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How Are Madhabs Any Different From Sects In Christianity?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: You keep talking about madhab.. the hanafi madhab, the sh’afi madhab….and so on. It gets confusing…I mean it makes Islam sound like Christianity…like they have divided their religion in so many sects…Islam shouldn’t be divided like that…it disturbs me a lot. Please help me out here..

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

The madhhabs have been a reality of our Ummah since the time of the Sahaba: people studied the Qur’an and Prophetic teachings under different Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him, his folk, and companions, and give them peace) and the Companions themselves differed in understanding the details of the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunna. These differences were of understanding and methodology and continued to the next generations, until these methodologies were systematized and the rulings derived from them formally recorded by the great scholars of the Age of Mujtahids. Four of these great mujtahids had their schools transmitted and taught more extensively and thus survived, due to the greater strength of their methodology.

The madhhabs, in reality, are a mercy and means of unity in our Ummah. Throughout history, scholars of different madhhabs have studied together, and loved and respected each other. My main teacher, for example, is a Shafi`i…

Faraz Rabbani