Meaning and types of Taqlid and the ruling on each type


What is the meaning and forms of Taqlid along with the legal ruling on each type?


A- Scholars of Usul-ul-Fiqh (principles of Islamic jurisprudence) have many definitions of Taqlid (following the views of a specific jurist or School of Jurisprudence). Some scholars defined Taqlid as following a person’s religious view without knowing the evidence upon which it is based. Some other scholars said that Taqlid means the acceptance of a person’s religious view with no evidence. Abu Al-Ma’ali Al-Juwayni defined Taqlid as following a person’s view without evidence or knowledge. All these definitions are similar to each other. Scholars of Usul-ul-Fiqh debated the issue according to their logical discussions. But here we wish to clarify the meaning of Taqlid.

B- As regard to the kinds of Taqlid and the ruling on each category, it is as follows:

1- According to the juristic consensus of scholars, it is not permissible for a person qualified to employ his own Ijtihad to follow Taqlid after being sure of the truth found in the authentic Hadith.

2- It is impermissible for a person qualified to exercise Ijtihad to follow Taqlid before arriving at the judgment of the detailed juristic issue. This is the view of Al-Shafi’i, Ahmad, and a group of scholars (may Allah be merciful to them). It is the preferable opinion, for the person here is capable of reaching the legal ruling on his own . Hence, it becomes incumbent upon him to employ Ijtihad to find the rulings of Shari’ah. Allah (Exalted be He) states: “So keep your duty to Allâh and fear Him as much as you can” [Al-Taghabun: 16]

Furthermore, it is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: “When I command you to do anything, do it as much as possible for you.1

3- If a person is not qualified to exercise Ijtihad because of his inability to examine evidence and infer judgments, then it is permissible for him to practice Taqlid, as Allah (Exalted be He) says: “Allâh burdens not a person beyond his scope.” [Al-Baqarah: 286]

In addition Allah (Glorified be He) states: “So ask the people of the Scripture, if you do not know.” [Al-Nahl: 43] There are many other religious texts indicating the removal of hardship to relieve servants from confusion and false ascription of rulings to Allah ignorantly.

4- Following ancestors and leaders in matters violating the Islamic Shari’ah is unlawful according to Ijma’ (consensus) of Muslim scholars. There are many religious texts of the Qur’an and the Sunnah that dispraise this kind of Taqlid. Allah (Exalted be He) states: “When it is said to them: “Follow what Allâh has sent down.” They say: “Nay! We shall follow what we found our fathers following.” (Would they do that!) even though their fathers did not understand anything nor were they guided?” [Al-Baqarah: 170]

Allah also says: “But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” [Al-Nisa: 65]

He (Exalted be He) states: “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allâh and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision.” [Al-Ahzab: 36]

Similarly, Allah says: “And let those who oppose the Messenger’s (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) commandment (i.e. his Sunnah - legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements) (among the sects) beware, lest some Fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant) should befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them.” [Al-Nur: 63]

Allah (Exalted be He) also advises: “Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم to mankind): ‘If you (really) love Allâh then follow me (i.e. Accept Islâmic Monotheism, follow the Qur’ân and the Sunnah), Allâh will love you and forgive you your sins.’” [Aal Imran: 31]

In like manner, Allah warns: “Verily, Allâh has cursed the disbelievers, and has prepared for them a flaming Fire (Hell). Wherein they will abide for ever, and they will find neither a Walî (a protector) nor a helper. On the Day when their faces will be turned over in the Fire, they will say: ‘Oh, would that we had obeyed Allâh and obeyed the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم).’ And they will say: ‘Our Lord! Verily, we obeyed our chiefs and our great ones, and they misled us from the (Right) Way.’ ‘Our Lord! Give them double torment and curse them with a mighty curse!’” [Al-Ahzab: 64-68]

  1. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on holding fast to the Book and the Sunnah, no. 7288; Muslim, Sahih, Book on Hajj, no. 1337; Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, Book on knowledge, no. 2679; Al-Nasa’i, Sunan, Book on Hajj rituals, no. 2619; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Introduction, no. 2; and Ahmad ibn Hanbal , Musnad, vol. 2, p. 508. 

May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, his family and Companions