Q: Why is it obligatory on every Muslim to follow one of the four Madh-habs (Schools of Jurisprudence), although the Imams of those Madh-habs base their opinions on proofs from the Qur'an and Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet)?
Is it permissible for any contemporary Muslim to derive a juristic ruling according to what is mentioned in the Qur'an and Sunnah without referring to any of the juristic books,
as a way of obeying the command in the following Ayah:
And so judge (you O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) among them by what Allâh has revealed
and the statement in the following Ayah:
Is it not sufficient for them that We have sent down to you the Book (the Qur’ân) which is recited to them?
? If your answer is in the affirmative, it is stated in the booklet entitled Tanwir Al-Qulub that "The Muslim who refuses to follow any of them (the four Madh-habs) and decides to adhere just to the Qur'an and Sunnah, claiming to fully understand the rulings they include, their views are not to be accepted. They are mistaken and misguided, and will misguide others, especially at a time when violations and false claims spread. People who do so put themselves in a position of competing with Imams while being much more inferior to them in knowledge, uprightness, and awareness."
All praise is due to Allah Alone and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger, his family, and Companions.
Any Muslim who is qualified enough to deduce rulings from the Qur'an and Sunnah and is capable of depending on the juristic references of earlier Muslim scholars may do so, may depend on their rulings in settling disputes, and may give Fatwas (legal opinions issued by a qualified Muslim scholar) based on them to anyone who asks. However, a Muslim who is not qualified to do this has to ask contemporary trustworthy scholars, or read the books of trusted scholars to find the required ruling and apply it. This can be done without being confined to asking or reading the works of one of the four Imams. Moreover, people seek the views of the four Imams in particular due to their good reputation and accuracy, the fact that they are well known, and the simplicity of their books. (Part No. 5; Page No. 42) Anyone who says that the seekers of knowledge should only follow the example of the four Imams is mistaken, holding a rigid opinion, ill-thinking of them, and is limiting a vast matter. Similarly, anyone who confines following scholars to only the four famous Madh-habs is mistaken and is limiting a vast matter without proof. Moreover, an unlearned person will not make any distinction between any of the four Imams and others such as
Al-Layth ibn Sa`d,
Al-Awza`y, and other jurists.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.