Gatherings for hearing and reciting the Books of Hanbali Fiqh 

An Interview with Imam Isma`il Badran Ad-Dumi

It is well known that the scholars are the inheritors of the prophets due to their being the successors of these people in the Muslim societies and in reality they have taken on the inheritance of direct knowledge of Allah, Usul of the methodology and different judgements that cover life.

This is the correct understanding and fulfillment of the statement of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “The rank of the scholar over the worshipper is like my rank over the least of you.” And this is collected by Imam At-Tirmidhi.

There is no action without knowledge and no completion of an action without fiqh. Knowledge and action are both saving graces for the human being in this life and the Hereafter from certain destruction, evil and tribulations.

Al-Wa`ii Al-Islami magazine recently came to one of the seniormost scholars of Sham and the Muslim world – namely the Shaikh, Isma`il Badran Ad-Dumi – in order to sit down and shed light on the matters of the scholars today, knowing the levels and affairs between the schools of knowledge of the Revealed Law, the ways to preserve our Usul in the different challenges that arise and those who are taking on madhhab in this time. We present to you the following interview:

Al-Wa`ii Al-Islami: What do you say about the lack of righteous scholars that fear Allah in this time and this absence is abundantly clear? What do you say about that?

Imam Isma`il Badran Ad-Dumi: By the Favour of Allah, there are indeed righteous scholars that fear Allah in this time, scholars that act by what they know as well as fiqh scholars.

We have in Sham some trustworthy and respected scholars, for example Dr. Muhammad Sa`id Ramadan Al-Bouti, Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi, Muhammad Kurayyim Rajih and Mahdi Mustafa An-Nur – and these scholars are indeed head over the Muslim world and not just Sham alone.

AWI: What is the difference between the shaikh, the `alim and the `allamah?

Imam Isma`il Badran Ad-Dumi: The word ‘shaikh’ in the language does not entail the word ‘`alim.’ In our day to day language, the word ‘shaikh’ signifies faqih or fiqh scholar and the imam of a central masjid. In terms of the word ‘`alim’ this is a higher rank and the word ‘`allamah is an even higher rank.

AWI: What was the reason for your recent visit to Kuwait?

Imam Isma`il Badran Ad-Dumi: Our visit was due to coming together to listen to the books of fiqh with the students of knowledge. Books read to me at this time include Kashf ul-Mukhaddarat – the Commentary on Aksar ul-Mukhtasarat, Nail ul-Ma’arib – the Commentary on Dalil ut-Talib, Bulugh ul-Qasid – the Commentary on Bidayat ul-`Abid.

AWI: Upon who does the responsibility fall for reviewing and safeguarding the sciences of the Revealed Law and any short comings?

Imam Isma`il Badran Ad-Dumi: There is a shortcoming from both the scholars and the people. The people have this idea that whoever seeks knowledge should have no other work for him to support himself; but I was a farmer and I would came from the farm land to the house of the beloved in order for us to review the lesson. This was done by both myself, my brother and my cousin.

Then there are those who argue, “We are not able to review knowledge and seek knowledge due to day to day needs and other pressing matters.” However speech such as this is rejected as there are 24 hours in a day and it is actually possible for you to remove one hour of your sleep or work in order to engage in the pursuit of the knowledge of the Revealed Law that is required.

AWI: What is your opinion on the taking on madhhabs and ijtihad in the subject of seeking knowledge?

Imam Isma`il Badran Ad-Dumi: In terms of the one who has the ability to exert himself in the Usul, there is no prohibition, like in the case of the Shaikh, `Abdul Qadir Badran, the scholar of Sham.

He had reached the level of ijtihad while it was not dire necessity that he take a madhhab with the knowledge that he had been Hanafi and in his later life he took the Hanbali madhhab.[1] So Consensus is possible in some of the affairs and in some judgements. It is not a condition that one adhere to the madhhab in all affairs without question as this would be named partisanship or bias and I am indeed at war with bias such as this in affairs.[2]

In terms of the body of people who recite to me texts I would say to them, “Do not call me solely Hanbali. Indeed in my Usul I am Hanbali but I do not give support to bias and partisanship.”[3] When the judgement of a piece of evidence is stronger than another piece of proof, then following the stronger position has the most right to be followed.[4]

AWI: What is your opinion on the profusion of rulings today?

Imam Isma`il Badran Ad-Dumi: I would say that the shaikh, the `alim who has reached the level of fatwa that he read the text I`lam ul-Muwaqqi`in[5] before he would engage in rulings. As for the one who did not read such a book as this, then it is impermissible for him to engage in giving rulings.[6]

If the question was in Arabic language or fiqh and he is not completely certain, then he should not answer while he does not have the information yet. Remember that the Imam, Malik ibn Anas – may Allah be pleased with him – was asked 36 questions and only answered three of these and the other 33 he said, “I don’t know.”

There is also the narrative that one of the scholars of the Yemen came to Al-Madinah the Radiant and asked him a question, to which he replied, “I don’t know.” The man responded, “Dear Imam, I came all the way from the Yemen to ask Malik questions and his response was ‘I don’t know?!’ ”

The Imam responded, “Go back to your people and say to them, ‘I went and asked Malik a question and he said he didn’t know.’ ”


[1] trans note: In his early life, the Imam was studying several different things at once. Before he sat with people to systematise his knowledge, he studied Hanafi fiqh, Shafi`ii fiqh, different books of logic, prosody and Tasawwuf in various masjids with various people but it was not organised.

[2] trans note: In terms of the fiqh, there are some 15-20% of issues that the four madhhabs differ in and of these there are a certain percentage that are currently open and need resolving. So when that is possible and Consensus can be made a reality, this should indeed be done.

[3] trans note: So if there is some need in which he needs to borrow from another school or another ruling within one’s school, the individual should do so.

[4] trans note: So the Imam is referring to a principle in Usul ul-Fiqh in the madhhab that when the mujtahid should see a text that in his research and exertion is indeed stronger, then he would refer to this and utilise this position rather than the other one. So one would be Hanbali using Usul ul-Fiqh but in the branch issues he would be looking at the masa’il, he would be looking at the texts and coming to conclusions.

[5] trans note: This is a text on Usul written by Imam Ibn ul-Qayyim.

[6] trans note: This is because this individual did not learn the requisite knowledge and principles to carry out the principles of Usul ul-Fiqh that would lead to the ruling.


People making supplication in congregation after compulsory prayers

Imam Abu Ishaq Ash-Shatibi (d. 790), may Allah be pleased with him, was asked the following:

What about the supplication of the imam for the congregation at the end of prayers? Is this of the Sunnah, something that accompanies it or is it in opposition to it? 

Imam Ash-Shatibi gave this response:

I have began – may Allah guide ourselves and you – to deal with the topics like this at hand that are written in and that are turned over to my attention. The first answer is that – and with Allah is success – the supplication of the imam for the congregation at the end of the compulsory prayers is not from the Sunnah or anything that accompanies it. In fact, within this act is something that opposes it.

That which is compulsory to follow is the Master of the Messengers, namely Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. And that which is established from him of the actions to be done after the compulsory prayers is either (1) just Remembrance of Allah or (2) supplication of the imam for himself exclusively.

In the first case, this is the remembrance in which he, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “Allah! There is no one to prevent what you have given.” And there are similar remembrances to that.

In the case of the supplication, the imam makes supplication for himself, as per the hadith of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “Allah! Forgive me what has come and what is to come after of the sins.” And both of these statements are collected by Imams Muslim ibn Al-Hajjaj, Ibn Majah in their books.

There is nothing established from him, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, regarding supplication for the congregation after compulsory prayers and this has been the case from his very age. This was the case in the era of the Four Rightly Guided Successors and remained the case up until the passing of the First Three Generations. Such is the case that some scholars have explicitly said that the imam of the prayer upon completion of the worship is to promptly leave and not sit in the place where he had led the people.

{Taken from Fatawa Al-Imam ish-Shatibi, pp. 127-128}