“The ʿUlamāʾ of Islām have been in the past and continue up until now, warning against and forbidding people from blindly following any Shaykh. In fact, the aʼimmah of the four madhab themselves forbade anyone from blindly following them and they commanded their followers to follow the dalīl that they taught the people. So we look at the statements of the scholars, compare them to the evidence they bring from the Qur’ān and Sunnah, and whichever statements agree with what is in the Qur’ān and Sunnah, we accept them. If we find any statements that differ with the Qur’ān and Sunnah, we reject those. Blindly following others is from the traits of the people of Jāhilīyah…”
سؤال وجواب – عربي – ٤:٠٠ دقائق
Question and Answer [English]
Many of the laymen here criticize the Salafīs by saying that we the Salafīs call against blind following the four Madhāhib but we blind follow the three: Ibn Bāz, al-‘Uthaymīn and al-Albānī. How do we respond to them?
One of the foundational beliefs of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamāʿah is returning back to the Book of Allāh and Sunnah of the Messenger ﷺ whenever we have any difference of opinion, and accepting it and not the statement of men.
﴾يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَطِيعُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا۟ ٱلرَّسُولَ وَأُو۟لِى ٱلْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ فَإِن تَنَٰزَعْتُمْ فِى شَىْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَٱلرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلْيَوْمِ ٱلْءَاخِرِ ﴿
“O you who believe, obey Allāh, and obey His Messenger and those who are in positions of authority over you. And if you differ in any affair, then return that affair back to Allāh and His Messenger, if you truly believe in Allāh and the last day.” [Sūrah al-Nisāʾ 4:59]
How are we supposed to return an affair back to Allāh? It is by going back to His Book. How are we supposed to return an affair back to the Messenger ﷺ? It is by returning to his Sunnah.
The men are known by the truth, not by searching. The truth is not known by men, so we do not follow men, regardless of what they say or consider to be the truth. We look at their speech, accept the truth, and if they differ within or were to reject that, blindly following any individual is something that is forbidden in the religion. What we are commanded to do is to take our religion from the authentic sources: The Book of Allāh, the Sunnah of His Messenger ﷺ and the Ijmāʿ of the Salaf.
In the past and up until now, the ʿUlamāʾ of Islām have been warning against and forbidding people from blindly following any shaykh. In fact, the Aʼimmah of the four madhhabs themselves forbade anyone from blindly following them and they commanded their followers to follow the dalīl that they taught the people.
So we look at the statements of the Scholars, compare them to the evidence they bring from the Qur’ān and Sunnah, and whichever statements agree with what is in the Qur’ān and Sunnah, we accept them. If we find any statements that differ with the Qur’ān and Sunnah, we reject those. Blindly following others is from the traits of the people of Jāhilīyah.
Allāh says about them,
﴾وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ ٱتَّبِعُوا۟ مَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ قَالُوا۟ بَلْ نَتَّبِعُ مَآ أَلْفَيْنَا عَلَيْهِ ءَابَآءَنَآ﴿
“When it is said to them, ‘Follow what Allāh has revealed, they say rather, we will follow what we found our forefathers following.’” [Sūrah al-Baqarah 2:170]
So, simply following people blindly without considering the truth of what they teach is from the ways of the people of Jāhilīyah, not the ways of the Muslim. Allāh warns His servants against blindly following people and commands them to follow the truth. This is something we find reiterated in the speech of the Scholars of Islām, including Imām Mālik Ibn Anas (رحمه الله) who said, “Everyone’s speech is both accepted and rejected, except the one buried in this grave”, pointing at the grave of the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ.
As for the People of Innovation, including the Rāfiḍah and Ṣūfīyah, they blindly follow their leaders taking no consideration whatsoever of the truth or falsehood of their speech. Taking whatever comes from them is from the ways of Jāhilīyah. We seek refuge with Allāh from the likes of that. And Allāh knows best.