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When are the words of a scholar – whether he was a Sahaabi or otherwise – regarded as binding evidence? .

Published: 25/09/2012 10:12:00 PM GMT
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Sometimes we hear opinions that were narrated from the Sahaabah, or sometimes other opinions that were narrated from the imams (leading scholars) on various occasions, although the basic principle directs us to follow the Qur’an and Sunnah. When do (more)

Sometimes we hear opinions that were narrated from the Sahaabah, or sometimes other opinions that were narrated from the imams (leading scholars) on various occasions, although the basic principle directs us to follow the Qur’an and Sunnah. When does the Muslim have to follow the opinion of the Sahaabi or imam? How can we reconcile between this and the obligation of following the Qur’an and Sunnah?

Praise be to Allah.

The obligation of following the Qur'an and Sunnah does not contradict the idea of learning from the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and from the imams who are known to have been men of knowledge and virtue. In fact learning from them in general comes under the heading of following the Qur'an and Sunnah. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“so ask people who know the Scripture, if you do not know”

[al-Anbiya' 21:7].

Abu Dawood (3641) narrated that Abu'd-Darda' said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say: “…The scholars are the heirs of the Prophets. The Prophets did not leave behind dinars or dirhams, rather they left behind a heritage of knowledge, and the one who acquires it acquires an abundant portion.”

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

The view of this scholar, - whether he was a Sahaabi or otherwise - can only have been either in accordance with the Sunnah or at variance with it. If it is in accordance with it, then it is obligatory to adopt it and act upon it, because the scholars have more knowledge of Allah and His Messenger than anyone else.

If it is at variance with the Sunnah then it should not be adopted; rather one should follow the Sunnah, but this applies only when it becomes clear to one that this particular opinion is at variance with the Sunnah.

 

The basic principle is that the opinion of anyone may be accepted or rejected, except the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).

At the same time the high status of the scholars - foremost among whom are the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them) - must be upheld.

If there is no text concerning the issue, then the opinion of the knowledgeable Sahaabi, if no one else among the Sahaabah differed with him, is regarded as binding evidence according to many scholars.

The basic principle concerning this matter is that the opinion of the Sahaabi is regarded as binding evidence so long as it does not go against any text and so long as no one else among the Sahaabah differed with him.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

If the Sahaabi was one of those who were well-known for deep knowledge, then his opinion may be regarded as evidence, subject to two conditions:<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.75in;text-align:justify;text-indent: <p><p><p>Reproduced from Islam QA</body> </html>




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