Once, some people came to Imam Abu Haneefa (RA) and said: “We want to debate with you.”
“In connection with …?” asked the imam.
“Reciting Surah Faatihah behind the imam”, they replied.
For the benefit of the reader, all Muslims know that Imam Abu Haneefa (RA) was of the opinion that the muqtadees should not recite Surah Faatihah behind the imam. The imam’s recitation suffices for them.
The people who approached the learned imam opined that the muqtadees, too, should recite Surah Faatihah.
The learned imam responded: “If you must debate, select a spokesman from amongst you. To debate with so many at the same time is not possible.”
They agreed. When the spokesman came face to face with the imam, he said: “The debate is over, you may go now.”
Surprised, they asked: “What do you mean? The debate hasn’t even started.”
The imam retorted: “Just as you had elected a spokesman to represent yourselves, in exactly the same way the muqtadees elect a representative to represent them. And that is the imam.”
Excerpted from Wit, Wisdom and Humour (Part 1) by Hazrat Moulana Ahmad Muhammad Hathurani (RA)