Benefit of Ibnul Qayyim regarding Taqleed

There are many brothers and sisters who do not understand the issue regarding the difference between obedience of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and disregarding the statements of the ‘Ulama. This is a beautiful excerpt from Kitaab Ur Ruuh By Ibnul Qayyim Al Jawzeeyah regarding the issue that I hope would enlighten many Insha Allah.

Chapter: The difference between total obedience to the one without error (the Messenger of Allah {صلى الله عليه و سلم}) and disregarding the statements of the scholars.

It is that total obedience is to not put forth any statement or opinion of anyone over what he (صلى الله عليه و سلم) came with. Rather one looks at the authenticity of the Hadeeth first. Then if it is correct he looks at its meaning. If it (the meaning) becomes clear to you then do not oppose it even if everyone between the east and west opposes you. And refuge is sought in Allah that the Ummah would agree upon opposing what its Prophet came with. Rather, it is a must that there is someone from the Ummah (the ‘Ulama) who said it even if you do not know about it. Therefore, do not make your ignorance of the one who said it an evidence upon Allah and his Messenger. Rather, go toward the evidence and do not become weak. And know that it was certainly said by someone but you know not.

This is with safeguarding the levels of the scholars and allying oneself toward them and believing in their sanctity and their effort in safeguarding the religion and being exact in it. Therefore they are between getting one and two blessings and forgiveness.

However, this (respect of the scholars) does not lead to disregard of the evidences and putting forth someone’s statement from them over it (the evidences) with the doubt that:

1) He is more knowledgeable about it than you…

Even if this is so the one who went toward the evidence is more knowledgeable than you also so if you were truthful you would follow him.

Therefore, whoever puts the statements of the scholars in front of the evidences and weighs them according to it and opposes their statements which oppose the evidences they do not disregard their statements or take away their status. Rather they follow them because all of them ordered this. Therefore the one that truly follows them is the one who acts upon what they have advised not the one who has opposed them.

Therefore opposing them in a statement wherein an evidence opposed it is easier than opposing them in an encompassing principle which they all ordered and called toward in putting forth the evidences over their statements. And from this the difference between blind-following a scholar in everything he says and between usage of their understanding and seeking light from them is clear.

The first category is the one who takes his statement without looking into it and its evidences from the Book and the Sunnah but rather he makes it like a rope that he puts around his neck and blind-follows and this is called Taqleed.

And this is different to the one who seeks help from his understanding and seeks light from the light of his knowledge in arriving to the Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) therefore he has given them (the scholars) the station of the guidance toward the evidences. When he arrives to it the evidence it suffices him from from the usage of it by other than him. It is like the one who seeks the direction of the Qibla through the stars. If he sees it (the Qibla) for himself he does not need the guidance of the stars any longer. And this is the meaning of the statement of Ash Shafi’ee that the people have agreed that if a Sunnah of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) becomes clear to him he cannot leave it for the statement of anyone.

فصل والفرق بين تجريد متابعة المعصوم وإهدار أقوال العلماء وإلغائها
أن تجريد المتابعة أن لا تقدم على ما جاء به قول أحد ولا رأيه كائنا من كان بل تنظر في صحة الحديث أولا فإذا صح لك نظرت في معناه ثانيا فإذا تبين لك لم تعدل عنه ولو خالفك من بين المشرق المغرب ومعاذ الله أن تتفق الأمة على مخالفة ما جاء به نبيها بل لا بد أن يكون في الأمة من قال به ولو لم تعلمه فلا تجعل جهلك بالقائل به حجة على الله ورسوله بل أذهب إلى النص ولا تضعف واعلم أنه قد قال به قائل قطعا ولكن لم يصل إليك هذا مع حفظ مراتب العلماء وموالاتهم واعتقاد حرمتهم وأمانتهم واجتهادهم في حفظ الدين وضبطه فهم دائرون بين الأجر والأجرين والمغفرة ولكن لا يوجب هذا إهدار النصوص وتقديم قول الواحد منهم عليها بشبهة انه اعلم بها منك فإن كان كذلك فمن ذهب إلى النص أعلم به منك فهلا وافقته إن كنت صادقا فمن عرض أقوال العلماء على النصوص ووزنها بها وخالف منها ما خالف النص لم يهدر أقوالهم ولم يهضم جانبهم بل اقتدى بهم فإنهم كلهم أمروا بذلك فمتبعهم حقا من امتثل ما أوصوا به لا من خالفهم فخلافهم في القول الذي جاء النص بخلافه أسهل من مخالفتهم في القاعدة الكلية التي أمروا ودعوا إليها من تقديم النص على أقوالهم ومن هنا يتبين الفرق بين تقليد العالم في كل ما قال وبين الاستعانة بفهمه والاستضاءة بنور علمه فالأول يأخذ قوله من غير نظر فيه ولا طلب لدليله من الكتاب والسنة بل يجعل ذلك كالحبل الذي يلقيه في عنقه يقلده به ولذلك سمى تقليدا بخلاف ما استعان بفهمه واستضاء بنور علمه في الوصول إلى الرسول صلوات الله وسلامه عليه فإنه يجعلهم بمنزلة الدليل إلى الدليل الأول فإذا وصل إليه استغنى بدلالته عن الاستدلال بغيره فمن استدل بالنجم على القبلة فإنه إذا شاهدها لم يبق لاستدلاله بالنجم معنى قال الشافعي اجمع الناس على أن من استبانت له سنة رسول الله لم يكن له أن يدعها لقول أحد
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