Imam al-Haddad was a mujtahid despite his strict adherence to the Shafi’i school. On more than one occasion he explained the Shafi’i ruling concerning a particular issue, then declared that he had a different opinion but would keep it to himself. Sometimes he would also state that on certain issues he preferred the position of Imam Malik. He even went so far on some occasions as to declare that, had he not adopted the Shafi’i school because it was that of his ‘Alawi ancestors he would have adopted that of Imam Malik. For in his opinion. the way Malik had depended for the transmission of the Prophetic sunna on the pattern of the people of Madina was reliable.
Source: The Sufi Sage of Arabia – page 111-112
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