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Exploring Muqallids in Hanafi Fiqh: Differences and Contradictions

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Muftionline.co.za

Q: If muqallids are those who follow imaams without understanding any daleel from Quran and sunnah.

1. Why did the students of Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) differ from Imaam in many opinions?

2. Why does the fiqh of hanafi contain rulings contradictory to the verdict of Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) such as on aqeeqah, madinah as haram, etc.

3. Who were those who nullify some statements of Imam Abu hanifa from hanafi fiqh, but still called muqallid (the one who does not understand the daleel behind the qaul of imam saheb). I have heard that in the case of difference of Imam Abu hanifa with his students, a lay man does not have the right to accept any ruling with his own mind instead a jurist of the same madhab will choose the best opinion. This concept creates three serious questions.

First – If a jurist has the ability, capacity and knowledge to select the best verdict in case of contradiction within madhab then why is he still a muqallid.

Second – If a jurist (muqallid too) has the ability to look at the Quran and hadith for selecting the best verdict within the madhab, then which Islamic law prevents him from selecting the best verdict from outside the boundary of his madhab.

Thirdly – A lay man has not been given the right to accept one out of two contradictory rulings of his madhab with his own mind, then how come he has been given the right to choose any one imam out of the four with his own mind without any knowledge.



1. The muqallid followed him understanding that the imaam has a proof for what he says. The students of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullahi alaih) followed him in principle matters. In secondary matters they differed in certain areas.

2. Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullahi alaih), in several situations had more than one opinion. Sometimes his students preferred one opinion over the other. The later generations studied the reasons for preference and if they did find a reason for preferring one opinion they preferred that statement.

3. He has the ability to study the reasoning, he does not have the ability of ijtihaad.

The jurist had studied his mazhab, the usool and furoo’ and gained a level of mastery. He did not master the other mazaahib. When he has not mastered them, how can he experiment with something that he has not mastered.

It is a duty of a layman to refer to the one that has sound and detailed ilm. Looking for someone with sound and detailed ilm can be applicable in one of two ways, one is that he randomly chooses masaa’il and the other is that he commits himself to one imaam. If he is going to randomly choose then he will be guilty of talfeeq at times and he cannot be certain about his nafs. So the only other option is that since the Qur’aan has instructed him to refer to the most knowledgeable person, he will refer to one of the imaams and therefore commit himself to that particular imaam thereby saving himself from any type of talfeeq and contamination of nafs.

And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.

Answered by:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)

This answer was collected from MuftiOnline.co.za, where the questions have been answered by Mufti Zakaria Makada (Hafizahullah), who is currently a senior lecturer in the science of Hadith and Fiqh at Madrasah Ta’leemuddeen, Isipingo Beach, South Africa.

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