Is there any such thing as a Fifth Madhhab called Ahl ‘l-Hadith?

This is reproduction of a write-up by Br. Harris Hammam.

What does the term Ahl ‘l-Hadith mean? Here is a list of different connotations of the term used in various Islamic subjects and disciplines:

– Ahl ‘l-Hadith i.e. in Fiqh, as opposed to Ahl ‘l-Ra’y, who were chiefly the Iraqis, and this was pre-development of the Madhhabs

– Ahl ‘l-Hadith i.e. in theology, who are the Ahl ‘l-Sunnah; also known as Ahl ‘l-Athar

– Ahl ‘l-Hadith i.e. in Fiqh – most Hadith-based schools – principally the Maliki, Shafi`i and Hanbali Schools – that rival the Hanafi School, and this was most used post-development of the Madhhabs

– Ahl ‘l-Hadith i.e. biographical – generally the scholars of Hadith

– Ahl ‘l-Hadith i.e. biographical – independent Mujtahids basing their Ijtihad more on their knowledge of Hadith than anything else

– Ahl ‘l-Hadith i.e. in Fiqh, the deniers of Qiyas, usually the Zahiris

– Ahl ‘l-Hadith i.e. in theology, those who are not of the Quranist doctrine; those who are of that doctrine are called Ahl ‘l-Quran

If you look at the above list, it becomes clear that one would have to clarify what is meant when the term Ahl ‘l-Hadith is used. This term is flung around everywhere without most people understanding what it means.

What is important to note is that, in the most part of Islamic history, Ahl ‘l-Hadith has NEVER EVER been used to mean “a Fiqhi Madhhab that rivals the Four Madhhabs.”

Anyone who claims it was a Madhhab like the Hanafi/Maliki/Shafi`i/Hanbali Madhhab is an ignoramus. Claimants of Ahl ‘l-Hadith in Fiqh have totally misunderstood the term.

If these people want to call themselves “Ahl ‘l-Hadith in Fiqh” and upon “the Madhhab of Ahl ‘l-Hadith”, fine – they should just ensure to learn that this meaning is practically an innovation, i.e. it was never used classically to mean what they claim for themselves.

Proving that this meaning has never existed classically is the fact that there is ZERO documentation of anything that would make it a separate Madhhab from the Four Madhhabs, like standard Ahl ‘l-Hadith Fiqhi texts, Ahl ‘l-Hadith Usul, Tabaqat of Ahl ‘l-Hadith scholars, Ahl ‘l-Hadith authorities, Ahl ‘l-Hadith study methodology and Ahl ‘l-Hadith hierarchy – all of which is possessed by the Four Madhhabs.

Ahl ‘l-Hadith Fiqh? My foot. It simply does not exist, classically at least.

Source: IslamAwakening Forums

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