As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 5


Is Taqleed acceptable for the Scholars?

Is Taqleed acceptable for the Scholars?
From the text of Fatawa al-Lajnah, 5/41 and 5/28,

‘Whoever is qualified to derive rulings from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, and has strong knowledge in that regard, even if that is with the help of the legacy of Fiqh that we have inherited from earlier scholars of Islam, has the right to do that, so he can act upon it himself and explain it in disputes and issue fatawas to those who consult him.
It is not right for him to follow blindly (make Taqleed) when he believes that the truth lies elsewhere. Rather, he should follow that which he believes is the truth. It is permissible for him to follow (the scholars) in matters in which he is unable to come to a conclusion based on the Qur’aan and Sunnah and he needs guidelines concerning a particular issue.
Whoever says that it is obligatory for the learned people to follow the scholars blindly in all cases is making a mistake and being inflexible, and is thinking that these learned people are inadequate, and he is restricting something that is broad in scope. Whoever says that we should limit following to the four madhhabs is also mistaken, because he is restricting something that is broad in scope with no evidence for doing so.’

Imam Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullah) explains how knowledge and Taqleed are two opposites. He said with regards to giving rulings based on Taqleed,

‘The first view is that it is not permissible to give a fatawa based on Taqleed, because that (i.e. Taqleed) is not knowledge, and giving a fatawa without knowledge is Haraam. There is no dispute among people that Taqleed is not the same as knowledge and that the muqallid (one who imitates or repeats the views of others) cannot be given the name of ‘aalim (scholar). This is the view of most of our companions and the view of the majority of Shafa’ees.
The second view is that it is permissible with regard to himself; he may follow the view of one of the scholars if the fatawa is with regard to himself only. But it is not permissible for him to repeat the views of a scholar in giving a fatawa to someone else. This is the view of Ibn Battah and others among our companions. Al-Qadhi said, ‘Ibn Battah mentioned in his letters to al-Barmaki, ‘it is not permitted for a person to issue a fatawa based on what he had heard from a scholar who issued a fatawa. Rather, it is permissible for him to follow that scholar’s view with regard to himself, but repeating his views and issuing a fatawa to someone else, this is not permitted.’
The third view is that this is permitted when necessary and when there is no scholar who is qualified to make Ijtihad. This is the most correct view and this is our guideline. Al-Qadi said, ‘Abu Hafs said in his comments, ‘I heard Abu Ali al-Hasan Ibn Abd-Allah al-Najjad say, ‘I heard Abul-Husayn Ibn Bashraan say, ‘what I may criticize a man for is learning five issues of Fiqh from Ahmad then sitting by a pillar in the mosque (i.e., setting himself up as a scholar) and issuing fatawas based on that.’ [end quote] [I’laam al-Muwaqqi’een (1/37, 38)]

The explanation of Imam Ibnul-Qayyim which he bases on the views of great scholars of the past proves that the views of the Deobandis, as expressed by the vice-principal of the Darul-Uloom Deoband, with regards to giving fatawa based on Taqleed is greatly flawed and ‘absolute Taqleed’ is not an option for the one who has the ability to look into the proofs of a matter.

Maulana Usman, vice-principal of the Darul-Uloom Deoband, said, ‘we do not issue fatawas, we are only copiers of [old] fatawas.’ He brushed aside the possibility of Ijtihad saying that conditions today are worse than those found when the doors of Ijtihad were closed.’ [From Milli Gazette, ‘Imrana case: Rape by Media’ by Zafarul-Islam Khan]

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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