Blind Following is called TAQLEED in Arabic. Taqleed , in Islamic view means , to blindly follow any of the four Imaams and their school of thoughts known as Madhabs. To elaborate , it means blindly or rigidly following an Imaam even after coming across an authentic narration or hadith verified by the Muhadhithoon, that opposes the teachings or statements of that particular Imaam. Whereas , the Imaams , whether it is , Imaam Abu Haneefa or Imaam Maalik or Imaam Ash-Shaafai or Imaam Hambal , all the Imaams have told that , if you get more authentic narration or an authentic hadith then that is my opinion.
After the era of Prophet Muhammad Sallal laahu alaihi wa sallam and the companions Radhi Allahu anhum, again , Blind Following (taqleed) started to make its comeback in the society. This was the time when Fiqh was evolving. The Evolution of Fiqh took place in Six stages.
Taqleed was the prevailing characteristic of the sixth stage of Evolution of Fiqh , that is , Stagnation or Decline. This was the period of rise of the Ottoman Empire (1258-19th C). This was the era where following any of the four Imaams was compulsory. Any one Imaam had to be followed , people could not shift from one Madhab to another , this was considered a crime and they would be jailed for this act of ‘crime’. During this time the door of Ijtihad(reasoned ruling) was closed , there was no more Ijtihad as scholars feared forgery in Islam. Hence , Taqleed was “Rule Of The Day!”.
During this time the scholars of Islam like Ibn Taymiyyah , Ash Shauqanni opposed Taqleed and fought against it. Imaam Ash-Shauqanni even declared Taqleed Haram and wrote a book on it called ‘ Beneficial Ruling On Blind Following ‘ . The Imaams had also discouraged Taqleed during their time , by not letting their students write their teachings like , Abu Haneefa. He had even explained the reason by saying ” I may say it today and reject it tomorrow….” Because of the care the Imaams took in warning their students of blind following , those early scholars never hesitated in rejecting what the Imaams taught , when new hadiths were made available. For example , Abu Yusuf and Muhammad Hassan differed from their teacher , Abu Haneefa , in about one third rulings of their Madhabs . Similarly , Al-Muzani and others differed in many rulings from their teacher , Ash-Shafaai.
Shaykh ul-Islaam Muhammad bin `Abdul-Wahhaab said in
”If a person is learning fiqh from one of the four madhhabs, then he sees a hadeeth that opposes his madhhab; and so he follows it and leaves his madhhab – then this is recommended, rather it is obligatory upon him when the proof has been made clear to him. This would not be considered as opposing his Imaam that he follows, since they – Abu Haneefah, Maalik, ash-Shaafiee and Ahmad, radiallaahu anhum ajmaeen – were all agreed upon this fundamental principle.
… As for the case whereby a person does not have any evidence which opposes the view of the scholars of the madhhab, then we hope that it is permissible to act upon it (the madhhab), since their opinions are better than our own opinions; they took their proofs from the sayings of the Companions and those who came after them. However, it is not essential to declare with certainty (al-jazm) that this is the Shareeah of Allaah and His Messenger, until the proof that is not contradicted in this issue is made clear. This is the action of the Salaf of this Ummah and its scholars – both previous and recent – as well as that which they criticised: namely having bigotted partisanship for particular madhhabs and leaving off following the proof… However, if there becomes clear to him something which necessitates preferring one saying over another; either due to detailed proofs if he knows and understands them, or because he holds one of the two people to be more knowledgeable about this matter and having more piety about what he says, and so he leaves the saying of that one for the saying of the other one – then this is permissible, rather it is obligatory. And there is a text from Imaam Ahmad concerning this”.
When encountering a difficult issue, do you advise the student of knowledge not to stick to a madhhab, or [do you advise] to turn to a particular madhhab?
If what is intended by sticking to a madhhab is that a person sticks to that madhhab, and turns away from everything else; whether the correct view lies in his madhhab or another madhhab – then this is not permissible, and is from the blameworthy and bigotted partisanship. But if a person ascribes to a particular madhhab in order to benefit from its principles and guidelines, but he refers it back to the Book and the Sunnah; [such that] if it becomes clear to him that the preferred view lies in another madhhab, he then adopts that view – then there is no problem with this.
Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih al-`Uthaymeen
Shaykh ash-Shanqeeti (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Adwa’ al-Bayaan fi Eedaah al-Qur’an bi’l-Qur’an (7/307):
With regard to the type of taqleed (following) in which the later generations differed from the Sahaabah and other generations that are stated (in a hadith) to be the best, it is following one specific man to the exclusion of all other scholars. This type of following is not prescribed in any text of the Qur’an or Sunnah, and was not advocated by any of the companions of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) or any of the three generations which are stated to be the best.
It is contrary to the views of the four imams (may Allah have mercy on them). Not one of them advocated absolute adherence to the view of one particular man, to the exclusion of all other Muslim scholars.
Therefore following a particular scholar is one of the innovations of the fourth century, and whoever claims otherwise, let him point out to us any one individual from the first three generations who adhered to the madhhab of a particular man. But he will never be able to do that, because it never happened at all. End quote.
The Forbiddance of Adhering Blindly to the Saying of a Scholar in Opposition To An Authentic Text – Shaykh Uthaymeen
he Forbiddence Of Adhering Blindly To The Saying Of A Scholar In Opposition To An Authentic Text, And The Severe Rebuke Due Upon One Who Is Guilty Of This (Part I)
Shaikh `Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn `Abdil-Wahhaab – rahimahullaah – said in “Fathul-Majeed‟ (2/527-530), in explanation of the saying of Ibn `Abbaas – radiyallaahu `anhumaa – :
“Stones will soon fall upon you from the sky. I say: Allaah‟s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said…, and you say: Aboo Bakr and `Umar said!” :-
“…This saying from Ibn `Abbaas – radiyallaahu `anhumaa – was a response to those who said to him: “Aboo Bakr and `Umar – radiyallaahu `anhumaa – did not hold joining the `Umrah along with the Hajj (at-tamattu`), and they held that performing Hajj on its own (al-Ifraad) is better‟, or the like of that…
So in summary, it was because of this that Ibn `Abbaas said, when they countered the Hadeeth with the opinion of Aboo Bakr and `Umar -: “Stones are about to fall upon you from the sky…” – the hadeeth.
And Imaam ash-Shaafi`ee – rahimahullaah – said:
“The scholars are agreed, by consensus, that whoever is such that the Sunnah of Allaah‟s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) becomes clear to him, then it is not for him to leave it for the saying of anyone.”
And Imaam Maalik – rahimahullaahu ta`aalaa – said:
“There is none of us except that he rebuts and is rebutted, except for the occupant of this grave (صلى الله عليه وسلم)”,
and the speech of the imaams with this meaning is abundant…
…So the speech of Ibn `Abbaas – radiyallaahu `anhumaa – shows that whoever receives a textual proof, and he does not accept it, because of taqleed (blind-following) of his imaam, then it is obligatory to criticize him severely, because of his opposing the proof.
And Imaam Ahmad said: “Ahmad ibn `Umar al-Bazzaar narrated to us: Ziyaad ibn Ayyoob narrated to us: Aboo `Ubaydah al-Haddaad narrated to us: from Maalik ibn Deenaar: from `Ikrimah: from Ibn `Abbaas, who said:
“There is not one of us except that some of his sayings are taken, and some are left; except for the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم).”
So therefore it is obligatory to criticise whoever leaves the proof in favour of anyone from the scholars, no matter who that is. The recorded sayings of the imaams clearly state this; and state that ‘taqleed’ (blind-following) is not allowable except in matters of ijtihaad (personal deduction) for which no proof is found in the Book or the Sunnah. So this is what some of the scholars meant by their saying: ‘There is to be no criticism in the matters of ijtihaad (personal deduction).’ As for the one who acts contrary to the Book and the Sunnah, then it is obligatory to refute him; just as was said by Ibn `Abbaas, ash-Shaafi`ee, Maalik, and Ahmad – and this is something agreed upon, as has preceded in the speech of Imaam ash-Shaafi`ee – rahimahullaahu ta`aalaa…”
The Forbiddence Of Adhering Blindly To The Saying Of A Scholar In Opposition To An Authentic Text, And The Severe Rebuke Due Upon One Who Is Guilty Of This (Part II)
Shaykh `Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn `Abdil-Wahhaab – rahimahullaah – said in “Fathul-Majeed‟ (2/532), in explanation of the saying of Imaam Ahmad:
“I am amazed at a people who are aware of the chain of narration and its authenticity, and yet they hold on to the opinion of Sufyaan, whereas Allaah – the Most High – says:
So let those who oppose the Messenger‟s command beware, lest a fitnah (affliction) befalls him, or a painful torment be inflicted upon him.[Sooratun-Noor (24):63]
Do you know what the affliction is? The affliction is Shirk. Perhaps if he rejects something from his saying, some deviation will fall into his heart and he is destroyed.”
“So the saying of Imaam Ahmad – rahimahullaah – “I am amazed at a people who are aware of the chain of narration and its authenticity…” is a criticism from him of that; and shows that it leads to deviation of the hearts, which causes a person to become a Disbeliever.
So this evil has become extremely widespread, particularly amongst those who claim attachment to knowledge. They do whatever they can to prevent people from acting upon the Book and the Sunnah; and they block people from following the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and from honouring and respecting his commands and prohibitions. So from that is their saying: “No one except a “mujtahid‟ can use the Book and the Sunnah as proof, and “ijtihaad‟ has ended‟, and the saying: “This person who I am blindly following knows better than you do about hadeeth, and about the abrogating and abrogated narrations‟, and the like of these sayings, whose goal is just the abandonment of following of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم): he who does not speak from his own desires, in favour of dependence upon sayings of those who can err, and who is contradicted by other imaams and whose saying can be nullified by a textual proof. So there is not an imaam except that he only possessed a portion of knowledge; he did not possess all of it. So what is obligatory upon every legally responsible person, when a proof from the Book of Allaah or the Sunnah of His Messenger reaches him, and he understands its meaning, is that he accepts it and acts upon it, no matter who contradicts it.
It is just as He – the Most High – said:
Follow what has been sent down to you from your Lord; and do not take others besides Him: obeying them in disobedience to Him. Little do you remember! [Sooratul-A`raaf (7):3]
And He – the Most High – said:
Is it not sufficient for them that We sent down to you this Book which is recited to them?! In it there is mercy and a reminder for those who believe in it [Sooratul-`Ankaboot (29):51]
A statement of the consensus (ijmaa`) upon that has already preceded  , and an explanation that the blind-follower (muqallid) is not from the people of knowledge; and Aboo `Umar ibn `Abdil-Barr and others also report ijmaa` (consensus) upon that.
 Transl. Note: [i.e. from Imaam ash-Shaafi`ee.]
I say: And no one disagrees with this except for the ignorant ones from the blind-followers, because of their ignorance of the Book and the Sunnah, and because of their turning away from these two. So those people, even if they think that they are following the imaams, then in reality they have only contradicted them and followed other than their way. So we have already quoted the saying of Maalik, ash-Shaafi`ee, and Ahmad. However in the speech of Ahmad – rahimahullaah – there is an indication that “taqleed‟ (blind-following) before the proof reaches is not blameworthy; rather it is only criticised for one whom the proof has reached, and he opposes it in favour of the saying of one of the imaams.
So this only comes about as a result of their turning away from seeking to understand the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger; and turning instead to the books of the later people, and sufficing with them to the exclusion of the two parts of Revelation. So this resembles what occurred with the People of the Book: those about whom Allaah said:
They took their scholars and monks as lords besides Allaah [Sooratut-Tawbah (9):31],
an explanation of which will follow in the hadeeth of `Adiyy ibn Haatim.
So what is binding upon the one who is sincere is that when he reads the books of the scholars, and examines them, and becomes aware of their sayings, that he submits them to what is found in the Book, and the Sunnah; for every mujtahid from the scholars, and those who follow him and ascribe themselves to his madhhab, must mention his evidence; and the truth in any matter is one; and the imaams are rewarded for their ijtihaad.
Therefore the justly balanced person makes examination of their speech, and consideration of it a path to acquiring awareness of the different issues, and a means to bring them to mind, and a way to distinguish what is correct from what is incorrect – by means of the evidences which those who use the evidences mention; so that in this way he will become aware of which scholar was most fortunate in having the proof.
So the proofs for this fundamental principle are more than can be enumerated, in the Book of Allaah and in the Sunnah likewise….
And the imaams – rahimahumullaah – did not fall short in clarifying this matter. Rather they forbade that they be followed blindly when the Sunnah becomes clear, because they knew that there were matters of knowledge unknown to them, and that this knowledge could reach others, and this occurs a great deal; and this will not be hidden from one who examines the sayings of the scholars.
Aboo Haneefah – rahimahullaah – said:
“When a hadeeth comes from Allaah‟s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) then it is upon the head and the eyes; and if something comes from the Companions – radiyallaahu `anhum – then upon the head and the eyes; and if something comes from the Taabi`een, then we are men and they were men.”
And he said:
“If I say a saying, and the Book of Allaah contradicts it, then abandon my saying in favour of the Book of Allaah.” It was said: “If the saying of Allaah‟s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) contradicts it?‟ He said: “Abandon my saying for the narration of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم). It was said: “If the saying of the Companions contradicts it?‟ He said: “Abandon my saying for the saying of the Companions.”
And ar-Rabee` said: I heard ash-Shaafi`ee – rahimahullaah – say:
“If you find in my book something contrary to the Sunnah of Allaah‟s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), then take hold of the Sunnah of Allaah‟s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and leave whatever I said.”
And he said:
“When a hadeeth is authentic with something contrary to my saying, then throw my saying against the wall.”
And Maalik said:
“Everyone is such that some of his sayings are taken and some are left, except for Allaah‟s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم).”
And the like of this has already been mentioned from him, so there is no excuse for a blind-follower (muqallid) after this… .”
Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al-`Uthaymeen On ‘Taqleed’ (Blindfollowing)
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-`Uthaymeen – rahimahullaah – said in “al-Qawlul-Mufeed `alaa Kitaabit-Tawheed‟ (2/152):
“Some people commit a grievous mistake when it is said to them: “Allaah‟s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said‟, he says: “But in the book of so and so there occurs such and such.‟ So it is upon him to fear Allaah, Who said to him in His Book:
And the Day when Allaah will call to them, and say, “What response did you give to the Messengers? [Sooratul-Qasas (28):65]
He did not say: “What response did you give to so and so?‟ As for the author of the book, then if it is known that he loves good, and intends good, then supplication for forgiveness and mercy is made for him if he errs. It is not to be said that he is infallible, and his saying used to contradict the saying of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم).”
Ibn Abbas on ‘Ilm: Learn from many sources, blindly follow no one
Sa’id ibn al-Musayyib reported: Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Take knowledge wherever you find it and do not uncritically accept the opinion jurists have of one another. Indeed, they differ with each other like goats in a pen.”
Source: Jāmi’ Bayān al-‘Ilm 1308
عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ الْمُسَيِّبِ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رضي الله عنه قَالَ خُذُوا الْعِلْمَ حَيْثُ وَجَدْتُمْ وَلا تَقْبَلُوا قَوْلَ الْفُقَهَاءِ بَعْضِهِمْ فِي بَعْضٍ فَإِنَّهُمْ يَتَغَايَرُونَ تَغَايُرَ التِّيُوسِ فِي الزَّرِيبَةِ
1308 جامع بيان العلم وفضله لابن عبد البر باب حكم قول العلماء بعضهم في بعض
Ali on Haqq: Know the truth, you will knows its people
Al-‘Utbi reported: Al-Harith ibn Hut came to Ali and he said to him, “Do you see that I think Talhah, Al-Zubayr, and Aisha have united upon falsehood?” Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said,
“O rebel, you are confused! Verily, the truth and falsehood are not recognized by the measure of men. Know the truth and you will recognize its people. Know falsehood and you will recognize one who brings it.”
Source: Ansāb al-Ashrāf 358
عَن العتبي قال قام الحارث بن حوط الليثي إِلَى علي فَقَالَ لَهُ أتراني أظن طلحة وَالزُّبَيْر وعائشة اجتمعوا عَلَى باطل فقال له علي رضي الله عنه يَا حار إنك ملبوس عليك إِنَّ الْحَقَّ والباطل لا يُعْرَفان بأقدار الرِّجَالِ اعْرِفِ الْحَقَّ تَعْرِفْ أَهْلَهُ واعْرِفِ الباطل تَعْرِفْ من أتاه
358 أنساب الأشراف للبلاذري