The Scholars – from the Companions, the Taabi’een, and those who came after them – when they differed in any matter, then they followed the command of Allaah – the Most High – in His saying: “If you differ in anything amongst yourselves then refer it back to Allaah and His Messenger, if you do truly believe in Allaah and the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.” [Soorah an-Nisaa 4:59].
So they would discuss concerning the issue; discuss, consult and sincerely advise.
Sometimes they would differ in matters linked to the aqeedah, as well as issues linked to actions (i.e. fiqh), yet along with such differences, they still preserved the unity and brotherhood.
Yes, whosoever opposes the clear Book (i.e. the Quran) and the beneficial Sunnah, or that which the Pious Predecessors of this Ummah had Ijmaa (consensus) upon, opposing it without a justifiable excuse, then such a person has acted with the action of the Innovators…
As regards differing in matters of rulings and actions (i.e. fiqh), then the examples are too many to be recorded.
So if every Muslim who differed in something were to be boycotted and abandoned, then no unity or brotherhood would ever remain.
And Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiallaahu ‘anhumaa – who were the best of the Muslims – used to differ in matters, but they did not intend except good.
And the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to his Companions on the day of [the expedition to] Banu Quraydhah: “Let none of you pray ‘Asr except when you reach Bonu Quraydhah.”
So the time for the ‘Asr Prayer came during the journey, so one group amongst them said: We will not pray until we reach Banu Quraydhah; so they missed the actual time for ‘Asr. The other group said: We will not miss it by delaying the Prayer; so they prayed along the way. And the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not criticise any of the two groups. This is related by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim, from Ibn ‘Umar.
So this differing was in a matter related to rulings and actions (i.e.fiqh), not in the important usool (fundamantels i.e. differing in aqeedah) itself.”
Ref: Majmoo’ Fataawaa (241171-174), abridged
Posted by Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie