Shah Wali Allah’s View on Muwatta of Imam Malik
In Fiqh, Hadith,
Islam, Religion, Seeking knowledge
on September 23, 2008
at 4:55 pm
Shah Wali Allah belonged to the Hanafi school of Fiqh,
as did his forefathers. Shaykh Abu Tahir al-Kurdi, however, was a Shafi’i. This
led Shah Wali Allah to treat the Hanafi and Shafi’i’ schools of Fiqh with the
same deference. Although in his home country he chose to follow the Hanafi
school as far as practicable, he did not altogether dismiss the Shafi’i school.
He based his study of Hanafi Fiqh on the works of al-Shaybani, and that of
Shafi’i Fiqh directly on the works of al-Shafi’i. Noting that both al-Shaybani
and al-Shafi’i had derived their Fiqh from Malik ibn Anas, Shah Wali Allah
concluded that Malik’s Muwatta was the basis of all Fiqh, and that all the
Fiqhi doctrines of the four Sunni schools had developed from the same roots.
Since al-Muwatta had been compiled in Madinah, it represented the epitome of
the juristic tradition of Madinah. This juristic tradition could be traced back
to Umar ibn al-Khattab. As such, Shah Wali Allah considered these four schools
to be a commentary on the juristic approach of Umar. Hence his assertion in his
“Izalat al-Khafa’ ” that Umar was the absolute Mujtahid (al-Mujtahid al Mutlaq), while the three imams, in their relationship to
Umar, were no more than Mujtahid Muntasib.
Shah Wali Allah felt that the Muwatta combined the method of
the Fuqaha and that of the Muhaddithin, giving his students the advantages of
both the Faqih and the Muhaddith. Moreover, it is considered to be the source
of at least three schools of Sunni jurisprudence by most scholars; Wali Allah
considers it to be the basis of all four schools and says that these schools
may be considered commentaries on the text of Muwatta.
[Islamic Renaissance in South Asia
1707-1867: The Role of Shah Wali Allah and His Successors, Mahmood Ahmad Ghazi,
Adam Publishers, p157-158 & p161]