As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 5


Will abandoning absolute Taqleed lead to Following of Desires?

Will abandoning absolute Taqleed lead to Following of Desires?
The most widely cited argument in favor of Taqleed is that if the people were left free to choose from the opinions of various scholars they would seek conveniences in every matter of the Deen, which is just like following one’s desires. This is definitely blameworthy, but would a person also be blameworthy if he chooses an opinion due to stronger proofs?
Surely not, because the actual adherence is to the Qur’aan and the Sunnah - and the Ijtihad, which is based on stronger proofs is more worthy to be followed. The choice is between an Ijtihad based on an opinion and opinion based on an authentic hadeeth. In this case, leaving acting upon the hadeeth because it does not confirm with the opinion of the Madhhab is highly blameworthy. A pro-Deobandi consortium from South Africa has published an article giving examples of how abandoning of Taqleed leads to following of desires, as quoted below:

From, ‘The Sharee’ah Role of Taqleed,’

‘In the time of the Sahabah, which was the best of times, there was no ulterior motive regarding religious questions. A question was asked to know the correct method and to practice on it. It was not asked for one's convenience as in later times. For example, a person with wudhu touches his wife, which according to the Shafa’ee Madhhab nullifies wudhu. Now when he is told to make wudhu, he replies, ‘I make Taqleed of Imam Abu Hanifa and I am not a breaker of Wudhu according to his madhhab, therefore my Salaat (prayer) will be valid.’
Now this person vomits, which according to Hanafi madhhab, breaks Wudhu. He is now told to make Wudhu. He replies, ‘I make Taqleed of Imam Shafa’ee; it is not a nullifier of Wudhu, therefore, my Salaat is valid.’ If this person (who on one hand, touches his spouse and on the other hand, vomits) has to perform his Salaat with such a Wudhu, it would neither be correct according to Imam Abu Haneefah nor according to Imam Shafa’ee. In terminology, this is known as Talfiq, which is agreed upon unanimously to be void and not permitted. This is not Taqleed but following one's passions and desires for one's personal convenience which lead one astray. The necessity of following a Madhhab, Imam or Mujtahid is that one would not fall into the temptations of following one's own desires. The Holy Qur’aan states, ‘And do not follow desires. You would be led astray from the path of Allah.’ Thus, the need of following only one Imam.’

In response to this, we say that following a particular Madhhab will never curb the following of desires because the person, who wants to follow his desires, will do so even if he was forbidden. For example, a person following the Hanafi Madhhab commits adultery even though his Madhhab forbids him. The discussion is about the one, who wishes to follow his Deen and finds his madhhab at odds with authentic ahadeeth or with a stronger Ijtihadi position. Should he follow the truth that is apparent to him or should be blindly stick to his madhhab? Shaikh Saleh bin Fawzan al-Fawzan (hafidahullah) explains this in the following words,

‘…So leaving one madhhab for another madhhab in order to follow an evidence is a good act, rather it is obligatory because following the evidence is obligatory. However, taking from one madhhab at one time and another madhhab at others seeking to follow one’s desires and concession is not allowed – meaning, he takes what pleases his desires from the sayings of the people of knowledge, even though it was against the evidence, and he leaves what displeases his desires, even though the proof verifies it – This is following desires and protection is sought from Allah (alone). So, shifting from one madhhab to another madhhab with the aim of following one’s desires, seeking the easiest (stance), and concession is not allowed. As for shifting from one madhhab to another madhhab in order to follow the Daleel (evidence), and escaping from the baseless or incorrect opinion, then such is encouraged and required from the Muslim, and Allah knows best…’ [Muntaqa min Fatawa Shaikh Saleh ibn Fawzan al-Fawzan (vol.5 / Fatawa no. 484)]

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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