Respected Mufti Saheb, I would like to ask a sensitive question.
Many Ulama from the golden past to the present have proclaimed it is Wajib to follow one of the 4 madhabs. I would like to know how does that apply to following a fatwa/scholar within the same madhab?
For example recently, I’ve had a few scholars who have differed on the following:
– Roadside assistance for car breaking down, and cover for central heating boilers – some said it is haram because it’s the same as insurance.
– Whether my employer’s pension is halal or not- they said non-Muslim organisations are untrustworthy, and any contributions made by the employer cannot be considered a gift, but interest.
– Whether it is permissible to work for a bank – some say it’s main source is interest, so it’s haram while others say it depends where you work in the bank, and if you’re directly involved in transaction including interest.
So, my questions are as follows:
1) Are the rules just as strict that one must follow one scholar/Mufti like following one madhab?
2) What are the exceptions, if any?
3) If, one’s chooses to follow what’s easiest for him, and his family like some of the examples above which, is important for an individual, and his family would he be:
- b)If he is sinful i.e. it’s categorised as following one’s nafs, would the fatwa still be valid? For example if he acted upon the fatwa that his pension will be halal, and ignores the others forbidding/cautioning him then will the pension still remain halal? The angel recording his bad deeds will not document each pound/dollar/rand being earned/spent as haram?
Wa Alaikum Assalaam,
الجواب و بالله التوفيق
It is indeed the official verdict of the great, reliable and authoritative Scholars from the very early ages of Islam until today that following one of the 4 Madhab is Wajib. However, this ruling does not apply to following a fatwa of a specific Scholar from the same Madhab.
The Imams of Fiqh were qualified Mujtahids who were experts in all the sciences of Islam. On account of their understanding and sound deductions in different matters, they were attested to as being reliable and authentic Scholars in Fiqh. It is for this reason, the great Scholars of Fiqh, Hadith and Tafseer at their times and afterwards guided the Ummah to follow one of the Imams of Fiqh.
As for Scholars who have come afterwards, (being close to the times of the Imams of FIqh), although they were great in the sciences of Islam, their expertise could not match the expertise and rank of the Imams of Fiqh. In fact, those Scholars who came afterwards used the theories and principles established by the Imams to guide them in their understanding of Fiqh.
As for those Scholars who came long afterwards, (like our times and before), these Scholars are not Mujtahids and experts in the field of Ijtihad. Whenever there are guiding Usools (principles) of a Madhab regarding an issue, they will use these and arrive at a verdict or opinion. Whenever there are no clear and expressed guidelines in the Madhab regarding new issues, the Scholars will look at these with the understanding they have of the teachings of Islam as given in the books of Fiqh, and arrive at an opinion or verdict. Due to the fact that investigating new/current issues also require the use of human reasoning, the opinions arrived at by the Scholars following the same Madhab may differ.
In such situations, one is free to accept the verdict/opinion of that Mufti/Scholar who is known to be reliable in knowledge; seen to be an expert in the field of Fiqh and accepted to be trustworthy as a Scholar. So, there is no strict rule that one must follow only one specific/particular Mufti. This cannot be compared to the requirement of following only one specific Madhab.
Where there are varying opinions from different Scholars/Muftis of the same Madhab on an issue, one can follow whomsoever he believes to be the most knowledgeable and reliable. However, one must be guided in this by correct understanding and knowledge and the statements of other reliable scholars regarding the acceptance of that particular Mufti/Scholar. In adopting the opinion/verdict of any Mufti/Scholar, one must not be guided by his personal likes, conveniences, and desires (nafs). One must not look for an opinion that suits one’s personal wants.
At all times, one must take an opinion/verdict which is in conformity to the teachings of Islam as expounded by the pious and righteous Scholars of Islam who have been accepted as genuine, reliable and God-fearing Ulamas who possess the knowledge and expertise to issue a fatwa or give an opinion.
If one chooses an opinion only because it is the easiest for him, and did not look to see if it is correct or wrong, then this is not permissible. It will be considered as following one’s Nafs. A person should try to verify from other Scholars whether a certain opinion is acceptable or not.
If a person accepted the opinion/verdict of a Scholar, having placed trust and reliance on his knowledge, then this is not following one’s Nafs, even though the opinion happens to be the easiest for him.
As a general rule, when there is an opinion/verdict regarding a matter which says that it is halal, while experts and reliable Scholars say that it is haram, then to be precautious in your religious affairs, you must adopt the ruling that states that this is haram. You should not take opinions coming from one or two persons. Instead, you should look at what the majority of Scholars state and the evidences that are provided for their statements.
If someone had given a fatwa regarding the permissibility of a matter, while other reliable and authentic Scholars have given the fatwa of its prohibition, and then you had taken the fatwa of the person who said it was halal because it was in accordance to your desires, and you ignored the Fatwa of a number of scholars who stated the thing to be haram after strong proofs were provided for the same, then you are sinful in this matter in doing what you did. If this is the situation with respect to the pension, then you will go with what the majority of authentic Scholars say about it. If they have issued the verdict that it is haram, then you need to accept this fatwa and refrain from using the pension money.
As I stated earlier, those giving fatwa/opinions must first investigate and research the issues before making a pronouncement. Opinions cannot be given based on speculation. It must be based on certainty and firm knowledge about the issues involved. As such, in our times, where many new issues are arising in different fields, it is essential that Muftis/Scholars investigate and achieve proper knowledge regarding any given issue before giving a formal opinion. When reliable such Scholars investigate and issue thoroughly and then give an opinion, it must be accepted. Opinions based on speculation must not be accepted.
And Allah Knows Best.
Mufti Waseem Khan
This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.