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The opinions that Aḥmad b.

Ḥanbal singled out from al-Shāfiʿī in pilgrimage

Jewel Jalil

University of Exeter

This paper consists of two sections: (i) an introduction to solitary opinions (mufrad pl.
mufradāt) in the Ḥanbalī school, and (ii) a translation of the chapter of pilgrimage
from Aḥmad al-Damanhūrī’s (d. 1192/1788) Al-Fatḥ al-rabbānī bi-mufradāt ibn
Ḥanbal al-Shaybānī1 – a concise manual which lists the legal opinions that Aḥmad b.
Ḥanbal singled out from al-Shāfiʿī.

1. Introduction

Solitary opinions (mufrad pl. mufradāt) are unique juristic views, which one of the
four Imams, namely Abū Ḥanīfa (d. 150/767), Mālik (d. 179/796), al-Shāfiʿī (d.
204/820) and Aḥmad (d. 241/855) upheld within their juristic schools. These well-
established legal opinions were not shared by any of the other Imams.2 Based on the
aforementioned definition, the legal opinions in the English translation of al-
Damanhūrī’s manual are not totally unique to the Ḥanbalī school only; rather they are
legal opinions, which Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal singled out from his teacher, al-Shāfiʿī.
Aḥmad al-Damanhūrī stipulated this objective in his introduction to the manual. He
also specified that he would only cite the reliable opinions of the two law schools
when mentioning their differences.3 Al-Damanhūrī was a highly reputable scholar,
who mastered the four law schools. He was given license to issue legal verdicts
according to the four law schools from his respected teachers; he was even given the
agnomen ‘al-Madhāhibī’ – follower of all the law schools.4

It is claimed the solitary opinions emerged owing to different ways the Imams applied
the principles of jurisprudence to derive the legal opinions. This can be said to be the
main reason5 for the appearance of these solitary opinions along with other factors.
Understanding the historic background of Aḥmad’s era is important to investigate the

Aḥmad al-Damanhūrī, Al-Fatḥ al-rabbānī bi-mufradāt ibn Ḥanbal al-Shaybānī (Beirut: Dār al-
ʿAbdullāh al-Muṭlaq, Al-Minaḥ al-shāfiyāt bi-sharḥ mufradāt al-Imām Aḥmad (Riyadh: Dār al-Knūz
Ishbīliyā, 1997) vol.1 p.1.
Al-Damanhūrī, Fatḥ, 32.
Al-Damanhūrī, Fatḥ, 15.
Al-Muṭlaq, Minaḥ, 36.
development of Aḥmad’s law principles, which is believed to be a primary factor for
the emergence of his solitary opinions.

Aḥmad’s era witnessed the circulation of the Prophetic narrations at its summit; the
reports of the Companions (āthār al-ṣaḥāba) were also vastly present across the
Muslim lands. The Islamic scholars between the late eighth and ninth century focused
on documenting Prophetic narrations, which brought in challenges for the old regional
law schools that were based on personal interpretations of Islam.6 Aḥmad himself
travelled across the Muslim lands documenting Prophetic narrations and reports,
which resulted in the compilation of his Musnad; a collection containing
approximately thirty thousand aḥādīth, which were carefully selected from a total of
seven hundred thousand aḥādīth.7 Aḥmad also lived during an era wherein the elite of
the jurists flourished, the evolution of jurisprudence occurred, and the number of
diligent enquirers (mujtahid pl. mujtahidūn) multiplied.

Consequently, the Muslims lands saw two major trends for interpreting Islam:
personal interpretation based on legal reasoning (ahl al-raʾy) and transmission-based
interpretation (ahl al-ḥadīth). It was during this phase Aḥmad attended the study
circles of Abū Yūsuf (d. 182/798) – a leading Ḥanafī jurist. 8 He also had the
opportunity to learn directly from al-Shāfiʿī, the founder of Shāfiʿī law school.
Although Aḥmad did not encounter Mālik, it is believed that Mālik influenced
Aḥmad’s legal orientations indirectly. The diversity of law interpretation and his
inclination towards the Prophetic Sunna allowed Aḥmad to develop his own legal
opinions. A body of these legal opinions went against other mainstream Imams,
including some of his teachers. A significant number of solitary opinions have been
attributed to Aḥmad by his followers. Five primary factors have been suggested for
the appearance of Aḥmad’s solitary opinions: (i) the circulation of numerous authentic
narrations during Aḥmad’s lifetime; (ii) similarly, reports of the Companions; (iii)
Ahmad giving precedence to solitary narrations (khabar al-wāḥid) over analogical
deduction (qiyās) when there was a conflict; (iv) him opting for the apparent

Jonathan Brown, Hadith (London: Oneworld, 2011), 28.
ʿAbd al-Qādir b. Badrān, Al-Madkhal ilā madhhab al-Imām Aḥmad bin Ḥanbal (Beirut: Muʾassasat
al-Risāla, 2011), 104.
Abdul Hakim al-Matroudi, The Ḥanbalī School of Law and Ibn Taymiyyah (New York: Routledge,
2006), 5.
meanings of narrations when there were no strong indicators to suggest otherwise;
and finally, difference in legal principles and legal maxims with other leading law

All of the solitary opinions may not necessary be views reported directly from
Aḥmad, but rather legal opinions within his law school, as indicated by al-Mardāwī
(d. 885/1480):

If there was an opinion, a narration or a saying from the solitary

opinions of the school, I indicated that by my saying: ‘it is from
the solitary opinions’ or by my saying: ‘from the solitary
opinions of the school’.10

The initial work regarding the Ḥanbalī solitary opinions was in fact authored as a
refutation by ʿAlī b. Muḥammad al-Ṭabarī al-Kiyā al-Harrāsī (d. 504/1110), a Shāfiʿī
jurist who denied the originality of Aḥmad’s solitary opinions. 11 Thereafter, the
Ḥanbalī jurists responded and authored several works defending and explaining the
solitary opinions, and amongst them was al-Damanhūrī’s manual. A total of nineteen
works12 have been authored, some of which are published and others unpublished.
Contemporary works in this field include a critical edition of the solitary opinions in
financial transactions by Dr. ʿAbdullāh al-Farrāḥ. Another work is of Dr. ʿAbd al-
Muḥsin al-Munīf, who critically examined the solitary opinions in ritual prayers.

More recently, in 2017, a number of past PhD and Masters theses focusing on the
Ḥanbalī school’s solitary opinions were published in a ten-volume set.13 This set
comprises of five doctorate and two master theses, which were done over the last two
decades. The individual works investigate specific sections of Islamic law;
collectively covering all aspects of worship and social dealings. The works identify
and examine the legal opinions, which the Hanbalī school differed with the other
three law schools. This huge work seems to indicate that the Hanbalī school had many

Al-Muṭlaq, Minaḥ, 36-44.
ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn al-Mardāwī, Al-Inṣāf (Riyadh: Dār ʿĀlam al-Kutub, 2011), vol. 1 p.14.
Bakr b. Abū Zayd, Al-Madkhal al-mufaṣṣal (Riyadh: Dār al-ʿĀsima, 1997), vol.2 p.908.
Abū Zayd, Madkhal, vol.2 p.910-912
Al-Mufradāt fī madhhab al-ḥanābil (Riyadh: Dār Kunūz Ishbīlyā, 2017)
unique opinions, however this was not the case. The theses include a lot of
preliminary studies before it discusses the unique opinions. Nevertheless, the
compilation is an asset for Hanbalī researchers and students. It is interesting to note
that only the Hanbalī school strongly emphasised on the mufradāt opinions to the
point it became a genre of literature itself.

In this paper, only the Chapter of Pilgrimage of al-Damanhūrī’s legal manual has
been rendered into English. The rendition will focus on conveying the meanings
premeditated by the author, while trying to maintain as much as possible the lexical,
grammatical, and syntactical aspects of the source text (ST). The premeditated
meanings of the author were maintained in the translation by relying upon the well-
known manual regarding Aḥmad’s solitary opinions: Al-Minaḥ al-shāfiyāt bi-sharḥ
mufradāt imām Aḥmad of Manṣūr al-Buhūtī (d. 1033/1623). It was edited by Dr.
ʿAbdullāh al-Muṭlaq and published by Dār Kunūz Ishbīlyā, 2006. This commentary
and other relevant texts dealing with Ḥanbalī solitary opinions were relied upon to
fully understand the ST and become acquainted with the subject matter.

2. Translation: Chapter of Pilgrimage

1. It is obligatory to perform the pilgrimage immediately.

2. The state of pilgrim-sanctity (ihrām) is effective even if it is entered before the

months of pilgrimage.

3. Entering into the state of pilgrim-sanctity for ḥajj and ʿumra from its entry-sites
(mīqāt) is more preferable than entering it from one’s residence.

4. The best type of pilgrimage is ḥajj-tamattuʿ.

5. If a person initially intended to perform ḥajj-qirān or ḥajj-ifrād, the person has a

choice to withdraw from it to perform ʿumra. This consequently, will allow the
pilgrim to perform the ḥajj-tamattuʿ. This adjustment can be done if the pilgrim did
come with a sacrificial animal.
6. If a person passes the entry-sites without being in the state of pilgrim-sanctity, the
slaughtering of an animal (damm) cannot be waived from the pilgrim – even if the
person goes back to the entry-sites.

7. It is permissible for the pilgrim to wear leather socks if he does not have slippers. It
is not obligatory to cut part of leather socks that covers above the ankles.

8. A male pilgrim is not required to give expiation (fidya) if he sought shade in a


9. If a person doing ḥajj-tamattuʿ travels back to the entry-points after performing its
ʿumra, the compensation of slaughtering of an animal (damm al-mutaʿ) does not

10. If a pilgrim performs ḥajj-tamattuʿ and brings along a sacrificial animal, he must
remain in the state of pilgrim-sanctity even after performing the ʿumra. The person
remains in this state until it becomes permissible to come out of the state of pilgrim-

11. If the pilgrims or majority of pilgrims got the day of ʿArafa wrong, and
consequent were present in ʿArafa on the wrong day, this visit would suffice them for
their pilgrimage.

12. Whomsoever wore sewn garments or used fragrance out of forgetfulness,

expiation for it becomes obligatory.

13. The start time for being in ʿArafa begins at sunrise on the day of ʿArafa (9th Dhu

14. It does not suffice to do the ritual stoning of the Devil with pebbles that has
already been used for stoning.
15. It is not recommended for the pilgrim to deliver sermons on the seventh and the
tenth day of Dḥu al-Ḥijja.

16. The sacrifice of a sheep is due for having sexual intercourse during ʿumra, and not
a camel.

17. It is permissible for the pilgrim doing ḥajj-tamattuʿ or ḥajj-qirān to eat the meat
of the sacrificial animal.

18. It is prohibited for the person in state of pilgrim-sanctity to eat the meat of
animals, which has been hunted by others.

19. The person in state of pilgrim-sanctity compensates for hunted animals, which he
pointed out and gestured towards its kill.

20. It is not permissible for a woman to travel for pilgrimage or elsewhere unless a
guardian, who is forbidden her to marry, accompanies her.

21. If it is obligatory upon the pilgrim to offer a sacrifice (hadyī), the pilgrim has a
choice to upgrade it for a better sacrificial animal or replace it with different one of
equal caliber.

22. Hunting is not prohibited in Wajj, which is a valley in Ṭāiʾf.

23. If an intention is not specified for doing the visit-circumambulation (tawāf al-
ziyāra), it will not suffice.

24. Whoever has sexual intercourse after the first release from the state of pilgrim-
sanctity, it becomes mandatory upon the person to travel to Ḥill and re-enter into the
state of pilgrim-sanctity in order to perform the circumambulation.

25. The day of sacrifice (10th Dhu al-Ḥijja) is considered to be the greatest day of the