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Questions and Answers Related to Taqlīd and Madhāhib

  The Standing Committee for Academic Research and Religious Verdicts

A series of questions and answers - along with their respective proofs - concerning the oft-discussed topic of taqlīd (blind-following) and the four madhāhib (schools of jurisprudence), as answered by the committee of major scholars.

bismallah

  

  Then ask the people of remembrance if you do not know. 
Sūrah al-Naḥl, 16:43


[Q.1]:
 ‘What is the true meaning of taqlīdand what are its categories along with the clarification of its ruling?’

[A.1]: “All praise is for Allāh alone and may the Peace and Blesssings be upon His Messenger, and his Family, and his Companions.  To proceed:

[i] The Scholars of Uṣūl (fundamentals) have mentioned definitions to clarify the true meaning and essence of taqlīd, and from them is the saying of some of them that taqlīd is the acceptance of a saying of a person without him knowing its evidence.  And some of them [the scholars] held the view that taqlīd is the acceptance of the saying of a person without argument. And Abū Ma’aalee al-Juwaynee chose the definition of taqlīd that it is the following of one whose following is not based on proof and does not rely upon knowledge.  And these definitions of the scholars of Uṣūl, which are all close in meaning, have in it differences (in wording) which originate in the skill of enunciation, but the point here is to clarify the essence of taqlīdin the manner of approximation.

[ii] And as for its categories along with the ruling of every category, then it is as follows:

[A] Taqlīd by the one who has the skills of ijtihād, to others from the scholars after the truth has been made clear to him with confirmed evidences from the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam).  This is not permissible for him to do taqlīd to what contraḍīcts that which reached him from evidences and ijmāʿ’(consensus).

[B] Taqlīd by the one who has been endowed the skill of ijtihād, to one other than him from the mujtahidīn before he reaches a ruling with his own ijtihād.  Then it is not allowed for him to do taqlīd to others.  This is what al-Shāfiʿī (d.204H), Aḥmad (d.241H) – raḥimahullāh – and others held as their opinion, and is more correct, due to his ability to arrive at a ruling by himself. He is responsible for ijtihādto know what the sharīʿah has made him liable for because of His saying, the Most High,

So have taqwá of Allāh as much as you are able.” [Sūrah al-Taghābun 54:16]

And what has been confirmed from the saying of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam), “When I command you by a command, then follow it as much as you are able.” [1]

[C] Taqlīd of the one who is not able to research the evidences and derive rulings from it, to a Scholar who has been endowed the skill of ijtihād in the evidences of the Sharīʿah.  This is permissible, due to His saying, the Most High,

Allāh does not burden a soul more than it can bear.

and His saying, the Exalted,

Then ask the people of remembrance if you do not know.” [Sūrah al-al-Naḥl 16:43]

and other texts similar to these, which point to the removing of difficulty and the protection of the one responsible, from straying about in the rulings and speaking about Allāh without knowledge.

[D] The taqlīd to the one who differs with the Sharīʿah of Islām from the forefathers, leaders, and rulers, due to nationalism or following desires.  This is prohibited by ijmāʿ’. And verily many texts from the Qurʾān and Sunnahhave been mentioned concerning this. And Allāh, the Most High said:

‘Rather we shall follow what we found our fathers following,’ even though their fathers did not understand anything nor were they guided.” [Sūrah al-Baqarah 2:170]

And Allāh, the Most High said,

But no, by your Lord, they can not have faith until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and they find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept with full submission.” [Sūrah Sūrah al-Nisāʾ 4:65]

And Allāh, The Most High said,

And it is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allāh and His messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision.” [Sūrah al-Aḥzāb 33:36]

And Allāh the Most High said,

And let those who oppose his (the Messenger’s) commandment beware, lest some trials should befall on them or a painful torment be afflicted on them.” [Sūrah al-Nūr 24:63]

And Allāh the Most High said,

Say: If you truly love Allāh, then follow me, Allāh will love you and forgive you your sins.” [Sūrah Ālī ʿImrān 3:31]

And Allāh the Most High said,

Verily Allāh has cursed the disbelievers and prepared for them a flaming fire. They will abide in it forever, they will find no protector nor helper. On the day when their faces will be turned over in the Fire, they will say: ‘Oh would that we had obeyed Allāh and obeyed the Messenger!’ And they will say: ‘Our Lord! Verily we obeyed our chiefs and our great ones, and they misled us from the right way. Our Lord! Give them double torment and curse them with a mighty curse!’” [Sūrah al-Aḥzāb 33:64-68]”

[Q.2]: ‘There are some that say that taqlīd is disbelief (kufr) without exception and sinfulness (fisq) and association (shirk), and attribute disbelief (kufr) and misguidance to the four imāms.  So what is the ruling concerning such a person. They also say that this is the opinion of the Scholars of the two sanctuaries, the Saudi Kingdom, and Kuwait.’

[A.2]: “All praise is for Allāh alone and may the Peace and Blessings be upon His Messenger, and his Family, and his Companions.  To proceed:

[i] Not all taqlīd is kufr without exception or fisq or shirk, rather the truth is that its ruling requires explanation, which can be found out from the answer to the second question from what has preceded.

[ii] Not one of the four imāms called to their madh′hab, nor were fanatic about it, nor did they require the people to act upon it or any other madh′hab in particular.  But they only called to act upon the Book and the Sunnah, may Allāh have mercy on them. They explained the texts of the religion, made clear its principles and what stems from them, and they gave verdicts (fatāwá) in what was asked of them with evidences from the Book and the Sunnah, without requiring their students or others with the opinion of any one in particular from the scholars of the Ummah.  Rather, they censured that, and they ordered to throw their opinions against the wall if it differed with a authentic (ṣaḥīḥḥadīth.  And one of them said, “If a ḥadīth is proved to be authentic, then it is my madh′hab.” [2] And it is upon a Muslim to strive to know the truth by themselves if he is able to do that, and to seek help from Allāh, then from the wealth of knowledge that the predecessors from the Muslim scholars have left for the ones after them, and that which is easy for them in the path to the understanding of the texts and its application. And whoever is not able to understand the rulings from its evidences and its derivations for a matter, he is to ask the poeple of knowledge trustworthy to him about what he needs from the rulings of Sharīʿah, seeking to know the truth with its evidences as much as is able, due to the statement of Allāh the Most High:

Then ask those of the remembrance if you do not know.” [Sūrah al-al-Naḥl 16:43]

And upon him is for him to inquire who he trusts from those who are known for their knowledge, merit, piety, and righteousness. And from this is known that the four imāms are free from those who overly concern  themselves with it (madh′habs) and about those who attribute to them kufr, misguidance, falsehood and lies.

There is not anyone from the scholars of the two sanctuaries, Makkah or al-Madīnah, nor from the rest of the scholars of the Saudi Kingdom who criticize the imāms of fiqh, Mālik, Abū Ḥanīfah, al-Shāfiʿī, Aḥmad Ibn Ḥanbal, and those of their likes from the scholars of Islamic fiqh, or who thinks little of them.  Rather, it is known from them that they honour them and acknowledge their merit.  And (they know) that they led the way for truth in the service to Islām, its protection, and the comprehension of its texts, its principles and clarifying them, its conveyance, their jihād(struggle) in aiding it, defending it, warding off the doubts from it, and in falsifying the claims of those who falsely ascribe to it and the innovations of the liars, so may Allāh reward them from Islām and the Muslims a good reward.

And what gives evidence to the position of the scholars of the two sanctuaries and the rest of the scholars of the Saudi Kingdom towards the four imāms of honouring and valuing their concern, is the teaching of their madh′habsand their works in the Sacred Mosque in Makkah, and al-Madīnatul-Munawwarah, the rest of the mosques of the Saudi Kingdom, and in its universities, and their concern of publishing many of their books and its distribution and spreading among the Muslims in all the countries which Muslims are in.

And from Allāh is the Success, and may the Peace and Blessings of Allāh be upon His Messenger, his Family, and his Companions.”


The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Verdicts:

Member: ʿAbdullāh Ibn Ghudayyān

Vice President: ʿAbd al-Razzāq ’Afīfī

President: ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Ibn Bāz [3]

[Q.3]: ‘We see that imāms, all of them, are upon a madh′hab that differs from the other, and most of the time the matter ends up in a battle between them that leads to some of the praying people to leave the Prayer.  So we need a clear sufficient answer on this subject. Are we to follow one school of thought (madh′hab), and how do we reconcile between the schools of thought so that we can settle this matter?’

[A.3]: “All praise is for Allāh alone, and may the peace and blessings be upon His Messenger and his Family, and his Companions.  To proceed:

The difference that is present in the branches of fiqh between the four madh′habs returns to the causes of it, for example,  a ḥadīth being authentic with some imāms and not others, or the attainment of a ḥadīth by one imāmand not others, and reasons other than those from the causes of difference.

So it is obligatory on a Muslim to have good thoughts about them, and every one of them is a Mujtahid in what originated from him from fiqh, searching for truth. So if the ijtihād was correct, then for him is two rewards: a reward for his ijtihād, and a reward for it being correct.  And if it was incorrect, then there is a reward for his ijtihād, and the wrong ijtihādis overlooked.

And as for blindly following (taqlīd) these four imāms, whoever is able to take the truth with its evidences, it is obligatory on him to take with evidences. And if he is not able, then he does taqlīd of the most trustworthy of the people of knowledge with him as much as he is able. And these differences are in the branches (of fiqh) and does not entail the prohibition of those who differ to pray behind each other, but it is obligatory to pray behind each other, for verily the Companions (Ṣaḥābahh), may Allāh be pleased with them , differed in matters in the branches and they (still) prayed behind each other, and like that, the tābiʿīn and those who followed them in righteousness.  And from Allāh is the Success, and may the Peace and Blessings of Allāh be upon His Messenger, his Family, and his Companions.’’

The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Verdicts:

Member: ʿAbdullāh Ibn Quʿūd

Member: ʿAbdullāh Ibn Ghudayyān

Vice President: ʿAbd al-Razzāq ’Afīfī

President: ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Ibn Bāz [4]

[Q.4]: ‘What is the ruling upon the one who blindly follows Mālik in his ijtihād, and leaves the Qurʾān and the Ḥadīth.’

[A.4]: ‘‘All praise is for Allāh alone and may the Peace and Blesssings be upon His Messenger, and his Family, and his Companions.  To proceed:

Mālik, May Allāh have mercy on him, is an imām from the imāms of knowledge; he is a human, he is incorrect at times and is correct at times, and (some) is taken from his sayings and (some) is rejected. So what is in accordance with the truth from his sayings is accepted, and what is not in accordance with the truth is left. And a person, if he is able to take the rulings from the Qurʾān and the Sunnah, then is not permissible for him to blindly follow any one, and if he is not able (to take the rulings from the Qurʾān and Sunnah) and something is ambiguous from the matters of his Religion, then he is to ask the most trustworthy of the people of knowledge with him, and he is to act upon the answer, and Mālik and others are in that the same.’’

[Q.5]: ‘Why have the scholars of the (different) countries divided the Sharīʿah of the Prophet of Allāh, Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam), into four: the schools of thoughts (madhāhib) of Mālik, al-Shāfiʿī, Abū Ḥanīfah, and Aḥmad, besides the fact that the Religion of the Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) is one and the Qurʾānis one?’

[A.5]: ‘‘All praise is for Allāh alone and may the Peace and Blessings be upon His Messenger, and his Family, and his Companions.  To proceed:

The basis for legislation (of the Religion) is the Qurʾān, and the Sunnah is a clarification for the Qurʾān, and the four imāms, every one from them, Allāh, the Exalted and Most High, granted them the guidance to understand the religion to the extent of what was made easy for them. And every one from them had students which related from them their fiqh and by this was the founding of the four madh′habs. And not all of what any one of them said the truth.  But they are mujtahidīn, and if it (the opinion) is correct, then for him is two rewards, a reward for his ijtihād, and a reward for it (the opinion) being correct, and if he is incorrect, then for him is a reward for his ijtihād, and the incorrectness is looked over.  And from Allāh is tawfīq, and may the Peace and Blessings of Allāh be upon His Messenger, his Family, and his Companions.’’

The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Verdicts:

Member: ʿAbdullāh Ibn Quʿūd

Member: ʿAbdullāh Ibn Ghudayyān

Vice President: ʿAbd al-Razzāq ’Afīfī

President: ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Ibn Bāz [5]

[Q.6]: ‘What is the ruling for the blind following (taqlīd) of the four schools of thought (madhāhib) and following their sayings in every situation and era?’

[A.6]: ‘‘All praise is for Allāh alone and may the Peace and Blessings be upon His Messenger, and his Family, and his Companions.  To proceed:

First: The four schools of thought (madhāhib) are ascribed to the four imāms; Imām Abū Ḥanīfah, Imām Mālik, Imām al-Shāfiʿī, Imām Aḥmad Ibn Ḥanbal.  So the Hanafī madh′hab is ascribed to Abū Ḥanīfah, and so on for the rest of the madhāhib.

Second: These imāms took fiqh (jurisprudence) from the Book and the Sunnah and they were mujtahidīn in that, and a mujtahid is either correct - then for him is two rewards, a reward for his ijtihād, and a reward for it being correct, or (a mujtahid) is incorrect - then he is rewarded for his ijtihād, and is excused for the incorrectness.

Third: The one who is able to derive from the Qurʾān and the Sunnah takes from them (the Qurʾān and Sunnah) like it was taken from them before, and it is not permitted for him to blindly follow other than what he believes to be true. But he should take what he believes to be true and it is permissible for him to do taqlīd of in what he is incapable of and (what he) needs.

Fourth: Whosoever does not have the ability to derive (from the Qurʾān and the Sunnah), it is permissible for him to blindly follow who he has confidence in doing taqlīdto, and if there arises in himself a lack of confidence, he is to ask until it is obtained.

Fifth: It is clear from what has preceded that their (the imām’s) sayings are not followed in every situation and era, because they may have erred. But the truth is followed from their sayings which are built upon evidences.  And from Allāh is tawfīq, and may the Peace and Blessings of Allāh be upon His Messenger, his Family, and his Companions.’’

The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Verdicts:

Member: ʿAbdullāh Ibn Quʿūd

Member: ʿAbdullāh Ibn Ghudayyān

Vice President: ʿAbd al-Razzāq ’Afīfī

President: ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Ibn Bāz [6]

[Q.7]: ‘I am a student in the Teacher’s Institute in Haa‘il, and the Professor of Religion explained that it is impossible to bring together the method of the four imāms in the religion of Islām, for example in the method of Prayer, ablution, fasting, etc., in all which is obligatory upon us. The professor says that it is not possible to bring together the method of the four imāms in Islamic legislation.  I ask from your eminence that you mention to us whether the professor was correct or (whether he) erred, and I ask that you send if there is a book about this problem.’

[A.7]: ‘‘All praise is for Allāh alone and may the Peace and Blessings be upon His Messenger, and his Family, and his Companions.  To proceed:

Indeed a Muslim is not asked to bring together the four madh′habs in his actions, but if he is able to derive the rulings (of Islām) by himself from the evidences, it is obligatory upon him to take what his apparent to him, and if he is not able to derive the rulings, he is to follow an imām from the imāmsof the Muslims, emulating them, as Allāh, The Most High, says,

‘‘So have taqwá (fear) of Allāh as much as you are able,’’ [Sūrah al-Taghābun 64:16]

and The Most High’s saying,

‘‘Then ask the people of the remembrance (scholars) if you do not know.’’ [Sūrah al-al-Naḥl 16:43]

And from Allāh is tawfīq, and may the Peace and Blessings of Allāh be on His Messenger, his Family, and his Companions.’’

The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Verdicts:

Member: ʿAbdullāh Ibn Quʿūd

Member: ʿAbdullāh Ibn Ghudayyān

Vice President: ʿAbd al-Razzāq ’Afīfī

President: ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Ibn Bāz [7]

[Q.8]: ‘Indeed some people believe that is obligatory upon a Muslim, in order to make correct their worship (’ʿibādah) and dealings (mu’aamalah), that they follow one of the four known schools of thought (madhāhib), and that the madh′hab of the Imāmate Shīʿah and the Zaydee Shīʿah are not from amongst them.  So do you agree, your excellence, with this opinion without exception and forbid the taqlīd of the madh′hab of the 12th Shīʿah imām (Ja’faree) for example?’

[A.8]: ‘All praise is for Allāh alone and may the Peace and Blessings be upon His Messenger, and his Family, and his Companions.  To proceed:

It is upon a Muslim to follow what came from Allāh and His Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) if he is able to take the rulings by himself, and if he is not able (to do) that, he is to ask the people of knowledge in what is difficult for him from the matters of his Religion, and ask the most knowledgeable who he can reach from the people of knowledge and ask them orally or by writing.

And it is not permissible for a Muslim to follow the madh′hab of the Imāmate Shīʿah, the Zaydee Shīʿah, nor what resembles them from the people of innovation (Ahlul-Bid’ah) like the Khawārij, the Muʾtazilah, the Jahmiyyah, or others. And about attributing themselves to some of the four known madhāhib, then there is no harm in that if he is not fanatic to the madh′hab that he is attributing himself to and he does not go against the evidences for its sake.  And from Allāh is tawfīq, and may the Peace and Blessings of Allāh be upon His Messenger, his Family, and his Companions.’’

The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Verdicts:

Member: ʿAbdullāh Ibn Quʿūd

Member: ʿAbdullāh Ibn Ghudayyān

Vice President: ʿAbd al-Razzāq ’Afīfī

President: ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Ibn Bāz [8]

[Q.9]: ‘Is it permissible to comibne the four known madhāhib and to practice on it, instead of choosing the madh′habfollowed in a certain region?’

[A.9]: ‘‘All praise is for Allāh alone and may the Peace and Blessings be upon His Messenger, and his Family, and his Companions.  To proceed:

The obligation on a Muslim is to follow the two revelations, the Book and the Sunnah, and what is inclusive from what is based on them, and that is if the person is from the people of knowledge.  And if he is not, then he is to follow who is most trustworthy of those he knows from the people of knowledge.  And from Allāh is tawfīq, and may the Peace and Blessings of Allāh be on His messenger, his family, and his companions.

The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Verdicts:

Member: ʿAbdullāh Ibn Ghudayyān

President: ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Ibn Bāz [9]


Endnotes:

[1] Related by Muslim (6/29)

[2] Related by al-Nawawī in al-Majmūʿ (1/63), and ash-Sha’raanee (1/57), giving its sources as al-Ḥākim and al-Bayḥaqī, and al-Fulānee in ’Eeqaadhul-Hammaam(p. 107).

[3] Both of these answers were taken from Fatāwá al-Lajnah al-Dāʿimah lil-Buhoothil-’Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa(5/11296) compiled by Aḥmad Ibn ʿAbd al-Razzāq ad-Duwaysh.

[4] Mujallatul-Buhoothil-Islāmiyyah (no. 51), corresponding to Fatwaa(no. 4272)

[5] Fatāwál-Lajanatud-Daa‘imah(no. 4426)

[6] Fatāwá al-Lajnah al-Dāʿimah (no. 4172)

[7] Fatāwá al-Lajnah al-Dāʿimah(5/5560)

[8] Fatāwá al-Lajnah al-Dāʿimah(no. 2815)

[9] Fatāwá al-Lajnah al-Dāʿimah (no. 9873)

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