Q. Why do people follow different Mazhab like Hanafi etc? What type of Muslims don’t follow Mazhab? They just follow Quran and Sunnah.
A. In the same way people follow scholars of today to find out, and practice the true teachings of Islam, people follow the Imams of Fiqh, (including Imam Abu Hanifa). The same question can be asked as to why people follow Imam Bukhari or Ibn Katheer?
Scholars are followed today and no one makes an issue of it. Why then should one make an issue of following the great scholars of the early centuries like the Imams of Fiqh? Those of the past are more worthy of being followed that those of today. So if one has a problem with following the Imams of Fiqh then one should likewise have a problem with following the scholars of today.
People follow a Mazhab because of the reliance and conviction they have about the Imams of Fiqh on their perfect understanding of the Quran and Sunnah. Those who follow a Mazhab are indeed following the Quran and Sunnah. However, seeing that they lack knowledge and understanding of these sources, they accept the opinions and explainations of the scholars of the early centuries who are far more worthy of being followed than those of today.
Those who do not follow a Mazhab are normally those who consider themselves to have so much knowledge and understanding of Islam that they do not have the cause to ask or seek the advice of other scholars of the past. These people normally claim for themselves a position and title which they do not possess, and while they claim to follow the Quran and the Sunnah, they fall short of the proper understanding of these sources. It is for this reason, you see them changing their opinions regularly on many issues. Most of them do not really possess any knowledge of Islam. They simply surf the net, pick up pieces here and there, and along with a little reading they form their own opinions on many important matters of Islam. Many of these brothers/sisters have no formal education on Islam, but yet, they behave as though they possess great knowledge of the Quran and the Sunnah. The reality is that these people do indeed follow others. It’s just that they have not chosen to follow the great scholars of the past whom the entire Ummah have accepted.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan