On Adhering To A Madhab – Follow Up…


As mentioned previously here is a follow up to the post regarding the adherence to a particular school of law (madhab).  Some people mistakenly think that there are no statements from scholars of the madhahib in support of adherence to one madhab.  The quotes provided below are from the works of scholars where this view is cited. Readers should note that difference of opinion exists on this point, the intention however is to point out the statements of scholars in support of this view.

Hanafi Madhab

Imam Ibn Abidin said in notes to Bahr al-Raiq (6/289):

“Imam Abul Hasan al-Khatib said in Kitab al-Fatwa: A Mufti [who issues a legal verdict according to a madhab] if he gives a legal verdict regarding a matter according to the madhab of an Imam, then he cannot make taqlid of other than him and give legal verdict in opposition to him.”

Maliki Madhab

Al-Zarkashi said in Bahr al-Muhit (8/374):

“Ibn al-Munir took the balanced view and said:  The evidence necessitates the adherence to a particular school after the period of the four Imams and not before them.  The difference is that people before the four Imams did not record their madhabs…”

Al-Nafrawi said in Fawakih al-Dawani (2/357):

“Consensus of the Muslims today has formed regarding the necessity of following one of the four Imams: Abu Hanifah, Malik, al-Shafi and Ahmad bin Hanbal (Allah be pleased with them all)…And we have mentioned previously the necessity of following one of the Imams, and that it is for the one incapable of performing ijtihad.”

Shaykh Illish said in Fath al-Aliyy al-Malik (1/90):

“It is reported from the jurist Abu Abdullah al-Sanusi that he said:  As for the scholar who has not reached the rank of ijtihad, and the absolute common person, it necessary for both of them to make taqlid of a mujtahid…and the correct view is that it is necessary from them both to adhere to a specific madhab from the madhabs of the mujtahid scholars.”

Shafi Scholars

Jalal al-Mahalli said in his commentary on the Jam al-Jawami (2/440):

“The more correct view is that it is necessary for the common person and other than him who has not reached the level of ijtihad to adhere to a specific madhab from the madhabs of the mujtahid scholars.”

Ibn Hajar al-Haytami was questioned in his Fatawa (4/305):

“He was asked (Allah most High have mercy on him) Is it necessary after the codifying of the madhabs to adhere to one of them, and may he switch from the one he adheres to?
He answered with his words:  That which is cited in Ziyadat al-Rawda from the scholars of the school (ashab) is the necessity of this, and that he not do this [switch madhab] due to desire nor due to that which he found his forefathers upon.”

Hanbali Madhab

Al-Mardawi said in Al-Insaf (11/194):

“He said in Al-Riayah al-Kubra:  It is necessary for every muqallid to adhere to a specific madhab according to the well known view, and that he not make taqlid of other than its scholars.”

Ibn Najjar al-Futuhi said in Sharh Kawkab al-Munir (p.627):

“It is said:  Rather it is necessary to adhere to a madhab.  In al-Riayah he said:  This is the well known view, and that he not make taqlid of other than its scholars.”


  1. assalamu `alaykum

    Some of these quotes are quite ambiguous regarding the obligation to stick to a single school.

    For example, Ibn `Abidin’s citation does not deal with the common person (`aami). Nafrawi’s quote merely says that one needs to follow one of the four Imams, but does not say anything about whether such a following is obligatory on an individual in every issue or whether one can follow any Imam on any issue. The same is the case with Zarkashi. Similarly, al-Haytami’s quote does not imply that switching schools is prohibited unconditionally. Rather, his other verdicts make clear that the preferred position with the Shafi`i school is that it is allowed, as Shaykh Amjad clarified on SunniPath.


  2. Wa Alaykum Salam

    I hoped people might read the introductory comments which clarify the context of these quotes. They are taken from Shaykh Abd al-Fattah al-Yafi’is work which covers this issue. In his work he also presents the view of the scholars of the Madhahib who were of the view that a common person does not have to adhere to a single school. Readers are referred to Shaykh Abd al-Fattah’s works for a more detailed discussion.

    As for the Zarkashi and Nafrawis citations, they are clearly denoting it being necessary. Ibn Abidins citation is understood to refer to a Mufti and all below them in terms of knowledge such as a layperson. Likewise Shaykh Abd al-Fattah also quotes from al-Haytami his citing al-Nawawi that it is not necessary to adhere to one school. Even though al-Nawawi himself in al-Majmu mentions the difference of opinion on this that some scholars do hold it necessary.


  3. As-Salamu ‘Alaykum,

    does that mean that the ‘aam can mix everything?

    Lets say, half of his wudu’ is according to maliki and the other half is according to shafi’i, then he prays according hanafi?

    Or what does it really mean: “awwam doesnt not has to adhere to one madhab.”?

    And why then are we against the wahabis which say: “We are following the strongest opinion – if 3 madhab say A and one says B, we take A.” etc.


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