4. Tijani’s claim that the four Schools of Fiqh are traced back to Jafar al Sadiq
Tijani’s academic prowess was tested when he encountered a group of young boys who studied in the Shia institutes of learning, or Hawzahs. By virtue of the immaturity of the arguments and Tijani’s failure to respond one wonders on what basis he set out to undertake his independent research of the history of Islam in its formative period. The Tijani who challenges narrations in Sahih al Bukhari and sifts through books of history to question the reliability of Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu was unable to disarm these young boys of their superficial objections. It is very hard to believe that the tenacious Tijani was docile and mute in the face of such frail objections. He says:
One of the boys asked me, “Which Madhhab (religious school) is followed in Tunis’?” I said, “The Maliki madhhab.” And noticed that some of them laughed, but I did not pay much attention. He asked me, “Do you not know the Jafari Madhhab?” I said, “What is this new name? No we only know the four Madhahibs, and apart from that is not within Islam.”
He smiled and said, “The Jafari Madhhab is the essence of Islam, do you not know that Imam Abu Hanifah studied under Imam Jafar al Sadiq? And that Abu Hanifah said, “Without the two years al Numan would have perished.” I remained silent and did not answer, for I had heard a name that I had never heard before, but thanked Allah that he – i.e. their Imam Jafar al Sadiq – was not a teacher of Imam Malik, and said that we are Malikis and not Hanafis. He said, “The four Madhahibs took from each other, Ahmed ibn Hanbal took from al Shafii, and al Shafii took from Malik, and Malik took from Abu Hanifah, and Abu Hanifah from Jafar al Sadiq, therefore, all of them were students of Jafar ibn Muhammad, who was the first to open an Islamic University in the mosque of his grandfather, the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and under him studied no less than four thousand jurisprudents and specialists in Hadith (prophetic traditions).
Refuting Tijani’s claim that the four Schools of Fiqh are traced back to Jafar al Sadiq
The Ahlus Sunnah venerate the Ahlul Bayt, and Jafar al Sadiq is certainly one of those whom the Ahlus Sunnah love and admire. The Ahlus Sunnah consider him an outstanding scholar, and one worthy of taking knowledge from. The reality, however, is that this feeble attempt at portraying Jafar al Sadiq as a Mujtahid Imam from whom all the Sunni schools trace their academic heritage is misleading on a number of accounts.
Firstly, it assumes that the scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah adopted an adversarial approach to this great-grandson of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, which is not true since the hadith of Jafar al Sadiq is found in the hadith collections of the Ahlus Sunnah. The Ahlus Sunnah consider Jafar al Sadiq, his father al Baqir, and their fathers up to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu scholars and Imams of Ahlus Sunnah. Similarly Imam Jafar al Sadiq narrated from the scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah, the likes of ‘Urwah ibn al Zubair, ‘Ata’ ibn Abi Rabah, Ibn Shihab al Zuhri as well as his father Muhammad ibn ‘Ali and his maternal grandfather, Qasim ibn Muhammad, the grandson of Abu Bakr and nephew of ‘Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
The second fallacy in the argument is that it assumes the practise of the Shia throughout history to be in conformity with the Fiqh of Jafar al Sadiq. This is a known fallacy since the practise of the Twelver Shia are the teachings of people like Zurarah ibn A’yan and Abu Basir among others who were cursed at the hands of the Imams for forging hadith in their names.
The third misleading element in the argument is that it portrays the differences between the Ahlus Sunnah and the Shia as differences in practise, whereas the primary differences lie in core beliefs like Imamah, Ghaybah, etc.
Abu Hanifah’s academic heritage traces its way, via the study circle of the Masjid in Kufah, to Hammad ibn Abi Sulaiman who was Imam Abu Hanifah’s primary instructor and mentor in the discipline of Fiqh. Hammad received his instruction at the hands of Ibrahim ibn Yazid al Nakha’i, who succeeded al Aswad and ‘Alqamah, the two outstanding students of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Thus, Imam Abu Hanifah was the heir to a long standing Fiqh tradition in Kufah. In terms of receiving hadith, Imam Abu Hanifah had taken from the father of Jafar, Muhammad al Baqir. Whatever Imam Abu Hanifah narrates by way of Imam Jafar al Sadiq is minimal on account of them being contemporaries, Imam Abu Hanifah being a few years senior.
It would be a stretch of ones imagination to assert that Abu Hanifah received instruction and formal training at the hands of Jafar al Sadiq. Furthermore it is not proven that Imam Malik had studied under Imam Abu Hanifah, nor has it been proven that Imam Abu Hanifah studied under Imam Malik. Academic debates ensured between these two scholars but their relationship was that of contemporaries rather than student-teacher.
The fabricated narrations appearing in the books of the Shia give the impression that Abu Hanifah was an adversary of the father of Jafar, let alone being a student of Jafar al Sadiq. Al Kulayni narrates in Usul al Kafi:
From Sadir, he said, “I heard Abu Jafar (al Baqir) while we were out. He took my hand, then faced the Qiblah and said, ‘O Sadir! All the people have to do is to come to these stones and circle them. Then they come to us and announce to us their support for us and that is the meaning of the verse,
وَإِنِّيْ لَغَفَّارٌ لِمَنْ تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا ثُمَّ اهْتَدٰى
But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance.
Then he pointed to his chest (and said), ‘Our support!’
Then he said, ‘O Sadir! I will show you those who prevent others from the din of Allah. Then he looked at Abu Hanifah and Sufyan al Thawri at that time and they were in circles in the Masjid and said, ‘These are the ones who prevent others from the din of Allah without any guidance from Allah, and no clear book. Indeed, these useless people, if they sat in their homes and the people started searching (for people to teach them) and they did not find anyone to teach them about Allah and his Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam until they came to us and we would have informed them about Allah and his Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.’”
The mention of more than four thousand scholars of fiqh and hadith studying at the hands of Imam Jafar al Sadiq is something which has been circulated by the Shia.
Some people from the outskirts from the Shia sought permission to visit Abu Jafar and he permitted them. They entered and asked him in one sitting three thousand issues and he answered them. He was ten years old at the time.
It is the good fortune of the Ahlus Sunnah that they narrate some of the hadith of Imam Jafar al Sadiq, else his entire academic legacy would have been exhausted by the lies of the Shia who forged narrations in his name!
 Then I was guided, p. 35-36.
 Surah Taha: 82.
 Al Usul min al Kafi, vol. 1, Kitab al Hujjah, p. 323; we do not believe this could have come from Jafar. Perhaps it is of the forgeries of al Mughirah ibn Sa’id.
 Ibid, vol. 1 Kitab al Hujjah, Bab Mawlid Abu Jafar p. 415.