TAQLEED

Question

Please let me know is there any imam means we say mussallah like shafai,hanfi,humbli,maliki exists? if yes is there any compulsion to follow them ? and moreover people literally divide themselves saying that i am shafai , other says i am hanfi is this sayings are true ? according to my belief nabi never said that he was belonging to any of the above detailed imams or mussallah. So there will be any kind of shirk who says that he belongs to any imam. Please confirm me as early as possible.

Answer

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

We acknowledge receipt of your enquiries and the response follows hereunder:

Yes, there are four Math-habs which are well arranged and well preserved till today and are taken to be the most reliable in the interpretation of the Shari’ah. These are Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki and Hanbali and it is Wâjib (compulsory) upon Muslims to follow only one of them.

When a person claims to be a Hanafi or Shafi’i all that he intends to say is that he follows the sunnah of Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) in accordance with the understanding that Imam Abu Hanifa(R) or Imaam Shafi’I (R) had of the sunnah. He asserts that he does so only because he does not possess the qualifications to extract rulings from the sources of shari’ah, hence he follows one of those Imams who are unanimously recognized and qualified to perform Ijtihad (the process of extracting laws from the sources of shari’ah or an independent judgment).

The Shari’ah compromised of four basic sources viz. the Holy Qur’an, Sunnah, Ijm’ah [Consensus of opinion] and Qiyas [analogy].

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is the messenger and the conveyer of the divine commandments of Allah Ta’ala . His life in other word is “The Sunnah” parts of shari’ah, so there no question of him following an imam.

There is no shirk involved here because he had not abandoned the obedience of Allah Ta’ala and His messenger; rather, he wants nothing but to obey them. However, being ignorant of their commands, he has follow one imam in order to know what he is required by Allah Ta’ala to do. He has not taken that imam as the subject of his obedience, but he has taken him as an interpreter of the divine commandments. Nobody can blame him for committing shirk.

Elsewhere on the http://www.askimam.org there is much more information on Taqleed.

There are also very informative books on the topic. It explains your questions in more details. If it is read with an open mind, Insha Allah you get a better understanding.

The name of the books are:

‘The Differences of the Imams’ by Shaykh Ul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi,
‘Why is Taqleed Necessary’ by Mufti Ayub Jeena and
‘The Legal Status of Following a Madhab’ by Justice Mufti Taqi Uthmaani’.

And Allah knows best

Wassalam

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In’aamiyyah

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/askimam/message/205

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