Download the entire book in PDF: The Concept of Taqleed in Islam
There are indeed many types of creation on earth and certainly each one has its own unique quality and speciality. All of these have been created bu the Almighty. The first creation we look at is the world of inanimate objects such as the rocks and stones. They are creation which does not posses feeling or sense. The next creation is the plants. Certainly, they have the power to grow and spread but are also devoid of sense and the power to think. They remain in one spot and do not have the power to move. The next group is the world of animals. Yes, they have the power to move and comprehend various things such as smell, danger etc. but that is its limitation. The next is humans. This is that creation which is able to think, to deduce and analyse and also have power to the make a decision based on logic. This is that creation who can remove itself from the depths of darkness and ignorance into the light of knowledge and spirituality.
At the same time, we must also understand that no every human is the same or has the same thinking power and intellect. Some are them are able to reach the moon and some are those who make even animals embarrassed and some are those who cannot even walk straight on this earth. Some are those who become leaders and guide others to the light and some are those who fall into the pit of misguidance and also take others with them. There are some who merely look at this world and everything within it and are able to recognize their Creator and some are so devioud of intelligence that even though examples and testimony are presented in front of them, yet they refuse to accept the Creator. This clearly proves that not all humans have the same thinking power or the same intellect.
This also proves that not everyone has the intellect to become a Mujtahid merely by looking at the Quran and Ahadith. This is also the reason that this responsibility of being able to extract laws and regulations from the Quran and Ahadith has not been placed on every person. Yet, there are certain ignorant people who say that this act of Taqleed is something which was never practised in the time of the Ashaab and the Taaba’een, hence it is Haraam for us to do so. In the following pages we will endeavour to removed this falsehood.
The defintion of Taqleed and the various groups in this regard
Before we attempt to explain what is Taqleed, there are certain important technical terms which we need to understand first. At the same time, what is the need for Taqleed? How many groups have appeared in the horizon and disappeared, that is also another important fact that needs to borne in mind. The purpose for this is so that we can better understand this new fitnah which is called ghair muqallid. Explaining what is Taqleed, the Ulama of Usul explain that, “This means to accept the opinion of someone else without any proof or testimony being known and to practise upon it. (Usul Al Fiqh Al Islami. 2. etc).
According to the Ulama, taqleed is not permitted in matters of aqeedah and those issues which are fully established and proven and also proven from Qat’i testimony. However, there are certain misled groups who feel that this is permissible in matters of aqeedah. Some of them feel that this is waajib while some feel that Ijtihad is haraam and not permissible.
As for those issues which are considered as subsidiary issues and whose testimony is based in Zanni proofs, there are three groups which exist in this regard.
- The first group are known as the Zaahiryah. This constitutes the Mu’tazali in Baghdad and many of those who are Imaamiyah. They are of the opinion that it is necessary upon every person to make Ijtihad. They also feel that Taqleed is haraam and not permitted. This view was supported by one of their leaders or elders, namely, Ibn Hazam Zaaheri.
- The second group are those who believe that after the Aimmah, the doors of Ijtihad are closed and that it is waajib upon everyone to be a muqaliid.
- The third group can be considered as the group belonging to the Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaah. They believe that even though the doors of Ijtihad are not closed, yet even that person who makes Ijtihad, has to be a muqallid. Yes, as for that person who does not have knowledge and proper qualification, even though he may be a scholar, for this person Taqleed is waajib.
The opinion of the heretic ibn Taymiyah
After looking at the explanation of the three groups, there is no doubt that the first two groups are displaying immense extremity in their thinking. As for the third group, it is more open and also has much more equality in it. In other words, not everyone has been given the responsibility to make Ijtihad and also made sure that those who have the qualities of Ijtihad are not robbed of this status. As for those who do not have the qualification to make Ijtihad, it is necessary upon them to be a muqallid.
The history of Taqleed
From historical evidence, we come to see that the path which is followed by the majority of the Muslims is the correct path. Yet, there are certain people who have been influenced by the Zaaheri thinking and they start to consider any person as a Mujtahid. They also try to convince the ordinary people that these people who have bee nominated as a Mujtahid is some who should be completely followed. They make all effort to remove the band of taqleed from around a person’s neck. They also claim to the followers that this taqleed is not permissible because it only began in the fourth century. One of the main people who lead this campaign was an idiot called Qadi Shokaani. He writes, “Taqleed started after the four Aimmah. While these Imam remained on the path of the previous Muslims and did not follow anyone. In other words they did not practise Taqleed. Following these Imams was something which the Muslims just randomly accepted.” (Al Qoul Al Mufeed fi adillah Al Ijtihad wat Taqleed. 108).
As for the statement of this idiot that it started after the four Imams is something which is laughable to say the least. He does not back it up with testimony. Therefore, to accept this statement without any basis is also a form of taqleed which he himself has condemned. Therefore this statement of his has no basis whatsoever. In fact, even his own followers should not even accept his opinion. In fact, there are many proofs which can be presented which completely disproves this opinion. In fact, one of his main supports, another idiot called ibn Qayyim has also with his teacher mentioned such incidents in their manuscripts which actually negate their own beliefs. Even ibn Qayyim does not refute the idiot Shokaani in this regard and this clearly proves that these people had nothing to do with the truth and were merely protecting each other’s stupidity.
Ibn Qayyim admits that the Ashaab performed Taqleed
He narrates an incident in the book A’laamul Muqineen 164 in which he writes, “When Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali May Allah have mercy on him was in Yemen, then three people approached him with an issue pertaining to a little child. Each of them made the claim that this was his son. He then asked them to draw lots and whoever name’s appeared, the child would be given to him. However, at the same time, one third of Diyat would be taken from them and this would be given to the others. When the Holy Prophet peace be upon him heard about this decision and verdict, he displayed pleasure at this (verdict).”
This incident as narrated by Ibn Qayyim, clearly proves that Hadrat Ali May Allah have mercy on him did not have any Quranic verse of hadith to back him up and this is the reason that he acted on his Ijtihad. This is the manner in which he made his decision and when this reached the Holy Prophet peace be upon him he was well pleased and did not refute this decision. From this, we come to realize that even during the time of the Holy Prophet peace be upon him, the blessed Ashaab also made Ijtihad. As for those who did not have the knowledge to make Ijtihad, they used to follow others who were more learned. In this way, the Holy Prophet peace be upon him did not stop Ijtihad and neither did he stop taqleed.
The same ibn Qayyim continues, “In other words, Hadrat Sa’ad bin Mu’az also made a decision based on his Ijtihad. The Holy Prophet peace be upon him supported him in this regard and also mentioned to him that he had made a decision according to what the Almighty had also decreed.”
This report clearly proves that the blessed Ashaab clearly performed Ijtihad and those who did not have this quality, they made taqleed of others. At the same time, the Holy Prophet peace be upon him did not object to both parties. In this way, ibn Qayyin in spite of being a supporter of ibn Shokaani has mentioned many incidents of this nature in his books. This merely proves the standpoint of the Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaah. Therefore, according to Shokaani, who says that this form of taqleed only began in the fourth century is completely baseless.
The sword of ibn Qayyim on the neck of Shokaani
There is no doubt that one of the people who has largely encouraged the spread of Salafis is Shokaani. He spent his entire life in spreading this fitnah of a ghair muqallid. Such was his enmity against the innocent Muslims that all those verses which are meant of the kuffaar, he placed all of them upon innocent Muslims.
Examples of these are the following:
Surah Baqarah, verse 170:
وَ اِذَا قِیۡلَ لَہُمُ اتَّبِعُوۡا مَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللہُ قَالُوۡا بَلْ نَتَّبِعُ مَاۤ اَلْفَیۡنَا عَلَیۡہِ اٰبَآءَنَاؕ اَوَلَوْ کَانَ اٰبَآؤُہُمْ لَا یَعْقِلُوۡنَ شَیْـًٔا وَّلَا یَہۡتَدُوۡنَ﴿۱۷۰﴾
And when it is said to them, ‘follow what Allah has sent down, they say, ‘Nay We shall follow that whereon we found our fathers, what! Even if their fathers had no sense at all and no guidance?
Surah Maidah, verse 104:
وَ اِذَا قِیۡلَ لَہُمْ تَعَالَوْا اِلٰی مَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللہُ وَ اِلَی الرَّسُوۡلِ قَالُوۡا حَسْبُنَا مَا وَجَدْنَا عَلَیۡہِ اٰبَآءَنَا ؕ اَوَ لَوْ کَانَ اٰبَآؤُہُمْ لَا یَعْلَمُوۡنَ شَیْـًٔا وَّلَا یَہۡتَدُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۴﴾
And when it is said to them, ‘come to what Allah has sent down and to the Messenger’, they say,’ enough for us is that wherein we found, our fathers, what! Even though their fathers knew nothing nor were guided.
Shokaani presented all of these verses and using them, he completely refuted the idea of taqleed. However, his own supporter Ibn Qayyim placed a knife on his neck and mentioned that these verses were only in reference to those people who do not follow Islam properly and merely follow their elders. And this does not mean the Mujtahid because following a Mujtahid and practising upon taqleed is also a means of reward and thawaab. After mentioning these verses of the Quran, he answers a question in the following manner, “There is no doubt that the Almighty has condemned that person who follows his elders and turn away or reject the laws of Islam.
Surah Zukhraf, verse 23,24:
وَکَذٰلِکَ مَاۤ اَرْسَلْنَا مِنۡ قَبْلِکَ فِیۡ قَرْیَۃٍ مِّنۡ نَّذِیۡرٍ اِلَّا قَالَ مُتْرَفُوۡہَاۤ ۙ اِنَّا وَجَدْنَاۤ اٰبَآءَنَا عَلٰۤی اُمَّۃٍ وَّ اِنَّا عَلٰۤی اٰثٰرِہِمۡ مُّقْتَدُوۡنَ ﴿۲۳﴾
And likewise when We sent any warner in any city before you, the affluent thereof said, ‘indeed we found our forefathers on one religion and we are following their footsteps.
قٰلَ اَوَلَوْ جِئْتُکُمۡ بِاَہۡدٰی مِمَّا وَجَدۡتُّمْ عَلَیۡہِ اٰبَآءَکُمْ ؕ قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّا بِمَاۤ اُرْسِلْتُمۡ بِہٖ کٰفِرُوۡنَ ﴿۲۴﴾
The prophet said, ‘and what! even though I may bring to you a better guidance than you found your fathers upon?’ They said, ‘we deny that you are sent with?’
Shokaani uses these verses of the Quran to negate the idea of Taqleed. He uses his own false explanation to refute any idea of Taqleed. However, ibn Qayyim when he realised this ignoramus was merely running a knife around his own neck had to come to the support of his guru. He then completely destroyed the argument of his own “shaikh”. He had to admit that these verses only indicate to those people who disobey the shariah and instead follow the ways of their fathers and not because they accept Taqleed which is a means of reward and thawab.
In reply to a question, he answers, “there is no doubt that the Almighty azza wa jall condemned that person who follows the ways of his father and turns away from obedience of the shariah. This disobedience is something which the pious Ulama have completely rejected as well. And they are unanimous in this as well. However, that person who strives to understand the rules of the Almighty and still does not arrive at the correct decision and still he follows his own opinion, then this is to be considered as honourable and not a disgrace. He would be entitled for reward and not punishment.” (‘Alaam Al Muqineen. 2/438).
In other words, he also admits that only that taqleed should be condemned where a person merely follows his forefathers which are man made laws and this does not mean taqleed of the Aimmah. Therefore this idiot Shokaani by taking these verses and placing it upon those who are muqallids has certainly gone against the widely held view of the Muslims. In other words, this idiot has gone against a belief which is actually an Ijmah.
His immense discomfort
There is no doubt that the Ulama of the Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaah has certainly placed numerous proof and testimony in their argument and this has appealed to those who are fair and have justice and this behaviour of the Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaah would certainly lead people on the right path.
However such is the stubbornness of these Zaahiri sect that they refuse to remove the rope which has been tied around their necks by these misled people. For example, the Ulama have used the verse in the Quran which clearly states that one should ask the people of knowledge if one is unaware and which is found in Surah Nahl. However, the ghair muqallid Shokaani trying to save his neck comes up with a completely different tafseer of this verse and says that this verse was revealed on a specific occasion for a specific individual. At the same time, he also mentions that if someone asks another who is more learned, he is supposed to only ask about questions relating the Quran and Hadith and nothing else. Has anyone seen such a stupid explanation of the Quran before. In other words, they have such hatred for the Aimmah that no one is allowed to ask them any question. In other words, he has tried to prove his ghair muqallid beliefs but has failed miserably in his effort.