Powered by UITechs
Get password? Username Password
Page 1 of 1

  Reply to Topic    Printer Friendly 


Topic initiated on Sunday, October 15, 2006  -  1:10 PM Reply with quote
The position of the four schools of thought

Islam spread into wide areas shortly after the Prophet’s death. Life in these areas presented numerous situations which had no ruling in the Qur’an and the Sunnah to show the Muslims how to behave concerning them. Moreover, the passage of time presents new situations and problems, all of which need to be considered in the light of Islam, so as to determine the right Islamic conduct concerning them. This means that scholars need to come up with answers to such questions on the basis of Islamic teachings outlined in the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

Muslim scholars started to do so right from the early days of Islam. The Prophet’s companions included a number of scholars who were able to deduce rulings on the basis of the Qur’an and what they heard the Prophet saying in different situations. This established a tradition of construction and deduction which allowed that a ruling is available to cater for all cases. Over a period of two or three generations, the process led to a movement towards schools of thought or schools of law in various areas. With the turn of the first century of the Islamic era, the founders of some of these schools were looking into all matters relevant to Islamic life in their generation. We find Imam Malik in Madinah and Imam Abu Haneefah in Iraq distinguished for their scholarship and having students from far and wide learning under them. A short while later, Imam El-Shafie and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal gained wide fame and reputation.

A school of thought is established through a process of several generations of scholars following the same lines of deduction and construction. These scholars will also be of high calibre, able to deduce new rulings for new situations. They follow the same lines as their school and its founder.

In the history of Islam, there were numerous scholars of high calibre. They continued the tradition of diligent scholarship. At the time of the founders of the four schools, there were many others who were of equal and even better calibre, and they ruled on numerous questions, but there were not many scholars over several generations to follow in their tradition. That is why they did not become associated with independent schools of thought. Otherwise their views remain valid in the questions they considered. There is no virtue in having only four schools of thought. Indeed we have many more.

There is no ruling that one must follow a single school of thought. Indeed, very rarely anyone does that. A scholar who has studied these schools of thought will take rulings from each, according to suitability to different situations. If he is considering a question put to him, he will try to give the ruling which is most suitable for the person concerned, with little regard to the person’s own school of thought. That is because there is no obligation to follow any of them. For example, if a couple get married and the woman’s father or guardian is not present. The woman acts for herself and consents to the marriage in front of witnesses. If the case is put to a scholar, he does not ask the couple which school of thought they follow. He will rule that the marriage is valid, in spite of the fact that three schools of thought do not approve of it. He will take the fourth school’s view which approves of it, because otherwise he would make the couple adulterers and their children illegitimate.

An ordinary person will not realize what rulings are made on the basis of qiyas, or analogy, and ijmaa’, or unanimity of scholars. When he is told of a ruling that has been approved by scholars, he should implement it unless he has a legitimate objection to it on the basis of accurate knowledge of the Qur’an and Sunnah.


Posted - Sunday, October 15, 2006  -  1:12 PM Reply with quote
Is it necessary for a Muslim to belong to a particular School of Thought?

No right thinking Muslim can ignore the services and contribution of the great Fiq’h scholars. The Qur’an orders us to follow them (Men of authority in their respective fields) in all such matters on which different authorities of a particular field are unanimous. But if the authentic authorities differ on a subject, that issue should be referred to Qur’an and Hadith for guidance. There is no room for choice in this matter. This is a very specific and clear cut order of Almighty Allah.

“O believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and the persons of authority among you. But if you differ about anything, refer it to Allah and the Apostle if you truly believe in Allah and the Last Day. That (only) is the best (course) and a just interpretation.” [4:59]

Swearing allegiance to a particular scholar with such ardour that the followers become a sect is against the spirit of Islam. The great Fiq’h scholars never advocated it themselves. The Holy Qur’an denounces the sectarianism in no uncertain words; “Cling one and all to the Rope of Allah and be not divided among yourselves..” (3:103)

“Be not like those who became divided and opposed to one another after clear signs have been given them. For them is a stern chastisement.” (3:105)

“Have nothing to do with those who have split up their religion into sects. Allah will call them to account and declare to them what they have done.” (6:159)

How can the Muslims, the believers in One God, His Message the Qur’an and followers of the Prophet whose every word and action is recorded in history, be divided to become sects. The Qur’an says that it is Mushrikeen (those who ascribe partners to Allah who become divided to the extent of becoming sects.

“...And be not of those who associate others with Allah, those who split up their religion and became sects, each exulting in its own belief.” (30:31-32)


Reply to Topic    Printer Friendly
Jump To:

Page 1 of 1

Share |

Copyright Studying-Islam © 2003-7  | Privacy Policy  | Code of Conduct  | An Affiliate of Al-Mawrid Institute of Islamic Sciences ®

eXTReMe Tracker