Do I Have to Follow One Madhab (School of Law)? [Video]

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Do I have to follow one madhab (school of law)?

Answer:  Wa’leykum Salam,

Here is a video answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to this question:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).

Why Do We Need Scholars When There’s Quran And Sunnah?

Quran and Sunnah?

Why do we need scholars? Why can’t we directly go to the Quran and Sunnah?  Shaykh Walead Mosaad talks about the central role of scholars in transmitting, contextualizing and teaching Islam. He gives a relevant example of the role scholars had in the preservation of the Quran.

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Cover photo by Van Karsten.

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.


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.


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

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