Do I Have to Follow Specific Madhhab (School of Fiqh)?

Do we have to follow a single madhhab (fiqhi school) or we can follow the majority opinion?

If a person chooses to follow one of the four madhhabs that are known today, there is no blame for him. There is nothing wrong with that person’s choice.

What is not allowed for a person is to be rigid and to be extreme; to dismiss other scholars or other opinions. That’s not allowed in Islam.

Also it’s not allowed to believe that the truth is always on the side of one particular person. An example for that is to believe that Abu Hanifah never makes mistakes or that the haqq (truth) is only what Ash-Shafi`i said or what Ahmed said (may Allah shower all of them with mercy.)

It is not allowed also to believe that it’s Haram to go outside the madhhab.

An Important Question

But the big question I address to people asking on this is: are you capable of understanding even the madhhab?

Inside every madhhab there are multiple opinions and multiple positions. So which one you will choose from?

Are you educated enough to claim that you are a follower of that madhhab and to study and analyze it?

What Layman Should Do

What’s the laymen are asked to do is very simple. Allah Almighty says:

{If you do not know, then ask those who have knowledge} (An-Nahl 16:43)

So if you do not know a ruling, you just go and ask someone whom you trust; someone that you think he is a knowledgeable person.

Whatever answer he gives you, and you see that he’s a person of knowledge and his answer is based on knowledge, and you feel comfortable with that you take his answers; that is sufficient for you.

You don’t need to ask which madhhab he is following or anything of that nature.

Majority of Opinion

The majority of opinions are not necessarily always correct. And the word majority is an ambiguous word; many people claim that this is the majority but maybe it is the majority in their madhahb; the majority according to that person but it’s not a majority in reality.

It is hard to count the number of scholars and to really look at the majority. Is it 51%? Is it 60%? It’s very ambiguous word.

Culture Matters

And one more thing is that when it comes to issues that has to do with culture, make sure that you ask people who understand the culture. It doesn’t matter in this case which madhhab they follow. Rather, does he understand the reality in the Western culture so he can give you a fatwa that fits the time and the place where you live?

Collective Ijtihad

Also when it comes to the majority, anything that has to do with the general public, the fatwa given through collective ijtihad, by a council or a committee of fiqh, is much better than a fatwa given by one individual, especially in things related to businesses and general public.

I ask Allah Subhanhu wa t`ala to always give us guidance.

* Source: Faith IQ

Read also these answers:

Must Muslims Follow Only One School of Thought?

My question is that today I meet many young people who carry Bukhari in their hands and memorize it, then apply what they have learned and instead of following one of the 4 schools of though (madhab), they do their own ijtihad. In our tradition this was never the case until very recently, do you think it is important to follow authentic school of though or should we all get Bukhari and derive rulings ourselves?

Can I Follow a Certain Madhhab?

A Muslim is not bound to follow a single or a specific madhhab. One is to follow the authentic opinion that is based on sound proofs of the Shari`ah.
Here, we should understand that there is a difference between scholars of Shari`ah and laymen as follows.