: THE GOAL OF
Shaykh Muhammad ’Eed
’Abbaasee, hafidhahullaah, said:
"Our view is that it is upon every
Muslim to follow that which Allaah, the Most Perfect, commanded in His Book and
in the Sunnah of His Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam. This is the purity of Islaam and
the true reality of faith. No Muslim can ever be displeased with following what
comes from Allaah and His Messenger; as He, the Most Perfect, said:
saying of the Believers, when they are called to Allaah and His Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam to judge between
them, is: We hear and we obey. They are the ones that are successful.
" [Soorah an-Noor 24:51].
And Allaah said concerning the
"And when it
is said to them: Come to what Allaah has revealed and to the Messenger; you see
the Hypocrites turn away from you in aversion. " [Soorah an-Nisaa
As well as other Verses like this.
So following the Book and the Sunnah is obligatory, and it should be made the
fundamental goal for every Muslim; this is the path that should be traversed.
However, the people are of differing types with regards to understanding and
comprehension. So from them is the ignorant one (jaahil) who does not understand the meanings of the Glorious Book and
the noble hadeeth; nor does he have the ability to
deduce [rulings] from them; nor can he comprehend what is sought from them. From
them is the scholar who has understanding (fiqh) of
the Verses and the hadeeth and is aware of what
rulings can be deduced from them; he has the ability to deal with the apparent
differences between them; and he understands the Arabic language and its ways.
And from them are those that are [at a level] between this. They are not
ignorant; nor do they have the understanding to derive rulings; nor do they have
the ability to understand what is being indicated to by the text; rather, they
have some knowledge, awareness, understanding and contemplation. However, they
do not reach the level of the scholar and the one who has penetrating insight of
the Book and the Sunnah. So these are the levels of
the people; and between them there are many varying grades. The scholars call
the first type of people muqallidoon, the second
type are technically referred to as mujtahidoon, and
the third type are technically referred to as muttabi’oon."
Many scholars, however, refer to only two
catagories; the mujtahid and the muqallid. And just as the mujtahidoon vary
in their levels, then so do the muqallidoon; some
being closer to being muttabi’oon than
: THE FOUR
IMAAMS ARE FROM THE BEST OF THE SCHOLARS
From the greatest of the scholars of this
Ummah are the four Imaams; Abu Haneefah, Maalik ash-Shaafi’ee and Ahmad
bin Hanbal, rahimahumullaah.
Ibn ’Abdul-Haadee, rahimahullaah, said:
"Allaah, the Exalted, is the One who
selects from His creation. He creates and selects whatever He wills. So He
selected Aadam and his progeny from all of the worlds. He selected from them
Prophets and Messengers. And He selected from them [the Prophet sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam]; the leader of all the children
of Aadaam. He then selected for him his Companions; giving them excellence over
the rest of the Believers. He selected them to be the inheritors and successors,
making them the best of the followers. He raised from amongst them a people whom
none equalled in the worlds. From them were the four Imaams, the Imaams of
Islaam; beacons for mankind; whose verdicts and sayings are famous in all the
world. He made their scholarship something that the people have agreed upon.
Their remembrence is widespread in the [various] cities and countries, and their
knowledge shines brightly in the various provinces."
: THE ISSUE OF
IJTIHAAD AND TAQLEED
Shaykh Muhammad ’Eed ’Abbaasee
"The obligation upon the people of
the first type is to make taqleed of any scholar of
the Book and the Sunnah, who is reliable in his
knowledge and Religion. The obligation upon the second type of people is to make
ijtihaad in understanding what is indicated by [the
texts of] the Book and the Sunnah, and [then] to
follow it and to direct the people upon it. The obligation upon the third type
is to make ittibaa (lit. follow) of the Shareeah evidences that they are aware of, from
the statements of the scholars. And whoever has the ability to perform ijtihaad, then taqleed and
ittibaa of others is not lawful to him,
except in cases of necessity ... Whoever has the ability to perform ittibaa then taqleed
and ijtihaad are not lawful for him. Whoever does
not have the abilitry to perform ijtihaad nor ittibaa then taqleed
is obligatory upon him. The proof for this is that the basic principle (asl) upon everyone is to make ittibaa of the Book and the Sunnah,
if they have the ability; just as Allaah, the Most Perfect, said:
"Make ittibaa of what has has been sent down from your
Lord, and do not make ittibaa of friends and protectors other than
." [Soorah al-Araaf 7:3].
the Messenger gives you, and abstain from that which he prohibits you.
" [Soorah al-Hash 59:9].
So if the Muslim does not have the ability
to understand the Book and the Sunnah and to deduce
rulings from them, then he descends to the level of ittibaa. If he does not have the ability for this, then he
descends to the lowest level; which is taqleed. And
this is when he enters into Allaah, the Exalteds, saying:
people of knowledge if you do not know.
" [Soorah an-Nahl 16:43]."
Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullaah, said:
"And that which the majority of the
Ummah are upon is that ijtihaad is permissible in
general and taqleed is permissible in general. Ijtihaad is not obligated upon everyone whilst taqleed forbidden; neither is taqleed obligated upon everyone whilst ijtihaad forbidden. Rather, ijtihaad is
permissible for the one who has the ability, and taqleed is permissible when ijtihaad
cannot be performed."
The following discussion uses the two-type
classification of people; mujtahidoon and muqallidoon. So as regards blind-following (taqleed), there is a permissible form and a prohibitted
PERMISSIBLE FORM OF BLIND-FOLOWING
There are two cases where taqleed is permissible:-
[i] For the aamee who does not have the ability to acquire knowledge of the
Shareeah ruling by himself; so taqleed is obligatory upon him.
[ii] The mujtahid when he encounters a new situation for which an immediate
solution is required, but it is not possible for him to research into the
matter; so in this case he is permitted to perform taqleed.
An elaboration of the first case:
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan, hafidhahullaah, said:
"As for the permissible form of
blind-following (at-taqleedul-mubaah), then it is
for the common person (aamee) who, if he does
not follow the people of knowledge, then he will stray from the path. Allaah,
the Mighty and Majestic, said:
people of knowledge if you do not know.
" [an-Nahl 16:43].
And taqleed is
not done to just anyone. Rather, it is done to one who is acredited with
knowledge and piety; and he is known to the people for this."
Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullaah, said:
"When a Muslim is faced with a
problamatic situation, he should seek a verdict from one whom he believes will
give him a verdict based upon what Allaah and His Messenger have legislated;
whatever school of thought (madhhab) he belongs to.
It is not obligatory upon any Muslim to blindly follow a particular individual
from the scholars in all that he says. Nor is it obligatory upon any Muslim to
blindly follow a particular madhhab from the
scholars in all that it necessitates and informs. Rather, every persons
saying is taken or left, except that of the Allaahs Messenger sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam. To follow the madhhab of a particular individual because of an
inability of knowing what has been legislated, is from that which is
permissible; it is not from that which is obligatory upon every individual - if
they have the ability to know what has been legislated without this path of
blind-following (taqleed]. So each individual should
fear Allaah as much as he is able, and seek knowledge of what Allaah and His
Messenger have ordered; doing what is commanded and keeping away from that which
An elaboration of the second case:
Shykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said:
"As for the one who has the ability
to perform ijtihaad, is it permissible for him to do
? About this there is a difference of
opinion, with the correct opinion being that it is permissible in cases where he
is unable to perform
; either due to the
proofs being similar, or due to a time constraint in being able to perform
ijtihaad, or due to the proof not being apparent to
him. So in cases where he is unable, the obligation of
is lifted from him due to this inability."
Does the person who asks a scholar have to
necessarily ask for a proof:
Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee, rahimahullaah, said:
"As for one to whom taqleed is permissible, then it is for the common person (aamee) who does not know the path [to arrive at]
the Shareeah rulings. So it is permissible
for him to do taqleed of a scholar and act upon his
saying ... And it has been stated by one of the Mutazilah who said: It is not permissible for the common person
to act upon the saying of a scholar until he knows the reason (illah) behind the ruling. So when he asks a scholar, he should
ask him so that he knows how the ruling came about. So when he knows and grasps
this, he should then act upon it. [Al-Khateeb said]: This is wrong, since there
is no way for a common person to know and grasp this, except after gaining fiqh (understanding) for many years and mixing with the
scholars for long periods of time ..."
PROHIBITTED FORM OF BLIND FOLLOWING
Ibn al-Qayyim, rahimahullaah, said about the prohibitted types of taqleed:
"It is of three types:- Firstly: totaly turning away from what Allaah has
revealed, but rather being satisfied with the taqleed of ones for-fathers. Secondly: doing taqleed of someone when
you do not know whether that person is from those whose saying can be taken. Thirdly: doing taqleed
after the proofs have been established and it becomes apparent that the evidence
contradicts the view of the one to whom taqleed is
Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal, rahimahullaah, said:
"How strange it is that a people who
know the chain of narratiuon of a hadeeth (isnaad)
and its authenticity, yet still they follow the opinion of Sufyaan
[ath-Thawree]; even though Allaah, the Exalted, said:
beware, who oppose the command of the Messenger, lest some trial (fitnah) befalls them, or a painful punishment is
inflicted upon them.
" [Soorah an-Noor 24:63].
Do you know what the fitnah is? The fitnah is shirk! Since the rejection of some of his sayings could cause
something of deviation to enter the heart, and thus be destroyed."
Shaykh Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Hasan, rahimahullaah, said:
"In the words of Imaam Ahmad, rahimahullaah, is an indication that doing taqleed before the proofs reach a person is not
blameworthy. Rather, the one who is to be censured is that person to whom the
proofs reach, yet he opposes them due to [adhering to] the saying of his
: FOLLOWING A
Some verdicts and sayings of the scholars
concerning following madhhabs:
[i]: When encountering a difficult
issue, do you advise the student of knowledge not to stick to a madhhab, or [do you advise] to turn to a particular madhhab?
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih
"If what is intended by sticking to a
madhhab is that a person sticks to that madhhab, and turns away from everything else; whether
the correct view lies in his madhhab or another madhhab - then this is not permissible, and is from the
blameworthy and bigotted partisanship. But if a person ascribes to a particular
madhhab in order to benefit from its principles and
guidelines, but he refers it back to the Book and the Sunnah; [such that] if it becomes clear to him that the preferred view
lies in another madhhab, he then adopts that view -
then there is no problem with this."
[ii]: Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan, hafidhahullaah, said:
"The issue of sticking to a madhhab has in it some detail. If a person has the
ability to know the ruling from its proof, and to deduce the ruling from its
proof, then it is not permitted for him to cling to a madhhab. rather, it is upon him to take the ruling from the evidence
if he has the ability to do so. However, this is rare amongst the people, since
this is a quality of the mujtahideen from the people
of knowledge; those that have reaced the levels of ijtihaad. As for one who is not like that, then he cannot take the
rulings directly from the evidences. And this is the predominant case amongst
the people, especially in these latter times. So [in such a case] there is no
harm in adopting one of the four madhhabs and making
taqleed of one of them. However, he should not make
blind taqleed such that he takes all that is in the
madhhab; whether it is correct or incorrect. Rather,
it is upon him to take from the madhhab that which -
in his view - does not clearly oppose the evidence. As for those views in the madhhab which clearly oppose the evidence, then it is
not permissible for the Muslim to take it. Rather it is upon him to adopt what
is established by the proof, even if it is in another madhhab. So his leaving the madhhab for
another madhhab in order to follow the evidence is
something good; this is a matter which is good - rather it is obligatory; since
following the evidence is an obligation."
[iii]: Shaykh Muhammad ibn
Abdul-Wahhaab, rahimahullaah, said:
"If a person is learning fiqh from one of the four madhhabs, then he sees a hadeeth that opposes his madhhab; and so he follows it and leaves his madhhab - then this is recommended, rather it is obligatory upon him
when the proof has been made clear to him. This would not be considered as
opposing his Imaam that he follows, since they - Abu Haneefah, Maalik,
ash-Shaafiee and Ahmad, radiallaahu anhum
ajmaeen - were all agreed upon this fundamental principle ... As for
the case whereby a person does not have any evidence which opposes the view of
the scholars of the madhhab, then we hope that it is
permissible to act upon it, since their opinions are better than our own
opinions; they took their proofs from the sayings of the Companions and those
who came after them. However, it is not essential to declare with certainty (al-jazm) that this is the Shareeah of Allaah and His Messenger, until the proof that is
not contradicted in this issue is made clear. This is the action of the Salaf of this Ummah and its scholars - both previous
and recent - as well as that which they criticised: namely having bigotted
partisanship for particular madhhabs (at-taassubul-madhaahib) and leaving off
following the proof."
[iv]: Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn
Taymiyyah was asked to explain Najmud-Deen Ibn Hamdaans saying: Whoever
clings to a madhhab is to be criticised if he
opposes it without a proof, or taqleed, or any other excuse.
Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullaah, responded by saying:
"Two things are intended by this
[saying]:- Firstly: That
whoever clings to a specific madhhab, then acts in
opposition to it; without making taqleed of the fatwaa of another scholar, nor does he use an evidence
as a proof which would necessitate opposing this, nor due to any other Shareeah excuse which makes it permissible for
him to do what he has done - then such a person is a follower of his whims and
desires; acting without [making] ijtihaad or taqleed; and doing something forbidden without a Shareeah excuse. So this is evil; this is what
Shaykh Najmud-Deen intended, and there is a text from Imaam Ahmad and others
that it is not for anyone to believe a thing to be obligatory or forbidden,
then, merely based upon whims and desires, believe that it is not obligatory nor
forbidden ... However, if there becomes clear to him something which
necessitates preferring one saying over another; either due to detailed proofs
if he knows and understands them, or because he holds one of the two people to
be more knowledgeable about this matter and having more piety about what he
says, and so he leaves the saying of that one for the saying of the other one -
then this is permissible, rather it is obligatory. And there is a text from
Imaam Ahmad concerning this."
FOLLOWING A MADHHAB
Certain conditions must be adhered to when
following a particular madhhab:-
Firstly: To believe that
infalibility belongs only to the Prophet sallallaahu
alayhi wa sallam; all other people after him are fallible and make mistakes:
Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullaah, said:
"It has been established in the Book,
the Sunnah and the ijmaa that Allaah, the Most Perfect, obligated upon the
creation obedience to Him, and obedience to His Messenger sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam. It is not obligatory upon this
Ummah to obey anyone in particular in all that he may commands and prohibits,
except the Messenger sallallaahu alayhi wa
sallam; to the extent that the most truthful of this Ummah and the most
virtuous after its Prophet [i.e. Abu Bakr] said: "Obey me in what is
obedience to Allaah. But if I disobey Allaah, then there is no obedience to me
upon you." They are all agreed that there is no single person who is
infallible in all that he may order or prohibit, except for Allaahs
Messenger sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam. That
is why more than one of the scholars have said: "Every persons
saying can be taken or left, except for Allaahs Messenger sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam." And the four Imaams, may
Allaah be pleased with them, all forbade the people from blindly following them
in all that they may say; and this was an obligation upon them [to
Secondly: That the intended goal
should be to follow the Book and the Sunnah, and not
to merely follow the opinions of the scholars of the madhhab. Therefore in any issue, if it becomes clear that the
preferred view, along with its proofs, lies in other than his madhhab, he must
follow the proof and not reject it.
Imaam ash-Shaafiee, rahimahullaah, said:
"The Muslims are united that if a Sunnah of Allaahs Messenger sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam is made clear to someone, then it
is not lawful for him to leave it for the saying of anyone else."
Thirdly: That forming allegience
(walaa) or enmity (baraa) based upon following a particular madhhab is forbidden. Indeed no one should be particualrised with an
increase of love and allegience merely because he has adopted the same madhhab.
Fourthly: Whoever leaves the
position of his madhhab, due to following his whims and desires, or for
seeking convenience, has done something forbidden - and the words of Ibn
Taymiyyah have preceeded concerning this.
Refer also to the following:-
Bayaanul-Ilm (2/102-120) of Imaam Ibn Abdul-Barr.
(2/220-226) of Ibn Taymiyyah.
[iii] Adwaaul-Bayaan (7/316-319) of Imaam ash-Shanqeetee.
lil-Lajnatid-Daaimah (5/22-44) headed by Shaykh Ibn Baaz.
Hujjatun bi Nafsihi (pp.94-95) of Shaykh al-Albaanee.
[vi] Al-Usool min
Ilmil-Usool (pp.99-104) of Shaykh Ibn al-Uthaymeen.
[vii] Muntaqaa min
(5/362-368) of Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan.