The salaf and the sahaba themselves WERE madhabs. Even the sahaba had the school of either ibn abbass or abdullahi ibn mas’ud, or aisha or abu huraira رضي الله عنهم اجمعين. Likewise umar was a faqih among the sahabah so some of them differed from each based on understandings.
As a result, madhabs IS NOT to be understood as an
“Opinion contrary to sunnah”
Rather madhabs are SUPPOSE TO BE understood as
“EXTRACTED views OF THE SUNNAH”.
I believe this is a crucial area on where and why some of the modern salafi movement completely derailed and went off track. This is extremely ironic considering classical salafism of the salaf have been the source AND progenators of madhabs. If you were to look at the students of all four imams, it would be extremely easy to identify them all as being salafi as even Imam adh-Dhahabi labels them as such in his siyar.
Allow me to be more clear with a demonstration with a CLASSIC example in fiqh
Salafism’s shaykh al-albani takes the hadith that during the coming up into qiyam from sitting, that the hands must be put into a fist position DUE TO the hadith that narrates “as if kneading dough”
THAT SAME HADITH, under maliki madhab, is explained by the book “Ayamul-arab” (the days of the arabs) whereby it narrates how the arabs during the time of the prophet ﷺ kneaded dough for bread. The Arabs during the prophet’s time ﷺ use to knead dough WITH THE PALM FACING DOWN!!!!
MAJOR DIFFERENCE using the exact same hadith. So who is right? The al-albani salafism claiming its the hadith, or maliki madhab with the palm facing down??? Obviously, its the maliki since they have the proper explanation of the hadith and shaykh al-albani mistakenly erred in his sharh of that hadith!!!!!
But the main point here is that there was no alleged “contradiction to hadith” here. And its pretty much like that for the bulk of sunnah acts in fiqh that modern salafis mistakenly reinterpret as manhaj issues resulting in “the manhajification of fiqh” paradigm the modern salafi movement is known for.
The fuqaha would also use the hadith of the sahaba being commanded “when the salah comes in, pray” and then while they were traveling on their journey, asr came, so two groups of sahaba disagreed on what to do. So do we consider the one group of them who said to delay asr until they got to their destination as “opposing the hadith” or do we consider the other group who literally did pray when it came in before they got to their destination as “opposing the hadith”. Once the news came to the Messenger ﷺ, he confirmed they both were valid EXTRACTIONS OF WHAT HE SAID.
Conclusion: modern salafis must return to original salafi conceptions of the shariah in that madhahib are NOT to be understood upon a superficial conception of “whenever the hadith comes opposing the madhab, we run with the hadith” thinking that the basis of madhahib is contrary to the sunnah!!! This is extremely wrong. Rather, the madhahibs of fiqh exist as an extraction of what the hadith were either
•loosely NOT indicating
•possibly NOT indicating
•clearly NOT indicating
Because we have these ambiguities, this is why differences and the birth of views i.e. Madhahib come about. Its not about “opposing hadith” its about what the heck is the hadith actually directing us to. And these are just the initiating aspects of ambiguities. Then there comes issues of ishtirak alfadh, mutlaq and muqayyid within the language, not to mention the various issues of other corroborating ahadith, abrogating ahadith that abrogate the hadith you think is applicable.
What kills me is that even in the published salafi works of ibn taymiyyah or ibn uthaymin as to “why the scholars differ” ibn uthaymin or ibn taymiyyah display immense and extraordinary intellectual proofs and reasons why fuqaha differ. Yet the actual group known as salafis ONLY remember one reason. Classic reason is “the Imam was ignorant of the hadith” -for had he known the hadith, he would’ve abandoned his view- theory. Typically when I see this explanation, I just keep scrolling because I dont have the energy or brain power to handle imbecility or I may not think that the audience will even be able to compute the proper information.