What is Taqlid?

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ShaykhHishamIndonesiaMawlids200929Definition of Taqlid

Literal: Taqlid is the verbal noun derived from the Arabic root q-l-d,
which means to place, gird, or adorn with a necklace.

Technical: The acceptance of another’s statement without demanding proof or evidence, on the belief that the statement is being made in accordance with fact and proof.

Aswad ibn Yazid narrates:

“Mu`adh came co us in Yemen as a teacher (or as a leader). We asked him concerning a person who had died leaving [as his heirs ] a daughter and sister. He decreed half the estate for the daughter and half for the sister.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1.:297).

This was during the lifetime of the Messenger (s). From this hadith a number of points are established:

(1) Taqlid was in practice during the time of the Messenger of Allah (s). The questioner (in the hadith) did not demand proof or a basis for the decree. He accepted the ruling, relying on the integrity, piety, and righteousness of Mu`adh (r) – This is a precise example of taqlid in practice.
(2) The Messenger (s) did nor criticize the people of his time who followed Mu`adh (r)  nor did the Messenger (s) have any objection on the issue.
(3) This hadith furnishes proof for the validity of taqlid shakhsi or “following one particular person in the affairs of Islamic Law.” The Messenger of Allah (s) had appointed Mu`adh (r) to provide religious instruction to the people of Yemen. It is evidence that the Messenger of Allah (s) granted the people of Yemen the right and permission to refer to Mu`adh (r) in all affairs of the Din [religion]. The permissibility and validity of taqlid therefore evident from this, especially because of’ its prevalence in the glorious time of the Messenger (s).

[Source: Fiqh al-Imam, Abdur Rahman bin Yusuf, White Thread Press]

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