Guidance by Intellect

Our intellect also supports the fact that taqleed is needed. The reason is that man is not something that has been created and then set aside. Rather he is an active existence that is always struggling and striving. With every breath he is eager to learn where he is heading to and how he can get there. In this struggle the primary condition for success is to know for sure what path he needs to take to get to his destination. And if he himself does not know it, he needs to get directions from someone who knows how to get there.

This is precisely why, in order to facilitate traffic, all big cities have signboards everywhere, giving directions to different places. They tell us what direction to take, where to turn and what speed to follow. The traffic experts have actually brought the roads alive by drawing all kinds of signs on the roads. These symbols have taken on international standards that guide people from all over the world alike.

Suppose the traffic rules did not exist or were not followed, do you think in this age of high speed traffic, travel would be safe? Absolutely not, everyone would be scared at every step.

If human intellect emphasizes use of taqleed (following someone else’s laid down rules) in the mundane affairs of normal life, how is it possible that in the important realm of religion everyone could be free to follow or not follow rules of Sharia at their own whims.

After all, Islam has a system with rules and regulations that need to be followed. Until and unless you know the relevant rules and regulations well, you will not be able to act according to them. Either a man has the ability to do Ijtihad himself as he can do the research and understand issues of jurisprudence himself; or, to know the shara’i rules, he has no other choice but to do taqleed.

Another thought worth considering. All wise people in the world say, “one must defend against imminent danger”. That is, whenever there is a danger, one must protect himself.

You see, we have to keep in mind that if our ignorance about sharai issues keeps growing, then all our worldly affairs will come to a halt. So it is imperative that we take care of this issue. Does it not make sense that people should clearly understand the religious obligations so they could satisfy them in the most appropriate manner and nothing is left un-fulfilled?

Once again, there are only two ways of dealing with these dangers. The first is research, i.e., one should climb the Ijtihad ladder himself. The second is taqleed, i.e., follow the fatwa of a mujtahid. The first method is not possible for everyone; the second is easy to follow. This is precisely why taqleed has been declared mandatory (wajib).