While I have done my best to write on the subject, my aim has never been to debate and argue. I have endeavoured merely to explain the viewpoint of the majority of the Muslim ummah who have been following one or the other mujtahid. If I have hurt anyone unwillingly then I apologise for that. I hope to remove misgivings about this majority section which is termed unlawful and polytheistic. If anyone continues to differ even after reading this book, then let him retain his views, but accusing the mujtahids and imams of law making and being polytheistic is a very dangerous trend. We must seek refuge in Allah from that.
Finally, just as personal opinion in opposing taqleed and legal issues is blame worthy so too is inactivity and exaggeration in taqleed. This is visible in such cases:
1. Regarding the mujtahids as givers of law and innocent, and like Prophets free of mistakes.
2. Refusing to act on an authentic Hadith because to command is fortcoming from the imam concerning it. Thus, many people do not raise their index figure while reciting:
and neglect this sunnah because the Imam does not say anything about it. Some people pass a very rude comment about it. Theirs is perhaps the dormant taqleed which the Qur’an and Hadith renounce.
Imam Abu Hanifah & Knowledge of Hadith
(11) He is also accused of having few Ahadith, or a weak knowledge of Hadith.
This baseless accusation follows from lack of proper knowledge and prejudice. In fact, great scholars agreed that he was excellent in the science of fiqh and the science of Hadith too. They are not only the Hanafi ulama but also ulama of other schools of thought. We present remarks of some of them.
Hanafis & Observance of Hadith
(10) It is also argued that the Hanafis rely on weak Ahadith. But, this is wrong. The correct answer is that their books must be examined to find out the truth. The following are some of those books.
- Sharah Ma’ani al-Aathar, (Tahawi)
- Fath al-Qadeer, (Ibn Numan)
- Nasb ar Rayah, (Zayl’ee)
- Al-Jawhar an Naqi, (Mardini)
- Umdatul Qari, (Ayni)
- Fath alMulhim, (Uthmani)
- Bazlal Jamhud, (Saharanpuri)
- Ala us Sunan, (Zafar Ahmad Uthmani)
- Ma’arifus-Sunan, (Binnori)
- Fayd ul-Bari, Sharah Saheeh Bukhari
Nevertheless, we do point out some basic points in brief.
Taqleed & New Issues
(9) Another objection to Taqleed of an individual is that it impedes progress and presents no solution to new problems.
We have pointed out earlier that the taqleed of an erudite scholar is not the same as that of the layman. Taqleed of the individual allows for ijtihad in issues. If no answer is found in a mujtahid’s rulings, then his principles should be used to deduce conclusion from the Qur’an and sunnah. This ijtihad can be done in spite of taqleed of an individual. So, there is no impediment, at all.
Taqleed of Individual & Base Desires
(8) We have seen earlier that both kinds of taqleed are lawful, but as standards of sincerity lowered, the door to base desires opened up in taqleed of the absolute nature. The ulama so ruled that only taqleed of an individual must be practiced, henceforth.
Some people raised strange objections to that.
“Most of the people in Pakistan are Hanafis…. the management of clubs of enjoyment are in the hands of the Hanafis. If taqleed of an individual is cure for base desires then why is this tool of base desires found everywhere?” (Tahreek Azadi Fikr p146)
Is Taqleed a Defect?
(7) We have established in the beginning of the book that even the Sahabah observed taqleed. Those of them who could not make ijtihad turned to the more learned among them. Some people alleged that taqleed was a defect created by poor knowledge, so to say that the Sahabah practiced taqleed is to find fault with them (we seek refuge in Allah from such thought). “They were all learned and there was no difference among them of jurist and non-jurist.”
However, this downpour is emotional. If anyone is not a jurist or mujtahid then that is not a defect. The Qur’an says:
How may a Layman Recognise the Mujtahid?
(6) We have stated in the beginning that taqleed, whichever of the two kinds you consider, is nothing more than to ask one who is in adept in the science of Qur’an and sunnah and whose understanding, insight and juristic knowledge is reliable, that one who is incapable may know.
Some people wonder how an ignorant seeker will distinguish an adept imam? (Tahreek Azadi Fikr p13)
Let us suffice by reproducing Imam Ghazali’s text on the subject.
Sayings of The Mujtahid lmams
(5) Some people say that the mujtahid imams have themselves said that their sayings should not be followed until the evidence is known. “If our opinion is against Hadith, throw it off and follow the Hadith.”
However, honestly, these words are directed to those who are capable of making an independent judgment, not those who cannot make ijtihad. Shah Waliullah said about such sayings:
A Saying of Sayyidina Ibn Mas’ood
Sayyidina Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood’s saying is also cited often against taqleed:
“Let no one follow another in his religion in such a way that if he believes, he too believes, and if he disbelieves, he too disbelieves.”
Obviously, no one permits taqleed of this kind. His words are very clear that he does not tolerate taqleed in belief, and we have also repeated that often. But, as for taqleed of the predecessors to learn injunctions of religion, Sayyidina Ibn Mas’ood has said: