Is it Necessary to Follow an Imaam?

Can I not Refer Directly to the Hadeeth?

In this belated era, one often hears questions about the need to follow an imaam or a mazhab. The ear-catching slogan of “DIRECTLY” following the Quraan and hadith is heard more frequently.The answer to such questions and the reality behind these slogans is highlighted by the following eye-opening incident, which has been reported by Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal and Imaam Tahaawi (rahimahumallah)

Once ‘Urwah bin Zubair (rahimahullah) addressed ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) thus:

أضللت الناس يا ابن عباس !

“You have led the people astray O ibnu ‘Abbaas!”

When ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) enquired about the reason, ‘Urwa (rahimahullah) mentioned a ruling pertaining to the laws of hajj which ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) had issued contrary to the ruling of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma). ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) replied: “This is the exact reason why you have been led astray. I am narrating from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and you are opposing it with the view of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma).”

‘Urwah (rahimahullah) said to Ibnu ‘Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma):

إن أبا بكر وعمر رضي الله عنهما كانا أعلم برسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم منك

“Indeed Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) were more knowledgeable about the sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) than you.