Fresh Lines
The basic argument for taqlīd (1)
  taleemul islam
  September 16, 2018

Part One


taqlīd means following the legal opinions of a scholar without gaining knowledge of the detailed evidences for those opinions, (See Imam Ghazali’s Al-Mustasfā, p.579). The non-scholar is compelled to do this as he is unable to encompass the evidences to assert his own view on any particular detailed issue related to the Dīn. Such reliance upon a group of highly-trained individuals is seen in every aspect of human life from such mundane things as when we wish to build an extension to our homes to seeking medical treatment; we unquestioningly defer to the experts. A sick person never tries to diagnose himself, let alone be bold enough to prescribe the course of medicine he needs to take using his own knowledge. Rather he sits humbly in front of the doctor and accepts everything he tells him and prescribes him. Similarly, one can innumerate hundreds of worldly matters in which we readily recognise that it is only right and necessary that we and others rely and submit to experts of that subject or field.

How unfortunate is it then that the most precious and delicate of subjects: Islamic Law, is being singled out as the one thing, concerning which every person is to consider himself an authority, no matter how deficient and defunct his or her abilities may be? In fact, tragically, it is said to be his duty to access and understand the Holy Qur’an and Hadith directly by himself.

The arguments of this modernist movement are being loudly voiced, evermore frequently, in masjids, university Islamic societies and Islamic events. It is a sad development that increases the Umma’s disunity in addition to sapping its energies, diverting it from many higher and loftier plateaus of religious endeavour. The truth is that if a number of undeniable facts were to be considered with reason and objectivity, it would become quite clear that taqlīd must be obligatory for the non-scholar and even for those scholars who have not acquired the lofty qualifications of a Mujtahid scholar. This section of the treatise is devoted to succinctly outlining these facts.


Source: Understanding Taqlid, by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani