Taking Rulings Directly From Imam Muhammad’s Six Books (kutub dhahir al-riwaya)

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Sidi Waseem Hussain

Question: Is it permissible for a non scholar muslim to follow directly a ruling ,issued in one of the six Kutub zâhir al-riwâya, by Imam Abu Hanifa,Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam As Shaybani on an issue they have all three agreed upon and in the meantime doing this without consulting other authorities(such as a living qualified hanafi scholar or a more comprehensive book such as  Ibn Abidin’s Hashiyat)?

Answer: Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullah,

Islam is a living tradition passed down from generation to generation until the time of the Tabieen, who learned the religion from the Sahaba, who learned it from the Prophet (May Allahs peace and blessings be upon Him).

As such, our knowledge of the religion comes from the hands of scholars and not just from books.

The 6 books of “zahir al-riwaya” (*) are not like other fiqh-texts such as Nur al-Idah, Quduri or others that we can look into for a fiqh-ruling. Therefore it is not advisable for non-scholars to make the 6 books into ones main source of Hanafi-fiqh. Even books like Nur al-Idah or Quduri are not to be accessed without teaching and guidance from living scholars.

As students then, going back to the early books of the Hanafi-madhab like the 6 books to follow the rulings mentioned in them is not something we indulge ourselves in. Rather, we seek to learn our religion at the hands of living scholars who teach us, guide us and help us in understanding the easier books first.

And Allah knows best,
Waseem Hussain

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

(*) The 6 books in question are the books written by Imam Muhammad that consitute the backbone of the Hanafi-madhab and serve as a basis of the later books of the Hanafi-madhab.