Originally Posted by aisha
I do not mean to raise argument about this but clarity needs to be made so as not to confuse reading muslims:
Our religion is sent complete and fullfilled from God through our prophet Mohamed -pbuh-. Any matter which is clear and textually ordered is not up for discussion and cannot be removed based on timespan or otherwise and we should stick to it as much as we can.
The madhabs are methods of studying and analysing less clear texts, and using set principals of fiqh to reach the correct view regarding something which is not clear or which there is no text for it. There aren't four madhabs but more, and there are many scholars who don't specifically stick to those madhabs.
There is madhab Al-Thahery for example. The four famous ones though are famous because the students of the Imams were systematic in writing it down, so new scholars who came afterwards followed the methodologies.
Over 1400 years many of the hadiths used were studied closer and found lacking in authenticity. Others that did not have support at the time and later became strengthened. Many scholars within the four madhabs or the other madhabs adjusted, and some didn't.
To stick to one madhab means you stick a certain school of methodology, which is not prudent and does not make sense. To stick a single school original opinions even when new evidence have fortified certain hadith or weakened others and therefore shows that the original opinion is no longer valid, means that you are substituting the prophet's newly authenticated example or order, or the proven approved habit of the good companions, with that of an opinion of a scholar, which is no matter how great or knowledgable, is still fallible and is still susceptible to error of judgement, especially working from material that wasn't compiled in full at the time.
Salafis do not call for non-madhab. They call for putting priority to evidence of the prophet, and the approved actions of his companions and the two generations who follow because those three generations are by textual testament of the prophet are the best the muslim ummah will ever have. Ibn Taymeyya followed the Hanbali madhab and he is a strict Salafi for example. But if something have emerged that shows him the hanbali original madhab opinion is not correct, then he would give fatwa based on the stronger evidence.
By being Salafi does not mean that laymen follow and analyze and dig up direct evidence themselves
, as a matter of fact if you go to a proper scholarly forum of a Salafi basis, they will refuse any opinion that is not dependent on what an Imam or Sheikh or madhab have said, citing that laymen analysis can be faulty and they cannot waste time refuting unknowledgables coming in with haphazard thoughts.
What muslims should do based on Salafi faith is to choose great knowledgable pious scholars, not madhabs regardless of the people speaking. To follow the scholarly opinion that comes with a solid evidence over the one without. Currently all four madhabs are actually coming together more and more as hadith's library is built bigger and bigger, for example Hanafi scholars raise their hands upon rokoo now, because all recognize the evidence of the hadith regarding raising the hands have been authenticated.
Imams of the madhabs themselves said to only follow what they say if they are on the right, if evidence emerges afterwards or it turns out their opinion was weak, they themselves said to discard the opinion and follow the stronger view and the one with evidence (Imam Ibn Hanbal: "Follow me only as long as I am on the sunnah, if it turns out I wasn't, don't follow what I said". Imam Malik: "Everyone's words can be taken or ignored in whole or in part except for that man" and he pointed at the grave of the prophet -pbuh-.)
Islam is from God, the one messenger is who we are supposed to follow. If a scholar makes a mistake, even if all people follow it, and there is one piece of evidence that is recorded, people will be responsible for not following the truth.
So as far as the prayer example you gave. The muslim should follow the stronger evidence which is that small bit of blood does not ruin the ablution or prayer, since that is the opinion of Malikis and Shafies (as well as Hanbalis who care about the amount), and the vast majority of companions like Omar, Ibn Abbas, Aisha, and Abu Huraira -RAA- based on the hadith of Anas "I saw the prophet -pbuh- make hijama then pray without repeating the ablution, and didn't add to washing the Hijama spots". While Abu Haneefa's opinion was the generalized "blood is najes". As for the feet, majority opinion is with covering the feet, considering that is the opinions again of Hanbalis, Malikis, Shafies, and Thaheris, while Jaafari and Hanafee madhabs established that it's not. The proofs are equal for both, with both opinions having valid hadith to indicate the opinion directly. Majority stick to the hadith of the prophet when he was asked if a woman in armor and Khimar can pray without an Izar (long skirt to the ground), and he answered: "she may if the feet are covered". Hanafee and Jaafari and other Imams found strong proof in Aisha's -RAA- saying that the quranic verse that says "...that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof;" [24:31] included feet, and that she and the muslim women showed their feet while walking and didn't cover in prayer, also said by Ibn Abbas. In such a situation then you can choose either opinion because they're both equally evidenced and there's a split in opinion, and you can choose the easier one.
Taking easier just because it's easier is of course wrong, and is not the way of the Salaf.
May God help us all stick to the path of righteousness.