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The Methodology of the Salaf Concerning Ijtihad and Taqlid
  Guidelines Concerning Taqlid and Madhhabs
Source: Various
Article ID : MNJ060008  [17415]  
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"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."


Certain conditions must be adhered to when following a particular madhhab:-

Firstly: To believe that infalibility belongs only to the Prophet sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam; all other people after him are fallible and make mistakes:

Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullaah, said:

"It has been established in the Book, the Sunnah and the ijmaa’ that Allaah, the Most Perfect, obligated upon the creation obedience to Him, and obedience to His Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam. It is not obligatory upon this Ummah to obey anyone in particular in all that he may commands and prohibits, except the Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam; to the extent that the most truthful of this Ummah and the most virtuous after its Prophet [i.e. Abu Bakr] said: "Obey me in what is obedience to Allaah. But if I disobey Allaah, then there is no obedience to me upon you." They are all agreed that there is no single person who is infallible in all that he may order or prohibit, except for Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam. That is why more than one of the scholars have said: "Every person’s saying can be taken or left, except for Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam." And the four Imaams, may Allaah be pleased with them, all forbade the people from blindly following them in all that they may say; and this was an obligation upon them [to do]."

Secondly: That the intended goal should be to follow the Book and the Sunnah, and not to merely follow the opinions of the scholars of the madhhab. Therefore in any issue, if it becomes clear that the preferred view, along with its proofs, lies in other than his madhhab, he must follow the proof and not reject it.

Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee, rahimahullaah, said:

"The Muslims are united that if a Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam is made clear to someone, then it is not lawful for him to leave it for the saying of anyone else."

Thirdly: That forming allegience (walaa) or enmity (baraa) based upon following a particular madhhab is forbidden. Indeed no one should be particualrised with an increase of love and allegience merely because he has adopted the same madhhab.

Fourthly: Whoever leaves the position of his madhhab, due to following his whims and desires, or for seeking convenience, has done something forbidden - and the words of Ibn Taymiyyah have preceeded concerning this.

Refer also to the following:-

[i] Jaami’ Bayaanul-’Ilm (2/102-120) of Imaam Ibn ’Abdul-Barr.

[ii] Majmoo’ Fataawaa (2/220-226) of Ibn Taymiyyah.

[iii] Adwaa‘ul-Bayaan (7/316-319) of Imaam ash-Shanqeetee.

[iv] Fataawaa lil-Lajnatid-Daa‘imah (5/22-44) headed by Shaykh Ibn Baaz.

[v] Hadeeth Hujjatun bi Nafsihi (pp.94-95) of Shaykh al-Albaanee.

[vi] Al-Usool min ’Ilmil-Usool (pp.99-104) of Shaykh Ibn al-’Uthaymeen.

[vii] Muntaqaa min Fataawaa (5/362-368) of Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan.

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