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The Methodology of the Salaf Concerning Ijtihad and Taqlid
  Guidelines Concerning Taqlid and Madhhabs
Source: Various
Article ID : MNJ060008  [17407]  
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"The obligation upon the people of the first type is to make taqleed of any scholar of the Book and the Sunnah, who is reliable in his knowledge and Religion. The obligation upon the second type of people is to make ijtihaad in understanding what is indicated by [the texts of] the Book and the Sunnah, and [then] to follow it and to direct the people upon it. The obligation upon the third type is to make ittibaa’ (lit. follow) of the Sharee’ah evidences that they are aware of, from the statements of the scholars. And whoever has the ability to perform ijtihaad, then taqleed and ittibaa’ of others is not lawful to him, except in cases of necessity ... Whoever has the ability to perform ittibaa’ then taqleed and ijtihaad are not lawful for him. Whoever does not have the abilitry to perform ijtihaad nor ittibaa’ then taqleed is obligatory upon him. The proof for this is that the basic principle (asl) upon everyone is to make ittibaa’ of the Book and the Sunnah, if they have the ability; just as Allaah, the Most Perfect, said:

"Make ittibaa’ of what has has been sent down from your Lord, and do not make ittibaa of friends and protectors other than Him ." [Soorah al-A’raaf 7:3].

Take what the Messenger gives you, and abstain from that which he prohibits you. " [Soorah al-Hash 59:9].

So if the Muslim does not have the ability to understand the Book and the Sunnah and to deduce rulings from them, then he descends to the level of ittibaa’. If he does not have the ability for this, then he descends to the lowest level; which is taqleed. And this is when he enters into Allaah, the Exalted’s, saying:

"Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know. " [Soorah an-Nahl 16:43]."

In summary:

Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullaah, said:

"And that which the majority of the Ummah are upon is that ijtihaad is permissible in general and taqleed is permissible in general. Ijtihaad is not obligated upon everyone whilst taqleed forbidden; neither is taqleed obligated upon everyone whilst ijtihaad forbidden. Rather, ijtihaad is permissible for the one who has the ability, and taqleed is permissible when ijtihaad cannot be performed."

The following discussion uses the two-type classification of people; mujtahidoon and muqallidoon. So as regards blind-following (taqleed), there is a permissible form and a prohibitted form:


There are two cases where taqleed is permissible:-

[i] For the ’aamee who does not have the ability to acquire knowledge of the Sharee’ah ruling by himself; so taqleed is obligatory upon him.

[ii] The mujtahid when he encounters a new situation for which an immediate solution is required, but it is not possible for him to research into the matter; so in this case he is permitted to perform taqleed.

An elaboration of the first case:

Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan, hafidhahullaah, said:

"As for the permissible form of blind-following (at-taqleedul-mubaah), then it is for the common person (’aamee) who, if he does not follow the people of knowledge, then he will stray from the path. Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, said:

"Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know. " [an-Nahl 16:43].

And taqleed is not done to just anyone. Rather, it is done to one who is acredited with knowledge and piety; and he is known to the people for this."

Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullaah, said:

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