Can I Study a Madhhab Which Is Different from the One I Practice?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I wish to pursue academic studies in Islam; however, because of many factors, I cannot attend classes physically and have to study online. I follow the Shafi’i madhhab, and many online Islamic studies institutions teach either the Hanafi or Hanbali madhhab. Can I study these other madhhabs while adhering to the Shafi’i madhhab in my personal practice?

Answer

Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for pursuing such a noble field of study, and may He grant you success in gaining knowledge, practicing it, and transforming yourself.

Practicing a Different Madhhab

What you describe is permissible but difficult. My teachers never recommended doing this unless a student is solid on their own fiqh and can study another madhhab without getting the two mixed up. The optimal situation is to study what you practice personally, which is the best way to master one madhhab. Why not look at SeekersGuidance, where all levels of Shafi’i fiqh courses are offered?

Please see these courses:

On Worship (Purification, Prayer, Fasting, Zakat, and Hajj): Ba Fadl’s The Short Abridgement
Matn Abu Shuja’ (Level Two) with Imam al-Haramayn’s Waraqat  (Level Two) Conducted by Shaykh Muhammad Carr
One Year Intermediate Program in Shafi’i Fiqh and Usul

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.