The sixth problem is that a person who does not strictly adhere to one mazhab and instead randomly chooses the verdict of those Imaams whom he deems correct, at times opposes all mazhabs. Hence, his ibaadat is rendered null and void according to all the Imaams.
Consider the situation where a person wishes to follow the mazhab of Imaam Ahmed (Rahmatullahi Alayh) in regard to the mas’ala of raf’ul yadain during salaah (raising the hands at the time when going into ruku’ as well as coming up from ruku’) and he decides to follow the mazhab of Imaam Maalik (Rahmatullahi Alayh) regarding the mas’ala of irsaal (not tying the hands in the standing posture, instead leaving it loose on the sides when reciting Surah Fatiha and a Surah). Thereafter in the mas’ala of Qiraat khalfal Imaam he opts to follow the mazhab of Imaam Abu Hanifa (Rahmatullahi Alayh) i.e. those behind the Imaam are not allowed to recite anything, neither Surah Faatiha nor a Surah, and in the mas’ala of Qunoot of Fajar he chooses to follow Imaam Shafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alayh) i.e. it is necessary that Qunoot be read after coming up from ruku’ in the second rakaat of Fajar. This person thereafter comes to know that according to the Salafees (though not according to the four Imaams of Fiqh) wudhu is valid by merely making masah over nylon or cotton socks and he then performs Salaah with such a wudhu. What will we say regarding the Salaah of such a person. According to no mazhab neither the Salafees nor the four mazhabs will the Salaah of such a person be valid. His Salaah will be invalid according to the four Imaams on account of his wudhu being invalid, and his Salaah will be invalid according to the Salafees on account of him not reciting Surah Fatiha behind the Imaam which is necessary according to them.
Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullahi Alayh) writes: “… When the condition prevalent amongst most people is that they follow that which appeals to their personal reasoning then if they are not going to be restricted to any mazhab, their actions will definitely be based on self-interest. The outcome will then be like the person who bled after having performed wudhu. According to the Hanafi mazhab, his wudhu is nullified, and according to the Shafi`ee mazhab, his wudhu remains intact. Therefore, he decides to follow the mazhab of Imaam Shafi`ee (Rahmatullahi Alayh) in this mas’ala. Thereafter he touches his wife, and since touching one’s wife nullifies one’s wudhu according to the Shafi`ee mazhab contrary to the view of the Hanafi mazhab, he opts to follow the mazhab of Imaam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi Alayh) in this mas’ala. The result of this is that none of the mazhabs regard his wudhu as valid, neither Imaam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi Alayh) nor Imaam Shafi`ee (Rahmatullahi Alayh). If he performs Salaah, his Salaah will be invalid according to both mazhabs (according to Imaam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi Alayh) due to blood flowing from his body and according to Imaam Shafi`ee (Rahmatullahi Alayh) due to him touching his wife). Hence, the one who adopts an attitude of following his desires in all matters of Deen remains a worshipper of his nafs (personal interests) and there will be no Deen left in his life. Thus such a concoction and mixture of the various mazaahib is impermissible according to all the Imaams.
The difference between us and the Sahaaba, is that the primary concern of the Sahaaba was the fear of Allah Ta’ala and commitment to Deen. Conversely, our greater concern revolves around securing our personal interests and image in society. Hence, we are prepared to compromise our Deeni values in order to secure our personal interests. Thus we understand that there was no real need for the Sahaaba to confine themselves to following one mazhab or one Imaam (considering the fact that the era they lived in was an era replete with many Mujtahideen.)
Furthermore, through taqleed our Deen is completely systemized and codified (i.e. the four Imaams have extracted principles from the Qur’an and Hadith by which they deduced laws and injunctions, thereby enabling us to understand each mas’ala of Deen in its correct perspective.). If we abandon taqleed and follow what we deem correct, we will be de-systemizing and de-codifying our Deen. If our endeavour is to follow the most correct ruling of the four Imaams, then due to us not being capable of such a great task, we will be putting ourselves through unnecessary difficulty. If our objective is ease (by looking for concessions), then we will be enslaved to our nafs. Therefore, for the consistent balance of Shari‘ah to remain, together with security against the nafs (self interest), taqleed is essential. (Ashraful Jawaab 149-150)