TAQLEED ACCORDING TO THE SAHAABAS
Allah be pleased with them all)
All praise is due to Allah, the Most High, and
blessings be upon His Beloved Messenger Muhammad. Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his
family and all his companions. Ameen.
TAQLEED is the
following of a specific Jurist (Faqih) in matters of Religion not explicitly
dealt with by the Qur’an and the Ahaadith.
In the present age, it is normally referred to the following of the
opinion and ruling of any ONE of the four well-known Schools of Islamic Law
namely Hanafi, Shafe'i, Maliki and Hanbali.
In my previous article 'TAQLEED AND ITS PRINCIPLES
BASED ON THE HOLY QURAN', with the help and guidance of Allah, I proved
that TAQLEED was necessary and that it was completely in accordance with the
Divine Will as contained in the Glorious Qur’an. Here I will suffice it to say that even in
the opening chapter of the Qur’an, Allah defines the Straight Path (Siraat-ul-Mustaqeem)
and encourages us to pray to Allah, the Most High, to guide us on the path of
those people upon whom He had bestowed favours.
Refer to verse 6 of Surah Al-Fatihah.
Let us ask Allah, the Most High, the question: Who are those people upon
whom He had bestowed favours? We find
the answer to this question in
verse 69 of Surah Al-Nisaa wherein Allah
says that this group of people are the
prophets (nabiyyeen), the truthfuls (siddeeqeen), the martyrs (shuhadaa) and the
righteous and pious ones (saaliheen).
Why did Allah not mention the name of a specific book when defining the
Straight Path? Why did He NOT say
"the path of the Qur’an" or "the path of the
The answer is simple.
Everyone's reasoning and understanding is not the same. When following the Qur’an and the Ahaadith,
everyone will build their own interpretations into it, thereby detracting from
the Straight Path. We need to be in
conformity with people who were bestowed the favours of Allah in being rightly
We need to be in the company of those scholars (ulama
in the true sense of the word) who are always conscious of Allah (muttaqee) and who follow the simple and plain
instructions of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). By the way, I have just one correction. By
Ulama, I do not mean the crash-course graduate molvis of to-day who are found
in abundance but fail to exhibit the basic necessary qualities of an Alim
(scholar). These so-called molvis of
today do not have even the basic knowledge of Arabic grammar and Tajweed but
they claim to be a 'Maulana'. By
Ulama, I mean those scholars who
have great insight into
the Religion, who are well versed in the
various sciences of the Glorious Qur’an, Ahaadith and Fiqh. Those who are well grounded and have a good
command of the Arabic language through
which the various sources of Islamic Law can easily be accessed.
Nevertheless, our highly westernized group of
anti-ulama ‘scholars’ frequently ask the question: 'Where can we find such
true ulama today who fear Allah (muttaqee)?' The answer is simple. If we improve on our deeds (a'maal) we will
definitely find such Ulama. Our deeds
are so shocking and debasing and we are out to seek Ulama of the calibre and
status of Hazrath Abu Bakr and Hazrath Umar (may Allah be pleased with
them). How can we do this? There are Ulama present today who do fear
Allah (muttaqee) but we must make an effort to
find them. According to the Qur’an, in
every age we will find the true and God-fearing Ulama as indirectly implied in
the following verse:
0 BELIEVERS! FEAR ALLAH AND BE IN THE
COMPANY OF THOSE WHO ARE TRUE (SAADIQEEN). (Surah Al-Tawbah : 119)
Since the Qur’an is for all ages, this command implies that there
will always be
people present who
will fear Allah (muttaqee) and be truthful. How then can we be justified to be
antagonistic against the Ulama? Can't
our westernized "scholars' ponder over such verses of the Glorious
Qur’an? Or have they not come across
these verses especially when they are in the habit of selectively reading the
Qur’an to suit their immediate and limited thoughts and fancies?
having said so much on what the Qur’an
says about TAQLEED, let
us look at the life history of Rasoolullah's Companions
(Ashaab) and see what was their practice
of Islam. Did they follow the teachings of any specific
person in matters of Religion? Did any
of the great Sahabas ever object to this method of practising Islam? The answers are found in only the most
authentic recordings of the Ahaadith, some of which are quoted below:
Hudhaifah (R.A.) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him)
said: "I do not know how much
longer I will stay amongst you.
Therefore follow (iqtadoo) the two persons after me: Abu Bakr and Umar." (Tirmizi).
Umar (R.A.) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "My companions (ashaab) are like the
stars, so whichever one you follow (iqtadaitum) you will be guided aright". (Mishkaat-ul-Masaabeeh)
(3) It is
reported by Irbaad bin Saariya (RA.)
that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Hold fast to my Sunnah and the
sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs". (Tirmizi, Abu Dawood, Ahmad, Ibn Maajah)
(4) On being
appointed the Governor of Yemen, Mu'adh bin Jabal (R.A.) was asked by the
Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) as to the rule by which he would
abide. He replied: 'By the law of
Allah.' ‘But if you do not find any
direction therein’, asked Rasoolullah.
'Then I will act according to the practice (Sunnah) of the Messenger of
Allah', was the reply. 'But if you do
not find any direction therein', he was asked again. 'Then I will exercise my judgement
(ajtahidu) and act on that’, came the reply. The
Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) raised his hands and said: 'Praise be to Allah Who guides the
messenger of His Messenger as He pleases'". (Abu Dawood)
From the first three Ahaadith quoted above, the
principle and permission of TAQLEED is evident. From the last Hadith mentioned above, four
main points emerge and these are worth noting:
i. There are and will be many
matters in the religion of Islam which is
not explicitly dealt with in
the Qur’an and Ahaadith.
exert oneself and use one's own
reasoning to give rulings in matters not
explicitly dealt with in the Qur’an or
the Ahaadith is permissible and approved by the Messenger
of Allah (peace be upon him) and is in
conformity with the Will of Allah.
reasoning (ra'iy) and the exertion (ijtihaad) is one of the
favours of Allah on which the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) praised
iv. The very fact that the Messenger of Allah
(peace be upon him) asked Hazrath Mu'adh bin Jabal (R.A.) these questions prove that
the Holy Prophet knew that the people of
TAQLEED is of two kinds:
i.e. to follow some rulings of one Jurist (Faqih) and some rulings of another
Jurist. In other words, it means the
following of more than one Jurist in matters of Religion.
2. TAQLEED-E-SHAKHSEE: i.e.
to follow the rulings of only one particular Jurist.
Both types of TAQLEED were prevalent amongst the
Sahabas and those who followed them.
This is evident from many Ahaadith of which some will be quoted
below. Even the great Traditionist
(Muhaddith) Shah Waliyullah of Delhi wrote in his famous book called Iqdul
Jeed as follows:
"From the time of the Sahabas till the emergence
of the four Schools of Law (mazaahib), it was the same custom and practice of
making Taqleed of a specific learned Jurist.
Never did any great, learned or reputed Sahabi or Tabi'ee ever object to
this practice. If the practice of
Taqleed was contrary to the spirit of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, then those
great personalities would have indeed objected to it."
It is recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari,
Muslim and Abu Dawood that a certain question was put forward to Abu Musa
al-Ash'aree (RA.) and the same question was put forward to Abdullah ibn Mas'ood
(R.A.). The reply of Abdullah ibn Mas'ood
(R.A.) was contrary to the reply of Abu Musa al-Ash'aree (R.A.). When the latter heard the reply of the
former, he realized that Abdullah ibn Mas'ood's reply
was correct. Abu Musa Al-Ash'aree then
said: 'Do not ask me for rulings as long as you have amongst you this great
scholar (Hibr).' This Hadith proves
that the practice of Taqleed-e-Shakhsee was in existence even amongst the
In another Hadith in Bukhari, it is also reported that
on one specific occasion the Sahabas of Madinah asked Abdullah ibn Abbas
concerning a woman who started menstruating after the Fard Tawaaf during the
Hajj. He replied that the woman can go
back home without the Tawaaf-ul-Widaa.
The people of Madinah then said that they will not abandon the ruling of
Zaid bin Thabit with that of Abdullah ibn Abbas. This Hadith proves that the people of
Madinah was making Taqleed of Zaid bin Thabit.
A fact worth noting here is that Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA.) did not object to them saying that they
prefer following Zaid bin Thabit. He did
not tell them that they were committing SHIR-K or that they were introducing a
new concept in Islam (bid'ah) or that it was a great sin to do so. If Taqleed of a specific scholar was not
permissible or SHIR-K or HARAM, then Abdullah ibn Abbas (R.A.) would have
definitely objected to the practice
of the people of Madinah. But we find no trace of any such objections
in the books of the Ahaadith. Despite
this fact, we also find in the books of Ahaadith evidence that Abdullah ibn
Abbas (R.A.) was following the rulings of Hazrath Ali (R.A.) in spite of the former himself being a
Many more examples can be quoted from the Ahaadith on
Taqleed and its practice amongst the Sahabas.
How then can such a practice be regarded as SHIR-K, HARAM or
BID'AH? Let those who say so study the
history of the Sahabas for they have not done so adequately.
Thus, it has been conclusively proved that TAQLEED was
an established and common practice amongst the Sahabas. As far as those who followed them from among
the Tabi'een, Shah Waliyullah, a great Traditionist (Muhaddith) says in his
the 2nd Century Hijree, it has
been the common practice amongst the people to follow
the rulings of a specific Jurist (Mujtahid),
and there were very few people who
did not like following a specific Jurist. This practice of following a specific Jurist
was also regarded as absolutely necessary (waajib)".
Even the great Islamic Scholar like Shaikh ibn
Taymiyah in his famous book of rulings (fatawa) known as Fatawa ibn Taymiyah
has confirmed that
in this age of
ours, it is
absolutely necessary for the masses to follow a specific Jurist (Faqih)
in matters of Religion not specifically dealt with by the Qur’an and the
Sunnah. On page
240 of the same book he also
says that following one Imam on
some matters and following another on other matters is NOT permissible and that
this has been unanimously agreed (ijmaa) by great scholars
of the ummah. The reason
for this kind of practice not being allowed is because
the person acting on such a basis will
be acting by the dictates of his passions and lowly desires.
Another great scholar Shaikh Abdul Wahhab Najdi is
reported as of the opinion of the
permissibility of following the Imams (Jurists) and is reported as saying
that he is the follower of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. (Refer to the book titled Muhammad bin Abdul
Wahhab by Professor Abdul Gafoor Attaar - Beirut edition - pages 174-175). His son Shaikh Abdullah, in his book called Al-Hadiyyatus Saniyyah (pages
38-39) is reporting saying as follows:
the principles (usool) of Deen
our rule of conduct (maslak) are the
same as those of the Ahle Sunnah wal Jama'ah, and our
ways (tareeqah) are those of the Salaf-e-Saliheen and on the rulings of the Fuqaha
(Jurists) and we follow the School of Law
(mazhab) of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal.
Whoever follows any ONE of the four Imams (Jurists), we do not object to
them doing so".
Our westernized "bright-spark scholars" of
today say that it is SHIR-K to follow the various Schools of Law viz. Hanafi, Shafe'i, Maliki and Hanbali. They base their "verdict" on the
following verse of the Qur’an:
AND THEY HAVE MADE THEIR PRIESTS AND RABBIS AS THEIR
LORDS BESIDES ALLAH. (Surah Al-Tawbah:31)
They quote the above verse so profoundly and
confidently as if the great Sahabas and Tabi'een had not come across this verse
during their recitation. As
mentioned earlier, why
did Hazrath Abdullah ibn Abbas
(R.A.) NOT object to the practice of the
people of Madinah who were following the
rulings of Zaid bin Thabit? Being a
great commentator (Mufassir) of the
Qur’an himself, why did he NOT object to
the practice of the people of Madinah on
the basis of this verse?
By considering the circumstance and time in which this
verse was revealed (Shaane Nuzool) which is recorded in many Ahaadith, it is
evident that this verse IN ESSENCE relates to the practice of the Jews and
Christians. They followed their rabbis
and priests in matters of their religion which were contrary to what was
recorded in their scriptures. When a
thing was unlawful in their scriptures, their rabbis and priests used to make
them lawful and vice versa. They used
to make their priests and rabbis their legislators side by side with Allah. They were considered as those who had the
choice even to go against their own scriptures.
As far as the basis on which Muslims follow their
great Imams (Jurists), it is NEVER
done on the basis of how Christians and Jews follow their priests or how the Shiahs follow their
Imams. However, the concept of Imamate
amongst the Shiahs is completely contrary to the
beliefs of the Ahle Sunnah wal Jama'ah
and is not even worth talking about. We
Sunni Muslims do NOT believe that the Imams or Fuqaha (Jurists) have any right
to change the Laws of Allah and the Sunnah of His Beloved Messenger. However,
we DO believe that their
teachings are complementary to the
Qur’an and the Sunnah in explaining the details on matters not
specifically dealt with by the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Their teachings are NOT BINDING on Muslims
but by the Unanimous Consensus of Opinion (IJMA-E-UMMAH) of the great Ulama, it
is regarded as a necessity for the uneducated Muslim masses of our age. If the Muslim masses are told to follow the
Qur’an and Sunnah alone, who will they follow on matters not specifically dealt
with by the two main sources of Islamic
Law? They will then turn to our
half-baked westernized "scholars" who are themselves misled and will
in turn mislead others. They will then
eventually be driven by their lowly desires to follow whatever seems appealing
to their passions. Practising Islam on
this basis is expressly forbidden both by Allah and His Beloved Messenger. Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
May Allah, the Most High, give us the TAWFEEQ (courage
and insight) to create the real understanding of Islam in its true perspective
and pristine purity. Ameen.
Abdul Haq Abdul Qadir
Umhlanga Rocks, KZN