Definition of Ijtihaad
Linguistically ijtihaad means:
to expend efforts in order to reach some difficult matter.
Technically it means: expending efforts to
arrive at a Sharee'ah ruling. And the Mujtahid is the one who expends efforts
for this purpose.
Conditions for Ijtihaad
Being a mujtahid has conditions, from them:-
That he knows the Sharee'ah proofs which he needs in his ijtihaad - such as the verses and ahaadeeth pertaining to rulings.
That he knows what relates to the authenticity or weakness of a hadeeth, such as having knowledge of the isnaad and it's narrators and other than this.
That he knows the abrogated and the abrogating, and the places where there is ijmaa - such that he does not give a ruling according to something that has
been abrogated, nor give a ruling that
opposes the (authentically related) ijmaa.
That he knows from the proofs that which causes the rulings to vary, such as takhsees
(particularisation), or taqyeed (restriction), or it's like. So he does
not give a judgement which
is contrary to this.
That he knows the Arabic language and usul al-fiqh, and what relates to the meanings and indications of particular wordings - such as the general,
the particular, the absolute and unrestricted, the restricted, the unclarified, and
the clarified, and it's like - in order that he gives rulings in
accordance with what this demands.
6) That he has the ability to extract rulings from the evidences. And ijtihaad may be split up, such that it may be undertaken in one particular branch of knowledge, or
in one particular issue.
What is essential for the Mujtahid
It is essential that the Mujtahid strives in expending his efforts to
arrive at knowledge of the truth, and to give rulings in accordance to what is apparent to him. If he is correct, then he has two rewards: one for his ijtihaad, and the other for arriving at the truth
- since arriving at the truth means that it is manifested and acted upon. If,
however, he is mistaken, then he has a single reward, and his error is forgiven him, as the Prophet (saw) said:-
a judge judges and strives and is correct, then he has two rewards. If he judges
and strives and errs, then he has a single reward.
ruling is not clear to him, then he must withold - and in such a case, taqleed is permissible for him, due to necessity.
Taqleed - it's definition
Linguistically, taqleed means:
Placing something around the neck, which encircles the neck.
Technically it means:
Following he whose saying is not a proof (hujjah).
from our saying, "following he whose saying is not a proof" is: following the Prophet (saw), following the ijmaa and also
following the saying of the Sahaabee - for those who consider the saying of a single sahaabee to be a proof. So following any of these is not called taqleed, since there is a proof for doing so. However this type of following is sometimes referred to as taqleed in a very metaphorical and loose sense.
The Place of Taqleed
Taqleed is done in two cases:
1) when the muqallid is an 'aamee (a common person) who does not have
the ability to acquire knowledge of the sharee'ah ruling by himself. So taqleed
is obligatory upon him, due to the saying of Allaah - The Most High:-
“Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know”
So he does taqleed of one whom he considers to be a person of knowledge
and piety. If there are two such people who are equal in his view, then he chooses
any one of them.
The mujtahid when he encounters a new situation, for which an immediate solution is
required, but it is not possible for him to research into this matter. So
in this case he is permitted to perform taqleed.
Some stipulate as a condition for the permissibility of taqleed, that
the matter is not from the fundamentals of the Deen - those matters which must be held as aqeedah - since matters of aqeedah
require certainty, whereas taqleed only amounts to dhann (knowledge which is not certain).
However the correct saying in this matter is that this is not a condition,
due to the generality of
His - the Most High's - saying:-
Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.
And this verse is in the context of affirming the Messengership - which
is from the fundamentals of the Deen. And also because the ‘aamee cannot
acquire knowledge of the Sharee'ah rulings with it's proofs by himself. So if
he is unable to arrive at the truth by himself, then nothing remains for him except taqleed, due to the saying of Allaah -
the Most High:-
Fear Allaah as much as you can
Types of Taqleed
Taqleed is of two types: general and specific.
The general type:
that a person sticks to a particular madhhab (school of thought), accepting
it's concessions and non-concessions, in all matters of the Deen.
The scholars have differed about such a state. So some amongst the late-comers have reported that this is obligatory upon him, due to his inability to
perform ijtihaad. Others report it as being forbidden for him, due to its being
a case of necessitating unrestricted following of other than the Prophet (saw).
Shaykh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah rahimahullaah
The saying that
it is obligatory, causes obedience to other than the Prophet (saw) in every matter of command and prohibition, and this is
in opposition to the ijmaa'. And allowance of it contains what it contains.
He rahimahullaah also said,
He who sticks to
a particular madhhab, and then acts in opposition to it - without making taqleed of another scholar who has given him a ruling,
nor does he use an evidence as a proof which necessitates acting in opposition to his madhhab, nor does he have an acceptable
Sharee'ah excuse which allows him to do what he has done - then such a person is a follower of his desires, doing what is
haraam - without a Sharee'ah excuse - and this is evil and sinful.
However, if there becomes clear to him, something which necessitates
preference to one saying to another - either due to detailed proofs if he knows and understands them, or because he holds
one of two people to be more knowledgeable about this matter and having more piety with regards to what he says - and so he
leaves the saying of that one for the saying of the other one, then this is permissible, rather, it is obligatory. And there is a text from Imaam Ahmad rahimahullaah about this.
The particular type:
that a person accepts a saying about a particular matter.
This is permissible if such a person is unable to arrive at knowledge
of the truth by ijtihaad - whether he is unable in reality, or he is able, but with great difficulty.
of a Muqallid
Allaah - the Most High - said:-
Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.
And the Ahludh-Dhikr are the Ahlul Ilm (the people of knowledge), whereas
the muqallid is not a person of knowledge who is followed - rather he himself is a follower of someone else.
Ibn Abdul Barr (d.463) and others have said:-
The people are united
in ijmaa that the muqallid is not counted as being from the Ahlul Ilm, and that knowledge is the realisation of guidance along
with it's proof
Ibn al-Qayyim said:-
And it is as Abu
Umar (ibn Abdul Barr) said: Indeed, the people do not differ about the fact that knowledge is the realisation attained from
proof, but without a proof, it is only taqleed.
Ibn al-Qayyim then quotes:-
There are three
sayings about the permissibility of giving fatwaa based upon taqleed:
Firstly, it is not
permissible to give fatwaa based upon taqleed, because it is not knowledge; since issuing a fatwaa without knowledge is forbidden. This is the saying of most of the Hanbalee scholars and the majority of the Shaafi'iyya
Secondly, that it
is permissible with regards to himself, but it is not permissible to give a fatwaa to others based upon taqleed..
it is permissible when there is a need for it, and there is no mujtahid scholar. And
this is the most correct of the sayings and is what is acted upon.
Shaykh al-Albaanee says in his, The
Hadeeth is a Proof in itself after mentioning the statements of the Imaams on Taqleed as found in the introduction to
'The Prophets Prayer Described' brings a chapter heading, "Taqleed for whoever cannot search for proofs by himself" (pp94+),
'"Some may ask: "Not everyone has the ability to be a Person of Knowledge,
as explained before?" We say: yes indeed. No one disputes this fact. Allaah said:-
Ask the People of Knowledge if you do not know
Allah also says:-
Ask the knowledgeable about it (25:59).
The Prophet (saw), for those who issued fatwa without knowledge said:-
not they have asked if they did know? The cure for the confused one is to ask.
However, we did not mention all of the above evidence to show who can
and who cannot be a scholar. Our research is with regards to those few who are
considered to be People of Knowledge....Taqleed is upon the common person and the ignorant one. The scholars, who can search for the evidence, are excluded from this group. They are the ones whose responsibility is not to do Taqleed. Rather,
their responsibility is to perform Ijtihaad.
The following saying by Ibn Abdul Barr explains this matter further:-
All these rules
are for the common folk, they are the ones who have to perform Taqleed of their scholars when needed. They are not capable of understanding or comprehending evidence or knowledge. Knowledge has grades, one cannot attain the topmost grade unless he goes via the base...Scholars do not
differ with regards to the common folk having to follow their scholars...
However, I believe that to generalise about the common folk by saying
that they all must perform taqleed is invalid. Taqleed is to follow others without
evidence. Many intelligent people can clearly understand evidence if it is presented
to them. Who can deny that a common person can understand the evidence contained
in the hadeeth:-
"Tayammum is one strike (of the hands on the dust) for the face and hands"?
Even people lacking intelligence can understand this hadeeth.
Therefore, the truth is that we must say that Taqleed is allowed for
whosoever cannot search for or understand the evidence, Ibn al-Qayyim also was of this opinion. Even scholars are forced to do Taqleed sometimes, when a scholar cannot find a text from Allaah or His
Messenger (saw), but only sayings of more knowledgeable scholars.
Jaami' Bayaanul-'Ilm wa Fadlihi [2/119]. And Allaamah al-Fulaanee says in his,
'Eeqaadh Hamam Oolil Absaar' (pg. 25), "....ilm refers only to what is in Allaah's Book, and the Sunnah of Allaah's Messenger
(saw) and the ijmaa and what is gained by qiyaas upon these sources....It does not refer to what the muqallids and the people
of party spirit regard as ilm - in their restricting ilm to refer to that which is written in the books of the opinions of
the madhaahib - even though some of that clashes with the Prophetic ahaadeeth.."