were the noble Muhadditheen Jaahil? And were they not aware of the Proofs of Ahkaam? Those who dedicated their whole lives in service of ahadeeth, possessing great memories, extracting Masaail from each hadeeth by naming chapters and Tarajim were Jaahil? If not, and certainly not, then it is also not correct to call Muhadditheen Muqallid. And it is akin to strengthening the claims of Munkireen (Rejecters of) Hadeeth, though unknowingly. Because on this claim, they would immediately say that “Taqleed is only for a Jaahil” and Muhadditheen also used to do Taqleed, therefore they were Jaahil! Now how can we trust the ahadeeth collected by these Jaahils?


If Muqallideen had paid attention to the consequences of their claims, then they would not have dared to call Muhadditheen Muqallid. May Allaah give them the ability [to speak truth]!


3- Another one of their “Muhaddith al-Kabeer, Allaamah” Abdur Rasheed Nu’maani, after narrating the opinions of different people of knowledge concerning the Madhaahib of the authors of Sihaah Sittah, writes:

“فانظر الي هذا التجاذب الذي وقع بين هولاء العلام فتارة يعدون احدهم شافعيا و تارة حنبليا و اخري مجتهدا وهذا كله عندي تخرص وتكلم من غير برهان فلو كان احد من هولاء شافعيا او حنبليا لا طبق العلماء علي نقله ولما اختلفوا هذا الختلاف كما اطبقوا علي كون الطحاوي حنفيا و البيهقي شافعيا و عياض مالكيا وابن الجوزي حنبليا، سوي الامام ابي داود فانه قد تفقه علي الامام احمد و مسائله عن احمد بن حنبل معروف مطبوع”

“Look at this force of attraction which occurred between these big Scholars. They count one of them to be Shaafi’ee, sometimes Hanbali, and after sometimes Mujtahid. According to me, all these are merely pointless, and sayings without evidence. If anyone of them had been Shaafi’ee or Hanbali then the Scholars would have agreed upon narrating it and they would never have fallen into such difference, as they agreed upon Tahaawi being a Hanafi, Bayhaqi being a Shaafi’ee, Eyaadh being a Maaliki, and Ibn al-Jawzee being a Hanbali, except Imaam Abu Dawood as he learned fiqh from Imaam Ahmed and his Masaail from Ahmed bin Hanbal are famous and published” [Ma Tamassu Ilaihi al-Haajjah Liman Yutaali’ Sunan Ibn Majah: P. 26]


This was the statement of Nu’maani Deobandi, which makes the following points clear:

· * Calling the authors of Kutub as-Sittah to be Hanbali or Shaafi’ee is “Tajaazub” (act of pulling towards oneself), pointless, and rubbish, which have no daleel.

· * These are “Takharrus” made up, fabricated, and sayings made up from minds, without any evidence & Burhaan.

· * Someone calls a Muhaddith to be Shaafi’ee; some call him Hanbali, while some declare him to be Mujtahid.

· * No one of them is Shaafi’ee, Hanbali etc. If they were, then the Scholars would have agreed upon narrating it.

· * The Scholars are differed upon these Muhadditheen being Hanbali, Shaafi’ee etc. They are not agreed upon.


4- Their “Mufti A’dham Pakistan (for deobandis)” Rafee’ Uthmaani writes:

“The opinions of the Scholars are different as to what is the Fiqhi Madhab of these six Aimmah of hadeeth; because none of them ever confirmed their Madhab. Therefore, some Scholars opine that all these were absolute (Mutlaq) Aimmah & Mujtahideen; they were not the Muqallid of anyone. While some say that none of them was Mujtahid and their Madhab was that of other common Muhadditheen which are neither Muqallid nor Mujtahid. And some have gone into details, and then there is difference in that detail as well.”[Dars-e-Muslim: P. 71-72]

Muhadditheen did not confirm it themselves. Of course how would they have done so when the Taqleedi Madhaahib had not yet come into existence! Thus people made it their blank book, and wrote whatever came in their minds. Some even counted a Muhaddith from their Madhab if they merely saw some of his ahadeeth in accordance to their Madhab and in opposition to the other Madhaahib; while some declared him to be from another Madhab by looking at other Chapters and Ahadeeth. And Muqallideen took these sayings so seriously as if these are the actual facts and realities. Let’s come and see how people “pulled each other” as per the saying of Zakariyah Kandhalwi, and how they “made up” guesses, as per the saying of Nu’maani Sahab. We will, in example, mention their sayings concerning some of the Muhadditheen:


Imaam Muslim bin al-Hajjaaj al-Qushayri (rahimahullah), was he a muqallid?


Imaam Muslim is the author of Saheeh Muslim. Saheeh Muslim is second in status after Saheeh Bukhaari, and all its narrations are authentic. See some opinions concerning Imaam Muslim:


1. The “Shaikh ul-Islaam” of Deobandi Muqallideen, Shabbeer Ahmed Uthmaani writes:

“As for Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasaa’ee, Ibn Maajah, Ibn Khuzaymah, Abu Ya’la, Bazzaar, and the other Muhadditheen like them, then they were upon the Madhab of Ahl ul-Hadeeth. They neither were the Muqallid of a specific Scholar among the Scholars, nor were they Mutlaq A’immah Mujtahideen”[Fath ul-Mulhim: 1/281]


2. “Mufti” Rafee’ Uthmaani writes:

“The opinion of Shaah Sahab (Anwar Shah Kaashmiree) concerning Muslim and Ibn Maajah is that we could not find about their Madhab. And their being Shaafi’ee is famous based on the chapters of Saheeh Muslim, which mostly are in accordance to the Shaafi’ee Madhab, but this base is not correct, because the taraajim (chapters) (of Saheeh Muslim) were not named by Imaam Muslim himself, rather they are named by the people after him”[Dars Muslim: P. 72-73]


Pay attention to the statement of “Mufti” Sahab and see what kind of guesses the guessers have made? They are assuming his “Madhab” from the names of Chapters of his book, whereas, those chapters were not even named by Imaam Muslim himself, rather it is an effort of the late-comers, therefore, this base is extremely weak and groundless. All the attempts of declaring Muhadditheen to be Muqallideen are based mostly on these weak bases. So how much importance the guesses made on such weak bases would hold?


3. Zakariyyah Kaandhalwi writes:

“As for Hadhrat Imaam Muslim, some have declared him Shaafi’ee, while most of them have declared him Maaliki”[Taqreer Bukhaari: 1/52]


4. “Mufti” Irshaad Qaasmi writes:

“Imaam Muslim…. It is written in the Muqaddimah of Fath (al-Baari) that he was upon the Madhab of Ahl ul-Hadeeth. He was not the Muqallid of anyone.”[Irshaad Usool ul-Hadeeth: P. 166]


5. Abdur Rasheed Nu’maani writes:

“ولعل الصواب في هذا الباب ما نقله الشيخ طاهر الجزائري في “توجيه النظر الي اصول الاثر” عن بعض الفضلاء ونصه: (وقد سئل بعض البارعين في علم الاثر عن مذاهب المحدثين مرارا بذالك المعني المشهور عند الجمهور فاجاب عما سئل عنه بجواب يوضع حقيقة الحال… اما البخاري و ابو داؤد فاما مان في الفقه وكانا من اهل الاجتهاد، واما مسلم والترمذي والنسائي وابن ماجة وابن خزيمة وابو يعلي والبزار ونحوهم فهم علي مذهب اهل الحديث ليسوا مقلدين لواحد من العلماء ولا هم من الائمة المجتهدين بل يميلون الي قول ائمة الحديث كالشافعي و احمد و اسحاق وابي عبيد….” الخ

“I think the correct opinion in this issue is that which Ash-Shaikh Taahir al-Jazaairi narrated in ‘Tojeeh un-Nadher Ila Usool al-Athar’ from some Fudala which is that: The experts in the field of Ilm ul-Hadeeth are asked many times about the (Fiqhi) Madhaahib of Muhadditheen in the meaning which is famous according to the Jumhoor, so they answered this question posed to them with an answer which clarifies the actual condition…. As for Bukhaari and Abu Dawood then they are Imaams in the field of Fiqh and they both are from the people of Ijtihaad (Mujtahids), and as for Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasaa’ee, Ibn Maajah, Ibn Khuzaymah, Abu Ya’la, Bazzaar, and other similar Muhadditheen then they were upon the Madhab of Ahl ul-Hadeeth. They were neither the Muqallideen of a specific Scholar among the Scholars, nor were they from the A’immah Mujtahideen; rather they were mild towards the opinions of Imaams of Hadeeth such as Shaafi’ee, Ahmed, Ishaaq, Abu Ubaydah and the similar Muhadditheen” [Maa Tamassu Ilaihi al-Haajjah P. 26]


All these evidence prove that Imam Muslim was not a Muqallid. May Allah guide us, Ameen. Allaah knows best.