I'm a sister who has a rather serious question and I hope that someone could give me some insight as to this problem. I was looking through your web site (fantastic--keep up the great work and keep those articles coming!) and noticed something dreadfully familiar. I was reading the commentary called "How to give yourself a Spiritual Heart Attack." Well, I think I've gone into spiritual cardiac arrest! I'm being constantly told to only follow the Qur'an and Sunnah, that I don't need to follow a madhab, people have freaked out on me when I've mentioned my interest in Sufism. Basically I've been told that I'm doing everything wrong and that only following the Qur'an and Sunna will solve my problem. I've even experienced people flatly condemning madhabs.
All of this has taken a terrible toll on me. I'm having nightmares. I'm constantly afraid of doing something wrong. I'm afraid to use my prayer beads now for fear that I'm committing a sin. I feel terrible for attending the recent Milad Un Nabi Conference in Mississauga. I've even stopped doing my Arabic calligraphy and my salat has suffered too. I guess what I'm asking is how does one try to recover from this? Is there anything I can do? I don't like the way this is going.
Thank you very much for your time. I realize that you folks are very busy people. But thank you for giving me a chance to speak up about this problem.
Here are four articles which you should study carefully: One | Two | Three | Four
It could be that the people who are harassing you and putting pressure on you are Salafis. Here is an article which explains and exposes their approach.
Here is another article that you might find informative.
The people who are trying to force their approach and point of view on you may or may not describe themselves (or they may even try to deny themselves) as "Wahhabis" or "Salafis" or "Non-followers of the four Imams" (i.e. Abu Hanifah, Shafi'i, Maliki, Ibn Hanbal -- who were all great leaders of the Sunni school of law) or "Ahl-e-Sunnah" (who believe that only the Qur'an and Sunnah should be followed).
You will no doubt notice that we mention on our website [click here to see it] that we are called "Ahl-e-Sunnat wal Jamat" which means that in addition to following the Holy Qur'an and the Holy Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, p.b.u.h. we follow the examples (as role models) and precedents in matters of Fiqh (Muslim Law) where the Qur'an and the Sunnah are either silent, unclear or ambiguous. The silence, or the lack of clarity, or the ambiguity in these matters is not by a slip, error, or mistake, but is done, under the divine scheme of guidance, on purpose and in accordance with the wisdom of Allah and His beloved Prophet.
Now as to why following of the latter generation of scholars in law (e.g., the Companions of the Prophet, the followers of the Companions of the Prophet, and the followers of the followers of the followers, etc.) who enjoy the public's confidence in their integrity of character and the greatness of their ability to interpret the laws, in deducing logical conclusions and making new rulings in order to cope with the detailed matters which evolve and occur as a consequence of the ever changing nature and the needs of human society. I would refer you to paragraph 318, particularly sub-paragraph iii and especially iv and v of Introduction to Islam by Dr. Hamidullah. This process is known as 'ijtihad' and it is a must for the simple rational reason that by not accommodating new permissible changes, society would become stagnant and irrelevant to human needs and then wither away and disappear from the picture altogether. In this connection, I would like you to study these two articles on our website dealing with ijtihad: one | two. Also, if you do a search on our website for the word 'Ijtihad' you will find that there are many relevant articles where ijtihad is mentioned and so I recommend that you read them as well.