Originally Posted by Tigers_eye
If Madhab was that important then certainly the All-Knowing would have had mentioned it.
Allah commands us in the Qur'an, "Ask the people of knowledge (remembrance) if you dont know".
Obviously, if one knows then he or she isn't obliged to follow a Madhab. Let me put this in perspective- Imam Al-Ghazzali, Imam Muhammad As-Shaibani, Imam An-Nabawi, Imam Ibn- Hajar Al-Asqalani, Imam Ibn-Rushd, Shaykh Ibn-Al-Arabi, Imam Al-Bukhari, Imam Muslim An-Nisapuri, Imam At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Khaldun, Imam Ibn At-Taymiyyah et el followed a madhab, although, they all were "mujtahid mutlaq" (absolute scholars) by their own right. The prerequisites of "Ijtihad" (independent reasoning) are explained below by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad who is a professor of theology at Cambridge University:
In order to protect the Shariah from the danger of innovation and distortion
, the great scholars of usul (foundation of Islamic sciences)* laid down rigorous conditions which must be fulfilled by anyone wishing to claim the right of ijtihad for himself. These conditions include:
(a) mastery of the Arabic language, to minimise the possibility of misinterpreting Revelation on purely linguistic grounds; http://members.cox.net/arshad/newmadhh.htm
(b) a profound knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah and the circumstances surrounding the revelation of each verse and hadith, together with a full knowledge of the Quranic and hadith commentaries, and a control of all the interpretative techniques discussed above;
(c) knowledge of the specialised disciplines of hadith, such as the assessment of narrators and of the matn [text];
(d) knowledge of the views of the Companions, Followers and the great imams, and of the positions and reasoning expounded in the textbooks of fiqh, combined with the knowledge of cases where a consensus (ijma) has been reached;
(e) knowledge of the science of juridical analogy (qiyas), its types and conditions;
(f) knowledge of ones own society and of public interest (maslahah);
(g) knowing the general objectives (maqasid) of the Shariah; (h) a high degree of intelligence and personal piety, combined with the Islamic virtues of compassion, courtesy, and modesty.