❝We often see students asking their teachers to explain a fiqh text, which was written according to one of the four madhabs, by giving them the “rajih” opinion for every issue. They claim that this way they are “not doing taqlid” and are “following the dalil.” The teacher goes through the text saying ” Imam Abu Hanifa took the opinion X, and the rajih in this issue is actually Y” for every issue that “goes against the rajih.” The student finishes the text (which usually doesn’t even happen!) having written down the opinions which his teacher told him were the rajih based upon the dalil, all the while thinking that he has followed the evidences and avoided taqlid.
However, what really happened here is that the student left the taqlid of Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi, or Ahmed and now is simply just making taqlid of his teacher. This is because he is following the tarjihat of his teacher as opposed to the tarjihat of one of the schools. There is no fifth madhab called the “rajih,” rather tarjih is subjective. So if you are studying a text such as Zad al-Mustaqni you are indeed studying the rajih, but according to the Hanbalis. The same is said for any relied upon text in the other schools. If someone says I’m going to study al-Durar al-Bahiyyah by Imam al-Shawkani because his book is based on the evidences, then all he is doing is making taqlid of al-Shawkani. The same goes for every other book, even studying the Qur’an and Sunnah. This is because you either will look into the textual evidences directly and derive rulings, which means you are a mujtahid, or you will have a teacher explain those evidences to you. Since you are a student you are obviously not a mujtahid. This only leaves the second scenario where you will be taking taqlid of your teacher.
So no matter what students are going to make taqlid. The question is, would you rather make taqlid of a contemporary scholar or one of the four imams? The answer: both religion and intellect state that you should make taqlid of the one who is more knowledge and pious.❞
— Ustadh. Ahmad Khater