Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hadith scholars also need the Fiqh Imams

قال عبد الله بن وهب" كل صاحب حديث ليس له إمام في الفقه فهو ضال و لولا أن الله أنقذني بمالك والليث لضللت
Abdullah Ibn Wahb said: "Every scholar of Hadith that does not have an Imam in jurisprudence [to guide him] then he is misguided. If Allah had not rescued me by giving me the company of Imam Malik and Imam Layth, I would have been misguided" - Tartīb Al-Madarik by Qadi ‘Iyād and numerous other places. It is a famous saying widespread in the works of the scholars.

Note: If that is the case with the likes of Ibn Wahb, who is one of the main pillars of the Muwatta (of Imam Malik- a major Hadith book) and himself an illustrious Imam in Hadith amongst the salaf, then imagine the misguidance of those today who rely on their own observation and understanding of Hadith after a self-reading of Hadith books? These are the times!

Ustadh Abdus Shakur Brooks

Friday, November 15, 2013

Non-Muslims need not fear Hijab; they only need to understand it:

Do not fear Hijab; understand it!

A large number of women in my family back home in India and in the West wear the hijab. They do not consider it to be a burden or something that has been forced upon them. On the contrary, they would literally, fight for their right to wear Hijab if the men were to stop them from wearing it!
What Hijab is not:
What the NonMuslims and the West need to understand, before reacting so aggressively to a piece of cloth, is that the hijab is not a radical statement. It is not a fight against other religions. It is not a battle with other women who do not cover their heads. It is not a political ideology. It is not a sign of subjugation. It is not by force. It is not a sign of suppression or subservience. It does not make a Muslim woman anybody' s slave. Muslim women who wear the hijab are not a threat. It does not make them weak. It does not make them ignorant. It does not make them dumb. It is not a burden; it is a choice, and for most Muslim women, it is empowering and equalizing.
What Hijab is:
The hijab (or in its entirety, the burqa) is a representation of one of the basic principles of Islam and that is modesty.

The Quran states in Surat An-Nūr (The Light): "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband' s father, their sons, their husband' s sons [step-sons], their brothers or their brother' s sons or their sister's sons, or their women, or their slaves whom their right hands possess or male servants free of physical needs or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex." (Surat An- Nur, 24:31)
Please understand- A Muslim woman wearing a hijab is not oppressed. She is free. She is proud. She is comfortable with her identity. Those who do not understand this do not understand Islam.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Misunderstandings about “Ijtehad”- Mufti Taqi Usmani

Various misunderstandings are present about “Ijtehad” in our society at present. As a result at times we notice an extreme degree of inactivity and at other times an equal degree of over activity in this field.
Meaning of the word "Ijtehad":
The Arabic word "ijtehad" (or "ijtihad") is derived either from jahd which means difficulty, or juhd which means power. The Arabs used this word only for those actions which contained some hardship, difficulty, and inconvenience. 
The meaning of "ijtehad" as a term, is the exertion of one's intellectual faculties in the search for a legal opinion/solution to the extent of full  intellectual  capability of the thinker. The word "reasoning" or "personal reasoning" has been used in the English language as a substitute for the Arabic word "ijtehad''.
In Shariah context, it refers to the process of deriving rules about issues not directly mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah.

“Ijtehad” is like a double- edged sword:

It is understood from the Qur’an, Hadith and verdicts of jurists of Islam, that “Ijtehad” is like a double- edged sword. If it is properly understood, and used within its limitations of fulfilling the conditions laid down for it, this can be a source of great treasure of Islamic laws and a matter of great pride for the Ummah.
But if it is allowed to be wrongly used by incapable persons it will result in creating false concepts and irreligious movements as we read in the books like ‘Al-milal Wan-Nihal’ ('The Book of Sects and Creeds', written by the Islamic scholar Muhammad al-Shahrastani (d. 1153 CE))*. Those views and claims had their sway for sometime but now they exist only in the pages of ancient books.

The same Ijtehad can be used to find practical ways for the Muslim Ummah, and the same can lead to ridiculous misinterpretations of the Quran.
It is through the same type of pseudo-Ijtehad that the modernists tried to make permissible every evil of Western Civilization; and it is through this that an endless chain of religious manipulations has been started.
It is in this context that I have called it a double-edged sword. If it is not used with necessary precautions and some one starts attempting it without having the required proficiency he would open the door to distorting the religion, and would lead to extreme degree of misleading conceptions.
Ijtehad cannot contradict Quran and Hadith:
Some people think that “Ijtehad” allows taking a decision through personal opinion in religious matters. This must be fully understood that this practice has never been regarded as “Ijtehad” in Islam. The one who considers it as “Ijtehad” has in fact fallen into great error. The door of “Ijtehad” had been opened by the Holy Prophet (PBUH), and the Hadith reported by Muadh bin Jabal R.A. has made it clear.
The Prophet (PBUH) asked Muadh R.A. “How will you decide on an issue not found in the Book of Allah?” He replied, “I will follow the Prophetic traditions (Sunnah). The Prophet (PBUH) then asked, “What would you do if you find nothing in Sunnah?” He replied, I will do “Ijtehad” with my personal opinion.” -(Abu Dawud)
It is quite apparent from this Hadith that there is no room for “Ijtehad” in matters explicated by the Qur’an and the Sunnah. If someone attempts Ijtehad in such matters it will not be called “Ijtehad” but rather fabrication or distortion (Tahreef).
If “Ijtehad” could be permitted in matters where explicit injunctions from the Qur’an and Hadith are present, there was no need for the advent of Prophets and Messengers. The purpose of Wahy (Divine Revelation) was that the right way be shown to people through Wahy in matters where Man cannot make the correct decision through his intellect.
Had it been an open field for everyone, to do as he or she thinks proper there was no need to follow the Qur’an or Prophetic traditions (sunnah/hadith). It would have been sufficient to say that people should lead their lives according to their personal likings, opinions and reasoning as the time and circumstances demand.
This misunderstanding must be removed about the application of Ijtehad.
Ijtehad has always been ongoing in the Ummah in all eras:
Sometimes, when there is a discussion on “Ijtehad”, an impression is given that the Qur’an and traditions have been revealed to us for the first time and no work has been done in the field of interpretation and explanation for all these fourteen hundred years and that the meanings deduced by us through personal reasoning shall be “Ijtehad” that must be implemented.
This concept is sometimes deliberately propagated while the fact is that we are not living in a vacuum but we are living in an era which has the background of fourteen centuries of laudable efforts in the field of Qur’anic learning by renowned Sahaba (companions of the Prophet (PBUH)), their followers (Tabaien), religious scholars, jurists of Islam and devoted personalities of the Ummah.
They spent their lives in devotion to the cause of exegesis of the Qur’an and interpretation of the Prophetic traditions, and the sacrifices they have made for this cause are beyond our imagination. They had to go through the troubles of starvation and rough clothing and poorest means of sustenance for this noble cause and left behind a huge collection of this work.
Now, if we throw all this intellectual legacy in a dust-bin and start making fresh interpretations, through the agency of “Ijtehad” unsupported by the Quran and the Sunnah, it will be an act of shameful self deception. It will mean that all the collections of the jurists be ignored and totally a new Fiqh and other sciences of Islam should be prepared.
The type of Ijtehad that is needed in the present time:
Solutions to new problems may be sought in the light of existing Usool (rules and principles) derived from the Qur’an and Sunnah. This is the right application of “Ijtehad” in the right direction.
Indeed countless problems may arise in every new period that are not defined by the Quran and the Prophetic traditions or no answer to these problems is provided by the available Fatawa (verdicts) of the jurists.
Being within these limits and seeking the solutions to newer problems and understanding the intentions of jurists and the intentions of the Shariah is called true “Ijtehad” and this is the “Ijtehad” whose doors have not been closed to anyone so far.
The door of valid Ijtehad was never closed:
This is a sheer propaganda that the door of Ijtehad is closed. Nobody has ever closed it. This door has been opened by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and shall remain open till the Last Day, and as long as this Ijtehad remains in capable hands nobody can close it.
The required Ijtehad which the Muslim Ummah really needs is not a new thing. It was in practice before. If now an organized method is provided to it, it would be appreciable. But to think that the scholars of Islamic learning had not been doing this Ijtehad before is not correct. The true Ijtehad that is needed had been in process and shall continue in the future.
* Kitāb al–Milal wa al-Nihal (Arabic:كتاب الملل والنحل, The Book of Sects and Creeds), written by the Islamic scholar Muhammad al-Shahrastani (d. 1153 CE), is a non-polemical study of religious communities and philosophies that had existed up to his time, considered to be the first systematic study of religion. A French translation of the book by Gimaret, Monnot and Jolivet was sponsored by UNESCO (Livre des religions et des sects. Peeters: 1986, 1993).
-(Adapted with some modifications) from Mufti Taqi Usmani's book 'Islam and Modernism'.


Friday, November 8, 2013




 Who should be considered as competent to interpret and explain the Quran and Sunnah (Prophetic traditions) and to deduce various injunctions for problems arising in new circumstances? What are the conditions and requirements necessary for this job?

 We find the answers to these questions in an authentic Tradition reported by Hadhrat Ali R.A. in which he said:

I said, “O messenger of Allah (SAWS)! If we are confronted with a problem which has not been described in the Qur’an and Prophetic traditions, with no injunctions in favor or against it, what am I to do in such a situation?”
He said: “Take advice of the Fuqaha (jurists-Ulema of Fiqh) and Aabideen (faithful worshippers) and do not employ your individual opinion”.
[Al Mu`jam al-Awsat ; Hadeeth 1641, Classed as Authentic (Hasan) by Abu Yahya noorpuri]

عن علي قال : قلت : يا رسول الله ، إن نزل بنا أمر ليس فيه بيان : أمر ولا نهي ، فما تأمرنا ؟ قال : تشاورون الفقهاء والعابدين ، ولا تمضوا فيه رأي خاصة
The Holy Prophet (SAWS) has explicitly stated in this narration that two conditions must be fulfilled by a person who wants to deduce laws and injunctions from the Qur’an and Prophetic traditions. Firstly; he must be a jurist and secondly, he must be a devotee to worship.

 The importance of the first condition is obvious because objectives of the Qur’an and traditions can be well conceived only by those who possess vast and deep knowledge, who are fully aware of the rules laid down by the earlier jurists and who have spent their lives in understanding the intentions of divine laws.
Similarly, the Prophet has made it a condition for him to be a devotee and faithful, that is, he must have devoted himself to the practices of these laws. Anyone who can not make distinction between permissible and forbidden in practical life and whose every day practices are in contrast of these laws can not comprehend the intentions of Islam.
Deduction of the laws is, in fact, the “Search for the Truth”, and the Qur’an states that Allah
bestows the faculty of cognizance of the truth to the one who confides in it in his practical life. It is said:

(If you fear Allah He will give you the power of discrimination between truth and falsehood). (8:29)

This verse has clearly stated that “Fear of Allah” is the primary condition for a sense of discrimination between right and wrong. It is quite obvious from the above verse of the Qur’an and the Prophetic tradition that a religious and juristic solution can best be found by a person who is a “jurist” and a “devotee” (or “Muttaqi”, that is, the one who abstains from evil for fear of Allah). 

Mufti Muhammad Shafi, Grand Mufti of Pakistan and President, Darul-Ulum, Karachi had summarized the same thing in the following words:

“The method of solving the problems not mentioned in the Book and the traditions is the joint consultation of jurists and devoted scholars of Islam. Imposing the personal and individual opinion on the Muslims is forbidden.”

But for reasons unknown our modernists are allergic to this way of thinking. The traditional knowledge of the Qur’an and the Sunnah is not considered by them as an essential requirement for interpretation of and deductions from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, nor do they ‘think it necessary that such a person should necessarily’ be fearful of Allah and a devoted worshipper.
For some time they have been making loud suggestion to this effect.

“There should be no monopoly of religious scholars” on the interpretation of Quran and the Sunnah. No papacy should be allowed in Islam. No particular group, therefore, can be given the right of legislations. “The interpretation of the Qur’an and the Tradition is the right of all Muslims and not of the religious scholars alone” — “Religious scholars cannot be given the power of veto in the affairs of Islam”, etc., etc.

 These are the suggestions that are expressed in almost all the writings of the modernists. As far as the instructions of the Quran and the Traditions are concerned we have already submitted that the greatest emphasis has been laid down on the fundamental requirement of knowledge and devotion for interpreting the religion; but it seems proper here to discuss real frets, that are the source of these misunderstandings.

Their first suggestion is: “There is no Brahmanism or Papacy in Islam; hence the religious scholars cannot be given the exclusive rights of legislations”.
Either they are totally ignorant of the real meaning of papacy and theocracy and the ills in them, or they are deliberately deceiving the simple people of the Ummah. Anyone having the slightest sense of justice and the truth can understand that “knowledge” and “fearfulness of Allah” (Taqwa) is not limited to any race, color, caste or creed which one cannot achieve through his efforts and resources. It is the name of ‘Eligibility and Qualification” of a specific objective which can be achieved by everyone at any time.

If setting some qualifications for certain responsibilities is papacy, no section of life can be said to be devoid of it.  

The educational standard and moral character needed for the presidentship and ministership of a country would also be termed as “papacy”. The condition of being an expert on legal affairs for a judge would also be another form of “papacy”. The attainment of a law degree for legal advisor or advocate should also be called papacy. The condition of having relevant academic degrees for teaching in a university, college or school should be removed. The limit of age, intellect and normal character fixed for qualifying as a candidate in elections, should all be cancelled as they are different forms of “papacy”. But it is not so. Then how can the condition of “Knowledge” and “Taqwa”, for interpreting the Qur’an and the Tradition, be termed as papacy? 

Anyone having a little knowledge of the term “Papacy” and “Brahmanism” cannot overlook the differences between the religious scholars of Islam and the Popes and Brahmans.

 (1) “Pope” and “Brahmans” are practically the titles of a specified class of color, caste and creed. Anyone outside these jurisdictions cannot enter into their fold despite all eligibilities and efforts. That is why we find dacoits and robbers becoming “Popes” in the history of the Christian church. Contrary to this, Religious scholar of Islam (Ulema) is an attribute for which there is no restriction of caste and creed. In the fourteen hundred years of the history of Islam we find religious scholars in every color or creed, even the slaves have emerged as great scholars of Islamic learning and accepted as leaders of the Ummah. The cause of their
dignified status had always remained their “Knowledge” and “Taqwa” rather than their parental background.

 (2) The religion of which the Pope is claimed to be a spokesman is a religion which does not provide with guidance for the most important aspects of life. That is why the word of Pope has become the word of God, and no one else can defy this.

Thus he is no more an interpreter of law but a free and independent law-maker. Contrary to this, the injunctions of the Book (Qur’an) and the Sunnah (Prophetic traditions) are universal and the rules and regulations for their interpretation are prescribed and preserved in their original form. Any scholar saying anything against these rules and regulations will be rejected by other scholars on the ground of these principles. A number of such scholars are always present to check such misinterpretations.

 (3) The process of law-making and interpretation of religion in papacy ultimately ends on one man. He alone been regarded as the “Shepherd of the sheep of Messiah” and the deputy of the founder of the church. Contrary to this, “Religious scholar” of Islam is not the name of any person who is the head of an organization, but anyone who has attained religious knowledge on true lines is a Religious scholar and an heir to the Holy Prophet. Hence no individual scholar has right to impose his personal views and whims on the entire
Muslim Ummah.

In the presence of such an obvious difference between the roles of the Pope and of the Islamic scholars, any one applying the term Papacy to the services of the Ulema simply exhibits his loss of knowledge and common intellect.

The second demand of the modernists, is that “there can be no monopoly of the Ulema on the Book and Traditions. Therefore, the right of their interpretation cannot be reserved for religious scholars alone”. 

Those under the charm of this propaganda are tirelessly repeating this slogan and do not stop for a while to think that thus they are making themselves similar to a person who had never seen a medical college but raises the objection as to why the treatment of diseases has been served for qualified doctors only or like a fool who criticizes by saying why the experts in law and jurisprudence –alone have the right of the interpretation of law and why not others are allowed to do so? 

No sensible or conscientious person can ever think on these lines.
However, if one has such an imbecile approach he should know that, any one has the right to perform all these duties, but to gain proficiency and eligibility for this you will have to spend years and years of hard work and labor, seeking the guidance from experts for practical experience, obtain degrees and diplomas and other related experience, then, of course, you will be allowed to make interpretations. 

The most sensitive and delicate work of interpreting the Qur’an and the Sunnah is said to require the same process how can it be termed as a monopoly. Does it not require any one to get educated for it? Why the Qur’an and the Sunnah alone are considered to be as pitiable as to be treated by any individual at his own will? How one can be given the right to interpret the Qur’an and the Sunnah while he has not spent even a few months in acquiring the relevant knowledge.

They express their anger against the religious scholars all day long as to why they alone should deserve the right to interpret the Qur’an and the Sunnah? But they never reflect on the amount of pain and labor they have undergone to acquire this right? How in the two hundred years of British rule in India they had remained the target of the British atrocities and aggression? With all the doors of livelihood closed on them by the British rule they preferred to live on meager resources and devoted themselves to acquire this knowledge against all odds. They are still doing it despite the harassment from these modernists. How they their eyes glowed in front of the dim light of oil lamps of clay? And how they attempted to shape their lives in the mould of religion?

 If, after all that, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) gives them the right to interpret the Qur’an and his Sunnah, and the Muslims place their trust in them why is this resented by them?

The eagerness of modernists for interpreting the Book and the Traditions is certainly commendable; but for this they should also undergo the physical and mental strain needed for it. They, too, should spend some part of their life in toiling on the roads to knowledge of the Qur’an and learn the manners of living on that ground. If after that any one refuses to recognize them as interpreter of the Qur’an and the Traditions, then their complaint against the scholars would be justified.

When any common Muslim really wants to understand the Qur’anic injunction or prophetic tradition would he seek the help of a modernist self-styled “scholar” or of those “Obscurantist” scholars whom the modernists blame to have robbed the people of their democratic right?  

If the multitude of Muslims turn to these traditional scholars without any compulsion, pressure or legal restrictions, place their trust on them and their conscience gets satisfied with it where does the democratic right of people get hurt.  

Who have injured the beliefs of the Muslim Ummah with their interpolation, the Ulema or these modernists, is known to all. 
The Prophet (s.a.w.s) said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَقْبِضُ الْعِلْمَ انْتِزَاعًا يَنْتَزِعُهُ مِنَ النَّاسِ وَلَكِنْ يَقْبِضُ الْعِلْمَ بِقَبْضِ الْعُلَمَاءِ فَإِذَا لَمْ يُبْقِ عَالِمًا اتَّخَذَ النَّاسُ رُءُوسًا جُهَّالاً فَسُئِلُوا فَأَفْتَوْا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ فَضَلُّوا وَأَضَلُّوا ‏"

Allah will not cause extinction (or take away) of knowledge by taking it away from the servants, but He will cause extinction of knowledge by taking away the Ulema (learned ones). When no Alim (learned man) remains, the people will then take the ignorant as their leaders. They will seek religious verdicts from them and they will deliver those verdicts without knowledge and the people will go astray and lead each other into error.” [Bukhari and Muslim, Sunan Ibn Maajah, Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 52]

The Biggest objection of the Modernists:

Their last and biggest objection is on the condition of “Taqwa” (Fear of Allah, Piety, and Abstinence from evil- doings).

According to them “Taqwa” like “knowledge” is not essential for interpreting the Qur’an. We do not understand what apprehension they have against it.  

According to them the complication in this regard is:
“The condition of “Taqwa” is a condition that, every scholar can reject the judgement of another scholar, because everyone has his own standard for Taqwa”.  

It should be thoroughly understood that ‘Taqwa’ is not an ambiguous and unsettled term which can be given any meaning by anyone according to his individual liking. 

 In Islam “Taqwa” is a legal Phrase and countless religious injunctions depend on it. Whenever it is used in a legal sense it would mean “practising the permissibles, abstaining from major sins and not insisting on minor sins.” In the phraseology of the Qur’an it is the opposite of “Fujur” (Apparent Sins, Immorality).

The Qur’an says:
“Then inspired it (with conscience of) its wickedness and its piety.”

Hence anyone abstaining from “Fujur” is a man of Taqwa, and therefore the people shall have no difficulty in deciding about the piety and devotion (Taqwa) of a person. With this in view, one can easily conceive that there can be no complexity or difficulty arising from imposing the condition of knowledge and Taqwa for interpretation, explication or exegesis of the Qur’an and Prophetic tradition.” 

In the end we would again like to humbly request the modernists that the use of Street slogans and propaganda weapons would neither render any service to the Ummah nor can any problems be solved with them, nor would it leave any pleasant effect on any serious mind. In the hue and cry of their slogans at the most they can suppress the voice of truth for a short while. But that can only affect the ears, but not the hearts. A stage does come when the cries become hoarse and their throats get dry. It is then that the dignified voice of truth overcomes with full force, directly affects the hearts and stays permanently there.

Adapted from Mufti Taqi Usmani's book "Islam and Modernism".


Sunday, November 3, 2013



by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani (translated by Zameelur Rahman)
People would seek fatwa from ‘ulama’ since the earliest of times in matters which they were in need of, because the majority of people are not able to derive the rulings of the Shari‘ah from their original sources. Thus, it would be necessary for them to refer to those who have knowledge of these rulings. This is what Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) ordered in His noble saying: “So ask the people of remembrance if you do not know.” (16:43) And as long as a mufti is trusted in his knowledge and his piety, they would not demand evidence for what he said – and this is the technical meaning of taqlid, since they defined it as: “Acting on the opinion of another without knowing his evidence or demanding proof.”
However, in the best of generations, they would not restrict themselves to taking fatwa from a single scholar, such that they would not permit seeking fatwa from another scholar, although when individuals had a particular affinity with a scholar of a certain land, their reliance on him would be greater than others, so by virtue of that affinity, they would refer to that scholar in all matters or most of them.
Of this is what al-Bukhari transmitted from ‘Ikrimah that the people of Madinah would ask Ibn ‘Abbas: “Is it permissible for a woman [that is a pilgrim], when she is menstruating, to set off for her hometown after the Tawaf al-Ziyarah and omit the Tawaf al-Wida‘?” Ibn ‘Abbas answered them by [saying] that it is permissible for her to set off and omit the Tawaf al-Wida‘. They said to him: “We will not adopt your opinion, and leave the opinion of Zayd.” In the transmission of al-Isma‘ili: “We do not care, whether you have issued us a fatwa or you have not issued us a fatwa. Zayd ibn Thabit says: ‘She does not set off.’” In the transmission of al-Tayalisi: “We will not follow you, Ibn ‘Abbas, when you oppose Zayd.” This is because they had greater confidence in Zayd ibn Thabit. Later, Zayd ibn Thabit retracted from his opinion when he came to know of the hadith of Safiyyah, as transmitted by Muslim from Tawus: “I was with Ibn ‘Abbas when Zayd ibn Thabit said to him: ‘You issue fatwa that a menstruating woman departs before having her final meeting with the House?’ Ibn ‘Abbas said: ‘At the least, ask so-and-so Ansari woman: Did the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) command her?’” He said: “Subsequently, Zayd ibn Thabit returned to Ibn ‘Abbas, laughing, and saying: ‘I do not believe but that you told the truth!’” When Zayd ibn Thabit (Allah be pleased with him) retracted, the people of Madinah were content that it is permissible for her to set off [before performing the Tawaf al-Wida‘].
And of this is what Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him) transmitted from Abu Muslim al-Khawlani (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him), he said: “I came to the mosque of the Damascenes, when there was a circle therein comprising of senior companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), and there was a youth amongst them with kohl on his eyes and bright teeth. Whenever they differed in anything, they referred it to the young man, a youthful young man.” He said: “I asked a sitting-companion of mine: ‘Who is this?’ He said: ‘This is Mu‘adh ibn Jabal.’” And in another narration: “Whenever they differed over anything, they referred it to him and they departed on his opinion.”
Examples of this are many.
The upshot is that most people would refer to those they trusted, and they would prefer his fatwas over the fatwas of others. There were some who did not suffice with seeking fatwa from a single scholar, because the madhhabs were not codified in that time, so they did not believe it was forbidden to seek fatwa from anyone that was accessible to them, even if it was someone besides whom they normally referred to. There was no fear at that time that people would select from the different madhhabs that which accorded with their passions because it was difficult for the questioner to know the opinion of the one he is seeking fatwa from before he asked him, which was because the madhhabs were not yet codified.
But after the codification of the four madhhabs of jurisprudence with a specific structure, and books were compiled on them, and they condensed into schools which were dedicated to studying them, and the opinions of these madhhabs became well-known and familiar to the people, if it was permitted for everyone to select from these opinions whatever he wished whenever he wished, that would lead to following desires and not following the bright Shari‘ah. 
There is no doubt that each of these jurists only selected an opinion on the basis of the strength of its evidence according to him not on the basis of what his heart desired, so it would be possible for another mujtahid to select or reject what he said due to a stronger evidence that appeared to him from the sources of Islamic legislation.
However, the layperson who is not able to compare between these opinions on the basis of the evidences of the Shari‘ah, if he was given the option to adopt what he wished and reject whatever he wished, it would be feared for him that he will adopt from these opinions that which accords with his desires, and not because of the proof of the Shari‘ah that was the basis of that opinion.
Furthermore, each one of these madhhabs has a specific structure under the remit of which it operates, whereby many of its rulings are linked to each other. Thus, if one ruling from it is adopted and another ruling that is linked to it is omitted, the structure would collapse, and a situation of talfiq (mixing opinions from different madhhabs on a single issue) – not taken as valid by anyone – may arise. It is difficult for a layperson to appreciate these subtleties, so if the door of selecting was to be opened for the layperson, that would lead to chaos in the laws of the bright Shari‘ah. It was for this [reason] that a need arose to adopt a specific madhhab, not because the follower of a particular madhhab believes his Imam is an intrinsic authority – protection is from Allah, the Glorious! – but, because he trusts his knowledge in the Shari‘ah and its proofs more than others, or because knowledge of his madhhab is easier for him with respect to the founders of the other madhhabs. By such adoption of madhhabs, the circumstances of the people – in terms of faithfulness to the Shari‘ah and not following haphazard whims therein – were regulated, because selecting from the opinions of the jurists based on whim and not on the basis of evidence is from that which the scholars, both ancient and recent, have condemned. Imam Ma‘mar ibn Rashid (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him) said: “If a man was to adopt the opinion of the people of Madinah on listening to songs and approaching women from their behinds, and the opinion of the people of Makkah on temporary marriage and barter, and the opinion of the people of Kufah on intoxicating substances, he would be from the worst of the slaves of Allah.” (Talkhis al-Habir, 3:187)
Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him) said: “An example of this is that a man believes in the validity of the pre-emption[1] of a neighbour when he demands it, and its invalidity when he is the buyer, because this is not permissible by consensus; and likewise, one who assumes the validity of the guardianship of a sinner in the process of his marriage and assumes the invalidity of his guardianship in the process of his divorce – this is not permissible by consensus of the Muslims. If a particular questioner said: ‘I was not aware of that, and from today I am adhering to this,’ that would not be [accepted] from him because it would open the door to playing with the religion and open the means to legalisation and illegalisation being according to whims.” (Majmu‘ al-Fatawa li Bni Taymiyyah, 32:101)
Imam al-Nawawi (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him) said: “Its reason is that if it were permissible to adhere to any madhhab one wished, it would lead to collecting the concessions of the madhhabs, in accordance with one’s desires, and opting between legalisation and illegalisation, obligation and permission, and this will lead to relinquishing the noose of moral responsibility (taklif); as distinguished from the early period, because [at that time] there were no refined madhhabs that encompassed the rulings of [all] outcomes. Based on this, it is necessary for him to make effort in opting for one madhhab he will adhere to specifically.” (al-Majmu‘ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab, 1:55)
Ibn Khaldun (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him) said: “Taqlid  in all towns came to rest on these four, and muqallids of other than them have disappeared. The people blocked the door of disagreement and its paths when the diversification of the technical terms of the sciences became extensive; and when it became difficult to reach the level of ijtihad; and when it was feared that [somebody] unqualified for it whose opinion and religion are not trusted would be ascribed to it; so they [i.e. scholars] made [their] incapacity and deficiency clear, and they directed people to taqlid  of these [four], to all who are specialised therein from the muqallids, and they forbade modification of their taqlid  because it would imply frivolity. All that remained after authentication of the basic texts and connecting their chains by narration is transmission of their madhhabs, and each muqallid  acting on the madhhab of the one he does taqlid  of from them. There is no meaning to jurisprudence today besides this. And the claim of ijtihad in this age is rejected and turned on its heel, and his taqlid  is abandoned. The people of Islam have evolved into taqlid  of these four Imams.” (Muqaddimah Ibn Khaldun, p. 430)
Shaykh Wali Allah al-Dihlawi (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him) said: “Know that the people in the first and second centuries were not united on taqlid of one specified madhhab, and after the second century, there appeared amongst them adherence to the madhhabs of specific mujtahids, and those who did not rely on the madhhab of a specific mujtahid became few – and this was the obligation of that time. If you say: How is it that one thing is not obligatory at one time, but obligatory at another time, although the Shari‘ah is one? I say: The original obligation is that there are those in the ummah who are aware of the corollary rulings from their detailed evidences. The people of truth are united on this. And the prelude to an obligation is obligatory. When there are many avenues to that obligation, it is necessary to acquire any avenue from those avenues without particularisation, but when one avenue becomes specified, that one avenue itself becomes obligatory…Based on this, it should be that the result is the obligation of taqlid of a specific imam.” (al-Insaf fi Bayan Asbab al-Ikhtilaf, p. 68, 70)
He said at another place: “Indeed these four codified and refined madhhabs have united the ummah, or those who are noteworthy from them, on the permissibility of taqlid  of them, to this day of ours. In this are interests that are not hidden, especially in these days in which aspirations are very stunted and souls are given to desire and every holder of an opinion is impressed by his own opinion.”
Although the mujtahid jurists were widespread in every region of the Muslim regions, it was the will of Allah (Exalted is He) that no madhhab would be codified with a total composition in the way the madhhabs of the four jurists were codified, and their affiliation to them was mass-transmitted, and their pupils who studied them and examined them and drew corollaries from them overflowed. Such a thing did not happen to the other madhhabs. Shaykh Wali Allah al-Dihlawi (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him) said: “In sum, adopting the madhhab of the mujtahids is a secret that Allah (Exalted is He) inspired to the ‘ulama’, and He united them upon it, whether consciously [on their part] or unconsciously.” (al-Insaf, p. 73)
This is why the ‘ulama’ said that it is obligatory for the non-mujtahid to do taqlid of one of these four madhhabs, and not do taqlid of a madhhab besides them.
Imam al-Nawawi (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him) said: “He does not have the option of adopting the madhhab of any of the imams of the Sahabah (Allah be pleased with them) and other than them from the early ones, although they were more learned and of a higher rank than those after them, because they did not devote themselves to codifying knowledge, and delineating its principles and its branches, as none of them have a refined, codified and approved madhhab. Only those who came after them took up this [task] from the Imams affiliated with the madhhabs of the Sahabah and the Tabi‘in, who began to lay out the laws of outcomes before their occurrence, and who set out to elucidate their principles and their branches, like Malik, Abu Hanifah, and others.” (al-Majmu‘ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab, 1:55)
Al-Munawi transmitted from Hafiz al-Dhahabi (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on them) that he said: “It is necessary for us to believe that the four Imams, the two Sufyans, al-Awza‘i, Dawud al-Zahiri, Ishaq ibn Rahwayh, and all the Imams, were upon guidance, and no attention is paid to those who speak against them with what they are free from. The truth in accordance with the majority is that the one who is right in the corollaries is one, and Allah (Exalted is He) has a sign in what He has decreed, and that the mujtahid is given the responsibility of finding it, and that the one who misses it is not sinful, but is rewarded. Thus, the one who is right has two rewards, and the one who errs has one reward. Yes, if the mujtahid is deficient [in his knowledge], he is sinful, by agreement, and [it is necessary] for the non-mujtahid to do taqlid  of a specific madhhab…but it is not permissible to do taqlid  of the Sahabah and likewise the Tabi‘in, as stated by Imam al-Haramayn, of all whose madhhab has not been codified, so taqlid  of other than the four [Imams] in judicial decree and fatwa is prohibited, because the four madhhabs have spread and have been codified, such that the conditions of their absolutes and the specifications of their generalities are clear; as distinguished from [madhhabs] besides them due to the extinction of their followers. Imam al-Razi (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him) transmitted consensus of the verifiers on the prohibition of laypeople doing taqlid of individuals from the Sahabah and their elders.” (Fayd al-Qadir by al-Munawi, 1:210)
Shaykh Wali Allah al-Dihlawi (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him) said in another place: “Know that there is great welfare in adopting these four madhhabs, and in turning away from all of them is great corruption, and we will explain that with reasons…” (‘Iqd al-Jid, p. 53)
He said in another place: “So when an ignorant person is in the lands of India or the lands of Transoxiana, and there is no Shafi‘i, Maliki or Hanbali scholar there, and no book from the books of those madhhabs, it is necessary for him to do taqlid  of the madhhab of Abu Hanifah, and it is forbidden for him to leave his madhhab, because by doing so he will release [himself from] the noose of the Shari‘ah and will remain aimless and without purpose; as distinguished from the situation where one is in the two Harams, because there it is easy for him to know all the madhhabs. It is not sufficient for him to adopt [the opinions of the madhhab] by speculation and without assurance, nor to take from the tongues of the commoners, nor to take from an unknown book, all of which are mentioned in al-Nahr al-Fa’iq Sharh Kanz al-Daqa’iq.” (al-Insaf fi Bayan Asbab al-Ikhtilaf, pp. 77-8)
It is apparent from all of this that the objective is adherence to what has come of the laws of the Shari‘ah in the Qur’an and Sunnah, and that it is not usually easy for a non-mujtahid to derive these laws by himself, either because he is unable to understand them, or because the texts hold more than one meaning, or due to the apparent contradiction of evidences, so he relies on the opinion of a mujtahid whose opinion he has trust in over other than him, or the opinion of a mujtahid whose madhhab is well-known in his land. This is adoption of a madhhab (tamadhhub) or individual taqlid  (al-taqlid al-shakhsi).
However, adopting a specific madhhab is not negated by a learned scholar – who has insight into the evidences of the laws in an issue from the issues – adopting the opinion of another madhhab, not on the basis of whim, but on the basis of a stronger evidence that appears to him. Based on this, many of the jurists of the Hanafis issue fatwa in many issues according to an opinion that opposes the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him), as they did in the issue of cropsharing (muzara‘ah), and taking payment for teaching the Noble Qur’an, and in the issue of a person duped [in a monetary transaction] having the option [to cancel the deal] and other well-known issues.
This is due to what our ‘ulama’ have stated explicitly that taqlid  of a specific Imam is not a ruling of the Shari‘ah per se, but it is only a fatwa that was issued in order to regulate the affairs of religion, and to avoid what was feared in not doing so, of the corruptions of playing [with the religion] and following desires.
I heard my father ‘Allamah Mufti Muhammad Shafi‘ (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him) relate numerous times the statement of Shaykh al-Hind Imam Shaykh Mahmud al-Hasan (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him): “Indeed taqlid  of a specific madhhab is not a ruling of the Shari‘ah per se, but it is a fatwa that was issued in order to regulate the religion by means of it.”
Imam Shaykh Ashraf ‘Ali al-Thanawi (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him) said in one of his sermons: “Thus, we do not believe that individual taqlid  is mandatory or obligatory in itself, but we say that the affairs of religion are regulated by individual taqlid, and there is chaos in abandoning taqlid.” (Khutbat Hakim al-Ummat, 6:172)
From the corollaries of this viewpoint is that whenever there is safety from following desires, there is no harm in adopting that which is stronger in evidence for a scholar that is qualified to examine the evidences. 
Imam Faqih Shaykh Rashid Ahmad al-Gongohi (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him) said: “Indeed the jurists banned the laypeople from non-individual taqlid  (which is taqlid  of a madhhab in one issue and another in another issue) for the reason of these [corrupt consequences]. However a scholar who is safe from these corrupt consequences, it is permissible for him to exercise non-individual taqlid  even today, with the condition that he does not cause confusion and chaos thereby amongst the commoners.” (Tadhkirat al-Rashid, 1:132)
He said in another place: “The upshot is that when it is established that this ruling from our Imam goes against the Book and Sunnah, it is necessary for every believer to leave it, and no one will deny this after it becomes clear, but how is it possible for laypeople to verify this matter?”
The teacher of our teachers, Imam Ashraf ‘Ali al-Thanawi (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him), explained this matter with extreme moderation and balance, so there is no harm in citing his statement with his wording followed by its Arabic translation:
Just as rejecting taqlid  is deserving of censure, extremism and rigidity therein is also deserving of condemnation. It has preceded that a mujtahid is not imitated with the belief that he is the lawgiver and bringer of laws, but he is only imitated with the belief that he is a clarifier of the laws and an elucidator of the legislations and one who reveals the intent of Allah (Exalted is He) and the Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). This is why taqlid  is only acted upon when a matter negating that belief or eliminating it does not arise.
Thus, if it is clear to a scholar with depth of insight, perception of mind, fairness of temperament, by his investigation, or to a layperson through the medium of that scholar by the testimony of his heart – with the condition that he is fearful [of Allah] (muttaqi) – that the stronger [position] in this issue is another opinion, it will be examined if there is any possibility for the permissibility of acting on the weaker position based on the evidence of the Shari‘ah or not? 
If there is scope there, and it is feared that in publicising the disagreement there will be tribulation and confusion amongst the commoners, it is better in such a situation to act on the weaker position, to save the common Muslims from division. This is proven by what ‘A’ishah (Allah – Exalted is He – be pleased with her) narrated, she said: “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: ‘Do you not see that your people, when they [re-]built the Ka‘bah, they were deficient in [building it on] the foundations of Ibrahim?’ So I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Will you not return it to the foundations of Ibrahim?’ So he said: ‘If it were not for the recentness of your people in disbelief, I would have done [so].’” The Six transmitted it besides Abu Dawud. So despite building the Ka‘bah on the foundations of Ibrahim (upon him peace) being superior, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) opted for the weaker option, for fear of tribulation and confusion, because this weaker option was permissible in the Shari‘ah, even if weak…Likewise it is narrated from Ibn Mas‘ud (Allah – Exalted is He – be pleased with him) that he prayed four (meaning, in travel), so it was said to him: “You criticise ‘Uthman [for praying four in travel], and then you prayed four?!” He said: “Dissention is evil.” Abu Dawud transmitted it. So despite it being stronger according to Ibn Mas‘ud (Allah – Exalted is He – be pleased with him) to shorten [the prayer] in travel, he prayed it in full to avoid dissention and evil. Apparently, he believed in the validity of that also, so by this what we mentioned – that if the weaker option is permissible, opting for it is better to avoid tribulation and confusion – is strengthened.
However, if the weaker option does not allow for permissibility, rather it necessitates the omission of an obligation or the performance of a prohibition, and it has no evidence besides analogy, and there is an explicit authentic hadith for the stronger side, it is necessary to act on the hadith without hesitation, and taqlid  is not permissible in this situation at all, because the foundation of religion is the Noble Qur’an and the Sunnah, and the objective of taqlid  is nothing besides acting on them with ease and safety. So when the harmony between them [i.e. taqlid and acting on the Qur’an and Sunnah] is negated, it is necessary to act on the Qur’an and Sunnah, and rigidity on taqlid  in such a situation is the taqlid on which censure has occurred in the Qur’an and Sunnah and the statement of the ‘ulama’. Thus it is narrated from ‘Adiyy ibn Hatim (Allah – Exalted is He – be pleased with him), he said: “I came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), and I heard him recite: ‘They have taken their rabbis and their monks as gods beside Allah’ (9:31) He said: ‘They would not worship them, but when they made anything halal, they considered it halal, and when they made anything haram, they made it haram.’” Al-Tirmidhi transmitted it.
And the practice of the Salaf and the verifiers has always been that whenever it appears to them that their opinion or the opinion of another goes against the command of Allah (Exalted is He) or His Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) they renounce it immediately, as is narrated from Numaylah al-Ansari (Allah be pleased with him), he said: Ibn ‘Umar (Allah – Exalted is He – be pleased with them) was asked about eating hedgehog, so he recited: “Say: I do not find, in what has been revealed to me, anything prohibited for anyone who eats” [to the end of] the verse (6:145). So a shaykh next to him said: I heard Abu Hurayrah say: Hedgehog was mentioned before the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), and he said: “An impurity from the impurities,” so Ibn ‘Umar said: “If the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said this, it is as he said, as we did not know.” Abu Dawud transmitted it.
The ‘ulama’ of the Hanafis also remained on the practice of this principle, so they left the opinions of their Imam in a number of issues, and by this it becomes clear to every fair person that what some people accuse them of, of fanaticism and rigid taqlid, is a clear error which resulted from looking at the transmissions without understanding…However, it is not permissible, despite abandoning taqlid  in this issue, to attack the honour of the mujtahid by lengthening the tongue against his respected self or holding a bad opinion in the heart that he abandoned an authentic hadith, because it is possible that that hadith did not reach him, or it reached him with a weak chain, or that hadith was interpreted by him with an indication of the Shari‘ah. So he is excused. And vilifying the perfection of their knowledge due to being unacquainted with that hadith falls under the totality of lengthening the tongue against them because it is established that some hadiths did not reach some of the senior Sahabah regarding whose perfect knowledge there is no doubt, and that was not considered a deficiency in their perfection. Thus it is narrated from ‘Ubayd ibn ‘Umayr (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him) in the story of the seeking of permission by Abu Musa (Allah – Exalted is He – be pleased with him) the statement of ‘Umar (Allah – Exalted is He – be pleased with him): “This command of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was hidden to me. Trading and markets distracted me.” Al-Bukhari transmitted it.
Likewise when a muqallid of that mujtahid, his breast has not expanded in that issue, and he thinks – due to good opinion of the mujtahid – that his opinion does not go against the hadith, so he continues to do taqlid  of him in that issue due to this opinion, and he does not reject the authentic hadith, but he does not understand the agreement of his Imam with that authentic hadith in detail, it is not permissible to blame that muqallid, because he is also adhering to evidence of the Shari‘ah, and he does not aim but adherence to the Shari‘ah; and likewise it is not permissible for that muqallid  to condemn that scholar who left taqlid  in that issue due to the aforementioned reason, because this variation of theirs is akin to the variation which occurred amongst the Salaf and on which the ‘ulama’ said: “Indeed our madhhab is correct – probabilistically – with the possibility of being incorrect, and the madhhab of others is incorrect – probabilistically – with the possibility of being correct.” So when the other side has the possibility of being correct also, how can it be  permissible, because of that, to declare any [of them] misguided, or to declare him a sinner, or to accuse him of bid‘ah, or Wahhabiyyah, and cause envy, rancour, obstinacy, dissension, backbiting, insult, abuse, vilification and curse which are absolutely forbidden?!
Yes, the man who opposes the majority of the Muslims in their beliefs or in matters that are agreed-upon, or he extends his tongue with respect to the righteous Salaf, he is out of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama‘ah, because the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama‘ah are those who tread the path of the Sahabah, and these matters go against their beliefs, so this man is outside of the Ahl al-Sunnah and included within the people of innovations and passions. And similar is the man who is extreme in his taqlid whereby he rejects the Qur’an and hadith because of it. So it is necessary to avoid and stay clear of these two men while shunning the well-known debates. This is the balanced truth. Anything besides it is error and excess. O Allah! Show us the truth as truth and grant us adherence to it, and show us falsehood as falsehood, and grant us avoidance of it. (al-Iqtisad fi l-Taqlid wa l-Ijtihad, pp. 84-9)
It is clear from this that adopting a specific madhhab and doing taqlid of a mujtahid is not [done] but to arrive at what is established from the rulings of the Shari‘ah from the Book and Sunnah for those who are not able to reconcile between contradictory evidences. This is why the ‘ulama’ have clearly stated that there is no need for taqlid in creed and rulings that are stated explicitly, like the obligation of Salah, fasting, Zakah and Hajj, and the prohibition of wine, swine, usury, lying, deception and treachery, from the rulings in which there is no room for ijtihad, and the texts on them do not hold more than one interpretation. (See al-Dhakhirah by al-Qarafi, 1:148)
Likewise, adopting a madhhab does not mean the ‘ulama’ of that madhhab do not go against the opinion of their Imam in any of the issues. From this is what is narrated from Imam al-Tahawi – and he was a Hanafi in madhhab – that he said: “Abu ‘Ubayd ibn Harbawayh would revise rulings with me. So I answered him one day regarding an issue, and he said to me: ‘This is not the opinion of Abu Hanifah.’ Thereupon, I said to him: ‘O Qadi! Do I take everything Abu Hanifah said?’ He said: ‘I did not think you but a muqallid.’ I said to him: ‘Does any do taqlid  besides a fanatic?’ He said to me: ‘Or an idiot.’ Then this statement flew across Egypt until it became a proverb.”
That which al-Tahawi (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him) intended was that adopting a specific madhhab does not negate that a scholar like al-Tahawi adopts an opinion besides the opinion of his Imam in an issue, otherwise he will be a fanatic.
From this, it becomes clear that taqlid  has [four] levels:
1. The first level is the taqlid  of the layperson who does not have knowledge of the Qur’an and Sunnah, nor mastery of the sciences derived from them. Those who graduate from the seminars (madaris) and religious universities and have not acquired an ability by which they are able to compare between juristic opinions in light of the Book and Sunnah are included amongst them. The ruling of these [people] is that they adhere to the madhhab of a specific Imam, and they do not adopt [anything] besides the opinions of their Imam, because the opinion of their Imam is a proof with respect to them, and they do not have the right to assess whether the opinions of their Imam are against the Book and Sunnah by their mere opinion, because that which is necessary for such an assessment is not available to them.
2. The second level is the taqlid  of the learned scholar, who, although he has not reached the level of complete ijtihad, but because of the expanse of his knowledge of the sciences of the Qur’an and Sunnah, and his mastery in the madhhab of his Imam, and his extensive experience of jurisprudence and fatwa with skilled teachers, he acquired a strong ability to inspect the evidences of the jurisprudential rulings. Although such a scholar does taqlid of his Imam in most of the chapters of jurisprudence, nonetheless, when he finds an opinion of his Imam against a clear text and he does not find, despite his lengthy investigation, anything that contradicts that text, it is permissible for him to leave the opinion of his Imam because of that clear text, as we have mentioned previously from the statement of Imam Shaykh Ashraf ‘Ali al-Thanawi (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him). Likewise, when such a scholar feels that in the madhhab of his Imam in an issue from the issues there is a severe crisis, and that there is a widespread need to avert this crisis by opting for another juristic madhhab from the four followed madhhabs, it is permissible for him to issue fatwa or act on the opinion of another mujtahid besides his Imam, just as the Hanafis did in the issue of the wife of a lost man and other [issues], as will come – if Allah (Exalted is He) wills – in its place. However, the most precautious [route] in this age in the issues in which there is a widespread affliction is that a man does not act independently in such issues with his individual opinion; rather, he consults other ‘ulama’, and he does not issue a general fatwa except after acquiring the agreement of a body of firmly-grounded scholars.
3. The third level is the taqlid  of a mujtahid in the madhhab, and he is the one who, although he is amuqallid of his Imam in the principles, nonetheless, he has acquired a degree of ijtihad in the peripherals or in the jurisprudential cases (nawazil). The scholars of extraction (takhrij) and assessment (tarjih) and the mujtahids in jurisprudential issues (masa’il) are included in this as will come – if Allah (Exalted is He) wills.
4. The fourth level is the taqlid  of an absolute mujtahid, because although he is independent in deriving the laws of the Shari‘ah from the Book and Sunnah, but he has no alternative but to [exercise] a degree of taqlid, which is that he examines the statements of the Salaf from the Sahabah and Tabi‘in, and holds to them in the explanation of the rulings of the Qur’an and Sunnah. And at times there is no clear text from the Book and Sunnah, but there is a statement from one of the Sahabah or Tabi‘in, so he gives it preference over his personal opinion. This is just as Abu Hanifah (Allah be pleased with him) often adopted the opinion of Ibrahim al-Nakha‘i, and al-Shafi‘i the opinion of Ibn Jurayj, and Malik the opinion of one of the seven jurists of the Illuminated City. ‘Allamah Ibn al-Qayyim (Allah – Exalted is He – have mercy on him) said about the absolute mujtahid: “His ijtihad does not negate his taqlid of other than him at times, for you will not find any of the Imams, but he is a muqallid of one who is more learned that him in some rulings. And indeed al-Shafi‘i (Allah have mercy on him and be pleased with him) said in a place of Hajj: ‘I said this doing taqlid of ‘Ata’.’” (I‘lam al-Muwaqqi‘in 4:179)
-Usul al-Ifta’ wa Adabuh, Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, pp 61 – 84

  1. “Pre-emption” (shuf‘ah) refers to the right of a partner with a share in a property or a neighbour to cancel a purchase made on the property to a third party so he can have the first choice to buy it. There is disagreement whether a neighbour enjoys this right, although it is agreed that a partner with a share in the property does.