Praiseworthy and blameworthy differences of opinion
Fatwa No: 8675

  • Fatwa Date:7-2-2012 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 15, 1433
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Question

Is it permissible to have different views in Islam?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

There are two different types of difference in opinion in religion:

1-      Difference of opinion on ‘Aqeedah (creed), firmly established rulings or on matters where the rulings are agreed upon by an authentic Ijmaa’ (consensus) of the Sahaabah (Companions), Taabi‘is (successors of the Companions) or Taabi‘is of Taabi‘is (successors of the successors of the Companions). Such differences in opinion are not acceptable. The proofs for these matters are clear in the Quran and Sunnah, and the righteous Salaf (predecessors) agreed on them. Therefore, if a person has a different opinion on such matters, he is following his whims and giving precedence to his mind over the texts of the revelation, which is blameworthy in the sight of Allaah The Almighty, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam , and all Muslims.

2-      Difference of opinion on branches of Fiqh (jurisprudence) and in matters where the rulings are not agreed upon by Muslims. Relevant examples include differences in opinion between the Hanafi, Maaliki, Shaafi‘i and Hanbali scholars of Fiqh and differences of opinion between Muslim scholars on new matters. Such differences are not blameworthy, provided that they are between scholars who are qualified to issue Sharee‘ah rulings. These differences are commendable as long as they aim to follow the truth. Relevant texts from the Quran and Sunnah do not decisively establish the rulings on all matters, therefore there can be differences of opinion among Mujtahids (jurists) on such matters. Indeed all Mujtahids will be rewarded. Moreover the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, indicated that if the opinion of a Mujtahid was right, he would receive two rewards. If not, he would receive one. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The difference of opinion among the Sahaabah and the prominent Salaf was of this later type. Not one of them considered the other to be Faasiq (dissolute person) or Mubtadi‘ (a religious innovator). They all respected and honored each another and did not let their differences divide them. Every one of them wanted to pursue the truth.

However, after that era, some people became fanatical supporters of certain scholars, declaring that all other such groups were deviant. Therefore, they bore animosity and hatred towards one another, like what happened to the Jews and Christians in the past.

Allaah Knows best.

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