Firstly, Taqleed in its general use means to follow one of the four mazhabs viz. Hanafi, Shafee, Maliki and Humbali. In this article we will explain how Taqleed works and why we cannot live without it.
When we have a medical problem we go to a doctor or hospital etc. When we have problems with our cars we take it to a mechanic or auto electrician. Similar is the case with plumbing, electrical, building, law….. In fact we make Taqleed in almost every aspect of our life. We follow people who are masters in their profession and accept what they tell us to do even they tell us to spend large sums of money or even cut open our bodies. Now the specialists we are speaking about in actual fact also make Taqleed. They make Taqleed of their professors, other instructors and those senior to them in their respected fields. In all of these fields there is always room for advancement but the basic principles were outlined 100’s of years ago in some instances and those principles stand.
We follow the above mentioned specialists with complete trust. Even if we get second or third opinion, we still follow a specialist. Even if we do our own research we will still end up with a final verdict from a specialist. Yes, there are rare cases (we stress on rare) when we figure things out for ourselves. But this is not the norm. So we make Taqleed every day in every aspect of our lives.
We do not have time and resources to study every aspect of life in order to be free of Taqleed. This is reality and this is the Haq.
Approximately a thousand years ago there were people who were specialists in extracting rules and laws pertaining to religious ways of life and living in general as Muslims. This they extracted from the QURAAN and Sunnat. They then formulated these rulings into a simplified form for us to practice (and not necessarily understand). They were called mujtahids and there were many of them. Each mujtahid’s ijtihad became a school of thought called a mazhab. From the many mazhabs, the four mazhabs mentioned in the beginning of this article survived and reached us today. So by following a mazhab we are following a specialist just like in any other aspect of life and protecting our deen just as how by making Taqleed of the medical field, we protect our health. Even in the medical field for example there are mazhabs such as conventional medicine, tibb, natural medication, acupuncture etc.
It is important to take note that even the great collectors of hadith (muhaditheen) such as imams Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood etc. followed a mazhab!
Today, sadly, many are opting not to follow a mazhab and choose to work deeni matters out for themselves. For every one thing they get right they will get 100 wrong. This subject is obviously more in-depth but if you understand this basic explanation it is enough.
This is the Haq in this matter whether we choose to accept it or not.