Why is Taqlid Necessary in Islam?

Deriving Islamic rulings from their sources is a process that entails a profound textual study of God’s Holy Book and the authentic narrations of the Prophet and his purified progeny (pbut). The practical method of rational people throughout history is to seek guidance and advice in any given matter from those who have expertise. Read more here: https://www.imam-us.org/principles-of-emulation-taqlid/

Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim, my dear brothers and sisters, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala has created a perfect system for us. In it he defines the beliefs and the tenets of our conviction. He also provides for us a guide of practical actions that we can implement in our lives. Humanity is such that we constantly seek perfection in everything we do, whether it is in school, whether it is our careers, our relationships, and particularly for the things that are most critical, we seek to reach a level of excellence such that there are no negative consequences.

If there is shortcoming in our actions and indeed the most critical things in life, the things that are most important to us are the ones that if there are shortcomings in the fulfillment of them or in reaching the objectives or goals that are considered as part of them, that there are chances or there is a potential for negative consequences. Take, for example, if I, God forbid, was afflicted with a disease or I had been in an accident or injured and my situation was critical and my life depended on it, a friend of mine takes me and puts me in a car and starts to race towards the hospital.

On the way to the hospital, I am sitting there clutching onto the last bits of my energy, I feel that my life is drifting away, that potentially something bad could happen. On the way to the hospital, we see a sign that says for urgent medical assistance, follow an arrow that is pointing to the right. We immediately turn right following the sign and see a subsequent sign that says the same thing for immediate medical assistance, for urgent need. Follow the arrow.

Following the arrows, we reach a old warehouse, a dilapidated building with shuttered windows, with a rusty wall, with dust. It is unkempt. It is absolutely in a poor state. We get to that building. It says medical needs provided for here with a big sign, the door opens and a man in a lab coat comes out. He sees that I am injured. He sees that I am in need. And he says, come in, I can perform surgery on you.

I walk into that room and I see that there is nothing on the walls. There are no certificates, there are no diploma saying where this person received their medical degree or where they got their licensing. I see only rusty instruments, dilapidated equipment, only things that creates doubt inside of me. There is no way that I would allow this person to perform medical procedures on me. There is no way I will put my life in their hands. It would be considered lunacy to do so.

Yet my dear brothers and sisters, for the things that are most important in our life, sometimes we put them or relegate them, or we take recourse in a resource that does not provide us with legitimate information so we can succeed if I want to build a house and I want to do so in a professional and sound manner, and I am not an architect or an engineer or a builder, there is no way I can do it myself. I have to turn to the experts to do so.

In fact, if I were to build a house on my own with no expertize, the foundation would be weak yet for religion, for the thing that is most important, that encompasses the the years of our life, that not only is in the 60, 70, 80 years, whatever a lot has given to us, but also beyond this world, to the next world, to that to the permanent abode, that this religion has an impact on the way we live.

We take recourse in those people who have no knowledge to get to understanding of our religion.

We try to find out about the practical actions of our religion from people who do not know, or we take recourse in doubtful actions and in suspicious activities. Instead, we must practice, lead or emulation. We must go to those who have dedicated themselves to learning and knowing the religion, deriving the practical actions from the sources like the Holy Qur'an and the authentic traditions of the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam.

In doing this, we build the foundation of our religion brick by brick, and we do so knowing that we have placed the most critical aspect of our lives in their hands, in the hands of those people who can provide us with legitimate information, just like we would build our house and put it in the hands of a builder or save our own physical lives, our bodies, and put our lives in the hands of the doctor.

Hence, we must practice Taqlid for the most important thing in our life, the most critical thing in our life, and that is our religion. To learn more about this, go to www.imam-us.org to read the article on Taqlid. Let us learn together and move forward. Assalamu alaykum, wa rahmatullahi, wa barakatuh.