Praise be to Allaah.
Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah are not to be regarded as
opposition to the Maalikis, Shaafa’is, Hanbalis and the like, rather they
are opposed to the followers of innovated and misguided beliefs and ways
such as the Ash’aris, Mu’tazilis, Murji’is, Sufis and so on. The Hanafis,
Maalikis, Shaafa’is and Hanbalis are schools of fiqh, whose imams are among
Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, and indeed are among the leaders of Ahl
al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah. But unfortunately the followers of most of those
madhhabs and schools of fiqh have begun to follow the people of innovation
and misguidance in their beliefs, so many of the Shaafa’is and Maalikis have
become Ash’aris, and many of the Hanafis have become Maatireedis. But with
regard to ‘aqeedah, the Hanbalis – apart from a very few – have been spared
the change to something other than the ‘aqeedah of Ahl al-Sunnah
The basic principle concerning the Muslim is that he adheres
to the Qur’aan and Sunnah according to the understanding of the companions
of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and those
who followed them in guidance. As for following one of these four madhhabs
or any other, that is not obligatory or recommended, and the Muslim does not
have to adhere to any one of them in particular. Rather the one who adheres
to a particular madhhab in every issue is being a partisan who is guilty of
blind following. End quote.
Hal al-Muslim mulzim bi Ittibaa’ Madhhab mu’ayyin min
al-Madhhab al-Arba’ah? By al-Ma’soomi, p. 38.
There is nothing wrong
with following the four schools of fiqh if a Muslim does not have sufficient
knowledge to enable him to derive rulings from the Qur’aan and Sunnah
himself, but if it becomes clear to him that the correct view is other than
that of his madhhab, then he must follow the correct view and not his
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him)
In the Qur’aan, Allaah condemns the one who turns away from
following the Messengers and follows instead the religion invented by his
forefathers. This is imitation (taqleed) which is forbidden by Allaah and
His Messenger, i.e., following someone other than the Messenger in matters
that go against the Messenger. This is haraam for everyone according to the
consensus of the Muslims, for there is no obedience to any created being if
it involves disobedience towards the Creator. Obedience to the Messenger is
obligatory for every one, elite and common folk alike, at all times and in
all places, both inwardly and outwardly, and in all situations… Allaah has
enjoined obedience to the Messenger upon all people, in approximately forty
places in the Qur’aan.
It is permissible for
one who is unable to derive rulings to follow a scholar, according to the
majority of scholars… the kind of imitation or following that is forbidden
by the texts and according to scholarly consensus is that which goes against
the words of Allaah and His Messenger. end quote.
Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 19/260-266
The followers of the salaf are those who adhere to the
Qur’aan and Sunnah in their beliefs, fiqh and conduct and do not go against
what is proven in the Qur’aan and Sunnah and what is agreed upon by the
salaf of this ummah.
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him) said:
What is meant by the salafi madhhab is the way of the salaf
(early generations) of this ummah, namely the Sahaabah, Taabi’een and
prominent imams with regard to issues of ‘aqeedah, sound method, sincere
faith and adherence to the beliefs, laws, etiquette and conduct of Islam,
unlike the innovators, deviants and those who are confused.
Among the most prominent of those who advocated the madhhab
or way of the salaf were the four imams, Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah and
his students, Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab and his students, and
other reformers and renewers; there is no era when there was not someone who
is establishing evidence for the right way.
There is nothing wrong
with calling them Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, so as to differentiate
between them and the followers of deviant groups. This is not praising
oneself, rather it is distinguishing between the people of truth and the
people of falsehood. End quote.
Al-Muntaqa min Fataawa al-Shaykh al-Fawzaan,
1/question no. 206.
Based on this, if a man whose religious commitment and
character are good proposes marriage to a Muslim woman, then she should
accept him even if he does not belong to one of these madhhabs, but if the
one who proposes to her is a member of one of the misguided and deviant
groups, then she should not accept him.
And Allaah knows best.