New to Islam?
Answer by Mufti Abdur Rahman Ibn Yusuf and Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
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).
Choosing a school to study and follow is a decision which should be based on accessibility of material and scholars of that school, rather than anything else.
It is difficult to say which the easiest school to follow is. Each school has certain issues which would be considered more difficult than what is fond in another school and some issues which would be considered easier.Hence, inquire around your area to see what is the madhhab that most people follow and have access to. If there are proficient scholars of the Hanafi school found in your area, then take up that school by learning the basics rules of everyday worship from them or by reading a text under their guidance then consult them on any deeper issues that arise. Likewise, if you find scholars from the Shafi'i or Maliki school, and have access to them or the relevant materials then adopt that school.------------------My Comment: One fiqh:The response was formulated to give a general guidance for average muslim and is by the highly respected scholar with speacility in Islamic scinence, one being a faqih expert in IFTA, one of the toughest sciences to master.As a layperson with limited knowldge other then being able to understand some basic text, I lack the ability or the capacity to decifer inorder to obtain ruling of Shariah. The shariah was understood and applied by the notable sahabas (RAD) differently and as such my humble and limited knowldge prevents me from making such a bold claim that there was always one fiqh.
Anyway, the lecture titled 'Juristic Differences' by Shaikh Abu Yusuf Ryadul Haq inshallah will give you some appreciation into this vast and complex islamic sciences
Authentic Fiqh:There are two types of law, absolute and speculative. The absolute law has no room for difference of opinions in them. The speculative laws have more than one possible meaning. There were many schools of thought/ Jurisprudance [pl. Madhhaahib. singular = Madhhab] before but many died out. Due to this, only 4 extensively stood the test of time. All are correct since they differ in terms of interpreting the speculative laws.
In my limited knowldge, I can't say which jurisprudance is more authentic. It is like comparing apple with pear. There are various Hanafi scholars for instance who wrote extensively in Malaki Fiqh. Malaki Fiqh uses tradition practiced by people of madina where sahaba lived, similarly hanafi fiqh is developed in Iraq where notable Sahaba such as Ibn Masud (RAD) and many other notable sahaba taught. Imam At Tahawiya (acce[ted view of Muslim Creed] for instance followed Hanafi Fiqh, Ibn Rajab & Ibn Taymiah followed Hambaly fiqh, Imam Bukhari studied Shafi fiqh as well with Imam Ghazali. Many of times, people with limited knowldge try to weigh one against one another, forgetting Imam Matrudi and Imam ashari are two side of the same coin, similar is the case for accepted view of scholars. Most scholarly reverts like Imam Abdusamad Clark, learnt the malaki fiqh with whom I liase regularly works closely with Hanafi scholars in translating classical books. Just for information I follow Hanafi Fiqh/ jurisprudance and I remember Imam Abdusamad Clark stating that Islamic view point is not driven by personality'. Ustad Abdul Hakim Murad (shafi)adds it is about following due process/usul, and Shaikh Ryadul Haq (Hanafi) states knolwdge is not knowledge if not accompanied with humility and realisation. One only realises it after apprciation and following due process in seeking knowldge. Hence process is more important then which fiqh you study. The 3 pointer are simple keys to start the process of seeking knowldge of shariah.
In todays age, it is rare for anyone to master more then one fiqh. If one is able to do so, good on him. Life experience is about priorotising so that our small and humble effort is accepted by the Most sublime, the Most Merciful in this life and in the hereafter. For most of us, in addition to learning one fiqh, there are ibadah we can engage in for gaining nearness of Allah by performing Sunnah and Nawafil act i.e Adkar, reciting Quran and pondering over it, charity work, helping the needy and aged, dawah and being with those who are forgotten by most of us and to summerise be a good human so that Allah, the most Sublime makes us of his favoured servent.