Are Minority Opinions Sinful to Follow in Islam?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question

I had a question about majority and minority opinions. For example, if the majority in one place follow calculations for the month of Ramadan, and the minority look at the moon (which is according to hadith) and decide that the month of Ramadan will start the day we see the moon, is the group which forms the minority wrong?

The minority has also a Mufti behind their back, and the majority have just Alims and Imams. Will the minority group be sinful?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.

In principle, all sound opinions – i.e. accepted positions within the Four Schools of Sunni Islam – are valid to follow; and the one who follows them isn’t sinful. [Ibn Abd al-Salam, al-Qawa‘id al-Kubra; Nablusi, Khulasat al-Tahqiq]

Allah Most High commands us to, “Ask the People of Remembrance if you don’t know.” [Quran, 16:43]

If one follows qualified, recognized, mainstream scholars, one isn’t sinful – as one has fulfilled the Divine Command.

What Are Unsound Opinions?

What is an unsound opinion is for qualified, specialist scholars to determine. Leave these matters to them; while personally taking from the trustworthy scholars. [َQari, Mirqat al-Mafatih]

Keep Away From Argument, Debates, and Controversies

With this, avoid argument and dispute on matters of religion. Focus on seeking and acting on beneficial knowledge, with sincerity and consistency. That is the way to the Pleasure and Love of Allah Most High.

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.