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salam. i m a doctor working in pakistan. my question is that, as born Muslim, i have not pledged that i will follow a certain imam. Though mostly people here follow imam Abu Hanifa. But as far my little knowledge all imams have worked very hard to facilitate the ummah. if i follow one thing which is permissible according to one imam but which is mukruh according to other imam, i am still sure that it is still based on sahih hadiths. Like if i want to recite Quran from mushaf in tahajjud it is not permissible according to imam Abu Hanifa but permissible according to other imams. So it is compulsory to follow only one imam? and what wrong if we can pick certain thing from different imams. as i mentioned earlier we all are certain that all imams are faithful and righteous. interpretation can be different. need your opinion regarding this. why to follow only one imam?

الجواب حامداومصليا
Taqleed of a particular Imam is not obligatory upon a scholar who is well versed in Islamic law and Islamic sciences. Taqleed of particular Imam is considered necessary for a layman who is unable to understand the Holy Quran in its entirety and the Ahadith of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihe Wa Sallam in its entirety.
This is due to the fact that a layman is will fall prey to his own desires if he is allowed to pick and choose from different Imams. If he is allowed to pick and choose then most likely he will choose what pleases him. In this situation he will not be following Shariah. Rather he will be following his own desires. Following one's own desires is forbidden and condemned in Quran.
Therefore, a layman is advised to follow the Fiqh of one Imam. The Fiqh of four Imams is complete and comprehensive. By sticking to one Imam's Fiqh, one is safe from the tactics of Satan.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Ikram ul Haq
Fatwa Center of America