and laws in the same continent in the same century. Then, since with the coming of the Prophet of the end of time, man as though advanced from the primary to the secondary stage, and through numerous revolutions and upheavals reached a position at which all the human peoples could receive a single lesson and listen to a single teacher and act in accordance with a single law, no need remained for different laws, neither was there necessity for different teachers. But because they were not all at completely the same level and did not proceed in the same sort of social life, the schools of law became numerous. If, like students of a school of higher education, the vast majority of mankind were clothed in the same sort of social life and attained the same level, then all the schools could be united. But just as the state of the world does not permit that, so the schools of law cannot be the same.
If you say: The truth is one; how can the different ordinances of the four and twelve schools be true?
The Answer: The same water governs in five different ways in five ill people of different disposition, thus: for one, the water is a cure for his illness, and according to medicine, necessary. For another, it is like poison for his sickness and harmful, and medically prohibited. For another, it causes a small amount of harm, and is reprehensible medically. For another the water is beneficial and without harm; according to medicine that is sunna for him. And for yet another it is neither harmful nor beneficial; he can drink it with good health, and for him it is medically permissible. Thus, here the truth has become numerous; all five are true. Are you able to say: “The water is only a cure, only necessary, and it governs in no other way?”
Similarly, impelled by Divine wisdom, the Divine ordinances change according to the schools of law and those who follow them, and they change as truth, and all are true and right. For example, since, in accordance with Divine wisdom and determining, the majority of those who follow Imam Shafi’i are closer to village life and nomadism than the Hanafis, and are lacking in social life, which makes the community like a single body, each person recites the Fatiha behind the prayer-leader so as to himself express his pains at the Court of the Dispenser of Needs and utter his private wishes. And this is absolutely right and pure wisdom. However, since most Islamic governments favoured the school of Imam-i A’zam, the great majority of those who follow that school are closer to civilization and town life and more fitted for social life. Thus, the community becomes like a single individual and one man speaks in the name of all; all affirm him with their hearts and bind their hearts to his and his word becomes the word of all; according to the Hanafi school, the Fatiha is not recited behind the prayer-leader. And its not being recited is absolutely right and pure wisdom.
And, for example, since through forming a barrier against the assaults of