As for the statement:

هل من قلد عالما لقي الله سالما

“Whoever blind follows a scholar will meet Allah free from blame”

Then it is not taken unrestrictedly. First of all, it has no origin as a Hadith as Shaikh al-Albani (may Allah have mercy upon him) mentioned in Silsilatud-Da’eefah (no. 551). Rather it is a popular statement among the people.

The author of Maraaqi as-Su’ud [in the knowledge of Usul ul-Fiqh] said:

وقول من قلد عالما لقي **** الله سالما فغير مطلق

“And the statement, ‘the one who blind follows a Scholar meets Allah free from blame’ is not unrestricted”

The scholars objected to the statement being taken unrestrictedly because it calls towards blind following and does away with ‘Ittiba’ (following the Quran and Sunnah). While a laymen is allowed to blind follow a Scholar at times, it does not mean that he does so in every instance, especially in regards to an opinion which he knows to be erroneous. In such a case, he is blameworthy for following the scholar in it and not free of blame. It is important for a Muslim to try their best to inquire, investigate, and sincerely search for the truth.

And Allah Knows Best

Faisal bin Abdul Qaadir bin Hassan
Abu Sulaymaan