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Part 2 – Do the Ahl al-Hadith say a Form of Taqlid is Wajib – Clarifying the Position of Shaykh Nazir Hussain Muhaddith Dehlawi (1320H)

Compiled, Translated & Annotated
Abu Khuzaimah Ansari


Shaikh Muhammad Nazir Hussain Muhaddith Dehlawi says in Ma’yar al-Haq,

“Taqlid for the layman which is wajib is taqlid mutlaq i.e. the taqlid of a mujtahid from amongst Ahl al-Sunnah without specification…” Then he goes onto to say the second form of taqlid; Qism thani, Mubah (permissible) which is taqlid of a specific madhab.” (p.75)

There is a huge difference between this and Taqlid Shakhsi which is taqlid of a specific individual unrestrictedly whether an Imam or a mujtahid this is the first thing to be noted. Shaikh Muhammad Nazir Hussain Muhaddith Dehlawi in his Fatwa answers for both the first and second type because taqlid Shaksi is encompassed both what which he declared wajib and mubah. this was the first indicating factor. Let us assume his retraction was for the second type and let us also assume this was and is taqlid shakhsi.  However we presented the first question from the chapter from Kitab al-Taqlid wal-Ijtihad where in Shaykh Muhaddih Mian Nazir Hussain was asked,

Question: Some scholars says taqlid is FARDH and they present the ayah Fasalau Ahl al-Zikr… and he replied this statement is incorrect also due to their understanding of the ayah. He further said, some of the scholars using this ayah to mean the Imams and proving taqlid is FARDH from this ayah is is EXTREMELY WRONG and a GROSS ERROR (Fatawa Naziriyyah 1:164)

Here is where it gets interesting, the very same people who promote taqlid of the mujtahid of Imam use this very ayah Fasalau Ahl al-Zikr for the layman to make taqlid of an Alim, but here Shaikh Muhammad Nazir Hussain Muhaddith Dehlawi is categorically saying it is wrong. Furthermore, he says these scholars using the ayah Ulil Amr to mean MUJTAHIDS and saying taqlid of the mujtahidin is FARDH is totally incorrect (Fatawa Naziriyyah 1:164)

So he refute both types of Qism Awwal and Qism Thani, specifically using the word mujtahid of Ahl al-Sunnah in Qism al-Awwal!

Then we cited the conclusion of Shaykh Muhammad Nazir Hussain to this answer wherein he said,

“In summary taqlid is not evidenced from any ayah of the Quran nor from any hadith and neither did any Imam permit anyone from doing taqlid of them. Numerous beneficial treatises have been authored in the censure and rebuking of taqlid and if anyone wishes to refer to the reasons of its futility in detail, then they can refer to these treatise.” (Fatawa Naziriyyah 1:164)

Upon reading the words of the Shaykh he refutes taqlid and saying it is not evidenced. How can it be claimed that he said one form of taqlid was wajib. We also mentioned the language of the people of taqlid was used to explained to them as the example cited in the first Qism is in actual fact Ittiba as Shaykh Muhammad Nazir himself refutes the notion of taqlid being wajib due to it being evidenced from the ayah Fasalu Ahl al-Zikr. Then he goes onto a cite a beautiful passage from Shaikh Abd al-Aziz Dehlawi from his Tafsir Azizi refuting taqlid and their deductions. 

The taqlid he says is wajib,  he cites the words of Shaikh Shah Waliullah from Iqd al-Jid are essentially ittiba i.e. ittiba or the narrations, but he uses the word taqlid to define this method, which was again the common language as we know very well that asking a scholar a question or a fatwa etc is not understood or considered taqlid of the scholar, and it is therefore sometimes of utmost importance to have lateral understanding based on the overall view of the scholars of hadith. It is like Imam Juwayni defining taqlid to follow the reports from the Prophet being taqlid in his Waraqat!!!

The Shaykh further defines this taqlid mutual which is wajib that if the ruling conforms to the Sunnah it is accepted and if it opposes it, it will be rejected, then is precisely what the Ahl al-Hadith do even in this day and age and none of the Scholars of hadith have called this taqlid? As for the Shaykh’s statement on (1:179) that,

“The ignorant and the one who does not know, the shariah has made it obligatory and mandatory upon him to ask and learn the issues, meaning that he should ask Ahl al-Zikr, whether the scholar is well learned, whether he is a graduate or an undergraduate because Ahl al-Zikr here is general. So when he has an issue he should ask, whether it is from one scholar or from two scholars from amongst Ahl al-Zikr, in summary he should ask the one who he is satisfied and content with. Then when he has asked one or two (scholars) he excludes himself from a problematic position which does not leave anything upon him from the shariah and there is absolute ijma on this.”

This is perfect where the Shaykh clearly explains a lay person can ask one or more scholars and this is contrary to taqlid Shakhsi, or Qism Mubah (for arguments sake) as this is proceeds from the recantation and then the Shaykh explains the above without saying it is the permissible or wajib form of taqlid. The Shaykh then quotes from Mussalim al-thabut and his saying a muqallid acting on the SAYING of a scholar has fulfilled his research. He goes onto explain and answer this himself. Shaykh Muhammad Nazir Hussain avidly cites this as a proof adjacent the ardent muqallids who were engrossed in Taqlid Shakhsi and not Ittiba.

Here is another point, if the recantation is not from the Qism Awwal i.e. taqlid of a mujtahid then what sense does it make for him to say on (1:164)

“Some of the scholars using this ayah to mean the imams and proving taqlid is FARDH from this ayah is is EXTREMELY WRONG and a GROSS ERROR” (Fatawa Naziriyyah 1:164)


“and using this ayah to say taqlid of the Aimah Mujtahidin is FARDH is totally wrong.” (1:164)

bearing in mind he has already recanted from the Mubah type i.e. of taqlid Shakhsi i.e. taqlid of a specific madhab, as there are Qism Awwal and Qism Thani???

lastly the last part of the answer the Shaykh left general i.e. taqlid as just taqlid without specifying it, if anyone attempts to specify this fatwa of the Shaykh Fatawa Naziriyyah they must do so with clear, precise words of the Shaykh and the general must be left general if unless specified and not fom before a recantation. as a reminder he said,

“In summary taqlid is not evidenced from any ayah of the Quran nor from any hadith and neither did any Imam permit anyone from doing taqlid of them.” (Fatawa Naziriyyah 1:164)

It should be noted we cited the view of the direct student of Shaykh Muhammad Nazir Hussain denying any form of taqlid being wajib, quoting the view of people way later who are no where near the stature of the students of Shaykh Muhammad Nazir Hussain is misrepresentation of the view of the Ahl al-Hadith, none of the major scholars of the Ahl al-Hadith say this form is taqlid and that it is wajib they simply call it Ittiba, they done so for centuries.

It would interesting to note what Shaykh Muhammad Nazir Hussain Muhaddith Dehlawi said in his other books, Thabut Haq al-Haqiq, Daf’e al-Balwa and Falah al-Wali Ba-Ittiba al-Nabi all three refuting the idea of taqlid and promoting Ittiba, inshAllah if time allows more discussions will be cited from them. There also some general words non specific in the sheikhs Makatib Naziriyyah, again not much direct significance to this discussion. 

more to follow inshAllah.

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