الحمد لله رب العالمين، وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين، أما بعد
Shaikh Sulaimaan bin ‘Abdillaah bin Muhammad bin ‘Abdil-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah) said:
“So if you say; what then is permissible for a person to read from these authored works in the madhaahib (schools of thought)?
It is said: what is permissible from that is to read them on the basis of seeking assistance through them upon the understanding of the Book and the Sunnah, as well as depicting the issues – and thus they are from the class of books which are instrumental (as a tool). As for them in of themselves being the vanguard over the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), as the judge between the people in that which they differ in, being the one invited to judge/prevail over it without the seeking of the judgment of Allaah and His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam); then there is no doubt that that is incompatibly contrary to Eemaan – opposed to it. As He, The Most High said:
فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
((But no, by your Lord, they will not have faith until they make you [O Muhammad] the judge in all matters of dispute between them, then they do not find any resistance in themselves to your judgment; and they submit with full submission)) (An-Nisaa: 65)
So if the judgment at the time of a dispute is to it (meaning to the books of the schools of thought) – without Allaah and His Messenger; and then if Allaah and His Messenger make a judgment in an affair you find disconcertion within yourself, and yet if the people of the book (meaning the books of the schools of thought) make a judgment you do not find any disconcertion in that. Then if the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) made a judgment with regards to an affair you do not submit to it; and yet if they (the people of the books of the madhabs) make a judgment in an affair you submit to it – then Allaah The Most High has sworn – and He is The Most Truthful of those that speak – with the most exalted of The One to be sworn by – and it is He Himself, The Blessed and Most High – that you are not a believer whilst this is the state. Yet after that Allaah, The Most High indeed said:
بَلِ الْإِنسَانُ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ بَصِيرَةٌ وَلَوْ أَلْقَىٰ مَعَاذِيرَهُ
((Rather; Man will be a witness against himself. Even if he presents his excuses.)) (Al-Qiyaamah: 14-15)”
After citing statements from some of the Imaams of the madhabs regarding following the proofs from the Book and the Sunnah and of giving that precedence as well as warning against blind following; the Shaikh said:
“The speech of the Imaams concerning the like of this is plentiful, and so the blind followers have opposed that and instead became set in rigidity upon that which they found in the books of the madhabs – whether it was correct or in error. Despite the fact that many of these statements which are attributed to the Imaams are not their own statements which were laid down in writing, rather they are developments (that were derived) and viewpoints and probabilities as well as analogy upon their statements.
We do not say: that the Imaams are upon error, rather they were Inshaa Allaah upon guidance from their Lord, and they established that which Allaah had made compulsory upon them by way of having faith in the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) as well as following him. However infallibility is denied for other than the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) for it is he who does not speak from (his own) desire:
إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَىٰ
((It is but revelation that is revealed)) (An-Najm: 4)
So what then is the excuse in following them? And abandoning following the one who does not speak from (his own) desire?!”
(Taken from: Tayseer Al-‘Azeez Al-Hameed fee Sharh Kitaab At-Tawheed vol 2 p.1088-1089 & p.1091)
 He was: the Imaam, the ‘Allaamah, the Faqeeh, the Muhaddith; Sulaimaan ibn Shaikh ‘Abdillaah ibn Shaikh ul Islaam Muhammad bin ‘Abdil-Wahhaab Al-Musharrafee, At-Tameemee. He was born in Ad-Dir’iyyah (capital of the First Saudi State) in the year 1200H (1786CE). His enthusiasm in seeking knowledge and his interest in that which is related to hadeeth and its sciences is illustrated by way of some of the trustworthy ones who reported from him that he said: “My knowledge of the men of hadeeth is more than my knowledge of the men of Ad-Dir’iyyah.” Shaikh ‘Abdullaah Al-Bassaam made a note here saying: “The intent is that he did not busy himself in other than knowledge itself; in seeking it; and researching; and revising. Such that he surpassed his contemporaries and so gained supremacy over his friends. He gained much knowledge – in such a short time.”
After Imaam Sa’ood bin ‘Abdil-‘Azeez took control of Makkah at the end of the year 1221H, he sent Shaikh Sulaimaan in order to partake in the judiciary there. So the Shaikh stayed there for a period of time as a judge in Makkah with the other judges that had been selected by the Imaam. After which he returned to Ad-Dir’iyyah and continued with the judiciary there.
He taught for a period of time in Ad-Dir’iyyah despite the presence of his father and his uncles illustrating the extent of his knowledge and their testament to his knowledge. A great many people benefited from his knowledge. Ibn Bishr mentions how he would teach from Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree in the presence of Imaam Sa’ood bin ‘Abdil-‘Azeez. Shaikh ‘Abdur-Rahmaan Aal ash-Shaikh (rahimahullaah) said: “a great many people took knowledge from him from the people of Najd and other than them from those that came to Ad-Dir’iyyah at that time.”
From his students was his own brother, Shaikh ‘Abdur-Rahmaan bin ‘Abdillaah Aal ash-Shaikh (1219H-1274H) who was exiled to Cairo where he taught the Hanbalee Madhab, as well as the great scholar, the Faqeeh, Muhammad bin Sultaan bin Muhammad (1213H-1298H) and a great many others.
Ibn Bishr mentions: “He was (rahimahullaah) an aayah in knowledge, he had a complete understanding of hadeeth and its men and the Saheeh of it and the Hasan and the Da’eef as well as in Fiqh and Tafseer and grammar. He was one who enjoined the good and forbade evil; he would not care for taking the reproach of the censurer in the way of Allaah. He would not be taken aback by the greatness of the ruler when commanding good or forbidding evil. Nor would he debilitate the weak that would come to him seeking benefit or seeking his aid. He had many gatherings in teaching and he authored and taught and gave .fataawa. He was set as an example in his time with regard to understanding.”
Shaikh Ibn Qaasim mentions: “He was the Haafidh, the Muhaddith, the Faqeeh, the Mujtahid, the Thiqah, the unique of the Hufaadh, the jewel of his era, the attraction of the time… He was an aayah in: knowledge, and forbearance, and memorisation, and intelligence, he had a complete understanding of hadeeth and its men and its Saheeh and its Hasan and its Da’eef as well as in Fiqh and Tafseer and grammar. In regard to the understanding of the men in the chains of narration in hadeeth, then his eminence was of the major Hufaadh. He was set as an example in his time with regard to intellect. He had beautiful handwriting; none in his time could write with a pen the like of him…”
Shaikh ‘Abdur-Rahmaan Aal ash-Shaikh (rahimahullaah) said: “the proficient ‘Aalim and the intelligent well known ‘Allaamah, the Faqeeh, the Muhaddith, the Usooli, the Shaikh….the profound ‘Aalim ….no one in his time could write with a pen the like of him in Najd…For he was (rahimahullaah) with all that we have mentioned of him by way of excellence and knowledge; severe in his respect and honour of the inviolabilities of Al-Islaam; and the religion as a whole. He was one who would enjoin the good and forbid the evil, he would not care for taking the reproach of the censurer in the way of Allaah.”
Shaikh Sulaimaan was killed after the well known siege of Ad-Dir’iyyah in the year 1233H (1818CE), this happened when Ibraheem Pasha (who led the Turco-Egyptian force against the First Saudi State) brought him out after being tipped off about him. Shaikh Sulaimaan gave no regard to whether he was the Pasha; and so admonished him with severe reproach whereupon Ibraheem had brought forth in front of him musical instruments and equipment for making melodies in order to infuriate him and set his heart alight. Then after this he took him out to the cemetery and ordered his officers with his execution in a firing squad – firing their rifles at him simultaneously. After they did this, then they tore his body up until he died, subsequently gathering his flesh in pieces. May Allaah have mercy upon him.
(Abridged from: Al-Imaam Al-Muhaddith Sulaimaan bin ‘Abdillaah p.47-125)