Shaykh Ahmad An-Najjar said, “Ibn Taimiyah says in al-Fatawa al-Kubra (107/2): ‘One who assumes the partisanship of a particular Imam at the expense of others is like one who has assumed the partisanship of one Companion at the expense of others; like a Rafidi (an individual who follows the way of extreme Shia sect) who assumes the partisanship of Ali at the expense of the previous three caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthmaan) and the large community of Companions, or like a Khariji (an individual who follows the Khawarij sect who unjustly label other Muslims as disbelievers and incorrectly revolt against sinful Muslim rulers) who criticizes Uthman and Ali, may Allah be pleased with both of them. These are the ways of innovators who act upon their whims. It has been proven through the Book, the Sunnah and the Consensus of the community (ijmah) that they are condemnable [for their act of partisanship towards particaular Companions] and are outside the perimeter of the Shariah (Islamic law) and the correct path upon which Allah sent down his Messenger to us, may Allah shower his peace and blessings upon him.
Therefore, one who assumes the partisanship of a specific imam [from one of the four well known imams] in terms of jurisprudential conformity (i.e. in fiqh issues) is not unlike those mentioned above, irrespective of whether he is a partisan of Malik [so he is a Maliki], Shafiʿi [so he is a Shafiʿi], Abu Hanifah [so he is a Hanafi], Ahmad [so he is a Hanbali] or others.
The worst among those who choose the partisanship of one scholar at the expense of others is one who is ignorant of his scholar’s rank in knowledge and religion, as is he ignorant of other [scholars’] ranks alike. Consequently, he becomes an unjustly ignorant man. Allah enjoins knowledge and justice and forbids ignorance and injustice. Allah says, “But man bore it, verily He was unjust to himself and ignorant. So that Allah will punish the hypocrites’ men and women.”‘
Whatever advantages that are claimed to be present in such a system are nothing but imaginary and fictional. If not, then they are tertiary advantages that compromise upon the primary advantages and cause them to be abrogated. In either case, it is unjustified. It is necessary to draw a distinct line here between the mandated posing of a commoner’s question to a Mufti which is in accordance with the Quran where,
Allah says, ‘Ask the people of knowledge’
and between mandating the conformity of one specific scholar from among the large community of scholars – since there is no similarity between these two cases. There are plenty of Companions who used to seek knowledge from their seniors without limiting their source of knowledge to one specific person. As such, following one specific person is not mandatory on Muslims.
Ibn Taymiyyah also says in Majmu al-Fatawa (208/20): ‘When a Muslim is faced with adversity he should seek a fatwa from anyone who he believes shall answer him in conformity with the Shariah of Allah and His Messenger, irrespective of his madhab (be it Hanifi, Hanbali, Maliki or Shafiʿi).
It is not mandatory on any Muslim to follow one particular person in whatever that person says. Similarly, it is not permissible for any Muslim to adhere to the beliefs of a specific individual except the Messenger himself (may Allah shower his peace and blessings upon him) in all that is obligatory upon him and he is informed of. In fact, all opinions, except those of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah shower his peace and blessings upon him) can be accepted and discarded alike.
To follow a specific person in order to conform to the beliefs of a specific individual; because the follower in this case is unable to acquire the knowledge of the Shariah except from the one he follows is something which is an act of a particular man who has a valid excuse to do [not a generally permissible action for the majority of Muslims].
[But] this is not something that is to be done by those who have the ability to obtain knowledge about the Shariah from various other sources also.
It is incumbent upon all to obey Allah as much as possible and acquire knowledge that Allah and His Messenger have commanded [them] to acquire, thereby, the command can be carried out and all that has been prohibited can be avoided.’
…May Allah shower his prayers and blessings upon our Prophet
Muhammad, his progeny and his companions.”
Ref: abuasmaa12.blogspot.co.uk via Salafibayaan.com
Posted by Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie