Is there a narration from one of the salaf that goes like this, that if you see someone follow a different opinion or imam then do not stop him. Is this how we approach difference of opinion?
Imam Sufyan Thawri (rahimahullah) said:
‘When you see a man practicing on something different to what you approve, and there does exist [legitimate] difference of opinion on that matter, then do not stop him.’
(Al-Faqih wal Mutafaqqih, vol.2 pg.69, as quoted in Adabul Ikhtilaf of Shaykh ‘Awwamah, pg.89).
This statement from a senior Imam in Hadith and Fiqh goes a long way in setting the record straight on such matters. Unfortunately many contemporaries are unaware of this.
Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said:
‘Nobody has the right to force others to follow him [in matters of difference of opinion].
(See: Adabul Ikhtilaf, pg.132)
My Esteemed Teacher; Al-Muhaddith Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah (hafizhahullah) has written a book dedicated to the topic of ‘Tolerance in difference of opinion’ entitled: Adabul Ikhtilafi fi Masailil ‘ilmi wad Din.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,
Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar
This answer was collected from HadithAnswers.com. The answers were either answered or checked by Moulana Haroon Abasoomar (rahimahullah) who was a Shaykhul Hadith in South Africa, or by his son, Moulana Muhammad Abasoomer (hafizahullah), who is a Hadith specialist.