Refutation against the Doubt that the Shaykh has Declared the Books of the Four Madhaahib Worthless
Note: the following paragraph are the words of Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullah) which were stated in his letter to the people of Qaseem when they asked him about his ‘aqeedah. The explanation is from Shaykh Saalih Fawzaan al-Fawzaan.
And Allaah knows that the man has fabricated against me affairs that I have not stated. And most of these affairs have not even been brought to my attention. So from them is his statement that I have declared the books of the four madhaahib worthless and that I say the people have been upon nothing for the last six hundred years.
Is it correct that the Shaykh declares the books of the four madhaahib worthless? This is from the greatest of lies. The Shaykh himself studied the madhhab of the Hanaabilah. Rather, he took whatever was based upon the proof, regardless of whether it came from the madhhab of ash-Shafi’ee (d.204H), or the madhhab of Maalik (d.179H), or the madhhab of Abee Haneefah (d.150H). This was the manhaj of the Shaykh. His origin (asl) was upon the madhhab of Imaam Ahmad (d.241H). However, with regards to the religious verdicts, he took whatever had the strongest proof, regardless of whether it came from the madhhab of Imaam Ahmad or other than him. He was not fanatical, he only wanted the truth. This was his manhaj in fatwaa (religious verdicts) and teaching. He would take whatever had the strongest evidence, from any madhhab from amongst the four madhhaahib. However, he did not go outside of the four madhhaahib.
So the statement of Ibn Suhaym, “…declared the books of the four madhhaahib worthless,” is a lie, because he (rahimahullah) did not go outside of the four madhaahib. Rather, he benefited from them and gave fatwaa based upon whoever had the strongest evidence from amongst them, regardless of whether that was in agreement with His Hanbalee madhhab or not, because he wanted to reach the truth.
And he said, “The people have been upon nothing for the last six hundred years.” Meaning he declared the people disbelievers. This is from the fabrications of Ibn Suhaym, that the Shaykh declared the people to be disbelievers. Why did he declare the people disbelieves? Was it because he called to Tawheed and prohibited Shirk? So due to this, they alleged that he declared the people disbelievers, whilst he was only calling to Tawheed and prohibiting Shirk. And he did not declared the people to be disbelievers, he did not declared anyone a disbeliever, except the one whose disbelief had been confirmed by a proof from the Book and the Sunnah, as occurs in the ten invalidators of Islaam, which he wrote about.
Source: Explanation of the ‘Aqeedah of the Imaam, the Reformer, Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab d.1206H Explained by the Noble Shaykh, Dr. Saalih Ibn Fawzaan al-Fawzaan, Sunnah Publishing, Translation by Maaz Qureshi, pp.234-235.