In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Question to Shaikh Saaleh al-Fawzaan [hafidhahullaah]: What is the meaning of the principle: The truth is not known by way of men, rather men are known by way of the truth?

Answer: Its meaning is that we do not merely blindly follow anyone, for it may be that one is blindly followed based on error; it may be that the Mujtahid is mistaken and the one who makes [a statement or holds an opinion] is mistaken, so we do not take [his statement,  opinion etc] and say, “This is the statement of such as such; this is truth, because such and such is good, he is a scholar; such and such is Taqiy [i.e. one who fears Allaah]”. We do not say this because he is not infallible and he can make a mistake; so we know men by way of the truth – those who know; those who take [or adhere to] the proofs and indeed they are known to be scholars. As for those who do not give concern [or importance] to the proofs, they are not scholars; they are not people of [sound] understanding and they are not people of knowledge, so their statement is never taken straight away. It is imperative that the proof is presented, so if the proof is established as witness to [what he says or holds etc], then it is the truth; but if he opposes the proof, then indeed [his statement or opinion] is rejected; however if he is a Mujtahid and he is mistaken, he is rewarded [once] due to his Ijtihaad; but if he deliberately holds on to error, he has sinned. [Paraphrased. Refer to video here: ]

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