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Is It Important to Follow Only One School of Thought?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Is it important to follow only one school of thought, even though all four are valid?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

The basis is that you have one legal school of interpretation which you follow in the interests of clarity, consistency, and as a standard for your religious practice. However, you can also take sound positions from other schools when there is a need or benefit in doing so, as long as you apply the conditions and integrals of that school, and ideally, after having verified the ruling with a reliable scholar of that school.

Thereafter, please see the following detailed articles: A Reader On Following Schools of Thought (Madhabs)

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam.

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

As a Convert How Do I Choose a School of Thought?

Answered by SeekersHub Answers Service

Question: Assalamu alaikum wa ramatullah wa barakatu

I am attending the current seekers circle on how to read a question. The Imam kept emphasing the importance of following a madhab as these scholars have gone through all the different Hadith and come to conclusions and as we don’t have that knowledge base we are unable to make decisions. He also emphasised the importance of not picking and choosing the easiest ruling from any madhab as they can contradict each other. So my question is particularly important for converts like myself: how do we choose a madhab? How do we know the difference between the different madhabs and where to find that information?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

Any of the four Sunni schools of law are valid to follow, and which one chooses to follow is a matter of personal preference and circumstances. One should consider:

(1) Which madhhab you can learn properly, given your life circumstances

(2) Which mahhab you can get your questions answered for

(3) Your personal inclination, and general life considerations (such as family background, community, and so on).

Please see: How Do I Choose A School Of Thought (madhhab) & Why?

SeekersHub Answers Service

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

How Do I Choose a School of Thought (Madhhab) & Why?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: How Do I Choose a Madhhab and Why?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad, his folk, companions, and followers

A madhhab is a school of Islamic law, and each madhhab is based on a systematic methodology of interpreting the Qur’an and Prophetic sunna. Following a madhhab is not an end in itself; rather, it is a means to follow the Qur’an and Sunna in a sound, systematic, and sustainable manner.

It is a sound way of following the Qur’an and Sunna, because each madhhab has a sound and tested methodology of understanding, interpreting, and applying the guidance of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) to the issues of our life.

It is a systematic way, because the scholars have dealt with the issues Muslims face in their worship, dealings, and conduct, and given guidance-based answers that are relevant and reliable.

It is a sustainable way, because the scholars have distinguished between the degrees of emphasis of rulings—between what is obligatory and recommended; between the prohibited and the disliked; between the preferable and less preferable. By following a madhhab, you will not be overwhelmed by the sense of having to “do everything all at once.” Rather, you can bring in religious guidance into your life a step at a time—giving priority to what is most important first. This helps one attain consistency in one’s actions and religious practice, which is a key to being personal transformation.

Which Madhhab Do I Follow?

Any of the four Sunni schools of law are valid to follow, and which one chooses to follow is a matter of personal preference and circumstances. One should consider:

(1)    Which madhhab you can learn properly, given your life circumstances

(2)  Which mahhab you can get your questions answered for

(3)  Your personal inclination, and general life considerations (such as family background, community, and so on).

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

MMVIII © Faraz Rabbani and SunniPath.
All rights reserved

Related Reading:

What is a madhhab? Why is it necessary to follow one by Shaykh Nuh Keller

Why Muslims follow madhhabs by Shaykh Nuh Keller

Understanding the four madhhabs By Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad

Changing Madhhabs

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question : Changing my Fiqh Madhhab

Answer : Islamic Fiqh Madhhabs are a means to an end, which is to worship Allah Almighty and obey Him in a sound, proper and pleasing manner. As such, what Madhhab one follows should be determined by which Madhhab one can:

1. Learn soundly (through book and, ideally, scholars);

2. Get one’s questions answered most easily;

3. Feels an intellectual or heart-felt inclination towards.

Secondary considerations (though far less important than the above) are one’s cultural background, one’s environment, and the like. Therefore, it in not necessary for one to follow the Madhhab that his/her family follows.

In the light of the above, there is nothing wrong in you following the Hanafi Madhhab and not the Shafi’i, as the Hanafi Madhhab is more easily accessible to you. You may remain a Hanafi and follow it in all matters of Fiqh, such as Salat, Zakat, fasting, Haj, Business, etc…

However, due to the shortage of people who know the Shafi’i Madhhab well (especially in the Asian community), it would be better that we have Muslims (males & females) who study the Shafi’i Madhhab and be a guidance for others, and also ensure that others do not have to leave the Madhhab of their family, which can prove to be difficult at times.

In principle, one may follow any Madhhab. However, the practical reality is that one should learn a Madhhab and then focus on acting upon it, outwardly and inwardly, and using this as a means of developing one’s relationship with Allah through love, submission, and devotion.

And Allah Knows Best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK