The Two Qawls

There are two qawl ( opinions ) for the Shafi’i school i.e Qawl Mashhur and Qawl Mu’tamad.

Generally was is meant by Qawl Mashhur, according to Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al Akiti, is, “In lay terms, the Qawl Mashhur refers to one of the conflicting fatwas or riwayas of our Mujtahid Imam. An example of this is in the mas’ala of dibagha [tanning], according to which the Qawl Mashhur as reported by Imam al-Nawawi in the Minhaj is that the inner side of the tanned hide is pure (as well as the outer surface (i.e., the fleece side), without there being any khilaf); and elsewhere we learn that this position is the Mujtahid Imam’s Qawl Jadid [New Position]. In scholarly terms, the khilaf is at the level of the Imam himself (and not at the level of our Ashab nor at the level of the Madhhab) and is itself technically known as the Qawlayn or the Aqwal of the Mujtahid Imam (instead of the Awjuh of the Ashab or the Turuq of the Madhhab).

Whereas Qawl Mu’tamad is, “the one relied upon and the one practiced and is the teaching opinion of the school today, based on one of the earlier Rajih positions. In lay terms, this is the final (or official) position that is now followed by the school. But in reality, this is a psuedo-term [istilah ghalat] and it is not used in the Minhaj (although Imam al-Nawawi has occasionally been observed to use the term in its literal sense), nor was it used in any early manuals of the school with a strict technical meaning.”

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