“My Ummah will NEVER unite upon error.”
[A Saheeh Hadith narrated in dozens of authentic compilations of Hadith]

“It is not permissible for him [the non-Mujtahid] to trespass in consulting those whose Madh-hab he does not adhere to for fatwa…The consensus (Ijma’) of the Muslims in all places of earth has occurred on Taqleed in this fashion”
[Shaykh ul-Islam Qadi Iyadh (476-544H) transmitting the fact that the Ummah – particular the authorities of the Deen – had already united upon adhering rigidly to one Madh-hab]

With virtually all the minor signs of the last hour prophesized by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) having already materialised, it is manifestly clear that we are currently living in the worst of times as described in detail in the Ahadith, during which the true, original and pristine teachings of the Deen will have become Ghareeb (lone, strange, and forlorn), and the vast majority – both “Ulama” and laity – will have become enslaved to their desires.

And since the soul of a man that is enslaved to its bestial desires and bloated with Kibr (satanic pride) naturally recoils with absolute horror at the very thought of having to submit itself to a sacred, immutable set of rulings and values – adhered to diligently by the whole Ummah (minus deviant groups) for over a 1000 years – it is no surprise that the Ijma’ (consensus) enacted by the early Mujtahidoon on the obligation of Rigid Taqleed (tightly binding oneself) to one of the Four Madh-habs is becoming increasingly neglected and long forgotten.

In fact, it is the natural instinct of a Slave of Nafs (one’s bestial desires) to clutch at every straw possible, in order to acquire flexibility to escape the ruling of a Madh-hab – wherever such a ruling is particularly unpalatable to the Nafs – and opt instead for a ruling that conforms closer to the Nafs, whilst simultaneously being able to dwell under the self-deception that a “better” interpretation of Qur’an and Sunnah is being reached. And where a particular ruling is adopted which, on the surface, appears to entail some degree of difficulty and sacrifice, it is merely for the purpose of maintaining the self-deception that the Slave of Nafs is not following the Nafs at all – of course not.

Thus, each and every deviant group – whether it be the Salafis today who use “Qur’an and Sunnah” to justify the Takfeer and mass-killing of countless civilians just like the Father-Figure and “Mujaddid” of ALL Salafi sects, Ibn Abdul Wahhab, originally did – as documented by the Wahhabi historians themselves – or whether it be the fraudulent pseudo-sufis who justify their break-dancing, music-listening, hooka-smoking shenanigans by scavenging for minority opinions – ALL of them (deviant groups) acquire enough flexibility to justify their deviances only by first escaping the rigid inflexibility of having to adhere to the officially accepted rulings of one of the Four Madh-habs.

This article will provide a snapshot of the Ijma’ (consensus) that was enacted by the early Mujtahideen on the obligation of Rigid Taqleed to one of the Four Madh-habs – an obligation that was whole-heartedly accepted by each subsequent generation of the Main Body (Jama’ah) of the Ummah for over a thousand years, and which carry the full force of Rasulullah’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) proclamations that:

“My Ummah will never unite upon error.”


Whoever leaves the Jam’aah (Main Body) or separates himself from it by the length of a span, dies the death of the Jahiliyyah (the period of Kufr prior to Islam).”

The Jama’ah refers to the great body of Mujtahidoon, Fuqaha, Muhaddithoon, Mufassiroon, Auliya, throughout the ages who all adhered to one of the Four Madh-habs ever since the Ijma’ was enacted. The Jama’ah never refers to the glut of deviate groups today whose abject Kibr (satanic pride) is amply exposed by their claim, implicit or explicit, of being able to understand the Way of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) better than the galaxy of Stars of Uloom who had originally enacted this Ijma’, and the galaxy of Fuqaha, Muhaddithoon, and Auliya who constituted the Jama’ah of each subsequent age, and who faithfully abided by this Ijma’ – leave aside refuting it – for a period stretching well over a thousand years.

Discardence of such an emphatic Ijma’ falls under the purview of the following Ayat of the Qur’an:

“He who follows other than the path of the believers, We will hand him over to whatever he has turned to and We will roast him in the Fire. What an evil destination.”

The “path of the believers” has been for the past millennium, and shall always be, Rigid Taqleed to one of the Four Madh-habs – a path treaded by the righteous of the entire Ummah throughout the course of Islamic history. And the path of the Ahlul Bid’ah (deviates) and Zindeeqs (heretics) will always be the path that seeks loopholes, excuses and ploys to abandon such Rigid Taqleed.

One such ploy employed by modernist deviates and heretics is scouring through Islamic history for the rulings of a minority of scholars which might have conflicted with the Ijma’. The futile, deceptive and plainly inept attempts of modernist deviates to portray such a minority as the majority will be dismantled in a separate article insha-Allah.

For now, we shall suffice in stating that despite such minority opinions having existed in the same way as isolated and minority opinions do exist for the permissibility of music, drinking alcohol, forms of zina, killing civilians, and countless other transgressions, such errant, minority opinions have absolutely no impact on an Ijma’ that had already been enacted earlier and which was then clearly and explicitly transmitted by reliable and truthful authorities as shall be demonstrated below – an Ijma’ that subsequently went onto acquire the categorical and undeniable acceptance of the Main Body (Jama’ah) of the Ummah – the righteous scholars and authorities – of each and every age, and will continue to do so till near the End of Times, during which only the Ghurabaa (strange, lone, forlorn ones) will constitute the Jama’ah. 


We shall begin with Imam Nawawi, one of the most authoritative and unquestionably reliable transmitters of the rulings of the early Mujtahidoon, particularly those of the Shafi’i Madh-hab. In the following statement, Imam Nawawi explicitly ascribes to the “As-haab” the view of rigid adherence to one Madh-hab:

“Is it necessary for the layperson to adopt a particular Madh-hab?…Abul Hasan al-Ilkiyaa positively asserted it [i.e. the necessity of adopting a particular Madh-hab], and this applies to all who have not reached the level of ijtihād from the jurists and the adherents of all sciences. [This is so] in order that he does not collect the dispensations of the Madhhabs; as distinguished from the first era when the Madh-habs were not codified such that their dispensations may be collected. Based on this, it is necessary for one to strive to choose a specific Madhhab he will follow in everything. He may not adopt a Madh-hab based merely on whim, nor with what he found his forefathers upon. This is the view of the As-haab.” (Rawdat al-Tālibīn, 8:101)”

Who are the As-haab? When Imam Nawawi uses such a term, he refers to the early Mujtahidoon who formed the Shafi’i Madh-hab. Imam Nawawī described them as follows: “A Mujtahid restricted to the Madh-hab of his Imām, independent in establishing his viewpoints with evidence, although he does not go beyond the foundations of his Imām and his principles in his evidences. His condition is knowledge of jurisprudence and its principles and the detailed evidences of laws, and insight into the methodology of [drawing] legal analogies and [determining] the ratio legis. [He is] fully trained in extraction and derivation, capable of linking what is not explicitly mentioned by his Imām to his principles….This is a description of our As-haab, the As-haab ul-Wujooh.”

At another place, Imam Nawawi transmits the view of the As-haab as follows: 

“Abul Hasan al-Ilkiyaa [one of the As-haab] positively asserted it [the obligation of adhering to one Madh-hab], and this applies to all who have not reached the level of ijtihād from the jurists and the adherents of all sciences. Its basis is that if following any madh-hab he wished was permissible, it will lead to collecting the dispensations of the madh-habs, in following his desire, and choosing between permission and prohibition, obligation and permissibility, and that will lead to relinquishing the burden of responsibility; as distinguished from the first period [of Islām] because the madh-habs incorporating laws related to all outcomes were not refined.”

Now, when such early Mujtahidoon as the As-haab-ul-Wujooh are of the view that it is obligatory to rigidly adhere to one Madh-hab and that the one who selects a ruling from another Madh-hab does so out of desire (Hawa), then it is manifestly clear that those groups today who desperately avoid such rigid adherence are the Ahlul Hawa (the people of desires).

Before proceeding, there is the question of a statement of Imam Nawawi which deviants tend to zoom in on, and which might be interpreted to indicate that Imam Nawawi’s personal view might have differed with the view of the As-haab. It suffices to say that a personal view which is at odds with the view of the early Mujtahideen, as attributed to them by Imam Nawawi himself, and each of whose rank far exceeds that of Imam Nawawi, should be viewed as just that i.e. a personal, errant view at odds with the clear, explicit view of the early Mujtahidoon. 

Just observe here Man’s bestial desires (Nafs) at play. And observe how Imam Nawawi’s statement has inevitably attracted the attention of Slaves of the Nafs whose master (their Nafs) compels them to search for escape-routes to avoid Rigid Taqleed. The sheer desperation of Slaves of the Nafs who scavenge for such loopholes to avoid Rigid Taqleed is thoroughly exposed by the fact that they fervently desire – with an irrationality that beggars belief – to ignore the view of a galaxy of early Mujtahidoon to whom Imam Nawawi himself attributed the view, whilst honing onto a solitary statement of his which might have conflicted with the view of the Imams of the Mutaqaddimeen (early) era.

Another undeniably reliable authority who transmitted the consensus of the early Mujtahidoon on the obligation of having to adhere to one Madh-hab, is Imam Ghazali (450 – 505 H). Imam Ghazali explicitly states that “none of the scholars” opined that it is permissible to adopt a Madh-hab other than the one he has selected, and that it is “incumbent on every muqallid to follow his Imam in every detail” and that by agreement (i.e. Ijma’) of all the scholars, a layman’s adoption of a ruling that opposes his Madh-hab is “a Munkar (a wrong-doing), and he is sinful”:

“The fourth condition is that its being munkar is known without ijtihād. So all that is in a place of ijtihād, there is no accountability therein. Hence, a Hanafī may not condemn a Shāfi‘ī for eating a lizard and hyena and [the animal over which] saying bismillāh was left out, and a Shāfi‘ī may not condemn a Hanafī for drinking non-intoxicating nabīdh and taking inheritance of distant relatives and residing in a house which he acquired by [the right of] pre-emption of a neighbour, and other such [examples] from the places of ijtihad.

“Yes, if a Shāfi‘ī sees a Shāfi‘ī drinking nabīdh and marrying without a guardian and [thereafter] engaging in intercourse with his wife, then this is in a place of consideration. The most apparent [view] is that he has [the right of] taking him to task and rebuking [him]; since none of the scholars have opined that it is permissible for a mujtahid to act on the dictates of the ijtihād of other than him; nor that the one whose judgement in taqlīd led him to a man he considers the best of the scholars that it is permissible for him to select the madhhab of other than him, choosing from the madhhabs the most pleasing of them to him. Rather, it is incumbent on every muqallid to follow his Imām in every detail. Thus, his opposition to [his] Imām is by agreement of the scholars a munkar, and he is sinful in opposition.” (Ihyā’ ‘Ulūm al-Dīn, 2:321)

Re-affirming the view of the early Mujtahidoon, Imam Ghazali states that since a layman – one who has not reached the rank of Ijtihaad – is completely unqualified to adequately weigh the evidences, there is no other motive for a layman to adopt the ruling of another Madh-hab other than Hawaa – base desires:

“It is necessary [for the non-mujtahid] to make Taqleed of him [the Imam of his Madh-hab] in all juristic rulings. If it is not that, then there is no motive for him to oppose [his madhhab] except base desires…If he were to say: ‘My assessment in other than this legal case is that the one I made taqleed of is wrong,’ muqallids are not entitled to this. His ijtihaad in individual issues is an error and it is as though in his mind he knows that which his Imām [along with the galaxy of Mujtahidoon who constituted his Madh-hab] does not know in other than this issue [in which he made taqleed of him], and this is ignorance! As for following al-Shāfi‘ī in an issue in which he opposed a Sahābī, it is necessary to have the assumption of al-Shāfi‘ī that he did not oppose him except for an evidence stronger than the madhhab of the Sahābī. If this was not assumed, he would ascribe to al-Shāfi‘ī [along with the galaxy of Mujtahidoon who scrutinised, reviewed and refined the Madh-hab] ignorance of the position of the Sahābī, and this is impossible.” (Al-Mi‘yār al-Mu‘rib, 11:164-5)

Imam Ghazali declared categorically that the people who held the rank of Ijtihaad – those who had some degree of flexibility in directly interpreting the Qur’an and Sunnah – had ceased to exist even during his era:

“As for the [mufti] who has not attained the rank of ijtihād – which is the position of all the people of today – and he only issues fatwā in that which he is asked by transmitting from the position of his imām, if his madhhab appears to him to be weak, it is not permissible for him to leave it…And whatever is difficult for him, it is necessary for him to say: ‘Maybe the founder of my madhhab has an answer to it, as I have no independent ijtihād in the source of Sharī‘ah.’” (Ihyā’ ‘Ulūm al-Dīn, Dār al-Minhāj, 1:162)

In another unquestionably reliable and unambiguous transmission of Ijma’ (consensus), Shaykh ul-Islam Qaadi Iyaadh (476 – 544 H), an undisputed authority of the Maliki Madh-hab, explicitly transmits the obligation of adhering rigidly to one Madh-hab as “the consensus of the Muslims in all places of earth”. He also states, as a matter of fact, that before his era, all the people in all the lands were following one of five Madh-habs (the Zahiri madh-hab was no longer followed not long after his era):

“It is not permissible for him to trespass in consulting those whose Madh-hab he does not adhere to for fatwa…Once this introduction is established, we say: The consensus of the Muslims in all places of earth has occurred on taqleed in this fashion, and adherence of them, and studying their madhhabs and not those before them, while acknowledging the excellence of those before them and their priority and their superior knowledge, but the problems [in following them] are as we described and the sufficiency of what they selected from them is as we mentioned earlier.…The people today in all the lands of the world have evolved into five madh-habs: Mālikīs, Hanafīs, Shāfi‘īs, Hanbalīs and Dāwūdīs – and they are known as Zāhirīs [The Zahiri madh-hab died out eventually, thus leaving four valid madh-habs]. Thus, it is incumbent on a student of knowledge and the one wishing to gain acquaintance of what is true and correct to recognise the most worthy of them of taqlīd, in order to depend on his madhhab and tread his path in seeking jurisprudential knowledge.” (Tarteeb al-Madarik, 59 – 67)

In another transmission of the attribution of this view to Ahlus Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah as a whole, Abū Zayd al-Dabūsī (368 – 430 H), an early Mujtahid of the Hanafi Madh-hab, contrasts the view of Ahlus Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah with the view of deviant groups such as the Mu’tazilah: 

“Those who regard the truth as multiple [like the Mu‘tazilah] establish choice for the layperson to select [from them] based on his personal whim. And those who say the truth is one [i.e. Ahlus Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah], make it necessary for the layperson to follow one Imām, whose position according to him is that he is the most learned based on the evidence of inspection, and he does not oppose him in anything based on his own base desires [Hawaa].” (Taqwīm al-Adillah, p. 410) 

A similar statement was transmitted by the early Hanafi authority, Fakhr ul-Qudat Abu Bakr Arsabandi (d. 512):

“If the truth was multiple [as is the view of the Mu’tazilahs], it would be allowed for a muqallid to make taqleed of this mujtahid once and taqleed of another at another time, so this would be premising the religion on base desire, which is despicable…And those who say the truth is one [i.e. Ahlus Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah], consider it necessary for the layperson to follow one Imām – whose position according to him is that he is the most learned based on the evidence of inspection – and he does not oppose him in anything based on his own base desires.” (Taqwīm Usūl al-Fiqh wa Tajdīd Adillat al-Shar, Dār al-Nu‘mān lil ‘Ulūm, 2:868)

Another early authority of the Hanafi Madh-hab, Fakhr ud-Deen Muhammad ibn Mahmud (d. ca. 570H) mentions that the limit of the layman’s ijtihaad is to give preference to an Imam – i.e. one of the Four Madh-habs:

“As far as the generality of the Muslims [i.e. non-mujtahids] are concerned, it is not in the capacity of everyone to give preference to evidences and exercise ijtihaad, but he must give preference to an Imām he considers, and he will be a follower of him. When he contemplates and gives preference to an Imām over an Imām, and he considers his path true and right, the view of others becomes invalid for him,” [Jawahir ul-Fatawa]

The same Fakhr ud-Deen Muhammad ibn Mahmud also clarifies the important distinction between rigidity, which is obligatory (waajib), and fanaticism (ta’assub), which is prohibited:

“Rigidity in the madh-hab is waajib, and fanaticism is impermissible. Rigidity is to act on what is [the of view] his madh-hab and he believes it is true and correct, and fanaticism is imprudence and rudeness with respect to the founder of another madh-hab, and all that stems from his denigration. That is not permissible.” [Jawahir ul-Fatawa]

Imām al-Māzirī (453 – 536 H), an early authority of the Maliki Madh-hab, clearly states that the option of exiting one’s Madh-hab was “severed in the earlier times” and that the early Imams would “exaggerate in condemning laxity in the matter of religion and leaving one madh-hab for another madh-hab, due to what it will lead to in terms of corruption.”

“…That which I believe of the resolute religion is that it is prohibited [for a maliki] to exit the madh-hab of Mālik and his companions as a protection against the path [towards the negative repercussions]. If this was legalised, a man would say: I will sell one dinar for two dinars due to what was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbās and then someone will come who will say: I marry a woman and I make her private part lawful without a guardian nor witnesses in imitation of Abū Hanīfah with respect to the guardian and of Mālik with respect to witnesses, and I will marry her for a meagre price in imitation of al-Shāfi‘ī. This is the greatest opportunity for disaster. This practice would be severed in the earlier times, despite the scrupulousness of its people and their fear of their honour and their religion. So what of when the matter has reached a time wherein its people have fallen short of the conditions of those who came before such that is not hidden to the intelligent. This is a time when it is more suitable to cut off the substances of laxity in religious matters. …You see our imams who would fear Allāh (Great and Glorious is He) exaggerate in condemning laxity in the matter of religion and leaving one madhhab for another madhhab, due to what it will lead to in terms of corruption.” (Fatawa 151-3)

Imam Shahrastani, another early authority from the 5th/6th century, also transmits the view of Rigid Taqleed to one Madh-hab from the “Usooliyyoon” in general – the early Mujtahidoon who delineated the principles of the Madh-hab. While discussing two groups of Usooliyyoon with regards to the issue of Taqleed, he states that both groups – i.e. all of Ahlus Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah – prohibited the non-mujtahid from selecting from another Madh-hab in order to prevent chaos and anarchy. Just like Imam Nawawi, Imam Ghazali, Imam Maziri, Qadi Iyadh, Imam Jeelee, and others from around the 5th century AH, Imam Shahrastani is clearly transmitting a factual reality – an agreement that occurred on this issue during the early eras once the Madh-habs had become codified:

“As for the layman (i.e. non-mujtahid), it is obligatory upon him to do Taqleed of a Mujtahid. And his Madh-hab in what he asks is the Madh-hab of whom he asks. This is the original state of matters (e.g. prior to the codification of the Madh-habs). However, both groups [i.e. all the Usooliyyoon of Ahlus Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah] do not permit the Hanafi layman to adopt [any ruling] except from the Madh-hab of Abu Hanifah, or the Shafi’i layman except from the Madh-hab of Shafi’i, because the judgement that the layman has no Madh-hab and his Madh-hab is the Madh-hab of his Mufti will lead to disarray and chaos. Thus, for this [reason] they did not permit it [selecting from another Madh-hab].” [Kitaab-ul-Milal wal-Nihal] 

To be continued….



  1. خبيب

    السلام عليكم
    Very beneficial article. Shayk Muhammad Awwamah has written a superb book concerning this, اثر الحديث الشريف في اختلاف الائمة الفقهاء. Very beneficial piece. All students should study this book with a teacher.


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