Should I Keep Studying Fiqh With a Teacher Who Doesn’t Follow One Single School of Law?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I really like my teacher who is a learned person who has studied in Al Azhar but in teaching Fiqh he sometimes mix the opinions of different schools. Should I continue to study with him even if he doesn’t follow one school?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Studying with a Teacher who does not follow a Single School of Law

It is better to stick with a teacher one trusts, even if this teacher does not necessarily follow a single school of thought in all legal issues. Normally, a layperson would simply do this, as they likely would not have the tools (or time) to adequately assess this teacher’s rationale for choosing an opinion.

Choosing Opinions from without one’s Chosen School

It is, generally speaking, permissible to prefer non-authoritative positions from within one’s own school, or valid positions based on sound scholarship from other schools.
A scholar might do so for any number of academic or personal reasons. He might feel, for example, that another opinion more closely accords to modern or situational circumstances; or that it is truer to the available evidence; or that another’s legal methodology on a certain matter is sounder. Alternatively, he might simply find it easier to implement.

Studying one School before Delving into Others

A student of knowledge would normally seek grounding in one school of thought before branching out into others. This prevents one from getting confused between schools and conflicting opinions, and allows one to reasonably ensure that their practice is logically sound and internally consistent. It is not uncommon, however, for a person to come across other opinions during one’s course of study, and it is not, generally speaking, blameworthy to follow them.

Shuaib Ally