In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
Answering your question, Dr. Wael Shehab, PhD in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University and currently the Imam of the Downtown Toronto Masjid in Canada, states:
A Muslim is not bound to follow a single or a specific madhhab. One is to follow the authentic opinion that is based on sound proofs of the Shari`ah.
Here, we should understand that there is a difference between scholars of Shari`ah and laymen as follows:
For the Shari`ah scholars, they are required to verify and check the various opinions and follow the authentic ones. It is not acceptable for scholars to blindly imitate other scholars.
For the laymen, they may follow one of the correct schools of Fiqh. It is also acceptable for a person to apply opinions of various schools as long as he doesn’t invent or fabricate a way or a view that is not supported by any of the sound schools of Fiqh. A layman, in short, should follow the fatwas for which he asks the scholars in order to avoid confusion and errors.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.