Statements from the leaders of those who oppose Taqleed
Those who tried to reject Taqleed like Ibn Taymiyyah1 were unsuccessful. He was however not a Muqalid like the ordinary people. However, his works of literature contain influences from the Hambali school of thought. He always preferred his Fatwas to Imam Ahmad’s. His followers also claim that they are not Muqallids to anyone and Taqleed is Bid’ah. But, they always offer Taqleed of ibn Taymiyyah and quote Fatwas from his books.
The following is one such example:
Bin Baaz2 (the late popular government scholar of Saudi Arabia) wrote one Fatwa against Milad-un-Nabi and another against travelling to the grave of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). He wrote that it is impermissible to celebrate the Milad, as Ibn Taymiyyah’s research had stated that this was Bid’ah. Likewise, he stated that to visit the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) grave impermissible because this was the opinion of Ibn Taymiyyah. 3
We can see how bin Baaz is blindly depending upon Ibn Taymiyyah’s research as he also (performs) Taqleed to scholars such as, Ibn Qayam, Hafidhh Ibn Kathir, Ibn-ul-Hadi, Shawkani and Albaani.
This is quite astonishing! These people follow their Imams but still claim that they are not blind followers and call the followers of the four Imams, blind followers! In reality, everyone does Taqleed in one way another. Some follow the great Faqih, whose piety and character stand out like the mountains the great Imam Abu Hanifah, and some follow
Ibn Taymiyyah. Furthermore, when they are told that a Hadith is weak, authentic or fabricated, they accept this, without researching it themselves. Consequently, they blindly follow Imam Bukhari, Ibn AbiHatim, Mizayy, Hafidhh Asqalani, Hafidhh Dhahbi, and Hafidhh Maqdasi. The fact is that these people do not conduct their own research, but ‘blindly’ follow the research of their Scholars.
Ibn Taymiyyah says that when a person begins to follow one particular Imam without any valid Islamic reason he begins to follow another Imam, he is actually following his own wishes and not the other Imam and this is Haraam. The great scholars have strongly discouraged for a person to sometimes follow the Fiqh of Shafi’ee and at other times the Fiqh of Abu Hanifa. 4
From Ibn Taymiyah’s Fatwa we have understood at one time we should follow one Imam and Taqleed is a necessity. To change Imam’s is not permissible anyway unless extreme situations and scholars need to be confronted about this first, hence, his fatwa is baseless and has no meaning.
Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, who is now regarded as a great scholar by the Ghayr Muqalids, wrote in his ‘I’lam al-Muqi’in’ that “It was not permissible for one who did not have qualities to make conclusions from the Nass, that is, the Book and the Sunnah.”
In reality, even opponents of Taqleed engage in a form of following, after all even they were not born Mujtahids. Many opponents are not scholars in any sense of the word and even those are scholars do not have the academic command over every issue. Rivals of Taqleed who are non-scholars will follow answers offered by scholars. Hence, there are several compilations of Fatwas where no immediate commitment is made to present proofs, and even where there exists some dialogue on proofs, how can a lay person determine right from wrong? Thus, even the opponents of Taqleed end up being Muqalids (followers). As for those who are scholars, they remain under the obligation to examine all the resources on the Qur’an and Sunnah before reaching a decision in a issue, however, not even scholars examine each issue a new rather they too are obliged to resort to the books of Fiqh of the early scholars. The only difference is that instead of reading books from Hanfi, Shai’fee schools of thought, they prefer to refer to ibn Taymiyah, Ibn Qayyim, Ibn Hazm and Shaukani. Thus, they consider the opinions of these scholars as being sound and just, and consequently follow them.
When I went to lead the Friday prayers at the local prison, a chap would always put objections and obstacles in what I did or said. I always gave him an answer which he never understood and confuse him as the only thing he knew was to quote. He once quoted a Hadith incorrectly, meaning the Arabic. This Hadith is so common that even many children who study at the Madrasas/Maktabs know this, however, this chap could not even quote from a book correctly, something which they are meant to be good at.
1 A Ghair Muqalid/Wahabi/Salafi.
2 A Ghair Muqalid/Wahabi/Salafi.
3 Milaad un Nabi and Ziyarat Roza Shareef, by bin Baz
4 Fatwa Ibn Taymiyyah, Volume 20, Chapter of Taqleed