Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Taqleed , following one of four schools of jurisprudence of Ahlus sunnah is wajib for laymen

Taqleed , following one of four schools of jurisprudence of Ahlus sunnah is wajib for laymen

Answering Misconception and Common Objection:Often people claim that if you adhere to a particular school, you are not on the path of the Qur’an and Sunnah.


This is a very inaccurate statement because all schools derive their rulings from the Qur’an and Sunnah. The differences among the schools arise due to many factors. Two of these are that sometimes the companions (ra) disagreed on a particular issue and other times the basic underlying principles adopted by the respective Imams gave rise to a difference due to preference. For example, Imam Malik gave preference to the practice of the people of Madina as he said it was the living Sunnah.

This was his adopted principle and a person cannot say that it was incorrect because to say it is incorrect is again, an opinion due to preference.

Let us take some examples from the Holy Qur’an.

In Surah Hujurat (49) verse 12, it is stated:

وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا

wala yaghtab baAAdukum baAAdan

And do not backbite one another.

Take a look at this injunction in the Qur’an. It is crystal clear and has no room for alternate interpretations. In Islam, it is forbidden to backbite. Anyone who can read this can understand the meaning of this because of its unambiguous nature and because there is no evidence contrary to this in Shari’ah.

Now let us take another verse of the Qur’an. In Surah Baqarah (2) verse 228, it is said:

وَالْمُطَلَّقَاتُ يَتَرَبَّصْنَ بِأَنفُسِهِنَّ ثَلاَثَةَ قُرُوَءٍ

Waalmutallaqatu yatarabbasna bianfusihinna thalathata qurooin

And the divorced women shall keep themselves waiting for three periods

Here the word used to define the waiting period of the divorced women is “quroo’”. This word is used in Arabic to denote both the purity period between two menstruations and also menstruation itself.

If the first meaning is taken then the woman needs to wait for three period of purity and if the second is taken then the woman has to wait for three menstrual periods. Question arises, what time period does a divorced woman need to wait?

Similar issues are present in the ahadith as well and this brings about difficulties in deducing a law from the Qur’an and Hadith. In such a situation one has two choices:

 To rely on our judgment and then interpret the verses or ahadith


b) To rely on what the pious predecessors [salafs] did and thus conduct according to the conclusions of the scholars of Qur’an and Hadith of the first generation.

Any person will suggest that the second option is the right way to go about Islamic jurisprudence. It does not take a rocket scientist to acknowledge that the pious predecessors were closer to the time of the revelation of the Qur’an. This gave them a special insight which made it easier for them to understand the Qur’an and Sunnah.

For example, if I live in Pakistan, I can understand the issues here far better than a person living in the USA. Just as geographically you shift further from a region, your understanding about it decreases, the same principle holds to be true when talking about a time line. The culture and norms of society in the times of ones forefathers cannot be understood in the same manner by a person 500 years down the road. And right now we are talking about a time 1430+ years ago.

How then can today a person have a better understanding of the background, environment, style of conversation and social living than compared to those who were living around that same time?

There are many such factors which gave rise to difference of opinions among the four schools but to delve into them at this point is irrelevant. In short, if one adheres to any of the four Madhhaib, he will be from among the Ahl-e-Sunnah wal Jamaa’h. He will be following the Qur’an and Sunnah.

1. Introduction

There is much confusion today about taqleed. This is because of the poor understanding of the meaning and concept of taqleed. First and foremost let us become aware of the basic terms and their meanings.

 According to the Shari’ah Taqleed means adhering to the rulings of a trustworthy, reliable and authentic scholar in matters of the religion.

Muqallid (pl. Muqallideen):
 Today it refers to any person who adheres to either of the following four schools of thought or jurisprudence:

i) Hanafi (of Imam Abu Hanifa 80AH to 150AH)

ii) Maliki (of Imam Malik 93AH to 179AH)

iii) Shafi’i (of Imam Shafi’i 150AH to 240AH)

iv) Hanbali (of Imam Ahmed 164AH to 241AH)

Defination of Salafi/ Ghair Muqallid/Wahabi:
 This is the opposite of Muqallid – a person who does not adhere to either of the above four Madhhaib (schools of jurisprudence).

Types of Taqleed

There are only two kinds of Taqleed.

a) When no particular imam is specified and different imams are followed in different issues, it is known as Taqleed Ghair Shakhsi, also known as Absolute Taqleed or General Taqleed.

b) When taqleed is made to a mujtahid and all issues are referred to him. This is Taqleed Shakhsi.

Taqleed in the Qur’an

A common misconception is prevalent among some of our Muslim brothers that the concept of taqleed is not present in the Qur’an. We will analyze some of the verses which prove that the concept of taqleed is mentioned in the Qur’an.

Concept of taqleed in the Qur’an are as follows:

Quranic Verse # 1

“Ask the people of knowledge (those who know) when you do not know.” [COLOR="rgb(139, 0, 0)"](Surah Nahl ,16:43,)[/COLOR]

Quranic Verse # 2

“These are those whom Allah had guided so you also follow their path.”
 [COLOR="rgb(139, 0, 0)"](Surah Anaam, chapter 6 Aya: 90)[/COLOR]

Quranic Verse # 3

“Had they referred to the Rasul and those in command amongst them, then surely those with insight would have been able to verify the matter.
”[COLOR="rgb(139, 0, 0)"] (Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 83)[/COLOR]

Quranic Verse # 4

“O you with Imaan! Obey Allah, Obey the Rasool and obey those in command amongst you.
”[COLOR="rgb(139, 0, 0)"] (Surah Nisa chapter 4 verse 59)[/COLOR]

Quranic Verse # 5

“Follow the path of the one who turns towards me
.”[COLOR="rgb(139, 0, 0)"] (Surah Luqman chapter 31 verse 15)[/COLOR]

Quranic Verse # 6

“O you who have Iman! Fear Allah and be with those who are true.”

[COLOR="rgb(139, 0, 0)"](Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 119)[/COLOR]

Below we will analyze only a selected few verses such that the issue at hand becomes clear.

Quranic Proof #1 and Tafsir 

The guiding principles of taqleed are mentioned in the Qur'an

Quran States:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

[4:59] O Believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) and those (men of Truth) who hold command among you.

The 'Ulil Amr' (men of Truth) 
are said by some to be the muslims rulers and governors and by others to be Abdullah Ibn Abbas (May Allah Have Mercy Upon Him), Mujahid, Ata Ibn Rabah, Ata Ibn as-Sa'ib, Hassan al-Basri, Abu Aaliyah (rah), and many others.

Imam Fakhr udin ar-Razi (rah) 

has preferred this explanation citing many arguments. He said:

It is preferrable to apply the meaning scholers (Ulama) to "Ulil Amr" in this verse

[Tafsir Mafatih al-ghayb, Author: ar-Razi Volume 003, Page No. 334]

This Tafsir of Abdullah Ibn Abbas is repoted by Imam Tibari (rah)

[Tafsir Tibari Volume 005, Page No. 88]:
 (حدثني المثنى، قال: ثنا عبد الله بن صالح، قال: ثني معاوية بن صالح، عن عليّ بن أبي طلحة، عن ابن عباس، قوله: { أَطِيعُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ ٱلرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِى ٱلأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ } يعني: أهل الفقه والدين.) This is the strongest line of transmission of his (Abdullah Ibn Abbas) report

[al-Itiqan #80]

Imam Abu Bakr Jassas ar-Razi (rah)
 found no contradiction in both the Tafasir. Rather both meaning are valid. The rulers need to be obeyed in political matters while the Ulama must be obeyed in Issues pertaining to Shari'ah.

[Ahkam ul Qur'an; Jassas, Volume 2, Page No. 256]

Ibn al-Qayyim (rah) said:

that obedience to the rulers leads finally to obediance to the scholers of religion because the rulers obey the Ulama in matters of Shari'ah(فطاعة الامراء تبع لطاعة العلماء)

[I'Laam ul-Muqi'een, Ibn Qayyim, Volume 001 Page No. 007]

Anyways, the verse asks the muslims to obey Allah and His Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him) and Scholers (Ulama) and Jurists woh explain the words of Allah and His Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him) and this (last) obedience is Taqleed.

The Next portion of this verse is:

فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ

[4:59] Then if you disagree among yourselves over any issue, refer it to Allah and the Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him) for final judgment if you believe in Allah and the Last Day.

According to the above explanation, it is a continuous sentence in which the Mujtahideen are addressed. Imam Abu Bakr Jassas ar-Razi (rah) wrote in support of Ulama as 'Those in aurthority'.

Imam Abu Bakr Jassas ar-Razi (rah) wrote

وقوله تعالى عقيب زلك (فان تنازعتم فى شى ء فردوه الى الله والرسول) يدل على ان اولى الامر هم الفقهاء لانه امر سائر الناس بطاعتهم ثم قال فان تنازعتهم الخ فامر اولى الامر بردالمتنازع فيه الى كتاب الله وسنته نبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم ، از كانت العامة ومن ليس من اهل العلم ليست هزه منزلتهم ، لانهم لايعرفون كيفية الرد الى كتاب الله والسنة ووجوه دلائلهما على احكام الحوادث فثبت انه خطاب للعلماء

Translation: That Allah's words, if you quarrel ... follow immediately His statement about "Ulil Amr" (Those in authority) is evidence that 'Ulil Amr' are the Jurists. because Allah has commanded all men to obey them. Then, after saying, if you Quarrel ...., He Commanded the 'Ulil Amr' that they should refer back to Allah's Book and His Messenger's (Peace Be Upon Him) Sunnah that in which they differ. This command could be directed only to the Jurists because the masses and the unknowledgeable cannot be of that standard and they do not know how they have to refer back any matter to Allah's Book and the Sunnah, and they do not know how to derive evidence for new Issues. So, it is the Ulama who are addressed here.

[Tafsir Ahkam ul Quran, Volume 002, Page No. 257]

Famous Shafi Nawab Siddiq Hassan Khan views

The famous scholer of Salafis, Nawab Siddiq Hassan Khan, has also confirmed in his exegesis that the words of the Qur'an in this verse (فان تنازعتم) are addressed to the Mujtahideen.

والظاهرانه خطاب مستقل مستانف موجه المجتهدين. 

Translation: and obviously this is an address by itself and it is directed to the Mujtahideen.

[Tafsir Fath al-Beyaan Volume 002 Page No. 308]

So, its is not correct to conclude that those who are not competent to make "Ijtihad" may refer to the Qur'an and Hadith directly in connection with disputed issues and derive their conclusions. Rather, the first sentence of the commands directly from the Qur'an and Sunnah. It is their duty to obey Allah and His Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him) by asking for rulings and explanations on it. they are directed to turn to Allah's Book and the Messenger's (Peace Be Upon Him) Sunnah and deduce commanded to make Taqleed and in the second the Mujtahid to Make Ijtihad.

Quranic Proof #2 and Tafsir 

Quran States:

وَإِذَا جَاءَهُمْ أَمْرٌ مِّنَ الْأَمْنِ أَوِ الْخَوْفِ أَذَاعُواْ بِهِ وَلَوْ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَإِلَى أُوْلِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْهُمْ

[4:83] When there comes to them any news of peace or fear, they spread it around. Had they referred it to the Messenger (blessing and peace be upon him) or those of them who are in command (instead of making it public),then those among them who can draw conclusion from some matter would have found it (i.e. the truth of the news).

The hypocrites in Madinah spread rumours concerning war and peace. Some simple Muslims fell into their trap and passed on to others whatever they heard. This created an atmosphere of uncertainty. the verse instructs Muslims not to do so but inform the "Ulil Amr" of whatever they learn. The qualified among them would investigage and let them know the turth.

Though this verse was revealed about a particular situation, yet the principles of exegesis and principles of Jurisprudence rely on to the-general words of the verse draw commands and rulings. Accordingly, this verse guides us to contact the people specialised in investigation and act according to their deducation. This is Taqleed.

Imam Fakhr udin ar-Razi (rah) 
has written about this verse.

فثبت أن الاستنباط حجة، والقياس إما استنباط أو داخل فيه، فوجب أن يكون حجة. إذا ثبت هذا فنقول: الآية دالة على أمور: أحدها: أن في أحكام الحوادث ما لا يعرف بالنص بل بالاستنباط. وثانيها: أن الاستنباط حجة: وثالثها: أن العامي يجب عليه تقليد العلماء في أحكام الحوادث.

Translation: So to draw conclusions is evidence, and Qiyas (analogical deducation) is the same thing or part of it, and is proof, too. Given that, this verse is evidence of some matters. (1) Some of the new Issues that grow are not understood by the text, but one has to draw conclusion, to fine out their meaning, (2) Istinbat (to draw conclusion, to arrive at the truth) is proof. (3) It is obligatory for the masses to make Taqleed of the scholers concerning issues and commands that they face."

[Tafsir Mafatih al-ghayb, Author: ar-Razi, Volume 003, Page No. 272]

Some people have demurred that this verse was revealed concerning war and so is specific about such situations and cannot be applied to time of peace.

However, we have stated already that reliance is placed on the text not on the backgroung of specific situation. Imam Fakhr udin ar-Razi (rah) has answered this objection.

أن قوله: { وَإِذَا جَاءهُمْ أَمْرٌ مّنَ ٱلأَمْنِ أَوِ ٱلْخَوْفِ } عام في كل ما يتعلق بالحروب وفيما يتعلق بسائر الوقائع الشرعية، لأن الامن والخوف حاصل في كل ما يتعلق بباب التكليف، فثبت أنه ليس في الآية ما يوجب تخصيصها بأمر الحروب.

Translation: Allah's saying and when comes to them any tiding, whether of peace or of fear..... is very general. It encompasses war situations and all legal questions too. War and Peace are such that no chapter of Shari'ah excludes them. there is no word in the verse that might is specific to war.

[Tafsir Mafatih al-ghayb, Author: ar-Razi Volume 003, Page No. 273]

Imam Abu Bakr Jassas ar-Razi (rah)
 has given the same answer in much detail and rejected incidental doubts.

[Tafsir Ahkam ul-Quran Volume 002, Page No. 263. Chapter 'Obedience to the Messenger'

Salafi/wahabi/ghair muqalid interpretation 

This why the well-Known scholer (Nawab Siddiq Hassan Khan) of Salafis has written while citing this verse in support of Qiyas:

فى الاية اشارة الى جواز القياس، وان من العلم .... مايدرك بالاستنباط

Translation: If we do not get from the verse guidance for the times of peace than how do we cite it for validity of Qiyaas.

[Tafsir Fath ul Beyaan, Volume 002, Page No. 33]

Quranic Proof #3 and Tafsir 

Qur'an States:

فَلَوْلاَ نَفَرَ مِن كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِّنْهُمْ طَآئِفَةٌ لِّيَتَفَقَّهُواْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلِيُنذِرُواْ قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُواْ إِلَيْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ

[9:122] So, why should a party from within every group (or tribe) not go forth in order that they may acquire deeper knowledge (i.e. thorough understanding and insight) of Din (Religion), and warn their people when they return to them so that they may guard themselves (against a life of sins and disobedience).

This verse confirm that all members of Muslims must not occupy themselves in works like Jihad and so on. Rather there should be a party of them who occupy themselves day and night to acquire perfect understanding of faith. They may thus teach the commands of Shari'ah. to those who cannot find time to acquire knowledge.

This verse binds the section devoting itself to learning to acquaint other people to the laws of Shari'ah. And, it binds these other people to conduct themselves on the teaching imparted to them by the learned section and thus keep themselves away from disobedience to Allah. This is Taqleed.

Imam Abu bakr Jassas ar-Razi (rah) has said:

فاوجب الحزر بانزارهم والزم المنزرين قبول قولهم

Translation: In this verse, Allah has made it obligatory for the masses that when the Ulama acqaint them (with commands of Shari'ah) then they must preserve themselves (from disobedience to Allah) and obey the Ulama.

[Tafsir Ahkan ul-Qur'an Volume 002, Page No. 262]

Quranic Proof #4 and Tafsir 

Qur'an States:

فَاسْأَلُواْ أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

[16:43] So if you yourselves do not know (anything), then ask the People of Remembrance.

This verse outlines the principle of guidance that those people who are not experts in Knowledge and sciences may ask the specialists in this field and act accordingly. This is known as Taqleed.

Allama Mahmood Alusi (rah) wrote:

واستدل بها أيضاً على وجوب المراجعة للعلماء فيما لا يعلم. وفي " الإكليل " للجلال السيوطي أنه استدل بها على جواز تقليد العامي في الفروع

Translation: This verse is cited to prove that if is Wajib to refer to the Ulama for such things in Which one lacks Knowledge.Jalal udin al-Suyuti (rah) wrote in "al-Iqleel" that it is deduced from this verse that Taqleed is allowed to the common men for branch issues.

[Tafsir Ruh ul-Ma'ani, Volume 14, Page No. 148]

Some people argue that this verse is specific to a particular situation. The idolators of makkah used to ask why an angel was not sent to them as a Messenger.

In answer, this particular verse was revealed and all its words.

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ إِلاَّ رِجَالاً نُّوحِي إِلَيْهِمْ فَاسْأَلُواْ أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

[16:43] And before you also We sent only men as Messengers towards whom We sent Our Revelations. So if you yourselves do not know (anything), then ask the People of Remembrance.

Some exegetes say that the words Ahl ul Dhikr (people having the knowledge - of the message) are the scholers of the people of the book, but some others hold that they are those of them who become Muslims in the Prophet's (Peace Be Upon Him) times. Yet others contend that they are the people of the Quran, Muslims. The verse implies that everyone knows that all the past Prophets (Peace Be Upon Him) were mortal and none of them was an angel. So --- those who disavow Taqleed argue --- thet the context of the verse does not embrace the subject of Taqleed and Ijtihad.

Our answer is that from the point of view of the Text the verse is evidence of Taqleed. We may take whatever meaning of Ahl ul Dhikr (people having the knowledge - of the message), but we are instructed to turn to them because of our personal lack of knowledge. This can be correct only when we concede that 'every unaware should refer to the aware.' It is to this principle that the verse guide us and it is on this basis that we know that Taqleed is valid. We have made it clear curlier that: ("العبرة بعموم اللفظ لالخصوص المورد" Translation: Reliance is placed on the general words of the verse, not on the specific condition for which it is relvealed.)

Therefore, we deduce from the verse the principle that those people who lack knowledge must refer to the knowledgeable. This is Taqleed.

Khateeb Baghdadi (rah) wrote:

اما من يسوغ له التقليد فهو العامى الزى لايعرف طرق الاحكام الشرعية ، فيجوز له ان يقلد عالما ويعمل يقوله ، قال الله تعالى "فَاسْأَلُواْ أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ"

Translation: As for the question who may make Taqleed, it is the masses who do not know the methods of Shari'ah commands. It is allowed to them to make Taqleed of a scholer and conduct themselves on this directions because Allah says --- (Ask the people of the message).

[Khateeb Baghdadi, al-Fiqhiyah al-Mutafiqa Volume 002, Page No. 133]

Taqleed in the Hadith

a hadith is recorded as follows:

Hudhaifa (ra) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “I do not know for how long I will be amongst you. So you follow two people after me – Abu Bakr and Umar.”

[In Mirqaat V.5 pg 349 ]

The word used in the hadith is ‘iqtida’ which means to follow. It is not used to follow a person in administrative affairs but is used to follow them in religious affairs. The same word is used in the Qur’an in Surah 6 verse 90 to mean “follow the prophets (pbut)”.

Hadith # 1
A tradition reported in Bukhari and Muslim is as follows:

Abdullah ibn Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Definitely Allah will not remove knowledge from the world by raising it from the hearts of men but knowledge will be rised by calling the ‘ulema (to Him) till when there are none of them left, then people will make the ignorant their chiefs. They will be asked and they will issue fatawa without knowledge. Being misguided themselves, they will misguide others too.”

[Sahih Muslim Book 34 Hadith 6465 ]

This hadith makes it clear that to derive a ruling and give a fatwa is the job of the ‘ulema and not a common man.

Another important point in the hadith is that it talks of a time when there will not be any ‘ulema left and ignorant people will be giving fatawa. In such a time, how will one follow Islam if it will not be through taqleed of the writings of the scholars who have passed away?

Hadith # 2

In Saheeh Bukhari is the following hadith:

Abu Sa’eed al Khudri (ra) has reported that some Sahabah began to come late for salah. So, the Prophet (saw) encouraged them to come early and join the front rows in prayer. He also said, “Observe me and follow me and those after you will observe you and follow you.”

[Sahih Muslim Book 4 Hadith 878 ]
One meaning of the hadith is the apparent one that the people behind the front rows will follow them.

However Ibn Hajar in Fath al Bari writes:

“Some people have said that this hadith means you learn the commands of Shari’ah from me and the tabi’een following you will learn from you and this would go on one after another till the world ends.”

Similar to these there are many ahadith that clearly contain the concept of taqleed in them. It is an ignorant statement to make that one cannot find taqleed in the hadith.

Taqleed during times of Sahabah (ra) & Tabi’een (rh)

Absolute Taqleed & Taqleed Shakhsi during times of Sahabah (ra) & Tabi’een (rh)

Shah Waliullah (rh) states 

in “Fayoosul Haramain
” that taqleed was prevalent in the blessed era of the Sahabah (ra) and Tabi’een (ra) without objection.

People who were not occupied in gaining knowledge or could not deduce a particular issue using their own ijtihad, consulted other jurist Sahabah (ra).

First we will see some examples of absolute taqleed also known as taqleed mutlaq.

In Majma’ uz Zawaid the following is recorded:

Ibn ‘Abbas said that Umar (ra) delivered a sermon at Jabiyah saying, “O People! If anyone wishes to ask anything about the Qur’an, he must go to Ubayy ibn Ka’b (ra). He, who wishes to know about injunctions on inheritance, must go to Zayd bin Thabit (ra). And one who intends to learn about fiqh must go to Mu’az ibn Jabal (ra). And if anyone wishes to know about wealth and property he must come to me because Allah (swt) has made me its guardian and distributor.

In the above hadith, Umar (ra) informed the people about those who excelled in certain fields and told them to approach them and rely on their opinions in concerned matters. This is nothing but taqleed.

Hadith # 3

In Muwatta Imam Malik it is stated:

“Saalim (rh) said that someone asked Abdullah ibn Umar (ra) that a man borrowed some amount of money from another for a specified period. The creditor was willing to waive a portion of the debt if the debtor repaid before the due date. Ibn Umar (ra) did not like it and he disallowed it.”

[ Malik Book 31 Hadith 31.38.83 ]

This question is not answered by any clear hadith which can go back to the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and thus Ibn Umar did ijtihad
. Neither the person enquiring asked for any reason for the ruling, nor was any reason given by Ibn Umar (ra). The ruling of Ibn Umar (ra) was acted upon. If this is not taqleed then what is?

Shah Waliullah, said:

“The Sahabah (ra) were spread in different countries and in every place one Sahabi was followed, for example:

Mecca: Ibn Abbas (ra)
Medina: Zayd Ibn Thabit (ra)
Kufa: Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (ra)
Yemen: Mu’az (ra)
Basra: Anas (ra)”

Just like there are numerous examples of Absolute Taqleed in the times of the Sahabah (ra), there are abundant evidences of Taqleed Shakhsi during the times of the Sahabah (ra) and Tabi’een (rh).

Hadith # 4

In Sahih Bukhari a tradition is recorded as follows:

Ikramah (rh) reported: Some people of Madina ask Ibn Abbas about the woman who menstruated after the fard tawaf. (Should she wait to perform tawaf wada or may return without performing it?) He said, “She may go home (without performing it).” The people of Madina said, “We cannot act on your ruling and forsake Zayd ibn Thabit’s ruling.”

This incident is also reported by Qatadah in Musnad Abu Dawood Tiyalsi. The people of Madina are quoted to have said:

“O Ibn Abbas! We will not follow you in the matter you disagree with Zayd ibn Thabit.” He replied, “Ask Umm Sulaym (ra) (when you go to Madina whether my ruling is correct).

The people of Madina adhered to the ruling of Zayd ibn Thabit (ra) despite the fact that Ibn Abbas (ra) gave them ahadith of Umm Sulaym (ra). Is this not taqleed shakhsi?

Also note that Ibn Abbas (ra) did not say that they are committing a sin by doing taqleed shakhsi or they are committing polytheism or anything of that sort.

Ibn Abbas (ra) simply told them to refer to Umm Sulaym and then refer the matter back to Zayd (ra). As explain in Muslim, Bayhaqi etc, when this matter was re-referred to Zayd (ra), he changed his verdict.

A question arises. When people of Madina made taqleed to Zayd (ra), why would they investigate the hadith of Umm Sulaym (ra)?

Hadith # 5

In Malik Mawtta it is mentioned:

Huzayl Ibn Shurahbeel (rh) reported that someone asked Abu Musa Ash’ari (ra) a ruling. He gave an answer but also advised them to ask Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (ra). They went to him and told him that they had asked Abu Musa Ash’ari already. His ruling was contrary to Abu Musa Ash’ari (ra). When Abu Musa Ash’ari (ra) was told about this, he said, “Do not ask me (for rulings) as long as this great scholar is among you.”

[Malik Book 30 Hadith 30.2.14 ]

Musnad Imam Ahmed
 also records this narration but the words in it are:

“As long as this major scholar is among you, do not ask me anything.”

This was a clear example of Abu Musa Ash’ari (ra) recommending the taqleed shakhsi of Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (ra).

Hadith # 6

In Abu Dawood is the following famous tradition:

Mu’az ibn Jabal (ra) reported that when Allah’s Messenger (saw) sent him to Yaman, he asked him how he would decide cases when they were brought to him. He said, “According to Allah’s Book.” The Prophet (saw) asked, “If you do not find them there?”
“Then according to your Sunnah.”
“But if they are not there?”

Mu’az said, “I will make ijtihad and extract judgment with my opinion (and try to arrive at a true conclusion), not being negligent in that.”

The Prophet (saw) was pleased and patted him lightly on the chest saying, “All praise belongs to Allah Who caused the envoy of Allah’s Messenger (saw) to conform to what pleases Allah’s Messenger (saw).”

[ sunan Abu Dawud Book 24 Hadith 3585 ]

Ibn Qayyim’s (rh) says about this hadith
 "that none of the narrators of this hadith is a liar or in any way defective. Besides, he has also named another chain of narrators for this Hadith:

Ubadah ibn Nusayi from Abdur Rahman from Ghanam from Mu’az (ra).
He has written that (the sanad and the narrators are known for reliability).
Also on reference to Khatib Baghdadi that the Hadith is worth citing for encouragement of the ummah. (I’lam al-Muqi’een)”
[end quote]

So we see that Prophet Muhammad (saw) sent Mu’az (ra) as a governor, judge, teacher and mujtahid to the people of Yamanand bound them to obey him. He was also given permission to issue a verdict on his personal judgment. The people of Yaman were permitted to make taqleed of an individual. The prophet (saw) made it binding to him.

Hadith # 7

Another clear example of taqleed shakhsi is given by Ibn Jarir (rh). According to him, six of the seven readings of the Qur’an were abolished by Uthman (ra). From the time of the prophet Muhammad (saw) down to the time of this event, reading from all of the seven readings was allowed.

Ibn Hajar (rh) is quoted in Tafsir ibn Jarir:

“In the same way, the ummah were instructed to protect the Qur’an, and to recite it. They were allowed to choose one of the seven ways of reciting. Then the same ummah made it binding on them that they would retain only one recital and recite according to that, and forego the remaining six recitals.”

Ibn Jariri answers possible objections:

“That which those people did was wajib on them. Whatever they did was for the good of Islam and the followers of Islam. Hence, it was better for them to do this than to keep Islam and its people open to harm (by retaining all the seven recitals).” (Tafseer Ibn Jarir, Muqaddamah)

Taqleed by Glorious Tabeen [Salafs] 

Many tabi’een have reported that they chose to follow one or another Sahabi (ra).

In I’lam al-Muqi’een by Ibn Qayyim
 the following narrations are reported:

1Imam Sha’bi (rh) said“To whom it pleases to gain authority in judgment let him adopt the sayings of Umar (ra).”

2. Mujahid (rh) said“When people disagree about an affair, see how Umar (ra) acted. Thus, follow him.

3. Imam A’mash (rh) said about Ibrahim Nakh’ee (rh), “When Umar (ra) and Ibn Mas’ud (rh) agreed about a question, Ibrahim Nakh’ee (rh) did not regard any verdict equal to theirs. But when they differed, he went by Abdullah’s (Ibn Mas’ud) verdict.”
Shah Waliullah (rh) in al-Baligha has written:

“They (ibn Abbas and other Sahabah) differed in many rulings and many from the people of Mecca gave preference to his (ibn Abbas’s) rulings over others.”

To give preference to the rulings of one person over others is Taqleed Shakhsi.

All these were just a couple of examples given from the large database of evidences proving taqleed shakhsi i.e. taqleed of an individual during the times of the Sahabah (ra) and Tabi’een (rh).

Taqlid is done by Ahlus sunnah wa jammah [sawad us azam] and IJMA [majority]

Taqlid is done by majority of muslims today which according to Sahih hadiths makes the decision not only according to Quran and acts of Sahabas [ra] but also Ijma and ahlus sunnah. On other hand Wahabis are themselves divided into no less than 2 to 3 subsects one of them are Salafis/ghair muqalids who don't believe in Taqlid where as even Saudi Wahabis are hanbalis. So out of 3-4% wahabis which is their Max number in muslim ummah Salafis hardly make 1%

Now the following Hadith will be presented to prove that doing Taqlid which ahlus sunnah wa jammah [majority group] does and majority of past scholars did is must for laymen muslims

Hadith # 1

Transliteration : Alaykum bi al-jama`a fa innallaha la yajma`u ummata Muhammadin `ala dalala

Translation : "You have to follow the Congregation for verily Allah will not make the largest group of Muhammad's Community agree on error

[ Reference : Ibn Abi Shayba relates it with a sound chain as hadith # 354 ] 

Hadith # 2

Allah will never let my Ummah agree upon misguidance
, and the hand of Allah is over the group (Jama'ah), so follow the great mass of believers (Sawad ul-'Azam), and whoever dissents from them departs to hell

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[A narration "AUTHENTICATED" and reported by al-Hakim (1/116), and al-Dhahabi agreed with him][/COLOR]

Hadith # 3

La yajma`ullahu ummati `ala dalala

"Verily Allah will not make my Community agree on error

[ Reference:Tirmidhi with a fair (hasan) chain ]

Hadith # 4

Inna Allaha la yajma`u ummati -- aw qala: ummata Muhammadin --`ala dalalatin wa yadullahi ma` al-jama`a

"Verily Allah will not make my Community -- or Muhammad's Community -- agree on error, and Allah's hand is with the largest Congregation.

[Reference :Tirmidhi (gharib) #2256, Cairo ed. `Aridat al-ahwadhi (11:9)]

Note here that above hadith is called Gharib but a Gharib hadith is not necessarily Daeef, even if we agree it is that Authentic hadith of Imam Hakim [rah] makes it Sahih as wordings are same. What wahabis mostly do is to show only one chain and claim all hadiths are Daeef which is misguiding ignorant people actually.

Hadith # 5

Man arada minkum bi habuhat al-jannati fal yulzim al-jama`at

"Whoever among you wants to be in the middle of Paradise, let him cling to the Congregation."

[Reference : Tirmidhi related it and said it is sound (sahih).] 

Hadith # 6

Inna al-shaytana dhaybun ka dhayb al-ghanam ya'khudh al-shat al-qasiya wal-najiya fa iyyakum wal-shu`aab wa `alaykum bil-jama`ati wal-`aammati wal-masjid

"Shaytan is a wolf like the wolf that preys on sheep, taking the isolated and the stray among them; therefore, avoid factionalism and keep to the Congregation and the collective and the masjid."

[Reference: Ahmad relates it through Mu`adh and through Abu Dharr, the two chains being respectively fair [hasan] and sound [sahih] according to Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id 6/123]

Hadith # 7

Inna ummati la tajtami`u `ala dalalatin fa idha ra'aytum al-ikhtilaf fa `alaykum bi al-sawad al-a`zam.

"My Community shall never agree upon misguidance, therefore, if you see divergences, you must follow the greater mass or larger group


► Ibn Majah (2:1303 #3950) from Anas with a weak chain.

► Imam Ahmad narrates it mawquf through three sound chains to Abu Umama al-Bahili and Ibn Abi Awfa. However, it is marfu` to the Prophet from Abu Umama by Ibn Abi Shayba in his Musannaf as well as Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, the latter two's narration stating that Abu Umama heard this from the Prophet up to seven times. Bayhaqi in al-Madkhal narrates something similar from Ibn `Abbas.

Above hadith came from multiple chains, one daeef [weak] and three other Sahih ones.

Hadith # 8

Lan tajtami`a ummati `ala dalalatin fa `alaykum bi al-jama`ati fa inna yadullahi `ala al-jama`a.

"My Community shall not agree upon misguidance. Therefore, you must stay with the Congregation, and Allah's hand is over the Congregation.

 Tabarani narrated it with two chains from Ibn `Umar, one of which is sound (sahih). See Haythami, Majma` al-zawa'id, chapter on the obligation to stay with the Congregation.]

Hadith # 9

Innallaha qad ajara ummati min an tajtami`a `ala dalala

"Verily Allah has protected my Community from agreeing upon error."

[Ibn Abi `Asim narrated it in the Sunna and Wahabi so called mujtahid Albani declared it hasan in his Silsila sahiha (3:319).]

Hadith # 11

Sahih Bukhari Book 56 Hadith 803 

Narrated Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman:
..... He said, "Yes, there will be some people who will invite others to the doors of Hell, and whoever accepts their invitation to it will be thrown in it (by them)." I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Describe those people to us." He said, "They will belong to us and speak our language (i.e Arabic) " I asked, "What do you order me to do if such a thing should take place in my life?"
He said, "Adhere to the CONGREGATION OF MUSLIMS and their Chief.
" I asked, "If there is neither a group (of Muslims) nor a chief (what shall I do)?" He said, "Keep away from all those different sects, even if you had to bite (i.e. eat) the root of a tree, till you meet Allah while you are still in that state."[END]

So if Congregation of muslims [sawad us adham ] is not available one is advised to keep away from all smaller sects according to sahih bukhari

Hadith # 12

Yadu Allah `ala al-jama`a

"Allah's hand is over the group."

[Sunan Tirmidhi , Hadith termed hasan]

al-Munawi said:
 "Allah's hand is over the group means His protection and preservation for them, signifying that the collectivity of the people of Islam are in Allah's fold, so be also in Allah's shelter, in the midst of them, and do not separate yourselves from them. Whoever diverges from the overwhelming majority concerning what is lawful and unlawful and on which the Community does not differ has slipped off the path of guidance and this will lead him to hell.

[al-Munawi, Sharh al-Jami` al-saghir 3:449]

Hadith # 13

Yadu Allah `ala al-jama`at wa man shadhdha shadhdha ila al-nar.

"Allah's hand is over the group, and whoever dissents from them departs to hell

[Tirmidhi (gharib) from Ibn `Umar, al-Hakim both from Ibn `Umar and Ibn `Abbas, and Ibn Jarir from Ibn `Umar.]

Hadith # 14

Yadu Allah `ala al-jama`a, ittabi`u al-sawad al-a`zam fa innahu man shadhdha shadhdha ila al-nar.

"Allah's hand is over the group, follow the largest mass, for verily whoever dissents from them departs to hell

[ Narrated by al-Hakim and al-Tabari from Ibn `Abbas, and al-Lalika'i in al-Sunna and al-Hakim also narrated it from Ibn `Umar.]

Hadith # 15

Man faraqa al-jama`ata shibran mata maytatan Jahiliyya.

"Whoever leaves the Community or separates himself from it by the length of a span, dies the death of the Jahiliyya (period of ignorance prior to Islam)"

[Sahih Muslim (Imara #55) through Ibn `Abbas. Muslim relates it with slight variations through three more chains. Ibn Abi Shayba also relates it in his Musannaf.]

Hadith # 16

Abu Ghalib said that during the crisis with the Khawarij in Damascus he saw Abu Umama one day and he was crying. He asked him what made him cry and he replied: "They followed our religion," then he mentioned what was going to happen to them tomorrow. Abu Ghalib said: "Are you saying this according to your opinion or from something you heard the Prophet say?" Abu Umama said: "What I just told you I did not hear from the Prophet only once, or twice, or three times, but more than seven times. Did you not read this verse in Al `Imran: The day faces will be white and faces will be dark..."? (3:106) to the end of the verse. Then he said: I heard the Prophet say: "The Jews separated into 71 sects, 70 of which are in the fire; the Christians into 72 sects, 71 of which are in the fire; and this Community will separate into 73 sects, all of them are in the fire except one which will enter Paradise." We said: "Describe it for us." He said: "The Sawad al-a`zam [the majority group ] ."

[Reference : Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa'id: Tabarani narrated it in al-Mu`jam al-kabir and al-Awsat, and its all narrators are trustworthy (thiqat) This hadith is Sahih ]

Hadith # 17

Sataftariqu ummati `ala thalathat wa sab`ina firqatin kulluhum fil nari ila millatin wahidat, qalu man hiya ya rasulallah, qala ma ana `alayhi wa as-habi

"My Community will split into seventy-three sects. All of them will be in the fire except one group. They asked: Who are they, O Messenger of Allah? He said: Those that follow my way and that of my companions."

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[ Sunan tirmidhi 18:2650, sunan Abu Dawud, and al-Darimi related it.]

Hadith # 18

What is meaning of word Sawad us Azam according to Sahih hadiths itself

لَمَّا أُسْرِيَ بِالنَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ جَعَلَ يَمُرُّ بِالنَّبِيِّ وَالنَّبِيَّيْنِ وَمَعَهُمْ الْقَوْمُ وَالنَّبِيِّ وَالنَّبِيَّيْنِ وَمَعَهُمْ الرَّهْطُ وَالنَّبِيِّ وَالنَّبِيَّيْنِ وَلَيْسَ مَعَهُمْ أَحَدٌ حَتَّى مَرَّ بِسَوَادٍ عَظِيمٍ فَقُلْتُ مَنْ هَذَا قِيلَ مُوسَى وَقَوْمُهُ وَلَكَنِ ارْفَعْ رَأْسَكَ فَانْظُرْ قَالَ فَإِذَا سَوَادٌ عَظِيمٌ قَدْ سَدَّ الْأُفُقَ مِنْ ذَا الْجَانِبِ وَمِنْ ذَا الْجَانِبِ فَقِيلَ هَؤُلَاءِ أُمَّتُكَ وَسِوَى هَؤُلَاءِ مِنْ أُمَّتِكَ سَبْعُونَ أَلْفًا يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ فَدَخَلَ وَلَمْ يَسْأَلُوهُ وَلَمْ يُفَسِّرْ لَهُمْ فَقَالُوا نَحْنُ هُمْ وَقَالَ قَائِلُونَ هُمْ أَبْنَاؤُنَا الَّذِينَ وُلِدُوا عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ وَالْإِسْلَامِ فَخَرَجَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ هُمْ الَّذِينَ لَا يَكْتَوُونَ وَلَا يَسْتَرْقُونَ وَلَا يَتَطَيَّرُونَ وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ فَقَامَ عُكَّاشَةُ بْنُ مِحْصَنٍ فَقَالَ أَنَا مِنْهُمْ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ نَعَمْ ثُمَّ قَامَ آخَرُ فَقَالَ أَنَا مِنْهُمْ فَقَالَ سَبَقَكَ بِهَا عُكَّاشَةُ

Sayyidina Ibn Abbas (RA) narrated: When the Prophet (SAW) was taken to the (heavens for the) mi’raj, he passed by a Prophet and Prophets with whom were a group of people, a Propher and Prophets with whom was a raht, a Prophet and Prophets with whom was nobody till he passed by a great multitude (sawad us azam) . He asked. “Who is this?” He was told, “Musa and his people, but raise your head and see.” He said, “I saw a great multitude that had plugged the horizon from this side barricaded the horizon from that side.” He was told, “These are you ummah and apart from these there are seventy thousand of your ummah who will enter paradise without any accounting.” Then he came (home) and they did not ask him and he did not explain to them. They said (to one another), “We are among them.” And some said, “they are the children born on nature and on Islam.’ The Prophet came out and said, “They are those who do not have themselves cauterised or treated with incantation (charms) , or believe in omens, but on their Lord do they rely. Ukashah ibn Mihsan got up and said, “Am I one of them,O Messenger of , “Yes.” Then another came and asked, “Am I one of them?” He said, “Ukashah overtook you in that.”

[Sahih Bukhari 5752,Sahih Muslim 220, Ahmed 2448, sunan tirmidhi 17:2454]

From above Hadiths following things can be seen 

► The hadith of sawad us azam [following majority] comes from several chains. From many Sahih chains and few weak , Please be careful because Wahabis [salafis] misquote and show only Daeef chains to misguide others where as if same words are present in Sahih chains or hasan ones than Daeef hadith itself is termed as Sahih.

► The term Congregation [jama'h] and Sawad us azam [ largest group] are used to define same group of muslims which will be on right path.

► The Largest group or congregation of muslims will follow Quran and sunnah and way of Sahabas [ra] as well. Like Ahlus sunnah does. 

Classical Scholars of Ahlus sunnah support Taqlid 

Imam Al Bayhaqi [rah]

in his book al-Madkhal and al-Zarkashi in his Tadhkirah fi al-ahadith al-mushtaharah relate:

Imam al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr al-Siddiq said: "The differences among the Companions of Muhammad are a mercy for Allah's servants."

al-Hafiz al Iraqi the teacher of Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani 

This is a saying of al-Qasim ibn Muhammad who said: The difference of opinion among the Companions of Muhammad is a mercy.

Bayhaqi and Zarkashi also said:

Qutada said
: `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz used to say: "I would dislike it if the Companions of Muhammad did not differ among them, because had they not differed there would be no leeway (for us)."

Al-Hafiz Ibn al-Athir [rah]

in the introduction to his Jami al-usul fi ahadith al-rasul relates the above saying from Imam Malik who said " The difference of opinion among the Companions of Muhammad is a mercy"

This quote of Imam Malik is sound according to al-Hafiz Ibn al-Mulaqqin in his Tuhfat al-muhtaj ila adillat al-Minhaj and Ibn al-Subki in his Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya.

 also relates in al-Madkhal pg #205 and Zarkashi in the Tadhkira:

al-Layth ibn Sa`d said on the authority of Yahya ibn Sa`id: "The people of knowledge are the people of flexibility (tawsi`a). Those who give fatwas never cease to differ, and so this one permits something while that one forbids it, without one finding fault with the other when he knows of his position."

Al-Hafiz al-Sakhawi [rah] 

said in his Maqasid al-hasana p. 49 #39 after quoting the above:

I have read the following written in my shaykh's (al-Hafiz ibn Hajar) handwriting: "The hadith of Layth is a reference to a very famous hadith of the Prophet, cited by Ibn al-Hajib in the Mukhtasar in the section on qiyas (analogy), which says: "Difference of opinion in my Community is a mercy for people" (ikhtilafu ummati rahmatun li al-Nas). There is a lot of questioning about its authenticity, and many of the imams of learning have claimed that it has no basis (la asla lahu). However, al-Khattabi mentions it in the context of a digression in Gharib al-hadith... and what he says concerning the tracing of the hadith is not free from imperfection, but he makes it known that it does have a basis in his opinion."

Al-`Iraqi [rah] 

mentions all of the above (1-5) in his Mughni `an haml al-asfar and adds:

What is meant by "the Community" in this saying is those competent for practicing legal reasoning (al-muhtahidun) in the branches of the law, wherein reasoning is permissible.

What `Iraqi meant by saying "the branches wherein reasoning is permissible" is that difference is not allowed in matters of doctrine, since there is agreement that there is only one truth in the essentials of belief and anyone, whether a muhtahid or otherwise, who takes a different view automatically renounces Islam as stated by Shawkani.

[al-Shawkani, Irshad al-Fuhul p. 259 as quoted in Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence p. 383.]

Ibn Hazm [rah]

said in al-Ihkam fi usul al-ahkam (5:64):

The saying "Difference of opinion in my Community is a mercy" is the most perverse saying possible, because if difference were mercy, agreement would be anger, and it is impossible for a Muslim to say this, because there can only be either agreement, or difference, and there can only be either mercy, or anger.

Imam Nawawi refuted
 this view in his Commentary on Sahih Muslim:

If something (i.e. agreement) is a mercy it is not necessary for its opposite to be the opposite of mercy. No-one makes this binding, and no-one even says this except an ignoramus or one who affects ignorance. Allah the Exalted said: "And of His mercy He has made night for you so that you would rest in it" (28:73), and He has named night a mercy: it does not necessarily ensue from this that the day is a punishment.


said in Gharib al-hadith:

Difference of opinion in religion is of three kinds:

· In affirming the Creator and His Oneness: to deny it is disbelief;

· In His attributes and will: to deny them is innovation;

· In the different rulings of the branches of the law (ahkam al-furu`): Allah has made them mercy and generosity for the scholars, and that is the meaning of the hadith: "Difference of opinion in my Community is a mercy."

[al-Jarrahi cited it in Kashf al-khafa 1:64 #153.]

Imam Jalal ud din Al Suyuti [rah] 

Alusi in Tafsir Roh Al maani

Quran Surah Nahl (16) verse 43

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ إِلاَّ رِجَالاً نُّوحِي إِلَيْهِمْ فَاسْأَلُواْ أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

We did not send (messengers) before you other than men whom We inspired with revelation. So, ask the people (having the knowledge) of the Reminder (the earlier Scriptures), if you do not know.

Allamah Alusi (rah) in Ruh al Ma’ani states:

واستدل بها أيضاً على وجوب المراجعة للعلماء فيما لا يعلم.

وفي " الإكليل " للجلال السيوطي أنه استدل بها على جواز تقليد العامي في الفروع وانظر التقييد بالفروعلتقييد فإن الظاهر العموم

Translation : “This verse is cited to prove that it is wajib to refer to the ulama for such things in which one lacks knowledge

. Allamah Jalalauddin Suyuti (rh) wrote in Ikeel that it is deduced from this verse that taqleed is allowed to the common men for branch issues.” 

[ Tafsir Roh Al maani for 16:43 ] 

Imam Jalal ud din Suyuti [rah]
 says in his short treatise Jazil al-mawahib fi ikhtilaf al-madhahib (The abundant grants concerning the differences among the schools):

The hadith "Difference of opinion in my Community is a mercy for people" has many benefits among which are the fact that the Prophet foretold of the differences that would arise after his time among the madhahib in the branches of the law, and this is one of his miracles because it is a foretelling of things unseen. Another benefit is his approval of these differences and his confirmation of them because he characterizes them as a mercy. Another benefit is that the legally responsible person can choose to follow whichever he likes among them. [After citing the saying of `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz already quoted (#3 above), Suyuti continues:] This indicates that what is meant is their differences in the rulings in the branches of the law.

Muhaddith al-Samhudi

The muhaddith al-Samhudi relates al-Hafiz Ibn al-Salah's discussion of Imam Malik's saying concerning difference of opinion among the Companions: "Among them is the one that is wrong and the one that is right: therefore you must exercise ijtihad." Samhudi said:

Clearly, it refers to differences in legal rulings (ahkam). Ibn al-Salah said: "This is different from what Layth said concerning the flexibility allowed for the Community, since this applies exclusively to the muhtahid as he said: "you must exercise ijtihad," because the muhtahid's competence makes him legally responsible (mukallaf) to exercise ijtihad and there is no flexibility allowed for him over the matter of their difference. The flexibility applies exclusively to the unqualified follower (muqallid). The people meant in the saying: "Difference of opinion in my Community is a mercy for people" are those unqualified followers. As for the import of Malik's saying "Among the Companions is the one that is wrong and the one that is right," it is meant only as an answer to those who say that the muhtahid is able to follow the Companions. It is not meant for others.

Imam Abu Hanifa [rah] 

said in the shorter version of al-Fiqh al-Akbar:

Difference of opinion in the Community is a token of divine mercy.

Ibn Qudama al-Hanbali

said in al-`Aqa'id p.89

The difference in opinion in the Community is a mercy, and their agreement is a proof.

Ibn Taymiyya

in the Mukhtasar al-fatawa al-misriyya says:

al-a'imma ijtima`uhum hujjatun qati`atun wa ikhtilafuhum rahmatun wasi`a -- The Consensus of the Imams [of fiqh] on a question is a definitive proof, and their divergence of opinion is a vast mercy... If one does not follow any of the four Imams [of fiqh]... then he is completely in error, for the truth is not found outside of these four in the whole Shari`a

[Ibn Taymiyya, Mukhtasar al-fatawa al-misriyya (Cairo, 1980) p. 35, 54.]


in Kitab al-i`tisam said

A large group of the Salaf deemed the differences of the Community in the branches of the Law to be one of the paths of Allah's mercy...

The exposition of the fact that the aforesaid difference is a mercy is what is narrated from al-Qasim ibn Muhammad (ibn Abi Bakr al-Siddiq)'s words: "Allah has made us gain through the differences among the Companions of Allah's Messenger in their practice." No one practices according to the practice of one of them except he (al-Qasim) considered it to be within the fold of correctness.

Dumra ibn Raja' narrated: 
`Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz and al-Qasim ibn Muhammad met and began to review the hadiths. `Umar then began to mention things which differed from what al-Qasim mentioned, and al-Qasim would give him trouble regarding it until the matter became clearer. `Umar said to him: "Don't do that! (i.e. don't question the difference.) I dislike stripping the favors (of Allah) from their differences."

Ibn Wahb also narrated from al-Qasim that he said
"I was pleased by the saying of `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz: I would dislike it if the Companions of Muhammad did not differ among them, because if there were only one view then the people would be in difficulty. Verily the Companions are Imams which one uses for guidance (innahum a'immatun yuqtada bihim). If someone follows the saying of one of them, that is Sunna."

The meaning of this is that they (the Companions) have opened wide for people the door of scholarly striving (ijtihad) and of the permissibility of difference in striving. If they had not opened it, the muhtahids would be in a bind, because the extent of ijtihad and that of opinions do not generally agree: the people who exert striving would then, despite their obligation to follow what they are convinced of, be obliged to follow what differs with them, and this is a kind of unbearable legal obligation and one of the greatest binds.

Allah therefore gave the Community generous leeway in the existence of disagreement in the branches of the law among them. This is the door that He opened for the Community to enter into this mercy. How then could they possibly not be meant by "those on whom thy Lord has mercy" in the verses "Yet they cease not differing, save those on whom thy Lord has mercy" (11:118-119)?! Therefore, their difference in the branches of the Law are like their agreement in them (in the fact that both consist in mercy), and praise belongs to Allah.

[al-Shatibi, al-I`tisam 3:11; or (1995 Beirut ed.) p. 395]

al-Shatibi also said in al-Muwafaqat (4:119):
 "Whatever is open to ijtihad is open to difference of opinion among those who make ijtihad, due to differences in circumstances or perspective."

Ibn `Abd al-Barr said in Jami` bayan al-`ilm:

The ulama are in agreement that it is permissible, for whoever looks into the differing opinions of the Prophet's Companions, to follow the position of whomever he likes among them. The same holds for whoever looks into the positions of the Imams other than the Companions, as long as he does not know that he has erred by contradicting the text of the Qur'an or Sunna or the Consensus of the scholars, in which case he cannot follow the above position. However, if this contradiction is not clear to him in any of the three respects mentioned, then it is permissible for him to follow the saying in question even if he does not know whether it is right or wrong, for he is in the realm of the common people (al-`amma) for whom it is permissible to imitate the scholar upon asking him something, even without knowing the bases of the answer...

al-`Uqayli mentioned that Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Rahman al-Sayrafi said: I asked Ahmad ibn Hanbal: "If the Companions of the Prophet differed regarding a certain question, is it permissible for us to check their positions to see who among them is right so that we may follow him?" He replied: "It is not permissible to check on the Prophet's Companions (la yajuz alnazar bayna ashabi rasulillah)." I said: "Then what is the procedure in this?" He replied: "You follow whichever of them you like."[32]

Abu Dawud narrates that Ibn Mas`ud had censured `Uthman for completing the prayer while travelling (i.e. rather than shortening it to two cycles instead of four), yet when he prayed behind `Uthman he performed four cycles and did not shorten it. When this was pointed out to him he said: "Dissent is an evil" (al-khilafu sharr). (That is: dissent in the lines of prayer, or in the unity of Muslims.) Abu Dawud mentioned al-Zuhri's explanation that `Uthman had prayed four rak`at at Mina instead of two because that year the beduins had come in great numbers and he wished to teach them that the prayer consisted in four cycles.[33]

Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani
 related in his Jami` fi al-sunan that Ibn Mas`ud said:

Whoever wishes to follow the Sunna, let him follow the Sunna of those that died (i.e. keep to the practice of the Companions). Those are the Prophet's Companions. They were the best of this Community, the purest of heart, the deepest in knowledge, and the scarcest in discourse. They were a people Allah chose for His Prophet's company and the establishment of His Religion. Therefore be aware of their superiority and follow them in their views, and hold fast to whatever you are able from their manners and their lives. Verily they were on a straight path.[34]

Ibn Qudama al-Hanbali

in the introduction to his manual of fiqh entitled al-Mughni (1:22f.) relates the following examples of the great Imams' occasional practice of positions contrary to their ijtihad:

· Abu Hanifa, Muhammad al-Shaybani, and Abu Yusuf's position is that ablution is nullified by bleeding. Yet when Abu Yusuf saw that Harun al-Rashid stood for prayer after being cupped without performing ablution, based on Malik's fatwa for him -- since bleeding does not annul ablution in Malik's view -- he prayed behind al-Rashid, and did not repeat his prayer. That is: he considered the prayer valid, and that therefore the ablution is not nullified for one who follows Malik's fatwa.

· [U]Another time Abu Yusuf[/U] performed ghusl and prayed Jum`a in congregation, then he was told that a dead mouse had been found in the tank of the bath water. He did not repeat the prayer but said: "We shall follow in the matter the opinion of our brothers from the Hijaz (i.e. school of Malik): If the quantity of water is more than two pitchers' worth, the water is still pure (if a dead mouse is found in it)."

· When Shafi`i prayed the dawn prayer with the Hanafis at the grave of Abu Hanifa in Baghdad, he did not make the supplication after rising from bowing in the second cycle of prayer as is required in his own school but not in the Hanafi.

· Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal opinion is similar to the Hanafis' concerning the necessity of ablution after cupping. Yet when he was asked: "Can one pray behind the Imam who stands up to lead prayer after being cupped without having renewed his ablution?" he replied: "How could I not pray behind Malik and Sa`id al-Musayyib?" and, in another narration: "Can I forbid you from praying behind So-and-so?" That is: behind the Imams who do not consider it necessary to renew ablution.

[Ibn Qudama, Muqaddimat al-Mughni 1:22.]

· Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal also declared that one must pronounce the basmala loud when leading the prayer in Madina -- although this is contrary to his general view in the matter -- due to the fact that the majority of the people of Madina follow the school of Malik, which requires it. Ibn Taymiyya mentions it in his Qa`ida fi tawahhud al-milla.
[COLOR="rgb(139, 0, 0)"]
[Ibn Taymiyya, Qa`ida fi tawahhud al-milla p. 174][/COLOR]

Views of Imam Nawawi [rah] and Ibn Hajar Asqalani [rah]
 on Sahih bukhari and Sahih muslim hadiths.

In Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn `Umar

On the day of the battle of al-Ahzab (the battle of the Trench) the Prophet said (to a travelling party): "Let none of you pray the `Asr prayer [in Muslim also: the Zuhr prayer] except after reaching the Banu Qurayza." The `Asr prayer became due for some of them on the way. Some of those said: "We will not offer it till we reach the Banu Qurayza," while others said: "Rather, we will pray at this spot, for the Prophet did not mean that for us." Later on it was mentioned to the Prophet and he did not take to task any of the two groups.

Following are Imam Nawawi's and Ibn Hajar's views of this hadith.

Imam Nawawi in Sharh Sahih Muslim said
 in commenting on the hadith of the Companions' difference in praying `Asr following the Prophet's order is that he considers that every muhtahid can be correct. He said:

In this hadith there is evidence for those who act upon the understanding and according to analogy and in attending to the meaning of words, and also to those who stick to the external letter; there is also evidence that the muhtahid must not be taken to task in what he did through his ijtihad if he did his best. And it can be inferred from this that every muhtahid is correct (wa qad yustadallu bihi `ala an kulla muhtahidin musib). Those who take the opposite view can say that the Prophet did not manifest which of the two sides was correct, but he did not take them to task. There is no disagreement that the muhtahid is not taken to task even if he was mistaken, if he did his utmost in striving. And Allah knows best

[(Kitab al-Jihad, Ch. 23, al-Mays ed. 11/12:341)]

The same position is taken by Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari in
commenting upon the same hadith in Bukhari

"In this hadith is evidence that each one of the two muhtahids that differ in a matter of the branches, is correct
." (wa fihi anna kulla mukhtalifayni fi al-furu` min al-muhtahidina musib.)

[Fath ul Bari (Kitab al-Maghazi, ch.31, 1989 ed. 7:520)]

Some ask about the discrepancy about which prayer was actually mentioned, since it is related in Bukhari as `Asr and in Muslim as Zuhr. Both reports are authentic and confirmed by other sound chains. Nawawi and Ibn Hajar said that the discrepancy is solved by the possibility that the travellers left in two groups, to each of whom was given a different order: the first group had not prayed Zuhr yet; while the second had prayed Zuhr, but not `Asr. Or it is solved by the possibility that one single group left together, containing those who had already prayed Zuhr and those who had not. The import of the hadith is to make haste and not dismount to pray nor anything else.

Jamal al-Din al-Qasimi

in his Risalat al-jarh wa al-ta`dil said:
 "It is required by justice that differences of opinion not be a pretext for disaffection. Enmity that stems from religious quarrels typifies the ignorant, not the knowledgeable; it typifies the people of folly, not the fair-minded."

Imam Ibn al-Hummam

author of many unique works in Jurisprudence and Doctrine records the view of the Hanafi scholars on Taqlid of a single Mujtahid in the commentary of Hidayah Fath al-Qadir:

(As for the layman) it is obligatory for him (Al-wajib alayh) to do Taqlid of a single Mujtahid
….The jurists have stated that the one who switches from one Madhab to another by his Ijtihad and evidence is sinful deserving of being punished. Thus one who does so without Ijtihad and evidence is even more deserving.

(vol.6 p.360)

Imam Nawawi

writes in Al-Majmu` Sharh Al-Muhadhdhab:

The second view is it is obligatory (yalzimuhu) for him to follow one particular school, and that was the definitive position according to Imam Abul-Hassan (the father of Imam al-Haramayn Al-Juwayni). And this applies to everyone who has not reached the rank of Ijtihad of the jurists and scholars of other disciplines. The reasoning for this ruling is that if it was permitted to follow any school one wished it would lead to hand-picking the dispensations of the schools, following one’s desires. He would be choosing between Halal and Haram, and obligatory and permissible. Ultimately that would lead to relinquishing oneself from the burden of responsibility. This is not the same as during the first generations, for the schools that were sufficient in terms of their rulings for newer issues, were neither codified or did they became popular. Thus on this basis it is obligatory for a person to strive in choosing a Madhab which alone he follows.

(Vol.1 p.93)

Imam Sharani [rah] 

an undisputed authority in the Shafi school writes in Al-Mizan al-Kubra:

…You (O student) have no excuse left for not doing Taqlid of any Madhab you wish from the schools of the four Imams, for they are all paths to Heaven….

(p.55 vol.1)

Shaikh Salih al-Sunusi 


As for the scholar who has not reached the level of Ijtihad and the non-scholar, they must do Taqlid of the Mujtahid….And the most correct view is that it is obligatory (wajib) to adhere to a particular school from the four schools…

[COLOR="rgb(139, 0, 0)"] ( in Fath al-`Alee al-Malik fil-Fatwa `ala Madhab al-Imam Malik:Section on Usul al-Fiqh p.40-41)[/COLOR]

Imam Ibn Hajr al-Haytami [rah] 

Shaikh al-Islam Ahmad Ibn Hajr al-Haytami writes:

The claim the layman has no Madhab is proscribed, rather it is necessary (yalzamuhu) for him to do Taqlid of a recognised school. (As for the claim: scholars did not obligate following one school), that was before the codification of the schools and their establishment.

(In Tuhfa al-Muhtaj fi Sharh al-Minhaj,Vol.12 p.491-Kitab al-Zakah)

Imam Ahmad al-Wanshirisi [rah]

records the Fatwa on Taqlid:

It is not permitted (laa yajoozu) for the follower of a scholar to choose the most pleasing to him of the schools and one that agrees the most with him. It is his duty to do Taqlid of the Imam whose school he believes to be right in comparison to the other schools

(In the famous 12 volume Maliki compendium of Fataawa, Al-Mi`yar al-Mu`rib an Fataawa ahl al-Ifriqiyya wa al-Andalus wa al-Maghribvol.11 p.163-164)

Imam Aamidi

The layman and anyone who is not capable of Ijtihad, even if he has acquired mastery of some of the disciplines (Ulum) related to Ijtihad, is obligated (yalzimuh) with following the positions of the Mujtahid Imams and taking his juristic opinions and this is the view of the experts from the scholars of the principles (Al-Muhaqqiqin minnal-Usulyyin). It was the Mutazila of Baghdad who prohibited that except if the soundness of his Ijtihad becomes clear to him.

[COLOR="rgb(139, 0, 0)"]
( in Usul Imam Aamidi writes in Al-Ihkam fi Usul al-Ahkam:vol.4 p.278)[/COLOR]

Imam Zahid al-Kawthari

Hanafi jurist and senior juridical advisor to the last Shaikh al-Islam of the Ottoman Empire, wrote in a impassioned article against the growing modern trend of non-Madhabism, entitled Al-Laa Madhabiyya Qantara al-Laa Deeniyya (“Non-Madhabism is a bridge to Non-religion”):

Those who call the masses to throwing away adhering to a madhab from the Madhabs of the followed Imams, whose lives we briefly mentioned in what has passed, will be of two groups; those who consider that all the derived opinions of the Mujtahid are right, such that it is permitted for the layman to follow any opinion of any Mujtahid, not restricting himself to the opinions of a single Mujtahid whom he selects to be followed, such thinking belongs to the Mutazila. The (second group) are the Sufis who consider the Mujtahids to be all right in the sense that they seek out the hardest opinions from their positions without confining themselves to following one Mujtahid.

(entitled Al-Laa Madhabiyya Qantara al-Laa Deeniyya Published in Maqalaat al-Kawthari, p.224-225)

Imam Al-Jalaal Shams al-Din al-Muhalli 


And the soundest position (wal-Asahh) is that it is obligatory (yajibu) for the non-scholar/layman and other than him of those who have not reached the rank of Ijtihad, adherence of one particular school from the Madhabs of the Mujtahid Imams (iltizam Madhab Muayyan min madaahib al-Mujtahideen) that he beliefs to be preferable to another school or equal to it.

(in the commentary of the Shafi text Jam` al-Jawami,`:Kitab al-Ijtihad, p.93)

Deoband Sect founder Rashid Ahmad Gangohi,writes

When the corruption that comes from non-specific Taqlid is obvious, and no one will deny this provided he is fair, then when specific Taqlid is termed obligatory for other than itself (Wajib li-ghayrihi), and non-specific Taqld is termed unlawful, this will not be by mere opinion, rather it is by the command of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), for he commanded that removing corruption is an obligation upon every individual

( in Fataawa Rashidyya.205)

Imam Abd al-Hay al-Lakhnawi

writes in his Majmuat al-Fataawa, after mentioning the various views of the scholars on Taqlid:

On this subject the soundest view is that the laypeople will be prevented from such (choosing) of different opinions, especially the people of this time, for whom there is no cure but the following of a particular Madhab. If these people were allowed to choose between their Madhab and another, it would give rise to great tribulations. 

(Majmuat al-Fataawa, vol.3 p.195)

Imam Rajab al-Hanbali 

writes in his book: “Refutation of anyone who follows other than the four schools”:

…that is the Mujtahid, assuming his existence, his duty (Farduhu) is to follow what becomes apparent to him of the Truth. As for the non-Mujtahid his duty is Taqlid

In the well known Maliki text Maraqi al-Saud, it is stated:

(Taqlid) is necessary (yalzimu) for other than the one who has achieved the rank of absolute ijtihad. Even if he is limited (mujtahid) who is unable (to perform absolute Ijtihad).
 (Point 957, p.39) 

He writes further on: “Every school from the schools of the (four) Mujtahids is a means that reaches one to Paradise.”

Imam Qurtubi (rah) in his Tafsir 

In one of the most authoritative juristic commentaries of the Holy Qur’an,, by the scholar Imam Qurtubi, he writes:

The scholars did not disagree that it is obligatory for the non-scholars (al-`Aamah) to do Taqlid of their scholars and they are meant in the verse: Ask the people of Remembrance if you do not know. And the scholars by consensus (Ajma`oo) stated it is necessary (laa budda) for he who is unable to see to do Taqlid of someone else who will tell him of the direction of the Qiblah, if it becomes difficult for him. Similarly, one who does no possess knowledge or insight of what the Deen teaches, then it is necessary (laa budda) for him to do Taqlid of that scholar who does.

(commenting on verse 7 in Sura Anbiya, in Al-Jami` li-ahkam al-Qar’an p.181 vol.11)

Answering the Wahabi/Salafi Objection and misquotation of four Salaf Imams [rah]

Usually the Salafis [ghair muqalids] misquote following words of Imam Abu Hanifa [rah], Malik [rah], Shafi [rah] and Hanbal [rah] to potray as if they were against laymen doing taqlid of them in fiqhi issues 

Abu Haneefah (rahimahullaah)

3. "When I say something contradicting the Book of Allaah the Exalted or what is narrated from the Messenger (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam), then ignore my saying."[27]

Maalik ibn Anas (rahimahullaah)

As for Imaam Maalik ibn Anas, he said:

1. "Truly I am only a mortal: I make mistakes (sometimes) and I am correct (sometimes). Therefore, look into my opinions: all that agrees with the Book and the Sunnah, accept it; and all that does not agree with the Book and the Sunnah, ignore it."

Shaafi'i (rahimahullaah)

1. "The sunnahs of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) reach, as well as escape from, every one of us. So whenever I voice my opinion, or formulate a principle, where something contrary to my view exists on the authority of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam), then the correct view is what the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) has said, and it is my view."

2. "The Muslims are unanimously agreed that if a sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) is made clear to someone, it is not permitted for him to leave it for the saying of anyone else."

Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimahullaah)

1. "Do not follow my opinion; neither follow the opinion of Maalik, nor Shaafi'i, nor Awzaa'i, nor Thawri, but take from where they took."[44]

In one narration: "Do not copy your Deen from anyone of these, but whatever comes from the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions, take it; next are their Successors, where a man has a choice."

2. "The opinion of Awzaa'i, the opinion of Maalik, the opinion of Abu Haneefah: all of it is opinion, and it is all equal in my eyes. However, the proof is in the narrations (from the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions)."

Our Reply 

The Salafi /wahabis have extremely misquoted such statements. In Reality

► These words are for mujtahids [only] who can make Ijhtehaad based on their knowledge.People who have learned and are experts in Quran, Arabic, Fiqh, Shariah laws, Hadiths and its sciences, Islamic history can practise such things. Laymen are still not discussed here.

► Blind Taqlid in Aqeeda like salafis/wahabis do in anthropomorphism of Ibn Taymiyyah and claim to do of Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal [rah] by quoting a forged book having more than 60% of Daeef [weak] hadiths in it is prohibited as well. Ahlus sunnah [sunni muslims] only do Taqlid in Fiqh issues not aqeeda. 

Some people say that the Mujtahid Imams have themselves said that their saying should not be followed until the evidence is known. "If our opinion is against Hadith, throw it off and follow the Hadith."

However, honestly, these words are direct to those who are capable of making an independent judgment, not those who cannot make Ijtihad.

Shah Waliullah Muhadith Dehalvi (rah) said about such sayings:

انمايتم فيمن له ضرب من الاجتهاد ولو فى مسئله واحدة وفيمن ظهر عليه ظهورا بينا ان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم امر بكزا ونهى عن كزا وانه ليس بمنسوخ اما بان يتبع الاحاديث واقوال المخالف والموافق فى المسئلة اوبان يرى جما غفيرا من المتبحرين فى العلم يزهبون اليه ويرى المخالف له لايحتج الا بقياس اواستنباط اونحو زلك فحينئز لا سبب لمخالفة حديث النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم الا نفاق خفى او حمق جلى
TranslationThese words apply to him who has ability to make Ijtihad of some kind and he knows that which the Prophet (peace be upon him) allowed and what he disallowed, and also that this saying is not abrogated. Either he has examined all ahadith and words of both who disagree and who agree and concluded that there is no evidence of its abrogation or he has observed a large number of learned Ulama (Scholars) conducting themselves on it. And he is assured that the Imam who disagrees with the Hadith, has no evidence except verdicts and deductions. In such cases, disagreement with the Prophet's (peace be upon him) Hadith is either because of concealed hypocrisy or open foolishness. nothing else

[Hujat ul Baligah Volume 001, Page No. 264]

This is very obvious. The Imams were asked, all through their lives, and they gave answers without giving reasons. If this was not allowed, in their sight then they would not have done that. Besides, we have many of their sayings whereby they held Taqleed necessary for the one who is not a Mujtahid. For example:

Its is stated in Kifayah Sharah Hidayah:

وازا كان المفتى على هزه الصفة فعلى العامى تقليده، وان كان المفتى احطأ فى زلك، ولا معتبر بغيره، هكزا روى الحسن عن ابى حنيفة وابن رستم عن محمد وبشير بن الوليد عن ابى يوسف
TranslationAnd if the Mufti has this quality (that is, Mujtahid) then the layman must follow him even if the Mufti might err. No one else is reliable. This saying is reported by Imam Hasan (rah) from Imam Abu Hanifah (rah), Ibn Rustam (rah) from Imam Muhammad (rah) and Bashir Ibn al-Walid (rah) from Imam Abu Yusuf (rah). [Kifayah Sharah Hidayah, Kitab Al-Sawm]

Imam Abu Yusuf (rah) said (Hidayah Volume 001, Page No. 226): على العامى الاقتداء بالفقهاء لعدم الاقتداء فى حقه الى معرفة الاحاديث

Ibn Taymmiyah 

Ibn Taymmiyah wrote about Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (rah):

ويأمرالعامى بان يستفتى اسحق وابا عبيد واباثور وابا مصعب وينهى العلماء من اصحابه كابى داؤد وعثمان بن سعيد وابراهيم الحربى وابى بكر الاثرم وابى زرعة وابى حاتم السجستانى ومسلم وغير هولاء ان يقلد وا احدا من العلماء ويقول عليكم بالاصل بالكتاب والسنة
TranslationImam Ahmad instructed the common people to learn the rulings from Imam Ishaq (rah), Abu Ubaid, Abu Thawr and Abu Musayb (rah). And, he disallowed those of his companions who were Scholars from making Taqleed of anyone. They were Abu Dawud, Uthman Ibn Sa'eed, Ibrahim al-Harabi, Abu Bakr al-Atharam, Abu Zar'ah, Abu Hatim Sajistani and Imam Muslims (rah), And he instructed them that it was Wajib for them to turn to the book and Sunnah. 

[Fatawa Ibn Taymmiyah, Volume 002, Page No.240]

It is very clear from this text of Ibn Taymmiyah that the Mujtahids who disallowed Taqleed had actually disallowed those of their students who were by themselves great scholars of Hadith and expert jurists and were fully qualified to make Ijtihad. As for those who were not Mujtahid, not only did they not disallow them but instructed them to follow the Mujtahids named. In fact, only the Mu'tazallah (معتزلة) opposed Taqleed even by those who were not Mujtahids.

Allama Saifuddin Aamdi (rah) said:

العامى ومن ليس له اهلية الاجتهاد وان كان محصلا لبعض العوم المعتبرة فى الاجتهاد يلزمه اتباع قول المجتهدين والاخز بفتواه عندالمحققين من الاصوليين ومنع من زلك بعض معتزلة البغداديين -

TranslationIt is Wajib for the common people and those who have studied some reliable sciences on Ijtihad but have not qualified to make Ijtihad to follow the sayings of the Mujtahids and act on their rulings.... But someMu'tazallah (معتزلة) of Baghdad disallowed.

[Ahkam ul-Ahkam Volume 004, Page No. 195; al-Mustasfah, Imam Ghazali Volume 002, Page No. 124]

Allama Khateeb Baghdadi (rah)

After stating that the non-Mujtahid masses are bound to make Taqleed, Allama Khateeb Baghdadi (rah) writes:

وحكمى عن بعض المعتزلة انه قال لا يجوز للعامى العمل بقول العالم حتى يعرف علة الحكم..... وهزا غلط لانه لا سبيل للعامى الى الوقوف على زلك الا بعد ان يتفقه سنين كثيرة ويخالط الفقهاء المدة الطويلة ويتحقق طرق القياس ويعلم ما يصححه ويفسده وما يجب تقديمه على غيره من الادلة وفى تكليف العامة بزلك تكليف مالا يطيقونه ولا سبيل لهم اليه

TranslationIt is ascribed to some Mu'tazallah (معتزلة) that even a layman cannot observe the sayings of a scholar until he knows the reasoning behind the instructions.... But this idea is very wrong. For, the layman has no way to know the reasoning unless he acquires knowledge of fiqh for years together, keeps company of the jurists for long times, studies the methods of Qiyas.. all people cannot undertake this task

[al-Fiqhiyah al-Mutafiqa - Khateeb Baghdadi Volume 002, Page No. 134-5]

The area where the Mujtahids differ is whether one who is qualified to make Ijtihad may make Taqleed Khateeb Baghdadi (rah) has cited Sufyan al-Thawri (rah) that even such a man may make Taqleed, while Imam Ahmad (rah) has said that he may make Taqleed of one more learned than him.

(Ibid Volume 002, Page No. 134-5).

Ibn Taymmiyah has cited Imam Muhammad (rah) that a Mujtahid is allowed to make Taqleed while Imam Shafi'I (rah) and Imam Ahmad (rah) say that he is not allowed at all. 

[Fatawa Ibn Taymmiyah Volume 002, Page No. 240]

Imam Abu Hanifah (rah) cited by allama Abdul hayi lakhnawi 

Allama Abdul Hayi Lakhnawi (rah) has cited Imam Abu Hanifah (rah) in the account of Imam Halwani (rah):

وقد روى عن الامام الاعظم جواز التقليد المجتهد بمن هو اعلم منه
Translation: For a Mujtahid, Taqleed of a scholar greater than him is allowed

[Taaliqat al-Sunniyah Page No. 96]

Was Abdullah Ibn Masud (RA) against Taqleed? Reply to Wahabi/salafis argument

Abdullah Ibn Masud (RA) saying is also cited often against Taqleed: "Let no one follow another in his religion in such a way that if he believes, he too believes, and if he disbelieves, he too disbelieves"

Obviously, no one permits Taqleed of this kind. His words are very clear that he does not tolerate Taqleed in Beliefs, and we have also repeated that often. But, as for Taqleed of the predecessors to learn injunctions of religion, Abdullah Ibn Masud (RA) has said:

من كان مستنا فليستن بمن قد مات، فان الحى لا تومن عليه الفتنة اولئك اصحاب محمد صلى عليه وسلم كانوا افضل هزا الامة... فاعر فوالهم فضلهم واتبعوهم على اثرهم تمسكوا بما استطعتم من اخلاقهم وسيرهم فانهم كانوا على الهدى المستقيم
TranslationIf anyone has to follow anyone, let him follow those who are dead, because we are not confident of the living that they will never succumb to mischief. They (worthy of being followed) are the Sahabah who are the most excellent people of this Ummah.... So, you must recognize their esteem and follow their Aathar and adopt their Manners and Habits as much as you can, because were on the right Path

[Mishqat al Masabih Volume 001, Page No. 68-9, Hadith Number 193]

The books on principle of fiqh generally treat the subject exhaustively, Through the Mujtahid Imams differed on whether a Mujtahid may make Taqleed, Yet, except for some Mu'tazallah (معتزلة), they all agree that one who is not a Mujtahid must necessary make Taqleed.


Question: Why do Taqleed Shakhsi?

In light of the evidence above, it has been established that absolute taqleed and taqleed of an individual i.e. taqleed shakhsi, both are proven from the Qur’an, Hadith, Sahabah (ra) and Tabi’een (rh).

We are prone to fall prey to our nafs – our desires. Islam is the submission to Allah (swt) by following and adhering to his laws. Without taqleed we can easily end up submitting to our nafs and not to Allah (swt).

A simple example

Now let’s take a practical example to see the dangers one faces if he or she does not make taqleed:

A person in wudhu starts to bleed. His wudhu becomes invalid according to the Hanafi Madhhab but according the Shafi’i it does not. In this case the person thinks “oh well according to the Shafi’i it does not become invalid so I can offer Salah.” Later on in the same day he touches a woman and now according to the Shafi’i his wudhu has become void but according to Hanafi it has not. Now he thinks “oh Hanafis say it’s not broken so my wudhu is intact.”

Here it can be seen how this person followed his nafs and not Allah (swt). For such reasons scholars have agreed that this methodology is haram.

Another example
 is as follows:

A person visits another town and thus becomes a traveler. He visits it for 5 days. Now according to the Shafi’i view he is not a traveler if he wishes to stay for 4 days or more. According to the Hanafi view he is a traveler till 14 days. So he uses the Hanafi view and declares himself a traveler and then uses the Shafi’i opinion and combines prayers.

Again in this example it is clear that this person has fallen prey to his nafs and is not submitting to Allah (swt).

Other small examples of difference of opinion are

Imam Shafi’i (rahmatullahaleh) allows playing chess.

Abdullah ibn Ja’far (rahmatullahaleh) allowed singing and flute. (Ithaf ab-Sadatul Mutqeen)

Imam Ghazali (rahmatullahaleh) allowed simple music in love of Allah and in naats [Ihya uloom ]

Qasim Ibn Muhammad (rahmatullahaleh) allowed pictures without shadows. (Nawawi in Sharh Muslim)

A’mash (rahmatullahaleh) held that fasting commenced from sunrise, not dawn. (Ruh al-Ma’ani under 2:187)

The issue of Rafulyadain is widely debated among classical scholars.

Ata ibn Abu Ribah (rahmatullahaleh) held that if Eid fell on Friday then both the salah of Friday and Dhuhr are waived and there is no salah till Asr. (Tahzeeb al-Asma wal-Lughat)

Ibn Sahnun (rahmatullahaleh) and others are said to have allowed anal intercourse.Where as majority of Ahlus sunnah scholars declared it haram. (Talkhees ul-Jeer by Ibn Hajar)

So if everyone is permitted to do as he likes and choose a ruling that suits him then he would collect such sayings and prepare a religion which suits his own desires [nafs] .

Knowing the dangers of such, scholars have written against such behavior declaring it as unlawful. One such opinion is quoted by a person who is accepted by the ghair muqallideen.

Wahabi Najdi Sheikh ul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rh), in Fatawa al-Kubra has written:

“The people follow the imam who holds marriage (in a particular case) as void and later they follow an imam who holds it to be valid. This is because of following of one’s own desires. Doing this is unanimously unlawful in the eyes of the Ummah.”

Further on he writes:

“And if someone says he was not aware of the ruling of another Madhhab and now that he has become aware of it he adheres to it, even then his word is not acceptable because this is making the deen a toy.”

Thus it is important to do taqleed and adhere to that school of thought rather than jumping from one ruling to another. We cannot go fatwa shopping based on our desires.

Shah Waliullah in al-Insaaf writes:

“It was during the second century of Islam that following a particular Madhhab became common and there was scarcely any who did not do so. This was wajib.”

For the same benefits today we need to do taqleed shakhsi.

Imam Nawawi (rh) writes in al-Majmoo’ Sharah al-Muhazzib:

“The reason taqleed of an individual has been made binding is that if man was allowed to follow whichever school of thought he liked then he would seek ease in every school of thought and act according to his base desires. People will get authority over the lawful and unlawful, the permitted and forbidden. The restrictions of Shari’ah will be removed finally. In earlier days, the schools of thought were not arranged completely and well-known. (Now that they are compiled and known) it is essential for everyone to select one of them and follow it specifically.”

In Fatawa Rahimiyyah, Shaami (rahmatullahaleh) is quoted
 as reporting the following incident:

“A faqih wished to marry the daughter of a certain Muhaddith. The Muhaddith however stipulated that he would allow the marriage only if the faqih conformed to the practices of ‘Raf’ul Yadain’ and ‘Aameen bil Jahar’. The faqih accepted and the couple was married. When the incident was mentioned to a saint of the time, he lowered his head and after a while said, “I fear for his Imaan because he compromised what he was doing as a Sunnah for worldly gain.”

An Issue of Fiqh

To prevent the ummah from falling into misguidance the ‘ulema time and again recommend that which is good and tell people to abstain from that which could bring about potential damage. A related example is quoted below.

What Scholars have stated regarding Taqleed Shakhsi

· Imam Abdul Ghani an-Nablusi [rahmatuallah aleh]
 in Khulasat-ut-Tahqiq: “A Muslim is either a Mujtahid or has not reached the level of Ijtihad. The one who is not a mujtahid should follow which ever he likes of the four Madhhaib.”

Imam Abdul Wahhab ash-Sah’rani [rahmatuallah aleh]
 in al-Mizan al-Kubra: “However according to the ‘ulema it is wajib for the ordinary Muslim to follow a mujtahid. They said that if a non-mujtahid Muslim did not follow a mujtahid, he would deviate from the right path. All mujtahids inferred rules from the documentary evidences they found in Islam….A person who speaks ill of any of the A’immat al-Madhhaib shows his ignorance.”

Allamah ibn Nujaim [rahmatuallah aleh] 
in al ‘shabalu Nasir: “For any person to go against the rule/decision of the four Imams is going against ijma.”

Ibn Humam[rahmatuallah aleh] in al-Tarirr fi Usul Fiqh:

“It is because of this, that certain….have stated that taqleed of the 4 imams is specified…and taqleed to be limited to these 4 imams is correct.” Further Ibn Humam in Fath al Qadeer: “The ijma was that any school apart from the four will not be taken”

Jiwan Siddique [rahmatuallah aleh] in Tafsir Ahmadi

“Ijma has occurred on that it is only permissible to make taqleed of the 4 imams. Thus, if any mujtahid is born and his opinions are against that of the 4 imams then it will not be permissible to follow it.”

Qadhi Thanaullah Panipati [rahmatuallah aleh] in Tafsir Mazhari:

“After the third and fourth century there is not a fifth Madhhab to follow besides the 4 madhhaib of the ahl-e-sunnah wal jamaah….and in this matter ijma has occurred that any opinions contrary to the 4 madhhaib is false (Baatil).”

Imam Sarsksi Maaliki [rahmatuallah aleh] in al-Fatuhatul Wahabia:

“In this age after the era of the Sahabah just as Ibn Salah has said that its not permissible to make taqleed of anyone besides the 4 imams, viz., Imam Malik, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi’i, Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal (rha).”

Ibn Hajar Makki in Farabul Mubeem fi Sahr Arba’een:

“In our time it is the opinion of the Elder Imams that it is permissible to make Taqleed of the Imam-e-Arbaa, viz., Imam Shafi’i, Imam Malik, Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Ahmed (rha) and it is not permissible to make Taqleed of another Imam.”

Tahawi [rahmatuallah aleh] in Tahtawi alaa Durre Mukhtar

“The one who does not follow those four schools is from ahl al-Bid’aa and people of hell.”

· Abdullah, the son of Abdul Wahhab Najdi 
(in al-Hadayatul Sunnah – op sit- ‘Propaganda of Mansoor Nomani against Muhammad ibn Wahab’: “In secondary matters we are of the Madhhab of Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (ra) and whosoever adheres to any of the 4 Imams we do not object.”


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