Contents > Chapter 12: The Deobandi’s Understanding of Taqleed > Analyzing the Claim 3) There is a consensus of the entire Muslim nation on these Imams
Firstly, this is a false claim because the Imams themselves have opposed blind following and the concept to adherence to Madhhabs came into existence after the fourth century of Islam. The opposition of the Imams to blind following is apparent from their following statements:
1: Imam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah): “When a Hadeeth is found to be Saheeh (authentic), then that is my Madhhab.” - “It is not permitted (Halaal) for anyone to accept our views if they do not know from where we got them.”
If this is what Imam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) says of those who do not know the evidence, then what should be the response of the one, who knows that the evidence contradicts his saying, but still gives precedence to the verdicts opposed to the evidence? And in this regard, Imam Abu Haneefah said: “When I say something contradicting the Book of Allah, the Exalted, or what is narrated from the Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), then ignore my saying.”
2: Imam Malik Ibn Anas (rahimahullah): “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.” - “Everyone after the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) will have his sayings accepted and rejected - not so the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam).”
3: Imam Shafi’ee (rahimahullah): “When a Hadeeth is found to be Saheeh, then that is my Madhhab.” - “In every issue where the people of narration find a report from the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) to be Saheeh which is contrary to what I have said, then I take my saying back, whether during my life or after my death.” - “Every statement on the authority of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) is also my view, even if you do not hear it from me.”
4: Imam Ahmad Ibn Hambal (rahimahullah): “Do not follow my opinion; neither follow the opinions of Malik, nor Shafi’ee nor Awzai’ee nor Thawri, but take from where they took.” - “Whoever rejects a statement of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) is on the brink of destruction.”
Moreover, the concept of Taqleed implies that only the four Imams have the right to Ijtihad, and the people of the subsequent generations whether they are scholars or common people must do Taqleed of the Imams. We have already seen that the Imams did not prescribe Taqleed. So, in light of Taqleed, the Muqallids too should not prescribe Taqleed or its conditions.
Taqleed prohibits the later generations from Ijtihad even in minor issues, then how did the later Muqallids make a major Ijtihad of obligating Taqleed of the Madhhabs and declaring it to be a part of Eemaan? If Indeed, such a major Ijtihad has been made then how can it be said that the door to Ijtihad has been closed after the fourth century?
Finally, since the subsequence generations do not have the right to Ijtihad, then on what basis did they form a consensus (Ijma) and how valid can this Ijma be in light of Taqleed?
 Ibn Aabideen in al-Haashiyah (1/63) Shaikh Saalih al-Fulaani in Eeqaaz al-Himam (p. 62) and others.
 Ibn Abdul Barr in al-Intiqaa ath-Thalaathah al-Aimmah al-Fuqahaa (p. 145), Ibn al-Qayyim in al-Mooqi’een (2/309) and others.
 al-Fulaani in Eeqaaz al-Himani (p. 50).
 Ibn Abdul Barr in Jaami Bayaan al-Ilm (2/32).
 Ibn Abdul Hadee declared it Saheeh in Irshaad as-Saalik (227/1), Ibn Hazam in Usool al-Ahkaam (6/145, 179), Abu Dawood said in Masaa’il of Imaam Ahmad (p. 276)
 Nawawi in al-Majmoo (1/63), Sha’raani (1/57) giving its sources as Haakim and Baihaqi and Fulaani (p. 107).
 Abu Nu’aim (9/107), Harawi (47/1) Ibn al-Qayyim in I’laam al-Muwaqqi’een (2/363) and Fulaani (p. 104).
 Ibn Abi Hatim (p. 93-94).
 Fulaani (p. 113) and Ibn al-Qayyim in I’laam (2/302).
 Ibn al-Jawzi (p. 182).