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Can I Follow Another School of Law When Traveling? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

Can I follow the ruling related to travel according to the Hanafi school despite being a Shafi’i?

Can I recite the Hanafi tashahud despite praying according to the Shafi’i school?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

Thank you for your question.

Why follow a madhhab?

Our scholars did not view the madhahib or schools of jurisprudence as four walls surrounding an individual, forcing him to remain in and preventing him from exiting. Rather, the madhahib offered a systematic approach to the Quran and Sunnah that ensured Muslims have consistency in their manner of implementing Allah’s law.

In other words, the approach or method (legal theory or Usul al-fiqh) of Imam Abu Hanifah to the Quran and Sunnah, even though possibly 90% the same, had variances with the approach or method of Imam al-Shafi’i. By way of example, Imam Abu Hanifah would give preference to weak tradition over a secondary source of law, while Imam al-Shafi’i on the other hand maintained that a weak narration is not suitable for establishing law and thus prefered the adoption of a secondary source of law. Consequently, Imam Abu Hanifah held that the maximum period of menstruation is 10 days based on a weak tradition, while Imam al-Shafi’i, based on the secondary source of law, deduction, opined that the maximum period of menstruation is 15 days.

Switching between madhahib would effectively mean that your practices today, based on approach A will differ with your practices of tomorrow that will be based on approach B. And Allah knows best.

Can I depart from my school of jurisprudence?

That being said, the scholars would permit one to depart from his madhhab on certain occasions. There’s a difference of opinion amongst the schools when and when not is one allowed to depart. Certain scholars or schools adopted more stringent conditions, while others, such as our Imams of the Shafi’i school were more lenient. According to the Shafi’is one would be permitted to depart from one school if the following conditions are met:

1. That he follows an alternative position that exists within one of the for schools of jurisprudence.
2. That he does not go about in an exhaustive search of the most lenient and easiest positions in the various schools (tatabbu’ al-rukhas).
4. That he is not guilty of talfiq. Talfiq means that one adopts the positions of various schools in an action, which eventually leads to an outcome that considers the action invalid according to all schools. By way of example, after performing ablution or wudu’, he bleeds, but considers his wudu’ intact based on the Shafi’i school. Later he touches his wife and considers his wudu’ intact based on the Hanafi school. The end result being that his wudu is not valid according to both the Shafi’i and Hanafi schools respectively.

Your question

Based on the discussion above, you may adopt the Hanafi school and consider yourself a traveler for 15 days, especially since you’ll be avoiding hardship as you indicated in your question.

What remains is, are you allowed to pray Isha complete with four units or should you shorten the prayer as is required for the traveler in the Hanafi school? Also, do you have to pray Salah in general according to Hanafi law?

These questions require a further discussion on talfiq and which forms of talfiq is considered problematic.

Talfiq in one qadiyyah:

Some scholars, including ibn Ziyad, held that talfiq is only problematic if it takes place in a single action or ritual, such as the example given above. This was similarly the position of some of our teachers and one that I personally incline towards.

In this instance, you may consider yourself a traveler according to the Hanafi school, but not be required to observe the Hanafi rulings when praying. Thus you may pray Isha as four units and may continue making qunut in your Fajr prayer as usual.

Talfiq in two qadiyyas:

Others held that talfiq will also be problematic if it existed in two combined actions. By way of example, after performing ablution, he bleeds and considers his wudu intact according to the Shafi’i school. Thereafter he performs salah, without facing the exact direction of qiblah based on the Hanafi school. The end result here being that the prayer will not be valid according to both the Shafi’i and Hanafi schools respectively.

According to this position, you will have to observe Hanafi rulings of salah while considering yourself a traveler based on their school, and Allah knows best.

Hanafi and Hanbali tashahhud

The differences between the formulas of tashahhud are all, to the best of my knowledge, taken from different traditions of the Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam. Scholars referred to these variations or differences as ikhtilaf al-tanawwu’ or differences of choice. As long as the source of any supplication, greeting or prayer is the Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wassalam, one may follow and emulate him. When the schools adopted one formula over the other, it was by no means to the exclusion of other transmitted formulas. You may thus continue with the tashahhud that you’ve learnt. In addition, you may memorize the other formulas of tashahhud and alternate between them.

And Allah knows best.

Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

Should I Repeat My Past Prayers Because I Was Not Following a Sunni School of Law?

Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian

Question: Assalam’aleykum

I was following an understanding of Islam outside of the four sunni schools of law. Now I am following the hanafi school. Do I need to repeat my past prayers? I was also wiping over normal socks for wudu.

Answer: Wa alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

As long as one’s prayers were performed correctly according to one of the four Sunni schools of fiqh (i.e. Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, or Hanbali), the prayers would not have to be made up. With regards to the ruling on wiping over normal socks, you should consult a Hanbali scholar, as the Hanbali school is the most permissive on this issue.

Please see:

A Reader on Following Schools of Thought (Madhabs)

Do the Differences Between the Legal Schools Render Our Worship Full of Errors?

Repeating Prayers in Maliki School for Not Doing “Dalk” in Wudu

Must I Repeat Prayers Behind an Imam With a Short Beard or Bare Head?

Wiping over Knitted Socks During Ablution (Wudu)

Wassalam,
Umer

Photo: irumge

Does Burping in Prayer Nullify It? Do I Have to Follow Every Single Ruling of My School of Thought?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaykum,

1. Does burping in prayer nullify it?

2. As a Hanafi do I have to stop eating sea food and a couple of other single issues which I’m used to which are allowed in other schools but prohibited in the Hanafi school?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

(1) Burping does not invalidate the prayer as long as it is not deliberate. Otherwise, and if sounds and letters are produced, it would invalidate the prayer as any such “noise” without sufficient need is invalidating.

(2) It is permitted to take a dispensation from another school in the presence of a need or benefit.

Please also see: Is it Permissible to Seek Out Legal Dispensations? and: What Are the Sunnas Related to Burping and Passing Wind?

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Is It Preferred to Marry Someone Who Follows the Same Legal School?

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalam alaykum,

Is it preferred to marry someone who follows the same legal school?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

It is permissible and entirely acceptable to marry someone who follows any recognized theological or legal school.

It is better to marry someone who is upright and shares your values set; following the same school of law is not as important a consideration, just as it not necessary that you and your spouse be alike in every respect.

There are many well-known teachers of Islamic sciences, as well as students, who have married outside of their schools of law, without hesitation.

Please see: What Is the Best Course To Take when a Potential Spouse Wants Me To Follow his Legal School?

Shuaib Ally

Can I Follow the Maliki School in My Worship and the Shafi’i School in Transactions?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I’m currenlty relearning my religion. Especially regarding following the madhab. Currently, I’m leaning toward the Maliki fiqh for my Ibadah. But, in the place where I live, Shafi’i is considered the most commonly followed madhab.

So, is it permissible to practice Maliki fiqh in private, but practice the Shafi’i in public?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

In deciding on a school of fiqh, it is sensible to look at your current situation and cultural background. Choose on the basis of being able to soundly learn the school, and also its applicability and consequence to you and your social circle.

It is also from greater taqwa to stick to a single school in all or most of one’s life matters. It is difficult enough to soundly learn one, let alone doing one thing in private and another in public– which can be a recipe for confusion when you need to make a snap decision.

Please see: A Reader on Following Schools of Thought (Madhabs)

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Do the Differences Between the Legal Schools Render Our Worship Full of Errors?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam aleikum,

Why do schools of fiqh contradict themselves to the point that something valid in one school is invalid in another school like wudu after touching a woman for example?

If we say that there is valid opinions that could be wrong, wouldn’t that imply that we have a religion were error exists? Why have truth and error been mixed up in Islam and became labelled as “valid opinions”?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

All of the legal schools are valid and sound to follow, and correct according to their own, specific legal theory and methodology. The differences found between them are a mercy, as the scholars have mentioned, and it is difficult to understand the intricacies without spending some time learning how the general principles are applied and how law is derived.

I’d recommend reading: (1) The Differences of the Imams by Shaykh Zakariyya Kandhlawi, and (2) The Influence of the Noble Hadith Upon the Differences of Opinion Amongst the Jurist Imams by Shaykh Muhammad Awwamah.

Please also see: A Reader on Following Schools of Thought (Madhabs)

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Should I Change My School of Thought to Ease the Education of My Son?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I am a follower of the Hanafi school. My wife is from West Africa and we have just had a child. I am seriously considering studying Maliki fiqh and adopting it myself in order to raise my son as a Maliki. I understand that I could raise my son Hanafi even if my wife isn’t, but three issues keep surfacing: consumption of shellfish, the time for Asr and combining prayers during travel.

My wife expressed that she does not want our child to become confused by differences. What is your advice on this?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I think you are best suited to decide what school of thought you wish to follow in light of your personal circumstances and general family situation. The main consideration to take into account is whether you will be able to adequately study that specific school and have access to scholars to answer your questions.

Following a School of Thought (madhhab)

I do feel that some of the issues you have raised are not as serious as you may think, such as, for example, the issue of shellfish combining prayers, and the time of Asr prayer.

It is true that in the Hanafi school eating shellfish is prohibitively disliked; that combining prayers is merely “in form” and not through actually performing the prayer outside its time; and that the time of Asr is later than the time determined by other schools. Yet, the question is whether you have to follow these rulings as if they were fixed in stone. The answer to this is no for the following reasons:

a. The obligation of taqlid is to follow a school or an authority on a given issue or set of issues. Thus, for example, an individual is permitted to follow the Hanafi school in prayer and the Maliki school in rulings related to Zakat. This is not interdicted so long as one actually knows the rulings of the other school on the issue and does not systematically seek out dispensations (i.e. the easiest position), which would be problematic.

b. The issues that you mention are all validly disagreed upon within the Sunni schools. Eating of shellfish is allowed by the Shafi`i, Maliki, and Hanbali schools; all three of these schools allow for “actual” combining of prayers; and `Asr prayer is differed upon even within the Hanafi school with Qadi Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad holding that it comes in at one-shadow length. There is no blame in following other positions on these limited number of issues when need dictates so, and when you feel it is in the best interest of your family.

[Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar (1:33); Nabulsi, Khulasa al-tahqiq (56)]

In other words, if these are the issues that are proving to be difficult to deal with, or which are incompatible with the “heritage” and practice of your wife, then you can easily just follow another opinion as opposed to switching completely to a different school in all of your practice.

Family Considerations

You also mentioned how you do not want your child growing up confused about the different ways in which people practice their religion. This is something that he or she is bound to come across and recognize at some stage in his or her life. Rather than shielding your child from differences, it may be worth looking into actually teaching him to respect diversity, the great wisdom behind it, and how we understand diversity through our own religious vantage point. This is not only in respect to how we view legal schools and religious practice, but how we view life and all of those around us in general.

See:

Can a Hanafi Follow the Shafi’i Opinion on Joining Prayers When Traveling?

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

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

How to Choose to Follow an Opinion within a School of Law?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I follow the Hanafi school and I want to know what the principles of fiqh and tassawuf are when choosing an opinion within the Hanafi school. Take for example the difference of opinion when eating shrimps, the time of Asr, and others. Can a common Muslim choose an easier opinion for himself? What about a student?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

The answer to your question is: sometimes yes; sometimes no.

The institution of the madhhab has a certain logic to it. This logic is both personal and social.

At a personal level, the madhhab ensures that a layperson follow established authority and not his own whims and desires. It provides the individual with a means to fulfill his religious duties without having to engage in in-depth study of the tradition that would be a difficult undertaking given other commitments. Following scholarly authority is a commandment of God and the Prophet. The Qur’an, for example states, “Ask those who know if you know not,” (16:43) while the Prophet (God bless him) said that “the cure for not knowing is asking.” [Abu Dawud]

For this reason, among others, the scholars of our traditions have always stressed adherence to the schools of law. The idea of following authority is nothing new. For example, after the Prophet (God bless him) departed this earthly-realm. most of the Companions relied upon a select number of individuals for answers to their religious questions, such as the four Caliphs, `Abd Allah ibn Mas`ud, Zayd ibn Thabir, `Abd Allah ibn `Umar, and so forth.

Following A Single Madhhab

While following a maddhab is required, following a single madhhab on every issue is not according to many scholars. The obligation of taqlid is to follow a school or an authority on a given issue or set of issues. Thus, for example, an individual is permitted to follow the Hanafi school in prayer and the Maliki school in rulings related to Zakat. This is not interdicted so long as one:

a. actually knows the rulings of the other school on the issue, and
b. does not systematically seek out dispensations (i.e. the easiest position).

[Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar (1:33); Nabulsi, Khulasa al-tahqiq (56)]

Therefore, it would be permitted for you to follow the opinion of another school if you have a valid reason for doing so.

A valid reason should not be understood as simply referring to cases of real need or necessity. Rather, even convenience cab be a valid reason to follow another opinion. For example, you may choose to pray Asr according to the earlier time because it is easier for you from a scheduling perspective, something important for this working and studying. Similarly, you may choose to eat seafood because your family does so. The aofrementioned opinions have a strong basis in our tradition and, therefore, may be followed as long as one does not become habitual in seeking out dispensations of this nature.

Tasawwuf and the Madhhab

Regarding tasawwuf, the basis would be to follow the instructions of your spiritual guide. It would be permitted for you to follow a ruling from a school other than your own if your spiritual guide recommends so.

This is because the way of tasawwuf is a way of purifying the soul by submitting to someone who has traversed the path of gnosis. This individual, the murshid/spiritual guide, is akin to a doctor providing the student with spiritual medicine to cure the ills of his heart. It makes little sense to go against his advice by sticking to one’s own school. This is especially so for practices deemed central to the teacher’s instruction.

Therefore, as long as it is a valid opinion, it would be permitted for one to follow the opinion of a spiritual guide that is contrary to one’s own school. If someone is not willing to do this, he or she should speak to their spiritual guide and then perhaps see if they would want to remain on his path.

Please see:

Can a Hanafi Follow the Shafi’i Opinion on Joining Prayers When Traveling?

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

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

What Is the Best Course To Take when a Potential Spouse Wants Me To Follow his Legal School?

Answered by Ustadh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalamu ‘alaikum,

I have received a proposal from someone who wants me to follow his school of thought in jurisprudence. I find this very difficult to achieve. What should I do?

Answer: Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah,

I am sorry to hear about your difficult situation. I pray that Allah grants you the patience to cope with it.

It is permissible to follow any of the four recognized schools of law (Shafi’i; Hanafi; Maliki; Hanbali). One does not need a good reason to follow one or the other; convenience, or similarity in practice, suffices as a reason. Following a school that accords with your current practice makes it easier to follow, which is a good thing.

It also isn’t a requirement at all that one follow the same school of law as one’s spouse. There are many people – including scholars who are well-known – who have chosen good spouses that follow a different school of law and get along just fine.

You may want to bring this to his attention; it may be that he is unaware of this. If he persists, depending on your own personal situation and circumstances, you may want to reconsider him as a candidate. It generally is not a good sign when a potential spouse makes unreasonable demands; it may speak to a controlling nature, or inability to focus on what is important.

Again, I am sorry that you are in this situation. I pray that Allah the most high guides you both to what is best, and facilitates for you your affairs, in this life and the next.

Shuaib Ally

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.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani