Islam allows differences of opinions, but it has given us broad principles of unity and basic rules and guidelines for the differences of opinions. Not every person’s difference of opinion is good and valid. Only those who are qualified to form an opinion in any given subject are also allowed to differ according to rules of that subject. Medical doctors, for example, have a right to differ with medical doctors on medical issues. Engineers have a right to differ with engineers on engineering issues. Lawyers can differ among themselves on law issues. But one cannot say that everyone has the right to differ and everyone’s opinion is good It is foolish for an engineer to differ with a medical doctor on a medical issue. Similarly, it is wrong for a medical doctor to give an opinion on a juristic issue of which he does not have much knowledge.
With this in mind, we recommend Dr. Taha Jabir al-`Alwani’s book The Ethics of Disagreement in Islam. It is a very valuable book.
Thus, it is a healthy phenomenon to see scholars differing regarding certain issues as long as they are qualified scholars and their views are Shari`ah-based. It is worthy mentioning here that scholars differ regarding secondary issues, and they difference has nothing to do with the basics of Islam. With this in mind, we do stress that as an ordinary Muslim you should follow the scholar who really possesses the moderate views of understanding Islam keeping in mind that Islam does not oblige a Muslim to follow a certainSchool of Fiqh or a certain scholar. Rather, Muslims are to abide by the Qur’an and the Sunnah, which are the two authentic, perfect, infallible sources, whereas every individual judgment is subject to acceptance and rejection.
As we stated, it’s not easy for a layman to choose between different Juristic opinions, and who knows not the judgment pertaining to a certain issue should consult a trusted scholar or a knowledgeable person and abide by the Madhhab of that scholar or person.
Moreover, the common Muslim should follow the Jurists of his country and their Madhhab. But he should not insist on abiding by his Madhhab or belittle the other Madhahib. If it appears to him that the judgment pertaining to his Madhhab is weak in a certain issue, he should follow the judgment of the strong and sound Madhhab. A true Muslim always seeks the sound evidence and abides by it wherever it might be.
Finally, as a muslim we should trust the scholars from whom you get the Islamic knowledge as long as they are known for their piety and religiosity. This trust doesn’t in no way mean that you refrain from educating yourself about Islam and increasing your knowledge about it.