You see, taqleed is not following ancestors who were lost in the dark or a society immersed in ignorance. In the language of fiqh, being aware of one’s duties with alert intellect and open eyes, is called taqleed.
Secondly, taqleed has no relationship with principles (Usul-e-Din). Rather it deals with the day today issues that everyone comes across.
However, there are people who are adamant that they will not accept the concepts of taqleed and Ijtihad and put forward the argument that these ideas are neither found in Allah’s Book nor in the sayings of infallible Fourteen. To such people our submission is that as far as Qur’an is concerned we have written enough. As to what the infallible Fourteen have said about this subject, again we have discussed at length.
However, for further explanation, one of the sayings of Imam Hasan al-Askari (as) is presented here for the benefit of those who are hollering that the word “taqleed” was non-existent in the days of the Holy Prophet (S) and the infallible Fourteen. Our humble submission is that during those days this word as a phrase was as well-known as the local currency. Everyone had it at the tip of their tongues. Women used it extensively. As a proof kindly review the following:
عن ابي بصير قال: دخلت أم خالد العبدية على ابي عبد الله عليه السلام وأنا عنده فقالت: جعلت فداك إنه يعتريني قراقر في بطني (فسالته عن أعلال النساء وقالت) وقد وصف لي أطباء العراق النبيذ بالسويق وقد وقفت وعرفت كراهتك له فأجببت أن أسألك عن ذلك، فقال لها: وما يمنعك عن شربه؟ قالت: قد قلد تك ديني فألقى الله عزوجل حين ألقاه فاخبره أن جعفر بن محمد عليهما السلام أمرني ونهاني فقال: يا أبا محمد ألا تسمع إلى هذه المرأة وهذه المسائل لا والله لا آذن لك في قطرة منه ولا تذوقي منه قطرة فإنما تندمين إذا بلغت نفسك ههنا وأومأ بيده إلى حنجرته يقولها ثلاثا: أفهمت؟ قالت: نعم ثم قال أبوعبدالله عليه السلام: ما يبل الميل ينجس حبا من ماء يقولها ثلاثا. أفهمت؟ قالت: نعم.
It is related to Abu Basir for whose integrity and credibility there is total consensus in the circles of Imamia scholars. Kindly check.1
Imam As-Sadiq (as) is the source of this saying. This tradition is also mentioned in Al Kafi, the oldest collection of our principles and practical aspects of religious doctrine (Usul and Fur’u). This book was the result of the grand efforts of the most famous narrator of Shia Fiqh, Muhammad Ibn Yaqoob Kalini. The tradition goes like this:
“Abu Basir says, “Once I was in the sacred company of Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as). A woman, Umm Khalid Al Abdiyya, came to see the Imam and implored, “My stomach keeps gurgling. A doctor from Iraq prescribes that I should mix barley with wine and drink. But I know that you do not approve of it and I have come to ask you.” The Imam heard it and said, “Then what is your problem in using it?” The woman said, “I am in your taqleed and after I die I would need to answer if you allowed me to drink it or not.” The Imam responded, “Even if you are on your death bed, do not take even a sip. If you do not follow my instructions, you will regret it. Do you understand?”2
We have several more references in this regard but there is no point in dragging the issue on. However, we wish to tell those who are searching for the word “taqleed” in the days of the Imams that they should be prepared to discuss 11th Imam’s hadith mentioned earlier.
Firstly, instead of scrutinizing this particular hadith in a just way, some writers have hastened to declare it weak. In order to decide about the validity of traditions there are several factors that need to be looked at. It is important to know the rules of “Study of Personalities (‘Ilm al-Rijal)” and the rules for “Determining What Really Happened (Darayat)”. The subject core should be studied from credibility point of view. It is imperative to see that every part of the hadith is according to the basic commands and conditions of the sharia. Does the statement have the desired depth of thought and strength of meanings? In addition the position and status of channels used for transmitting the hadith need to be critically assessed.
Then, about the scholars who have accepted this hadith and made it part of their body of knowledge; what is the level of their research and what is their status in the scholarly world?
The expediency-loving writers have ignored all the rules and regulations that should be the bases of scrutiny and have expressed doubts about the under-discussion hadith. As an example, they are not satisfied with the channel of transmission as it includes such narrators as – Muhammad Ahmed Ibn Abbas, Muhammad Ibn Qasim, Yousuf Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ziad and Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Yasar.
However, we wish that these critics had asked the opinions of the great scholars of the “Study of Personalities” (‘Ilm al-Rijal). For your satisfaction please study the following:
- Bahjatul Aamal, Allama Ali At Tayyari, vol 6, p 56, published Bunyad Farhang Islami, Iran -
- Tanqih Ul Miqal, Ayatullah Mamaqani, vol 1, p 280, Intisharate Jahan, Tehran –
- Ma’jame Rijalul Hadith, Ayatullah Khooi, vol 15, p 9, Intisharate Aasare Shia, Iran –
In all these collections of knowledge and wisdom the narrators mentioned have been declared highly trust-worthy, credible and reliable. And the great personalities who have expressed these opinions are all our intellectual leaders and an excellent gift of the time.
Now we wish to get the privilege of quoting a hadith that is famous as Mo’tabara Tusi (a completely reliable tradition quoted by Sheikh Tusi). The eleventh Imam (as) says:
"فأما من كان من الفقهاء صائنا لنفسه حافظا لدينه مخالفا لهواه مطيعا لأمر مولاه فللعوام ان يقلدوه."
“General public should follow in taqleed those fuqaha who control themselves, take care of Din, stay away from inner desires and are obedient to Allah.”
For the consumption of those people who say that this tradition has only been mentioned in an unreliable Commentary of Qur’an, here are references from eighteen books that clearly mention this hadith:
1. Wasayl ush-Shia, Sheikh Hurr Al-Amili, vol 27, p 131, Intisharate Muassasa Ahlul Bayt, Qum
2. Al Ihtijaj, Sheikh Ahmed Ibn Ali Tabrisi, vol 2, p 263, published Muassasa tul A’alami, Beruit
3. Tafsir Imam Hasan Al-Askari (as), p 300
4. Mustanad Ush-Shia, Muhaqqaq Naraqi, vol 2, p 519
5. Bihar Ul-Anwar, Allama Majlisi, vol 2, p 88, published Muassasa tul Wafa, Beruit
6. Kanzud Daqaiq, Mirza Muhammad Mashhadi, vol 1, p 381
7. Faraidul Usul, Sheikh Murtadha Al-Ansari, vol 1, p 141
8. Awaid Ul-Ayyam, Muhaqqaq Naraqi, p 199, Manshurat, Maktaba Basirati, Qum
9. Nihayatul Afkar, Sheikh Zia Uddin Iraqi, vol 4, p 244
10. Hasarul Ijtihad, Aaqa Buzurg Tehrani, p 51
11. Kitabul Qaza, Sheikh Ansari, p 341
12. Al-Urwatul Wusqa, Sayyid Muhammad Kazim Yazdi, vol 1, p 10, published Muassasatul A’alami, Beruit
13. Mustamsak Al-Urwatul Wusqa, Sayyid Mohsin Hakeem, vol 1, p 41, published Beruit
14. Alfiqatul Istidlali, Sayyid Abul Qasim Khooi, vol 1, p 81, 105, 221, 230, 231, 236
15. Al-Ijtihad wal-Taqleed, Sheikh Ahmed Azari Qummi, vol 1, p 32, Intisharate Muassasa Darul Ilm, Qum
16. Masail Minul Ijtihad wal-Taqleed, Sheikh Hussain Noori, p 101, Markaz Ul-Nasharul Islami, Qum
17. Al-Ijtihad wal-Taqleed, Sheikh Muhammad Mehdi Al Asafi, p 105, published Markaz Al Ghadir, 3rd edition, Qum
18. Awalim Ul-Uloom, Sheikh Abdullah Bahrani, part 3, p 410, published Qum
To conclude we need to commit to memory a decree of Current Imam (as). It provides us a very thoughtful rule for accepting a tradition. The greatest faqih and expert on traditions in Shia school of thought, Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Hassan Hurr Al-Amili writes, “This sacred command from the Current Imam (as) was transmitted by Muhammad Ibn Abdul Aziz Kushi via his book “Al Rijal” to Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Qatiba who then handed it over to us through Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim Maraghi. The command says:
"فإنه لا عذر لأحد موالينا في التشكيك فيما يؤديه عنا ثقاتنا."
“Our friends should not hesitate to accept our messages when they come through our trusted people.” 3
The jewel of knowledge, Imam As-Sadiq (as), handed his bright student Umar Ibn Hanzala another rule about checking the credibility of a tradition. He says:
"ان المجتمع عليه لا ريب فيه."
“If there is consensus among the intellectuals of the nation on a hadith, there is no need to hesitate in accepting it.”4
"وما علينا إلا البلاغ."
- 1. Muntahi Aalamal, Sheikh Abbas Qummi, vol 2, p 175, published in Tehran
- 2. Furu Kafi, Kalini, vol 6, p 413, Hadith number 1, published Darul Kutub Islamia, Tehran; Al Hadaiq Un Nazira, Muhaqqaq Bohrani, vol 1, p 288, published Beruit ; Wasayl ush-Shia, Hurr al-Amili, vol 25, p 344, Intisharat Muassasa Aal Bait, Qum; Jawahir Ul Kalam, Sheikh Muhammad Hasan Najfi, vol 36, p 445, published Beruit.
- 3. Wasayl ush-Shia, vol 1, chapter 3, hadith number 61, p 38, third edition, Intisharate Muassasa Ahlul Bayt, Qum
- 4. Wasayl ush-Shia, vol 27, chapter 9, hadith number 1, p 106, third edition, Intisharate Muassasa Ahlul Bayt, Qum