The madhhabs have been a reality of our Ummah since the time of the Sahaba: people studied the Qur’an and Prophetic teachings under different Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him, his folk, and companions, and give them peace) and the Companions themselves differed in understanding the details of the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunna. These differences were of understanding and methodology and continued to the next generations, until these methodologies were systematized and the rulings derived from them formally recorded by the great scholars of the Age of Mujtahids. Four of these great mujtahids had their schools transmitted and taught more extensively and thus survived, due to the greater strength of their methodology.
The madhhabs, in reality, are a mercy and means of unity in our Ummah. Throughout history, scholars of different madhhabs have studied together, and loved and respected each other.
A madhhab is a school of Islamic law, and each madhhab is based on a systematic methodology of interpreting the Qur’an and Prophetic sunna. Following a madhhab is not an end in itself; rather, it is a means to follow the Qur’an and Sunna in a sound, systematic, and sustainable manner.
1. What is a Madhhab? Why is it necessary to follow one?
2. Why Muslims Follow Madhabs?
3. Would you advise individuals to study hadith from al-Bukhari and Muslim on their own?
4. Shaykh Murabtal Haaj’s Fatwa on Following One of the Four Accepted Madhabs
5. Understanding The Four Madhhabs: the problem with anti-madhabism
6. Which Madhhab Do I Follow?
Any of the four Sunni schools of law are valid to follow, and which one chooses to follow is a matter of personal preference and circumstances. One should consider:
(1) Which madhhab you can learn properly, given your life circumstances
(2) Which mahhab you can get your questions answered for
(3) Your personal inclination, and general life considerations (such as family background, community, and so on).
And Allah alone gives success.