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Islamic Q and A ( 2 Sept 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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What Are Taqlid-e-Shari’ and Taqlid-e-Ghair Shari’?

By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam

03 September 2019

Taqlid denotes ‘deeming a person’s verdict (Qaul) and action (Fe’il) to be lawful and obligatory upon another’. The detailed definition can be seen here:  What are Taqlid, Muqallid and Non-Muqallid?

Taqlid can be classified into two groups; (1) Taqleed-e-Shar’i and (2) Taqleed-e-Ghair-Shar’i. Taqlid-e-Shari’ means to follow someone with related to the rules of Islamic Jurisprudence without knowing the evidence. For example, the following the four imams; Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi’, Imam Malik and Imam Hambal in the detailed rules related to the prayer, fasting, Zakat, pilgrimage, public dealings etc. 

Taqlid-e-Ghair Shari’ denotes following someone in the worldly matters. For instance, doctors, Boo Ali Seena/Ibn Sina/Avicenna, Louis Pasteur, Jean Martin Charcot, Edward Jenner etc. are followed in medicine. Poets such as Daagh Dehlvi, Dr. Iqbal, William Shakespeare, Homer, Dante Alighieri etc. are followed in poetry. Similarly following any distinguished craftsmen is Taqlid. These are instances of the Ghair-Shari’ Taqlid or to say the worldly Taqlid.

The Islamic scholars say, Taqlid-e-Ghair Shari’ which opposes the Islamic Sharia is forbidden while the one which does not oppose it is permissible.  

The evidences of forbiddance of Taqlid-e-Ghair Shari’ can be taken from the Quran and Sunnah. God Almighty says, 

“And do not follow the ones whose hearts We have made bereft of Our remembrance (Zikr) and who has followed his desire and whose behaviour has exceeded the limits” (18:28)

“And if they force you to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance]. Then to Me will be your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do”. (31:15)

In its context this verse is interpreted this way that in matters of contravention of the faith, a Muslim should not follow his parents. But when it comes to the worldly matters, such as serving the parents physically or financially, he should not fall short about it. He should respect and deal with his parents in mundane matters as per the approved custom.

The context of this verse denotes that a Muslim should not follow the one who calls him to those matters which oppose Islamic injunctions. But in the worldly matters, he should treat the people with kindness and in peaceful ways.

God Almighty says,

 “And when it is said to them, "Come to what Allah has revealed and to the Messenger," they say, "Sufficient for us is that upon which we found our fathers." Even though their fathers knew nothing, nor were they guided?” (5:104)

The context of this verse is explained this way that when the Arab pagans were commanded to follow the injunctions revealed by Allah Almighty though His Messenger, they refused to do so and insisted that they would rather obey their customary practices that they inherited from their fathers because, as they assumed, their models were divinely appointed to follow the way they adopted. God Almighty refutes this position of theirs by asking how could they go on following the ways of their fathers, under all conditions, to the exclusion of all other ways, even if their fathers did not understand much about the Islamic faith, nor were they blessed with guidance given by their Lord? (Maarif al-Quran 5:104) 

The afore-mentioned verses and others command Muslims not to follow Taqlid which goes against the Islamic Sharia. Islamic scholars explain under this verse that this verse does not forbid the obedience of the four Imams, as the four Imams deduce their opinions from the Quran and Sunnah in matters which are not apparent for the common lay Muslims. Therefore, declaring Taqlid of any four imams to be Shirk (polytheism) based on this verse is completely rejected.


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