By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam
29 august 2019
The Arabic word ‘Taqlid’ literally means ‘to copy, imitate or put on a necklace or strap around the neck’. As an Islamic terminology, ‘Taqlid’ signifies the conformity of one person to the teaching of another. In other words, Taqlid denotes ‘deeming a person’s verdict (Qaul) and action (Fe’il) to be lawful and obligatory upon another’. This is done with the belief that since the former is a Sharia Researcher (Shari’ Muhaqqiq), his verdict or action is an evidence for us.
Ibn Abidin Shaami Hanafi says, “Taqlid is to take the statement of someone without knowing the evidence” (Ibn Abidin Shaami, Uqud Rasm al-Mufti, p. 23). An example of this is how we take the verdict and action of Imam Abu Hanifa to be a proof for ourselves in religious matters Shari Masail) without knowing the religious evidences (Shari Dalail).
“Taqlid is when a person obeys another’s opinion or action after hearing it without knowing his proof. The former does so with the belief that the latter is among the expert researchers of Islamic Sharia. (See: The Marginal Note of Husami (a famous classical book on Usul al-Fiqh) records its Arabic text from Sharh Mukhtasar al-Manar (another book on Islamic Jurisprudence) p. 86/ The same extract is also mentioned in Nurul Anwar, Chapter. Taqlid/ As quoted with Urdu translation in the book ‘Jaal Haque’ by Mufti Ahmad Yaar Khan.
Imam Ghazali in his book ‘al-Mustasfa’ and Allama Muhibullah Bihari in his book ‘Musallam al-Thubut’ also make the same definition of Taqlid.
The person who performs Taqlid is known as a Muqallid whereas the one who rejects Taqlid is known as a Ghair-Muqallid. Therefore the person who follows any of the four imams, Abu Hanifa, Shafei, Malik or Hambal, in religious matters is known as Muqallid.
The classical scholars state that obeying the beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) cannot be called ‘Taqlid’. Muslims including the companions (Sahaba) and four imams are termed ‘Ummati’ of the Prophet (peace be upon him). They are his Ummati but cannot be called his Muqallid. The reason for this is that every action and saying of the Prophet is deemed a proof of Islamic Sharia, whereas the proofs (Shari’ Dalail) are not taken into account during Taqlid.
Similarly the act of obedience performed by the common Muslims towards any religious cleric or learned person cannot be termed ‘Taqlid’. The reason is that they do not deem his action or saying to be a proof for them. They obey him with the idea that he is a religious cleric or a learned person and must have given his verdict after referring to the religious texts. In case his verdict is proven wrong and that it is antithetical to authentic Islamic books, no Muslim will accept his verdict. This case is deemed contrary to the verdict of Imam Abu Hanifa which is accepted irrespective of whether he deduced a ruling after referring to the Quran, Sunnah or Ijma (consensus) or from his Qiyas (analogy/deduction). So this much difference must be taken into notice.
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