Four schools of Fiqh
Fatwa No: 82358

  • Fatwa Date:26-9-2000 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 27, 1421
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Question

Which is the correct way: to follow the Salafi Manhaj, or to follow ONE Madhab (Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi‘i, and Ahmad), or to follow ALL FOUR Madhabs, or to just follow Qur'an and Sunnah, or is neither of these ways correct? PLEASE give me reference in your answer, Insha' Allah. I am VERY confused!

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

The correct way is following the Qur'an and the Hadith. Everyone, a person or a group, who follows the Qur'an and Sunnah and understands them as the companions and the good ancestors understood them, is on the right and safe way. This is the real Salafi way and every Muslim is required to follow it.
As for the four Imams, Abu Hanifa, Malik, al-Shafi and Ahmad, they are well known in Ummah and the Ummah pay tributes to them. No doubt, they are the real leaders of the right path; all of them agree on faith issues and disagree in partial juristic matters. Following a school of thought is permissible. But being a fanatic to a certain school of thought and intolerant to others is not permissible.
If a Muslim follows a school but he finds that the truth, i.e. the evidence is with another school, then he has to follow the truth, and this practice would not be considered in opposition to his school since the four Imams ordered the evidence to be followed wherever it is even if the Imam's opinion does not agree with it.
Imam Shafi said: "If you see a Hadith contradicting my saying, throw my saying and adhere to the Hadith". The same is narrated from other scholars.
Therefore, we advise the questioner to study the Islamic knowledge through authentic evidence and by religious scholars. Every improvement of his Islamic knowledge will help him remove the doubts he encounters. We would like to draw the Muslims' attention to the fact that understanding of the Qur'an and Hadith should be in conformity with what the companions of the Prophet and the good ancestors understood and explained. The Prophet said: "I have left among you something of such a nature that if you adhere to it you will not go astray: Allah's Book and my way".
When we say "the understanding of good ancestors", we mean the companions of the Prophet and the "Tabeen", those who came right after the companions and those who follow them in the proper way. Actually, the Prophet chose his generation and the generation that followed immediately and the third generation after his generation as the best. He said: "The best people are those living in my generation, then those coming after them, and then those coming after (the second generation)". [Bukhari and Muslim].
Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {You [true believers in Islâmic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah (legal ways, etc.)] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind;} [3:110].
Imam Dhahhak said: "The above Ayah means the companions of the Prophet and those Muslim scholars who guide the people towards the true Islam and whom Allah ordered us to follow".
Allah knows best.

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