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Following the Imaams, the Importance of Taqleed and the Consensus of the Ummah upon the Compulsion of following the Four Imaams PDF Print E-mail
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Following the Imaams, the Importance of Taqleed and the Consensus of the Ummah upon the Compulsion of following the Four Imaams

Q: Ilm-42:

1. What do the Ulema of Deen and the Muftis about a man in our city of Baruch who has adopted the ways of the Ahle Hadith. He raises his hands during every Rakaah of salaah and says Aameen loudly, our Hanafi brothers say that these are acts of Bid'ah. Is raising the hands and saying Aameen loudly acts of the Sunnah or acts of Bid'ah? Please explain with references.

2. This brother says that raising the hands is a Sunnah of Rasulullaah SAW. and the Khulafaa Raashideen and that the Hanafi book Hidaaya (vol.1 pg.379) proves thar Rasulullaah SAW. did it until the end of his life He also says that saying Aameen loudly is also proven in Hidaaya (Vol.1 Pg362.) and that both raising the hands and saying Aameen loudly' are acts of the Sunnah. Is raising the hands and saying Aameen loudly acts of the Sunnah or acts of Bid'ah? Please explain with references.

NOTE: It was discovered that the questioner himself became a Ghyar Muqallid and it is for this reason that the reply addresses him.
Answer: The question has been quoted (in the Urdu edition) just as the Question had written it (in Urdu). He has forsaken the Hanifa Madh?hab and become a Ghayr Muqallid (one who does not follow any Madh?hab). The status of this education is evident from the fact that in .r question of only twelve to thirteen lines. he has made twenty to twenty-five spelling errors. If he is this incompetent in the Urdu language that he cannot even write it properly, how will he ever be able to read and understand Arabic texts?

Hadhrat Imaam Ghazaali RAH. said. "After accepting Islaam and Imaam, it is compalsory for the general public to only to engage in their Ibaadah and day-to-day-activities they should never delve into academic matters because this has to be handed over to the Ulema. For a member of the general public to argue in an academic discussion is more detrimental to him than fornication and theft. This is because when a person without deep knowledge of the Deen enters into discussions concerning Allaah and the various aspects of Deen, the chances ate great that he may present an opinion that is al
It is necessary for the general public have knowledge of the commands of the Shari'ah and to carry them out without delving into the intricacies of it. A man once came to Rasulullaah SAW. and asked to be informed of the intricacies of knowledge. Rasulullaah SAW. posed the following questions to him: (1) Have you recognised Allaah? (2) How many of Allaah's rights have you fulfilled? (3) Are you aware of death? (4) Have you prepared for death. Thereafter, Rasulullaah SAW. told the man to leave, to first strengthen his foundations and then to come to be informed of the intricacies.

Rasulullaah SAW. also said, "A time will come when people will take ignorant people as their leaders and ask them (Deeni) questions. These people will then issue Fataawaa (rulings) without having the relevant knowledge. They will themselves be deviated and will mislead others as well."

In these circumstances it is Haraam and a cause of deviation to forsake the four true Madhaahib (the Hanafi, Shaafi'ee, Maaliki and Hanbali schools of jurisprudence) and to become a Ghayr Muqallid (one who does not follow any Madh'hab). Such people commit and act of Haraam because they now follow their whims, declare the Madhaahib to be false and claim that following them entails shirk. They then further accuse these great Imaams of giving preference to their whims over the Qur'aan and the Ahadeeth. It is in fact inappropriate to even refer to such people as the Ahle Hadith, just as it is not permissible to refer to those who reject the Ahadeeth as the Ahle Qur'aan They use these titles merely to beguile and mislead people.

Moulana Muhammad Husayn Batalwi whom the Ghayr Muqallideen look up to wrote in his book Ishaa'atus Sunnah (Vol.LPg.271), "There is no way that a person not following a Madh'hab can ever run away from the Mujtahideen (jurists)." In the same book, he writes: "Twenty five years of experience has proven to me that those who forsake following the Mujtahideen and a Madh'hab eventually end up bidding farewell to Islaam. Many of the become Christians and other become people who follow no religion at all. The least that happens is that they no longer follow the Shari'ah and fall into sin. Some of them openly discard the Jumu'ah salaah, salaah in congregation and fasting. They also do to abstain from liquor and interest and those who do not indulge in these open sins, do so for ulterior motives, but then indulge in secret sins. They are often also involved in illicit affairs with women. Although there are many reasons for a person in Deen to become irreligious and to leave the Deen, one of the main reasons is also when people with no knowledge forsake Taqleed (following a Madh'hab).

The reviver of the Ahle Hadith group Janaab Nawaab Siddique Hasan Khan of Bopal writes the following about his group, "There has now surfaced a boastful group who (despite being far from it) claim that they have the knowledge of the Hadith and the Qur'aan and also claim that they practise it and have recognition of Allaah."
He writes further, "How strange! How can they (these Ghayr Muqallideen) call themselves sincere believers in Towheed while alleging that others (because of their Taqleed) are Mushrikeen, whereas they (the Ghayr Muqallideen) are most obstinate and mulish in their ways?" He later concludes the discussion by saying, "This way (of the Ghayr Muqallideen) is nothing but a great tribulation and means of deviation."

Shah Wali'ullaah Muhaddith Dehlawi RAH. writes: "CHAPTER ON THE IMPORTANCE OF FOLLOWING THE FOUR MADHAAHIB AND THE SEVERITY OF GIVING THIS UP. One ought to know that there is immense benefit in following the four Madhaahib and tremendous harm in turning away from them."' In the same book, he writes further, 'the second reason for following a Madh'hab is that Rasulullaah SAW. said, 'Follow the broader consensus of people'. Since there are no Madhaahib on the truth besides the four Madhaahib, following them will be following the broader consensus of people and failing to follow them will be to leave the broader consensus of people, which will be against the instruction of Rasulullaah SAW.

Shah Wali'ullaah Muhaddith Dehlawi RAH. described the followers of the Four Madhaahib as the broader consensus of people and the one failing to follow any perform them as a lost camel who really follows the dictates of his Nafs. (Hereunder follows several Ahadeeth on the subject) Rasululiaah SAW. said.

1. "Follow the broader consensus of people"

2. "Stick with the congregation."

3. "Verily Allaah will never allow my Ummah to be unanimous on deviation"

4. "My Ummah shall never be unanimous on deviation."

5. "Allaah's hand is upon the Jamaa'ah (united group) and the one who separates from them shall be cast alone in Jahannam."

6. "Shaytaan is like a wolf to people just as there is a wolf for sheep, who grabs hold of the lone sheep wandering apart from the flock. You people must therefore beware of conflict and remain attached to the Jamaa'ah and the broader consensus of people."

7. "The one who separated even a hand's span from the Jamaa'ah, he has removed the collar of Islaam from his neck."

8. "Two people are better than one, three better than two and four better than three, so ensure that you attach yourself to the Jamaa'ah."

9. "The one who forsakes obedience and separates from the Jamaa'ah shall die a death of the people of the Period of lgnorance."

10. "Whatever the Muslims regard to be something good is really so in the eyes of Allaah as well."

Shah Wali'ullaah Muhaddith Dehlawi RAH. was a great scholar and, Muhaddith and jurist of his time. Even the leader of the Ghayr Muqallideen group Janaab Nawaab Siddique Hasan Khan of Bopal regards Shah Wali'ullaah Muhaddith Dehlawi RAH. as the leader of all the Mujtahiddeen. He writes, "Had he been living in the first century of Islaam, he would have been the Imaam of the Imaams and leader of the Mujtahiddeen. "

Even though he was a jurist of this calibre, Shah Wali'ullaah Muhaddith Dehlawi RAH. had the following to say about Taqleed: "None rejected the concept of Taqleed because since the time of the Sahabah RADI. until the emergence of the four Madhaahib, people had always been following those Ulema whom they relied on. Had the following of the Madhaahib been wrong, they (the Sahabah RADI. and Taabi'een) would certainly have rejected it. He further quotes Imaam Baghawi RAH. who said. "It is therefore compulsory for the person who does not have all these qualifications (of being a Mujtahid) to follow someone in all affairs that pertain to him."

Hadhrat Shah Wali'ullaah RAH. also says. "There are numerous benefits in it (in following one of the four Madhaahib) that are no secret to anyone. These are especially required in these days when people lack courage, when carnal passions have taken deep root in people's souls and when ever person is obsessed only with his opinion."

In another of his works, Hadhrat Shah Wali'ullaah RAH. say "It was during the second century of Islaam that following a particular Mujtahid became common and there was scarcely anyone who did not do so. This was compulsory."

He also said. "The entire Ummah. or rather those of them who are dependable, are unanimous about the fact that it is permissible to follow one of these four Madhaahib that have been methodically systemised and recorded. This unanimity remains to this day (and opposing it is a means of deviation)."

Hadhrat Shah RAH. also says. "The gist of it all is that following these four Madhaahib is something extremely subtle that Allaah has inspired in the hearts of the Ulema and upon which they have declared unanimity, regardless of whether they understand it or not."

He also says. "If there is a common man in India or in the territories of Maa Waraa'un Nahr (places where there are predominantly Hanafis) and there are no Ulema belonging to the Shaafi'ee. Maaliki or Hanbali schools of jurisprudence, as well as no books of these Madhaahib, it will be Waajib (compulsory) for him to follow the Madh'hab of Imaam Abu Haneefah RAH.. It will be Haraam for him to leave this Madh'hab because if he does this, he will be removing the collar of the Shari'ah from his neck and will be left a useless and wasted soul."

Despite being a Mujtathid in his own right, Shah Wali'ullaah Muhaddith Dehlawi RAH. was commanded by Rasulullaah SAW. to follow a Madh'hab and never to leave one He writes in his Fuyoodhul Haramains that he was commanded by' Rasulullaah SAW. to do three things that he was not in favour of. In fact, He stares, he was so staunchly disinclined towards these three things that tire fact that he turned to them is in fact a sign of their truth. The second of these that he mentions is to follow one of the four Madhaahib without leaving it. He states further that Rasulullaah SAW. also informed him that the Hanafi Madh'hab has a most excellent methodology that is closer to the Sunnah as it was documented during the period of Imaam Bukhaari RAH. and h is contemporaries. "

The summary of Shah Wali'ullaah Muhaddith Dehlawi RAH. Comments are:

1. The practice of following a particular person was common during the times of the Sahabah RADI. and the Taabi'een

2. Following one of the four Madhaahib entails following the broader consensus of people (which is compulsory in the words of the Ahadeeth) and failing to follow it will lead to deviation

3. The practice of following one of the four Madhaahib became common after the second century of Islaam

4. Following one of the four Madhaahib is something extremely subtle that Allaah has inspired in the hearts of people

5. The Ummah is unanimous about following the four Imaams

6. Taqleed is Waajib (compulsory) for anyone who is not a Mujtahid

7. There are numerous Deeni benefits to following a specific Imaam

8. Rasulullaah SAW. instructed Hadhrat shah wali'ullaah RAH. to follow an Imaam

9. Rasulullaah SAW. told him that the Hanafi Madh'hab is closest to the Sunnah

10. It is Haraam for a common man to forsake Taqleed. In fact, this actually leads him to leaving Islaam (this has even been admitted by one of their leaders Moulana Muhammad Husayn Batalwi, as quoted above)

The Ghayr Muqallideen fool people into believing that the Muhadditheen never followed any of the Imaams of jurisprudence. This is wrong because all the Muhadditheen apart from very few did adopt Taqleed.

Imaam Bukhaari RAH. who was himself a Mujtahid opted to follow the Madh'hab of Imaam Shaafi'ee RAH. The leader of the Ghayr Muqallideen group Janaab Nawaab Siddique Hasan Khan of Bopal states in his book AI Hitta fi Dhikri Sihaahis Sitta that Imaam Abu Aaslm has recorded the name of Imaam Bukhaari RAH. in the list of those following the Shaafi'ee Madh'hab. Further in the same book, he says the following about Imaam Nasa'ee RAH. "He was one of the landmarks of the Deen and one of the pillars of the science of Hadith. He led the scholars and Muhadditheen of his time and his critical assessment of narrators was highly rated amongst the Ulema. He followed the Shaafi'ee Madh'hab.

About Imaam Abu Dawood RAH. he says: "He was a Haafidh of Ahadeeth and all the remarks and comments made about them. He was also of the highest calibre in as far as Taqwa, piety, abstinence, knowledge and understanding of Deen are concerned. The only difference of opinion exits about whether which Madh'hab he followed. While some are of the opinion that he was a Hanbali, others opine that he was a shaafi'ee."

Apart from then Muhadditheen mentioned above, the most authentic reports verify that Imaam Muslim RAH., Imaam Tirmidhi RAH., Imaam Bayhaqi RAH., Imaam Daar Qutni RAH. and Imaam Ibn Maajah RAH. all followed the Shaafi'ee school of jurisprudence. The Muhaddith Imaarn Yahya bin Ma'een RAH., the Muhaddith Imaam Yahya bin Sa'eed Qataan RAH., the Muhaddith Imaam Yahya bin Abi Zaa'idah RAH., lmaam Tahaawi RAH. and Ima am Zayla'ee RAH. also all followed a Madha'hab and all happened to be Hanafi. Allaama Dhahabi RAH. Ibn Taymiyyah RAH. Ibn Qayyim bin Jowzi RAH. and Hadhrat Abdul Qaadir Jaylaani RAH. were all Hanbali.

Did these eminent scholars not realise that Taqleed is Shirk. Haraam and a Bid'ah as the Ghayr Muqallideen claim? Were there only a few who realised this, such as Dawood Zaahiri RAH. and Ibn Hazam RAH.? Muhadditheen, Ulema and Mashaa'ikh throughout the ages adopted Taqleed. If one looks at the Ulema and Awliyaa of the Indian subcontinent, one will notice that they were all particular about Taqleed and were almost all followers of Imaam Abu Haneefah RAH. Some of the senior Muhadditheen were'.

1. Sheikh Ali Muttaqi RAH. author of. Kanzul Ummaal (passed away 975 AH)

2. Sheikh Abdul wahhaab Buhaanpuri RAH. (passed away 1001 A.H.)

3. Sheikh Muhammad Taahir Patni Gujarati RAH. author of Majma'd Bihaar (passed away 987 A.H.)

4. Muhaddith Mulla Jeewan Siddeeqi RAH. (passed away 1130 A.H')

5. Sheikh Abdul Haqq Muhaddith Dehlawi RAH. author of Ashi'attul Lam'aat (passed away 1152 A.H.) and his son Muhaddith Nurul Haqq RAH. author of Tayseerul Qaari, comentary of Bukhaari (passed away 1073 A.H.)

6. Muhaddith Sheikh Fakhrud Deen RAH. commentator of Bukhaari and Hisnul Haseen

7. Muhaddith Sheikh Salaamullaah RAH. commentator of Mu'atta (passed away 1229 A.H.)

8. Shah Abdur Raheem Muhaddith Dehlawi RAH.

9. Shah Wali'ullaah Muhaddith Dehlawi RAH. (passed away 1176 A.H.)

10. Shah Abdul Azeez Muhaddith Dehlawi RAH. (passed away 1239 A.H.)

11. Shah Abdul Qaadir Muhaddith and Mufassir Dehlawi RAH. (passed away 7232 A.H.)

12. Shah Abdul Ghani Muhaddith Dehlawi RAH. (passed away 7296A.H.)

13. Shah Is'haaq Muhaddith Dehlawi RAH. (passed away 1262 A.H')

14. Shah Ismaa'eel Shaheed RAH. (passed away 1246 A.H.)

15. Shah Qutbud Deen RAH. author of Mazaahire Haqq (passed away 1289 A.H.)

16. Shah Rafee'ud Deen Muhaddith Dehlawi RAH. (passed away 7233 A.H.)

17. Shah Muhammad Ya'qoob Muhaddith Dehlawi RAH. (passed away 1282 A.H.)

18. Qaadhi Muhibbud Deen Bihari RAH. (passed away 1119 A.H.), who wrote the famous book of principles of Fiqh Musallamuth Thuboot in the year 1109 A.H.

19. Muhaddith Kabeer Qaadhi Thanaa'ullaah Paanipati RAH. (passed away 1225 A.H.)

20. Sheikhul Islaam Allaama Nurud Deen Ahmadabaadi Gujarati RAH. author of Nurul Qaari, commentary of Bukhaari (passed away 1155 A.H.)

21. Sheikh Wajeehud Deen Alawi Gujarati RAH. (passed away 998 A.H.)

22. Mufti Muhaddith Abdul Kareem Nahrwaani RAH. author of Nahrul Jaari, commentary of Bukhaari (passed away 1141' A.H.)

23. Allaama Muhiyyud Deen Ahmadabaadi Gujarati RAH. (passed away 1038 A H.)

24. Sheikh Muhaddith Khayrud Deen bin Muhammad Zaahid Surti (passed away 1206 A.H.)

25. Bahrul Uloom Sheikh Abdul Ali Lakhnawi RAH. commentator of MusallamuthThuboof and others (passed away 1225 A.H.)

26. Abul Hasanaat Allaama Abdul Hayy Lakhnawi RAH. author of numerous works (passed away 1304 A.H.)

27. Muhaddith Moulana Ahmad Ali Sahaaranpuri RAH. author of marginal notes on Bukhaari (passed away 1297 A.H.)

28. Mutakallimul Islaam Moulana Qaasim Nanotwi RAH. founder of Daarul Uloom Deoband (passed away 1298 A.H.)

29. Muhaddith Kabeer Moulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi RAH. (passed away 1323 A.H.)

30. Moulana Muhammad Ya'qoob Nanotwi Mujaddidi (passed away 7302 A H.)

31. Muhaddith Moulana Fakhrul Hasan Gangohi (passed away 1317 A.H )

32. sheikhul Hind Hadhrat Moulana Mahmoodul Hasan Deobandi (passed away 1399 A.H.)

33. Muhaddith Kabeer Allaama Anwar Shah Kashmeeri RAH. (passed away 1352 A.H.)

34. Muhaddith Moulana Khaleel Ahmad Ambetwi RAH. author of Badhlul Majhood, commentary of Abu Dawood (passed away 1346 A.H.)

35. Moulana Shabbier Ahmad Uthmaani RAH. author of Fat'hul Mulhim, commentary of Saheeh Muslim (passed away 1369 A.H.).

Some of the prominent Ulema of Sindh include:

1. Sheikh Abul Hasan Sindhi (passed away 1187 A.H.)

2. Sheikh Haashim Sindhi

3. Sheikh Abu Tayyib Sindhi (passed away 1140 A.H.)

4. Sheikh Muhammad Mu'een Sindhi (passed away 1180 A'H.)

5. Sheikh Muhammad Aabid Sindhi (passed away 1257 A.H.)

6. Sheikh Hayaat Sindhi (passed away 1163 A.H.)

These Ulema wrote commentaries and marginal notes on the Sihaah Sitta and also lectured Hadeeth in Madinah Munawwarah.
Some of the eminent Awliyaa of the Indian subcontinent were:

1. Imaam Rabbaani Hadhrat Mujaddid Alf Thaani RAH. (passed away 971 A.H )

2. Aarif Billaah Muhaddith Mirza Mazhar Jaanjaana RAH. (passed away 1195 A.H.)

3. The crown of the Awliyaa of Hind Khwaja Mu'eenud Deen Chishti RAH. (passed away 632,633, 636 or 637 A.H.)

4. Khwaja Qutbud Deen Bakhtiyaar Kaaki RAH. (passed away 633/634 A.H.)

5. Khwaja Fareedud Deen Ganj Shakar RAH. (passed away 664/668 A.H. )

6. Khwaja Nizaamud Deen Awliyaa RAH. (passed away 735 A.H.)

7. Khwaja Alaa'ud Deen Saabir Kaleri RAH. (passed away 690 A'H')

Other than the above, there were thousands of other Muhadditheen, Ulema, Mufassireen, Fuqahaa and Mashaa'ikh who were all followers of a Madh'hab.
It is a great favour of Allaah that we have the four Imaams to follow and that the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa'ah has accepted the four. The Ulema of every era have emphasised that the person who rejects Taqleed will lead his life aimlessly and, following only is whims, will become a perpetrator of Bid'ah. He will not be from the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa'ah and will be just like the Shias who reject following the four Imaams, labelling this as an act of Bid'ah. In fact, the Ghayr Muqallideen emulate the Shias in several other matters. For example:

1. Just like the Rawaafidh (a group of the Shias), the Ghayr Muqallideen also do not regard the Sahabah RADI. to be criteria for right and wrong

2. Just like the Rawaafidh, the Ghayr Muqallideen also regard three divorces given in a single sitting as one divorce

3. Just like the Rawaafidh, the Ghayr Muqallideen also regard the twenty Rakaahs of Taraaweeh to be a Bid'ah

4. Just like the Rawaafidh, the Ghayr Muqallideen also regard the Adhaan given in front of the pulpit on the day of Jumu'ah to be a Bid'ah

5. Just like the Rawaafidh and Shia, the Ghayr Muqallideen also do not accept the decision of Hadhrat Umar RADI. to ban women from the Masaajid. This despite the fact that Hadhrat Aa'isha RADI. said that had Rasulullaah SAW. seen the condition of the women after his time, he would certainly have banned them himself.

Apart from the Shias and the Ghayr Muqallideen, the Ulema of the entire Ummah are unanimous about the fact that Taqleed is necessary. This they have clearly stated in their works. The following appears in the commentary of Musallamuth Thuboot: "It is therefore compulsory for people to follow those who had looked deeply into matters (of Deen) and had categorised everything in specific chapters. They had sifted every question, differentiated between them, explained the reasons for each of them and provided tremendous detail (such detail is not found in the statements of the Sahabah RADI. making it difficult for many to derive solutions directly from them). It is because this is not to be found in the Madh'hab of anyone else that Allaama Ibn Salaah RAH. has prohibited people from following anyone other than the four Imaams, who are the Imaam of the Imaams and our Imaam from Kufa (lmaam Abu Haneefah RAH., Imaam Maalik RAH. Imaam Shaafi'ee RAH. and Imaam Ahmad RAH. May Allaah reward them with the best of rewards on our behalf."

Allaam Ibn Nujaym RAH. of Egypt (passed away in 970 A.H.) states, "Whatever ruling opposes those of the four Imaams, actually opposes consensus (which is unacceptable)."

Allaama lbn Humaam RAH. (passed away in 861 A.H.) says, "Many latter day scholars have mentioned that only the four Imaams should be followed because their Madhaahib are well documented, which is not the case with the Madhaahib of others ... it is therefore correct to restrict Taqleed to only to these four Madhaahib."

The eminent Sheikh Ahmad RAH. better known as Allaama Mulla Jeewan RAH. (passed away in 1130 A.H.) was the teacher of Aurangzeb Aalamge er RAH. In his Tafseeraat Ahmadi , he states, "Consensus has been reached about the fact that it is permissible to follow only the four Imaams. It is because of this that if the opinion any new Mujtahid conflicts with those of the four, it will not be permissible to act on his opinion."

He then writes furthers, "In all fairness, the confinement of the Madhaahib to the four and following only them is from the grace of Allaah and denotes His acceptance of them. There is no need for an explanation."

The famous Muhaddith and Mufassir Qaadhi Thanaa'ullaah Panipati RAH. (passed away 1225 A.H.) writes in his Tafseer Mazharil, "The Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa'ah settled with the four Madhaahib after the third or fourth century and there remained no other Madh'hab to follow in as far as the derivatives of the Deen are concerned.
Consensus has therefore been reached on the fact that any opinion that conflicts with all of the four will be rejected. Allaah declares in the Qur'aan: "(Whoever) follows a path other than that of the Mu'mineen, We shall allow him to do that which he is doing and then enter him into Jahannam. It is the worst of abodes."

Imaam Ibraheem Sarakhsi RAH. says, "After that period (of the Sahabah RADI. It became impermissible to follow any Madh hab other than the four, namely those of Imaam Abu Haneefah RAH. Imaam Maalik, Imaam Shaafi'ee RAH. and Imaam Ahmad RAH. This is just as Allaama Ibn Salaah RADI. has stated. This is because the principles of these Madhaahibs are well known and their laws have been well established. Those who served these four Madhaahib have recorded every facet of their laws in great detail."
The Muhaddith Ibn Hajar Makki RADI. (passed away 852 A.H.) also writes that in his times it is not permissible to follow any Madh'hab other than the four, namely those of Imaam Abu Haneefah RAH. Imaam Maalik RAH.,Imaam Shaafi'ee RAH. and Imaam Ahmadilgdit.

In his book Raahatut Quloob, Khwaja Nizaamud Deen Awliyaa RAH. writes, "Khwaja Sayyidul Aabideen Fareedul Haqq Shakr Ganj RAH. Said on the 11'h of Dhul Hajjah 655 A.H. that although all the four Madhaahib are true, it may be noted with certainty that the Madh'hab of Imaam Abu Haneefah RAH. is the best and he is also the best of the Mutaqqaddimeen (early-day scholars). We thank Allaah that He has made us followers of his Madh'hab."

Allaama Jalaaluddeen Mahalli RAH. says, "It is Waajib (compulsory) for a common man and others who have not reached the rank of a Mujtahid to adhere to one of the specific Madhaahib."

Sheikh Muhiyyud Deen Nawawi RAH. the commentator of Muslim writes, "Ulema believe that Ijtihaad (being a Mujtahid) in the broad sense has ended with the four Imaams. It is therefore Waajib (compulsory) for the Ummah to follow one of them. In fact, the Imaam .of the Haramain has reported that the Ummah are unanimous about this."1 It states further in the same reference, "Taqleed in our times is correct only if one of the four Madhaahib are followed ... it is not permissible to follow anyone other than the four Imaams both whenpassing verdict (in court) and when issuing a Fatwa."

Imaam Abdul Wahhaab Sha'raani RAH. writes, "When ever anyone asked my mentor Ali Khawaas about whether it is compulsory to adopt Taqleed, he would tell the person, 'It is Waajib (compulsory) for you to follow a specific Imaam and not to tread away from his Madh'hab until you attain the status of a Mujtahid through perfect piety and divine inspiration.

The famous scholar of Qur'aan and Hadith sayyid Ahmad rahtaawia RAH. (passed away 1233 A.H.) says, "o people! You must follow the one group that will be saved from Jahannam and that is the Ahlus sunnah wal Jamaa'ah because the help of Allaah is attained by being with them and opposing them will cause one to lose Allaah's help and attain only His wrath and displeasure. This successful group has now agreed to follow the four Madhaahib, which are the Hanafi, Maaliki, Shaafi'ee and Hanbali schools. Whoever chooses to be outside the circles of these four Madhaahib is from amongst the people of Bid'ah and those destined for Jahannam.?
The following is an extract from the book of Hadhrat Shah Is'haaq Muhaddith Dehlawi RAH.

"Question 61: Is following the four Madhaahib a good Bid'ah or a bad one? If it is a bad Bidah, then of what category is it?"

Answer: Following the four Madhaahib is neither a good nor a bad Bid'ah, but is in fact a Sunnah because, in the first instance, their differences were such as had existed amongst the sahabah RADI. as well. Despite this, Rasulullaah SAW. said, 'My Sahabah RADI. are like guiding stars and whoever of them you follow, you will be rightly guided.' In the second instance, their differences could be because of a difference in their reasoning, which is in fact in compliance with Nass (the clear verses of the Qur'aan and the most authentic of Ahadeeth) because reasoning is proven by Nass. In yet another instance, the differences between them is due to the direct meanings of the Ahadeeth that some feel the need to practise upon, while others feel the need to practise on the implied meanings of the same Ahadeeth. A Hadith appears in Bukhaari and Muslim stating that when Rasulullaah SAW. gave the Sahabah RADI. the command to march against the Banu Qurayzah tribe, he said that they should not perform their Asr salaah anywhere but at the settlement of the Banu Qurayzah tribe. Now while some of the Sahabah RADI. understood that Rasulullaah RADI.'s intention was to emphasise a speedy march, others took the direct meaning, meaning that they should not perform the Asr salaah on the road (even if the time was running out). However, since Rasulullaah SAW. did not disapprove of this difference, it appears that both parties were right. Such are the differences between the four Madhaahib, so how can it be called a Bid'ah?

Fatawa Rahimiyyah vol.1