one who doesnt follow any particular imam and gets bits and bats from the four madhabs and mix’s them up which would be against the rules of all four, For example, A person with Wudhu touched his wife which according to the Shafi Mazhab nullifies Wudhu: Now when he is told to make Wudhu, he replies: “I follow Imaam Abu Hanifah and it is not a breaker of Wudhu according to his Mazhab, therefore my Salaat will be valid.” Now this person vomits, which according to Hanafi Mazhab, breaks Wudhu. He is now told to make Wudhu. He replies: ‘I follow Imam Shafii; it is not a nullifier of Wudhu, therefore my Salaat is valid’. If this person (who has on the one hand, touched his spouse, and on the other hand, vomited) has to perform his Salaat with such a Wudhu, it would neither be correct by Imaam Abu Hanifah nor by Imam Shafii. In terminology this is known as Talfiq which is agreed upon unanimously to be void and not permitted. This is not Taqlid but following one’s passions and desires for one’s personal convenience which lead one astray. The necessity of following a Mazhab, Imam or Mujtahid is that one would not fall into the temptations of following one’s own desires. The Holy Qurãn states:
‘And do not follow desires. You would be led astray from the path of Allah.” Thus the need of following only one Imam.
All the four madhahib are right, and following any one of them is permissible in order to follow the Shari’ah. However, a layman who lacks the ability analyse and distinguish the arguments of each madhhab cannot be allowed to pick and choose between different views only to satisfy his personal desires. The reason for this approach is twofold:
Firsty, the Holy Qur’an in a number of verses has emphatically ordered us to follow the Shari’ah, and has made it strictly prohibited to follow the personal desires vis a vis the rules of Shari’ah. The Muslim jurists, while interpreting the sources of Shari’ah never intend to satisfy their personal desires. They actually undertake an honest effort to discover the intention of Shari’ah and base their madhhab on the force of evidence, not on the search for convenience. They do not choose an interpretation from among the various ones on the basis of its suitability to their personal fancies. They choose it only because the strength of proof leads them to do so.
Now, if a layman who cannot judge between the arguments of different madhahib is allowed to choose any of the juristic views without going into the arguments they have advanced, he will be at liberty to select only those views which seem to him more fulfilling to his personal requirements, and this attitude will lead him to follow the ‘desires’ and not the ‘guidance’ — a practice totally condemned by the Holy Qur’an.
that the selection of different views in different cases is not based on the force of arguments underlying them but on the facility provided by each. Obviously this practice is tantamount to ‘following the desires’ which is totally prohibited by the Holy Qur’an.
If such an attitude is allowed, it will render the Shari’ah a plaything in the hands of the ignorant, and no rule of the Shari’ah will remain immune from distortion. That is why the policy of ‘pick and choose’ has been condemned by all the renowned scholars of Shari’ah. Imam Ibn Tamiyyah, the famous muhaddib and jurist, says in his ‘Fatawa’:
“Some people follow at one time an imam who holds the marriage invalid, and at another time they follow a jurist who holds it valid. They do so only to serve their individual purpose and satisfy their desires. Such a practice is impermissible according to the consensus of all the imams.”
He further elaborates the point by several examples when he says:
“For example if a person wants to pre-empt a sale he adopts the view of those who give the right of pre-emption to a contingent neighbour, but if they are the seller of a property, they refuse to accept the right of pre-emption for the neighbour of the seller (on the basis of Shafi’i view) . . . and if the relevant person claims that he did not know before (that Imam Shafi’i does not give the right of pre-emption to the neighbour) and has come to know it only then, and he wants to follow that view as from today, he will not be allowed to do so, because such a practice opens the door for playing with the rules of Shari’ah, and paves the path for deciding the halal and haram in accordance with one’s desires.”
(Fatawa Ibn Taymiyyah Syrian ed. 2:285,286)
That was the basic cause for the policy adopted by the later jurists who made it necessary for the common people to adopt a particular madhhab in its totality. If one prefers the madhhab of Imam Abu Hanifah, he should adopt it in all matters and with all its details, and if he prefers another madhhab, he should adopt it in full in the same way and he should not ‘pick and choose’ between different views for his individual benefit.
The consequence of the correctness of all the madhahib, is that one can elect to follow any one of them, but once he adopts a particular madhhab, he should not follow another madhhab in a particular matter in order to satisfy his personal choice based on his desire, not on the force of argument.
There is a stark difference between the rulings of The A’imma-e-Mujtahideen and a fatwa. The A’imma-e-Mujtahideen i.e. Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shaafi,Imam Ahmad ibn Hambal, and Imam Maalik (Rahmatullaahi Alaihim) were all Mujtahids. Their knowledge in the tafsir of the Noble Qurãn and Ahaadith of Rasulullah (Sallallaaahu Álayhi Wasallam) was so vast that they had the ability to independently arrive at a decision on any one issue. Hence the difference of opinion among the Imams are differences stemming from Mujtahideen and their different Principles of Ijtihaad. On the other hand,the Úlama of Azhar, Deoband, etc. are not Mujtahideen. They are very far away from the shores of Ijtihaad.
Jalaaluddeen Suyuti (Rahmatullaahi Alaihi), a great and renowned scholar who has contributed in almost every field, viz. Tafseer, Hadith, Usul (Principles of) Tafseer, Usul-ul-Hadith (Principles of Hadith), Fiqh,Principles of Fiqh, etc. was not accepted as a Mujtahid by his
contemporaries. The Úlama of today do not qualify to be Mujtahids, hence they are followers of their respective Imams. Their differences of opinion do not stem from differences of opinion in the “Principles of Ijtihaad”. They are rightly Muqallideen (followers) of their respective Imams. The differences of opinion may be categorised as: i) following a different Mazhab; or ii) following the same Mazhab, with variational differences, e.g. misinterpretation of the Imam’s view.
In the first case the difference among the Úlama is in fact the difference of opinion among the A’imma-e-Mujtahideen and, therefore unobjectionable. Every individual should follow the opinion of the Imam he follows.
In the second case if the differences are due to misinterpretation or ignorance of the Imam’s principles or opinion then it will be objectionable.Such views cannot be tolerated as the views of the different Imams. The views of the different Imams stem from their Ijtihaad whereas the views of the Úlama ought to stem from the principles set out by their Imams. Therefore the differences among the Úlama are very far from the differences of the Imams.
Reverting to your first question, the Úlama of Azhar are not Mujtahideen,and as a result they are not in a position to be Imams. Furthermore, a non-Aalim may follow a learned Muqallid of his Mazhab as a guide in order to make proper Taqleed of his respective Imam.When following a learned Muqallid, it is important to know his source of knowledge. It should be noted that the source of education has an influence on an individual’s future and direction in life.
The Aalim must also be firmly adhering to and practising on the Noble Qurãn and the Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallaaahu Álayhi Wasallam) i.e. The Shariáh.One should avoid following the Azhari Ulama in the belief of making their Taqleed.
“Not all of the believers should go to fight. Of every section of them, why does not one part alone go forth, that the rest may gain understanding of the religion, and to admonish their people when they return, that perhaps they may take warning” (Qur’an 9:122)
—where the expression li yatafaqqahu fi al-din, “to gain understanding of the religion,” is derived from precisely the same root (f-q-h) as the word fiqh or “jurisprudence,” and is what Western students of Arabic would call a “fifth-form verb” (tafa‘‘ala), which indicates that the meaning contained in the root, understanding, is accomplished through careful, sustained effort.
This Qur’anic verse establishes that there should be a category of people who have learned the religion so as to be qualified in turn to teach it. And Allah has commanded those who do not know a ruling in Sacred Law to ask those who do, by saying in surat al-Nahl,
“Ask those who recall if you know not” (Qur’an 16:43),
in which the words “those who recall,” ahl al-dhikri, indicate those with knowledge of the Qur’an and sunna, at their forefront the mujtahid Imams of this Umma.
Taqleed – A Qur’aanic Command
The basis for Taqleed is a Qur’aanic command.
“And, ask the People of Knowledge if you do not know.”
Thus the general principle of Taqleed is enshrined in the Qur’aan Majeed. Denial of this principle is, therefore, an act of kufr which expels the denier from the fold of Islam.
Everybody makes claims of giving opinions but only that ruling is accepted which is in accordance with Shariah and of a Mujtahid. The verdict of a Muqallid will not be accepted. The Mujtahid makes Ijtihad while the Muqallid makes Taqlid. Even if the Mujtahid makes a mistake he is rewarded as mentioned in Bukhari, Vol. 1 p. I1092.
The Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) sent Hadrat Muadh ibn Jabal (Radhiyallaahu Ánhu) as a Governor and Qaadhi to Yemen. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) gave to Hadrat Muadh many instructions and advices even while he held the reins and led the horse with Hadrat Muadh mounted on it. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) also asked: “By which law would you dispense justice.” He replied: “By the Law of the Holy Qurãn.”
“And if you do not find it (i.e. what you seek) in the Holy Qurãn.”
He replied: “By the Prophetic Traditions.”
“And if you do not find it in there also, then!”
He replied: “Then I would make Ijtihad.” The Holy Prophet, (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) expressed his happiness with his reply and fully endorsed and supported his stand and thanked Allah for it. (Abu Daawud Vol 2. p. 149)
the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said, in the hadith of Bukhari and Muslim: “When a judge gives judgement and strives to know a ruling (ijtahada) and is correct, he has two rewards. If he gives judgement and strives to know a ruling, but is wrong, he has one reward” (Bukhari, 9.133).
The Qur’an clearly distinguishes between these two levels—the nonspecialists whose way is taqlid or “following the results of scholar without knowing the detailed evidence”; and those whose task is to know and evaluate the evidence—by Allah Most High saying in surat al-Nisa’:
“If they had referred it to the Messenger and to those of authority among them, then those of them whose task it is to find it out would have known the matter” (Qur’an 4:83)
—where alladhina yastanbitunahu minhum, “those of them whose task it is to find it out,” refers to those possessing the capacity to infer legal rulings directly from evidence, which is called in Arabic precisely istinbat, showing, as Qur’anic exegete al-Razi says, that “Allah has commanded those morally responsible to refer actual facts to someone who can infer (yastanbitu) the legal ruling concerning them” (Tafsir al-Fakhr al-Razi, 10.205).
the term ijtihad or “striving to know a ruling” in this hadith does not mean just any person’s efforts to understand and operationalize an Islamic ruling, but rather the person with sound knowledge of everything the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) taught that relates to the question. Whoever makes ijtihad without this qualification is a criminal. The proof of this is the hadith that the Companion Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah said:
We went on a journey, and a stone struck one of us and opened a gash in his head. When he later had a wet-dream in his sleep, he then asked his companions, “Do you find any dispensation for me to perform dry ablution (tayammum)?” [Meaning instead of a full purificatory bath (ghusl).] They told him, “We don’t find any dispensation for you if you can use water.”
So he performed the purificatory bath and his wound opened and he died. When we came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), he was told of this and he said: “They have killed him, may Allah kill them. Why did they not ask?—for they didn’t know. The only cure for someone who does not know what to say is to ask” (Abu Dawud, 1.93).
This hadith, which was related by Abu Dawud, is well authenticated (hasan), and every Muslim who has any taqwa should reflect on it carefully, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) indicated in it—in the strongest language possible—that to judge on a rule of Islam on the basis of insufficient knowledge is a crime. And like it is the well authenticated hadith “Whoever is given a legal opinion (fatwa) without knowledge, his sin is but upon the person who gave him the opinion” (Abu Dawud, 3.321).
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) also said:
Judges are three: two of them in hell, and one in paradise. A man who knows the truth and judges accordingly, he shall go to paradise. A man who judges for people while ignorant, he shall go to hell. And a man who knows the truth but rules unjustly, he shall go to hell (Sharh al-sunna, 10.94).
This hadith, which was related by Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and others, is rigorously authenticated (sahih), and any Muslim who would like to avoid the hellfire should soberly consider the fate of whoever, in the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), “judges for people while ignorant.”
It is not permissible to leave making taqleed of one Imam and follow another Imam when one wishes. When this is done without permission from the Shariat it leads to Talfeeq, it also causes one to follow one’s desires resulting in going far away from the truth and being lead astray.There is ijma and consensus of opinion that talfeeq is ba’til and impermissible Talfeeq And Changing Madhabs Is Not Permissible, to leave taqleed made upon one Imaam and follow another Imaam when one wishes involves probing in matters of Shari’ah without possessing the authority to do so. When this is done without permission from the Shariah it leads to talfeeq, it also causes one to follow one’s desires resulting in going far away from the truth and being led astray.In reality by doing this a person does not make taqleed of Imaam Shaaf’i Rahmatullahi alaihe or Imaam Abu Hanifa Rahmatullahi alaihe, but he is following his desires, and the Shariah has prohibited us from following our desires.
Its result is going astray from the path of Allah Taa’la.
Allah Taa’la says in Surah Hud Ayaat 26:
‘And do not follow your desires (in future too) for it will lead you astray from the path of Allah.’
Therefore it is Necessary to make Taqleed of one Imaam only.
THIS FATWAH OF IBN TAYMIYAH (RA) WHO QUOTES IMAM AHMAD ( RA)