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Could you please comment on the best institutions to study Islamic Aqeedah and Fiqh in-depth? Preferably somewhere where I can study different opinions and scholars

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org


Can you please explain the conditions for following a specific Madhab (school of thought) other than the one you are currently following.

For example, if I have been taught according the Hanafi Fiqh which sees crab and lobster as haram to eat, when/where can I follow another Madhab that sees this as halaal? Let’s say I’m on travelling on a boat trip and am served this, am I allowed to eat it? What I’m really trying to ask is whether it’s compulsary to follow one school of thought in all issues? I’ve never been convinced of such thinking and would appreciate any advice you can give.

Also, could you please comment on the best institutions to study Islamic Aqeedah and Fiqh in-depth? Preferably somewhere where I can study different opinions and scholars (as opposed to a single narrow-minded) view, but not a La Madhabi perspective either. Would you recommend studying in a traditional Darul Uloom setting over a more Western University environment such as those found in the Middle East?

I look very forward to hearing your response.


1. Taqleed refer attached.

2. The knowledge of Shari’ah is Deen (religion). One should be careful where he gets his religion from. The following are some guidelines:

a. The aim and objective of acuiqiring knowledge of Shari’ah is to get the pleasure and closeness to Allah.

b. That can be inculcated only by having the khashiyat (deep respect and fear) for Allah. Allah states, ‘Verily, the Ulama have khashiyat of Allah.’

c. The pleasure of Allah can be acquired only by following the Sunnah. Allah states, ‘Say O Muhammad, if you love Allah, follow me.’

d. The outstanding quality of Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] is Taqwa.

e. Taqwa is not only found and inculcated in literature. It is observed. The pious predecessors follow the Sunnah as the Sahaaba [radhiallaahu anhu] did. The Sahaaba [radhiallaahu anhum] saw Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] and followed him.

f. While knowledge alone is virtue, that is not enough. It must be kindled by roohaniyyat and spirituality. It is a burning fire of love for Allah in the heart of the Ulama.

g. Ulama-e-Haqq who dedicate their life for the pleasure of Allah and follow the Sunnah serve in places closer to the Sunnah. Those are the traditional Darul Ulooms and not in universities and colleges.

h. An environment has a profound effect on an individual.

i. The lifestyle in a tradition Madrasah and Darul Uloom and university is different.

j. A traditional Madrasah emphasizes on Sunnah, that is not the case in a University. There, the emphasis is merely on success in this world.

k. This does not mean that there is no emphasis on academics in Darul Ulooms. Alhamdulillah, the lessons in the Qur’aan, Hadith, Fiqh, etc. far supercede any secular subject.

l. We strongly advise studying at a traditional Darul Uloom.

m. Ours is also a traditional Darul Uloom. We concentrate primarily on the Hanafi Madhab, but in conjunction with the views and substantiations of the other Madhaahib.

and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

The concept of Taqlid simplified

Taqlid refers to the practice of an unqualified, lay person (in a specific field of specialization) submitting to and accepting the authority of an expert in that field, without demanding proof and justification for every view, opinion or verdict expressed by such an expert authority.

Imitation is a natural tendency of human existence, practiced by millions of people worldwide in every facet of life. The simplest and most tangible example of Taqlid is that of a child learning his basic alphabets at school. Every child learning his alphabets is unconsciously practicing Taqlid. A learner driver taking instructions from a driving instructor is practicing Taqlid. People going to a specialist doctor for medical treatment and following his instructions is another example of Taqlid. A lay person soliciting a legal opinion from an advocate or following the advice of a tax consultant is another common case of Taqlid. A client at an engineering firm, asking for the engineer’s advice on complex engineering calculations is yet another instance of Taqlid in action. The millions of ‘facts’ in the myriad of sciences such as astronomy, archaeology, etc. are all distinct examples of Taqlid. Who ever questions the ‘fact’ that the sun is really 93 million miles away from the earth! It is taken for granted that this is the findings of the ‘experts’ in these fields and everyone simply accepts it as such. School teachers teach these to their pupils as ‘gospel truth’ and children learn and memorize these ‘facts’ with the hope of succeeding in their exams. There are countless such examples of Taqlid in everyday existence.

By way of extension, Taqlid is the easy option for ordinary people In the context of Islamic Fiqh or Law too. Taqlid in Islam simply refers to accepting and following the verdicts of expert scholars of Islamic Fiqh in their exposition and interpretation of Islamic Law, without demanding from them an in-depth explanation of the intricate processes (Ijtihad) required in arriving at such a verdict. It simply means that ordinary folk do not have to do Ijtihad. The duty of ordinary people is to trustingly accept the authority of the learned scholars in this matter and act upon their verdicts.

In this sense, Taqlid is a great blessing for common people, for it is beyond the capacity of everyone to understand the extremely complex and complicated mechanics of Ijtihad. The ability to do Ijtihad requires many long years of study and erudition and a great deal of exertion in acquiring a mastery of various Islamic sciences.

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This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.