Many muslims treat the noble Imaams (Imaam Shafii, Imaam Malik, etc.) as though their words are protected from error. For some people, the words of an Imaam are taken as "gospel" and followed exclusively (as if it were revelation). Even if a verse from the Qur'ân or an authentic saying of the Messenger is brought as an argument against what their chosen Imaam said, their followers forsake what Allah or the Messenger, saaws, said and follow their Imaams. This dangerous position leads to blind taqleed (following) of humans at the expense of revelation.
One such example of this is that Imaam Malik did not raise his hands during the takbeer because they had been crippled to where he could not raise them as should be done in the salah. Muslims who choose to blindly follow Imaam Malik will not raise their hands during the takbeer, even though their is clear proof to do so. There are examples too numerous to list here, examples of senseless adherence to the ways or teachings of men, teachings that are contradictory to the proof.
Some muslims blindly follow modern leaders (such as W. Deen Mohammed, the Tableegh, or the highly deviating Imaam at the local masjid), even when the man calls the people to actions and beliefs that are clearly opposing Qur'ân and Sunnah. Once again, this is an act of elevating a person's words over the Speech of Allah (i.e. the Qur'ân), if at any time we reject the clear revelation and instead act upon or embrace the contrary teachings of a person.
Just like we are to obey our parents unless they call us to the haram (prohibited), we may follow the guidance of men unless they call us to error.
This condition of ignorance and blind following was given by Revelation from Allah to the Messenger, Muhammed, saaws, who said: Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people, but (this is done) by causing (the death) of the scholars until none of them is left alive. People would then appoint ignorant leaders for themselves who would be consulted in matters of religion and they would give Fatawas without knowledge, falling into misguidance and misguiding others.
Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullaah
, said: "And the four Imaams, may Allaah be pleased with them, all forbade the people from blindly following them in all that they may say; and this was an obligation upon them [to do]."
Abu Haneefah (rahimahullaah)
said: "When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my madhhab."
[Ibn 'Aabideen in al-Haashiyah (1/63) and in his essay Rasm al-Mufti (1/4 from the Compilation of the Essays of Ibn 'Aabideen), Shaikh Saalih al-Fulaani in Eeqaaz al-Himam (p. 62) and others. Ibn \'Aabideen quoted from Sharh al-Hidaayah by Ibn al-Shahnah al-Kabeer, the teacher of Ibn al-Humaam]
"It is haram (prohibited) for someone who does not know my evidence to give fatwaa (verdicts) on the basis of my words." Another narration adds, "... for we are mortals: we say one thing one day, and take it back the next day."
[Ibn \'Abdul Barr in Al-Intiqaa\' fi Fadaa\'il ath-Thalaathah al-A\'immah al-Fuqahaa\' (p. 145), Ibn al-Qayyim in I\'laam al-Mooqi\'een (2/309), Ibn \'Aabideen in his Footnoes on Al-Bahr ar-Raa\'iq (6/293) and in Rasm al-Mufti (pp. 29, 32) & Sha\'raani in Al-Meezaan (1/55) with the second narration. Similar narrations exist on the authority of Abu Haneefah\'s companions Zafar, Abu Yoosuf and \'Aafiyah ibn Yazeed; cf. Eeqaaz (p. 52). Ibn al-Qayyim firmly certified its authenticity on the authority of Abu Yoosuf in I\'laam al-Mooqi\'een (2/344).]
"When I say something contradicting the Book of Allah the Exalted or what is narrated from the Messenger (saaws), then ignore my saying."
[Al-Fulaani in Eeqaaz al-Himam (p. 50), tracing it to Imaam Muhammad and then saying, \"This does not apply to the mujtahid, for he is not bound to their views anyway, but it applies to the muqallid.\"]
Imaam Maalik ibn Anas (rahimahullaah)
said: "Truly I am only a mortal: I make mistakes (sometimes) and I am correct (sometimes). Therefore, look into my opinions: all that agrees with the Book and the Sunnah, accept it; and all that does not agree with the Book and the Sunnah, ignore it."
[Ibn \'Abdul Barr in Jaami\' Bayaan al-\'Ilm (2/32), Ibn Hazm, quoting from the former in Usool al-Ahkaam (6/149), and similarly Al-Fulaani (p. 72)]
Imaam Shaafi'i (rahimahullaah)
said: "The sunnahs of the Messenger of Allah (saaws) reach, as well as escape from, every one of us. So whenever I voice my opinion, or formulate a principle, where something contrary to my view exists on the authority of the Messenger of Allah (saaws), then the correct view is what the Messenger of Allah (saaws) has said, and it is my view."
[Related by Haakim with a continuous sanad up to Shaafi\'i, as in Taareekh Dimashq of Ibn \'Asaakir (15/1/3), I\'laam al-Mooqi\'een (2/363, 364) & Eeqaaz (p. 100).]
The messenger of Allah (saaws) said: O mankind, I am leaving two things with you, if you cling to them you will never go astray. The Book of Allah and my way of life.
[Al-Haakim and Al-Baihaqi].