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Ikhtilaf (Arabic: اختلاف‎, lit. 'disagreement, difference') is an Islamic scholarly religious disagreement, and is hence the opposite of ijma.

Islam teaches that when there is a scholarly disagreement on a certain issue, it is impermissible to condemn a person who follows a position that is different from one's own. The requirement to command the right and forbid the wrong does not apply when there is Ikhtilaf upon a position.

According to a saying of Prophet Muhammad, the differences of opinion (Ikhtilaf) between his faithful (Ummah) constitute a form a blessing (see Oba A.A., Islamic Law as Customary Law: The Changing Perspective in Nigeria, International and Comparative Law Journal 51 (2002) 817). However there is doubt as to the authenticity of this statement as to whether it truly came from the Prophet or not. People often quote this statement as a hadith, but it is not mentioned in the six authentic collections of Hadith and its chain of narrators is also not known. There are various versions of this statement. In some versions it is mentioned, "The difference of opinions among my Companions is a mercy for you." Or "The difference of opinions of my Companions is a mercy for my Ummah." Many scholars of Hadith consider all these versions as weak or da'if as far as their narration is concerned.[1]


  1. ^ al-Suyuti al-Jami al-Saghir Ibn al-Hajib Mukhtasar