Can we follow an opinion from another Madhab? Is it permitted to take a Rukhsah (legal dispensation) from another Madhab?



Islamic Text

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah Most Merciful Most Kind

Short Answer

When there is a valid Ikhtilaaf (difference of opinion) amongst authoritative scholars, then it is permitted to follow it even if it is not from one’s own Madhab. This is called taking a Rukhsah.

Can we follow another madhab?

فَسْئَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ لا تَعْلَمُونَ

Ask the people of remembrance if you do not know. (Surah al-Nahl, 43).

In the Hanafi Madhab, taking a Rukhsah to follow another Madhab is permitted with two conditions.

  1. When taking an opinion, it cannot be weak
  2. The Rukhsah cannot lead to Talfeeq.
What do Classical Scholars say on following another madhab?

In Fath al-Qadeer, Ibn Humaam said:

وَأَنَا لَا أَدْرِي مَا يَمْنَعُ هَذَا مِنْ النَّقْلِ أَوْ الْعَقْلِ وَكَوْنُ الْإِنْسَانِ يَتَّبِعُ مَا هُوَ أَخَفُّ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ مِنْ قَوْلِ مُجْتَهِدٍ مُسَوَّغٌ لَهُ الِاجْتِهَادُ مَا عَلِمْت مِنْ الشَّرْعِ ذَمَّهُ عَلَيْهِ، وَكَانَ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – يُحِبُّ مَا خَفَّفَ عَنْ أُمَّتِهِ، وَاَللَّهُ سُبْحَانَهُ أَعْلَمُ بِالصَّوَابِ.

I do not know of anything that prevents a person from taking Rukhsah regularly neither from text (Quran and Hadith) nor Aql (rationality). Rather, a person consistently following what is easy for him by taking from a qualified Mujtahid has no blame in Shari’ah. The Prophet used to love things that made it easier for his Ummah. And Allah (Most High) knows best.

In Radd al-Muhtaar, Ibn Abideen said:

وَأَمَّا لَوْ صَلَّى يَوْمًا عَلَى مَذْهَبٍ وَأَرَادَ أَنْ يُصَلِّيَ يَوْمًا آخَرَ عَلَى غَيْرِهِ فَلَا يُمْنَعُ مِنْهُ

If a person were to pray according to a Madhab one day and wanted to pray according to another Madhab on another day, then there is nothing preventing him from doing so.

How should we follow another madhab?

As mentioned earlier, two conditions must be fulfilled: a sound opinion; and avoiding Talfeeq.

1. What is a Sound opinion from one of the four Madhabs?

The first condition of taking a Rukhsah is that it must be a sound opinion. Therefore, it must be an opinion from one of the four Madhabs of Ahl Sunnah (or other recognised Mujtahids).

Additionally, it must be a sound opinion in that Madhab, not a weak opinion. This must be ascertained from a reliable source and not merely hearsay.

2. What is Talfeeq?

The second condition is to avoid Talfeeq. This means to mix between the Madhaahib in such a way that the action will be invalid according to all.

Ibn Abideen gives the example of a person who bleeds, then touches a woman and then prays Salah. His prayer is invalid in the Hanafi Madhab due to bleeding, and in the Shafi Madhab it is invalid due to touching a woman.

(الْحُكْمَ الْمُلَفَّقَ بَاطِلٌ بِالْإِجْمَاعِ (الدر المختار
(مِثَالُهُ: مُتَوَضِّئٌ سَالَ مِنْ بَدَنِهِ دَمٌ وَلَمَسَ امْرَأَةً ثُمَّ صَلَّى فَإِنَّ صِحَّةَ هَذِهِ الصَّلَاةِ مُلَفَّقَةٌ مِنْ مَذْهَبِ الشَّافِعِيِّ وَالْحَنَفِيِّ وَالتَّلْفِيقُ بَاطِلٌ، فَصِحَّتُهُ مُنْتَفِيَةٌ. (رد المحتار

Haskafi: The ruling regarding Talfeeq is that it is Batil (invalid) by agreement (Ijmaa).

Ibn Abideen: An example of it is, a person made Wudu and then blood flowed from his body, then he touched a woman, and then prayed. The validity of this prayer would depend upon Talfeeq (mixing) between the Shafi and Hanafi Madhabs, and Talfeeq is Batil (invalid). Therefore the validity of the prayer is negated (i.e. the prayer is invalid). (Radd al-Muhtaar).

Imam Tahtawi said in his Haashiyah on Maraaqi al-Falaah:

ولا بأس بالتقليد كما في البحر والنهر لكن بشرط أن يلتزم جميع ما يوجبه ذلك الإمام لأن الحكم الملفق باطل بالإجماع

There is nothing wrong with following (another Madhab), as has been mentioned in al-Bahr and al-Nahr. However, it is a condition that he observe everything that Imam obliges, because Talfeeq is Batil (invalid) by agreement (Ijmaa).

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen (04.01.2021)