Subject : Aberrant Opinion in Islamic Jurisprudence and Ruling on Following it
Fatwa Number : 3488
Date : 14-04-2019
Classified : "Principles of Fiqh "Jurisprudence
Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

You have stated in some fatwas on your website that it isn`t permissible to deliver fatwas based on aberrant opinions. Could you clarify what you mean by "Aberrant opinion"? And whether not following the four Madhabs (Schools of thought) is an aberrant opinion or not, because some Muslim countries follow the opinion of Ibn Taymyah who considers three divorces in one sitting as only one valid divorce? Is this fatwa aberrant?

The Answer :

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Delivering fatwas is of crucial importance and has a serious impact on the life of the Muslim nation. A fatwa is simply a legal ruling which Allah commands people to follow so that they are duly rewarded in this life and the next. Allah commands the Muslim who doesn`t know a certain ruling to ask one of the reliable scholars since He the Almighty said, "So ask the followers of the Remembrance if you do not know’."{An-Nahil, 43}.

To be on the safe side, a Muslim should obtain religious knowledge from knowledgeable and trustworthy scholars. Ibn Sirene (May Allah have mercy on him) said, "Indeed, these fatwas are rulings of Sharia, so beware of whom you take them from."

The prime religious authorities in this regard are the four Madhabs upon whose credibility the Muslim nation has unanimously agreed, and whoever follows any of them will be admitted to Jannah/paradise Insha`Allah, as reported by many a scholar. Therefore, it is safer for a Muslim to follow these Madhabs and not reject them, but this doesn`t mean that it is impermissible to follow other sayings that are based on sound Sharia evidence, but , mostly, the truth lies within one of these four.

Following are some sayings of scholars about the four Madhabs: Ibn Al-Salah stated in {Adab Al-Mufti Wa Al-Mostafti, 162}, "It isn`t permissible for a Muslim to follow the Madhab of a scholar from the companions and their followers, even if they were more knowledgeable in Sharia matters and enjoyed a higher status than those who came after them, because they haven`t recorded that Sharia knowledge nor regulated its fundamentals or branches, and none of them had an edited, reliable, disciplined Madhab."

An-Nafrawi, a Maliki scholar, said, "There is consensus amongst Muslims, today, that it is obligatory to follow one of the four Imams: Imam Abu Haneefah, Imam Maalik, Imam al-Shaafa’i and Imam Ahmad, and that it is prohibited to reject their Madhabs. Rather, it is prohibited to follow other than these four Mujtahideen. This is because other Mujthahideen haven`t recorded their Sharia knowledge nor regulated its fundamentals or branches, and none of them had an edited, reliable, disciplined Madhab."{Al-Fawakih Al-Dawani, 2/356}.

Confusion in fatwas, nowadays, isn`t due to confusion in Sharia itself, because it is safeguarded against that as it is a source of wisdom, benefit and unity for the word of the Muslim nation. This confusion is because some unqualified fatwa issuing individuals claim to be doing Ijtihad although they lack the right tools to do that, such as knowledge of the Quran and the Sunnah, Ijma`, Qiyas, mastery of Arabic language, morphology and syntax, parsing, the abrogating and the abrogated, custom………. Allah the Almighty says, "Then We set you upon a [clear] course of the commandment; so follow it, and do not follow the desires of those who do not know."{Al-Jathyah, 18}.

As for the aberrant opinion in Islamic jurisprudence, it is based on two considerations:

First: That which contradicts the Quran, the Sunnah, the Ijma`, the clear Qiyas, or that which contradicts the general rules of Sharia, or that which is based on inconsiderable evidence. It isn`t permissible to act upon these because they clearly violate the aforementioned evidences. However, scholars could differ in describing some fatwas as aberrant, but this is limited to some cases.

Second: That which contradicts the reliable opinion of the Madhabs since there is a strong and a weak opinion in each Madhab where the latter is described by the scholars of that Madhab as aberrant. This doesn`t mean that such an opinion is totally rejected; rather, scholars have allowed acting upon it and delivering fatwas based on it at times of necessity. As for the aberrant opinion according to the first consideration, it isn`t permissible to act upon nor deliver a fatwa on its basis. As for considering the three divorces issued in one sitting as only one valid divorce, this fatwa is aberrant according to the second consideration, not the first, because it is based on considerable Ijtihad within evidences from Sharia, even if it contradicted the Ijtihad of the four Imams.

Moreover, it isn`t permissible to describe an opinion that rests on considerable evidence as aberrant. Rather, it is permissible to act upon such an opinion when there is a necessity; particularly if it was adopted by the ruler within the framework of the Sharia policy, was stated by some early scholars, and reported by a number of companions and followers. The eminent scholar At-Tahir Ibn Ashoor, a Maliki, says, " Ali Bin Abi Talib, Ibn Mas`oud, Ibn Awoof…………. And Ibn Taymeyah says: the three divorces issued in one sitting is considered only one valid divorce, and this the stronger opinion according to Sharia evidence."{At-Tahrir wa At-Tanweer}. And Allah the Almighty knows best.



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