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What do we do When the Scholars Differ?
Question:

Some of the Salafees from Britain asked: If the Scholars differ in an issue from the issues, how do the general folk act in regard to this differing?
Answer:

They should ask one who is God fearing from amongst them for proof and evidence, for indeed the Companions use to ask the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam. And the layman in included in His saying, the Most High:

And follow not that of which you have no knowledge [Al-Isra 17:36]

And he (the layman) is included in His saying, the Most High:

[Say (O Muhammad) to these idolaters (pagan Arabs) of your folk:] Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord (the Qur'n and Prophet Muhammad's Sunnah), and follow not any Auliy' (protectors and helpers, etc. who order you to associate partners in worship with Allh), besides Him (Allh). Little do you remember! [Al-A'raf 7:3]

And he (the layman) is included in His saying, the Most High:

And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path. [Al-An'am 6:153]

And he (the layman) is included in the saying of the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam:

: : ɡ

All of my Ummah will enter Paradise except those who refuse. They said: O Messenger of Allaah, who are those that refuse? He said: Whosoever obeys me will enter Paradise and whosoever disobeys me, then he has refused.

So it is necessary that one asks for proof and evidence, if one teaches by way of demonstration, then that is better; because the Prophet sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam Prayed upon the pulpit (on an occasion) and when he wanted to prostrate, he descended.

And Uthmaan called for water (to be brought) and likewise Ali bin Abi Taalib and one of them performed ablution (wudhu) in front of the people, in order to teach them the characteristics of the ablution of the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam. and likewise the Hajj, the Prophet sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam said:

Take from me the rites of Hajj.

And he sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam said in regard to the Prayer:

Pray as you have seen me pray.

So it is necessary that you ask him for proofs and evidences, and there is no problem if you ask the other (Scholar) for proof and evidence, and the decisive proof is the Book (of Allaah) and the Sunnah (of the Messenger sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam).

Shaykh Muqbil bin Haadee
Tuhfatul Mujeeb Alaa Asilatil-Hadhir wal-Ghareeb, p.158 Dar al-Aathar

Translated by Abu Maryam Taariq bin 'Ali
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