Thursday, November 18, 2010
Imam Malik's Preference of Madina over Mecca
Imam Malik's Preference of Madina over Mecca
Abu Hurayra related that the Prophet said:
"One prayer in this mosque of mine is better than a thousand prayers in any other, except the Sacred Mosque (in Mecca)." Muslim narrated it through ten chains in his Sahih.
Imam Nawawi in his commentary on Sahih Muslim said:
"The scholars have differed regarding the meaning of the above exception in the same way that they have differed concerning Mecca and Madina: which of the two is better? The way of Shafi`i and the vast majority of the scholars is that Mecca is better than Madina and that the mosque in Mecca is better than the mosque in Madina. The opposite is true for Malik and a group of scholars.
According to Shafi`i and the vast majority, the meaning of the exception is: "except the Holy Mosque (in Mecca), for prayer in it is better than in my mosque." According to Malik and those who agree with him, however, the meaning of the exception is: "except the Holy Mosque (in Mecca), for prayer in my mosque is better than there, but not by a thousand times."
Imam Nawawi goes on to quote the hadith of `Abd Allah Ibn al-Zubayr whereby the Prophet said:
"One prayer in this mosque of mine is better than a thousand prayers in any other except the Holy Mosque (in Mecca), and one prayer in the Holy Mosque (in Mecca) is better than one hundred prayers in my mosque." Nawawi said: "A fair hadith (hadith hasan), narrated by Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his Musnad, Bayhaqi, and others with a fair chain, and Allah knows best." 
Qadi 'Iyad al-Yahsubi said in al-Shifa', chapter on "the etiquette of entering the mosque of the Prophet and its excellence":
[Regarding the hadith: "One prayer in this mosque of mine is better than a thousand prayers in any other, except the Sacred Mosque (in Mecca)"]
"The scholars have differed regarding the meaning of the above exception in the same way that they have differed concerning the greater excellence of Mecca and Madina. Malik considers, according to the narrations of Ashhab [ibn `Abd al-`Aziz], Ibn Nafi` the companion of Malik, and a large group of others among his companions: that the meaning of the hadith whereby prayer in the Prophet's mosque is better than that one thousand in any other mosque except the Holy Mosque (in Mecca), is that prayer in the Prophet's mosque is better than that in the Holy Mosque (in Mecca), but not by a thousand times. They use as proof what has been related from `Umar ibn al-Khattab ["in Musnad al-Humaydi" -- Mulla 'Ali al-Qari] whereby prayer in the Sacred Mosque (in Mecca) is better than a hundred prayers in other mosques in any other. It follows from this that the excellence of the Prophet's mosque (over Mecca) is nine hundred times greater, and a thousand times greater than all other mosques. This is based on the superexcellence of Madina over Mecca to which we have referred, and is the position of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, Malik, and the majority of the people of Madina." 
Al-Shawkani in Nayl al-Awtar says:
"The position of `Umar and some of the Companions and Malik and the majority of the people of Madina is that Madina is better." 
In his commentary on Qadi `Iyad, Imam `Ali al-Qari al-Hanafi writes:
"There is no doubt that Mecca, among the highly venerated sanctuaries, is preferable to Madina itself, except for the mound of the Prophet's grave, which is mercy and tranquillity: for it is better than the Ka`ba or rather, better than the Throne itself according to a large group of the scholars." 
The Prophet's Grave is the Holiest Site on Earth
Qadi `Iyad states in al-Shifa', in the chapter on visiting the Prophet, the consensus of the Muslims whereby the site of the Prophet's grave is the holiest site on earth. This particular consensus has been questioned by Ibn Taymiyya in his al-Ziyara and Shawkani in Nayl al-awtar, however, it is established that some of the major scholars of all four schools agree to this view whether or not it is a consensus, among whom are the following:
Hanafis: Mulla `Ali al-Qari in his Sharh al-Shifa' already quoted.
Malikis: Qadi `Iyad in al-Shifa' already quoted. He cited ijma` on this question.
Shafi`is: Imam Nawawi in his Sharh Sahih Muslim 6:101  and al-Majmu` sharh al-muhadhdhab 7:444 . He reported `Iyad's statement and did not contradict it.
Hanbalis: Shaykh Ibn `Aqil as quoted by Ibn Qayyim in Bada'i` al-fawa'id
See also: Sa`di Abu Habib, Mawsu`at al-ijma` fi al-fiqh al-islami 2:919.
 Imam Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim, Khalil al-Mays ed., Beirut: Dar al-Qalam, 9/10:172.
 Qadi `Iyad, al-Shifa', ed. al-Bajawi, 2:681.
 Shawkani, Nayl al-awtar, Dar al-kutub al-`ilmiyya, 5:28.
 Mulla 'Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa', Dar al-kutub al-`ilmiyya ed., 2:162.
 Sa`di Abu Habib, Mawsu`at al-ijma` fi al-fiqh al-islami 2:919.
 Imam Nawawi, al-Majmu` sharh al-muhadhdhab 7:444
 Ibn al-Qayim, Bada'i` al-fawa'id
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