Answered by Shaykh Farid Dingle
Question: Assalamu alaykum
Let’s suppose someone is not satisfied with the Usul of one’s school of law and wants to study the other ones in detail. In such a situation, how should they go about studying the various schools and what principles should be followed when changing one’s school of law?
Answer: Wa alaykum assalam,
Pre-requisites to studying legal theory
In order to study legal theory (usul al-fiqh), one must first study (to a certain level) fiqh itself (whichever school), Arabic language, hadith and a number of other sciences.
What I advise is that you study whatever madhhab is available where you are. It is better to study a madhhab that you don’t particularly like with an expert than to study a madhhab that you currently think is better with someone who is just passably qualified.
My own experience
To speak from my own experience, there is no one of the Four Schools that I haven’t at one point in my journey in seeking knowledge decided to adopt as my madhhab. In reality, the more you study one school, the more you learn about the deen as a whole and the more you learn to appreciate the wisdoms and benefit in that school.
I would advise that you read a little about the personalities of each other Four Imams and then see what real experts in your vicinity or online are regularly available to you. Based on that, you can make a decision on which school.
After you have studied the subjects I mentioned above, you can start studying works like al-Waraqat by al-Juwayni, that is taught on SeekersGuidance.
I pray this helps,
[Shaykh] Farid Dingle
Shaykh Farid Dingle grew up in a convert family in Herefordshire, UK. In 2007, he moved to Jordan to pursue traditional studies. Shaykh Farid continues to live in Amman, Jordan with his wife and kids. In addition to continuing his studies he teaches Arabic and several of the Islamic sciences.
Shaykh Farid began his journey in sacred knowledge with intensives in the UK and Jordan (2004) in Shafi’i fiqh and Arabic. After years of studying Arabic grammar, Shafi’i fiqh, hadith, legal methodology (usul al-fiqh) and tafsir, Sh. Farid began specializing in Arabic language and literature. Sh. Farid studied Pre-Islamic poetry, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, and Andalusian literature. He holds a BA in Arabic Language and Literature and continues exploring the language of the Islamic tradition.
In addition to his interest in the Arabic language Shaykh Farid actively researches matters related to jurisprudence (fiqh) which he studied with Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, and continues with Shaykh Amjad Rasheed.