“The Sufi Has No Madhab”

salamu `alaykum

It is said:

الصوفي لا مذهب له

“The Sufi has no madhab for himself.”

Hakimul Ummah Maulana Ashraf `Ali Thanawi (May Allah sanctify his secret) stated in explanation of the above:

“This does not mean that the Sufi is one without a school of thought (la madhab) but that he is careful and excercises caution in every matter. This is called piety and God-fearingnes. Our fuqaha (the scholars of law) have explained this as well stating that avoiding differences of opinion (khilaf) is recommended (mustahab) as long as doing so does not entail committing a disliked (s: whether ‘slight’ or otherwise; also leaving the difference should not make one fall into another difference and the difference should have some basis (Suyuti)) action in one’s own school.”

(Anfaase `Isa, Pg: 282)

Among the scholars who mentioned the principle that avoiding differences is recommended are Imam Suyuti in his al Ashbah al Nadha’ir, Imam Khadimi in his Sharh Tariqa al Muhammadiyya, Imam Nawawi, and many others.

It is related that Al Bistami said that the Sufi should acquire enough knowledge that would make his actions in accordance with the Law according to the position of all four schools. The underlying reasoning behind this, according to Imam Khadimi, is that even though one considers his school to be correct, there still remains a possibility of error on specific issues. Thus, for example, the books of fiqh mention that it is recommended to renew ablution when one touches a woman – to avoid the difference of opinion with the Shafi`i school. (Maraqi al Falah, Al Durr)

Al Bistami also said:

وَأَمَّا الرُّخَصُ فَيَجِبُ تَرْكُهَا عَلَى كُلِّ حَالٍ اتِّفَاقًا

“As for dispensations, it is necessary to leave it at all costs.”

This is the path of taqwa.




Filed under Fiqh/Law, Tasawwuf

4 responses to ““The Sufi Has No Madhab”

  1. Jazakallah khyr for this information. Something we all should try to implement in your lives inshalah

    in need of duas


  2. I’m so blog-rolling this blog.

  3. s

    “School of thought” is not madhhab, at least in the previous quote. “School of law” or “jurisprudence” is a better translation. There is a huge difference from “thought” and “law” sidi.

  4. salamu `alaykum

    Although “schools of law” describes the word more accurately, conventional translations (and qualified translators) do not consider rendering the word madhab as “school of thought” to be inaccurate nor incorrect.

    A number of scholars I know have translated it as such, including Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam, Shaykh Suhail Hanif, Shaykh Faraz, and others. As Shaykh Nuh says:

    “In a larger sense, a madhhab represents the entire school of thought of a particular mujtahid Imam, such as Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi’i, or Ahmad–together with many first-rank scholars that came after each of these in their respective schools, who checked their evidences and refined and upgraded their work.”

    I hope that clarifies the issue.


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