A Muslim Follows the Truth Regardless of the Math-Hab He Imitates
Fatwa No: 423139

Question

Assalamu alaykum va rohmatullohi va barakatuh! I have downloaded I I
I have downloaded from your site books for women and anothe books.. But my mazhab is hanafi. It is allowed to me to read them? Haven't they difference?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

There is nothing wrong with reading these books even if their authors do not follow the same Mathhab (school of Fiqh) that you do, and it is not forbidden for a lay Muslim, who follows a certain Mathhab, to read the books of other schools of Fiqh or general religious and educational books authored by scholars from different schools of Fiqh. Our website does not follow a specific Mathhab, and we issue our Fataawa according to what we believe to be correct, and we draw from all the schools of Fiqh and benefit from all of them. In fact, the scholarly difference of opinion among the four schools of Fiqh occurs mainly in subsidiary issues and does not entail divergence among Muslims to the point that it prevents them from reading each other’s books. Moreover, these four schools of Fiqh are not fragmentation of Islam into different sects, nor do they introduce new legislations to the Sharee‘ah, but they are only methodologies for understanding the Sharee‘ah, methods of interpreting its texts, and ways to deduce the religious rulings from the sources of the Sharee’ah, which are the Quran, the Sunnah, Ijmaa‘ (consensus of scholars), and Qiyaas (deductive analogy). People can be classified into three categories with regard to their approach to the various schools of Fiqh: two categories at the extreme ends and a third in the middle. At one end, the first category includes people who absolutely denounce the adherence to a specific Mathhab and Taqleed (following or imitating a certain school or Imaam without necessarily asking for evidence), even for a lay Muslim who has no adequate religious knowledge enabling him to follow the Sharee‘ah evidence on his own. They go to extremes in denouncing adherence to any Mathhab to the extent of alleging that the opinions of the Imaams and their independent reasoning and understanding of the religious texts carry no weight at all or carry the same weight as their own understanding. There is no doubt that this category is dispraised. In fact, the truth indicated by the Quran and Sunnah is recognized by none other than those Imaams. Ash-Shaatibi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in the conclusion of his book Al-I‘tisaam: “If it is established that the ultimate objective is to reach the truth rather than follow the opinions of scholars, it is also established that truth cannot be known without their help. Rather, it is through them that the truth can be reached, and they are the guides on the path to it.” [End of quote]

At the other end is the second category, who call for absolute Taqleed and adherence to a specific Mathhab, even with regard to what is proven to contravene the Quran or Sunnah from the opinions of the Imaam they imitate and follow his Mathhab. They also forbid following the opinions of scholars from any other Mathhab. There is no doubt that this category is dispraised as well. The middle (moderate) category is the one that calls for seeking guidance from the opinions of all the Imaams and benefiting from their understanding of the Sharee‘ah texts, studying their schools of Fiqh, adopting what they agree upon with consensus, and following the opinions of other scholars when supported by evidence – if the person can weigh the evidence on his own – while finding excuses for them (with regard to their difference of opinion). This category also does not censure a lay Muslim for choosing to follow any of the schools of fiqh as long as he is unable to acquire religious knowledge and seek the supportive evidence by himself.

Allah Knows best.

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