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Why do we follow the Madhahib of the 4 Imams and not the Sahabah directly?


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Why do we follow the Madhahib of the 4 Imams and not the Sahabah directly?

Imam al-Juwayni رحمه الله said: 

"There is an agreement between the muhaqiqun (researchers/verifiers) that the ordinary/common muslims should not adhere [directly] to the Madhab of any particular Sahabi. 

Rather it is necessary for them to follow the Madhahib of the Imams who researched, analysed, formulated chapters, mentioned issues that clarify and were exposed to the Madhahib of their predecessors. 

The reason for this is that the predecessors, despite the fact that they are an example in religion and an example to the Muslims, did not kept themselves busy in the codification of the paths of ijtihad and clarifying the ways of considerations and arguments. 

While the imams of fiqh, who came after them, have sufficiently looked into the Madhahib of the Sahabah, and thus the general public was ordered to follow these Madhahib of those who have researched."

📚 - [البرهان ٧٤٤/٢]

The meaning of this is that it is not permissible for the general public to adhere directly to the Madhahib of the Sahabah. As their Madahhib are not condified and structured.

Whereas the four Madhahib (Maliki, Hanafi, Hanbali and Shafi'i) are an extension of the Madhahib of the Sahabah and it is condified and structured the views of the Sahabah whilst taking to account what has been abrogated, etc.

Following the Madhahib of the Sahabah for the laymen could lead to mistakes in fiqh, especially on those issues that were abrogated.

And it's true to say that the Madhahib of the 4 Imams are sufficient for every Muslim. If you take any book of fiqh from any of the 4 Madhahib, you will find all what the seeker of knowledge needs, purification with all its details related to water, its rulings, wudhu, ghusl, salah, zakat, fasting, hajj, sales, nikah, etc. Moreover, each of the 4 Madhahib can be traced back to the Sahabah and thus we are following the Sahabah. The claim that following one of the 4 Madhahib is not the same as following the Sahabah is just absurd.


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