On the Synergy of Tradition and Creativity: the Role of Usol in Empowering the Mind and the Role of Tradition in Compassing it by Ibn Rushd al-Maliki
Ibn Rushd [Allah’s mercy be upon him] wrote:
“Those known as people of knowledge and distinguished from the masses in their ability to memorize and comprehend are [divided into] three groups:
The first, those who follow the opinions of Malik without knowing any evidences, they memorize his statements and those of his students related to religious law in order to grasp which are correct and which are weak without understanding how they arrived at such conclusions.
The second, those who follow his views because of the sound fundamentals on which they were based, memorizing his statements and those of his companions while grasping their meanings; aware of the correct ones and the weak ones. However, they have not reached the level of knowledge where they can synthesize the secondary issues with the fundamentals.
The third, those who follow the school due to their understanding of its sound principles based on their profound scholarship of the rulings rooted in the Qur’an and Sunna. They know the abrogated and what abrogated them, the clear and the ambiguous, the general and the specific and the universal and the restricted.
Their knowledge encompasses the opinions of the scholars from the companions of the Prophet [Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him], their students and the scholarly community in general, empowering them to go beyond issues of dispute.
It is not allowed for the first group to issue to religious edicts even if they learned and practiced them. As for the second, if they issue edicts based on what they’ve learned to be correct from Malik’s statements or from the scholars of law from his school, then it is acceptable. As for the third group, they are those who are qualified to issue religious edicts without restriction.
Muwahib al-Jalil Sharh Mukhtasar Khalil of al-Hattab, vol. 6, pg(s).94-94