Taqlid had two means: 1.) Luqwi and 2.) shariyya. Luqwi means to put a chain around the neck; Shariyya means to believe that a statement or act is compulsory on us as where we believe the person is an authentic authority, like we believe Al-Imam Al-A’zam Abu Hanifah’s statements and acts are an example for us. So, the meaning of taqlid is to follow some acts or statements while considering someone as an authority in Shari’ah, and our knowledge of Shari’ah is NOT comparable to his (or any where close), but his words and acts are not the last words and statements on Shari’ah.

   Under the light of the above explanation, we come to know that obedience to Sayyidina Rasulullah (SallAllahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) is NOT taqlid for us and we are NOT muqallid of Sayyidina Rasulullah (SallAllahu 'alayhi wa Sallam), because every word or act of Sayyidina Rasulullah (SallAllahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) is the last word for us. So, we are Ummati of Sayyidina Rasulullah (SallAllahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) as all of the Sahaaba and A’imma are Ummati and not Muqallid. Obedience to an ordinary imam is not taqlid for us for no one is going to believe in their statement considering their words as a final authority in the masa’il of Shari’ah. We believe the ‘Ulama and Mawlawi take their answers from many books; if that answer is against the Shari’ah or Fiqh, we shall not act upon it. On the other hand, if the Imam al-A’zam gives an answer of any problem or masa’il in the light of Holy Qur’an, or from the majority of the Ummah, or from his own research or opinion, then we have to believe in his answer.

   There are two (2) types of taqlid. Taqlid Sharriyy and Taqlid Ghairi Sharriyy. Taqlid Sharriyya means to follow any one in Shari’ah as we follow A’imma Arba and the masa’il of Sawm, ss alaah, Hajj, etc. Taqlid Ghairi Sharriyya means to follow anyone in worldly affairs (like a doctor, poet, etc.). Similarly, if taqlid ghairi sharriyya is against the Shari’ah, it is harm, and if it is not against Shari’ah, it is ja’iz (permissible).

   And which masa’il of taqlid is ja’iz and which is not ja’iz? There are three kinds of sharriyya ghairi: 1.) Aqa’id, 2.) those which are clearly and openly discussed in Holy Qur’an and Hadiiths, and Ijtihad can not take place about this masa’il, and the solution of those masa’il, the Imam gets from the Holy Qur’an and Hadiiths. In Aqa’id, taqlid of anyone is NOT ja’iz; similarly, taqlid in direct orders if not ja’iz.

Example:  Believe in Sawm and Ramadhan, eating hharaam; these are direct orders of Holy Qur’an and Hadiiths, and in these masa’ili, we are not muqallid of anyone.

Question: To whom is taqlid Wajib? There are two (2) types of muqallid Muslim, 1.) he who is Mujtahid, 2.) Those who are not Mujtahid (ghairi Mujtahid). Mujtahid means those who can understand the language of Holy Qur’an completely according to the rules of Arabic grammar and its indications, its aim, the nasiq, the mansuq, and to be able to solve any problems himself in light of this education. He should know nahw and surf and all other Islamic sciences and those who do not know about Islamic sciences are ghairi mujtahid. Taqlid is Wajib for the ghairi mujtahid and not for the Mujtahid.

The six groups of Mujtahideen


Mujtahid Sharriy’a

Mujtahid Sharriy’a  are those who make the rules with the help and deep study of al-Islam, such as the Four Imams (Imams Abu Hanifah, Malik bin Anas, Muhammad Shafi’i, and Ahmad bin Hanbal, Radhi Allah u Anhum). 

Mujtahid al-masa’il

Mujtahid fee Masa’il  are those who are Muqallid in principle and foori in masa’il; they can give answers of these masa’il from The Holy Qur’an and hadiith on condition that there is no explanation from any Imam. Examples would be Imam al-Tahawi, Imam Kazi Khan, and Imam Sharkhail.
3 Mujtahid al-Mathhab Mujtahid fee Mathhab  are those who follow the principles of  Mujtahid fee Sharriy’a; they can get answers of any masa’il in the light of the ijtihad of the Mujtahid fee Sharriy’a, but they are independent in masa’il. Examples would be Al-Imam Muhammad bin Mubarak al-Shaybani (Rahmatullah Alayh) and Al-Imam Abu Yusef al-Ansari (Rahmatullah Alayh). 
4 As-Hab al-takhreej As-Habi Takhreej  are those who can not make ijtihad, but they can give an explanation of a statement of an Imam. An example would be Imam Qarki. 
5 As-Hab al-tarjee’a As-Hab al-Tarjee’a  are those who can give preference to any statement of Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifah; for instance, if there are two statements by al-Imam al-A’zam about one masala, they can point out which one is the more important. There were only two of theses: Imam  Sahib Hadiya, Imam Sahib Qardari. No one can become ‘Alim without reading from both of these. 
6 As-Hab al-tameez As-Hab al-Tameez  are those who can find the difference between the two statements from al-Imam al-A’zam as to which one is strong and which one is weak. Examples would be Sahib Kanz and Sahib Mukhtar.

The Wahhabiyya say we are at the stage of ijtihad now. We should know if a person who claims he can make ijtihad has the capacity or not, and what his capabilities are according to ranks you have just been given. Imam Razi (Tafsir Kabiya), al-Imam al-Ghazali, Imam al-Bukhari, Imam Al-Tirmithi, and al-Sheikh ‘Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (Radhi Allah u Anh) were all complete ‘Alim and Awliya who had all sorts of sciences and did not announce their ijtihad. They were all Muqallideen of different Imams.

Proof that Taqlid is Wajib

The fourth Ayah in Surah al-Fatehah:

"Ihdi nas-Siiraha-tal-Mustaqeem. Siiraha-tal-latheena ‘an’amta ‘alayhim."

This Ayah shows that the correct path is that which all noble personalities adopt such as muhadditheen, mufassireen, awliya, and mutaqeen ‘alim-uddeen. They were all Muqallideen.