The Three Types Of Differing

▪️The Three Types Of Differing ▪️

An excerpt from, “valuable advises on differing” by Shaykh Abu ‘Abdillaah Muhammed bin Hizaam, may Allah preserve him.

“The types of Ikhtilaaf (differing) are three:

The first: Ikhtilaaf tadhaad (opposed differing);

Opposing clear-cut evidences without having any basis for doing so, through disbelief, innovation, misguidance, major or minor sin; a clear opposition to the evidences.

The second: ikhtilaaf afhaam (difference of understanding):

The understanding of the scholars vary when it comes to comprehending and applying the evidences; some may rely on an evidence and others may use a different evidence, and their verdicts on the matter differ due to their understanding of the evidences. They differ – not as a result of following their desire when deducing verdicts, but simply because they vary in understanding, because Allah created people with different levels of comprehension and understanding.

Third: ikhtilaaf tanawwu’ (difference in variety);

This is when the evidences indicate the permissibility of more than one form, such that one person may opt for a form and another opts for another, meanwhile both forms are permissible; such as the various forms of supplication that one can say at the beginning of the prayer, the different ways of saying the tashahud, and the various ways of performing the night prayer; all of which come in more than one form. So one person might choose a form and another chooses another. And although they differ in form, both are permissible

The one who falls into Ikhtilaaf tadhaad (opposed differing) is blameworthy, and he is given a judgment according to what his opposition dictates; his opposition might necessitate disbelief, innovation, or sin; so a person is judged according to his opposition.

And the one who falls into mistake based on ikhtilaaf afhaam (difference of understanding) then he is free from any blame, provided he is a mujtahid, as the Prophet ﷺ said:

(إذا اجتهد الحاكم فأصاب فله أجران وإذا اجتهد فأخطأ فله أجر)

“If a judge strove to make a judgement and he was correct in his judgment, he will recieve two rewards, and if he strove and came to a wrong judgement, he will only recieve one reward.”

If Ikhtilaaf afhaam occurred between two mujtahids, it’s not said: “both views are correct”, nor are the people told to choose whichever opinion they wish. Rather the general folk are instructed to follow the truth, and to accept the view of the one that comes with proofs.


Translated by:

Abu ‘Abdirrahman ‘Abdullaah bin Ahmed Ash-Shingaani

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وصايا قيمة في الخلاف