Assalamu’alaikum Warahmatullah ya Syaikh
Is every word of the sahaba of Rasulullah, the tabi’in, and the tabi’ut tabi’in (al-salaf al-ṣāliḥ) should be followed (even if we don’t know based on what Hadeeth and/or Qur’anic Verse of their words)?
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
There is no such rule in Islam. The firm principle is that we ought to follow the firm ordinances of Allah and His Messenger. As for the statements or rulings of anyone else (whether companions or successors), we are free to accept them or reject them.
The only exception is an issue where they have reached a consensus. In matters of consensus, we ought to adhere to them.
That is the reason we have diverse schools of jurisprudence; each one of them followed a different interpretation or ruling or principles passed on by a companion or companions. They did not think it was binding on them to comply with every one of their judgments or statements. Hence the dictum, ‘a companion’s statement or practice, is not a binding proof’ for us to follow, especially if it at variance with the statement or rulings of other companions.
Having said this, we must rush to add: that era of the Salaf al-Salih is the best of generations for us to look up to for inspiration; they are our role models. This in no way means that we ought to follow their every word or deed. Such a prerogative is limited to the explicit texts of the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
Allah Almighty knows best.
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