Taqleed and Ijtihaad

Taqleed and Ijtihaad

There are certain requisites for the Ahkaam (rules and principles) of Ijtihaad to be applicable to a person and for one to be a Mujtahid. The gist of the requisites is developing an exceptional affinity with the Shariah by virtue of which the Qur’aan and Hadeeth texts can be readily examined for being related to cause or unrelated, and one can understand the procedures of their import and preference. This type of Ijtihaad is closed. By knowing the daleel (proof) of any mas-alah a person does not become a Muhaqqiq (expert) in that mas-alah. Thus, such a person cannot abandon adherence to a Muhaqqiq (i.e. Taqleed of a Mujtahid).

This is just as any person can become proficient as a Muhaddith, however; par excellence this has terminated with certain special individuals of this Ummah. In this day and age there is no Muhaddith living. “And that is the fadhl of Allah Ta’ala which he bestows to whomever He wishes.”


Such blatant errors are committed by those who claim nowadays to possess the ability to make Ijtihaad and refer directly to the Qur’aan and Hadeeth that every person’s conscience accepts their error.  In all truth the Aimmah Mujtahideen really understood the true nature of Deen. Thus, those who abandon Taqleed voice themselves against the Aimmah Mujtahideen when in reality their judgements are in violation of Deen itself. The motive is simply unfettered personal opinion and following of carnal desires. Everyone knows that vanity is destructive. Whoever wishes let them observe. These two diseases are found to pulsate in the blood and veins of those who abandon Taqleed.

Our knowledge is nothing. Why did those who are senior to us and whose knowledge is recognized make Taqleed? Our opinion and our discretion are prone to error and highly questionable.

When unshackling oneself of Taqleed-e-Shakhsi (following of an Imam or Math-hab) the inevitable consequence is that such a person quickly slips into the quagmire of emancipation of his nafs. In the opinion of some of these deviates nothing can be established without Nass (textual evidence). They reject Ijtihaad (eduction of masaa-il), whereas there is ample evidence of Ijtihaad in Hadeeth literature.

Consider the natural affinity of Ijtihaad of Hazrat Umar Faarooq (Radhiyallahu anhu) who was so sure of himself that he stopped Hazrat Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu anhu) from passing on the bashaarat (glad tiding) of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). And his barring of this glad tiding was sanctioned by Allah Ta’ala. At face value the opinion of Hazrat Umar carries no weight against the express statement of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and can never be given preference. But, his aptitude to soundly judge issues made him conclude, that the glad tiding would disrupt and bring chaos to the Deen of the masses.

In spite of Hazrat Abu Hurairah providing evidence of him being sent by Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) with the task of announcing the glad tiding, Hazrat Umar forcefully and unhesitatingly stopped him by slapping him on his chest and flooring him. When this case was brought before Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) why did Rasoolullah not criminalise Hazrat Umar? This episode is axiomatic proof of Ijtihaad and the correctness of the methodology of the Fuqaha. This is not a shaky ground.

The Mujtahideen did not lay the foundation of Deen on concocted masaail. They are free of every vestige of self-opinion. Just as they make others confined to the Shariah, they too, confine themselves with the Ahkaam. They do not utter anything without proof from the Qur’aan or Hadeeth. Thus, Taqleed of them is Taqleed of the Qur’aan and Hadeeth.

This is just like a learner of Sarf and Nahw (branches of Arabic grammar) firstly is a muqallid of Akhfash and Seebwaih (two renowned grammarians of the Arabic language), whereas they did not initiate the language. They, too, are muqallids of the Arabs. The one studying Sarf and Nahw is in actual fact a muqallid of the people of the language. What an error it is to aver that a muqallid of the Fuqaha is not following the Qur’aan and Hadeeth whilst condoning the taqleed of Akhfash and Seebwaih and not expelling such a muqallid from following of the Arabic language. These are points to remember. They do not come to mind just anytime.

A Great Benefit

They feel ashamed to be labelled as followers. Well, let them find embarrassment in following the Aimmah Mujtahideen. We prefer to remain under the authority of Imam Abu Haneefah, our parents and the Shaikh of Tareeqat. It may vex the nafs but isn’t it such a great benefit to us that we have so many reformers to guide us? The nafs and Shaitaan can do nothing to us, unlike those who have reneged from the authority of the Aimmah Mujtahideen and are now under the authority of Shaitaan.

All those under whose authority we flourish are our well-wishers whilst the creature in whose authority they have moved to is a clear-cut enemy (aduwwum mubeen).

No one should feel snug at making his own Islaah (self-reformation). Look at a man with such insight as Hazrat Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu)! He said to the person who warned him: “If you deviate we will set you straight with this sword,”

“Alhamdulillah, I am among such people where there are my protectors.”

This is also the benefit in customary bai’t; both parties start thinking about each other. Both anticipate help from each other. A village-dweller became bai’t to me. I asked him: “What need do you see for bai’t? Namaaz and Roza (Salaat and Saum) can be carried out without this?”

He replied: “I have taken bai’t for this reason that I do become lazy at offering Namaaz and Roza. By taking bai’t I will become more observant.”

What a worthwhile thing he said.

(Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahmatullahi alaihi, Adabul I’laam)