The difference between a Salafi and a Madhhabi

Q: “Some people claim that Salafis weaken ahaadeeth that are authentic according to the Four Imaams or some of them, and authenticate whatever suits their manhaj that opposes madhhabism. What is your opinion?”

Shaikh al-Albaani:

“I say: This is a false claim; and like it’s said: ‘If you do not have any clear proofs for claims, the claimers are people who ascribe to false lineages’ (i.e. these claims are false/rejected). The difference between Salafis and Madhhabis is that Salafis don’t show bigotry towards a particular Imaam of the Muslims – not in fiqh or hadeeth or anything else – but rather they follow the advice of the Imaams themselves who forbid blind-following them and said to their followers: take from where we took. So we try to take from where they took. For example, they took from the Companions, and the Companions took from Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ, but they did not restrict themselves to a specific Companion. Sometimes they took from Abu Bakr, sometimes from `Umar, and so on.

So as they followed this way with the best of the people (i.e. the Companions) after Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ , we also do as they did. We take from their madhhabs the things that agree with the Book and the authentic Sunnah, and we don’t show bigotry towards any of them. So sometimes we agree with all of them​, ​sometimes we oppose all of them​,​ because in this second situation​ we follow​ what other ​Imaams were upon, and so on.

So the claim that we oppose the Imaams or some of them in order to support our own madhhab is false. We do not have a particular madhhab; our madhhab is to go with the truth wherever it is, and this is what they commanded us to do.”

[su.aalaat 186-7 / alalbaany.com]