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Taqleed - following one of the four Imaams

Date published: 4 December 2021
Topic: Supplementary articles



Taqleed is to accept the view of an imaam with trust that his views verify to The Quran and Sunnah. Those who follow the Taqleed of an imaam are called muqallid and those who deny Taqleed are the non-denominational Muslims (gair-muqallid).The Ahle Hadith (Wahabis) don't believe in the Taqleed of the four imaams. Without having an understanding of Taqleed, they propagandize that Taqleed is obeying an individual. Contrarily, the Islamic Jurist (Fuqahaa), and the interpreters of Islamic Law (Mujtahideen) explain that after extensive research according to recognized rules, the mujtahid discovers a certain rule of shariya, which an ordinary Muslim shall accept. This is not the same as obeying or blindly following a specific individual. Rather, this is a reliable method of acting according to the sharia and religious laws with the help of an able individual.


However, it must be acknowledged that it is not permissible to make Taqleed of an imaam in Islamic beliefs (aqeeda). For example, if we are asked as how we have accepted the oneness of Allah Ta'ala, and in the Prophethood of Prophet

Muhamamd , we cannot say that it is through the rulings of an imaam.'


There are cases and issues that are apparently complicated in The Holy Quran and hadith. It is in these cases and issues we follow the Taqleed of an imaam. There are cases where in one hadith, the instructions are do something, but in another hadith, the instructions are not to do the same thing. For example,

Hazrat Mughirah bin Shuobah(Radi Allahu Anhu) narrates that Prophet said, 'if a baby is delivered dead, pray janaza over them'. (Tirmidhi, Ibne Majah and more).

In another hadith, Hazrat Jabir(Radi Allahu Anhu) narrates the Prophet said, 'for a baby delivered dead, do not pray janaza over them'. (Tirmidhi, Ibne Majah).

Now! Which of the hadith the Ahle Hadith (Wahabis) will follow? The term 'ahle hadith' refers to a group or sect that follow all the hadith. How will they follow both the hadith? In answering this question, they should not refer to any books or any imaam, they should not look at any narrations of a muhaddith. If they do it, it will become Taqleed. And if they follow one hadith and abrogate the other one, then they become half ahle hadith.

The Ahle Hadith needs to give an explanation for such a scenario.


Hazrat Abdullah Ibne Umar(Radi Allahu Anhu) narrates that he saw Prophet , Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq(Radi Allahu Anhu) and Hazrat Farook e Azam(Radi Allahu Anhu) walking in front of a janaza. (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood, Nasai, Ibne Majah).

However, in another hadith, Hazrat Sa'ed Khudri(Radi Allaahu Anhu) and Hazrat Abdullah Ibne Ma'sud(Radi Allaahu Anhu) narrate that Prophet said, 'walk behind a janaza, not in front of it. Those who walked in front of a janaza, it would be as if they didn't attend the janaza'. (Abu Dawood, Ibne Majah, Tirmidhi).

Can we ask the Ahle Hadith (Wahabis) as how will they interpret these two hadith?

Hazrat Mugheera(Radi Allaahu Anhu) narrates that Prophet said, a rider should go behind the janaza'. (Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ibne Majah).

In another hadith, Hazrat Thoban(Radi Allaahu Anhu) narrates that one time, he was with Prophet and some of the companions(Radi Allaahu Anhum) of Prophet were riding an animal in a janaza. Prophet said, ' aren't you ashamed of yourselves? The angels are walking and you are on rides'.

(Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ibne Majah, Abu Dawood).

We ask the ghair-muqallid Wahabis as to which hadith will they follow?


In these circumstances, it becomes complicated for an ordinary Muslim to interpret the hadith and The Holy Quran. Here is the need for the imaams. The imaams decide which hadith is Nasikh and which hadith is Mansukh.

Naskh is a theory developed to resolve complicated rulings of revelations by superseding or cancelling the earlier revelation. The abrogated text or ruling is called mansukh.

Hazrat Abdullah Ibne Umar(Radi Allaahu Anhu) narrates that Prophet said, ' my one hadith can abrogate (mansukh) another hadith. It is similar to one verse of The Holy Quran abrogating another verse of The Holy Quran'. Hence, we learn that it is not possible to follow all the hadith.


The Ahle Hadith (Wahabis) don't believe in following one of the four imaams of Taqleed. They label it as shirk.

All the Nobel personal who compiled the hadith (muhaddith), all the jurist, legal experts in Islamic law (Fuqahaa) and Islamic scholars (Ulama) followed one of the four imaams, i.e. they were muqallid of one of the four imaams.


Imaam Qustalani(Rahmatullah Alaih), Imaam Tajudd'in As-Subki(Rahmatulah Alaih), Imaam Fakhruddin(Rahmatullah Alaih), Imaam Alama Kazan(Rahmatullah Alaih), Imaam Tirmizi(Rahmatullah Alaih) were followers (muqallid) of Imaam Shafee(Rahmatullah Alaih).

Imaan Nakhai(Rahmatullah Alaih), Allama Sha'bi(Rahmatullah Alaih), Allama Abdul Haqq Delhvi(Rahmatullah Alaih) were followers (muqallid) of Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih).


The chief of Wahabis, Nawab Siddiqi Hassan Bhopali has written in his book that Imaam Bukhari(Rahmatullah Alaih), Imaam Nasai(Rahmatullah Alaih), Abu Dawood(Rahmatullah Alaih) were followers (muqallid) of Imaam Shafee(Rahmatullah Alaih).

Whenever there is a conflict, the Wahabis ask the Sunnis to provide evidence from the hadith of Imaam Bukhari(Rahmatullah Alaih). Imaam Bukhari(Rahmatullah Alaih) was a muqallid of Imaam Shafee(Rahmatullah Alaih). Where is your justification in calling Taqleed as shirk?


The four imaams of Taqleed are Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih), Imaam Maalik(Rahmatullah Alaih), Imaam Ahmed Bin Hambal(Rahmatullah Alaih), and Imaam Shafee(Rahmatullah Alaih).

Just as Prophet Muhammad 'is the greatest Messenger, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilaani(Radi Allaahu Anhu) the greatest Ghaus, Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) is the greatest imaam.

Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) was a tabi'ee. He was the visible miracle of Prophet Muhammad and the integral miracle of Hazrat Ali(Radi Allaahu Anhu). Imaam Abu Hanifa's(Rahmatullah Alaih) paternal grandfather, Hazrat Zuti(Radi Allaahu Anhu) was a true lover and was very close to Hazrat Ali(Radi Allaahu Anhu). He came to live in Kufah, the administrative capital of Hazrat Ali(Radi Allaahu Anhu). When Hazrat Zuti's(Radi Allaahu Anhu) son Hazrat Thaabit(Radi Allaahu Anhu) {Imaam Abu Hanifa's(Rahmatullah Alaih) father} was a baby, Hazrat Zuti(Rahmatullah Alaih) took him (Hazrat Thaabit(Radi Allaahu Anhu) to Hazrat Ali(Radi Allaahu Anhu) to make dua for him. Hazrat Ali(Radi Allaahu Anhu) made dua and gave glad tidings of much barkaat. Hence, Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) is the miracle and glad tidings of Hazrat Ali(Radi Allaahu Anhu).

Prophet Muhammad told of the birth and excellence of Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih). Hazrat Abu Hurairah(Radi Allaahu Anhu) narrates that Prophet said, 'if imaamat was a bright star, some of Persian ancestry would retrieve it'. (Muslim, Bukhari).

Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) was of Persian descent.

In another hadith, Prophet said, 'in the year 150, the decoration of the world will be taken away'. Imaam Abu Hanifa(Rahmatullah Alaih) passed away in 150 AH.

In another hadith, Prophet said, 'I am proud of a man from my ummah'. The companion(Radi Allaahu Anhum) asked, 'O Messenger of Allah , who is he?' Prophet replied, 'his name will be 'Numan' and he will be known as Abu Hanifa'. (Imaam Abu Hanifa's(Rahmatullah Alaih) name was Abu Hanifa al-Numan Ibne Thaabit).


Imaam e Azam(Rahmatullah Alaih) was the first aalim of the deen in the Muslim world to lay the foundation of fiqh and ijtihaad. This is his great favour upon the Muslim ummah. The other imaams built upon these foundations.'

Allah Ta'ala states in The Holy Quran:


' The day when We shall call every people with their leaders, then whosoever is given his record in his right hand, they shall read their records and their rights shall not be suppressed a single thread'

(Surah Bani Israel. verse 71)


From this we learn that we should make a pious person our leader in the world, through Taqleed in sharia and through bayet in the path of Tareeqat (Sufism) so that our end will be with the pious. If he doesn't find a pious leader or guide then his guide would be shaitaan. In this verse there is ample proof for Taqleed and Tareeqat.


'O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those who have the power of command among you. And if there may arise any difference among you, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you have faith in Allah and the last day. This is better and its end result is best'

(Surah An-Nisa. verse 59)

Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those who have the power of command. Whether they are religious authorities or those holding worldly authority. However, it is incumbent upon those holding worldly authority to obey those having religious authority.




This article is an abridged English translation of an Urdu sermon delivered by his eminence, Peer Syed Imroz Dean Saifi, Hanfi, Maturidi of Masjid Anwaar e Madina, Surrey BC Canada

If there is an inaccurate translation, please pardon it and not let it be a means to negatively reflect on the honoured presenter.