As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 5


Taqleed in Practical Application

Taqleed in Practical Application
We have mentioned the disagreement of the students of Imam Abu Haneefah with their teacher.
So when such a situation arises,

What do the Deobandis do after they have committed themselves to the Taqleed of an individual Imam?
            They follow the opinions of Imam Abu Haneefah on some matters and follow the opinions of the later Hanafis on other matters.

Who decides which opinion is better and more appropriate?
            This was done by the scholars of the Hanafi Madhhab who emerged after the fourth century of Islam (two centuries after the death of Imam Abu Haneefah). They decided on which opinions were to be favored (given tarjeeh) over others, resulting in the selection of the ‘official position’ or ruling of the Madhhab.

Does the decision-making on the most valid opinion end at this, or is there room for still differing with the Madhhab's position?
            The Deobandis have been forced in the past and recent times to differ with some of the position of their Madhhab because of the much undesirable effect it has caused them. Here are two examples:

(1) Regulation regarding the missing husband: The ruling of the Hanafee Madhhab is as Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi says in Bahishti Zewar (part.10, p.244),

‘If a woman’s husband is absconding and it is not known whether he is dead or alive, then the woman cannot marry another person immediately, but she should wait for him with the hope that he might come back. When she has waited so long that the age of the husband is presumed to be ninety years, now it will be decreed that he might have died by now, so if the woman is still young and also wants to marry someone else, she can do so after observing Iddat, provided the absconding man has been declared as dead by a religious judge.’

Mentioned in Malfoozat Hakimul-Ummat (A Collection of the Sayings of Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi) vol.8, p.37,

‘Once someone came to Ashraf Ali Thanvi and said, ‘The issue of Mafqood al-Khabr (missing husband) next to Imam Sahib (i.e., Imam Abu Haneefah) is a big problem (difficult).’ He (Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi) retorted saying, ‘Yes, there is a big problem. And the issue of warfare mentioned in the Qur’aan has greater difficulty. So, remove this too from the Qur’aan.’

Despite the strong stance of the previous Deobandis, the contemporary Deobandis follow the Madhhab of Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad Ibn Hambal which prescribes a waiting period of four years. As Mufti Abdur-Rahim Lajpuri says, in Fatawa Rahimiyah,

‘…and nowadays Hanafee jurists also… issue fatawa as per Imam Malik’s Madhhab for a period of four years.’ [Fatawa Rahimiyah, part.2, p.112 (Regulation regarding the missing husband)]

Comment: According to Moulana Ashraf Alee Thanwi, abandoning an Ijtihadi view, which is an opinion of the Hanafi jurists, is akin to abandoning something which is directly referred to in the Qur'aan. This is exactly the same attitude one now sees in the Deobandi support for the fatawa on the Imrana issue. The fatawa is based on an incorrect interpretation of the Qur'aanic verse which does not relate to the case of Imrana in the first place, and yet, they insist that their decision is the decision of the Qur'aan which none can disagree with.

(2) Using Zakaat money for religious Madrasas: According to the Hanafi Madhhab, the money from Zakaat cannot be paid to finance religious Madrasas (schools). This stems from the prohibition in the Hanafi Madhhab for charging money for teaching the Qur’aan. These rulings have caused a big problem for the Hanafi-Deobandis in running their Madrasas. Whilst they cannot abandon the Hanafi Madhhab on these issues, they have formulated ways by which they can go around these restrictions. They give huge sums of money as Zakaat to the poverty-stricken and Zakaat-deserving students of their Madrasas, who in turn are expected to give this money back to the Madrasa as charity (Sadaqah). Therefore, the restriction of their Madhhab in not using Zakaat money for these Madrasas is upheld, whilst money collected in the form of Zakaat is used indirectly to run these Madrasas. Mufti Abdul Rahim Lajpuri has been asked about the permissibility of this method and he has ruled it to be permissible provided the poor students do not do it out of compulsion. This is mentioned in Fatawa Rahimiyah (vol. 2, fatawa no. 4, p. 7)]

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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