Always Shaking Hands after the Congregational Fard Prayers
Ibn ‘Ābidīn al-Shāmī (d. 1252 H) writes in his Radd al-Muhtār:
وقد صرح بعض علمائنا وغيرهم بكراهة المصافحة المعتادة عقب الصلوات مع أن المصافحة سنة، وما ذاك إلا لكونها لم تؤثر في خصوص هذا الموضع فالمواظبة عليها فيه توهم العوام بأنها سنة فيه
“Some of our [Hanafī] scholars and others have stated explicitly the detestability of the customary handshake following the salawāt, although shaking hands is sunnah. And that is only because it has not been transmitted [from the early generations] in this specific place [i.e. after the salawāt] – thus, continuity on it in this [specific place] gives the false impression that it is sunnah therein.” (Radd al-Muhtār, Dār ‘Ālam al-Kutub, 3:141)
ولذا منعوا عن الاجتماع لصلاة الرغائب التي أحدثها بعض المتعبدين لأنها لم تؤثر على هذه الكيفية في تلك الليالي المخصوصة، وإن كانت الصلاة خير موضوع
“This is why they forbade gathering for Salāt al-Raghā’ib which some worshippers invented because it has not been transmitted in this form in those specific nights, even though Salāh is the best institution.” (ibid.)
Sajdat al-Shukr on a Particular Occasion
Al-Haskafī (d. 1088 H) writes in al-Durr al-Mukhtār:
لكنها تكره بعد الصلاة لأن الجهلة يعتقدونها سنة أو واجبة وكل مباح يؤدي إليه فمكروه
“But it (sajdat al-shukr) is detestable after Salāh because the ignorant believe it is sunnah or wājib (i.e. after Salāh), and every permissible action leading to it is makrūh.” (Al-Durr al-Mukhtar/ Radd al-Muhtār, Dār ‘Ālam al-Kutub, 2:598)
Ibn ‘Ābidīn explains that this statement was transmitted from al-Zāhidī (d. 658 H) in his commentary on Qudūrī.
The karāhah (detestability) mentioned here refers to makrūh tahrīmī (prohibitively disliked) for which a person is sinful, as mentioned by Ibn ‘Ābidīn, quoting Tahtāwī:
فمكروه الظاهر أنها تحريمية لأنه يدخل فى الدين ما ليس منه ط
“It is apparent that it is makrūh tahrīmī because he inserts into religion what is not from it.”
Imām Burhān al-Dīn al-Hanafī (d. 616 H) writes:
وجه الكراهة على قول النخعي وأبي حنيفة رضي الله عنهما على ما ذكره القدوري أنه لو فعلها من كان منظورا إليه وظن ظان أنه واجب أو سنة متبعة عند حدوث نعمة فقد أدخل فى الدين ما ليس منه وقد قال عليه السلام: من أدخل فى الدين ما ليس منه فهو مكروه
“The reason for the karāhah based on the view of al-Nakha‘ī and Abū Hanīfah (may Allah be pleased with them), according to what al-Qudūrī mentioned, is that if one who was observed (by people) was to practise upon it, and a supposer wrongly imagined that it is sunnah or wājib adhered to at the instance of blessing, then indeed he has inserted into religion what is not from it, and he (upon him peace) said: Whoever inserts into religion what is not from it, it is detestable.” (al-Muhīt al-Burhānī, Dār al-Kutb al-‘Ilmiyah, 5:323)
Fixing a Sūrah to a Rak‘ah
Abū Bakr al-Jassās (d. 370 H) writes in explaining another Hanafī ruling:
قال أبو جعفر: ويكره أن يتخذ شيء من القرآن لشيء من الصلوات
وذلك لأنه لو أبيح ذلك لم يؤمن على مرور الأوقات أن يظنه الناس مسنونا أو واجبا كما قد سبق الآن إلى ظن كثير من الجهال في مثله
“Abu Ja‘far [al-Tahawi] said (quoting the imāms of the Hanafī madhhab): It is makrūh (prohibitively disliked) to adopt a part of the Qur’ān for a specific part of the prayers.
“And that is because if that was to be permitted, it would not be assured that with the passage of time people will believe it is sunnah or wajib; as has occurred today in the understanding of many of the ignorant people in the like of it.” (Sharh Mukhtasar al-Tahawi, Dār al-Sirāj, 8:525)
Note: This was in the 4th Islamic century! How then can we claim our ignorant and common people are immune from this misunderstanding?
In short, we have two rulings from the founders of the Hanafī madhhab, the basis of the prohibition mentioned in them being that it leads the common and ignorant people to believing that a particular form of an originally acceptable practice is sunnah. These two rulings are: performing sajdat al-shukr on a particular occasion; fixing a sūrah to a particular rak‘ah of Salāh. Moreover, we have the verdict of later Hanafī jurists in a couple of other rulings, based on the same principle. These are: shaking hands persistently after the fard prayers; and Salāt al-Raghā’ib in the fixed way and time it is performed.
All of this points to one conclusion:
In the Hanafī madhhab, repeatedly, persistently and continuously performing a religious practice, originally regarded in the Sharī‘ah as permissible or mustahabb, publically, in a specific manner that has not been transmitted from the Prophet (peace be upon him) or Sahābah, such that a false impression is created in the minds of the ignorant that this particular form (e.g. in terms of its date, procedure) is sunnah or wājib, renders that act prohibitively disliked (makrūh tahrīmī) and the act will be considered an insertion into religion or bid‘ah.
We can safely say, looking at the condition of Barelwis and other psuedo-traditionalists of today, the formal/popular (murawwaj) Mawlid of today, falls in this category, and is hence, makrūh tahrīmī in the Hanafī madhhab.
Update: Someone raised the objection: does not madaris fall under this prohibition, as within them, the mustahabb practice of teaching and learning are repeatedly done in a fixed and regulated way that was not transmitted from the Sahabah? For the perceptive person, the difference between the above examples, including Mawlid, and madaris is clear. The purpose of the regulated and fixed manner of teaching and learning in madaris is purely based on organisational and pragmatic reasons. Common people are not susceptible to the mistaken belief that the madaris themselves are objectives, or desirable elements, of religion. On the other hand, repeated handshakes after Salah, if done openly, commonly and continuously, does make the common people susceptible to the view that to shake hands at that time is a desired practice of religion. Similarly, the Mawlid of Rabi’ al-Awwal makes the common people susceptible to the belief that making this commemoration at that time of the year is superior. This is not only theory; many people really do believe that to celebrate the birth in the month of Rabi al Awwal is more rewarding and superior than doing so in any other time of the year. It is not regarded merely as something organisational. The same applies to the other examples, of fixing a surah to a particular rak’ah of Salah and doing Sajdat al-Shukr after every Fard prayer.