Imaam ibn Hazm on Taqlid

Posted: March 11, 2009 by millatibraheem in Laa ilaha illAllaah

Imaam Abu Muhammad ibn Hazm wrote in ‘al-Muhalla bil ‘Athaar’ vol. 1:

“Issue: It is not permissible for anyone to make taqlid of any other person, dead or alive. Everyone must exercise ijtihad according to his ability. So the one who asks about his religion, he only intends to know what Allaah had obligated upon him in this religion. So it is obligatory upon him,  if he is the most ignorant of all creation, to ask the most knowledgeable scholar in his locality, the most knowledgeable in terms of the religion that the Prophet sAllaahu alayhi wa salam brought. If he is told about this scholar, he should ask him, and then when he gives him a verdict, he should ask him “Is this what Allah and His Prophet sAllaahu alayhi wa salam said?”. If he says yes, he should accept it and act upon it always. But if he (the scholar) says “This is my personal opinion or analogy i drew upon or that this is the saying of so-and-so and names a Companion or a Follower or a Faqih, old or new or remains silent or scolds him or says I don’t know”, then he should not take his verdict, but ask someone else.

The evidence for this is the saying of Allaah “Obey Allaah and His Messenger and the Ulu al-Amr among you”, so Allaah did not tell us to obey specific scholars, so he who makes taqlid of some scholar or a group of scholars, then he neither obeys Allaah nor his Messenger sAllaahu alayhi wa salam nor the Ulu al-Amr. So if he does not do that, he has disobeyed Allaah, because Allaah never Commanded to obey some scholars to the exclusion of other scholars.”

“If it is said (in defense of taqlid) that Allaah Said “ ask the people of the Reminder if you do not know.” (al-Anbiya 21:7) and that “of every troop of them, a party only should go forth, that they (who are left behind) may get instructions in religion, and that they may warn their people when they return to them, so that they may beware (of evil).” (at-Tawbah 9:122)”

Then we say: Yes indeed, but Allaah did not command that we should accept the opinions of the party who were instructed in Islamic religion (9:122) because they have understanding of Allaah’s religion and neither that the people of remembrance (21:7) should be obeyed in their opinions or legislation they carve out that Allaah did not command. Allaah only commanded that the Ahli Dhikr (21:7) should be asked about the Dhikr they know of that has come to them from Allaah only, not about what so-and-so, whom we are not ordered to hear and obey, said. Similarly Allaah only commanded that the warning of the party who were instructed in religion (9:122) , because of their understanding of Deen, should be accepted in matters they understood from Allaah’s religion that was brought by the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam, not in the religion that was not Legislated by Allaah.

So he who claims that it is waajib for the layman to make taqlid of the mufti, then he has claimed falsehood, and uttered something of which is not proven by anything in the Quraan, Hadith, or Ijma’. So something which is like that is void, since it is a saying without evidence. In fact the evidence points to its invalidity, as Allaah condemned those who will say : “Our Lord! Verily, we obeyed our chiefs and our great ones, and they misled us from the (Right) Way.” (al-Ahzab 33:67).”

So, Ijtihaad means to try one’s utmost to seek Allaah’s religion that he made obligatory on all His slaves. Anyone with sound senses knows instinctively and naturally that a Muslim cannot be a Muslim except that he affirms that Allaah is his Deity and none is to be worshiped except Him and that Muhammad sAllaahu alayhi wa salam is the one He sent with His religion to everyone. So if there is no doubt in that, then whoever on earth is faced with a new religious issue actually asks about Allaah’s Commandment in that matter. So if there is no doubt in that, then it is obligatory upon him to ask when he hears the mufti : “Is this Allaah and His Messenger’s Commandment?” This is what anyone who knows about Islaam is capable of doing , even ( if he is totally ignorant). And Allaah is the Source to do good…”

In ‘al-Ihkaam fi Usool ul Ahkaam’ Imaam ibn Hazm writes:

“The taqlid that we oppose them in is “To accept the saying of a person other than the Prophet sAllaahu alayhi wa salam, whom Allaah did not Command us to obey, such that there is no evidence to support that saying of his, except that (this person uses as ‘evidence’ that ) so-and-so said this…”

“If it is said: what should a layman do in case of a new religious issue?”
The answer is: We already explained that Allaah forbade taqlid completely, without differentiating the scholar from the layman… and Ijtihad in seeking Allaah and His Prophet sAllaahu alayhi wa salam’s command in all that regards a person’s religion is an obligation on every one too, upon the learned scholar and the layman without any distinction…but they differ in the way they perform their Ijtihad, as a person is only obligated to do what he can do within his abilities, as Allaah said: “Allaah does not burden anyone except up to his capacity” and “Fear Allaah as much as you can”, and fearing Allaah (taqwah) means to act upon what Allaah requires him to from the religion , and Allaah does not require us to do anything from the religion except that which we are able to do… Hence what we are not able to do becomes inapplicable to us. So this is clear evidence that no one is required to search for what the religion’s commandment, except what he is able to. So every person has his share of Ijtihad.”

“So the layman’s Ijtihad is that when he asks a scholar about religious issues and the scholar gives him a verdict, then he should ask that scholar: ‘Is this how Allaah and His Messenger ruled?’. If the scholar says, ‘Yes’, then the layman is not required to look any further and should act upon it. But if the scholar says ‘no’, or ‘this is my opinion’ or ‘this is the saying of Malik or Ibn al-Qasim or Abu Hanifa or Abu Yusuf or Shafi’i or Ahmad or Dawood or so-and-so Companion or Follower or anyone below them other than the Prophet sAllaahu alayhi wa salam’ or remains quiet or scolds him off, then it is impermissible for him to accept his verdicts. It is obligatory upon him to ask some other scholar and to seek him out wherever he may be. Because the Muslim, when faced with a religious issue he did not face before and asks a scholar, then he only asks the scholar about what Allaah and His Prophet sAllaahu alayhi wa salam commanded in this situation and what Islam obligates in this situation. If the questioner gets to know that the scholars verdict is not based on that, that he should absolve himself from this scholar and run away from him!

And it is obligatory upon the scholar that if he knows that the verdict he gave this layman is based upon the Quraan and Sunnah or Ijmaa’, then he should say ‘Yes’. And it’s not permissible for him to ascribe anything to Allaah or His Prophet sAllaahu alayhi wa salam, if what he based his verdict upon was analogy (qiyas) or istihsaan or taqlid of anyone except taqlid of the Prophet sAllaahu alayhi wa salam…And this is what we said is what no one can be excused from even if he reaches the extreme in ignorance…”


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