Can I Follow a Minority Position in the Shafi‘i School of Thought?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick 


Can I follow the opinion of a minority of scholars in the Shafi‘i school of thought, which is against the relied upon (mu‘tamad) position in the School?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide us to what pleases Him.

Imam Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) cites Abu Al-Fath Al-Harawi, a contemporary of Imam Al-Shafi’i:
“The opinion of the majority of our companions (i.e., fellow scholars of the Shafi‘i School) is that a particular legal school does not bind the non-scholar (‘ami). If they find a mujtahid Imam, they follow them…” [Nawawi, Rawda al-Talibin wa ‘Umda al-Muftin]

Some past and contemporary scholars declare following one specific legal School an obligation; however, it is not the majority opinion. It is permissible to follow a different school on individual issues, and a fortiori, alternative views within a School. We must, however,  caution you from doing so as a habit, and Allah knows best.

Please find the details for this answer here:
Is Following One Madhhab Obligatory?
Can I Follow Another School of Law When Traveling? (Shafi’i)
May I Follow Alternative Positions for My Worship?

I pray that this benefits and that Allah guides us all.

[Shayh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.