Is it Obligatory to Follow a Mathhab? – Shaikh Salih al-Fawzan

Question: Is it allowed to have bigotry to a mathhab which the people follow in any ruling from the Legislated rulings, even if it goes against the truth? It is allowed to leave it and follow the correct mathhab in some situations? And what is the ruling of holding fast to one mathhab only?

Answer: “Following a mathhab from the four well-known mathaahib of Ahlul Sunnah which have remained and are preserved among the Muslims and as well ascribing to it, there is no preventative against it. So it is said: “So and so is Shafi’ee”, “so and so is Hanbali”, “so and so is Hanafi”, “so and so is Maliki”. This nickname has continued to be present from the earlier Scholars, even from the senior Scholars. It is said: “so and so is Hanbali”. For example, it is said that Ibn Taymiyyah al-Hanbali, Ibn Qayyim al-Hanbali, and what resembles that. There is no harm in that. For solely ascribing to a mathhab, there is no preventative against it. However with the condition that he does not blind follow this mathhab by taking all that is in the mathhab, whether it is truth or a mistake. Rather he takes from it what is truth and what he knows is falsehood, it is not allowed to act upon it. If the correct opinion becomes apparent to him, then it is obligatory to take it whether it is in his mathhab he ascribes to or in another mathhab

This is because the one who the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah is clarified to, it is not allowed [for him] to leave it off for the statement of another. The role model is the Messenger of Allah. So we take from the mathhab what does not contradict the statement of the Prophet. If it contradicts it, then it is a mistake from a Mujtahid. It is obligatory upon us to leave it and take the Sunnah. We take the stronger opinion that is in accordance to the Sunnah. Despite whatever mathhab it is from the mathaahib of the mujtahideen. As for absolutely taking from an Imam, whether he is mistaken or correct, then this is considered blind following. If he thinks it is obligatory to blind follow a specific individual, then this is apostasy from Islam.

Shaikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: “Whoever says it is obligatory to blind follow a specific person other than the Messenger of Allah, then this person is asked to repent. He repents or else he is killed [by the Muslim ruler] because there is no one who it is obligatory to follow other than Muhammad”. As for the other than him of the mujtahid Imams (may Allah have mercy upon him), then we take from their statements if they agree with the Sunnah. As for if the mujtahid is mistaken in his ijtihad, then it is prohibited for us to take his ijtihad. And Allah knows Best.

Question: The principle or the scale by which it is decided whether something is correct from mistake is being in agreeance to the Book and Sunnah?

Shaikh: There is no doubt in that”
[Majmoo’ al-Fatawa Li Fadilash-Shaikh Salih al-Fawzan (pg. 701-702)]

Translated by

Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan

Abu Sulaymaan

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