Why Follow a Madhab and How to Choose One?


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.

Questions Asked?

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.


Fiqh of Fasting: How to Make the Fast Last


Fiqh of Fasting: How to Make the Fast Last (Part 1)

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani covers the key points of performing a sound and valid fast in Ramadan, through explaining the fiqh of fasting.


Fiqh of Fasting: How to Make the Fast Last (Part 2)

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani addresses some of the common issues and questions that come up regarding fasting. This lesson is the second of a two part talk Shaykh Faraz delivered on the fiqh of fasting.


Adab of the Sunnah: The Fiqh of Islamic Behavior and Character

By Shaikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller

1. It is of the sunnah to be afraid for one’s past, one’s state at death, for calamities, and for treachery and disgrace. It is of the sunnah to be patient and steadfast in worship, in blessings, in tribulations, and in divine punishments in one’s body, reputation, family, or money. It is of the sunnah to have firm patience in avoiding sins, and to make up for one’s past misdeeds.

2. It is of the sunnah to intend worship and obedience to Allah by one’s intention, deeds, words, and one’s every movement and rest; and to be indifferent to this world and desirous of the next, and to reflect carefully upon how one is now, and shall be then, and upon one’s being mustered on the Last Day, being raised from the dead, and questioned. It is sunnah to hope that one’s obedience will be accepted, as well as one’s repentance from disobedience, and to be satisfied with what one has, and be contented with what is generally considered enough for a person, without extravagance and without penury.

3. It is obligatory to be contented with what Allah Most High has destined when it is of His acts, such as illness, disease, poverty, malady, loss of intellect, and so forth; though some say it is but the sunnah to be contented with such things, and that what is obligatory is that one have patience with them. As for acts of human beings that Allah has forbidden, such as unbelief and misguidance, contentment with them is unlawful by consensus (ijma‘) of all scholars, for contentment with unbelief and acts of disobedience is itself unbelief and disobedience.

4. It is permissible to weep for the dead provided one does not commit unlawful things such as calling out to the deceased in lamentation as if he were alive and enumerating his great qualities, or wailing, or bitterness a what Allah has destined and necessarily appointed, or despair which contravenes one’s servitude and submission to Him. It is praiseworthy to weep for the deceased out of mercy for him, as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said of weeping when he wept for the dead, “This is a mercy Allah has placed in the hearts of His servants”—for it does not negate being content with Allah’s destiny—as opposed to weeping over him because of one’s own loss at no longer having him, which is unpraiseworthy. Al-Fudayl, when his son died, laughed. He said, “I saw that Allah had destined it, and I wished to be pleased with what Allah had destined.” And this is a good state in relation to those who despair. As for mercy towards the deceased, satisfaction with destiny, and praising Allah, which was the state of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), it is more perfect.

5. Patience with one’s personal trials is obligatory by consensus of all the intelligent. As for acceptance of them, it is spiritually higher and closer to Allah to have contentment with them, though not obligatory. Even higher than contentment is to give thanks to Allah for them because of the divine blessing in them, in view of the reward and spiritual ascent in them if one has patience with them. It is unlawful for someone in disobedience to accept his remoteness from Allah. And it is not obligatory for someone being punished by Allah to have contentment with it.

Physical Descriptions of the Four Great Imams of Fiqh

By Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Ahmad al-Dhahabi (rah)



1. Imam Abu Hanifah an-Nu’man bin Thabit (rah):

Abu Yusuf said: “Abu Hanifah was well-formed, was from the best of people in appearance, the most eloquent of them in speech, the sweetest in tone, and the clearest of them in expressing what he felt.”

Hamad bin Abi Hanifah said: “My father was very handsome, dark, had good posture, would wear a lot of perfume, was tall, would not speak except in reply to what someone else had said, and he – may Allah have Mercy upon him – would not involve himself in what did not concern him.”


2. Imam Abu ‘Abdillah Muhammad bin Idris ash-Shafi’i (rah):

Ibrahim bin Buranah said: “ash-Shafi’i was serious, tall, and noble.”


az-Za’farani said: “ash-Shafi’i visited us in Baghdad in the year 95. He stayed with us for a few months, then left. He would dye his hair with henna, and he had thin cheeks.”

Ahmad bin Sinan said: “I saw him with a red beard and hair – i.e. he used to dye them.”


3. Imam Abu ‘Abdillah Ahmad bin Hambal (rah):

Ibn Dharih al-’Ukbari said: “I requested to see Ahmad bin Hambal. So, I greeted him, and he was an old man who dyed his hair. He was tall and extremely dark.”

Muhammad bin ‘Abbas an-Nahwi said: “I saw Ahmad bin Hambal with a handsome face, well-formed, and dyeing his hair with henna that was not too dark. He had black hairs in his beard, and I saw his clothes extremely white. When I saw him, he was wearing a turban and an izar.”


‘Abd al-Malik al-Maymuni said: “I do not know that I have ever seen anyone who wore cleaner clothes, was more attentive to trimming his moustache and grooming the hair on his head and body, or wore purer and whiter garments than Ahmad bin Hambal.”


One man said: “In Khurasan, they did not think that Ahmad resembled a human being. They thought that he resembled the Angels.”


al-Fadl bin Ziyad said: “I saw Abi ‘Abdillah in the winter, and he was wearing two shirts with a colored vest between them, and maybe he was wearing a shirt with a heavy sweater. And I saw him with a turban over a hood and heavy outer garment. So, I heard Aba ‘Imran al-Warkani saying to him: “O Aba ‘Abdillah! All of these clothes?” So, he laughed and said: “I cannot stand the cold,” and he would also wear the hood without a turban.”

al-Fadl bin Ziyad said: “I saw Abi ‘Abdillah in the summer wearing a shirt, trousers, and robe.”


4. Imam Abu ‘Abdillah Malik bin Anas (rah):

‘Isa bin ‘Umar said: “I never saw anything white or red that was more beautiful than the face of Malik, or any clothes whiter than Malik’s.”

And a number of people relate that he was tall, firm, serious, blond, had a white beard and hair, had a large beard, was balding, and would not shave his moustache, as he considered this to be a form of mutilation.

It is said that he had blue eyes, and some of this was narrated by Ibn Sa’d from Mutarraf bin ‘Abdillah.

Muhammad bin ad-Dahhak al-Hizami said: “Malik’s clothes were clean and soft, and he would constantly wear different clothes.”

al-Walid bin Muslim said: “Malik would wear white clothes, and I saw he and al-Awza’i wearing black and green caps.”

Ashhab said: “When Malik would wear a turban, he would wrap part of it under his chin and would leave the ends of it hanging between his shoulders.”

Khalid bin Khidash said: “I saw Malik wearing a cap, and I saw him wearing woven clothes.”

Ashhab said: “If Malik would wear kohl for a necessity, he would remain in his house.”

Mus’ab said: “Malik would wear ‘Adani clothes, and he would wear perfume.”

Abu ‘Asim said: “I never saw a Muhaddith with a more handsome face than Malik’s.”

It is said: “He was so light colored that he was blond. He had wide eyes, a raised, pointed nose, and he would let his moustache grow long based on ‘Umar’s curling of his moustache.”

Ibn Wahb said: “I saw Malik dying his hair with henna once.”

Abu Mus’ab said: “Malik had the most handsome face of the people, the widest of eyes, the whitest skin, and was the greatest of them in height – all in the strongest body.”

al-Waqidi said: “He was well-formed, would not dye his hair, and would not enter the public baths.”

Bishr bin al-Harith said: “I entered upon Malik and saw him wearing a cap that was worth about 500 dirhams.”

Ashhab said: “When Malik would wear a turban, he would wrap part of it under his chin and would leave the ends of it behind his back, and he would scent himself with musk and other scents.”


Collected from Siyar A’lām al-Nubalā

Hazrat Abdullah bin Masud (May Allah be pleased with him).

Monday, 07 July 2014 – 09 Ramadan 1435 H

Today 9th Ramadhan Kareem is the blessed Anniversary of one of the great Companion of RasoolAllahﷺ Muhaddith ul Ummah Sayyidna Abdullah ibn Masud RadiAllahu Anhu…


Saiyyidina Abdullah bin Masud was very close to RasoolAllah ﷺ, RasoolAllah ﷺ used to ask Abdullah bin Masood to deliver a sermon. Abdullah ibn Masud is one of the greatest Companions who has narrated the most Hadees from RasoolAllah ﷺ. Hazrat Abdullah bin Masud & his Mother (ibn Ummi) used to visit the blessed house of RasoolAllahﷺ that the Companions used to think Abdullah bin Masud & His mother are part of the Ahl e Bait (Alaihi Salaam).

Hazrat Imam Abu Daud Tyalasi (RadiAllahu Anhu) narrated the event of the faith of Hazrat Abdullah bin Masud (RadiAllahu Anhu), in his own words;

In my youth, I used to graze herds of Abu Mu’ayt in the outskirts of Makkah. One day, the Holy Prophetﷺ along with Hazrat Abu Bakr (RadiAllahu Anhu) called upon me and said, “O young man! Would you please favour us with some milk to drink?” “I have the milk.” I said, “but I am not to give it to you, for I am trustee over it and I dare not commit a mistrust.” The Holy Prophetﷺ asked as if there was an untouched she-goat with me.

I replied yes and then I brought the one Heﷺ asked for. Hazrat Abu Bakr (RadiAllahu Anhu) got hold of its rope and whilst praying to Allah (S.W.T), Holy Prophetﷺ held its udder in his blessed Hands. The udder immediately filled with milk.

Beloved Prophetﷺ milked the she-goat and gave us the milk to drink. We drank milk first and then the Prophetﷺ. When we all filled our stomachs, Holy Prophetﷺ enjoined the udder to shrink and it shrank back as before.

Witnessing the miracle, I embraced Islam and requested the Holy Prophetﷺ to teach me. Rasoolullahﷺ turned his hand over my head saying, “Allah bless you, you shall be an educated and learned youth.”

By the blessings of the Holy Prophetﷺ, Hazrat Abdullah bin Masud (RadiAllahu Anhu) excelled in learning amongst all the Companions of the Beloved Prophetﷺ.

He (RadiAllahu Anhu) was allowed to appear before the Holy Prophet ﷺ whenever he wanted. He (RadiAllahu Anhu) was also blessed to have served the beloved Prophetﷺ. Hazrat Abdullah bin Masud (RadiAllahu Anhu) used to hold the curtain when the Holy Prophet ﷺ bathed, he helped him to put on and take off his blessed Shoes (Na’lain Paak). Hazrat Abdullah bin Masud (RadiAllahu Anhu) also used to keep the Holy Prophetﷺ’s shoes under his (RadiAllahu Anhu) armpit when the Holy Prophetﷺ took them off. He would carry hisﷺ staff and his Siwak (toothbrush) and attend to his other personal needs. It was for these reasons that the Sahabah (RadiAllahu Anhum) took to calling him Saheb-e-Siwak (bearer of the siwak), Saheb-e-Nalaen (bearer of the slippers), Saheb-e-Mutahara (bearer of the water) and also Saheb-e-Wisadah (bearer of the bedroll).

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (RadiAllahu Anhu) received a unique training in the household of the Prophetﷺ. He was under the  guidance of the Prophetﷺ, he adopted his manner and followed his every trait until it was said of him, “He  was the closest to the Prophetﷺ in character.”

Holy Prophetﷺ also gave Hazrat Abdullah bin Masud (RadiAllahu Anhu) the glad tiding of being delivered, (i.e. being Janathi).

(Al-Syrat-ul-Halbia, Vol.I,p.266 and Al-Syrat-ul-Nabuwat, Ibn-e-Kathir, Vol. I, p.444


  • Hazrat Hudhaifa (RadiAllahu Anhu) narrates RasoolAllah ﷺ said:

“Whatever Abdullah ibn Masud narrates to you, accept it”

(Jamia Tirmidhi, Kitab ul ilm, Volume 2, Page 1124 Hadith 1044)


  • Narrated Abu Musa (RadiAllahu Anhu):

“My brother and I came from Yemen (to Medina) and remained for some time, thinking that Ibn Masud and his mother belonged to the family of the Prophet because of their frequent entrance (upon the Prophet) and their being attached to him.”

(Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 667 )


  • ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (RadiAllahu Anhu) said: The Messenger of Allahﷺ commanded Ibn Mas’ood, so he climbed a tree to get something from the tree top for the Prophetﷺ. While climbing, his legs became exposed and the Companions saw how thin they were and this caused them to laugh. The Messenger of Allahﷺ said:

What are you laughing at? At the legs of ‘Abdullah that will heavier on the scale on the Day of Qiyaamah than the weight of mount Uhud?

(Musnad Ahmad, Abi Ya’la, Mu’jam al-Tabarani) 


  • Narrated by Masriq (RadiAllahu Anhu)

‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr mentioned ‘Abdullah bin Masud and said, “I shall ever love that man, for I heard the Prophet saying, ‘Take (learn) the Qur’an from four: ‘Abdullah bin Masud, Salim, Mu’adh and Ubai bin Ka’b.’ ”

(Volume 6, Book 61, Number 521 )




Allah has given us many blessings. The most important of these blessings is intelligence. We distinguish right from wrong, and good from evil thanks to our intelligence. For this reason, intelligence and thinking are among the fundamental characteristics of human beings that distinguish us from other living beings. The blessing of intelligence brings along with it responsibility. That is because God, Who
gave us these blessings, did not leave us alone and irresponsible.

He commanded the things that are beneficial and good for us and forbade the things that are harmful and bad for us. He held us accountable for some duties that enable our worldly and next-worldly happiness and He commanded us to perform those duties. Thus, these duties and deeds that we are commanded to perform or avoid are called “Religious Liabilities.”

When does one enter puberty?
The time of puberty in children occurs depending on the children’s body structure and the climate. In general, puberty takes place around age 12 to 15 for boys and age 9 to 15 for girls. After age fifteen, a boy or girl is considered mature and becomes responsible for obeying our beautiful religion’s commands and prohibitions even if the child doesn’t show the signs of puberty.

What Does Legally-responsible Mean?
The individuals who have reached the age of puberty and who are of sound mind and therefore responsible to obey our religion’s commands and prohibitions are called “legally- responsible” (mukallaf). Insane people and children who have not reached the age of puberty are not legally-responsible.


Obligatory/ Al-Fardh: These are the acts of worship that are definitely commanded to perform by our religion. For example, performing five daily ritual prayers, fasting, and paying poor-due (Zakat) are obligatory. Whoever performs the obligatory acts gain divine rewards (thawab). Whoever does not perform them, short of a valid excuse, would be committing sin. If someone does not believe in even one of the obligatory acts or does not acknowledge that it is obligatory would abandon the religion of Islam.

Fardhs are of two kinds:

a) Obligatory on Individuals (Fardh al-Ayn):
These are the obligatory acts that each legally-responsible Muslim is tasked with fulfilling personally. For example, praying five times
a day and fasting are obligatory on individuals (fardh al-ayn).

b) Obligatory on the Community (Fardhal-Kifayah):
These obligatory acts are fulfilled even if only some Muslims do them. In this case, the responsibility is lifted from other Muslims. If no one fulfills such obligatory acts, then all Muslims are responsible. For example, when a Muslim passes away, if a group of Muslims performs the funeral prayer, the responsibility is being lifted from the entire Muslim community in that region.

Al-Wajib: These are orders that are determined through evidence that is not as definitive as the evidence for the obligatory acts. For example, performing Festival prayers (Salah al- Eid), giving alms to the poor in the month of Ramadan (Fitr), and sacrificing an animal during Eid-ul-Adha are necessary (wajib). As in the case of obligatory acts (fardhs), whoever performs the wajib acts gains divine rewards (thawab) and whoever does not becomes a sinner. However, while a person who denies a fardh abandons the religion, if someone denies a wajib, he or she does not abandon the religion.

Sunnah: These are the acts that are not among the obligatory and necessary ones, but they were performed by our Prophet and are
advised for us. Traditions (al-Sunnah) are of two groups:

a) Emphasized Tradition (Sunnah Muakkadah):
Those are the traditions (sunnahs) that our Prophet ﷺ would always perform and hardly ever missed. For example, parts of Morning (Dawn) Prayer (Salat al-Fajr), and Noon Prayer (Salat al-Zuhr), Sunset Prayer (Salat al-Maghrib), and Tarawih Prayer (Salat-al-Tarawih) are all sunnah Muakkadah. (Ritual prayers are composed of parts that are obligatory and non-obligatory.)

b) Non-continuous tradition (Sunnah al-Ghayri muakkadah):
These are the acts or worship that our Prophet ﷺ occasionally performed and sometimes did not. For example, the sunnah parts of the Afternoon Prayer (Salah al-Asr) and Night Prayer (Salah al-Isha’) are non-emphasized traditions (sunnah Ghayr mu’akkadah). One who performs the sunnah gains divine rewards (thawab),and in the hereafter, he or she would be blessed by the Prophet’s (blessings and peace be upon him) intercession. The one who abandons the sunnah would miss the opportunity to gain divine rewards (thawab).

Al-Mustahabb: Mustahabb: These are the acts that are good and nice to perform according to our religion’s general guidelines. They are
also called “nafilah/ supererogatory” or “mandub/ praiseworthy.” For example, Performing the mid-morning ritual prayer (Salat al-Duha), fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, giving nonobligatory alms to the poor (Sadaqah), and giving gifts to each other are Mustahabb. One who does these liked and appreciated acts gains divine rewards (thawab), and one who does not engage in them does not commit a sin.

Al-Mubah: These are the acts that people are free to do or not to do. When we perform an ordinary act, we do not gain any divine reward (thawab) and, if we do not do it, it does not incur any sin. For example, sitting, walking, or sleeping are all mubah acts.

Al-Makruh: These are the acts and behaviors that are not welcome and are considered bad in our religion. There are two kinds of

a) Makruh Tahriman (Disliked, but closer to Forbidden):
These are the acts that are forbidden even though not based on evidence that is not as strong as would warrant them to be haram (forbidden). One who performs this kind of Makruh becomes a sinner. For example smoking, not performing the Ritual Festival Prayers (Salatal- Eidain), and performing the Late Afternoon Prayer (Salat al-Asr) when it is almost sunset without an important excuse – rather than performing it on time – is all considered Makruh.

b) Makruh Tanzihan (Disliked, but closer to permissible):
Those are the acts and behaviors that are not considered nice in our religion. One who engages in this kind of Makruh would not be a sinner but nevertheless commits an act that is not nice. For example, cleaning one’s nose with his right hand is considered makruh tanzihan.

Haram: Those acts that are strictly prohibited by definite evidence by our religion. For example, killing a person without a just cause, stealing, drinking intoxicating drinks, adultery, gambling, eating pork, rebelling against one’s parents, and gossiping are all
haram. The one who performs haram is considered as having disobeyed God and commits a big sin. The ones who distance themselves from haram acts gain the love of God and divine rewards. The ones who deny that such acts are haram, or who consider them halal/permissible abandon Islam.

Mufsid: Those things that cancel or annul any worship (ibadah) that has already begun. For example, talking during prayer (salah) and taking any food-like substance or drinking while fasting. The worship that has been annulled should be redone.


An Excerpt from “My Beautiful Religion: According to the Hanafi School”


Sunnism is respect?

How do we know if scholars are Ahle sunnah ahle jamaat? Is there a special verification system one must take into consideration? If so what is the verification system so we may use it when we are reading books written by scholars we haven’t heard of.

Wa `alaykum as-Salam

Sunnis hold the greatest love for the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, his Family, and all his Companions. Further, they hold in the highest respect the imams and righteous followers of the schools of Ahl al-Sunna on three broad lines:

1. The schools of doctrine i.e. Ash`aris and Maturidis.

2. The schools of jurisprudence i.e. Hanafis, Malikis, Shafi`is, Hanbalis.

3. The schools of tasawwuf i.e. the known Tariqas.

When you detect the slightest whiff of disrespect for any of the above, you have been given the first sign that you are in the presence of a disconnected, unbeneficial person. The early sufis recognized such persons even from a distance, from their appearance. Hence the saying of one of the sufis in the hadith Master al-Malini’s _Forty hadiths from the Sufi Shuyukh_: “One whose appearance does not benefit you, his words will not benefit you either” i.e. since his appearance does not remind you of Allah Most High, do not expect his words to.

-Shaykh Hajj Gibril