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The Blind Following of Madhhabs

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6. The saying that it is Obligatory to Follow a Particular Madhhabs, is Based upon Matters of Politics

The saying that it is obligatory to follow a particular madhhab was based upon political circumstance, ‘changing times’ and human desires (and this fact is not hidden from the intelligent one who knows about history), as we shall soon make clear and verily that which is obligatory is to know the truth and to act upon it.

Know that the correct madhhab, which it is obligatory to attach oneself to and follow is the madhhab of the most noble, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) only and he is the ‘greatest Imaam’ (Imaam ul-A’zam) whom it is obligatory to follow.
As Allaah says, “Take whatever the Messenger gives you and leave that which he forbids you.”

[Soorah all-Hashr (59): 7]
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “Keep to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly-Guided Khulafaa.”

Neither, Imaam Abu Haneefah or Maalik said, ‘Keep to my saying’ or ‘Follow my madhhab’, not even Abu Bakr or ‘Umar; rather they all forbade that.
 So since that was the original state of affairs, then from where have you come with these madhhabs!?

Why have they appeared and come to be obligatory upon the Muslims! ?
Consider and think; they did not appear except after the best three of the generation and were not made binding except by tyrannical rulers, ignorant judges and misguided people who claimed knowledge
This issue is to be discussed in details in the chapters to follow.

7. Ad-Dehlawee’s Verification that Madhhabs are an innovation

Shah Waleeyullaah ad-Dehlawee [1] - rahimahullaah - mentioned this saying of his in his valuable book Hujjatullah ul-Baalighah (1/153) and reported the saying of Ibn Hazm - rahimahullaah (1/154-155),
“Blind-following is Haraam and it is not permissible to take the saying of anyone without a proof except for Allaah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him), since Allaah, the Most High says:
“Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord and follow not any Awliyaa (protectors and helpers), beside Him. Little do you remember!”

[Sooratul-A’raaf (7): 3]
“When it is said to them: ‘Follow what Allaah has sent down.’ They say: ‘No! We shall follow what we found our fathers following.”
[Sooratul-Baqarah (2):170]
Allaah says, praising those who do not blindly follow, “My slaves, those who listen to the word and follow the best thereof, those are (the ones) whom Allaah has guided and those are men of understanding.”
[Sooratuz-Zumar (39):17-18]
Allaah the Most High also says, “If you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allaah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allaah and in the Last Day.”

So Allaah, the Most High, did not permit referring differences back to anything but the Qur’aan, the Sunnah and ijmaa’ of the Companions ….. It is established that it is prohibited for anyone to take everything that a single man from the Sahabah (Companions) or from the best two generations that followed them. Then he who takes everything from Abu Haneefah or Maalik or ash-Shaafi’ee or Ahmad, not leaving anything from their saying and not relying upon what is in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, then let him know that he has certainly opposed the ijmaa’ of the whole Ummah [2] …. Furthermore, all the scholars forbade being blindly followed and so a muqallid only disobeys his Imaam.”

How surprising are the blind-followers of these innovated and widespread madhhabs, since one of them follows whatever is attributed to his madhhab, even though it is far from the proof. He treats it as if it were a Prophet sent down and this is far from what is true and correct. We have seen and found by experience that these blind-followers think that their Imaam cannot make a mistake and what he says is all totally correct. He harbours in his heart that he will never leave his blind-following even if the proof appears in contradiction to it. This is just the same as what at-Tirmidhee and others report from ‘Adee ibn Haatim that he said, I heard Allaah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) recite:  “They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their Lords besides Allaah.”

[Sooratut-Tawbah (9): 31]
So, I said: “O Messenger of Allaah, they did not worship them”. So he (Peace be upon him) said, “Verily if they (the rabbis) made something permissible for them (that which Allaah had made Haraam), then they made it permissible and if they made something forbidden to them, then they made it forbidden - that is their worship of them.”
[Reported by at-Tirmidhee (5/278)]

8. He who Blindly Follows Anyone Apart from Allaah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) is Astray and Ignorant!!

O. Muslims, if we blindly follow the madhhab of a man and then a Hadeeth reaches us from the infallible Messenger (Peace be upon him) whose obedience Allaah has made obligatory upon us? and we then leave the Prophet’s Hadeeth and follow that man and his madhhab, then who can be more unjust than us and what will be our excuse when the people stand before the Lord of the Worlds?! So he who believes that it is obligatory upon the people to follow a particular person from these Imaams, then he has given him the status of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and that is Kufr. The most that can be said is that, it is permitted or obligatory for the common person to follow any Imaam without specifying anyone in particular. However, he who loves the Imaams and follows them all, taking the saying of any of them which appears to be in conformity to the Sunnah, then that is the best. But he who clings blindly to one of them, leaving aside the rest, then his action is like the one who clings blindly to a single Companion and leaves the rest, like the Raafidees, Naasibees and the Khaarijee and this is the way of the people of innovation and the followers of desires; those who are rebuked and have gone away from the truth, as is established by the Book, the Sunnah and the ijmaa’.

Shaykh ul-Islaam Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah - rahimahullaah - says in his Fataawaa al-Misriyyah, “If a man is following Abu Haneefah, or Maalik, or ash-Shaafi’ee or Ahmad - rahimahumullaah - and he sees that in some questions that another madhhab is stronger and so he follows that then he has done something good. That does not cause any harm to his Deen or his integrity, without any disagreement. Rather this is more correct and beloved to Allaah and his Messenger, than he who blindly follows anyone other than the Prophet (Peace be upon him), such as the one who blindly follows Abu Haneefah and thinks that the saying of this one in particular is the truth that has to be followed, in exclusion of that Imaam who contradicts him. So, he who does that is ignorant, rather he may be a Kaafir and we seek Allaah’s refuge from that.”

In the Book of judgements from Al-Insaaf, (it is mentioned that), Sheikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said, “He who makes it obligatory to blindly follow a particular Imaam, then his repentance is sought and if he does not repent then he is killed, since this is associating partners with Allaah in setting down Sharee’ah, which is one of the unique rights of the Lord.”

9. Ibn ul-Hammaam’s Verification that Sticking to a Particular Madhhab is not Obligatory

Al-Kamaal ibn ul-Hammaam
He was one of the foremost Hanafee scholars. He was author of various large works of  Hanafee Fiqh
 mentions in at-Tahreer, a book about the basics of the fiqh of the Hanafees that, “Sticking to a particular madhhab is not obligatory in the correct view, since it has not been imposed as a duty, as nothing is obligatory except that which Allaah and His Messenger have obligated; neither Allaah nor His Messenger have made it obligatory for anyone to follow the madhhab of any man of the scholars, so that he follows him in his Deen in everything and leaves what comes from other than him. The best generations passed by without saying that it is binding to follow a particular madhhab, whereas most of the blind-followers say, ‘I am a Hanafee’, ‘I am a Shaafi’ee’, whereas he knows nothing about the way of his Imaam, he does not become his follower just by saying that, in the same way as if he said, ‘I am a scholar ‘ or ‘I am a writer’, he does not become that just by saying it, while he is far away from the way of his Imaam. So how is it correct for him to claim allegiance (to a madhhab) due only to his abstract claims and meaningless saying?! So consider.”

Al-Fullaanee says in Eeqaz Hamam Oolul-Absaar (p.41), while explaining the difference between a blind follower (muqallid) and a follower of evidence (muttabi’), “The blind-follower does not ask for the judgement of Allaah and His Messenger, but rather he asks about the position of his Imaam and if it appears to him that the madhhab of his Imaam is contrary to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, then still he will not leave that. However, the follower of the evidence (muttabi’) asks about the judgement of Allaah and His Messenger and does not ask about someone else’s opinion and madhhab.”

Taqleed in the Sharee’ah is referring back to someone’s saying for which there is no proof and that is prohibited in the Sharee’ah. Ittibaa is that for which the proof is established. Taqleed in Allaah’s Deen is not correct and Itibaa’ is binding .

If it is appropriate for the common person to accept the saying of the muftee, even though it may be an error from the muftee, then how can it not be fitting for him to accept a Hadeeth of the Prophet (Peace be upon him)?! If it is not permissible to an act on a Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him), after it has been established, unless so and so, act on it, then their saying would be a pre-condition for acting upon the Sunnah . That is one of the most futile of all baseless things .

Thus when Imaam Abu Haneefah used to pass judgement, he would say, “This is the conclusion that we have been able to come to, according to our knowledge, so he who finds something clearer than that, then that is more fitting.” Related by ash-Sha’raanee in Tanbeeh ul-Mughtarreen


[1] Ahmad ibn ‘Abdur-Raheem better known as Shah Walee Allaah Dihlawee (1703-1762 CE) was a noteworthy reformer, born in the Indian sub-continent at a time when Taqleed was, perhaps, most rampant. After he had mastered the various Islamic sciences, he called for the re-opening of the door of Ijtihaad and the re-unification of the schools of Fiqh. In his efforts to re-examine Islamic principles and to find out on what authority the legal schools based their regulations, Shah Walee Allaah rejuvenated the study of Hadeeth. Although he did not go so far as to reject the existing Fiqh schools, nevertheless he taught that everyone was free to choose a particular decision different from that taken by the school to which he belonged himself, if he was convinced that the case was better confirmed by Hadeeth

[2] Such a person has given his Imaam a higher status than that of the sahabah, for Aboo Bakr (radiyallahu anhu) and Umer (radiyallahu anhu) were more worthy of being blindly-followed for their close companionship to the Messenger of Allaah, their Knowledge and understanding of the religion and their high status with Allaah.

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