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The Methodology of the Salaf Concerning Ijtihad and Taqlid
  Fataawaa of the Major Committee of Scholars on Taqlid and Madhhabs
Author: Various
Article ID : MNJ060007  


["The Fataawaa of The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Ifta (Fataawa al-Lajnat-ud-daaimah lil-buhuth al-'ilmiah wal-Iftaa)", Volume 5: Fiqh and Tahaarah, Gathered and organised by Shaykh Ahmad ibn Abdur-Razaaq ad-Duwaysh, Dar al-'Aasimah, 1413h]

 The second question from Fatwaa No. 11296

Q) What is the true meaning of taqleed and what are its categories along with the clarification of its ruling?

A) All praise is for Allah alone and may the Peace and Blesssings be on His messenger, and his family, and his companions.

To proceed:

a) The scholars of Usool (fundamentals) have mentioned definitions to clarify the true meaning and essence of taqleed, and from them is the saying of some of them that taqleed is the acceptance of a saying of a person without him knowing its evidence. And some of them [the scholars] held the view that taqleed is the acceptance of the saying of a person without argument. And Abu Ma'aali al-Juwayni chose the definition of taqleed that it is the following of one whose following is not based on proof and does not rely upon knowledge. And these definitions of the scholars of Usool, which are all close in meaning, have in it differences [in wording] which originate in the skill of enunciation, but the point here is to clarify the essence of taqleed in the manner of approximation.

b) And as for its categories along with the ruling of every category, then it is as follows:

1) Taqleed by the one who has the skills of ijtihaad, to others from the scholars after the truth has been made clear to him with confirmed evidences from the Prophet (s).

This is not permissable for him to do taqleed to what contradicts that which reached him from evidences and ijmaa’ (consensus).

2) Taqleed by the one who has been endowed the skill of ijtihaad, to one other than him from the mujtahideen before he reaches a ruling with his [own] ijtihaad.

Then it is not allowed for him to do taqleed to others.

[This is what] as-Shaafi'i, Ahmad, and others, Allah have mercy on them, held as their opinion, and is more correct, due to his ability to arrive at a ruling by himself. He is responsible for ijtihaad to know what the sharee’ah has made him liable for because of His saying, the Most High,

"So have taqwa of Allah as much as you are able,"

and what has been confirmed from the saying of the Prophet(s), "When I command you by a command, then follow it as much as you are able."

3) Taqleed of the one who is not able to research the evidences and derive rulings from it, to a scholar who has been endowed the skill of ijtihaad in the evidences of the sharee’ah.

This is permissible, due to His saying, the Most High,

"Allah does not burden a soul more than it can bear,"

and His saying, the Exalted,

"Then ask the people of remembrance [scholars] if you do not know,"

and other texts similar to these, which point to the removing of difficulty and the protection of the one responsible, from straying about in the rulings and speaking about Allah without knowledge.

4) The taqleed to the one who differs with the sharee’ah of Islam from the forefathers, leaders, and rulers, due to nationalism or following desires.

This is prohibited by ijmaa’. And verily many texts from the Qur'aan and Sunnah have been mentioned [in this]. And Allah, the Most High said, say:

'Rather we shall follow what we found our fathers following,' even though their fathers did not understand anything nor were they guided."[Baqarah:170]

And Allah, the Most High said,

"But no, by your Lord, they can not have faith until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and they find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept with full submission."

And Allah, The Most High said,

"And it is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision." [al-Ahzaab:36]

And the Most High said,

"And let those who oppose his [the Messenger's] commandment beware, lest some trials should befall on them or a painful torment be afflicted on them."[Noor:63]

And the Most High said,

"Say If you [indeed] love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins."[Aali Imraan:31] And the Most High said,

"Verily Allah has cursed the disbelievers and prepared for them a flaming fire. They will abide in it forever, they will find no protector nor helper. On the day when their faces will be turned over in the Fire, they will say: 'Oh would that we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger. And they will say: 'Our Lord! Verily we obeyed our chiefs and our great ones, and they misled us from the right way. Our Lord! Give them double torment and curse them witht a mighty curse!" [al-Ahzaab:64-68]

Q) There are some that say that taqleed is disbelief (kufr) without exception and sinfulness (fisq) and association (shirk), and attribute disbelief (kufr) and misguidance to the four imaams. So what is the ruling concerning such a person. They [also] say that this is the opinion of the scholars of the two sanctuaries [Masjid al-Haraam and Masjid an-Nabawi], the Saudi Kingdom, and Kuwait.

A) All praise is for Allah alone and may the Peace and Blesssings be on His messenger, and his family, and his companions.

To proceed:

a) Not all taqleed is kufr without exception or fisq or shirk, rather the truth is that its ruling requires explanation, which can be found out from the answer to the second question from what has preceded.

b) Not one of the four imaams called to their madhhab, nor were fanatic about it, nor did they require the people to act upon it or any [other] madhhab in particular. But they only called to act upon the Book and the Sunnah, may Allah have mercy on them. They explained the texts of the religion, made clear its principles and what stems from them, and they gave verdicts (Fataawaa) in what was asked [of them] with evidences from the Book and the Sunnah, without requiring their students or others with the opinion of any one in particular from the scholars of the ummah. Rather they censured that, and they ordered to throw their opinions against the wall if it differed with a authentic (saheeh) hadeeth. And one of them said, "If a hadeeth is proved to be authentic, then it is my madhhab." And it is upon a Muslim to strive to know the truth by themselves if he is able to do that, and to seek help from Allah, then from the wealth of knowledge that the predecessors from the Muslim scholars have left for the ones after them, and that which is easy for them in the path to the understanding of the texts and its application. And whoever is not able to understand the rulings from its evidences and its derivations for a matter, he is to ask the poeple of knowledge trustworthy to him about what he needs from the rulings of sharee’ah, seeking to know the truth with its evidences as much as is able, due the Most High saying, "Then ask those of the remembrance [scholars] if you do not know." And upon him is for him to inquire who he trusts from those who are known for their knowledge, merit, piety, and righteousness. And from this is known that the four imaams are free from those who [overly] concern with it [madhhabs] and about those who attribute to them kufr, misguidance, falsehhod and lies.

There is not anyone from the scholars of the two sanctuaries, Makkah or Medinah, nor from the rest of the scholars of the Saudi Kingdom who criticize the imaams of fiqh, Malik, Abu Hanifah, ash-Shaafi'i, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and those of their likes from the scholars of Islamic fiqh, or who thinks little of them. Rather, it is known from them that they honor them and acknowledge their merit. And [they know] that they led the way for truth in the service to Islam, its protection, and the comprhension of its texts, its principles and clarifying them, its conveyance, their jihad in aiding it, defending it, warding off the doubts from it, and in falsifying the claims of those who falsely ascribe to it and the innovations of the liars, so may Allah reward them from Islam and the Muslims a good reward.

And what gives evidence to the position of the scholars of the two sanctuaries and the rest of the scholars of the Saudi Kingdom towards the four imaams of honoring and valueing their concern, is the teaching of their madhhabs and their works in Masjid al-Haraam in Makkah al-Mushrifah, al-Madinah al-Munawwarah, the rest of the masjids of the Saudi Kingdom, and in its universities, and their concern of publishing many of their books and its distribution and spreading among the Muslims in all the countries which Muslims are in.

And from Allah is tawfeeq, and may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be on His messenger, his family, and his companions.

The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Ifta:

Member: Abdullah bin Ghudayaan,Vice President: Abdur-Razaaq Afeefee ',President: Abdul-Aziz ibn Baaz

The following is a translation from Majallat al Buhooth al-Islamiah, No. 51 Rabi' al Awal-Jumadi al-Aakhar, 1418h.

From fatwa number 4272

Q) The fourth question: We see that imaams, all of them, are on a madhhab that differs from the other, and most of the time the matter ends up in a battle between them that leads to some of the praying people to leave the prayer. So we need a clear sufficient answer on this subject. Are we to follow one school of thought (madhhab), and how do we reconcile between the schools of thought so that we can settle this matter?

A) All praise is for Allah alone, and may the peace and blessings be on His messenger and his family, and his companions, to proceed:

A) The difference that is present in the branches of fiqh between the four madhhabs returns to the causes of it, e.g. a hadeeth being authentic with some [imams] and not others, or the attainment of a hadeeth by one [imam] and not others, and [reasons] other than those from the causes of difference.

So it is obligatory on a Muslim to have good thoughts about them, and every one of them is a Mujtahid in what originated from him from fiqh, searching for truth. So if it [the ijtihaad] was correct, then for him is two rewards: a reward for his ijtihaad, and a reward for it being correct. And if it was incorrect, then there is a reward for his ijtihaad, and the wrong [ijtihaad] is looked over.

And as for blindly following (taqleed) these four imams, whoever is able to take the truth with its evidences, it is obligatory on him to take with evidences. And if he is not able, then he does taqleed of the most trustworthy of the people of knowledge with him as much as he is able. And these differences are in the branches [of fiqh] and does not entail the prohibition of those who differ to pray behind each other, but it is obligatory to pray behind each other, for verily the companions (sahabah), Allah be pleased with them , differed in matters in the branches and they [still] prayed behind each other, and like that, the tabi'een and those who followed them in righteousness.

And from Allah is tawfeeq, and may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be on His messenger, his family, and his companions.

The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Ifta:

Member: Abdullah bin Qa‘ood, Member: Abdullah bin Ghudayaan, Vice President: AbdurRazaaq Afeefee', President: Abdul-Aziz ibn Baaz

The following is a translation taken from:

"The Fataawaa of The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Ifta (Fataawa al-Lajnat -ud-daaimah lil-buhuth al-Ilmiah wal-Iftaa)", Volume 5: Fiqh and Tahaarah, Gathered and organized by Sheikh Ahmad bin abdur-Razaaq ad-Duwaish, Dar al-'Aasimah, 1413h.

The fourth and fifith questions from fatwa No. 4476

Q) What is the ruling of the one who blindly follows [Imaam] Malik in his ijtihaad, and leaves the Qur'an and the Hadeeth.

A) All praise is for Allah alone and may the Peace and Blesssings be on His messenger, and his family, and his companions.

To proceed:

Malik, May Allah have mercy on him, is an imaam from the imaams of knowledge; he his a human, he is incorrect [at times] and is correct [at times], and [some] is taken from his sayings and [some] is rejected. So what is in accordance with the truth from his sayings is accepted, and what is not in accordance with the truth is left. And a person, if he is able to take the rulings from the Qur'aan and the Sunnah, then is is not permissable for him to blindly follow any one, and if he is not able [to take the rulings from the Qur'aan and Sunnah] and something is ambiguous from the matters of his religion, then he is to ask the most trustworthy of the people of knowledge with him, and he is to act upon the answer, and Maalik and others are in that the same.

Q) Why have the scholars of the [different] countries divided the sharee’ah of the Prophet of Allah, Muhammed (S), into four: the schools of thoughts (mathaahib) of Maalik, Shaafi'i, Abu Hanifah, and Ahmah, besides the fact that the Religion of the Messenger (S) is one and the Qur'aan is one?

A) All praise is for Allah alone and may the Peace and Blesssings be on His messenger, and his family, and his companions.

To proceed:

The basis for legislation [of the religion] is the Qur'aan, and the Sunnah is a clarification for the Qur'an, and the four imaams, every one from them, Allah, the Exalted and Most High, granted them the guidance to understand the religion to the extent of what was made easy for them. And every one from them had students which related from them their fiqh and by this was the founding of the four madhhabs. And not all of what any one of them said the truth. but they are mujtahideen, and if it [the opinion] is correct, then for him is two rewrds, a reward for his ijtihaad, and a reward for it [the opinion] being correct, and if he is incorrect, then for him is a reward for his ijtihaad, and the incorrectness is looked over.

And from Allah is tawfeeq, and may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be on His messenger, his family, and his companions.

The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Ifta:

Member: Abdullah bin Qu'ud, Member: Abdullah bin Ghudayaa, Vice President: AbdurRazaaq Afeefee, President: Abdul-Aziz ibn Baaz

The fourth question from Fatwaa No. 4172

Q) What is the ruling for the blind following (taqleed) of the four schools of thought (mathaahib) and following their sayings in every situation and era?

A) All praise is for Allah alone and may the Peace and Blesssings be on His messenger, and his family, and his companions.

To proceed:

First: The four schools of thought (mathaahib) are ascribed to the four imaams; Imaam abu Hanifah, Imaam Maalik, Imaam Shaafi'i, Imaam Ahmad [ibn Hambal]. So the Hanafi madhhab in ascribed to abu Hanifah, and so on for the rest of the mathaahib.

Second: These imaams took fiqh (jurisprudence) from the Book and the Sunnah and they were mujtahideen in that, and a mujtahid is either correct-- then for him is two rewards, a reward for his ijtihaad, and a reward for it being correct, or [a mujtahid] is incorrect-- then he is rewarded for his ijtihaad, and is excused for the incorrectness.

Third: The one who is able to derive from the Qur'aan and the Sunnah takes from them [the Qur'aan and Sunnah] like it was taken from them before, and it is not permitted for him to blindly follow other than what he believes to be true. But he should take what he believes to be true and it is permissable for him to do taqleed of in what he is incapable of and [what he] needs.

Fourth: Who does not have the ability to derive [from the Qur'aan and Sunnah], it is permissable for him to blindly follow who he has confidence in doing taqleed to, and if there arises in himself a lack of confidence, he is to ask until [it] is obtained.

Fifth: It is clear from what has preceded that their [the imaam's] sayings are not followed in every situatation and era, because they may have erred. But the truth is followed from their sayings which are bulit upon evidences.

And from Allah is tawfeeq, and may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be on His messenger, his family, and his companions.

The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Ifta:

Member: Abdullah bin Qu'ud, Member: Abdullah bin Ghudayaan, Vice President: AbdurRazaaq Afeefee, President: Abdul-Aziz ibn Baaz

The following is a translation taken from:

"The Fataawaa of The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Ifta (Fataawa al-Lajnat -ud-daaimah lil-buhuth al-Ilmiah wal-Iftaa)", Volume 5: Fiqh and Tahaarah, Gathered and organized by Sheikh Ahmad bin abdur-Razaaq ad-Duwaish, Dar al-'Aasimah, 1413h.

Fatwa No. 5560

Q) I am a student in the Teacher's Institute in Haa'il, and the Professor of Religion explained that it is imposible to bring together the method of the four imaams in the religion of Islam, for example in the method of salaat (prayer), wudoo', siyam, etc., in all which is obligatory upon us. The professor says that it is not possible to bring together the method of the four imaams in Islamic legislation. I ask from your eminence that you mention to us whether the professor was correct or [whether he] erred, and I ask that you send if there is a book about this problem.

A) All praise is for Allah alone and may the Peace and Blesssings be on His messenger, and his family, and his companions.

To proceed:

Indeed a Muslim is not asked to bring together the four madhhabs in his actions, but if he is able to derive the rulings [of Islam] by himself from the evidences, it is obligatory upon him to take what his apparent to him, and if he is not able to derive the rulings, he is to follow an imaam from the imaams of the Muslimeen, emulating them, as Allah, The Most High, says, "So have taqwa of Allah as much as you are able," and The Most High's saying, "Then ask the people of the remembrance [scholars] if you do not know."

And from Allah is tawfeeq, and may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be on His messenger, his family, and his companions.

The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Ifta:

Member: Abdullah bin Qu'ud, Member: Abdullah bin Ghudayaan, Vice President: AbdurRazaaq Afeefee, President: Abdul-Aziz ibn Baaz

The fourth question from fatwa No. 2815

Q) Indeed some people believe that is is obligatory upon a Muslim, in order to make correct their worship ('ibaadah) and dealings (mu'aamalah), that they follow one of the four known schools of thought (mathaahib), and that the madhhab of the Imamate Shi'ah and the Zaidi Shi'iah are not from amongst them. So do you agree, your excellence, with this opinion without exception and forbid the taqleed of the madhhab of the 12th imaam shi'ah [Ja'fari] for example?

A) All praise is for Allah alone and may the Peace and Blesssings be on His messenger, and his family, and his companions.

To proceed:

It is upon a Muslim to follow what came from Allah and His Messenger(s) if he is able to take the rulings by himself, and if he is not able [to do] that, he is to ask the people of knowledge in what is difficult for him from the matters of his deen, and ask the most knowledgeable who he can reach from the people of knowledge and ask them orally or by writing.

And it is not permissable for a Muslim to follow the madhhab of the Immamate Shi'ah, the Zaidi Shi'ah, nor what resembles them from the people of innovation (ahl-ul-bid'ah) like the Khawaarij, Mu'tazilah, Jahmiah, or others. And about attributing themselves to some of the four known mathaahib, then there is no harm in that if he is not fanatic to the madhhab that he is attributing himself to and he does not go against the evidences for its sake.

And from Allah is tawfeeq, and may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be on His messenger, his family, and his companions.

The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Ifta:

Member: Abdullah bin Qu'ud, Member: Abdullah bin Ghudayaan, Vice President: AbdurRazaaq Afeefee, President: Abdul-Aziz ibn Baaz

Question No. 1 from Fatwa No. 9783

Q) Is it permissable to combine the four known mathaahib and to practice on it, instead of choosing the madhhab followed in a certain region?

A) All praise is for Allah alone and may the Peace and Blesssings be on His messenger, and his family, and his companions.

To proceed:

The obligation on a Muslim is to follow the two revelations, the Book and the Sunnah, and what is inclusive from what is based on them, and that is if the person is from the people of knowledge. And if he is not, then he is to follow who is most trustworthy of those he knows from the people of knowledge.

And from Allah is tawfeeq, and may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be on His messenger, his family, and his companions.

The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Ifta:

Member: Abdullah bin Ghudayaan, President: Abdul-Aziz ibn Baaz


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