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
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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