Fatwa on Taqlid and its detractors
by the Islamic Fiqh Academy
– Makka al-Mukarrama –
The following is a crucial and highly welcomed Fatwa passed in the Holy city of Makka al-Mukarrama in 1987
What is pertinent and noteworthy Abdal Aziz ibn Baz (d. 1999),
All three named are said to be Hanbali in fiqh though their personal aqida is another matter as they are looked upto as being representatives of the so called
opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows other than the way of the believers –
obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you
RESOLUTION OF THE ASSEMBLY OF THE FIQH
ACADEMY IN ITS TENTH SESSION [i]
ACADEMY IN ITS TENTH SESSION [i]
1. Differing positions in terms of belief
The Ummah must unite upon the position of those who follow the Sunnah and the community (Ahl as-Sunnah Wa’l-Jama’ah)
“Follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided Caliphs after me. Adhere to it and hold onto it firmly with your molar teeth.”
discarding the schools of law and want to induce the people into a new line of independent legal reasoning, attacking the existing schools of law and their Imams, or some of them it is necessary for them to desist from this odious way which they pursue and with which they mislead the people, split their ranks and divide their unity.
RESOLUTION OF THE ASSEMBLY OF THE FIQH ACADEMY IN ITS TENTH SESSION (1987). See – Al-Majma al-Fiqhi al-Islami (The Islamic Fiqh Academy), 1(2), pp.233-237. English translation taken from The Influence of the Noble Hadith upon the Differences of Opinion amongst the Jurist Imams by Shaykh Muhammad Awwamah, Turath Publishing, London, 1 edn, 2014. Original Arabic fatwa may be downloaded from – here. It has also been appended at the end of this English version.
The true followers of the Saved sect known as Ahlus-Sunna wal-Jama’ah in this age are the adherents of one of the Four Madhhabs in Jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i or Hanbali), and in terms of Aqida (Islamic creed) they accept, respect and adhere to one of the following legitimate schools described below which all recognise each other.
1) Ash’ari school named after Imam Abul Hasan al-Ash’ari (b. around 260 AH in Basra and died in 324 AH in Baghdad). He was a Shafi’i but some say he was a Hanafi. He authored al-Ibana an uṣūl al-Diyana, Maqalat al-Islamiyyin, Risala ila Ahl al-Thagr and other works
2) Maturidi school– named after Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi who was born in Samarqand (Uzbekistan). He was a Hanafi and his creed is the same as that of Imam Abu Ja’far al-Tahawi (d. 321 AH) as they are from the same Madhhab. He died in 333 AH and authored Kitab al-Tawhid and a major Tafsir called Ta’wilat Ahlus Sunna (published in 10 volumes). Please see the following link for some works linked to this school of aqida – 80 Books on Sunni Creed according to the Hanafi Madhhab
3) Athari school – follow the true teachings of Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal (d. 241 AH). The pseudo Atharis are the false claimants to the Way of the Salaf and they call themselves ‘Salafi’ today. Their hallmark in these times is an open disdain and rejection of the above two named schools of Aqida, and many of them reject following one of the Four Jurisprudential schools of Islamic law. The rejecters of the Ash’ari/Maturidi schools share the commonality of linking themselves to the 7 century controversial Hanbali figure known as Taqiud-Din Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728 AH). See what a number of famous and reputable scholars had to say about him here – https://taymiyyun.wordpress.com/
The Hanbali scholar known as Abul Faraj ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597 AH) was one of those who refuted the false claimants to the real Hanbali creed in his Kitab Akhbar al-Sifat and its abridgement known as Daf’ Shubah al-Tashbih bi-Akaff al-Tanzih. Both of these latter works are also available in English nowadays.
Scholarly quotes on the need to adhere to one of the above recognised
Schools of Aqida:
Imam Tajud-Din al-Subki (d. 771 AH) said in his Tabaqat al Shafi’iyya al-Kubra (3/373):
“We have already mentioned what Ibn Abdis Salaam (d. 660 AH) and others before and after him mentioned, which is that the Sħafi’is, Malikis, Ĥanafis and the virtuous (fudala) among the Ĥanbalis are all Asharis. This is what was stated by Ibn Abdis Salaam, the Shaykh of Sħafi’is, and Ibn Al-Ĥajib, the Shaykh of the Malikis, and Al-Husayri, the Shaykh of the Ĥanafis. Among what was stated by Ibn Asakir (d. 571 AH), the Hafiz of this Umma, trustworthy (thiqa) and firmly established (thabt): ‘Are there any among the jurists (Fuqaha), among the Ĥanafis, Malikis and Sħafi’is that do not agree with al-Ash’ari and do not relate themselves to him, and pleased with his efforts for the religion of Allah, praising him for great knowledge? That is, except for a tiny group that hides anthropomorphism (Tashbih), and makes an enemy of those who believe in tawĥid and clear Allah of likeness to creation (Tanzih).”’
Imam ibn Hajar al-Haytami (d. 974 AH) said that the two Imams of Ahlus Sunna are al-Shaykh Abul Hasan al-Ash’ari and al-Shaykh Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (al-Zawajir, p. 82) and in his Fatawa Hadithiyya (Dar Ihya wa’l Turath, p. 370, 1998) while defining what a man of bid’a (an innovator) is he said:
“One who is against what the Ahlus Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah are upon (man kaan ‘ala khilaf maa ‘alayh ahlis sunnah wa’l jama’a), and what is meant by them [the Ahlus Sunnah] are the followers of Imam Abul Hasan Ash`ari and Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi, the two Imams of Ahlus Sunnah.”
Imam Ahmad Shihab ad-Din al Qalyubi (d.1069 AH)
Imam al-Qalyubi wrote on the fourth volume of his marginalia to the book Kanz ar-Raghibin:
“One who departs from what Abul Hasan al-Ash’ari (d. 324 AH) and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d. 333 AH) reported is not a Sunni. These two Imams followed the footprints of Rasulullah (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them all).”
Allama Abdal Baqi al-Mawahibi al-Hanbali (d. 1071 AH) in his al-Ayn wal Athar (p. 53) has said that : “The groups of Ahlus Sunna are three: Asha’ira, Hanabila and Maturidiyya with the evidence inclined by the Hanbali Ulama upon the Asha’ira as in many books on Kalam and the totality of the Hanbali books.”
Shaykh Muhammad Al-Saffarini al-Hanbali (d. 1188 AH) said in his Lawami al-Anwar (p. 73):
“Ahl al-Sunna consist of three groups: the textualists (al-Athariyya), whose Imam is Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the Ash`aris, whose Imam is Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari, and the Maturidis, whose Imam is Abu Mansur al-Maturidi…. and they are all one sect, the saved sect, and they are Ahl al-Hadith.”
Here follows some quotes from classical scholars on the need to adhere (taqlid) to one of the Four Sunni Schools of law (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i or Hanbali) for all those who have not reached the level of valid Ijtihad which is of the highest rank of true Islamic scholarship:
 Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. 911 AH) said: “The difference found in the four Schools of Islamic law (Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki and Hanbali) in this nation is a huge blessing and an enormous virtue. It has a subtle hidden wisdom the intelligent are able to grasp, but the ignorant are blind of. I have even heard some of them say: ‘The Prophet (pbuh) came with one law, so where did the four Madhabs come from?” (Jazeel al-Mawahib, p.4)
The famous Imam al-Haramayn Abu al-Ma‘āli Abd al-Malik bin Yusuf al-Juwayni (419-478 AH) writes in his book Al-Burhan:
 “The expert scholars have agreed that the masses are obligated (‘alayhim) with following the schools of the (four) Imams who thoroughly investigated and researched, who compiled the chapters (of Fiqh) and mentioned the circumstances of the rulings.” (vol. 2, P. 1146)
 Shaikh al-Islam Ahmed Ibn Hajr al-Haytami writes in Tuhfa al-Muhtaj fi Sharh al- Minhaj:
“The claim the layman has no madh-hab is rejected, rather it is necessary (yalzamuhu) for him to do taqlīd of a recognised school. (As for the claim: scholars did not obligate following one school), that was before the codification of the schools and their establishment.” (Vol.12 p.491-Kitab al-Zakah)
 Imam al-Nawawi writes in Al-Majmu‘ Sharh Al-Muhadhdhab:
“The second view is it is obligatory (yalzamuhu) for him to follow one particular school, and that was the definitive position according to Imam Abul-Hassan (the father of Imam al-Haramayn Al-Juwayni). And this applies to everyone who has not reached the rank of ijtihād of the jurists and scholars of other disciplines. The reasoning for this ruling is that if it was permitted to follow any school one wished it would lead to hand-picking the dispensations of the schools, following one’s desires. He would be choosing between Halal and Haram, and obligatory and permissible. Ultimately that would lead to relinquishing oneself from the burden of responsibility. This is not the same as during the first generations, for the schools that were sufficient in terms of their rulings for newer issues, were neither codified nor widespread. Thus on this basis it is obligatory for a person to strive in choosing a madh-hab which alone he follows.” (vol.1 p. 93)
 Shaikh Salih al-Sunusi writes in Fath al-‘Alee al-Malik fil-Fatwa ‘ala madh-hab al-Imam Malik:
“As for the scholar who has not reached the level of ijtihād and the non-scholar, they must do taqlīd of the Mujtahid… And the most correct view is that it is obligatory (wajib) to adhere to a particular school from the four schools…” (p.40-41, in Usul al-Fiqh)
 Imam Sharani, an undisputed authority in the Shafi school writes in Al-Mizan al-Kubra:
“…You (O student) have no excuse left for not doing taqlīd of any madh-hab you wish from the schools of the four Imams, for they are all paths to Heaven…” (p.55 vol.1)
 Imām Shams al-Din Dhahabī (673-748 AH) writes in Siyar A‘lam al-Nubalā under Ibn Hazm Zāhirī’s comment:
“I follow the truth and perform ijtihād, and I do not adhere to any madh-hab”, “I say: yes. Whoever has reached the level of ijtihād and a number of imāms have attested to this regarding him, it is not allowed for him to do taqlīd, just as it is not seeming at all for the beginner layman jurist who has committed the Qur’ān to memory or a great deal of it to perform ijtihād. How is he going to perform ijtihād? What will he say? On what will he base his opinions? How can he fly when his wings have not yet grown?” (Vol.18, Pg.191)
 In the famous twelve volume Maliki compendium of fatāwā, Al-Mi‘yar al-Mu‘rib an fatāwā ahl al-Ifriqiyya wa al-Andalus wa al-Maghrib, Imam Ahmad al-Wanshirisi records the Fatwa on taqlīd:
“It is not permitted (lā yajoozu) for the follower of a scholar to choose the most pleasing to him of the schools and one that agrees the most with him. It is his duty to do taqlīd of the Imam whose school he believes to be right in comparison to the other schools.” (vol.11 p.163-164)
 The Hanbali scholar Imam ‘Ala al-Din al-Mardawi in his major Juristic compendium Al-Insaf, cites the statement of the famous scholar Imam Al-Wazir ibn Hubaira (died 560 ah):
“Consensus has been established upon taqlīd of every one of the Four Schools and that the truth does not lie outside of them.” (Vol.11 p.169, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah).
 Imam Badr al-Din al-Zarkashi states in Al-Bahr al-Muhit:
“There has been established a consensus amongst the Muslims that the truth is restricted to these (four) schools. This being the case it is not permitted to act upon an opinion from other than them. Nor is it permitted for ijtihād to occur except within them (i.e. employing their principles that is the tools of interpretation).” (vol.6 p.209)
 In the commentary of the Shafi text Jam‘ al-Jawami‘, Imam Al-Jalāl Shams al-Din al-Mahalli writes:
“And the soundest position (wal-Asahh) is that it is obligatory (yajibu) for the non-scholar/layman and other than him of those (scholars) who have not reached the rank of ijtihād, adherence of one particular school from the madh-habs of the Mujtahid Imams (iltizam madh-hab Muayyan min madāhib al-Mujtahideen) that he believes to be preferable to another school or equal to it.” (Kitab al-ijtihād, p.93)
 Imam ibn Rajab al-Hanbali writes in his book: “Refutation of anyone who follows other than the four schools” [A title that emphatically exposes the deception of the Salafi claim that it is they who represent true Islam]:“…that is the Mujtahid, assuming his existence, his duty (Farduhu) is to follow what becomes apparent to him of the Truth. As for the non-Mujtahid his duty is taqlīd.” Elsewhere having indicated in the latter the rarity of the lofty status of ijtihād, he states: “As for all other people who have not reached this level (of ijtihād), it is not allowed (lā yasau‘hu) for them but to do taqlīd of these Four Imams and to submit to that which the rest of the Ummah submitted to.” (Majmoo‘ al-Rasail Ibn Rajab, vol.2 p. 626 and p.624 respectively).
 In the famous commentary of the treatise of Imam Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani Al-Risalah, entitled “Al-Fawākih al-Dawāni,” Imam Ahmad al-Nafrawi (died 1126 ah) also confirms the Ijma of all the scholars that following one Imam is obligatory:
“The consensus of the Muslims has been established upon the obligation (Wujub) of following one of the four Imams today; Abu Ḥanīfa, Malik, Shafi and Ahmad- May Allah be pleased with them… What we explained before, in terms of the obligation of following one of the four Imams, is in relation to those who do not possess the capability of performing ijtihād.” (vol.2 p.574, Bab Fi al-Ruyah wa al-Tathāub, 1997).
The above sources were quoted from – Here
Thanks and appreciation to the original translators of many of the above quotes.
Peace and blessings be upon Muhammad(s)
Abul Hasan Hussain Ahmed
To Our Brothers the Scholars of