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The Methodology of the Salaf Concerning Ijtihad and Taqlid
  On Ijtihad and Taqlid
Author: Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Uthaimeen
Source: Al-Usool min `Ilimil Usool
Article ID : MNJ060001  [42806]  
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Taqleed is of two types: general and specific.

1) The general type: that a person sticks to a particular madhhab (school of thought), accepting it’s concessions and non-concessions, in all matters of the deen.

The scholars have differed about such a state. So some amongst the late-comers have reported that this is obligatory upon him, due to his inability to perform ijtihaad. Others report it as being forbidden for him, due to its being a case of necessitating unrestricted following of other than the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) .

Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said,

"The saying that it is obligatory, causes obedience to other than the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) in every matter of command and pohibition, and this is in opposition to the ijmaa’. And the allowance of it contains what it contains."

He (RH) also said,

"He who sticks to a particular madhhab, and then acts in opposition to it - without making taqleed of another scholar who has given him a ruling, nor does he use an evidence as a proof which necessitates acting in opposition to his madhhab, nor does he have an acceptable Sharee’ah excuse which allows him to do what he has done - then such a person is a follower of his desires, doing what is haraam - without a Sharee’ah excuse - and this is evil and sinful."

However, if there becomes clear to him, something which necessitates preference to one saying to another - either due to detailed proofs if he knows and understands them, or because he holds one of two people to be more knowledgeable about this matter and having more piety with regards to what he says - and so he leaves the saying of that one for the saying of the other one, then this is permissible, rather, it is obligatory. And there is a text from Imaam Ahmad about this."

2) The particular type of taqleed is that he accepts a saying about a particular matter. This is permissible if such a person is unable to arrive at knowledge of the by ijtihaad - whether he is unable to in reality, or he is able, but with great difficulty.

Fatwaa of a Muqallid:

Allaah - the Most High - said, "Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know." And the Ahludh Dhikr are the Ahlul Ilm (the people of knowledge), whereas the muqallid is not a person of knowledge who is followed - rather he himself is a follower of someone else.

Ibn Abdul Barr (d.463) and others have said,

"the people are united in ijmaa that the muqallid is not counted as being from the Ahlul Ilm, and that knowledge is the realisation of guidance along with it’s proof."

Ibn al-Qayyim 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."

Ibn al-Qayyim then quotes,

"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."’

Shaykh al-Albaanee says in his, ‘The Hadeeth is a Proof in itself’ after mentioning the statements of the Imaams on Taqleed as found in the introduction to ‘The Prophets Prayer Described’ brings a chapter heading, "Taqleed for whoever cannot search for proofs by himself" (pp94+),

‘"Some may ask: "Not everyone has the ability to be a Person of Knowledge, as explained before?" We say: yes indeed. No one disputes this fact. Allaah said, "So ask the People of Knowledge if you do not know." (16:43) and, "ask the knowledgeable about it" (25:59). The Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) , for those who issued fatwa without knowledge: "Could not they have asked if they did know? The cure for the confused one is to ask." However, we did not mention all of the above evidence to show who can and who cannot be a scholar. Our research is with regards to those few who are considered to be People of Knowledge....Taqleed is upon the common person and the ignorant one. The scholars, who can search for the evidence, are excluded from this group. They are the ones whose responsibility is not to do Taqleed. Rather, their responsibility is to perform Ijtihaad.


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