Best Madhāhib & what to extract from them according to Shaykh al-Albānī رحمه الله

In the study of Fiqh, specific principles must be learned & carefully applied to precisely extract rulings from the Qurʾān & the Sunnah; during this, one will undoubtedly come across the various rulings, opinions, & differences of the four Madhāhib.1

A questioner asked, “If we view that it is permissible for a student of knowledge to take a Madhhab only as a study and not to be biased towards it when an evidence becomes apparent to them, which Madhhab is the best and leads the student of knowledge to what’s intended?” — ash-Shaykh al-Muḥaddith Muḥammad Nāṣir ad-Dīn al-Albānī رحمه الله (d. 1420 AH/1999 CE) answered:

“ash-Shāfiʿī and Aḥmad, they are both so much closer to the Sunnah. As for Aḥmad, it is because he had broader research than all of the A’immah. This reality is known by everyone who has studied the Sunnah. As for ash-Shāfiʿī, although not having a great share in gathering the Sunnah, he was stronger than Imām Aḥmad in knowledge of the Arabic language and it’s sciences. He was also stronger in regards to Uṣūl al-Fiqh, as he was the first to compile a book about Uṣūl and it’s a book well-known by the name ‘ar-Risālah.’2

This is why a student of knowledge seeks aid with the Fiqh of ash-Shāfiʿī and the Aḥādīth of Aḥmad, thus gathering the two goods from these two men. It is established from Imām ash-Shāfiʿī رحمه الله and this is from the fairness of the A’immah and their excellence and fear of their Rabb, as Imām ash-Shāfiʿī said, ‘O Aḥmad! You are more knowledgeable than me about Ḥadīth. When an authentic Ḥadīth comes to you then teach it to me, whether it is from ijāz3, Shām4 or Miṣr5.’6 He may have mentioned another country as well. In this is a clear indication of Imām ash-Shāfiʿī not blindly following Imām Mālik, the Imām of Dār al-Hijrah.7

May Allāh have mercy upon Shaykh Muḥammad Nāṣir ad-Dīn al-Albānī & accept his efforts.

All praise is due to Allāh, may His peace & blessings be upon our final Prophet Muḥammad, his family, his companions, & all those who follow him in guidance.

Source:

Silsilah al-Hudá wa an-Nūr: Tape 39, Number 6 | Translation from followingthesunnah.com

Footnotes:

[1] Madhāhib; plural of Madhhab. The four Madhāhib chronologically is the Madhāhib of Imām Abū Ḥanīfah, Imām Mālik, Imām ash-Shāfiʿī, & then Imām Aḥmad.
[2] ar-Risālah (الرسالة): Authored by Muḥammad ibn Idrīs ash-Shāfiʿī, who was from Gaza, Palestine — consists of 495 pages. It is one of the main authoritive books of Uṣūl al-Fiqh within the Shāfiʿī Madhhab, authored by Imām ash-Shāfiʿī himself.
[3] al-Ḥijāz is a region in the west of Saudi Arabia.
[4] ash-Shām is a region which encompasses Syria, Palestine, Jordan, & Lebanon.
[5] Miṣr; Arabic reference to Egypt.
[6] Arshīf Multaqá Ahl al-Ḥadīth, Page 59.

[7] Dār al-Hijrah; another name for Madīnah. It derived it’s name from The Prophet’s ﷺ Hijrah from Makkah to Madīnah.

Ṣafīullāh Labīb ibn Salīm ʿAbd al-Malik
8th of Rabīʿ ath-Thānī 1444