due to all that we have mentioned, the disciples of the imaams, a number of people from those of old, and a few from those of later time55, would not accept all of their imaam's views; they actually ignored many when they found them to be clearly against the sunnah. even the two imaams, muhammad ibn al-hasan and abu yoosuf differed from their shaikh abu haneefah "in about a third of the madhhab"56, as the books of masaa'il prove. similarly is said about imaam al- muzani57 and other followers of shaafi'i and other imaams; were we to start giving examples, the discussion would become exceedingly, long, and we would digress from what we set out to do in this introduction, so we shall limit ourselves to two instances:
1) imaam muhammad says in his muwatta'58(p. 158), "as for abu haneefah, he did not regard there being a prayer to ask for rain, but we hold that the imaam prays two rak'ahs and then supplicates and holds out his wrapping garment ..."
2) we have 'isaam ibn yoosuf al-balkhi, one of the companions of imaam muhammad59 and a servant of imaam abu yoosuf60, who "would give verdicts contrary to imaam abu haneefah because he did not know the latter's evidence, and other evidence would present itself to him, so he would give verdicts using that."61 hence, "he would raise his hands on bowing (in prayer) and on rising from it"62, as is the mutawaatir sunnah of the prophet (pbuh); the fact that his three imaams (i.e. abu haneefah, abu yoosuf and muhammad) said otherwise did not prevent him from practising this sunnah. this is the approach which every muslim is obliged to have, as we have already seen from the testimony of the four imaams, and others.
to sum up: i sincerely hope that no follower of an imaam will race to condemn the principles of this book and abandon benefiting from the sunnahs of the prophet (pbuh) which it contains, with the argument that they are contrary to his madhhab. i hope that such a person will instead consider what we have given of the exhortations of the imaams towards the obligation to act on the sunnah and ignore their sayings contradictory to it. i hope also that he will realise that to condemn the attitude of this book is to condemn whichever imaam he is following, for we have taken these principles from those imaams, as we have explained. therefore, whoever refuses to be guided by them on this path is in great danger, for such refusal necessitates turning away from the sunnah, the sunnah to which we have been ordered to refer in cases of difference of opinion and on which we have been commanded to depend.
i ask allaah to make us among those about whom he says,
"the answer of the believers, when summoned to allaah and his messenger, in order that he may judge betweeen them, is no other than this: they say, "we hear and we obey" - it is such as these that will attain success. it is those who obey allaah and his messenger, and fear allaah, and keep their duty to him, who will triumph."63
cf. al-waaqi'ah 56:13-14
ibn 'aabideen in haashiyah (1/62), & lucknowi gave its source in an-naafi' al-kabeer (p. 93) as ghazaali .
he himself says at the beginning of his concise shaafi'i fiqh (printed in the margin of imaam shaafi'i's al-umm):
"this book is a selection from the knowledge of muhammad ibn idrees al-shaafi'i (rahimahullaah) and from the meanings of his sayings, to aid the understanding of whoever wants it, knowing of his forbidding the following of his, or anyone else's, opinion, so that such a person may carefully look for his deen in it."
in which he has explained his opposing his imaam in about twenty masaa'il (nos. 42, 44, 103, 120, 158, 169, 172, 173, 228, 230, 240, 244, 274, 275, 284, 314, 331, 338, 355, 356 - from ta'leeq al-mumajjid 'alaa muwatta' muhammad (important notes on muhammad's muwatta'))
ibn 'aabideen mentioned him among them in haashiyah (1/74) & in rasm al-mufti (1/17). qurashi mentioned him in al- jawaahir al-madiyyah fi tabaqaat al-hanafiyyah (p. 347) and said, "he was a reliable transmitter of hadeeth. he and his brother ibraaheem were the two shaikhs of balakh of their time."
al-fawaa'id al-bahiyyah fi taraajum al-hanafiyyah (p. 116)
al-bahr ar-raa'iq (6/93) & rasm al-mufti (1/28).
al-fawaa'id ... (p. 116); the author then added a useful note:
"from this can be deduced the falsity of makhool's narration from abu haneefah: 'that he who raises his hands during prayer, his prayer is ruined', by which ameer, the scribe of itqaani, was deceived, as has been mentioned under his biography. 'isaam ibn yoosuf, a companion of abu yoosuf, used to raise his hands, so if the above-mentioned narration had any foundation, abu yoosuf and 'isaam would have known about it ... it can also be deduced that if a hanafi ignored the madhhab of his imaam in an issue due to the strength of the evidence against it, this would not take him outside the ranks of the imaam's followers, but this would in fact be proper taqleed in the guise of leaving taqleed; do you not see that 'isaam ibn yoosuf left abu haneefah's madhhab of not raising the hands, but he is stil counted as a hanafi?... to allaah i complain of the ignorance of our time, when they insult anyone who does not follow his imaam in an issue because of the strength of evidence against it, and expel him from the fold of that imaam's followers! this is not surprising when those who do this are from the ordinary masses, but it is amazing when it comes from those who imitate men of learning but plod along that path like cattle!"