How the issue of ijtihád and following a madhhab is treated by representatives of Tasawwuf will be shown below by the example of the Tijaniyya tariqa. We shall cite some relevant statements in this respect. All this has a bearing on the idea that the Muslim community is a unity of believers which of course is beyond national or ideological concerns. Differences in legal interpretations should not cloud the common attachment of all Muslims to the basic Sharí`ah, which in essence is a source of unity rather than exclusion.
Our best example for this are the Companions (Sahábah), who were better than us and were close to the Prophet MHMD. And although (as one might think - they were close to him) they nevertheless disagreed with each other on certain points - while being equal - but not one of them was excluded from the Community by the others. So think about this!

Muslims are urged to recognize the
'immense treasure' of their common bond, QURAN:
Quran verse 3-103 3-103



Ijtihád And The Islamic Legal Tradition

Fiqh & The Madhhab

ed. from 'Shaykh Ahmad Tijani And Sharí`ah'*

• “If Shaykh Ahmad Tijani's attempts to implement the Sunna allowed him to de-emphasize certain trends of traditional Sufi practices such as material renunciation, it also permitted him a degree of transcendence of the tradition of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) and its schools.” p.92

- He and the scholars who followed him, “have not always been so supportive of the tradition of blind trust (taqlíd) given to the Fuqahá.”

- In general, Shaykh Ahmad Tijani and the Tijaniyya do not [seem - as Sh. Ahmad ibn Idris** - to completely reject] “the tradition of the madhhab and the faqíh's tendency towards rational thought in the process of ijtihád.” p.93

- **“Where Ahmad ibn Idris says the primary qualification for the mujtahid is fear of Allah, Shaykh Ahmad Tijani lists a rather traditional set of qualifications, including knowledge of the Quran and the Sunna …”

- Shaykh Ahmad Tijani, when asked to specific legal questions, demonstated “his training in and basic acceptance of the classical tradition of jurisprudence, quoting from the Qur'án, Hadíth and then scholarly works such as the Mukhtasar to arrive at conclusions.”

- “The Shaykh also defends the tradition that a scholar who gives ijtihád will receive two rewards if he is correct and one reward if he is wrong.” p.93

- But “he limits the activity of ijtihád by the classical understanding that scholarly reasoning should only be engaged in the absence of a clear text.”

- “Rational thought in the process of arriving at legal decisions,” [such as for new occurrences that present themselves] “is granted limited endorsement.” p.94

- He once advised his disciples, “'Honor the `ulamá' in as much as they are the bearers of the Law.” p.94 And Shaykh Hassan Cisse is quoted as saying in this regard, “Whoever emulates a scholar (properly trained in the Islamic sciences) meets Allah safely.”

- Al-Hajj `Umar al-Futi advised the disciple “to follow one madhhab, but only does not conceive this allegiance as the basis for sectarian difference as the scholar should be able to recognize the value of the other schools.” p.95

- So to summarize, according to Al-Hajj `Umar there are three types of scholars, “of which the last is the best:

- one who follows blindly (taqlíd) one madhhab,
- one who rejects everything in the four schools, and
- one who follows one madhhab, but does not conceive his school as possessing an absolute monopoly on the truth.” p.95

- “There was in fact [not] any such thing as the 'closing of the gates of ijtihád (personal reasoning)” and al-Hajj `Umar said:

'Allah did not make it obligatory for anyone to adhere (exclusively) to a specific madhhab of the mujtahidín … (for) every imám of this community - may Allah be pleased with them all - renounced any claim that men must necessarily follow him exclusively in every religious matter since (the imáms) know that unqualified fidelity is due only to him who is guarded from error.'
And “Shaykh Ahmad Tijani is himself clear that none of the mujtahids are protected from error.”

- “It is thus strictly prohibited (Harám) [for a mujtahid] to denounce the perceived mistake of other scholars.” [Because when there is no textual evidence, no mujtahid can claim impeccability.] p.96

- He “believed that the Muslim community was becoming largely bereft of true scholars.” [Reference to the hadíth in Bukhari and Muslim, 'Allah will not take away knowledge by …' also GR p.233, h1397 [fn] ]

- Al-Hajj `Umar's own mission is described as “endeavoring to destroy what the innovators and the venal [ie. corrupt, dishonest] scholars had invented, and presenting the Prophet's merits to the people.”

- Al-Hajj `Umar explains: “The Companions (Sahábah) disagreed one with the other - and they are equal - not one Companion was excluded from the Community by the others.” p.97

- According to Shaykh Ahmad Tijani, “most contemporary Fuqahá' are limited in their rulings because theirs is the activity of the nafs (ego or lower self).”
- “Their rulings can sometimes be in error because, 'they allow themselves to be impressed by the qualities pertaining to their eyes (which are) inherent to beings, things and situations.'” p.98

- So he advises his disciples [while telling them to respect the scholars, anyways] to abstain from frequenting them so long as they allow themselves to be dominated by their own selves (nafs).” p.98

- Al-Hajj `Umar warned the Fuqahá' (scholars) “against and deterring them from denouncing and showing enmity towards any of our lords, the Friends of Allah, and informing them that (such behavior) is the essence of perdition in this world and the next.” p.99

- “The Walí is not limited in his insight to only esoteric affairs, for he is the true inheritor of the Prophet MHMD.” Inheritor because chosen by Allah to “renew the faith [dín] among the believers and to guide them to [meaning to make them better understand] the straight path: giving life to the path in a period of decline.” p.99

- “The Walí, to whom Allah has unraveled [something of the] Divine Essence, does not limit himself to one madhhab … because he is able to revive the Sharí`ah. And why not if the Prophet MHMD does not absent himself from him for one moment?” p.99

- Hidden meanings - “Such inner knowledge will not, however, contradict the external Sharí`ah.” p.100

- “A Walí will not bring a new revelation, but he can bring new understanding.” Sh. Hassan Cisse, 2001

- The only true interpreter of the Sharí`ah is the very “rare scholar whom Allah has blessed with both external and esoteric knowledge,” according to Shaykh Ahmad Tijani.
- “If five people … in the world in each age [have this kind of knowledge,] it is a large number.” Najm al-din Razí (d. 654/1256)

To summarize:
- “Knowledge of the Divine Law is an integral component of spiritual perfection.” p.102
- “The Sharí`ah, in its larger definition as the Qur'án and Sunna, is the guide for all actions” of the one striving on the path of tasawwuf. Certain popular tendencies and practices “have to be reformed on the basis of the Sunna.”
- “The Fuqahá' should 'be wary of comprehensive condemnation and should confine themselves to matters which are explicitly (deemed) obligatory or forbidden by the Book, the Sunna and the consensus of the community.” Al-Hajj `Umar, p.104


Quoted from:
On The Path of The Prophet :
Shaykh Ahmad Tijani and the Tariqa Muhammadiyya
( )
ISBN: 0976528703
Author: Zachary Valentine Wright
Publisher: African American Islamic Institute (2005)
Pages: 197 Binding: Paperback


Our aim is “to renew the faith [dín] among the believers and to guide them to [or to let them better understand] the straight path: giving life to the path in a period of decline.”

Hadith of the Prophet MHMD :

`Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn al-'As said, 'I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say,
'Allah will not take away knowledge from His servants, but knowledge will be taken away as the men of knowledge are taken away until there is not a single man of knowledge left. Then people will take ignorant men for their leaders who will be asked something and give a fatwa (decision) without any knowledge. They will go astray and lead others astray.' (Agreed upon)