TAQLEED (BLIND FOLLOWING)
ACCORDING TO QUR'ÂN AND SUNNAH Linguistically, Taqleed means: Placing something around the neck, which encircles the neck. Technically it means: Following he whose sayings is not a proof (hujjah).
Exlcuded from our saying, "following he whose saying is not a proof" is: following the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW)
"Indeed the people of Truth and the Sunnah do not follow anyone [unconditionally] except the messenger of Allaah SAW, the one who does not speak from his desires - it is only revelation revealed to him." [by Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmoo\'ah al-Fataawaa, vol 3, page 216, Daar Ibn Hazm Print, Trans: Aboo 'Abdis-Salaam]
O you who believe! Obey Allâh and obey the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allâh and His Messenger (SAW), if you believe in Allâh and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination. [The Noble Qur'ân 4:59]
Abu Haneefah (d. 150H) (rahimahullaah)
said: "Adhere to the athar (narration) and the tareeqah (way) of the Salaf (Pious Predecessors) and beware of newly invented matters for all of it is innovation" [Reported by As-Suyootee in Sawn al Mantaq wal-Kalaam p.32]
said, " And it is as Abu Umar (ibn Abdul Barr) said: Indeed, the people do not differ about the fact that knowledge is the realisation attained from proof, but without proof, it is only taqleed."
said, "There are three sayings about the permissibility of giving fatwaa based upon taqleed:
1) It is not permissible to give fatwaa based upon taqleed, because it is not knowledge; since issuing a fatwaa without knowledge is forbidden. This is the saying of most of the Hanbalee scholars and the majority of the Shaafi'iyyah.
2) That it is permissible with regards to himself, but it is not permissible to give a fatwaa to others based upon taqleed.
3) That it is permissible when there is a need for it, and there is no mujtahid scholar. And this is the most correct of the sayings and is what is acted upon."
Imam Ibn Katheer
, rahimahullaah, said: "And what is apparent, and Allaah knows best, is that it is general for all those who are in authority (oolul-amr),from the rulers and the scholars."
Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah
said: "This is why those who are in authority are of two groups: the scholars and the rulers. If they are upright, the people will be upright; if they are corrupt, the people will be corrupt."
"It should be realised that the rulers are to be obeyed if they command what knowledge necessitates. So obedience to them follows on from obedience to the scholars. Indeed obedience is only in that which is good and that which is obligated by knowledge. So just as obedience to the scholars follows on from obedience to the Messenger, then obedience to the rulers follows on from obedience to the scholars." [Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim, r.a.]
The Problem :
"Blind" following refers to following a person (including self) when the instructions are clearly not in accordance with Qur'ân and Sunnah. To do so is a form of shirk, because at its core is a denial of a part of the Revelation, and to deny a single ayat of Revelation is to deny it all.
Many muslims treat the noble Imaams (Imaam Shafii, Imaam Malik, etc.) as though their words are protected from error. For some people, the words of an Imaam are taken as "gospel" and followed exclusively (as if it were revelation). Even if a verse from the Qur'ân or an authentic saying of the Messenger is brought as an argument against what their chosen Imaam said, their followers forsake what Allah or the Messenger, saaws, said and follow their Imaams. This dangerous position leads to blind taqleed (following) of humans at the expense of revelation.
One such example of this is that Imaam Malik did not raise his hands during the takbeer because they had been crippled to where he could not raise them as should be done in the salah. Muslims who choose to blindly follow Imaam Malik will not raise their hands during the takbeer, even though their is clear proof to do so. There are examples too numerous to list here, examples of senseless adherence to the ways or teachings of men, teachings that are contradictory to the proof.
Some muslims blindly follow modern leaders (such as W. Deen Mohammed, the Tableegh, or the highly deviating Imaam at the local masjid), even when the man calls the people to actions and beliefs that are clearly opposing Qur'ân and Sunnah. Once again, this is an act of elevating a person's words over the Speech of Allah (i.e. the Qur'ân), if at any time we reject the clear revelation and instead act upon or embrace the contrary teachings of a person.
Just like we are to obey our parents unless they call us to the haram (prohibited), we may follow the guidance of men unless they call us to error.
This condition of ignorance and blind following was given by Revelation from Allah to the Messenger, Muhammed, saaws, who said: Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people, but (this is done) by causing (the death) of the scholars until none of them is left alive. People would then appoint ignorant leaders for themselves who would be consulted in matters of religion and they would give Fatawas without knowledge, falling into misguidance and misguiding others.
Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullaah
, said: "And the four Imaams, may Allaah be pleased with them, all forbade the people from blindly following them in all that they may say; and this was an obligation upon them [to do]."
Abu Haneefah (rahimahullaah)
said: "When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my madhhab."
[Ibn 'Aabideen in al-Haashiyah (1/63) and in his essay Rasm al-Mufti (1/4 from the Compilation of the Essays of Ibn 'Aabideen), Shaikh Saalih al-Fulaani in Eeqaaz al-Himam (p. 62) and others. Ibn \'Aabideen quoted from Sharh al-Hidaayah by Ibn al-Shahnah al-Kabeer, the teacher of Ibn al-Humaam]
"It is haram (prohibited) for someone who does not know my evidence to give fatwaa (verdicts) on the basis of my words." Another narration adds, "... for we are mortals: we say one thing one day, and take it back the next day."
[Ibn \'Abdul Barr in Al-Intiqaa\' fi Fadaa\'il ath-Thalaathah al-A\'immah al-Fuqahaa\' (p. 145), Ibn al-Qayyim in I\'laam al-Mooqi\'een (2/309), Ibn \'Aabideen in his Footnoes on Al-Bahr ar-Raa\'iq (6/293) and in Rasm al-Mufti (pp. 29, 32) & Sha\'raani in Al-Meezaan (1/55) with the second narration. Similar narrations exist on the authority of Abu Haneefah\'s companions Zafar, Abu Yoosuf and \'Aafiyah ibn Yazeed; cf. Eeqaaz (p. 52). Ibn al-Qayyim firmly certified its authenticity on the authority of Abu Yoosuf in I\'laam al-Mooqi\'een (2/344).]
"When I say something contradicting the Book of Allah the Exalted or what is narrated from the Messenger (saaws), then ignore my saying."
[Al-Fulaani in Eeqaaz al-Himam (p. 50), tracing it to Imaam Muhammad and then saying, \"This does not apply to the mujtahid, for he is not bound to their views anyway, but it applies to the muqallid.\"]
Imaam Maalik ibn Anas (rahimahullaah)
said: "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."
[Ibn \'Abdul Barr in Jaami\' Bayaan al-\'Ilm (2/32), Ibn Hazm, quoting from the former in Usool al-Ahkaam (6/149), and similarly Al-Fulaani (p. 72)]
Imaam Shaafi'i (rahimahullaah)
said: "The sunnahs of the Messenger of Allah (saaws) 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 Allah (saaws), then the correct view is what the Messenger of Allah (saaws) has said, and it is my view."
[Related by Haakim with a continuous sanad up to Shaafi\'i, as in Taareekh Dimashq of Ibn \'Asaakir (15/1/3), I\'laam al-Mooqi\'een (2/363, 364) & Eeqaaz (p. 100).]
The messenger of Allah (saaws) said: O mankind, I am leaving two things with you, if you cling to them you will never go astray. The Book of Allah and my way of life.
[Al-Haakim and Al-Baihaqi].
The Muslim who does not want to go astray refers all matters to the Qur'ân and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammed
This does not mean he should be confrontational, ignore, or find no use for the people of knowledge - because he SHOULD refer to such people. Note emphasis on the word REFER, meaning you use the people of knowledge as a RESOURCE and GUIDE - not as a source of Revelation.
Be humble when approaching a person of knowledge, and recognize that the people of knowledge, when acting upon what they know, are of the most humble people. Not all humble people are knowledgeable; however, a person of knowledge should be humble, that is, if he follows the knowledge he has.
When wanting further explanation, the muslim should refer to the writings of as-Salaf as-Saalih. Make decisions based on the proofs in the Qur'ân and Sunnah, accepting the explanations given by as-Salaf as-Saalih as far superior to others.
The people choose their leaders; the leader or Imam is not self-appointed. So choose your leader / spiritual guide carefully and follow obediently, except when Qur'ân and authenticated Sunnah indicates otherwise.
Muslims should be obedient to their Imam except when given evidence that is clearly contrary to the Imam's guidance on any particular matter. This evidence should be from the Qur'ân and/or Sunnah, as explained by the righteous Islamic scholars of the first three generations of righteous Muslims after the revelation of the Qur'ân.
Sharh Usool ul-I'tiqaad (1/9) - Imaam al-Laalikaa'ee
(d. 418H) (rh) said: "That which is most obligatory upon a Muslim: Knowledge of the aspects of the creed of the Religion and what Allaah has obligated upon His Servants including the understanding of His Tawheed and of His Attributes, and believing in His Messengers with evidences and with certainty. And arriving at [all of] that and seeking evidences for them with clear proofs.
And among the mightiest of statements and clearest of proofs and understandings is:
The Book of Allaah, the Manifest Truth
Then the saying of the Messenger of Allaah
And of his Companions, the chosen, pious ones
Then that which the Salaf us-Saalih were unanimously agreed upon
The holding fast to all of that and remaining firm upon it till the Day of Judgement
Then turning away from the innovations and from listening to them - from amongst those things the astray people have invented"
The Noble Qur'ân - An-Nûr 24:63 Make not the calling of the Messenger (Muhammad ) among you as your calling of one another. Allâh knows those of you who slip away under shelter (of some excuse without taking the permission to leave, from the Messenger SAW). And let those who oppose the Messenger's (Muhammad ) commandment (i.e. his Sunnah legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements, etc.) (among the sects) beware, lest some Fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant, etc.) befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them.