Taqlid and Islamic
Authorities According to “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘ah”
If we research the topic
of taqlid (religious following) and marji‘iyya (high religious authority)
according to “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘a,” we will be quite confused while
trying to find any link between them and the Messenger of Allah. We all know
that “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘a” refer in their religious following to the
four Imams, namely Abu Hanifah, Malik, al-Shafi‘i, and Ibn Hanbal, and all
these men never knew the Messenger of Allah, nor were they among his
After the demise of the
Prophet, Shi‘as made taqlid to Ali ibn Abu Talib, peace be upon him, who
never parted with the Prophet as long as he lived. Then, after Ali’s
martyrdom, they followed the Two Masters of the Youths of Paradise: Imam al-Hasan
and Imam al-Husayn, grandsons of the Prophet. Then they followed Imam Ali
ibn al-Husayn Zaynul-Abidin then his son Imam al-Baqir then his grandson
Imam al-Sadiq, peace be upon all of them. During that time, “Ahl al-Sunnah
wal Jama‘a” did not have any cohesive ideological existence. History does
not tell us which Imam they followed, if any, and to whom they referred with
regard to the injunctions of the Shari‘a from the time of the Prophet’s
death and till the appearance of their four sects.
It was only after that
time did the four sects start appearing on the stage one after another
separated by variable periods of time depending on the desires of the
Abbaside rulers as we have already indicated.
Then a bloc appeared
combining all four sects under a shiny banner which stole people’s minds
called “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘a.” All those who were antagonistic to Ali
and the pure Progeny of the Prophet, and who supported the first three
caliphs and all Umayyad and Abbaside rulers, rallied around that banner.
People embraced those sects willingly or unwillingly because the rulers went
to lengths in promoting them through either enticing or terrorizing others
to follow them, and people usually follow the creed of their rulers.
Then we find “Ahl
al-Sunnah wal Jama‘a,” after the death of all their four Imams, closing the
door of ijtihad in the face of their own scholars, prohibiting them from
doing anything other than following those Imams who had already died...
Those rulers and
sovereigns who closed the doors of ijtihad and did not permit their scholars
to critique or examine religious matters may have done so fearing the surge
of an intellectual freedom which could have caused them problems and
dissension threatening their interests and very existence.
al-Sunnah wal Jama‘a,” hence, became restricted
to following a dead man
whom they never saw nor knew so that they might have felt comfortable with
his justice, piety and the extent of his knowledge. Rather, they simply had
to think well of their predecessors as each party went to lengths listing
the imaginary merits of their particular Imam. Most of those “merits” proved
to be visions which were no more than dreams, notions, or scruples; each
party was happy with what it had.
contemporary followers of “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘a” looked into the merits
narrated by their predecessors, and the contradictions recorded in their
regard, which went as far as causing some of them to fight the others, or to
call them apostates..., they would have entertained different thoughts about
those Imams, and they would have been guided.
How can any wise Muslim,
in this time and age, follow a man who did not know anything about modern
issues, nor can he provide him with the solutions to some of his problems?
Surely Malik and Abu Hanifah and others will dissociate themselves from “Ahl
al-Sunnah wal Jama‘a” on the Day of Judgment and say, “Lord! Do not punish
us on account of these folks whom we never knew and who never knew us, and
to whom we never, not even for one day, told that they had to follow us.”
I do not know what the
answer of “Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama‘a” will be when the Lord of the Worlds
asks them about the Two Weighty Things. He will then bring the Messenger of
Allah to testify against them, and they will most surely be unable to
disprove his testimony even if they argue that they just obeyed their
masters and dignitaries.
If He asks them, “Did
you find in My Book, or in the Sunnah of My Messenger, any covenant, or
agreement, or argument mandating you to follow these four sects?” What will
their answer be? The answer to this question is too well known, and it does
not require much knowledge: Neither the Book of Allah nor the Sunnah of His
Messenger contains anything like that; rather, the Book of Allah and the
Sunnah of His Messenger contain a clear order to uphold the pure Progeny and
not to lag behind them.
And they may say, “Lord!
We have seen and heard, so send us back so we may do good; surely we (now)
are certain” (Holy Qur’an, 32:12), and the answer will surely be, “No! It is
only a statement which you say.”
And the Prophet will
say: “Lord! My nation deserted this Qur’an, for I enjoined them to follow my
Progeny after me and conveyed to them what You ordered me to convey, that
is, to be kind to my kin, but they violated my covenant and severed their
ties with my offspring; they even slaughtered my children and permitted my
sanctity to be violated; so, O Lord! Do not grant them my intercession.”
And the day when the
unjust one shall bite his hands saying: O Would that I had taken a way with
the Messenger! O woe unto me! Would that I had not taken so-and-so for a
friend! Certainly he led me astray from the Reminder after it had come to
me, and Satan ever fails to aid man. And the Messenger cried out: Lord!
Surely my people have treated this Qur’an as a forsaken thing. And thus have
We made for every prophet an enemy from the sinners, and sufficient is your
Lord to guide and help. (Holy Qur’an, 25:27-31)
Extracted from the book "The Shi'ah
are (the real) Ahl al-Sunnah" by Dr. Muhammad Al-Tijani Al Samawi.
I AM HIS MASTER, ALI IS HIS MASTER. O
God! Love those who love him. Be hostile
to those who are hostile to him. Hate
those who hate him. Help those who help
him. And keep the truth with him
wherever he turns." (repeating this
paragraph three times).