Could we classify madh-habs as bid’ah (innovation) in Islam

Since in the time of Prophet (ﷺ) and his companions, the madh-habs did not exist. Could we classify madh-habs as bid’ah in Islam?

Could we classify madh-habs as bid’ah in Islam? No, because there are many other things which didn’t exist. We are not talking about innovation that is outside of the deen. We are talking about within the deen, in this regard.

Concerning the madh-habs, the madh-hab only represent a school of thought. In the times of sahabah, after the death of Rasulullah (ﷺ), the sahabah taught and they taught fiqh. Now you found in Makkah certain sahabas were teaching, some were in Medina, while some end up in Basra. They taught in different places. Those who stayed around them, learned under them, you could say that they were the students of the madh-habs of that sahabi. However, they did not use the terms, but it is known. Those who studied under Ibn Abbas conveyed or transmitted his tafseer of Qur’an and his opinions, etc. If you wanted you could call it the Abbasi madh-hab. You could, but they did not use those terms. The terms came later.

So it is not really the name, rather it is the concept. The concept of scholarship had been passed down from generation to generation. This concept is a part of Islam, and it is not outside of Islam. Giving it a name does not make it bid’ah. What makes it bid’ah is where people become fanatical about it. So much so that they then say, we cannot even pray behind each other. This now is bid’ah. Where they say that you cannot marry, kind of a school rule that you could not marry a Shafi’i - this is bid’ah! Therefore, this is where it ends up in bid’ah.

The concept of a school itself, there is no harm in having a school because it is a natural product. Those who study under particular teacher became from that school, if you wanted to call it that school.

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