The Need for Contextualisation of Islamic Tradition

“To contextualise rulings”, means to take the foundations of something and make it applicable to the times in a meaningful way, or to grant dispensations in areas recognised by the Shariah.

Much of what we see happening today in the “scholarly tradition” under the pretext of “contextualisation” (and reform) is a desperate attempt to convince the society that the modern standards of life are suitable for our religion; by making permissible what is known to be forbidden, in search of some desirable ease. It is rather unwarranted and unqualified reasoning by those who wish to change the rules and regulations of matters that are well established in our religion only to show the world that we have transcended the draconian scholarship of the past. If it is not to please anyone, then the aim is to show that we are qualified, somehow, to excercise our juristic reasoning in order to come up with rulings that are in conformity with the modern standards of life in the West.

Sadly, such people are mistaken by the common folk to be scholars of Islam, since they “give fatwa”. But because they are assumed to be scholars by the common folk, their Ijtihadi-opinions are respected. When in reality, they are simply Naqilin (transmitters) entrusted with the task of transmitting and ruling by the Mu’tamad (relied-upon position) of the madhhab. They are not Mujtahid (one who is able to exercise independent juristic reasoning) even of the lesser degree. Rather they distort and help in destroying a true representation of the religion (unintentionally, of course).

Sh. Al-Mishri Ahmad Ibn al-Hawi said:

…The well known (opinion) with us is the nonexistence of any mujtahid from approximately the time of Ibn ‘Arafah [d. 1401 CE] or Imam Suyuti [d. 1445 CE].

Sidi ‘Abdullah b. Ibrahim in Maraqi as-Su’ud says:

‘(As for) The Ijtihad in the lands of Islamic West

The phoenix flew away with it to the sky’

Here is an interesting observation made by Daniel Haqiqatjou, he says:

Beware the Muslim reformers coming out of Islamic studies university departments.

Often these are very confused individuals, but they speak confidently about the moral imperative to “reform Islam.”

What makes them dangerous is that they quote from the classical texts to make it seem to the average Muslim like their reform is either informed by the tradition or is necessary in light of the manifest “barbarism” of the tradition. But their citations virtually always are either selective, partial, distorted, or all of the above. Sometimes maybe they just don’t know better. Other times it’s clearly deliberate.

One of the things Western academia teaches you is how to be creative with the source material and how to “craft your own reading.” This approach to “scholarship” stems from the postmodernistic notion — a notion that is rife in all the liberal arts — that text has no inherent meaning and it is only different readers that project their opinions and commitments onto the text. This means, in their minds, that no reading is inherently superior to another. Hence, all readings are worth seriously exploring, which is what the university facilitates.

As you can imagine, this makes it very easy for these Muslims to justify a selective, contorted interpretation of the texts as scholarly and sound because “Well, everyone’s reading is in some way selective, so why is my reading any less plausible?” etc. Suffices to say that all this incentivizes far-fetched interpretations that are presented to Muslim laypeople as accurate and faithful conveyances of the tradition.

To be clear, I am only referring to “reformers” here.

Although the above is not restricted to the “reformers” only, it applies to all those who approach traditional texts the same way.

Some rulings in Islam are easy to practice while others are difficult. So, let’s be thankful for that which Allah has made easy for us and ask Him for forgiveness and strength for that which is difficult. No need to claim that one needs to transcend the barriers of Taqlid (imitation) and centuries of scholarship in order to “reform” the Deen so it fits our times and social constructs; it’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole—it just can not happen. We can contextualise a text in light of another authorative text, but so long as a precedent exists in our legal texts, we are bound by it. We can find the easiest and appropriate of the two Mu’tamad opinions and practice that. But no need to turn the Deen into a potpourri of Rukhas (dispensations)—“Deen of ease”.

May Allah protect the ‘Ulama al-Haqq and protect us from the Ulama as-Su’.

The meaning of Ramadan and Sawm (Fast)

On the meaning of Ramadan, Imam Raghib al-Asfahani said:

Ramadan is taken from the word ra-ma-da which means ‘to burn’ or ‘that which is intensely or vehemently heated by the sun’.  And the word Ramdhā means ‘the intense heat of the sun’. [The Arabs used to say about] the sheep that they were ‘burned (ramidat) while they were grazing under the scorching heat of the sun to the extent that their livers became damaged (by the intense heat of the sun). Ramadan was named such because it burns the sins of the believers.
[Mufradāt al-Qur’ān]

Imam al-Qurtubi said:

This month was named Ramadan because it burns the sins of people with righteous deeds.
[Tafsīr al-Qurtubī]

On the meaning of Sawm, Ahmad Mayyara said:

Linguistically, the root meaning of the word sawm (fast) is ‘to refrain or abstain from’…. Legally (in terms of Shari’ah), sawm (fast) refers to ‘refraining from two appetites of the stomach and the private parts for a whole day (from the first light of dawn to sunset) with the (following) intentions:

  1. to come closer to Allah; that is to fast for His sake alone, and
  2. to fulfil the legal obligation; in order to
    —a) oppose the desires which are responsible for the two appetites,
    —b) bring the nafs – the self – under control,
    —c) polish the mirror of the intellect,
    —d) take on angelic attributes,
    —e) arouse the slave’s concern for those who are hungry.

[Sharh al-Kabīr ‘alā nazm Murshid al-Mu’īn]

Establishing the Beginning & End of the Month of Ramadan

Establishing the Beginning & End of the Month of Ramadan— Maliki madhhab

Imam Malik has reported on the authority of ‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

“The month is 29 days (at least), so do not fast it until you sight (taraw) the crescent, and do not put an end to it until you sight it. If the sky above you is cloudy, you should compute for it a full 30 days.”

Ahmad Mayyara says:

The beginning of Ramadan is ascertained by establishing one of two things, either
1) the sighting of the crescent, or
2) completion of the 30-days of the month of Sha’ban.

Regional sighting vs Global sighting:

Ahmad ad-Dardir, the noble jurist, mutakallim and Sufi from Egypt, wrote as follows in his super-commentary on Khalil’s Mukhtasar, Ash-Sharh al-Kabir:

“Fasting is generally binding on all the other countries, whether near or distant. No consideration is paid in that connection to whether the distance is such that a prayer can be shortened or whether the rising points of the moon (=start times of lunar days) are the same or differ. Fasting is incumbent on all those to whom a sighting has been transmitted.”

The one who sees the crescent vs the news of it reaching those who didn’t see it themselves:

Regional Sightings are established in two ways:

  1. The one who sees the crescent himself is obligated to fast.
  2. The one to whom the news of the sighting reaches, it is established by either,
    a) the testimony of two upright, male-witnesses, or
    b) news of the sighting reaches him through various independent sources eliminating the possibility of it being a concoction.

In the absence of a Qadhi/Imam or a Jama’ah that can establish these things, one can establish Ramadan by either:

  1. hearing of a sighting from a trustworthy person, or
  2. sighting the crescent oneself.

Global sightings are established in four ways:

  1. News of the sighting is brought from a person who himself heard it from a trustworthy person.
  2. By testimony of someone who heard the news of the sighting from another trustworthy person.
  3. By someone who heard the news of the sighting from the testimony of another.
  4. By means of testimony of someone based on the testimony of another person.

In all four cases, the judgement is the same: if the testimony, which is transmitted, is confirmed as being credible by the person in authority, like the Khalif or a local person in authority, then fasting is obligatory upon all those whom the news reaches and is not classed in the category of testimony. What’s important is that certainty be obtained and uncertainty removed.

Also radio, television, etc. are acceptable means for establishing a sighting from another region. [Ashal al-Masalik]

Following astronomical calculations:

Ibn Nafi’ narrates that Imam Malik said:

If an Imam does not fast according to the sighting of the crescent and does not break his fast according to the sighting of the crescent but instead relies on astronomical calculations then he is not to be followed or obeyed (in that regard).

Ahmad ad-Dardir said:

“The start of Ramadan is established either by completing the thirty-days of the month of Sha’ban or by the sighting of the crescent, not by astronomical calculations according to the mashhur because the legislator—Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala—made the ruling dependent (only) on the sighting of the crescent or the completion of thirty-days for Sha’ban.”

Ahmad Zarruq said:

“It is apparent from his (ibn Abi Zayd) words that no attention should be given to those who follow astronomical calculations, and this is the truth.”

By Abdul Samad Ali

Regarding the dubious Tafsir that was published recently in America

To the honourable scholars, al-salam ‘alaykum.

Recently, an English translation and commentary of the Quran entitled ‘the Study Quran’, was published. It was undertaken by a group of western academics. The work includes Shia, Sunni, Sufi tafsir, in addition to several essays as appendices. Unfortunately, in spite of some benefits in the work, the authors have, while commentating on certain verses, presented interpretations that accord with the belief in the universal validity of religions. For instance, during the discussion on the tafsir to the verse: Truly the religion in the sight of God is submission (3:20), it says:

Many Muslims say that this verse shows that the only religion acceptable to God is the one revealed to the Prophet of Islam, but the most universal meaning of it, which been emphasised by many Islamic authorities over the ages, is that Islam in this verse refers to submission to God even if it is not in the context of Islam as the specific religion revealed through the Quran … [p. 135]

The reader is then referred to the essay at the end of the book entitled ‘The Quranic View of Sacred History and of Other Religions’ in which it is argued that previous scriptures and religions are not abrogated by Islam:

The notion that previous scriptures have been abrogated in the sense of being nullified or excessively distorted to such an extent that the message no longer reflects  the particularity of the original teachings, as some Muslims maintain, would seem to be contradicted by verses such as 5:43: And how is it that they come to thee for judgement …  It would be contradictory for the Quran to speak of the efficacy of judging by the Torah and the Gospel if it were to also maintain that these Scriptures have been abrogated or excessively distorted … If the previous religions were abrogated by the revelation of the Quran, it will be implausible to tell the Prophet Muhammad to seek their counsel when it says, Ask the people of the Reminder, if you know not. [p. 1767]

Regarding the verse: Whoever seeks a religion other than submission it shall not be accepted of him… (3:85), it says:

However, the idea that 3:85 abrogates 2:62 is connected to the interpretation expressed by some commentators that this verse denies the “acceptability” of any form of religion other than that brought by the Prophet Muhammad. This opinion is not without its inconsistencies, however, since it does not take into account the more general and universal use of Islam and muslim in the Quran to refer to all true, monotheistic religion… [p. 153]

Moreover, regarding the interpretation of the verse on the Christian trinitarian belief: They certainly disbelieve, those who say, “Truly God is the third of three,”… [5: 73], it says:

However, the verse clearly threatens punishment only for those among them who disbelieved, suggesting that it is not for all Christians. Moreover, an interpretation that considers all Christians to be barred from the garden in the next life would openly contradict both v. 69 and 2:62 where Christians and anyone who believes in God and the Last Day and works righteousness shall have the reward with their Lord. No fear shall, upon them, nor shall they grieve, and is not consistent with the description of Christian virtue in vv. 82-85. [p. 316-17]

The same author says in the above-mentioned essay as he speaks about the concept of trinity criticised in the Quran:

And say not “Three.” Refrain! … (4:171) … They certainly disbelieve, those who say,” Truly God is the third of three…” This, however, is not a direct condemnation of Christian theology, for trinitarian theology does not make God one of three, but rather speaks of the triune God, Who is both one and three in a manner that transcends human understanding. Viewed in this light, 5:73 does not oppose the various forms of orthodox trinitarian doctrine that have prevailed for most of Christian history. Rather, it appears to oppose crude misunderstandings of it that would lead one to believe that there are three gods instead of one. [p. 1779]

Similar notions to the above are frequently found throughout the work.

The author of another essay, also within the work, states the following on the matter of perpetuity of hellfire:

During the early period of Islam, scholars differed about the duration of Hell. The majority of them argued that Hell is perpetual and an actualised state that never ends. But some groups argued otherwise, citing verses that hinted at an end to Hell’s torment and arguing that this was more consistent with God’s saying, ‘My Mercy exceeds My Wrath.’ Thus the scholars fell into three camps. The first believed that although Hell did not end, its punishment and torment did. The proof for this was the verse: Truly Hell lies in ambush, a place unto which the rebellious return, to tarry therein for ages (78:21-23). This was the opinion of Aḥmad ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Qayyim, and Ibn al-ʿArabī; a similar opinion that the majority of Hell’s denizens are ultimately released also appears to have been held by al-Ghazzālī, as is evident in his Fayṣal al-tafriqah (Decisive Criterion). [p. 1849-50]

The work would probably not have gained much popularity were it not for certain popular Muslim preachers in West who promoted and endorsed the work unconditionally without any caution against its absurd interpretations and false beliefs; one of them went to the extent of describing it as ‘A major victory and a gift from god’, and another said, ‘It is probably the best work in English to date’ and called it ‘A mercy from God.’ This latter individual made the matter worse by allowing the hosting of an event in his Islamic institute in America wherein one of the translators of the work was invited to speak about the book. None of the panel attendees refuted or challenged his claims. Instead, they encouraged the attendees to purchase a copy of the book at the end of the session and get it signed by the translator.  Since the book has gained much popularity and is increasingly bought we fear that it will pollute the minds of readers and therefore seek your guidance and fatwa in regards to the following questions:

1. What is the status of those who believe in the validity of all religions other than Islam, claiming that it does not abrogate the previous religions: does it take them out of the pale of Islam even if they an interpretation (ta’wil) for such a belief?

2. What is the ruling on believing that Hellfire or its torment will eventually extinguish? Is there a valid scholarly disagreement over the issue?

3. What is the ruling on promoting, endorsing, and encouraging people to buy and read such a work, knowing full well its contents, without cautioning readers against the problematic points?

4. What is the ruling on laymen reading such a work?

Answered by Shaykh Muḥammad Tawfīq Ramaḍān:

In the Name of Allah, the All Merciful, the Most Merciful

Praise be to Allah, the Unique, the One, the Singular, the Everlasting Sustainer, who has not given birth and was not born, and no one is comparable to Him, and blessings and peace be upon our master Muḥammad and upon his family, all of his companions and those who follow them on the path of truth until the Day of Repayment. To proceed:

I have looked at the explanation (tafsīr)[1] of certain verses from the Book of Allah which offends what the people of truth are upon and contradicts the Qurʾānic texts with interpretations that are inconsistent with what is correct. I believe that whoever stated them is upon misguidance in his theology and whoever has followed him is obliged to return to the path of truth. If not, then one becomes one of those whom Allah, may His affair be manifest, described by saying: “Do you, then, believe in one part of the Book and reject the other? What repayment will there be for any of you who do that except disgrace in this world? And on the Day of Standing, they will be returned to the harshest of punishments. Allah is not unaware of what you do.” [Sūrat al-Baqarah 2:85]

Indeed the Book of Allah the Exalted has commanded us to debate kindly with the People of the Book[2] whom we differ with regarding what they believe about our master ʿĪsā (Jesus), peace and blessing be upon him or ʿUzayr (Uzair), peace and blessings be upon him. The Book of Allah calls on the People of the Book to have faith in our master Muḥammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and it does not consider those who disbelieve in our master Muḥammad to be from the people of salvation nor does it consider those who believe Allah to be the third of three or that the Messiah is the son of Allah to be from the people of salvation.[3] Our theology is not taken from those who are suspect in their theology nor from those who flatter those who contradict the truth, seeking to ingratiate themselves while having certain interests, or something similar, in mind.

Indeed a tafsīr like this aims to ruin the Muslims and to take them away from the true paths of knowing their religion and their theology. Indeed, treating the People of the Book kindly is one thing and presenting relinquishments to them in violation of our theology and our Revealed Law is something else. The obligation to debate with the People of the book in the kindest of ways is one thing and violating what is clear in the Book of Allah, seeking to ingratiate oneself with them, is something else.

Indeed the belief that the People of the Book, with the beliefs that they currently hold, are not disbelievers contradicts what is clear in the Book of Allah, and the circulation of such publications is one of the waves of misguidance that Muslims are exposed to, in addition to their other afflictions.

Likewise, the belief that the people of the Fire are not in there eternally is inconsistent with the Exalted’s statement: “As for those who disbelieve in Our Signs, We will roast them in a Fire. Every time their skins are burned off We will replace them with new skins so that they can taste the punishment. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.” [Sūrat an-Nisāʾ 4:56] and other verses that clearly show that the people of the Fire are therein eternally and that the people of Paradise are therein eternally, and this is aside from what this tafsīr ignores from the clear, authentic Prophetic ḥadīths on this matter. This shows that the authors of this tafsīr have shunned the Exalted’s statement: “And we have sent down the Reminder to you so that you can make clear to mankind what has been sent down to them so that hopefully they will reflect.” [Sūrat an-Naḥl 16:44] Al-Bukhārī has related on the authority of Abū Saʿīd al-Khudrī, may Allah be pleased with him, who said, ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, {Death will come in the form of a black and white ram and then a caller will call out, ‘O people of Paradise’, and at that point they will stretch their necks and look. He will say, ‘Do you know what this is?’ They will respond, ‘Yes. This is death.’ and all of them will have seen it. Then he will call out, ‘O people of the Fire’, at which point they will stretch their necks and look. He will say, ‘Do you know what this is?’ They will respond, ‘Yes. This is death.’ and all of them will have seen it. It will thus be slaughtered and then he will say, ‘O people of Paradise, eternity and thus no death, and O people of the Fire, eternity and thus no death.’} Then he recited, “Warn them of the Day of Bitter Regret when the affair will be resolved. But they take no notice [i.e. the people of this worldly life]. They do not believe.” [Sūrat Maryam 19:39]

Indeed circulating books like this is to take part in misguiding and in serving the plan to disrupt the thinking of the Ummah away from the right path. And Allah knows best.

The servant of knowledge: Muḥammad Tawfīq Ramaḍān

[Translated by Mahdi Lock]

[1] (tn): because it is not actually possible to fully translate the Qurʾān, and thus any so-called translation is in fact only a conveyance of some of the meanings, and therefore it’s an explanation, or tafsīr

[2] (tn): for instance, see Sūrat an-Naḥl 16:125

[3]  (tn): for instance, see Sūrat al-Māʾidah 5:72-73

The Final Words of Advice from Sayyiduna Ja’far as-Sadiq [d. 148 AH]

It has been narrated that Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ great-great-great grandson, Ja`far al-Sadiq ibn Muhammad al-Baqir ibn Zayn al-`Abidin ibn Husayn ibn Fatimah bint Muhammad ﷺ, was on his deathbed and some people from Kufa (a city in `Iraq) entered upon him. They pleaded him to tell them of someone they could go to after he passed away for learning about the Dīn. He then said,

“Stick to the opinions of the people of Medina for this city forces out its bad folk (and only good people remain) as the bellows expel the impurities from iron. And follow the path of those early Muslims who have already passed. Right now, I am the most knowledgeable of you and I follow (the way of the Prophet ﷺ) and do not engage in blameworthy innovations. After me, follow the opinions of the people of Hijaz. Follow the fortunate blessed helper of Islam, the one who clings to the path of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. I tested him and found him to be an excellent scholar of jurisprudence. He is not subject to his whims and desires… If you follow him, you will obtain your due portion of Islam. If you go against him, you will become misguided and ruined… He studied [under me for a period of time] and took from me what he needed… I have pointed you to a man who is trustworthy.”

The people said,
“(We are still not sure whom you mean.) Please clarify.”

Ja`far al-Sadiq answered,
“He is Malik ibn Anas. Follow the opinions of Malik (after me).”

[Ibn Rushd, Muqaddimah Vol 1, page 10]

The Counsel of Jesus [Part 1]

Imam Malik relates that Jesus, the Son of Mary—peace be upon him—said:

Do not speak much without remembering God, for in not doing so, your hearts will harden. Surely, a hard heart is far from God, and you are not even aware. Moreover, do not look at the sins of others as if you are masters, but rather look at your own sins as if you are servants. For, surely, humanity is of two types: those afflicted with sins and those who are not. So have mercy on those afflicted with sins, and praise God if you are free of them.

Az-Zurqani comments:

“Looking at our own sins as if we were servants” means to fear that our masters will come to know of the sins. Humanity is either sinful, and thus in tribulation, or sinless, and thus in an innocent state. Having mercy on those tribulated with sin means to pray for them (that their sins are removed), neither to examine their sins nor to expose them, and to counsel them with gentleness and kindness.

Analysis of Ashhab’s Opinion on Combining Prayers


Ashhab ibn ‘Abd al-Aziz (140AH – 204AH) was a famous Egyptian jurist and companion of Imam Malik. Some have claimed that he was of the view that combining between two prayers without a valid Shar‘i excuse is permissible. This view contradicts the Mashhur position in the Maliki school. However, has that opinion been established from Ashhab?  Below we will analyse the view of Ashhab:

Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (d. 386 H), the famous author of the Risalah, quotes Ashhab as follows:

“[Ashhab said:] The non-traveller also has a dispensation to do that [i.e. join Ẓuhr and ‘Asr/ Maghrib and ‘Isha’], although it is better not to. He has this licence because he is praying in one of the two times that Jibril stipulated. When the shadow becomes the same length (as a standing object), this is the end time of Ẓuhr and the start time of ‘Asr…This is also the case with Maghrib and ‘Isha’. The disappearance of the twilight is a common time for both of them…The Prophet ﷺ joined at the end of one time and the start of the other time. That is, to complete Ẓuhr when the shadow is the same length (as a standing object), or to start it when the shadow is the same length; and then to stand and pray ‘Asr after it. Or to complete Maghrib when the twilight has disappeared or to begin it at that time; and then offer ‘Isha’ thereafter.” (Nawādir, 1:263)

According to the well-known view in the Maliki school, Ẓuhr and ‘Asr have a shared time. That is, when the shadow of a standing object becomes equal to its length, the time of ‘Asr enters. However, the time of Ẓuhr does not end immediately at the start of ‘Asr, but there is a small window of time when they can both be prayed. This is based on the hadith in which Jibril led the Prophet ﷺ in prayer. In this hadith, it states that he led him in Ẓuhr on the second day when the shadow of a standing object was the same length; and this is despite the fact that he led him in ‘Asr on the first day at the very same time. Based on this, according to the well-known position in the Maliki madhhab, there is a shared time between Ẓuhr and ‘Asr. This is also the case with Maghrib and ‘Isha’: there is a small window of time when they can both be prayed just after the twilight disappears. Ashhab, who upholds this opinion, says Ẓuhr and ‘Asr can be combined even without a valid excuse, but only by praying each within their own respective times.

Ashhab’s comment: “because he is praying in one of the two times that Jibrīl stipulated” means that he is praying Ẓuhr at the time that Jibril prayed on the second day i.e. in the common time of Ẓuhr and ‘Asr. His subsequent explanation shows that he believes each of the two prayers are prayed in their own times.

Ibn Yunus (d. 451), a great mujtahid in the Maliki school, also quotes Ashhab saying the exact same thing. (al-Jāmi‘ li Masā’il al-Mudawwana, pp. 712-13) Al-Baji (d. 494) in his commentary of Muwaṭṭa’ narrates this position of Ashhab also, stating the same. (al-Muntaqā, 2:235, 236)

Qaḍi ‘Iyaḍ (d. 544 H) in his commentary on Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim says:

“All the ‘ulama’ have opined that it is not permissible to combine between two prayers without an excuse, except for a fringe group amongst them from the early Muslims, like Ibn Sirin, and from our [Maliki] authorities, Ashhab. They permitted it for a need and excuse as long as it is not made a habit. ‘Abdul Malik said something similar for Ẓuhr and ‘Asr. Their proof for this is the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas, and the statement: ‘He did not want to cause inconvenience to his ummah.” He (‘Abdul Malik) interpreted that to mean delaying the first prayer until the end of its time and bringing the second to the start of its time, as interpreted by Abu l-Sha‘tha and ‘Amr ibn Dinar in Book of Muslim. Ashhab also explained the hadith in the same way. He said: ‘Because he prayed at the second of the two times that Jibrīl prayed’…Once this is so, there is no disagreement.” (Ikmāl al-Mu‘lim, 3:36)

Qaḍi ‘Iyaḍ makes it clear that there is no disagreement, since Ashhab did not say it is permissible to perform these prayers outside of their own times. They are each performed in their respective times but with an apparent combining (Jam’ Ṣūrī). Also note: the above references are quoting Ashhab’s words directly, explicitly showing he meant apparent combining.

It becomes very clear from the above that Ashhab did not advocate a real combining (Jam’ Haqīqī). Moreover, some Maliki authorities quote Ashhab as sharing the view of the Hanafis: that apart from Hajj, there is never a real combining, only apparent combining. The author of Manāhij al-Taḥṣīl says:

“The disputed scenario (of joining prayers) is a traveller combining outside of ‘Arafa and Muzdalifa. Malik and al-Shafi‘i said it is permissible to combine in general. Abu Hanifa and his followers said it is impermissible. Ashhab amongst the students of Malik agreed with him.” (Manāhij al-Taḥṣīl, 1:419)

Hence, the position of Ashhab cannot be used to claim there is an opinion of actual combining in the Maliki madhhab, even if some later scholars may have misunderstood his opinion to mean this. From the clear quotes from him above, no room remains for interpretation. Those who wish to respond, should address the clear reference to apparent combining  found in Ashhab’s statement and also Qaḍi ‘Iyaḍ’s comment that based on Ashhab’s own explanation, no disagreement really exists.

By Zameelur Rahman

Also see:

1) Al-Mazari on giving verdicts contrary to the Mashhur in one’s school
2) Importance of following the Mashhur — Protocols of Fatwa