CHAPTER: IT IS OBLIGATORY TO FOLLOW THE PROPHET (SALLALLAAHU ALAYHI WA SALLAM) IN ALL MATTERS PERTAINING TO RELIGION, BUT ONE IS FREE TO ACT ON ONE'S OWN OPINION IN MATTERS WHICH PERTAIN TO TECHNICAL SKILL
Musa b. Talha reported: I and Allaah's Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) happened to pass by people near the date-palm trees. He (the Prophet) said: What are these people doing? They said: They are grafting, i. e. they combine the male with the female (tree) and thus they yield more fruit. Thereupon Allaah's Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: I do not find it to be of any use. The people were informed about it and they abandoned this practice. Allaah's Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) (was later) on informed (that the yield had dwindled), whereupon he said: If there is any use of it, then they should do it, for it was just a personal opinion of mine, and do not go after my personal opinion; but when I say to you anything on behalf of Allaah, then do accept it, for I do not attribute lie to Allaah, the Exalted and Glorious.
Rafi' b. Khadij reported that Allaah's Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) came to Medina and the people had been grafting the trees. He said: What are you doing? They said: We are grafting them, whereupon he said: It may perhaps be good for you if you do not do that, so they abandoned this practice (and the date-palms) began to yield less fruit. They made a mention of it (to the Prophet), whereupon he said: I am a human being, so when I command you about a thing pertaining to religion, do accept it, and when I command you about a thing out of my personal opinion, keep it in mind that I am a human being. 'Ikrima reported that he said something like this.
Anas reported that Allaah's Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) happened to pass by the people who had been busy in grafting the trees. Thereupon he said: If you were not to do it, it might be good for you. (So they abandoned this practice) and there was a decline in the yield. He (the Prophet) happened to pass by them (and said): What has gone wrong with your trees? They said: You said so and so. Thereupon he said: You have better knowledge (of a technical skill) in the affairs of the world.