Is taqleed shirk?
Q: A Ghair Muqallid told me that Taqleed is shirk. I asked him the reason for Taqleed being shirk. He told me that the Muqallids follow their Imam even if the Imam’s view conflicts with Qur’an & Hadith. So Muqallids are Mushrik. Is the statement about Muqallids being mushrik given by him correct? Can you tell me some authentic reference to tell him that Taqleed is not shirk and give me some online sources links where I could gain knowledge about the topics of Taqleed, following only one imam etc?
A: When performing Salaah, we are commanded to follow an Imaam. Following an Imaam in Salaah does not amount to shirk. Similarly, in matters of Deen we are commanded to follow those who are learned and posses sound understanding in Deen. Following those who are learned does not amount to shirk. Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Qur’an:
فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿النحل: ٤٣﴾
So ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.
Hence, just as enrolling in a maktab or Madrasah to learn Deen does not amount to shirk, then why would referring to any Imaam (of the four Imaams who were much more knowledgeable and capable then all the people living on the face of this earth today), be treated as shirk?
We advise you to study the series of articles we have prepared on taqleed. If you have any queries thereafter, you may refer them to us. May Allah Ta’ala guide us all to the straight path.
And Allah Ta’ala knows best.
Checked & Approved:
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)