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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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"When a Muslim is faced with a problamatic situation, he should seek a verdict from one whom he believes will give him a verdict based upon what Allaah and His Messenger have legislated; whatever school of thought (madhhab) he belongs to. It is not obligatory upon any Muslim to blindly follow a particular individual from the scholars in all that he says. Nor is it obligatory upon any Muslim to blindly follow a particular madhhab from the scholars in all that it necessitates and informs. Rather, every person’s saying is taken or left, except that of the Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam. To follow the madhhab of a particular individual because of an inability of knowing what has been legislated, is from that which is permissible; it is not from that which is obligatory upon every individual - if they have the ability to know what has been legislated without this path of blind-following (taqleed]. So each individual should fear Allaah as much as he is able, and seek knowledge of what Allaah and His Messenger have ordered; doing what is commanded and keeping away from that which is forbidden."

An elaboration of the second case:

Shykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said:

"As for the one who has the ability to perform ijtihaad, is it permissible for him to do taqleed ? About this there is a difference of opinion, with the correct opinion being that it is permissible in cases where he is unable to perform  ijtihaad ; either due to the proofs being similar, or due to a time constraint in being able to perform ijtihaad, or due to the proof not being apparent to him. So in cases where he is unable, the obligation of ijtihaad is lifted from him due to this inability."

Does the person who asks a scholar have to necessarily ask for a proof:

Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee, rahimahullaah, said:

"As for one to whom taqleed is permissible, then it is for the common person (’aamee) who does not know the path [to arrive at] the Sharee’ah rulings. So it is permissible for him to do taqleed of a scholar and act upon his saying ... And it has been stated by one of the Mu’tazilah who said: It is not permissible for the common person to act upon the saying of a scholar until he knows the reason (’illah) behind the ruling. So when he asks a scholar, he should ask him so that he knows how the ruling came about. So when he knows and grasps this, he should then act upon it. [Al-Khateeb said]: This is wrong, since there is no way for a common person to know and grasp this, except after gaining fiqh (understanding) for many years and mixing with the scholars for long periods of time ..."


Ibn al-Qayyim, rahimahullaah, said about the prohibitted types of taqleed:

"It is of three types:- Firstly: totaly turning away from what Allaah has revealed, but rather being satisfied with the taqleed of one’s for-fathers. Secondly: doing taqleed of someone when you do not know whether that person is from those whose saying can be taken. Thirdly: doing taqleed after the proofs have been established and it becomes apparent that the evidence contradicts the view of the one to whom taqleed is done."

Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal, rahimahullaah, said:

"How strange it is that a people who know the chain of narratiuon of a hadeeth (isnaad) and its authenticity, yet still they follow the opinion of Sufyaan [ath-Thawree]; even though Allaah, the Exalted, said:

"Let those beware, who oppose the command of the Messenger, lest some trial (fitnah) befalls them, or a painful punishment is inflicted upon them. " [Soorah an-Noor 24:63].

Do you know what the fitnah is? The fitnah is shirk! Since the rejection of some of his sayings could cause something of deviation to enter the heart, and thus be destroyed."

Shaykh ’Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Hasan, rahimahullaah, said:

"In the words of Imaam Ahmad, rahimahullaah, is an indication that doing taqleed before the proofs reach a person is not blameworthy. Rather, the one who is to be censured is that person to whom the proofs reach, yet he opposes them due to [adhering to] the saying of his scholar."


Some verdicts and sayings of the scholars concerning following madhhabs:

[i]: When encountering a difficult issue, do you advise the student of knowledge not to stick to a madhhab, or [do you advise] to turn to a particular madhhab?

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-’Uthaymeen responded:

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