Question: We have heard that Mawdudi said such things, "When the Mahdi appears, there will be no such thing as madhhab. The Mahdi will be a modern reformer with a deep authority in the main problems of life, and he will abolish madhahib (pl. of madhhab). Scholars of Islamic jurisprudence and Sufism will clamor against the novelty that he will bring. At that time, we will get rid of the four madhahib." His followers reiterate the same statements, too. What is wrong with the four madhahib that the Mahdi will abolish them?
Mawdudi is la-madhhabi (a person who does not follow any of the four madhahib), so his words are not documents in the religion.
Nobody will abolish the madhahib because they were established by order of our religion and our master the Prophet. The imam of a madhhab is a great Islamic scholar who gathered pieces of information that our master the Prophet derived from the Qur'an al-karim after learning these pieces of information from the Blessed Companions and who transferred them into books. And this means to follow the Messenger of Allah and the Qur'an al-karim. The Blessed Companions used to follow what they heard from the Messenger of Allah. They did not need to follow one of their disciples, that is, to be in one of the four madhahib. Each of them used to learn all the knowledge from the main source. They used to learn by asking one another, too. They were all mujtahids and were more learned and more exalted than the leaders of the madhahib. That is, they had their own madhahib. A mujtahid's madhhab is the madhhab he has established. Accordingly, the madhhab of Hadrat Mahdi, who will be a mujtahid, will be the madhhab he will establish.
By the time Hadrat Mahdi comes, true Islamic knowledge will have disappeared. At the time when Hadrat Mahdi will renew the Ahl as-Sunnah knowledge, in fact there will not be any Islamic scholars left. That is, scholars of Islamic jurisprudence and Sufism will be nonexistent. Because la-madhhabi people will prevail, these la-madhhabi people, not the mentioned scholars, will cry out and oppose Hadrat Mahdi. However, he will overpower them.
Hadrat 'Isa, too, will perform ijtihad just like Hadrat Mahdi. Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states:
"Hadrat Muhammad Parisa writes in his book Fusul-i sitta, 'Hadrat 'Isa will descend from the sky. His ijtihad will be in agreement with the madhhab of Imam-i A'zam Abu Hanifa, and he will say halal about what he said was halal and will say haram about what he said was haram'" (Vol. 3, Letter 17).
"Hadrat Mahdi will disseminate Islam. He will bring into sight the sunnats of the Messenger of Allah. The contemporary man of religious authority in Medina, who will have been accustomed to committing bida' (religious innovations) and disseminating them in the name of Islam, being perplexed by the Mahdis words, will say, This man wants to annihilate our religion. Hadrat Mahdi will command that he be killed (Vol. 1, Letter 255).
As is seen, by the time the Mahdi emerges, rulings of the true madhahib will have been forgotten, and religious innovations will have become rife. No true madhhab will remain. For this reason, Hadrat Mahdi will annihilate prevailing false madhahib and religious innovations. Despite all these facts, how on earth can some people misrepresent the four true madhahib, which are compassion for Muslims, and Islamic rules, which are written in the books of Islamic jurisprudence, as ogres and display enmity toward madhahib by saying they will get rid of them?