Hazrat Shaikh Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) writes:
I hold the same view regarding my seniors which Hazrat Umar bin Abdul Azeez (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) expressed regarding his seniors (i.e. the Sahaabah
Indeed they possessed sound knowledge through which they could remain firm on Sharee’ah and on account of their deep insight; they were able to abstain from innovations. They were definitely more capable of understanding complex, intricate masaa’il and on account of their superiority (in knowledge and profound understanding), they were definitely more worthy of being followed. To fail to meet the standard which they set is to fall short and to attempt to surpass their standard is to tire oneself in a futile effort. Some people fell short in meeting the standard of the Sahaabah (radiyallahu anhum) and thus failed to tread the path of moderation, while others attempted to surpass the standard of Sahaabah (radiyallahu anhum) and thus surpassed the limits of Deen. Our seniors (Sahaabah [radiyallahu anhum]) were between the two extremes, treading the straight path of complete guidance (and moderation) (Abu Dawood #4614).
Actually, the problem in this corrupt era is that people feel that a person will not be regarded as a true scholar if he remains within the parameters set by the pious predecessors and does not innovate something which contradicts their way. In order for him to be regarded as a scholar, he will need to oppose the way of the pious predecessors and produce something which is completely different.
Hazrat Mu’aaz (radiyallahu anhu) had foretold the coming of such crucial times wherein innovations and fitnahs would creep into Deen when he said:
Fitnahs in Deen will come after you (in the coming eras). In these fitnahs, wealth will be in great abundance and the Quraan will be opened (and each person will refer directly to the Quraan and interpret it in his own way) until even a believer and a hypocrite, a man and a woman, a child and an adult, a slave and a free person will all take the Quraan (and attempt to explain its meaning according to his own logic and reasoning). It is close that a person at that time will say (to himself), “What is the matter with people? Why do they not follow me, whereas I have studied the Quraan? They will not follow me until I do not contrive and innovate something different for them (through which they will become impressed by my knowledge and begin to follow me).” Beware their innovations, for what they have innovated is misguidance (Abu Dawood #4613).
This is the reason why I am committed to following my seniors footstep for footstep. If there is any word in my writings which contradicts the view of my seniors then regard what I wrote to be incorrect and do not pay any attention to it. (Ma’aarif Shaikh pg.36)