Assalamu alaikum wr wb,
I have gone through the detailed article on the purposes, benefits and necessity of taqlid recently uploaded on your website. It was truly enlightening mashaAllah.
I just request you to clarify one tiny confusion for me. While I understand that following one Madhhab in all matters is a way closer to taqwa, How can we relate the following hadith to it:
“Whenever the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) was given the choice of one of two matters; he would choose the easier of the two as long as it was not sinful to do so.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
So how can something that is the blessed sunnah of the beloved prophet; choosing ease, can be sinful for us?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
You would have understood from the article, had Taqlid not been constricted to only one school of thought, the general masses would conveniently practice on only the easiest rulings of each school. At times, this would lead them to abandon all four schools concurrently on one act. This would inevitably lead to contradictions and errors and will ultimately lead to introducing a new school which is based on carnal desires and opposes the practices of our pious predecessors.
A famous example given is, that suppose a person performs wudu, and thereafter gets cut on his finger which causes him to bleed. According to the Hanafi ‘Ulama,, his wudu is broken, whereas according to the Shafi’ ‘Ulama his wudu is still intact. In order to avoid making wudu, he takes the Shafi’ view on this matter. This man then touches his wife with desire; according to the Shafi’ opinion his wudu is broken, whereas according to the Hanafi school of thought his wudu is still perfect. Seeing that the Hanafi view is easier on this issue, he chooses to follow that school of thought. He thereafter consumes camel meat which nullifies his wudu according to the Hanbali School. He finds that there is more ease in following the view of those who say that camel meat does not invalidate one’s wudu and therefore chooses to follow their view. Thereafter, he stands up to perform prayers. It is clear that according to the vast majority of Scholars his prayer will not be valid. His worship will be based more on human ego rather than Qur’an and Hadith and his entire deen will be unsystematic. The prohibition of following one’s ego is emphatically prohibited in the Qur’an and Hadith. Consider the following verses:
أَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَهَهُ هَوَاهُ أَفَأَنْتَ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ وَكِيلًا
Tell me about the one who has taken his desire as his god, would you then, become a guardian for him?(Al-Furqan 43)
أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَهَهُ هَوَاهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّهُ عَلَى عِلْمٍ وَخَتَمَ عَلَى سَمْعِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَجَعَلَ عَلَى بَصَرِهِ غِشَاوَةً فَمَنْ يَهْدِيهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ اللَّهِ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ
So, have you seen him who has taken his desires as his God, and Allah has let him go astray, despite having knowledge, and has sealed his ear and his heart, and put a cover on his eye? Now who will guide him after Allah? Still, do you not take lesson? (Al-Jathiya 23)
It is precisely for this reason that Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) stated, “Our deen is systemized through taqlid.” (Ashraf al-Jawab, 161)
Coming to the hadith you quoted in your query, firstly, the Hadith must be understood correctly, and what is meant by ‘two matters’. The exact wording of it is as follows:
حدثنا عبد الله بن يوسف أخبرنا مالك عن ابن شهاب عن عروة بن الزبير عن عائشة رضي الله عنها أنها قالت : ما خير رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم بين أمرين إلا أخذ أيسرهما ما لم يكن إثما فإن كان إثما كان أبعد الناس منه وما انتقم رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم لنفسه إلا أن تنتهك حرمة الله فينتقم لله بها – صحيح البخاري (3/1306) دار ابن كثير ، اليمامة
“Never was Nabi (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) given a choice between two matters except that he would chose the easier of the two as long as it was not a sin. If it was a sin, then He (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) would be the furthest from it…” (Sahih al-Bukhari 3/2477)
Hafidh Ibn Hajar mentions, the two matters here refers to worldly matters and not matters of Deen, as there is no sin in matters of Deen.(Fathul Baari)
The famous Maliki Jurist and Hadith commentator, ‘Allama Abul Walid al-Baji (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) writes:
قول عائشة رضي الله عنها ما خير رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بين أمرين إلا اختار أيسرهما يحتمل أن يريد بذلك ما خيره الله عز وجل بين أمرين من الأعمال مما يكلفه أمته إلا اختار أيسرهما وأرفقهما بأمته ، ويحتمل أن يريد ما خيره الله تعالى بين عقوبتين ينزلهما بمن عصاه وخالفه إلا اختار أيسرهما ، ويحتمل أن يريد بذلك ما خيره أحد من أمته ممن لم يدخل في طاعته ولا آمن به بين أمرين كان في أحدهما موادعة ومسالمة وفي الآخر محاربة أو مشاقة إلا اختار ما فيه الموادعة ، وذلك قبل أن يؤمر بالمجاهدة ومنع الموادعة ، ويحتمل أن يريد به جميع أوقاته ، وذلك بأن يخيره بين الحرب وأداء الجزية فإنه كان يأخذ بالأيسر فقبل منهم الجزية ، ويحتمل أن يريد به أن أمته المؤمنين لم يخيروه بين التزام الشدة في العبادة وبين الأخذ بما يجب عليهم من ذلك إلا اختار لهم أيسرهما رفقا بهم ونظرا لهم وخوفا أن يكتب عليهم أشقهما فيعجزوا عنها – المنتقى شرح الموطأ (4/286)
“…It is possible that the meaning is Allah never gave Nabi (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) a choice between two actions which the followers of his ummah were imposed with, except that he would choose the easier of the two and the more considerate for his Ummah. It can also mean that Allah did not give him a choice between two punishments that would come upon the disobeyers and those that go against him except that he would choose the easier of the two. It can also have the meaning that never did a person who has not entered his obedience and has not brought faith in him give him an option of two things; one being a peace and truce and the other being war and hardship except that he would choose that which has peace in it. This was before he (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) was given the command of war and not to make truce. It can also have the meaning that his ummah never gave him the option of making extreme amounts of worship obligatory or only what is compulsory upon them, except that he would choose the easier of the two due to having mercy for them and for fear that a thing which is difficult might be obligatory for which they will not be able to fulfill. (Al-Muntaqa Sharah al-Muwwata 4/286)
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mufti Arshad Ali
Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)