The Concept of Taqleed in Islamic Doctrine

Taqleed – Following the Four Imams (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ)


Taqleed – Following the Four Imams

Translation from the Book of Mufti Ahmed Yar Khan Naeemi (rahimaullah) (Jaa’al Haq Wa Zuhaq al Batilo)


The literal definition of Taqleed is ‘to put on a necklace or strap around the neck’.

In Shariah terms, Taqleed is to deem a person’s verdict and action to be necessary, according to the Shariah, upon another. This is done in the belief that the former’s verdict and action is a proof for us as he is a Shariah Researcher (Muhaqqiq). An example of this is how we deem the verdict and actions of Imam-e-Aazam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) as verification for us in the rules of Shariah without pursuing its proofs.


The marginal notes of Husaarni records from Sharah Mukhtasarul-Manaar, “Taqleed is when a person obeys another’s opinion or action after hearing it without pursuing his proof in the belief that he is amongst the Shariah Researchers (Ahle- Tahqeeq).1.l9 (Note: this extract is found in the book, Nocrul-Anwaar, in the discussion of Taqleed as well) – Baabu-Mutaabiatur­Rasool, Pg. 86.


Musalamath-thuboot and Imam Ghazali (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) in Kitaabul-Mustasfaa, Vol. 2, Pg. 387, also defines Taqleed as the above.


From this definition, it can be concluded that obeying the Holy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) cannot be termed Taqleed as his every saying and action is a proof of Shariah. In Taqleed, the Shariah proof is not looked at, which is why we, the Sahaaba and Four Imams (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) are called the ummatis of the Holy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہوسلم) is and not those who follow him through Taqleed (Muqallids).


Similarly, the obedience shown by the general Muslim public towards a learned person cannot be called Taqleed as his verdict or action is not deemed as a proof upon us. In this case, he is obeyed in the belief that he is a learned person and has given a verdict after consulting Islamic texts. If his verdict (fatwa) is proven wrong and contrary to them, it will not be accepted. This differs to the verdict of Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) which is accepted irrespective of whether he deduced a rule after referring to the Hadith, Quran and consensus of the ummat or from his deduction (qiyaas). This difference should be kept in mind.


There are two types of Taqleed,

1. Taqleed-e-Shar’i – To follow someone concerning the rules of Shariah, i.e. the following of the Four Imams in rules pertaining to salaah, fasting, Hajj, etc.

2. Taqleed-e-Ghair-Shar’i – Following someone in worldly matters, e.g. doctors following Boo Ali Seena in medicine, poets following Daagh Dehlwi, etc. in poetry, a person following the prominent craftsmen of his trade, etc. These are all examples of worldly Taqleed.


Although the obedience the pious pay to the wazeefas and practices of their Sheikh’s sayings and actions is an Islamic Taqleed, it is not a Shariah Taqleed, as they are not following him on rules of Shariah concerning Haraam and Halaal. Yes, the Taqleed they are displaying here is of an Islamic association.


If Taqleed-e-Ghair-Shar’i is against the Shariah then it is Haraam. If not, then it is permissible. Hence, people following the customs of joy or sadness innovated by their forefathers which are against the Shariah are Haraam. Doctors following Boo Ali Seena, etc. in medicinal matters which are not contrary to Islam is permissible.

The Quran has censured the first type of Haraam Taqleed mentioned in the preceding paragraph in several places, addressing those who practice it as well. Allah (عزوجل) states,


“And do not follow those whose hearts we have made bereft of our remembrance. Such people have gone after their carnal desires and went overboard.” 1.19a

– Surah Kahf, Verse 28


“And if they try to make you take on a partner with Me in that which you have no knowledge of, do not listen to them.” 1.19b

– Surah Luqmaan, Verse J 5


And if it is said to them to come towards which Allah (عزوجل) has revealed and towards His Messenger (صلی اللہ علیہوسلم), they will say that whatever they found their forefathers on is sufficient for them even though their forefathers knew nothing and were not on the path of salvation. 1.l9c.


 Surah Maida, Verse 104

“And ifit is said to them to follow that which Allah (عزوجل) has revealed, they will say that they will follow whatever they found their forefathers treading on I.l9d – Surah Baqarah, Verse 170.


These and similar verses have condemned any Taqleed which goes against the Shariah and is in conformity to the Haraam actions of a nation’s ignorant predecessors.

These verses have no link to the Taqleed of Shariah and the obedience of the Four Imams. To slander this Taqleed as polytheism or Haraam based on these verses is completely un-Islamic.




Taqleed-e-Shar’i has many dimensions to it. Shariah rules (masaail) are of three types,

1. Beliefs (Aqaaid).

2. Those laws which are explicitly (sareeh) proven from the Quran and Hadith with ijtihaad having no weight on them.

3. Those laws which have been deduced from the Quran and Hadith using ijtihaad as well.


It is not permissible to make Taqleed of any person in Islamic beliefs (aqaaid). Commentating on “نصیبہم غیر منقوص”1.20 Tafseer Roohul-Bayaan states, “If we are asked as to how we have accepted the Oneness of Allah (عزوجل), His Messengers etc. we cannot say.”Through the rulings of Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) or “Through their proofs found in his book, Fiqhe-Akbar,” as Taqleed of any person in Islamic beliefs is impermissible.” 1.21


The preface of Shaarni, discussing Taqleed, states, “( What we believe) Besides secondary Fiqhi laws (Faree), meaning those beliefs which are compulsory for every Mukallaf (answerable Muslim) to believe in without anyone’s Taqleed, the beliefs held by the Ahle-Sunnah wal-Jamaaat, i.e, the Ashaariah and Maaturidiyah.” 1.22


Tafseer-e-Kabir, discussing “فاجرہ حتی یسمع کلام اﷲ”1.23 states, ”Taqleed ofa person in explicit laws, e.g. the five daily salaah, the units of namaaz, etc. is also not permissible. These are those rules which are proven, explicitly from an absolute script of Islamic Law (Nas). Therefore, the ruling and books of Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) will not be used to support namaaz being fardh, etc. Rather, they are to be substantiated from the Quran and Hedith.1.24


Those rules which have been extracted from the Quran Hadith or consensus of the Ummah using ijtihaad and the ability of deducing Islamic laws are waajib to make Taq\eed on by one who cannot make ijtihaad (ghair mujtahid).


The classificatioo of a rule that requires Taqleed and those which do not should be paid special attention to. At some instances. the refuters of Taqleed (Ghair Muqallids) object by saying, “Wbeo a follower of Taqleed is not allowed to extract rules from Islamic proofs, bow can you preseDt QuraDic verses aod

Abaditb to prove salaab, fasting ete?”


The answer to this is that the obligation of salaah etc. is Dot from amongst the rules followed under Taqleed.


It is also known from this that besides laws, Taqleed does not occur in History as well, such as on the infidelity of Yazeed.


Similarly islamic Jurists presenting proofs from the Quran and Hadith in deduced (qiyaasi) rule is only in corroboratioD for them. Those rules have already been accepted on the verdict of the Imam.






There are two categories of answerable (mukatlaf) Muslims,

I. Mujtahid (Ooe who is qualified in ijtihaad) -A person who has so much of knowledgeable ability and understanding that be is able to understand Quranic injunctions, the purpese of the kalaam (Divine Scripture) is able to extract rules from it has complete knowledge over the applicable (naasikh) and inapplicable (mansookh).


Exceptional lidguistic command over Arabic and is well-versed in all QurarUc verses and Ahadith of laws. Besides these

Qualities, he must be intelligent and have a compreheDding mind.

Tafseeraate-Ahmadia, etc.


2. Ghair-Mujtahid I Muqallid – A person who has not reached such a level. Taqleed is Decessary for a Ghair-Mujtahid and is not allowed for a Mujtahid.

There are six types of Mujtahids.


1. Mujtahid fi’sh-Shar’i – Those scholars who make rules (qawaaid) to be followed for ijtihaad, e.g. the Four Imams, i.e. Abu Hanifa, Shafee, Maalik and Ahmad ibn Hanbal (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ).


2. Mujtahid fiI-Mazhab – Those scholars who make Taqleed of these rules and deduce fiqhi, shar’I laws (masaail) in light of them, e.g. Imam Abu Yusuf, Muhammad, Ibn Mubarak (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ), who are the Muqallids of Imam-e­Azam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) in these rules but are themselves Mujtahids in masaail.


3. Mujtahid fiI-Masaaii – Those scholars who are Muqallids of both the qawaaid and masaail but can prove, through the Quran, Hadith and other proofs, laws regarding which no elucidation by the Imams can be found, e.g. Imam Tahaawi, Qaazi Khan, Shamsul-A ‘imma Sarkhasi, etc (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ).


4. Ashaabe- Takhreej – Those scholars who cannot make ijtihaad absolutely. However, they can clarify in detail an abridged ruling of an Imam, e.g. Imam Karkhi (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ).


5. Ashaabe- Tarjeeh – Those scholars who can preponderate a particular ruling from several other narrated rulings of the Imam regarding a single matter. Meaning, if in a certain rule there are two narrated verdicts.of Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) these scholars can give tarjeeh of a certain one. Similarly, when there is a difference in ruling between Imam Abu Hanifa and the Saahibain (Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ), they can give tarjeeh to the ruling they deem fit, e.g. the authors of Qudoori and Hidaaya.


6. Ashaabe- Tameez – Those scholars who can differentiate between the general ruling and uncommon narrations, as well as between the weak, stronger and strongest verdict, so as to act upon the reliable one and not on unfamiliar and weak narrations of verdict, e.g. the authors of Kanzud­Daqaaiq and Durre-Mukhtaar, etc.

Any person who does not possess any of the above-mentioned six qualities is a Muqallid-e-Mehz (one who absolutely has to make Taqleed), e.g. ordinary people like you and me, the general Ulama who are only to research rules in the religious books and convey them to the masses.


It is Haraam for a Mujtahid to make Taqlecd. Thus, the Mujtahid belonging to a particular level of the six will not make Taqleed of those equal to his level.


However such a scholar will be a Muqa1Hd of those Mujtahids above his rank. e.g. Imam Abu Yusufand Imam Muhammad (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) who are the Muqallids of Imam­e-Azam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) in principles (usool) and qawaail but are not Muqallids to him in masaail.


OBJECTION: When Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) are botb Muqallids of Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ), why do they differ with bim in seven places? – Ghair-Muqallids


Answer : they are his Muqallids in principles (usool) and rules (qawaaid) and do not differ with him in these things. However they are Mujtahids themselves and are not anybody’s Muqallids in laws (masaail). Thus they are able to differ with Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) in furoo ‘i masaail.


OBJECTION: Hanafis give many verdicts of rules (masaail) according to tbe rulings of tbe Saabibain, leaving out tbe ruling of Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ).How tben can tbey be called Hanafas? – Ghair-Muqatlids.


Answer:  Amongst some Jurists are Ashaabe Tarjeeh who preponderate a particular ruling from several others. So the ruling we find to have been preferred by them is the one on which we issue fatwas.


OBJECTION: Instead of calling yourselves Hanafl, you sbould call yourselves Yusufi, Mubammadi or Ibn Mubaaraki because in several places their ruling is adopted over tbe ruling of Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ)Ghair- Muqallids.


Answer: Adopting any ruling of Imam Abu Yusuf Imam Muhammad or Imam Ibn Mubaarak (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) is, in fact taking the verdict of Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) as all of their rulings are based on his principles (usool) and rules (qawaaid), just as how acting upon the Hadith is, in fact, acting upon the Quran, as Allah (عزوجل) has ordered doing so.


Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) states. “If any hadith is proven to be sahib, then that is my way (mazhab).” Therefore, if any Mujtahid fiI-Mazhab finds a Sabih Hadith and acts upon it, he does not become a Ghair-Muqallid. He remains a Hanafi because be acted upon the Hadith in light of the principle set by the Imam(عزوجل).This discussion can be pursued further in the preface of the book Shaami, under the extract “Izaa Sabal-Hadith Fahuwa Muzhabi”.


This saying of Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) can also mean that when a Hadith was proven to be Sahib (sound). It became his mazhab. Meaning, he had researched and critically analyzed every rule and Hadith and then chose it. Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) used to tirelessly research each rule (mas’ala) himself and then have a scholarly discussion about it with his Mujtahid students. Only after this did he accept it.

Some Ghair-Muqallids claim to have the ability to make ijtihaad. Thus, they do not have to make Taqleed of anyone.


A lengthy argument is not needed for this. Showing how much of knowledge is necessary for ijtihaad and whether these claimants possess this type of knowledge or not is sufficient to silence them.


Hadrat Imam Raazi, Imam Ghazali, Imam Tinnidhi, Imam Abu Dawood, Huzoor Ghouse-Paak, Hadrat Bayazeed Bustaami, Shah Bahaaul-Haqq Naqshbandi, etc (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ). are all exemplary and noted Ulama and Mashaaikh of Islam. However, none of them were Mujtahids, but were Muqalids of Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafee, Imam Maalik and Imam Hambal (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ).Who in these times possess the ability and knowledge of such celebrated individuals? When their knowledge was not sufficient for them to become Mujtahids, how can those who do not even have the ability to pronounce the names of books of Hadith correctly be endowed with the quality of a Mujtahid?


Once, a certain individual claimed to be able to make ijtibaad. I asked him how many rules he could deduce from Surah Takaasur and what Haqeeqat, Majaaz are. Sareeh, Kinaayah, Zaahir and Nas (all terms found in the Principles of Fiqh). The poor gentleman had heard these basic terms for the first time in his life.






I shall divide this chapter into two sections. The first will contain proofs which completely establish Taqleed while the other will prove Taqleed-e-Shakhsi.


Section 1


Taqlecd being waajib is proven from Quranic verses, Sahib Ahadith, the practice (amaI) of the Ummah and rulings of the Mufasireen (Commentators of the Holy Quran). Proof of either absolutely making Taqleed or the Taqleed of Mujtahids follows, 1.


1.” Guide us on the straight path, trath of those you have favoured.”

Surah Fatiha, Verse 6-7.


This ayat clearly states that the Siraate Mustaqeem (Right path) is only that path treaded on by the virtuous servants of Allah (عزوجل) the Mufasireen. Muhaditheen, Fuqahaa, Aalin of Allah (عزوجل) Ghaus, Qutub, Abdaal and pious Bandas of Allah (عزوجل) were all Muqallids. Therefore making Taqleed is the straight path. None of them was a Ghair-Muqallid, as a Ghair-Muqallid is defined as a person who is not a Mujtahid and who does not make Taqleed. A Mujtahid who does not make Taqleed is not a Ghair-Muqallid because it is prohibited for him to make Taqleed.


2. “Allah (عزوجل) does not burden a person more than his ability.” 1.24b

Surah Boqarah, Verse 186.


When the Almighty (عزوجل) does not burden a person with more than he his capable of, then making a person who cannot make ijtihaad and deduce laws from the Quran, Hadith, etc. to do so is placing a burden on him greater than his capacity. Hence, when Allah (عزوجل) does not burden a person more than his capacity, Taqleed is definitely allowed for those who cannot make ijtihaad. If Zakaat and Hajj is not obligatory on a destitute Muslim, why then does deducing laws become necessary on those without knowledge to extract them?


3. “And Allah (عزوجل) is pleased with the first and latter migrators (Mubaajireen) and Ansaar as well as those who follow them in goodness.


They are also content with Him.”1.24.c

Surah Tauba. Verse 100


Meaning Allah (عزوجل) is pleased with those who follow (itibaa}, i.e. those who make Taqleed of the Muhaajireen and Ansaar (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ). This is a further proof of the validity of Taqleed.


4. “Obey Allah (عزوجل) and obey His Messenger 0 and those of you who have authority.” 1.24d

Surah Nisaa, Verse 59.


This verse orders obedience to be made of three,

1. A1lah (عزوجل).

2. Rasoolullah(صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم),

3. And the people of Amr (the Learned in Islamic Jurisprudence).

The word alee’u has been used twice once for Allah (عزوجل) and the other for both His Rasool (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) and those who have authority. The wisdom behind this is that we are only to make alaa’at of Allah’s (عزوجل) command, not to act upon His actions and silence in matters. He grants the disbelievers sustenance and they are seemingly given victory in battles on occasion. They perform infidelity but He does not punish them immediately. These are Allah (عزوجل) actions but we cannot follow them. Thus we are not to aid the disbelievers.


This is in contrast to the Holy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) and Mujtahid Imams. Their every action order or silence (when seeing someone perpetrates a certain action) can all be followed. The word alee’u has been used twice to demonstrate this very difference.


Some may contend that ‘people of authority’ here means Islamic rulers. It should be bared in mind however, that the Islamic Rulers are only to be obeyed in orders that are in conformity to the Shariah and not in orders against it. Islamic rulers gain perspective of these Shariah orders from the Learned and Mujtahids. Therefore the Jurists are truly those who fonnulate the orders while the rulers merely impose them. The ruler is the authority of the general masses but the authority of the ruler is the Mujtahid Imam.


The result of this is that the Ilama-e-Mujtahideen is what is meant by the ‘people of authority’. Even if Islamic rulers are considered as the definition, still too will Taqleed be proven – not of the Learned but of at least the ruler. It should also be remembered that alaa ‘at here stands for obedience in Shariah.


Another point that arises from this verse is that there are three types of laws.


1. Laws explicitly proven from the Quran, e.g. the iddat of a non-pregnant widow being 4 months. 10 days. This law is related to obedience to Allah (عزوجل) (Atee’ullah).


2. Laws explicitly proven from the Hadith, e.g. it being Haraam for men to wear jewelry made from gold and silver. This law is related obedience to His Rasooll (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) (Atee’ur-Rasool).


3. Laws which are not explicitly proven from the Quran or Hadith, e.g. the absolute prohibition of performing sodomy with women. This law is related to Uolul-Amri Minlrum.


5. “Ask the learned Uyou do not know.” 1.24e

Surah Nohl, Verse 43


From this ayat it can be deduced that the person who does not know a particular law shouJd ask the Learned about it. Laws from ijtihaad, which we do not have the ability to deduce, are to be ascertained through the Mujtahids. Some contend that historical events are specifically meant in this verse in tight of what precedes it. This is incorrect because the words of the verse are absolute (mutlaq) and the reason for enquiring and asking is not knowing. So, it is necessary to enquire about those matters which we do not know.


6. “Follow the path of the person who turned towards Me” 1.24f

Surah Luqmaan, Verse 15


It is ascertained from this verse that the following (Taqleed) of those who turned towards Allah (عزوجل) is necessary. This law is also general (aam) as there is no specification in the verse.


7. “And those who submit, “0 our Lord! Grant us the coolness of eyes from our spouses and children and make us the leaders of the virtuous.” 1.24g

Surah Furqaan, Verse 74


Tafseer Mualimut-Tanzeel commentates on this verse. “So that we can follow the pious and they can follow us.” This ayat also proves that the Taqleed and following of the virtuous servants of Allah (عزوجل) is necessary.


8. “And why should a congregation from their every group not venture out to attain the understanding of the deen and return to inspire the people in the hope that they be saved.” 1.24h

– Surah Tauba, Verse 122


It can be understood from this verse that it is not necessary for every person to become a Mujtahid. Rather, some should become Jurists while others should malee Taqlecd.


9. “ADd if they had to refer it to the Messenger 0 and the people of authority, they would defmitely know its reality tbrouglt those who have the ability to deduce.”1.24i

– Surah Nisaa, Verse 83


This clearly proves that the Ahadith, Narrations (Akhbaar) and Quranic Verses should firstly be placed before those Aalims who have the ability to deduce. Thereafter practice must be made according to their rulings,


10. “That Day on which every congregation will be called with their Imam (Leader).” I.24J

– Surah Bani Israel, Verse 71


Tafseer Roohul-Bayaan states in this ayat’a annotation, “Or.’Imam’ here means religious leader. Hence, it will be said on the Day of Qiyaamat, “0 Hanafi. 0 Shafee,”1.26.

From this it is known that on the Day of Qiyaamat, every person will be called with his or her respective Imam. It will be said, ”0 Hanafis, 0 Shafees, 0 Maalikis, 0 Hambalis! Come,” But with who will those who did not prescribe to any Imam be called? Regarding this the exalted Sufiya state that Shaitaan is the Imam of a person who does not have any Imam,




11. “When it is said to them to bring Imaan like how these sincere Muslims bave brougbt Imaan, they say, “Must we bring Imaan like how tbose ignorant people have brought Imaan?” 1.24k

– Surah Baqarah, Verse 13


This proves that only the Imaan which is in confonnity to that of the Pious (Saaliheen) is reliable. Therefore, only that muzhab which is in accordance to the pious is correct – and that muzhab is Taqleed.




Daarimi states. “Explaining ‘Uolul-Amri Minkum’, Ataa is reported to have said, ”Uolul·Amr are those blessed with the knowledge of Fiqh (i.e. we are to follow them),” 1.27 – Baabul-Iqtidaa bil-Ulama

Regarding the ayat “فسئلوا اہل الذکر ان کنتم لا تعلمون” 1.28 Tafseer Khaazin states. “Ask those believers who are Aalims possessing knowledge of the Quran: 1.29.


Tafseer Durre-Mansoor further states in the conunentary of this verse, “Hadrat Anas (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) narrates that he heard the Holy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) state.”Some People perform salaah, fast perform Hajj and even fight in Jihad though they are Hypocrites (Munaafiqs).” When it was asked, “Ya RasoolAllah (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم). Through what were they infiltrated with hypocrisy?” The Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) explained, “Through rebuking their Imam.” When he was asked concerning who their Imam was. He replied, “Allah (عزوجل) states, “Ask those who know if you do not.”1.31.


Conunentating on the verse of Surah Kahf, “واذکر ربک اذا نسیت” 1.32 Tafseer Saawi states. ”Taqleed of anybody or anything besides the four rnuzhabs is not permissible even though it may seem to be in conformity to the verdict of the Sahaaba (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) Sahib Hadith or a Quranic verse. Anybody who separates himself from these four muzhabs is astray and leads others astray as well, because to take only the visible meaning of the Quran and Hadith is the root ofinfide1ity.”1.33.




Muslim Sharif states, “Hadrat Tameen Daari (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) reports that the Holy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) has said, ‘The deen is well-wishing.” When we asked regarding who this is for, he replied, “For Allah (عزوجل). His Book and Rasool (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم), for the Imams of the Muslims and for the general body of believers.” 1.34 –Vol.I, Pg. 54


Imam Nawawi (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) writes in the annotation of the above hadith, ”This Hadith includes those Imams who are Aalims of the deen. ‘Well-wishing for the Aalims’ means that their narrations of Hadith are to be accepted, Taqleed in their laws is to be made and they are to be thought good of.”1.35.


Section 2




The Holy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) has said, “While you are agreed upon obedience to one person, if someone who wishes to break your stick (i.e. unity) and group comes to you. kill him.”1.36-Mishkaat. KitaabuJ-Imaarah with ref to Muslim.

Imams and U1arna of Islam are meant here، because obedience to the ruler of the time in that which is against the Shariah is impermissible.

Imam Muslim (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) has collected a chapter under Kitaabul-Imaarah and named it as follows, “Obedience to the Leader (Ameer) is compulsory in that which is not a sin or wrong.”

It can be concluded from this that the following (ataa’at} of only one person is necessary.


Hadrat Abu Musa Ash’ari (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) slates about Hadrat Ibn Mas’ood (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) “Do not ask me about your laws and questions until you have this noted scholar amongst you.’ 1.38-Mishkaat, Kitaabul-Buyoo, Baabul-Faraaidh with ref to Bukhari.


From this it is ascertained that obedience to a less accomplished person should not be made if there is a more accomplished individual available. Verily the respective Imam of each MuqaIlid is more accomplished in their sight.


Fat’hul-Qadeer states “If a person in charge of the governance of Muslims appoints someone over them knowing that there is someone amongst the Muslims more worthy and knowledgeable of the Quean and Hadith, he has breached the trust of Allah (عزوجل). His Rasool (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) and the general body ofMuslims.1.39.


The Holy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) is reported to have said, ‘The person who dies and does not have the allegiance (bai’at) of someone around his neck has experienced the death of ignorance.”l.40-Miskhaat, Kitaabul-lmaarah, Section 1.


Allegiance to both an Imam (i.e. Taqleed) and the Auliya are included in this. Otherwise, which Sultaan’s allegiance have these Wahabis of India and other parts of the world sworn to?


These are a few Ayats and Ahadith. There are others besides these that can also be produced, but we present only the above in brevity.


When we look towards the practice (arnal) of the Ummah, we find that from the era of the Taba-Taba’een until now, the entire Ummah has and practicing Taqleed; meaning those who are not Mujtahids themselves make Taqleed of a single Mujtahid. To practice upon the consensus (ijmaa) of the Ummah is proven from the Quran and Hadith and is necessary. The Holy Quran states,


“And we shall forsake the person who goes against the Messenger (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) even though Truth has become apparent to him, and who travels a path separate from the Muslims in his own deplorable condition. We shall also throw him in the labyrinths of Jahannam and verily, it is a bad place ofretum.”1.40a.


Surah Nisah, Verse 115


This verse proves that to choose the path of the general Muslim body is fardh, and indeed Muslims have ijmaa on Taqleed.


The Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) is narrated to have said, “Follow the accomplished and major group because the person who separates himself from the congregation of Muslims will be identified and sent to Jahannam,” 1.41-Miskhaat, Baabul­L’tisaam bil-Kitaab was-Sunnah.


Another hadith states,”Whatever is deemed good by Muslims is good in the sight of Allah (عزوجل) as well.1.42.


Therefore in the past and even today. Muslims regard Taqleed-e-Shakhsi as good and are followers of it. Taqleed-e-Shakhsi is practiced by Arabs and non­Arabs the world over, our present time included.


The person who becomes a Ghair-Muqallid becomes a refuter of the concept of Consensus (ljmaa). Without ljmaa, how can you substantiate the Caliphate of Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddique (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) and Hadrat Umar Farooq-e-Aazam (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ)? Their respective positions are proven only from the consensus of the Ummah, to the extent that the person who rejects either one is a kaafir.-Shaami, etc.


Taqleed is proven by the very same consensus of the Ummah.


Discussing the ayat “وکونوا مع الصدقین”1.43 Tafseer-e-Khaazin narrates that Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddique (رضی اللہتعالٰی عنہ) said to the Ansaar (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) “The Quran has classified the Migrators (Muhaajireen) to be truthful and has ordered that we be with the truthful. Therefore, you should not establish a separate caliphate. Remain with us.”

Similarly, I would like to say to the Ghair-Muqallids. “The truthful have made Taqleed. You be with them too and become Muqallids.”




No person in this world can complete any trade or become established in any field without following someone else. In skills and knowledge, we have to follow the roles of the masters and leaders of their respective fields. The affairs of the deen are far more elaborate than worldly affairs. Hence we have to follow those who are leaders and masters in this field as well.


Taqleed can also be found in Ilme-Hadith (The Science of Hadith), e.g. a certain Hadith is of a weak narration (zaeet) because Imam Bukhari (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) bas classified a certain Muhaddith or Narrator (Raawi) to be weak. Accepting his classification is Taqleed.


Taqleed further occurs in the Science of Recitation of the Holy Quran, e.g. a verse is read in a particular manner because a certain Qaari has recited it so. Thus Taqleed occurs in the ayats and vowel points (i’raab) of the Holy Quran as well.


When narnaaz is performed in jamaat, the followers make the Taqleed of the imam.




No person in this world can complete any trade or become established in any field without following someone else.


All Muslims make the Taqleed of a single ruler in an Islamic state.

In short, a human is a follower of Taqleed in every affair, and it should be bared in mind that in all these cases, Taqleed-e-Shakhsi occurs. When the imam for namaaz is not two and the Islamic ruler is not two, how can the Imam of Shariah be appointed as two?


A Hadith states, “When you are three people traveling, make one your leader.” 1.44-Mishkaat, Kitaabul-Jihaad, Boabul-Aadaobtsh-Sofar۔



OBJECTION 1: Taqleed was necessary, why didn’t any of the Sahaaba (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) practice it?


Answer – The Sahaaba (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) had Do Deed for Taqleed because through the blessing of the companionship of the Holy Propbet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم), they are the Imams and Lead era of the Muslims. Imam-e-Aazam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ), Imam Shafee , etc. all follow the illustrious Sahaaba (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ).

Rasoolullah (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) bas said, ”My Sahaaba (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) are like stars, Which ever one you follow, you will attain salvation,”1.45 and “Red my sunnat and that of my righteous Khulafaa as necessary to be followed.” Mishkaat, Baabu Fadhaailis-Sahaaba (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ).


This question is like saying, “We are Dot from anyone’s Ummat because the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) was not from anyone’s Ummat himself Not being of an Ummat is the sunnat of the Holy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم)۔ The answer to this is that Rasoolullah (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) was a Prophet(صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) himself, so how could he be of anybody’s Ummat? On the contrary, it is necessary for us to be Ummatis.


In the same way, the Sahaaba (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) are the Imams of all Muslims, so how can anybody be their Imam?


Only those who are far from the Imam in salaah make their namaaz on the voice of the Mukabbireen. People standing in the first row have no need for the Mukabbireen because they can clearly hear the voice of the Imam.


Therefore, figuratively speaking, the Sahaaba (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) were the followers (muqtadis) of the first row and directly gained guidance from the Holy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم). There is no need for them to now seek guidance from another source.

Rasoolullah (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) can be likened to the ocean of mercy. The river that joined his sea of grace through Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) came to be known as the Hanafi muzhab, the river that joined through Imam Maalik (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) became known as the Maaliki muzhab, etc. The water of these rivers are an one and have one source, but their names are different. We need these rivers, not the Sahaaba (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) just as how the chain of narrators (isnaad) in a hadith is for us, not for the Sahaaba (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ).


OBJECTION 2: The Quran and Hadith are sufficient to guide us. What need is there for Fiqh Islamic Jurisprudence) when they are the source for everything? The Holy Quran states, “There is nothing wet or dry not written in this clear book,” 1.47 and “And we bave indeed made the Quran easy for memorizing. So is there anyone to remember it?” 1.41 It is apparent Crom tbese verses that the Quran contains everything and bas been made for everybody. Why should we go to the Mujtahids?


Answer _ Indeed the Quran and Hadith is sufficient for guidance and encompasses everything. However, we should also have the ability to extract rules from them. The sea contains pearls but we need of divers to bring them up. Similarly, the Imams are the ones who dive into the vast ocean of Quran and Hadith and bring up pearls in the form of laws (masaail). Everything is written in books of medicine, but it is necessary for us to go to doctors and acquire prescriptions from them. The Imams of deen are these doctors. In the second Quranic verse cited, Allah (عزوجل) states that He has made the Quran easy for memorizing. He did not say that it was made easy for extracting laws. If deducing laws was simple, what need would there be for Hadith1 If the Holy Quran encompasses everything and is also easy to learn from, what need was there for a Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) to come and teach it to us? The Holy Quran also states, “and this Nabi (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) teaches them the book of Allah (عزوجل) and wisdom:’ 1.49 The Quran and Hadith are spiritual medicine while the Imam is the spiritual doctor.


OBJECTION 3: The Quran has censored those who make Taqleed saying, “Tbey made their priests and saints gods besides Allah (عزوجل) “Then if you quarrel over a certaio matter, turo towards Allah (عزوجل) and the Messenger (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) “1.51 and this is my straight path. So travel on it, not on other paths which will separate you from the (straight) path,” 1.52 and “They will say, “We will be on the path we found our forefathers on.” 1.53

These verses and others like them prove that acting on the sayings of the Imams when faced with the order of Allah (عزوجل) and the Rasool is the practice of the nun-Muslims. Also, there is only one straight path. These four paths (Hanafi, Sbafee, etc. are all crooked paths.


Answer – I have already discussed the particular case of Taqleed which the Holy Quran has censored in the first chapter. The ‘other paths’ mentioned in the third cited verse refers to the path of the Jews, Christians, etc. {i.e. other paths contrary to Islam). Hanafi, Shafee, etc. are not different paths. Figuratively speaking they are likened to streams leading to rivers towards an ocean. Paths become different when beliefs are changed and the beliefs of the four muzhabs are all the same. It is only in practices and Islamic rules that they differ, just as how the Sahaaba (رضیاللہ تعالٰی عنہ) had different views on certain Islamic rules of Fiqh themselves.


OBJECTION 4: Taqleed, a person makes someone besides Allah (عزوجل) the decider and this is polytheism (shirk). Hence, Taqleed is shirk. Allah (عزوجل) states, “Judgement belongs to Allah (عزوجل) alone.” 1.54


Answer – If taking someone besides Allah (عزوجل) as the decider is associating partners to Him. then accepting the Hadith will also be shirk. Also, the Muhadditbeen and Mufasireen will become polytheists because Imam T’irmidhi, Imam Muslim, Imam Abu Dawood, etc (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ). Were all followers of the Imams (Muqallids) and Imam Bukhari, etc (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ). Were students of Muqallids-Refer to Aini. The annotation of Bukhari.


Any Hadith that has an open transgressor as a narrator causes it to become zaeef (of weak narration) or mauzoo (fabricated). So if a Muqallid enters the chain of narrators then, according to the above, a mushrik has infiltrated it and the Hadith will be rejected. If this is the case, the narrations of Imam Tirmidhi, Imam Abu Dawood, etc (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ).are all rejected because they were Muqallids and “Mushriks”. So too do the traditions of Imam Bukhari, etc (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ). Become rejected as they were the students of Muqallids. Where are we to take Ahadith from now?

The Holy Quran states, “And if you fear a dispute occurring between the husband and wife, send an arbitrator (HakIn) from the husband’s side and an arbitrator from the wife’s۔1.55


Hadrat Ali (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) and Hadrat Ameer Mu’awiya (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) appointed a decider (Hakm) in the Battle of Siffeen, and even Rasoolullah (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) himself appointed Hadrat Sa’ad ibn Muaz (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) as the judge over the case of the Banu Quraizah. The correct sense of the Quranic verse is that true judgment and rule belongs to Allah (عزوجل) alone, and all other rules and judgment, whether from the Aalirns, Mashaaiklnor Ahadith, is all indirectly His. If the verse meant that accepting a judgement besides Allah (عزوجل) is polytheism, then today the entire population of the world, who all accept the judgments of courts and judges, will become polytheists.



OBJECTION 5: The juristic reasoning (qiyaas) of a Mujtahid is a presumption (zann), and to make presumptions is a sin. The Holy Quran states, “0 People who believe! Save yourselves from many zann. Verily, some presumptions become sins, and do not look for faults and do not backbite between one another.” 1.56 Thus, only the Quran and Sunoah should be acted upon in Islam.


Answer _ This question will be answered in the conclusion of this discussion by explaining what qiyaas is and what its commands are.


OBJECTION 6: Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) states, “Whenever a Hadith is proven to be sound (Sahib), tbat is my muzhab,” Therefore, after finding his verdict to be against the Hadith, we (those against Taqleed) have left it out.


Answer _ Undoubtedly, Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) states, “If opinion goes against a Sahib Hadith, then acting upon the Hadith is my way (muzhab).” This proves the unquestionable piety possessed by the great Imam, because deduction (qiyaas) of a Mujtahid occurs only where there is no dictated text (nas), such as the Holy Quran and Hadith. However, in our age, is there a Muhaddith who has complete knowledge of all Hadith and their Chains of Narrators? Such a person who also knows every Hadith upon which the rulings of Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰیعنہ) are based? Our knowledge does not properly encompass even the six major compilations of Hadith (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood, Nasaa’i and Ibn Majab). How then can we ascertain which Hadith a particular ruling of the Imam has been extracted from? A Hadith also states, “Whenever any of my Hadith reaches you. Place it against the Book of Allah (عزوجل). If it is in conformitr to the Divine Text then accept it. If it is contrary to it. then do not take it:’ 31 – Introduction of Tafseeroate-Ahmadiya, Pg. 4


So just as how the saying of the Chakraalwis (those who reject the legality of the Hadith) is baseless (“We do not accept the Hadith beeause many of’ it are against the Quran. For example, the Quran states that the estate of the deceased is to be distributed while the Hadith states that the estate of a Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) is not inherited.”, so too is your objection baseless.


OBJECTION 7: Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) did not have knowledge of Hadith. That is why there are very few narrations from him, and whatever traditions be did narrate are all of weak narration (zaeef).


Answer – Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) was a celebrated Muhaddith. Without having knowledge of Hadith, how is it possible for him to extract so many laws? His prowess in the Science of Hadith is apparent in his book, Musnad Abu Hanifa, and from the work of Imam Muhammad (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) ، Mu’otto Imam Muhammad. Narrations by Sayyiduna Abu Bah Siddique (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) are found to be few, so does this mean that he was also not a Muhaddith? Caution and care is the reason for the minimum amount of narrations. The narrations of Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) are all Sahih as his time was very close to the Holy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہوسلم).After his era, some traditions gained weakness. This weakness has no consequence on the Imam because the chain of narrators only gained weakness after progressing beyond him.


OBJECTION 8: How can you say that all four muzhabs are correct (baqq) when only one can be so? The Hanafi muzhab rules that reciting Surah Fatiba behind an Imam in Salaah is Makroob Tahrimi while the Sbafee muzbab states tbat it is ‘Vaajib. How can both rulings be correct?


Answer – The meaning of ‘haqq’ here does not mean ‘correct’, but that if you follow any of the four muzhabs, you wiJl not be rebuked by Allah (عزوجل) because the erring and mistake of a Mujtahid is forgiven. War took place between Hadrat Ameer Mu’awiya (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) and Hadrat Ali (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) and also between Hadrat Sayyidah Aisha (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہا) and Hadrat Ali (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ). Only one of them was on Haqq but both were said to be so, i.e. none of them will be reproached by Allah (عزوجل). A person who is lost in the jungle does not know the direction of the qibla. Through his opinion, he faces a certain direction for namaaz but changes his direction whilst reading due to a change in his reasoning. The qibla is only one but the namaaz is valid because [in this case) all four directions are correct. Even if a Mujtahid makes a mistake, still too does he attain one thawaab. The Holy Quran speaks about the error in judgement of Hadrat Dawud it and the correct verdict of Hadrat Sulaiman Y. It did not rebuke any of them, but said, کلا اتینا حکما و علما’’1.58.


A Hadith agreed upon by both Imam Bukhari (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) and Imam Muslim (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) states, “Whenever a person makes a correct decision through ijtihaad, he receives two thawaab. If he makes an incorrect ruling, he attains only one.” 1.59-Mishkaat, Kitaabul-Imaarah, Baabul-Amal fil-Qadhaa.


This also explains why Rafa Yadain (raising the hands before and after Ruku in namaaz) performed by a Shafee is correct whilst the very same Rafa Yadain performed by someone against Taqleed (Ghair Muqallid) is incorrect. The Shafee has judged this action by a haakim (decider) and Mujtahid according to the Shariah. Therefore, even ifhe makes a mistake, still too is it forgiven. The Ghair Muqallid, however, did not determine this action by a Mujtahid. Thus, even if the action is correct, still will he be wrong. Today, without the decision of a judge, if a person takes the law into his own hands, he will be a criminal. However, if he decides to accept the ruling of a judge, he will not be apprehended as the judge is responsible for the decision. Even if the judge made a mistake, still will he not be accountable. The Holy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) ” emplaced monetary tax (fidya) on the prisoners of the Battle of Badr solely based on his juristic reasoning (qiyaas), but a verse was revealed thereafter against it. It can be deduced that Allah (عزوجل) was not pleased with this qiyaas but the money of the fidya was not returned. Rather, it was ordered, “Use the money because it is pure.” 1.60 Accordingly, we conclude that erroneous ijtihaad does not incur any reproach.






There are four sources and proofs of Shariah, i.e. the Quran, Hadith, Consensus of the Ummah and Deduction (Qiyaas). I have already noted the proofs of the third in this book. The Holy Quran and Hadith orders that we be with the general Muslim public, and the person who separates himself from this path is indeed an inmate of Jahannam.


Qiyaas literally means ‘to measure’, but according to the Shariah, it is defined as making the reason for an original, recorded rule apply to another Fiqhi rule, i.e. a case that has neither been proven nor found in the Quran and Ahadith arises. In this case, another rule found in the Quran and Hadith similar to it is taken into account and, after determining the cause for this rule, is applied and said, “The command of the arisen rule is so-and-so because the reason that applies to that recorded rule in the Quran and Hadith applies here as well:’ Two examples of this follow,


What is the command of performing sodomy with a woman? We answer that sexual intercourse with a woman in the condition of menstruation is Haraam. The reason for this is filthiness. Sodomy with a woman also contains this vile. Therefore, it is Haraam.

If a father makes zina with a woman, will she now be halaal or not for his son? We answer that the woman with whom a father performs Nikah with is Haraarn for his son. The reason for this is sexual intercourse or sexual association. Therefore, this woman with whom he has made zina becomes Haraam.

The above-mentioned rules are examples of juristic reasoning (qiyaas). It is a condition of qiyaas, however, that only a Mujtahid makes it. Qiyaas by any common person is not valid. Any rule declared by qiyaas is in fact the command of the Quran and Hadith. The prowess of qiyaas has only been used tq deduce and substantiate it.


The Holy Quran, Hadith and actions of the Sahaaba (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) prove the validity of qiyaas. Allah (عزوجل) states, “so take example, O People of Insight:’ 1.61.


Similarly, Allah (عزوجل) states, “To confer is an act from Shaitaan.” 1.62 So is every confidential talk from Shaitaan? No! Rather, any confidential meeting that plots against Islam and Muslims is an act from Shaitaan. Only those deductions (qiyaas) which are done against the command of Allah (عزوجل) have been censored whenever they have been spoken against, e.g. when Shaitaan received the order to prostrate, he used his reasoning (qiyaas) to reject the Divine command. This is infidelity (kufr).


Those against Taqleed also use the following verse as an objection, “انما اتبع یوحی الی” 1.63 ‘Inna maa’ comes to fix and confine. as said by them. Therefore, they argue that nothing besides the Holy Quran and Hadith should he followed; neither the Consensus of the Ummah (ijmaa) nor Juristic reasoning (qiyaas). They should know, however, that acting upon the latter is in fact acting upon the Quean and Hadith, because qiyaas is their manifestation.


In conclusion, I would like to ask the rejecters of qiyaas, ”What are you going to do about these things which have not been clearly described by the Holy Quran and Hadith?” What do they rule about those things which seemingly contradict each other in the Ahadith?


Is namaaz allowed to be read in an airplane? What should be done if in the first rakat of Jurna namaaz there was a Jamaat, but in the second rakat the congregation ran away? What do they rule in qiyaasi laws like these and others? Therefore, it is best for them to begin following an Imam. May Allah (عزوجل) grant them the ability to do so Ameen!



3 thoughts on “The Concept of Taqleed in Islamic Doctrine”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s