The Myth of a "Ja’fari" Madhhab
Muhammad Jamaal Abdul Wahid Hanifa Qadiri
A lot of Muslims who are sincere, but not undereducated in their Deen, are led to accept a myth of a so-called "fifth Madhhab" referred to as the "Ja’fari Madhhab," supposedly named after Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (radiyallahu ‘anh). Such people are unaware of the fact that no such Madhhab exists, isn’t accepted by Muslims as a "fifth Madhhab," and is an attempt by Shiites to gain acceptance from Muslims under the guise of a school of Islamic Law. Examining this "Madhhab" one unknowingly thinks, "This is very similar to the Maliki and Hanafi Madhhab." A brief look at the history of his hoax is needed in order to understand its inception.
Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (radiyallahu ‘anh) was a blessed Wali of Allah who revived al-Islam in Madinah, upholding the letter and spirit of al-Islam. He is Sayyid Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Ali bin al-Husain bin Ali bin Abu Talib, son of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, father of Imam Musa al-Kazim (radiyallahu ‘anhuma).
As it is well known, the Four Imams of Fiqh (Imam al-A’zam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik bin ‘Anas, Imam Muhammad al-Shafi’, and Imam Ahmad bin Hambal) wrote many books pertaining to Islamic Jurisprudence, Doctrine, and Worship. Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (radiyallahu ‘anh) did not write any books on such matters, but as related in Asmaa’ul-Mu’allifeen, three books were written by Imam Ja’far: 1.) Taqseemi-Ru’ya, 2.) Jami’atu fil-Jafr, and 3.) Kitabul-Jafr. The word "Jafr" means a four month-old lamb. When referenced in scientific terminology, the word "Jafr" relates to a branch of predicting future events beforehand. In Kamusul-A’lam, it is related that the first book written in this science was by Hazrat Babul-‘Ilm Ali bin Abu Talib (karramallah wajhah). Two of the three books written by Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq were written on sheets of sheepskin, and because of this, the science dealt with in these two books was named "Jafr."
A book titled Imami Ja’far Buyrugu, in the possession of Shiites today, was written by a man named Ja’far bin Husain al-Qummi (d. AD 951), who was the first to write on religious practice in the Shi’ah religion. Abu Ja’far Muhammad al-Tusi (d. AD 1068) wrote another book, titled Risala-i Ja’fariyyah, a commentary consisting of twenty volumes. Putting forward the books written by the two Ja’fars (al-Qummi and al-Tusi), Shiites name themselves "Ja’fari," thus attempting to project that they are directly following Hazrat Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, the way that Muslims who are Hanafi or Hanbali actually follow Imam Abu Hanifah or Imam Ahmad bin Hambal, respectively. Exploiting the similarity between the words "Ja’far" and "Jafr," Shiites assert that these two books, authored by Abu Ja’far al-Tusi and Ja’far al-Qummi, were written by Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (radiyallahu ‘anh).
The "Ja’fari" Madhhab is a case of word games being played. The Four Madhhabs of Islam (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hambali) were either founded by the Imams themselves or by their students who expounded upon the decisions of the Imams. The ‘Ilm of Hazrat Ja’far al-Sadiq can only find it in the Madhhabs of Imam al-A’zam Abu Hanifah and Imam Malik bin Anas (rahmatullahi alaihima), both of whom were the only students of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq to have a Madhhab founded. Thus, the true "Madhhab of Ahlul-Bait" resides within the Hanafi and Maliki Madhhabs. The nisbah with the Ahlul-Bait is prevalent in both. The Maliki Madhhab connects with Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq. The Hanafi Madhhab connects to a total of four Imams from amongst the Ahli-Bait. In addition to the gaining of ‘Ilm from Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, Imam Abu Hanifah gained ‘Ilm from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir and Imam Zaid bin Ali Shaheed (radiyallahu ‘anhuma). The Sahibain (Imam Muhammd al-Shaibani and Imam Abu Yusuf al-Ansari) gained ‘Ilm from Imam Musa bin Ja’far al-Kazim (rahmatullahi ‘alaih).
From the facts presented, it is clear that the "Ja’fari Madhhab" is not only a non-existant (or legitimate) school of Islamic Law, but it is merely a cloak utilized by Shiites, with their ‘Ulama plagiarizing many of the works of Islamic Jurists and placing the name Ja’fari upon them. If one wishes to gain the Fiqh of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (radiyallahu ‘anh), then one does not have to look any further than the Hanafi or Maliki Madhhab.