Guidelines Concerning Taqlid and Madhhabs


Ibn al-Qayyim, rahimahullaah, said about the prohibitted types of taqleed:

“It is of three types:- Firstly: totaly turning away from what Allaah has revealed, but rather being satisfied with thetaqleed of one’s for-fathers. Secondly: doing taqleed of someone when you do not know whether that person is from those whose saying can be taken. Thirdly: doing taqleed after the proofs have been established and it becomes apparent that the evidence contradicts the view of the one to whom taqleed is done.”

Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal, rahimahullaah, said:

“How strange it is that a people who know the chain of narratiuon of a hadeeth (isnaad) and its authenticity, yet still they follow the opinion of Sufyaan [ath-Thawree]; even though Allaah, the Exalted, said:

Let those beware, who oppose the command of the Messenger, lest some trial (fitnah) befalls them, or a painful punishment is inflicted upon them. ” [Soorah an-Noor 24:63].

Do you know what the fitnah is? The fitnah is shirk! Since the rejection of some of his sayings could cause something of deviation to enter the heart, and thus be destroyed.”

Shaykh ’Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Hasan, rahimahullaah, said:

“In the words of Imaam Ahmad, rahimahullaah, is an indication that doing taqleed before the proofs reach a person is not blameworthy. Rather, the one who is to be censured is that person to whom the proofs reach, yet he opposes them due to [adhering to] the saying of his scholar.”


Some verdicts and sayings of the scholars concerning following madhhabs:

[i]: When encountering a difficult issue, do you advise the student of knowledge not to stick to a madhhab, or [do you advise] to turn to a particular madhhab?

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-’Uthaymeen responded:

“If what is intended by sticking to a madhhab is that a person sticks to that madhhab, and turns away from everything else; whether the correct view lies in his madhhab or another madhhab – then this is not permissible, and is from the blameworthy and bigotted partisanship. But if a person ascribes to a particular madhhab in order to benefit from its principles and guidelines, but he refers it back to the Book and the Sunnah; [such that] if it becomes clear to him that the preferred view lies in another madhhab, he then adopts that view – then there is no problem with this.”

[ii]: Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan, hafidhahullaah, said:

“The issue of sticking to a madhhab has in it some detail. If a person has the ability to know the ruling from its proof, and to deduce the ruling from its proof, then it is not permitted for him to cling to a madhhab. rather, it is upon him to take the ruling from the evidence if he has the ability to do so. However, this is rare amongst the people, since this is a quality of the mujtahideen from the people of knowledge; those that have reaced the levels of ijtihaad. As for one who is not like that, then he cannot take the rulings directly from the evidences. And this is the predominant case amongst the people, especially in these latter times. So [in such a case] there is no harm in adopting one of the four madhhabs and making taqleed of one of them. However, he should not make blindtaqleed such that he takes all that is in the madhhab; whether it is correct or incorrect. Rather, it is upon him to take from the madhhab that which – in his view – does not clearly oppose the evidence. As for those views in themadhhab which clearly oppose the evidence, then it is not permissible for the Muslim to take it. Rather it is upon him to adopt what is established by the proof, even if it is in another madhhab. So his leaving the madhhab for another madhhab in order to follow the evidence is something good; this is a matter which is good – rather it is obligatory; since following the evidence is an obligation.”

[iii]: Shaykh Muhammad ibn ’Abdul-Wahhaab, rahimahullaah, said:

“If a person is learning fiqh from one of the four madhhabs, then he sees a hadeeth that opposes his madhhab; and so he follows it and leaves his madhhab – then this is recommended, rather it is obligatory upon him when the proof has been made clear to him. This would not be considered as opposing his Imaam that he follows, since they – Abu Haneefah, Maalik, ash-Shaafi’ee and Ahmad, radiallaahu ’anhum ajma’een – were all agreed upon this fundamental principle … As for the case whereby a person does not have any evidence which opposes the view of the scholars of the madhhab, then we hope that it is permissible to act upon it, since their opinions are better than our own opinions; they took their proofs from the sayings of the Companions and those who came after them. However, it is not essential to declare with certainty (al-jazm) that this is the Sharee’ah of Allaah and His Messenger, until the proof that is not contradicted in this issue is made clear. This is the action of the Salaf of this Ummah and its scholars – both previous and recent – as well as that which they criticised: namely having bigotted partisanship for particular madhhabs (at-ta’assubul-madhaahib) and leaving off following the proof.”

[iv]: Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah was asked to explain Najmud-Deen Ibn Hamdaan’s saying: Whoever clings to a madhhab is to be criticised if he opposes it without a proof, or taqleed, or any other excuse.

Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullaah, responded by saying:

“Two things are intended by this [saying]:- Firstly: That whoever clings to a specific madhhab, then acts in opposition to it; without making taqleed of the fatwaa of another scholar, nor does he use an evidence as a proof which would necessitate opposing this, nor due to any other Sharee’ah excuse which makes it permissible for him to do what he has done – then such a person is a follower of his whims and desires; acting without [making]ijtihaad or taqleed; and doing something forbidden without a Sharee’ah excuse. So this is evil; this is what Shaykh Najmud-Deen intended, and there is a text from Imaam Ahmad and others that it is not for anyone to believe a thing to be obligatory or forbidden, then, merely based upon whims and desires, believe that it is not obligatory nor forbidden … However, if there becomes clear to him something which necessitates preferring one saying over another; either due to detailed proofs if he knows and understands them, or because he holds one of the two people to be more knowledgeable about this matter and having more piety about what he says, and so he leaves the saying of that one for the saying of the other one – then this is permissible, rather it is obligatory. And there is a text from Imaam Ahmad concerning this.”

Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullaah, said:

“When a Muslim is faced with a problamatic situation, he should seek a verdict from one whom he believes will give him a verdict based upon what Allaah and His Messenger have legislated; whatever school of thought (madhhab) he belongs to. It is not obligatory upon any Muslim to blindly follow a particular individual from the scholars in all that he says. Nor is it obligatory upon any Muslim to blindly follow a particular madhhab from the scholars in all that it necessitates and informs. Rather, every person’s saying is taken or left, except that of the Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam. To follow the madhhab of a particular individual because of an inability of knowing what has been legislated, is from that which is permissible; it is not from that which is obligatory upon every individual – if they have the ability to know what has been legislated without this path of blind-following (taqleed]. So each individual should fear Allaah as much as he is able, and seek knowledge of what Allaah and His Messenger have ordered; doing what is commanded and keeping away from that which is forbidden.”

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