Q: Me and my family follow the Madhab of the Hanafi school of thought, however I came across an issue where there is a difference of opinion between the Shafi and Hanafi schools of thought. Would it be sinful for me to carry on following the Hanafi school of thought? I think all schools are valid though?
A: All Muslims believe and accept that the four Mazhabs (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’ and Hanbali) are all correct. However, to hop from one Mazhab to another is generally done for one of two reasons. Either, one randomly chooses a ruling of another Mazhab or one follows ones discretion and personal understanding in doing so. Randomly choosing from different Mazhabs is incorrect as it opposes the Qur’aan which commands us to verify the information we wish to follow and not to randomly choose. On the other hand, if one has to apply ones discretion and understanding in choosing the ruling of another Mazhab then this will also be incorrect due to the fact that one will require knowledge equal to the knowledge of the Imaams in order to be able to compare the proofs of one Imaam against the other in reaching a conclusion. Since this is not found, we understand that it is safest to remain commited to one Mazhab.
And Allah Ta’ala knows best.
Mufti Zakaria Makada
Checked & Approved:
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)