Taqleed In The Hadith
Evidence from the Hadith of Taqleed
1) In Muslim, Tamim Darmi (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said,
“Religion is to think good of others”, he asked, of whom? He replied, “Allah and of His Book and His Messenger and the leaders (Imams) of Muslims and the general public”.
In the explanation of this Hadith Imam Nawawi states: “This Hadith includes those Imams who are Scholars of Islam. ‘Think good for the Scholars’ means that their narrations of Hadith are to be accepted, Taqleed in their laws is to be made and they are to be thought good of.”
2) From the following hadith a number of points are established: Aswas ibn Yazid narrates,
“Mu’adh came to us in Yemen as a teacher and commander. We questioned him regarding a man who had died leaving (as his heirs) a daughter and a sister. He decreed half the estate for the sister. This was while the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was alive.”
Firstly, it will be realised from it that Taqleed was in practice during the time of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). The questioner (in the hadith) did not demand proof or basis for the decree. He accepted the ruling, relying on the integrity, piety and righteousness of Mu’adh (may Allah be pleased with him). this is precisely Taqleed.
Secondly, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not criticise or reject the people of his time who followed Mu’adh (may Allah be pleased with him), nor did the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) have any difference or rejection on this issue.
3) In Darmi it states: Ya’la informed me that ‘Abdul Malik narrates from Ata that, Follow Allah and follow his Messenger and the elders, those who have knowledge of religion and Fiqh.”
Why did the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) say “…the elders, those who have knowledge of religion and Fiqh.” was the Qur’aan and Sunnah not enough? As those who do not follow Taqleed say.
4) Anas narrates that “I heard the Messenger saying, ‘Some people offer Salaah, fast and perform Hajj and go for Jihad, but are hypocrites’, it was asked for what reason they are hypocrites, the Messenger replied ‘they would tease their Imam.’”
Teasing the Imam, taking faults out of them, and the rest of it insulting them done by the hypocrites.
5) Hudhayfah said that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:
“I do not know how long I will remain with you. So follow these two people after me: ‘Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them).”1
1 Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Ahmad.
Why follow ‘Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them), was the Qur’an and Sunnah not enough, was the religion incomplete? We find the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) commanded Taqleed of the rightoues as they would look at the Qur’aan, Hadith and if they didn’t, find anything they would decide what would be best, they were those who feared Allah (The Exalted).
6) The following hadith narrated during the last moments of the Prophet’s life is ample evidence of this approach:
“‘Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) was following the prayer of the Prophet and people were following the prayer of ‘Abu Bakr.”
3 Musnad Ahmad. Vol: 3. Page 410
How can someone follow someone else whilst the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was physically alive? This was to show the people that after his demise follow ‘Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him). But why follow him when the people had the Qur’an and the Sunnah to follow? The person who the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) chose for leading Salaah points out the fact he was to be followed in other matters too; because an Imam should be fit enough to lead the community, especially religious affairs.
7) Imam Ahmad narrates in his Musnad from Abu Wail (may Allah be pleased with him):
“I sat with Shaibah the son of ‘Uthman who said: ‘ ‘Umar sat in this very place where you are sitting said: ‘Sometimes I wanted to distribute every piece of gold and silver that is here in the Ka’bah.” I (Shaibah) asked him (‘Umar): “Don’t you have the authority to do so?” ‘Umar said: “Your two Companions (the Prophet and ‘Abu Bakr) preceded you and did not do so. They are two people who should be followed.”
Although he had authority he did not distribute and went against his desires. Following someone especially in religion who are better than you is the Sunnah of ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him). The following narration also gives evidence of this.
8) Imam Ahmad, also, narrates in his Musnad from Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was sitting in a gathering and stated:
“A person who is entitled to Paradise will shortly enter this gathering. So a person from the Ansaar entered. The next day, the same incident occurred and the third day, the same thing happened. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr decided to follow the Ansaar one day and observe him. ‘Abdullah assumed that the Ansaar was absorbed in worship during the night, but the only thing he noticed was the Ansaar made some Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and went to sleep until Fajr. In the morning, ‘Abdullah said to the Ansaar: “I wanted to spend the night with you to see your actions so that I could follow you, but I did not see you excessive in worship.”4
4 The Ansaar replied that although he did not do a lot of formal worship, he never kept any grudges against a Muslim, nor did he envy anyone. Narrated with a sound chain in Musnad Ahmad. Vol: 3. Page 166.
5 Abu Dawud. Mishkaatul Masaabih, Chapter on Knowledge. Page 27
6 Bayahaqi in Madhkhal. Mishkaatul Masaabih, Chapter on Knowledge. Page 28
Why did this companion follow another companion even when the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was amongst them? Why did the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) advise him to do so? The companion could have said “I will only follow you!” He did so because it was the command of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), hence, proving Taqleed permissible.
9) Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:
“Whoever gives a Fatwa (legal opinion) without knowledge, the sin will be on the one who gives the Fatwa.”
This goes back to the point of the extensive amount of knowledge needed to be a Mujtahid (see chapter 4) and not just pick a book of Hadith and narrate it and practise it.
10) Ibrahim ibn ‘Abdur Rahman narrated that the Prophet said:
“Reliable people from each succeeding generation will carry this knowledge. They (the reliable people) will refute the distortions of those who exaggerate and the (erroneous) explanations of the ignorant.”6
This hadith condemns the invalid explanation of the ignorant and makes it clear that the refutation of these explanations is the responsibility of the scholars. Again, this shows that those who do not possess the insight of a Mujtahid should not venture into explaining the Qur’an and Sunnah according to their own understanding and desires.
11) Imam Bukhari has narrated as a suspended narration and Imam Muslim has narrated with his chain of narrations from Abu Sa’eed Khudri that certain Companions made it a habit to join prayers late. The Prophet emphasized that they should come early and joins the row and then said:
“Follow me (by observing what I do) and those who come after shall follow you (by observing what you do).”
The companions were advised to come early so that they could observe the Prophet’s prayer in totality. Those who come after the Companions will learn their prayers by observing and following them. Ibn Hajar writes in the commentary of this hadith:
“It is said that the meaning of this hadith is that the Companions should learn the rules of Islam from the Prophet and those who follow the companions (Tabi’een) should follow the Companions and so on until the world comes to an end.”
7 Fathul Bari. Vol: 2. Page 171
8 Musand Ahmad. Vol: 3. Page 439
12) Imam Ahmad narrates in his Musnad that Sahal ibn Sa’ad narrated from his father that: “A woman came to the Prophet and said:
“My husband has gone out in war and I used to follow him in his prayer when he prayed and in all other affairs. Show me an act which will match his act of jihad until he returns.”
In this hadith, the lady has explicitly informed the Prophet that she follows her husband not only in prayer but in all acts. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not see any reason to rebuke her actions. Was the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) not good enough (Allah forbid) for her to follow? Why did she follow her husband?
13) Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “We went on a journey, and a stone struck one of us and opened a gash in his head. When he later had a wet-dream in his sleep, he then asked his companions, “Do you find any allowance for me to perform dry ablution (tayammum)?” [Meaning instead of a full bath (ghusl).] They told him, “We don’t find any allowance for you if you can use water.””
So he performed the bath and his wound opened and he died. When we came to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), he was told of this and he said: “They have killed him, may Allah kill them. Why did they not ask? —for they didn’t know. The only cure for someone who does not know what to say is to ask.”
9 Abu Dawud, 1.93
10 Abu Dawud, 3.321
11 Sharh al-Sunnah, 10.94
This hadith, which was related by Abu Dawud, is well authenticated (hasan), and every Muslim who has any taqwa should reflect on it carefully, for the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) indicated in it—in the strongest language possible—that to judge on a rule of Islam on the basis of insufficient knowledge is a crime. And like it is the well authenticated hadith “Whoever is given a legal opinion (fatwa) without knowledge, his sin is but upon the person who gave him the opinion.”
14) The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) also said: “Judges are three: two of them in hell, and one in paradise. A man who knows the truth and judges accordingly, he shall go to paradise. A man who judges for people while ignorant, he shall go to hell. And a man who knows the truth but rules unjustly, he shall go to hell.”
This hadith, which was related by Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and others, is rigorously authenticated (Sahih), and any Muslim who would like to avoid the hellfire should soberly consider the fate of whoever, in the words of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), “judges for people while ignorant.”
15) Imam Tirmidhi narrates that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr narrated from the Prophet:
“Whoever has two qualities in him, Allah will make him a grateful and patient person. Whoever looks towards someone who is higher than him in religion and follows him and whoever looks towards someone who is lower than him in the world and then praises Allah.”
12 Jami’ Timidhi with ibn ‘Arabi’s commentary. Vol: 9. Page31
13 Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah.
When we take a look at the lives of the four Imams we cannot even compare to the dust under their feet, their worship, knowledge, character, patience, was very exalted. How can people even look for faults in these great Imams to degrade them, those who do so, does this Hadith not mean anything?
16) The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Knowledge is composed of three parts, verses with clear meaning (ayat al-Muhkama), the Sunnah (Sunnaht al-Qaima), and Ijma (al-Faridat al-Adila).” 13
The great scholar of hadith ‘Abd al-Haq Muhaddith Dehelwi, whiles explaining this hadith in Ashiat al-Lama’at, his Persian commentary on Mishkat, wrote: ‘Al-Faridat al-Adila is the knowledge conformable to the Book and the Sunnah. It refers to Ijma and Qiya, for Ijma and qiyaas were counted as equivalent and similar to the Book and the Sunnah and were called al-Faridat al-Adila. Thus, it was ordered as a Wajib to do one’s deeds conformable to both of them. Consequently, the meaning of the hadith became that the sources of Islam were four, namely, the Book, the Sunnah, Ijma and Qiyas, and this is what Ahle-Sunnah believe and follow.’