Following one Imam of Islamic Fiqh / Jurisprudence
Is it not a bidah when someone follows only one imam of four Fiqh or Jurisprudence i.e Imam Abu Hanifa (R.A), Imam Idris Shafi (R.A), Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (R.A) or Imaam Malik (R.A) ? Is it necessary to solely follow the understanding of someone who was never mentioned in the Quran and Ahadith?
If a person is following a scholar because he himself is unable to understand the true meanings of certain verses or ahadith, it is understandable. You are either a scholar or a commoner. If you are a commoner, you can not normally interpret the Quranic text yourself. To that extent, following a scholar is not only allowed but necessary under normal circumstances.
However, if a commoner decides that he is going to follow a certain scholar blindly (does his taqlid) then it is indeed a curse. When you follow somebody blindly, you don’t listen to anyone else except your own scholar. And even if you listen to someone else, your intention is not to be open to the truth. You are so emotionally attached to your scholar’s views that you don’t even read the Quran with an open mind. If someone has made a scholar an Imam in that sense, it is indeed a seriously misleading approach which the Quran describes as making scholars Rabb other than Allah. (9:31)
Bidah has something to do with religious practice, and not a religious approach like following an Imam. Any religious practice that is not sanctioned by the prophet and has become common amongst the Muslims as a religious practice, is a bidah and is condemned in Islam. Blindly following scholars or Imams is seriously misleading but is not a bidah.