THE WAY OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD: BLIND FOLLOWING
By Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq
The Start Of The Blind Following
That the pious in the early period were Ahlus-Sunnah is an established fact. They did not imitate an individual. Let us now find out how blind-following set in. In the words of Qazi Thanaullah Panipati: “Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah were divided into the present schools in the fourth of fifth century H.” (Tafsir Mazhari)
The scholarly figure of Qazi Panipati needs no introduction. For him, blind-following started in the fourth of fifth century H with the division of Muslims into four schools. Prior to this no one imitated some individual. Since there was no conformist at that time, people then can be referred to only as Ahlus-Sunnah who were non-conformists.
Shah Waliullah And The Four Schools
Shah Waliullah is widely acclaimed as an outstanding scholar. His studies are held in esteem universally. He says, “People in the fourth century H did not imitate a particular individual.” (Hujjatullahi-Balighah)
We learn from him that blind-following was not there even in the fourth century H; it started only in the fifth century H.
NOTE: The conformists should not be enraged. They should objectively see that conformity (blind-following) did not exist in the first four hundred years of Islam. As the religion had been perfected, no one knew what conformity was. It was invented only after the fourth century H and paraded as an important issue before the Ummah. It was accorded the status of being a compulsory or obligatory thing. Can an invented thing in religion be so important? Let us see what the Prophet (saws) says on this point, “Who invents something in religion which is not part of it, his contention is unacceptable.” (Bukhari)
What the Prophet (saws) forbids, is paraded as an obligatory thing. Rather it is regarded as a prerequisite for being Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah. There is not any substance in the claim that only the followers of the four Imams are Ahlus-Sunnah while those living by only Hadith and Sunnah are not.
On the authority of Imam Izzuddin bin Abdus-Salam, Shah Waliullah rejects blind-following: “Before the appearance of these schools and biased blind-followers, all Muslims used to enquire about religious matters from any religious scholar and acted on his advice. They were not bound to some particular school or scholars. Regrettably, the blind-followers of our times regard their respective Imams as if they are some Messengers sent down to them. This notwithstanding the fact that the view of Imams may be contrary to the Qur’aan and Hadith, yet they do not give up blind-following. It represents error and distraction from truth resulted from preference given to blind-following, which no sane person would like to do so.” (‘Iqdul-Jeed)
Our pious ancestors consulted any religious scholar who came their way. They were not confined to some particular school. Later on, however, people opted for definite schools and clung to conformity. This betrays their moving away from truth. Reference is to the blind-following against which they pay no heed even to Hadith which is recited to them many times. They would act on someone’s view. As it is, it denotes moving away from truth and falling into error.
Definition Of Blind-Following
Reference has been made to blind-following in the above account. Let us explain this concept as it features in works of Fiqh: “A blind-follower is guided by Imam. Neither he makes his own study nor can he reflect upon the views of his Imam.” (Mussalamuth-Thubut Mujtabai)
It means that he follows only him whom he imitates. He is not authorized to study the views of the Imam. For if he does so, he turns into a non-conformist. He is supposed to follow him blindy and act accordingly:
“Conformity consists in belief in the views of a non-Messenger (Imam) without proof.” (Jami’ul-Jawami)
It is desirable rather obligatory to abide by the Imam’s decree, without ascertaining his source.” (Shami)
In other words, one should not seek to find out the source of Imam’s view. His word alone suffices: “May our Lord’s curses as many as the sand particles, be on him whom rejects the view of Imam Abu Hanifah.” (Shami)
It is strange that one who refuses to follow Imam Abu Hanifah’s view without study is cursed as many times as the number of sand particles. What is to be done in case one points to the fact such and such a view of the Imam is in contrast to Hadith? It is part of the ethics of conformity that the Imam’s view should not be scrutizined. One should blindly imitate otherwise one stands showered with curses. According to Mulla Ali Qari Hanafi:
“Conformity consists in accepting the view of the Imam without argument.” (Sharh Qasidah Amali)
“The argument for a conformist is only the view of the Imam. He should simply state that the judgement is such and such for being the view of my Imam Abu Hanifah. And whatever be his view is valid for me.” (Taudih Talwih)
The above account defines blind-following. A blind-follower has to adhere to the view of his Imam throughout his life and take it as the final word and part of religion, without enquiring into his source. For it is against conformity. As a result of this blind imitation when some of our brothers are told about some Hadith they pay no heed to it, rather they stick to the view of the Imam. May Allah grant them the ability to prefer Hadith to the views of others, follow Fiqh which is in line with Hadith, and forsake such views which are opposed to Hadith.
The view of the Imam suffices for his followers. His word itself constitutes an incontestable argument. He needs not look to the Qur’aan or Hadith whereas these are the sources of religion. For a conformist, however, the Imam’s opinion is more than sufficient and this is what constitutes conformity.
O brethen! An argument is valid only when it is endorsed by the Word of Allah and of His Messenger. The word of someone else does not enjoy this status in matters of religion. Were someone to contend that the independent opinion of a Mujtahid is worth obeying too, it should be realized that Ijtihad is applicable in cases in which one is not able to draw guidance from the Qur’aan or Hadith. Or else there is no justification for Ijtihad.
“Conformity means following an Imam unquestioningly.” (Muslim)
“A conformist is not led by some argument.” (Talwih)
For him the Imam’s view suffices and he tends to be indifferent to the Qur’aan and Hadith.
“No decree is to be pronounced in matters of religion. Only Imam Abu Hanifah’s view is to be followed.” (Durr Mukhtar)
A conformist is obliged to abide by the Imam’s opinion and Ulama too, should be guided by the Imam’s word. For, this alone is more than sufficient, having nothing to do with the Qur’aan and Hadith.
This is the reality about conformity which does not admit the Qur’aan, Hadith, or reason. It should be clear by now that conformity stands for blindly following a non-Messenger without reference to any Shari’ah basis. His words is accorded the same status which is due to Shari’ah ruling.
While shopping we take every possible care to get the best quality and subject the commodity to utmost scanning. It is the height of absurdity, however, to imitate an Imam blindly in matters of religion, without any argument. The Imam is followed blindly and his word is taken as final. Do we not stand in need of scrutiny in matters of religion? For our fate depends on these, particularly our salvation in the Hereafter. We are careful enough in wordly matters, for example in checking short-change. But we pursue blindly in matters of religion. It is not a sane act. What is worse, such blind imitation is taken to mean Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah, though even a slight inattention to the Qur’aan and Sunnah drives us away from the fold of Ahlus-Sunnah.
Ahlus-Sunnah obviously denote those living by Sunnah. We have already noted the definition of blind-following. Given this, how can blind-followers be legitimately described as Ahlus-Sunnah? For, they act on opinions other than Hadith. How can one claim to observe Sunnah while he acts on a view opposed to Hadith? It is downright outrageous to prefer the Imam’s view to Hadith and to act on the former yet lay claim to be Ahlus-Sunnah.
Views Of Ulama About Blind-Following
Reproduced below are the opinions of devout Ulama on blind-following. These should be studied carefully and blind-following should be avoided. As already stated, it lies in the biased acceptance of someone’s view, preferring it to the Qur’aan and Hadith.
On being faced with a choice between the Prophet’s command and its opposite view of an individual, can you prefer the latter? Never! Can such a person be reckoned among Ahlus-Sunnah if he prefers the latter? No! Blind conformity, therefore, is reprehensible. Below are some opinions about it. On reading these one should not be displeased with the author. Rather, it should evoke gratitude for we, out of sincerity, intend to take you away from darkness of blind-following to the brightness of knowledge. We wish to draw you closer to the Prophet (saws). We condemn blind-following, not the conditional following of someone.
Sheikh Sa’di’s Statement
Sheikh Sa’di said: “It is error to worship out of conformity. Blessed is the person who is conscious of his objective.”
A person should traverse in the light of reason. Worship symbolises a journey on to the path of the Hereafter. Such a traveller should, therefore, employ reason and knowledge. This journey should be undertaken in the light of the Prophet’s teachings. All matters of religion should be pursued with reference to Sunnah and Hadith. For blind conformity on this count might land one into error. Allah says, “…And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are disbelievers.” (Al-Maidah 5:44)
Faith is to be followed in accordance with the Qur’aan and Hadith. The believers should pay utmost heed. Ulama should not pass their views as religious rulings nor should the masses be their blind-followers: “And if you (O Muhammad) were to follow their desires after what you have received of knowledge (i.e., the Qur’aan) then you would have against Allah neither any protector nor any helper.” (Al-Baqarah 2:120)
Allah makes it plain that one should not follow others once the Qur’aan and Hadith are there. Arguments should decide all matters, whereas conformity by its very definition requires that one’s Imam is to be obeyed without argument. It is stated: “A mujtahid may take recourse to the four sources of argument (the Qur’aan, Hadith, consensus and reasoning). A conformist, however, should have nothing to do with these.” (Taudih)
For a conformist the Qur’aan and Hadith are irrelevant. Nor is he concerned with study. Blindly he should follow the Mujtahid in matters of religion and Shari’ah.
Statement Of The Great Scholar Room
In a succint couplet, the eminent scholar Room says: “Though your mental faculty intends to soar high, your blind conformity has made you devoid of all courage.” (Masnawi)
Man employs reason for study which unfolds for him knowledge and this, in turn, accrues to him success in both worldly and religious domains. In contrast, blind conformity is synonymous with ignorance which brings about decline and fall in both worldly and religious domains.
One who prefers blind conformity to Hadith without undertaking any study rejects, in a sense, Shari’ah.”
The great scholar Room brands him so, for he follows one’s personal opinion in preference to Hadith. And since he does so, it amounts to rejecting Shari’ah. The conformists should seriously consider whether they are not forsaking or rejecting some Hadith in preference to someone’s view. It is deplorable that these blind conformists describe themselves as Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jama’ah. How irrational it is in view of his preference for the view of an individual over Hadith.
“One who gives up conformity looks at everything in the light of Divine refulgence (guidance).” (Masnawi)
Conformity by its definition implies ignorance whereas argument stands for light in contrast to the darkness caused by the lack of argument. So one who abandons conformity gets out of darkness and is blessed with the light of the Qur’aam and Hadith. The scholar Room makes this very point that a blind-follower, owing to his ignorance, is steeped in darkness. By abandoning conformity, he, however, gains access to the world of knowledge and draws light from the Qur’aan and Sunnah. He is guided by Divine light. An ignorant person therefore remains in darkness whereas a non-conformist enjoys knowledge and light.
“There is a world of difference between a conformist and a scholar. For the latter’s voice is as endearing as David’s (Dawud’s) melody whereas a conformist has an ugly voice.” (Masnawi)
A scholar relies for his faith on the Qur’aan and Hadith while a conformist on baseless reports.
“Conformity is an obstacle to all goodness; it is absolutely worthless, though it has an impressive appearance.” (Masnawi)
“If you learn it by abandoning conformity, you would take an angelic attribute.” (Masnawi)
For conformity is sheer ignorance whereas scholarship is synonymous with knowledge. When one abandons conformity and learns the Qur’aan and Hadith, its radiance would bestow on him angelic qualities. Sultan Bahu rightly observes: “One who enters this monastic order without attaining knowledge and takes to the path of divine gnosis dies in the state of disbelief.”
Sheikh Sa’di’s pithy statement is proverbial: “An ignorant person cannot recognize Allah.”
Since he does not know religion, how can he recognize Allah, His Self and His Attributes, His Commands, and meaning of the Qur’aan. This is a serious disadvantage of conformity that it rests on ignorance. Efforts should be made to help all men and women to gain knowledge enabling them to move away from darkness of conformity into light and pursue religion aided by their own vision.
Given this, it is shocking that some Ulama emphasize conformity. In other words, they exhort the masses to remain ignorant. Allamah Ibn Qaiyim states: “It is incontrovertible that knowledge does not characterize conformity. And a conformist cannot be taken as a scholar.” (A’lamul-Muwaqi’in)
Asking people to practice conformity amounts to keeping them ignorant.
“Conformity is our real malaise. It is liability which we mistake as our asset.” (Masnawi)
“Knowledge obtained through study is appreciated by Allah. Therefore it has always a thriving market.” (Masnawi)
“O conformist! Do not seek superiority over a scholar. For he is the mainspring of heavenly light.” (Masnawi)
“A conformist in the company of his leader is like a deaf person who understands only the sign language.” (Masnawi)
“A conformist is always vulnerable to the accursed Satan.” (Masnawi)
O brethen in Islam! The Qur’aan and Hadith stand out as light of guidance. Whoever is blessed with it is safe and secure. For he would cover his journey in its light. One not enjoying this light faces a dark path. And there is always the danger of attack by Satan in this darkness. The scholar Room brings home the same point that one should strive to be a scholar, rather than a blind-follower and not act in ignorance: “Though a conformist may cite numerous reports in support of his stance, none of these has any substance.” (Masnawi)
These are worthless for the lace of substance. In contrast, something supported by the Qur’aan and Hadith is as weighty as an impassable and unshakable mountain.
May Allah have mercy on the eminent scholar Room for teaching Muslims such an excellent lesson that they should not pursue their path in the state of ignorance. On the contrary, they should take every step in the light of the Qur’aan and Hadith. He refutes blind conformity to the point of striking a deadly blow against it.
Sheikh Thanaullah Amritsari’s Statement
We, Ahul-Hadith, can recognize conformity only in the light of its definition. Literally it means imitating someone blindly. In terminological parlance it is defined thus: “To accept unquestioningly the views of a non-Messenger, constitutes conformity.” (Musallam Ath-Tabut)
Included in its definition is the idea that a conformist is unaware of arguments. This is what is known as general conformity. Conforming to an individual resides in accepting unquestioningly the view of a certain Imam in all cases. As a result, conformity stands for ignorance. Since a conformist is bound by conformity, he would not gain knowledge. In an otherwise case, he would give it up what he is obliged to do.
Conformity necessarily gives rise to ignorance. As a result, Shari’ah sicences cannot be learnt. Knowledge is antithetical to conformit. It is in common knowledge that what prevents an obligatory duty is unlawful.
Sheikh Thanaullah defines conformity in terms of ignorance and following religion without any study. You should decide which path of religion you would like to pursue — of the Qur’aan and Hadith or the one without any basis. The former represents non-conformism and the latter conformity. Gaining knowledge would render you as a non-conformist while ignorance would keep you restricted to conformity. This should give you a fair idea of the real aspects of blind-following. It is up to you to make a choise. As a consequence of blind-following, Muslims are found today far away from religion, the majority of Muslims being ignorant of religion. The Prophet (saws) exhorts: “Seeking knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim male and female.” (Ibn Majah)
The Prophet (saws) asks us to gain knowledge in order to facilitate our pursuit of religion yet a group of Ulama insists that blind-following is compulsory for Muslims. In other words, they should remain ignorant and follow religion without making any study or acquiring knowledge. O brethen! Decide for yourself what is better — knowledge or ignorance? Darkness or light? Sheikh Thanaullah further observes: “Had faith been synonymous with conformity (i.e., an obligatory or important duty), Imam Razi and other Ulama would not have remarked: ‘Conformity does not suffice for religion.'”
Nor would have Sheikh Sa’di and Khawjah Hafiz Shirazi condemned it. Let us now turn to another important figure for explaining the true nature of conformity. Reference is to the renowned scholar. Room who uses such strong language against blind-following and its adherents that it cannot be reproduced in full. Only a couple of his mild observations are cited.”
Sheikh Ibrahim Sialkoti’s Statement
We know well that in the days of the Prophet Muhammad (saws) no person could be obeyed. For he was the model par excellence and no one could stand up to him. Likewise, after his passing away, nothing views with the Qur’aan and Hadith in that no one’s views, reasoning or interpretation can be compared with it. Room illustrates the same point in one of his couplets. Its paraphrasis is as follows: “If the direction of prayer is not known and it is dark all around, Shari’ah lets one pray in the direction which he deems the right one in view of its signs. His prayer would be accepted. However, if it is daylight and one can ascertain directions or one is in Makkah, facing the Ka’bah, it is not permissible to speculate on the direction of prayer.”
Shari’ah no doubt, allows Ijtihad (excercise of judgement) and acting upon it. However, this provision is operative only in the absence of clear instructions, as is evident from Muadh’s submission to the Prophet (saws). However, it is not lawful to resort to one’s own interpretation in the face of Prophetic guidance.
The Sheikh speaks of the golden period of the Companions, and their successors and followers and that they never acted on speculation. An account of the Ulama up to the third century H occurs in Tadkhiratul-Huffaz. Blind-following started in this period and by the fourth century separate schools of jurisprudence were in place. And it became a common practice for people to stick to a particular school. Therefore, Shah Waliullah observes: “Members of the Muslim Ummah did not deliberately practice conformity to a particular school before the fourth century.”
The Maulana brings home the point that Ijtihad, speculation or one’s interpretation is uncalled for, if there exists a relevant Qur’aanic verse or Hadith. Blind-following began as a practice in the third century H and separate schools in the fourth century. Given this, it is beyong doubt that the devout people prior to the third century H were simply unaware of both blind-following and distinct schools. They abided by only the Qur’aan and Hadith.
Allamah Ibn Hazm’s Statement
“Shun blind-following is that it is an error. A blind-follower is undoubtedly on a deadly path.”
One who prefers an Imam’s view to Hadith in Shari’ah sense, no doubt, pursues a deadly path.
According To Shah Waliullah, Following Is Of Two Types
Shah Waliullah regards following as both necessary and unlawful It is necessary for the ignorant ones and forbidden if in preference to Sunnah and Hadith. He states: “It should be clearly realized that there are two types of conformity to an Imam — necessary (subject to conditions) and unlawful. As to the former, the report should be followed if it is supported by argument if someone knows little about the Qur’aan and Sunnah, he cannot himself infer conclusions and follow the path. He should therefore seek guidance from a jurisprudent and enquire of him what the Prophet (saws) said on a particular issue and he should follow the same. It is, however, subject to the condition that the Imam’s version is drawn from the primary sources or inferred from these. For in all these cases the ultimate source is the Prophet (saws). This methodology is endorsed by all sections of the nation. This explains when conditional following is necessary. An ignorant person should practise it, provided the Imam’s view is in consonance with Sunnah. Such a person should always seek to draw guidance from Sunnah. If he comes across a Hadith in opposition to the Imam’s view, he should prefer the former and abandon the latter. The leading Imams make the same point. Imam Shafi’i advises: ‘When there is an authentic Hadith, my view would follow it. If you find my views contrary to Hadith, you should follow Hadith and forsake my views.’ Imam Malik says, ‘One may accept or reject anyone’s views, except the Prophet’s.’ Imam Abu Hanifah holds: ‘Who is not aware of the basis of my view should not pronouce judgement in relation to it.’ Imam Ahmad states: “Do not imitate me or Malik or anyone. Follow in matters of religion the Qur’aan and Sunnah.'”
The other form of following which is forbidden is that one holds the view about a jurisprudent that he has attained perfection or is infallible. A biased blind-follower is the one who comes across Hadith in opposition to someone’s view yet he adheres to the latter in the belief that as someone’s follower he is bound to him. Although he recognizes the soundness of Hadith that runs counter to the view of his Imam yet he does not given up and persists in his following. Such a belief is false, without any basis. No one in earlier days behaved in this fashion.” (‘Iqdul-Jeed)
It is worthy of note that Shah Waliullah regards following as something necessary for an ignorant person, provided that he would give up his Imam’s view if he comes across Hadith contrary to it. He, however, brands such blind-following as forbidden which makes one persist in the same even in the face of a sound Hadith which refutes the view of his Imam. For such a belief is false and worthless.
To Forsake Someone’s Views In Preference To Hadith
Shah Waliullah emphasizes that in the presence of Hadith the Imam’s view which is based on speculation should be given up. He writes: “If we get authentic Hadith it is binding on us to follow it, as is commanded by Allah. And if this Hadith is against our school of jurisprudence yet we pay no heed to it and stick to the Imam’s view, it would constitute on our part a great wrong-doing. We would not be able to proffer any excuse on the Last Day when all of us would appear before the Lord of the worlds.” (‘Iqdul-Jeed)
It is learnt from the above that such a person is a wrong-doer who does not give up the opinion of an individual in preference to Hadith and that he would not succeed in employing any pretext on the Last Day before Allah. As noted, it is applicable only in the case of an ignorant person who may, owing to his ignorance, seek guidance from an Imam. Yet it should be subject to the condition that if the Imam’s view runs counter to Hadith, he would immediately give up the former and follow the latter. Such conditional following is indisputable.
Not To Follow One’s Opinion In Preference To Hadith
If a point is explained well by a clear, authentic Hadith and a person sticks to someone’s opinion, Shah Waliullah says of him: “There is no justification in this case opposing Hadith. Only covert hypocrisy and overt foolishness can account for it.” (‘Iqdul-Jeed)
Compare One’s Views With The Hadith
Shah Waliullah stresses that one’s views must be compared with Hadith. If these are in line with Hadith one may follow these. However, if these are against Hadith, one must abandon these: “The detailed Fiqh rulings should be examined with reference to the Qur’aan and Hadith. Whatever is in accordance with the Qur’aan and Hadith may be accepted and whatever is not must be shunned. The Muslim nation cannot afford to neglect the job of examining the views of Imams in relation to the Qur’aan and Hadith.” (Wasiyat Namah)
The Companions’ Conduct
Shah Waliullah has stated: “It is established beyong doubt that whenever the Companions and their successors received some Hadith they started immediately acting upon it. They would not turn to anything else.” (Insaf)
Since the Companions and their successors accepted Hadith unconditionally, they did not impose condition that they would follow it if it is endorsed by so-and-so, the practice of such conditions today is deplorable.
Shah Waliullah did not endorse blind-conformity. He did not approve that educated persons take something blindly; rather he condemned it: “Conformists cling to imitation. Conformity has slowly seeped into their hearts whilst they were unaware of it.” (Insaf)
Clearly it means that one should not blindly follow someone’s views. One should study the matter, accept only such which are in line with the Qur’aan and Sunnah and reject those which are in conflict with these.
Refutation Of Blind Following
Refuting blind-following, Shah Waliullah states: “Only covert hypocrisy or overt foolishness account for one’s opposition to Hadith.” (‘Iqdul-Jeed)
Furthermore he observes: “Another relevant point is alluded to by Sheikh Izzuddin bin Abdus-Salam: It is strange that some blind-followers concede the weakness in their Imam’s position, which cannot be explained away, yet they continue imitating him. What is clearly sought by the Qur’aan and Sunnah is preference to their Imam’s view is neglected by them. They resort to pretexts for neglecting the Qur’aan and Sunnah and invent far-fetched justification.” (‘Iqdul-Jeed)
We thus learn that there are such die-hard blind-followers who prefer the views of their Imam to Hadith, and cling to blind-following rather than Hadith. Such conformity is forbidden. May Allah save Muslims against it. O Muslim brethen! Do remember to follow each and every matter of religion with reference to its basis in the Qur’aan and Hadith and act upon it.
Unconditional Following Of The Commoners Is Also Forbidden
According to Shah Waliullah: “One who is ignorant and follows one of the Imams out of the belief that he would hardly make any mistake and that he is sound in his views, and he decides not to differ with him even if there is a ground to do so; such a person is one about whom Adi bin Hatim is reported in the Hadith collection of Tirmidhi that the Prophet (saws) used to recite the Qur’aanic verse: ‘They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah….’ (At-Taubah 9:31) Although they did not worship them, they blindly followed them regarding what is lawful or unlawful.” (‘Iqdul-Jeed)
What emerges from it is that an ordinary person may seek guidance from a scholar, subject to the condition that on being told that it is against Hadith he would forsake it and act only on Hadith. However, if he obeys the Imam even on being told that the Imam’s view is in divergence with Hadith and pays no heed to Hadith, he takes the Imam as lord besides Allah.
Shah Abdul-Aziz’s Statement
Elucidating the Qur’aanic verse: “Then do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped).” (Al-Baqarah 2:22)
Shah Abdul-Aziz wrote: “Whoever takes to conformity and does not give it up even after learning its divergence from Divine command, he associates his Imam with Allah. Any act of conformity in preference to Hadith amounts to polytheism. Every brother should therefore carefully assess whether he is guilty of such conformity which prompts him conciously following a view contrary to Hadith.” (Tafsir Azizi)
Shah Ismail’s Statement
“I do not know how conformity to a certain person gained currency, though one had the opportunity to draw on reports related on the authority of the Prophet (saws). These reports make it plain that if the views of the Imam are contrary to Hadith yet if one does not give up his conformity to the Imam, his conduct is tainted with polytheism. It illustrates the report cited by Tirmidhi on the authority of Adi bin Hatim (raa) that he asked the Prophet (saws) to elucidate the Qur’aanic verse which states that Jews and Christians took their rabbis and monks lords besides Allah. In reply the Prophet (saws) told him: ‘They followed what was prescribed as lawful and unlawful by them.'” (Tanwirul-‘Ainain)
Sheikh Abdul-Haiy Lakhnawi’s Statement
“Some stern Hanafi are so much devoted to their school of jurisprudence and their Fiqh rulings that even if they find Hadith contrary to it, they do not give up the views of the Imam (while they abandon Hadith). Such are ignorant persons.” (Tareeq Muhammadi)
O readers! Such blind-following is forbidden. It is the height of audacity and ignorance to choose the word of an individual in preference to Hadith. Abdul-Haiy Lakhnawi condemns this form of following.
Allah Did Not Ask Us To Become Hanafi Or Shafi’i
Miyan Syed Nazeer Hussain, a great scholar, writes in his acclaimed work, Mi’yarul-Haq: “Shah Waliullah states in his monograph, Risalah Qaul Sadid that it should be realized that Allah has not asked of any of His servants to become a Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, or Hanbali. Rather, He has made it obligatory on everyone to obey Prophet Muhammad (saws) and to believe in all that is brought by him (i.e., the Qur’aan and Sunnah).”
May Allah bless Shah Waliullah for his apt observation that Allah asks us to obey the Prophet (saws) alone. We are not obliged to become Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, or Hanbali. Then why do Ulama insist that an Imam be followed and one should become Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, or Hanbali? Rather they should stress only on obedience to the Qur’aan and Sunnah. As Ahlus-Sunnah and Ahlul-Hadith we should abide by the commands of Allah and His Messenger. Educated Muslims should not blindly conform to the views of individuals, rather they should act only on Hadith.
Mulla Ali Qari’s Statement
“It is common knowledge that Allah does not oblige one to be Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, or Hanbali. He, however, asks us to follow Hadith if we are learned and to follow Ulama if we are ignorant.” (Mi’yarul-Haq)
Abdul-Haiy Lakhnawi’s Religious Verdict
Abdul-Haiy Lakhnawi, a distinguished Hanafi scholar pronounces: “It is not a condition for a Muslim to be a Hanafi, etc.” (Majmu’ah Fatawa)
It is evident from the above verdict that being Hanafi, etc. is not one of the conditions for becoming a Muslim. Since in the days of the Prophet (saws) Muslims were not known as Hanafi or Shafi’i, why is it necessary today to acquire such a title?
Why Not Be Known As Muhammadi
If we like to be associated with someone why should not we be known as Muhammadi (the followers of the Prophet Muhammad saws)? As compared to be known as Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, or Hanbali, the association with the Prophet (saws) is much more desirable and it should be preferred to all others.
O brethen! Your Messenger is Prophet Muhammad (saws) whose obedience is binding upon you, as decreed by Allah in the Qur’aan. You are obliged to live by Sunnah and Hadith. By Allah’s leave he should intercede for you on the Day of Judgement. You should therefore give up conformity to others and follow his way. Be members of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah.
O brethen! It is for you to ponder that you feel ashamed of your association with the Prophet (saws) while you take pride in being Hanafi (the follower of Imam Abu Hanifah). Why is it so? Imam Abu Hanifah never asked you to be his follower; he abided by Hadith. You too should directly follow Hadith.
An Example Of Conformity By The Jews
Shah Waliullah wrote describing the state of Jews’ conformity: “Should you like to see an example of the conduct of Jews, look at the misguided UIama who are given to worldliness and are full of conformity. Having abandoned the Qur’aan and Sunnah they blindly follow a certain Imam while they neglect the infallible legislator Prophet Muhammad (saws). Like the Jews they are content with absurd justification of the word of their Imam which they tend to sanctify with inauthentic Hadith.” (Fauzul-Kabir)
Meaning Of Shah Waliullah’s Statement
As to Shah Waliullah’s reference to the conduct of Jews, he speaks of the misguided Ulama who are lost in worldly pursuits. It appears that he mentions such misguided Ulama who cling to blind conformity. We thus learn that some members of the Muslim nation behave like the Jews. By describing the evil ways of the conformists, the Shah strikes similitude between them and the Jews.
To Avoid Conformity Of The Jews
It is clear from the above quotation of Shah Waliullah that such Ulama who, of their worldliness, abandon Hadith and prefer someone’s views and act upon the views in preference to the Prophet’s; they follow in the footsteps of the Jews for their predilection for conformity as opposed to abiding by the Qur’aan and Sunnah. If one would like to observe the conduct of the Jews he should better see such Ulama who are indifferent to the clear directives of the Qur’aan and Sunnah. For the Shah such Ulama are misguided ones. For they are content with this world, even at the expense of losing religion. However, they are guilty of inciting the public to follow them blindly. They relate to the commoners baseless stories and worsen their faith, for their words is taken seriously by them. These worldly religious figures make their disciples follow them blindly for their selfish ends. They exploit them. Same was the conduct of the rabbis who cheated the commoners. Allah says about them: “They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah.” (At-Taubah 9:31)
Elaborating this verse the Prophet (saws) remarked: “They did not worship their rabbis and their monks. However, they believed in what was declared lawful or unlawful by them, though without any sanction.” (Tirmidhi)
Allah charges them in the above verse, with taking their rabbis and their monks as their lords besides Allah. The Prophet (saws) explained this point with reference to their blind acceptance of their pronouncements about lawful and unlawful things. They never examined their ruling in the light of the Torah or the Gospel. In other words, they blindly followed them.
O Muslim brethen! Draw lesson from the above verse and in elucidation by the Prophet (saws). Do not imitate your religious scholars blindly. Do not act upon their rulings without scrutinizing these. Verify things in that if their views are in line with Hadith these must be obeyed. However, if they are contrary to Hadith, spurn them. Do not take such Ulama as sincere to you who make you blindly follow them by recounting to you baseless stories. Sunnah offers the light which should guide you. If you belong to Ahlus-Sunnah and practice conformity, it is likely that you might follow some unsubstantiated view of theirs opposed to Hadith and your following the same would land you into error. Allah regards the practice of accepting unsound views of Ulama in the context of lawful and unlawful things as taking them as lords besides Allah. It is done in order to caution people and to tell them to follow someone carefully in matters of religion.
Being Hanafi Or Shafi’i Represents Only Teacher-Disciple Relationship
Some religious figures of early days are referred to as Hanafi or Shafi’i not in the sense that they were some blind-followers. Ignorance is the very prerequisite of conformity whereas they were outstanding scholars of the Qur’aan and Hadith. Given then, they cannot be branded as blind-followers. This appellation as used of them indicates simply the teacher-disciple relationship. Students of Imam Abu Hanifah came to ne known as Hanafi and those of Imam Shafi’i as Shafi’i. It simply signified what an Alig or Deobandi represents, i.e., the fact that someone is a student of the Aligarh Muslim University or Dar ul-Uloom, Deoband respectively.
Conformity is not some religious issue. For it does not occur in the Qur’aan and Hadith. Nor did it exist in the golden period of the Companions and their successors and followers. It was invented only in the fourth century Hijri. Since then it has gained currency, rendering people speechless and making them follow their Imam without any basis.
By definition a blind-follower is an ignorant person. For he has no personal opinion or independent judgement. He cannot undertake a study nor can he enquire about the basis of a certain point. Throughout his life he leads a pathetic life which he cannot help. In view of the same the great Urdu poet Iqbal holds that suicide is better than such blind-following which hinders one’s facilities of thinking, understanding, reflection, and seeking knowledge. For it keeps one ignorant all along his life. Since suicide is forbidden in Islam, blind-following then becomes more forbidden than it.
Muslims are thus told that they should not remain ignorant. Rather they should acquire knowledge, learn the Qur’aan and Hadith and act accordingly. They should not merely follow their worldly Ulama (religious scholars). They should seek a way out in the light of the Qur’aan and Sunnah and live by these. They should not pursue blind-conformity.
Need For Arguments
Reasoning demands arguments whereas conformity calls for blind-following. A conformist need not use reason and ask for argument. He is obliged to follow his Imam blindly and remain throughout his life in the state of ignorance.
Conditional Conformity Is Justified
A commoner is ignorant. Whenever in need of guidance he must ask a religious scholar. Being ignorant he does not know, so the scholar should guide him, out of fear of Allah, towards the Commands of Allah and His Prophet (saws). The guidance should be drawn from the Qur’aan and Hadith and the ignorant person should act on it. This, however, should be subject to the condition that if the very issue of religion is proved contrary to Hadith later, he would abandon it and follow Hadith. It explains that kind of conformity an ignorant person should practise. This point is not called into question by anyone. For Allah asks us to consult a scholar if we do not know something. Conformity, nonetheless, presupposes ignorance. So only an ignorant, not knowledgeable, person can practise conformity.
Conformity To An Individual
Sheikh Ibn Hammam, an outstanding Hanafi, states: “There is no ground, whatever for conformity to an individual.” (Fathul-Qadir)
Mulla Ali Qari says: “One who rejects Hadith is a disbeliever.” (Haqeeqatul-Fiqh)
Implicit in it is the idea that one acts on a view contrary to Hadith and rejects Hadith out of his prejudice.
When asked how far he followed Imam Abu Hanifah in matters of religion, Imam Abu Yusuf replied: “Imam Abu Hanifah was a religious teacher. We accepted all that was good from him and rejected all that was not good.” (Tareeq Muhammadi)
It is evident that Imam Abu Yusuf was not his blind-follower. In selecting between good and bad things from him the Imam made a study. And one who undertakes such a study is a scholar, not a blind-follower.
Imam Abu Hanifah’s Prohibition Against Blind-Following
The leading Imams never asked that they be followed blindly and others should act on their views without basis in Shari’ah. Imam Abu Hanifah says: “It is forbidden to pronounce a Fatwa on the basis of my view unless one knows the basis of my view.” (Mizan Sha’rani)
If the Imam’s view is sanctioned by the Qur’aan and Hadith, it may serve as the basis of a ruling and should be acted upon. Otherwise it is not so. So those knowledgeable persons who take the Imam’s views as part of religion without a basis do not even follow the Imam. For he himself prohibits the same. May Allah shower His Mercy on the Imam for his truthful observation: “If my opinion is contrary to the Qur’aan, abandon it.” When people asked him what to do if it was against Hadith, he told them to forsake his opinion. He was again asked what to do if it was against the sayings of the Companions. He replied to give up his opinion even then.” (Raudatul-‘Ulama)
Imam Abu Hanifah again observes: “Whenever my opinion runs counter to the Qur’aan and Hadith, follow the former and forsake my opinion.” (Mizaan Sha’rani)
This golden saying of the Imam is worth remembering: “My stance is what is sound Hadith.” (‘Iqdul-Jeed)
It emerges that he was a follower of Hadith. His words make the same point. One also learns that he abided by Hadith.
The Imam did not direct that he be followed blindly nor he had such an opinion about his views. He did not invent some Hanafi Madhab. On the contrary, he repeatedly stresses that the Qur’aan, Sunnah, and Hadith be followed. He defined himself as one of the Ahul-Hadith. Yet the Hanafis pay no heed to him. O brethen! Listen to Allah, act on the Prophet’s (saws) teachings and pay heed to Imam Abu Hanifah’s advice.
Why do you conform to an individual while it is not commanded by Allah or the Prophet (saws) or Imam Abu Hanifah? You prefer someone’s views to Hadith and abandon Hadith, and you still take pride in being Ahlus-Sunnah. This is the way of biases and stubborn conformists. However, those who prefer Hadith to everything else really belong to Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah.
Imam Abu Hanifah has stated: “All that is borne out by Hadith is worth following.” (Zafarul-Amani)
O brethen! In accordance with this directive of the Imam prefer what is endorsed by Hadith to everything else. Do not contend that it is something contrary to your school and reject it. For the Imam asks that Hadith be followed: “It is related by Sheikh Muhyuddin in his Futuhat Makkiyah with reference to Imam Abu Hanifah that the latter said: Avoid personal opinion in matters of religion. Make it a point to adhere to Sunnah. For one who defies Sunnah is misguided.” (Haqeeqatul-Fiqh)
Think! Imam Abu Hanifah emphasizes that Sunnah be followed. We also elaborate the same point that Hadith and Sunnah be followed.
It is stated in the book of Mizan Sha’rani: “Someone in Kufah brought a copy of the Book of Daniel. On noting this Imam Abu Hanifah and others were enraged, intent on killing him. They told him: ‘Is there any source of religion other than the Qur’aan and Hadith?'” (Haqeeqatul-Fiqh)
O brethen! Adhere to the Qur’aan and Hadith alone and act only on these. It is for you to reflect that the Imam could not bear that someone may consult a work other than the Qur’aan and Hadith.
According to Tuhfatul-Akhyar fi Bayanil-Abrar: Imam Abu Hanifah said, “Do not imitate me or Imam Malik or anyone else. Follow in matters of religion their sources, i.e., the Qur’aan and Sunnah.” (Haqeeqatul-Fiqh)
Remember! The Imam categorically asks you not to follow him blindly but to act on the Qur’aan and Sunnah.
Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal’s Prohibition Against Blind-Following
Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal stated: “Never follow me blindly or Imam Malik or Imam Shafi’i or Imam Awza’i or Imam Thawri. Listen! You should draw on the sources (Qur’aan and Hadith) which they used.” (‘Iqdul-Jeed)
Since the Imam unequivocally tells that he or anyone else be not followed blindly, the conformists should give up bind conformity and act only on the Qur’aan and Sunnah. “Imam Ahmad used to say that no one enjoys any authority other than Allah and His Messenger.” (‘Iqdul-Jeed)
On being presented with hadith no one should turn to the view of one’s Imam. One should be frightened to do so. Imam Ahmad says, “Do not entrust your religion to someone by way of blindly following him. Listen! Follow only that which reaches you through the Companions and their successors.” (A’lamul-Muwaqqi’in)
In other words, act only on Hadith and do not follow anyone. This was the message of the leading Imams.
Imam Shafi’i’s Prohibition Against Blind-Following
Imam Shafi’i said, “When I tell you something and there is a saying of the Prophet (saws) against it, the latter is preferable and do not follow me.” (‘Iqdul-Jeed)
Imam Shafi’i used to say, “As you get hold of authentic Hadith, know that it is my viewpoint as well. if you find my view contrary to Hadith, make it a point to follow Hadith and reject my view outright.” (‘Iqdul-Jeed)
“It is established regarding Imam Shafi’i that he prohibited conformity both to himself and to others.” (‘Iqdul-Jeed)
He said, “One who seeks knowledge of the matters and issues of religion without scrutiny is like the one who picks up fuel in the woods in the darkness of the night, without realizing that it contains a snake which would bite him.” (A’lamul-Muwaqqi’in)
It is thus clear from Imam Shafi’i’s vew that one should directly draw upon the Qur’aan and Hadith, and not imitate someone blindly.
Imam Malik’s Prohibition Against Blind-Following
According to Imam Malik: “There is no one perfect in the world and hence, what is good from him is accepted and bad rejected. The only exception, however, is Prophet Muhammad (saws) whose each and every word is true, sound, correct, and worth believing. Throughout one’s life one should not miss a single teaching of his.” (‘Iqdul-Jeed)
The message is that one should take the views of everyone to scrutiny, for no one other than the Prophet (saws) is infallible. Hence everyone should be obeyed with reference to some argument. Blind-following is to be shunned. Imam Malik says, “I am just a human being. Sometimes I am in the right, sometimes not. Reject such views of mine which are discordant with the Qur’aan and Hadith.” (Haqeeqatul-Fiqh)
He asks people not to indulge in blind conformity to him rather they should discern that what is in disagreement with the Qur’aan and Hadith should be spurned and what is in line with these should be accepted.
May Allah bestow His innumerable Mercy on the four Imams for their explicit prohibition against conformity to them. They repeatedly state that what is discordant in their views with Hadith be rejected downright. Conformists are therefore requested to give up conformity, as soughy by the Imams. For the Imams forbid conformity to themselves and ask that one must draw directly on the Qur’aan and Hadith.
IJTIHAAD AND TAQLEED
By Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-’Uthaymeen (d.1421H)
Linguistically ijtihaad means: to expend efforts in order to reach some difficult matter. Technically it means: expending efforts to arrive at a Sharee’ah ruling. And the mujtahid is the one who expends efforts for this purpose.
Conditions for Ijtihaad:
Being a mujtahid has conditions, from them:-
 That he knows the Sharee’ah proofs which he needs in his ijtihaad – such as the aayaat (verses) and ahaadeeth pertaining to rulings.
 That he knows what relates to the authenticity or weakness of a hadeeth, such as having knowledge of the isnaad (chain of narration) and it’s narrators, and other than this.
 That he knows an-naasikh (the abrogating) and al-mansookh (the abrogated), and the places where there is ijmaa’ (consensus) – such that he does not give a ruling according to something that has been abrogated, nor give a ruling that opposes the (authentically related) ijmaa’.
 That he knows from the proofs that which causes the rulings to vary, such as takhsees (particularisation), or taqyeed (restriction), or it’s like. So he does not give a judgement which is contrary to this.
 That he knows the Arabic language and usoolul-fiqh (fundamentals and principles of jurisprudence), and what relates to the meanings and indications of particular wordings – such as al-’aam (the general), al-khaass (the particular), al-mutlaq (the absolute and unrestricted), al-muqayyid (the restricted), al-mujmal (the unclarified), and al-mubayyin (the clarified), and it’s like – in order that he gives rulings in accordance with what this demands.
 That he has the ability to extract rulings from the evidences.
And ijtihâd may be split up, such that it may be undertaken in one particular branch of knowledge, or in one particular issue.
What is Essential for the Mujtahid:
It is essential that the Mujtahid strives in expending his efforts to arrive at knowledge of the truth, and to give rulings in accordance to what is apparent to him. If he is correct, then he has two rewards: one for his ijtihaad, and the other for arriving at the truth – since arriving at the truth means that it is manifested and acted upon. If, however, he is mistaken, then he has a single reward, and his error is forgiven for him – as he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “When a judge judges and strives and is correct, then he has two rewards. If he judges and strives and errs, then he has a single reward.”  If the ruling is not clear to him, then he must withhold – and in such a case, taqlîd is permissible for him, due to necessity.
Taqleed – its Definition:
Linguistically, taqleed means: Placing something around the neck, which encircles the neck. Technically it means: Following he whose sayings is not a hujjah (proof).
Excluded from our saying, “Following he whose saying is not a proof.” is: following the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), following the ijmaa’ and also following the saying of the Companions – for those who consider the saying of a single Companion to be a proof. So following any of these is not called taqleed, since there is a proof for doing so. However this type of following is sometimes referred to as taqleed in a very metaphorical and loose sense.
The Place of Taqleed:
Taqleed is done in two cases:
Firstly: when the muqallid is an ’aamee (a common person) who does not have the ability to acquire knowledge of the Sharee’ah ruling by himself. So taqleed is obligatory upon him, due to the saying of Allaah – The Most High, “Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.” 
So he does taqleed of one whom he considers to be a person of knowledge and piety. If there are two such people who are equal in his view, then he chooses any one of them.
Secondly: 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 this matter. So in this case he is permitted to perform taqleed.
Some stipulate as a condition for the permissibility of taqleed, that the matter is not from the fundamentals of the Religion – those matters which must be held as ’aqeedah – since matters of ’aqeedah require certainty, whereas taqleed only amounts to dhann (knowledge which is not certain).
However the correct saying in this matter is that this is not a condition, due to the generality of his – the Most High’s – saying, “Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.” And this verse is in the context of affirming the Messengership – which is from the fundamentals of the Religion. And also because the common person cannot acquire knowledge of the Sharee’ah rulings with its proofs by himself. So if he is unable to arrive at the truth by himself, then nothing remains for him except taqleed, due to the saying of Allaah – the Most High, “Fear Allaah as much as you can.” 
Types of Taqleed:
Taqleed is of two types: general and specific.
 The general type: that a person sticks to a particular madhhab (school of thought), accepting it’s concessions and non-concessions, in all matters of the Religion.
The Scholars have differed about such a state. So some amongst the late-comers have reported that this is obligatory upon him, due to his inability to perform ijtihaad. Others report it as being forbidden for him, due to its being a case of necessitating unrestricted following of other than the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam).
Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H) said, “The saying that it is obligatory, causes obedience to other than the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) in every matter of command and prohibition, and this is in opposition to the ijmâ’. And the allowance of it contains what it contains.” He, rahimahullaah, also said, “He who sticks to a particular madhhab, and then acts in opposition to it – without making taqleed of another scholar who has given him a ruling, nor does he use an evidence as a proof which necessitates acting in opposition to his madhhab, nor does he have an acceptable Sharee’ah excuse which allows him to do what he has done – then such a person is a follower of his desires, doing what is haraam – without a Sharee’ah excuse – and this is evil and sinful. However, if there becomes clear to him, something which necessitates preference to one saying to another – either due to detailed proofs if he knows and understands them, or because he holds one of two people to be more knowledgeable about this matter and having more piety with regards to what he says – and so he leaves the saying of that one for the saying of the other one, then this is permissible, rather, it is obligatory. And there is a text from Imaam Ahmad about this.”
 The particular type of taqleed is that he accepts a saying about a particular matter. This is permissible if such a person is unable to arrive at knowledge of the by ijtihaad – whether he is unable to in reality, or he is able, but with great difficulty.
Fatwaa of a Muqallid:
Allaah – the Most High – said, “Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.” And the Ahludh-Dhikr are the Ahlul-’Ilm (the people of knowledge), whereas the muqallid is not a person of knowledge who is followed – rather he himself is a follower of someone else.
Ibn ’Abdul-Barr (d.463) and others have said, “The people are united in ijmaa’ that the muqallid is not counted as being from the Ahlul-’Ilm, and that knowledge is the realisation of guidance along with it’s proof.” 
Ibnul-Qayyim (d.756H) said, “And it is as Aboo ’Umar (Ibn ’Abdul-Barr) said, “Indeed, the people do not differ about the fact that knowledge is the realisation attained from proof, but without proof, it is only taqleed.” 
Ibnul-Qayyim then quotes, “There are three sayings about the permissibility of giving fatwaa (legal verdict) based upon taqleed:
Firstly: It is not permissible to give fatwaa based upon taqleed, because it is not knowledge; since issuing a fatwaa without knowledge is forbidden. This is the saying of most of the Hanbalee scholars and the majority of the Shaafi’iyyah.
Secondly: That it is permissible with regards to himself, but it is not permissible to give a fatwâ to others based upon taqleed.
Thirdly: That it is permissible when there is a need for it, and there is no mujtahid scholar. And this is the most correct of the sayings and is what is acted upon.”
 He is: Aboo ’Abdullaah, Muhammad Ibn Saalih Ibn Muhammad Ibnul-’Uthaymeen al-Wuhaybee at-Tameemee. He was born in the town of ’Unayzah (Saudi Arabia) on the 27th of the blessed month of Ramadaan in the year 1347H. He memorised the Qur‘aan during his early life and then continued seeking knowledge under two students of Shaykh ’Abdur-Rahmaan as-Sa’dee. He then continued to study under Shaykh ’Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Sa’dee who is considered to be his first Shaykh, since he remained with him for some time – where he studied Tawheed, Tafseer, Hadeeth, Fiqh, Usoolul-Fiqh, al-Faraa‘id (Laws of Inheritance), Nahw (Grammar) and Sarf (Morphology). Ibnul-’Uthaymeen also studied under the eminent and noble Scholar, Shaykh ’Abdul-’Azeez Ibn Baaz, who is considered to be his second teacher. Under him, he began studying Saheehul-Bukhaaree, some of the works of Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, and some of the books of Fiqh. Ibnul-’Uthaymeen says, “I was influenced by Shaykh ’Abdul-’Azeez Ibn Baaz – hafidhahullaah with regard to the great attention he gave to hadeeth, and I was also influenced by his manners and the way in which he makes himself available to, and puts himself at the service of the people.” One of the foremost Scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah in this present age, the Shaykh is – by Allaah’s grace very active in calling the people to Allaah. Indeed, he has greatly exerted himself with this regard. The Shaykh – hafidhahullaah has written around forty different works, some larger books and some treatises. This particular discussion on ijtihaad and taqleed has been taken from his book: al-Usool min ’Ilmil-Usool (p. 97-104).
 Related by al-Bukhaaree (13/318) and Muslim (no. 1716)
 Sooratun-Nahl [16:43]
 Sooratut-Taghaabun [64:16]
 Jaami’ Bayaanul-’Ilm wa Fadlihi (2/119)
 I’laamul-Muwaqqi’een (l/7)