Can I Follow Another Madhhab When Traveling?

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked about taking a dispensation from another madhhab in one thing and how that affects other actions.


Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am Hanafi. In the Hanafi madhhab, it is not permissible for a woman to travel without a mahram. However, this website states that their is a reliable opinion within the Maliki that allows travel without a mahram subject to certain conditions.

So my question is, if I am traveling do I need to do everything according to the Maliki madhhab – e.g., praying according to Malikis, doing wudu with rubbing whole head etc. – in order to avoid talfiq (impermissible mixing)? Or can I continue with my normal worship as a Hanafi and just take rukhsa (dispensation) for the issue of travel?

Jazak Allah khayr.


Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

You may take the Maliki dispensation permitting travel, with its requisite conditions, while continuing to pray as normal according to your chosen school of law (madhhab). Travel isn’t inextricably connected to prayer.

Impermissible mixing between legal schools (talfiq) is understood to be in the context of a single action such that no school would deem the action to be valid. When dealing with separate actions, it is acceptable to join between them if there is a need to do so.

Please also see Can a Woman Travel Alone for More Than 48 Miles If There Is a Benefit?, Can I Travel by Plane Without a Mahram? and A Reader on Following Schools of Thought (Madhabs).

And Allah Most High knows best.


Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

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

Following a Madhab, Wiping Over Socks, and Tasbeeh After Prayer

Answered by Sidi Faraz A. Khan

Question: Alsalamu alaykum,

1. When one is looking for answers, do they have to be based according to a madhhab? Would simply seeking an answer that is based on the sunna suffice?

2. When one is wiping over socks do they have to be thick socks , ensuring that water does not seep through to the foot or would any foot covering suffice?

3.When one is doing tasbee7 after salat , can one pray “fard” as well as “nafl: then do the tasbee7 or must one do the tasbee7  after every prayer ?

Answer: I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith.

(1)  The madhhabs are not separate from the Sunna; rather, they are the codification of the Noble Sunna based on the ijtihad (independent legal deduction) of inheritors of the Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him).

So it is not a matter of seeking an answer from a madhhab versus an answer from the Sunna; rather, the answer based on one of the maddhabs is an answer based on the Sunna.

For more information on the madhhabs and how they represent the Sunna, please see the following articles:

What is a Madhhab? Why is it necessary to follow one?

Understanding the Four Madhhabs

(2) Yes, the socks that one can wipe over must be thick enough such that water does not seep through, and such that one could walk a distance of approximately 3.4 miles without significant tear. Most thick socks in the West fulfill these [and other] conditions.

(3) In the Hanafi school, one prays the sunna prayers first, and then sits to do the tasbeeh [33 SubhanAllah, 33 Alhamdulillah, and 34 Allahu akbar]. [Maraqi l-Falah; Hadiyya Ala’iyya]

See also:

A Reader on Following Schools of Thought (Madhabs) 

And Allah knows best.

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Does a Shafi`i Who Switched to the Hanafi School Have to Make up Missed Witr Prayers?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: If I was a Shafi`i and then became Hanafi, do I need to make-up witr prayers that I prayed as one cycle (rak`at)? Can I follow the Shafi`i position on leaving the sunna prayers when obligated to perform make-up prayers, and if yes then do I have to follow the Shafi`i school in rules of ritual purity (tahara)?

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

There is a legal principle that, “An ijtihad is not invalidated by another.” [Kasani, Bada i` al-Sana`i; Abd al-Aziz al-Bukhari, Kashf al-Asrar; and almost every major Hanafi fiqh work, with similar wordings]

From this principle, a derived ancillary principle is that, “Following a valid ijtihad in the past does not need to be rectified by one s following different ijtihad later on.”

As such, if the person prayed 1-rakat witr as a Shafi`i, or even omitted praying it, no makeup would be necessary if one later became a Hanafi.

Of course, if one chooses to make it up, out of caution or taqwa, one is rewarded. It is a sunna to makeup missed witrs in the Shafi`i and Hanbali schools. [Ibn Hajar, Tuhfa al-Muhtaj; Buhuti, Kashshaf al-Qina`]

Leaving the Sunna to Perform Make-Up Prayers

If one is a Hanafi, It would be best to continue to follow your own school, and to seek the assistance of Allah and simply perform the sunnas. If you seek something for the sake of Allah, with sincerity, Allah will certainly grant you assistance therein.

If you try and still find it unreasonably difficult, then you can follow the Shafi`i position regarding non-performance of current sunnas without having to follow the Shafi`i school in matters of purification and prayer.

Faraz Rabbani

Avoiding Differences of Opinion: Why & When Can I Follow Another School?

Answered by Sidi Faraz Khan

Question: Why is it recommended to follow another schools position out of scrupulousness when we believe our own school is correct? When would taking another position outside of one’s own school be permitted for this reason?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

InshaAllah you are well.

The basic idea is that while each school of thought (madhab) believes its own view on any given issue to be correct, it does acknowledge that it could be wrong and that instead another school could be correct. Hence, it is recommended to avoid difference of opinion and take into account opinions of others schools in one’s personal practice, as this would entail more piety (taqwa) and scrupulousness (wara’). However, a condition is that doing so would not entail doing something disliked (makruh) in one’s own school. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

For example, in the Hanafi school, touching a non-related member of the opposite gender does not nullify one’s ablution (wudu’), yet it does in the Shafi’i school. Hence, if a Hanafi man were to touch a non-related woman, he would not have to renew his wudu’ before praying, yet it would be recommended to do so in order to avoid the difference of opinion with the Shafi’is, and because it would not be disliked according to his own school [the Hanafi school]. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi ‘l-Falah]

An example where one would not avoid difference of opinion is with respect to the recitation of Sura Fatiha by a follower in congregational prayer. Despite it being mandatory in the Shafi’i school, a Hanafi would not do so in order to avoid difference of opinion, as it is disliked according to the Hanafi school. [Ibn al-Humam/Marghinani, Fath al-Qadir Sharh al-Hidaya]

And Allah knows best.
Faraz Khan

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Pregnancy & Making Up Fasts: Does She Really Have To?

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

Question: There was a recent post stating that women who are pregnant must make up their fast. This differs greatly from something that I’d read in another book. I am confused and would greatly appreciate your feedback.

Answer: assalamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

The position of the four schools, based on clear primary texts, is that a pregnant woman must make up the obligatory fasts that she has missed. However, one does not have to do so immediately but gradually when one is able to do so without burdening oneself excessively.

The Qur’an & Making-Up Missed Fasts

Allah Most High states, “Oh believers, prescribed for you is the Fast, even as it was prescribed for those that were before you — haply you will be godfearing — for days numbered, and if any of you be sick, or if he be on a journey, then [fast] a number of other days.” [2: 184]  He Most High says elsewhere, “So let those of you, who are present at the month, fast it; and if any of you be sick, or if he be on a journey, then a number of other days.” [2: 185]

These Qur’anic verses indicate that the basis for a morally responsible individual who witnesses the month of Ramadan is the obligation to fast.

However, due to the weak nature of human beings, Allah, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, has allowed certain individuals to fast on alternative days due to certain excuses that would render fasting difficult. These excuses include (a) undertaking a legal journey and (b) sickness.

Thus, fasting these “alternative days” is obligatory. In addition to the Qur’anic verses, there is scholarly consensus that anyone who misses any obligatory fast is required to make it up, if they are capable of doing so. [Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah; Zayla`i, Tabiyin al-Haqa’iq; al-Haytami, Tuhfat al-Minhaj; ibn Qudama, al-Mughni]

Pregnancy, Sickness, & Missed Fasts

The obligation to make-up one’s missed fasts on alternative days also applies to the pregnant woman, a point upon which there is also scholarly consensus of the four schools based on the principle that any obligatory fast missed that one is capable of making up must be made up on an alternative day.

More specifically, the pregnant woman must make up her fast because the Qur’anic verse that commands fasting “a number of other days” for the “sick” person also applies to the “pregnant woman”. This is because the term “sickness” refers to any genuine hardship or harm that is feared from the act of fasting, which includes hardship from pregnancy.

Therefore, not fasting due to a genuine hardship while pregnant is akin to a “sickness”, and the ruling related to fasting during such a state is subsumed under the category of the ruling related to the fasting of the sick person. This includes being (a) allowed to break the fast when genuinely required and (b) making up such missed fasts at a later date. Thus, pregnancy is one of many subcategories of the general category of “sickness”. [Jassas, Ahkam al-Qur’an; Ibn `Arabi, Ahkam al-Qur’an; Illyish, Minah al-Khalil; Mubarakpuri, Tuhfa al-Ahwadhi]

Thus, Ibn Qudama, citing agreement on this point, states, “The upshot of this is that if the nursing and pregnant woman fear for themselves, they break the fast and make it up in accordance [with the amount they missed]. We do not know any difference of opinion relating to this between the people of knowledge, because they [s: the pregnant and nursing woman] are akin to the sick person who fears for himself.” [al-Mughni]

The Prophetic Narrative on the Issue

In addition to the explicit Qur’anic verse and scholarly consensus, there is also a Prophet narrative indicative of the pregnant woman’s obligation to make up missed fasts.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Indeed, Allah has unburdened the traveler from half of the prayer and fasting, and unburdened the pregnant and nursing woman from fasting.” [Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi]

Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas states, “Dont you see that removing the burden of fasting that He stipulated as a rule for the traveling person, He made it [s: this ruling] precisely the ruling for the pregnant and nursing woman as well… So, it is established from this that the ruling of removing the burden of fasting from the pregnant and nursing woman is akin to the ruling of removing it for the traveler, without any difference. What is known is that removing the burden of fasting from the traveler is from the perspective of being obligated to make it up due to [validly] breaking the fast, without paying compensation (fidya), and so it is necessary that this also be the ruling for the pregnant and nursing woman.” [Jassas; Ahkam al-Qur’an]

Therefore, in addition to the Qur’anic verses, this narration indicates that the pregnant woman must make-up such missed fasts as well.

The Position of the Four Schools

It has already been mentioned that there is consensus of the Sunni schools on the obligation to make-up missed obligatory fasts generally, for anyone who has missed them and is able to make them up, and that this consensus also includes the pregnant woman. This is what one will find when going through the relied-upon texts of the four schools, all of whom clearly stipulate that the pregnant woman who has missed obligatory fasts must make them up.

Among the Hanafis, this was clearly stated by Abu Bakr al-Jassas in his Ahkam al-Qur’an, Sarakhsi in his Mabsut, Quduri in his Mukhtasar, Ibn Nujaym in his Bahr al-Ra’iq, Shurunbulali in his Imdad al-Fattah, Haskafi in his Durr al-Mukhtar, Ibn `Abidin in his Hashiyah, and others. Some of these texts explicitly quote consensus on this point.

Among the Shafi`is, this was stated by Nawawi in his Minhaj, al-Khatib in his Iqna`, Ibn Hajar al-Hayatami in Tuhfat al-Minhaj, Ramli in Nihyat al-Muhtaj, and others.

Among the Hanbalis this was stated by Ibn Qudama in his al-Mughni, Ibn Muflih in al-Furu`, Mardawi in al-Insaf, and others.

Among the Malikis this was stated by Imam al-Abdari in Taj al-Iklil, Nafrawi in Fawakih al-Dawani, Shadhili’s Kifayat al-Talib, `Adawi’s Hashiya, and others.

Being Gradual & Appreciating the Blessings of Allah

If an individual has a number of missed fasts, then he or she should take gradual steps to make them up. In the Hanafi school, an individual who has not made up his fasts until next Ramadan enters is not required to pay an expiation or compensation. [ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

At the same time, one must appreciate the blessing of Allah in allowing one to make up these missed fasts, performing thereby an action of immense reward and merit.

In a narration, Allah Most High said, “Every good action is rewarded by ten times its kind, up to seven hundred times, except fasting, which is for Me, and I reward it.” [Tirmidhi, Muwatta]

One of the explanations given for this narration is that that the amount of reward earned by the one fasting is known only to Allah, and likewise only Allah is aware of the fasting person and his righteous act. Fasting is an act of sincerity, lacking the aspect of showing off, since it is hidden without any discernibly clear outward form. It allows one to imitate an angelic trait of freeing oneself from the needs of food, water, sexual intercourse, and the like. All of this is why Allah singled it out and gave it a noble status in the religion. [ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari]

So one should realize this, even with make up fasts. An intention can take a meager “form” or ritual and transform it into something eternal. This, coupled with genuine thankfulness towards Allah for allowing us to recognize our obligations and fulfill them opens the doors of mercy and blessings for one. We should never look at these actions as “burdens” but as opportunities that Allah thrusts at the feet of his servants indicating to them His desire to grant them good in this life and the next.

Always keep in mind what Allah has given us, among them these blessed opportunities to worship Him and make things right, and then observe what we “give” Him in return. When one contemplates on this, there is nothing one can do but say “Alhamdulilah”.

What He brings you,
What you bring Him
What a difference there is between them! [Ibn `Ata’illah, Hikam]


Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Is Obeying the Prophet in Every Matter Obligatory (fardh)?

Answered by Sidi Waseem Hussain

Question: [1] Is obeying the Prophet in every matter fardh or wajib? When is it fardh, when wajib?Example, Hanafi scholars say the beard is wajib but the Prophet ordered us to wear it. [2] I suffer from horrible obsessive compulsive disorder and am always obsessed with kufr and shrik, always worrying if I fall in them. What can I do to help myself?

Answer: Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullah,

1. We are supposed to do our utmost in following the Prophet (may Allahs peace and blessings be upon Him) in every single aspect. However, in some cases it is incumbent, while in others it is something we should strive as much as possible to do.

The categorisations of whether something is fard or wajib is subtle and relates to difference in the strength of the proofs and their possibility of interpretation. The differentiation between these is something that the scholars outline for us. This is for instance why we study fiqh, such that we can get clarity of how to properly follow in the footsteps of the Prophet (may Allahs peace and blessings be upon Him) and his companions.

2. One of the best ways to cure doubts about kufr and shirk is to recite surah al-Ikhlas, since it entails the core of the divine oneness that we as muslims believe in. If you understand that Allah is eternal and one, that he has no partners, son or simlitude then your aqeeda is sound and safe, and you need not worry that you are commiting kufr or shirk.

You should consider trying to find sound reliable scholars that teach aqeeda and benefit form their teachings.

And Allah knows best,

Waseem Hussain

Checked & Approved by 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.

Faraz Rabbani

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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