Refer to the Experts

In regard to worldly affairs, the principle “refer to the experts of the field” is quite common. If a person intends constructing a triple story mansion, he will first contact an architect to draw out the plans. He will thereafter hire the services of an engineer as well as a contractor to put up the project. If one has to independently embark on such a project without the aid of the architect, the engineer and the contractor, we can well imagine the devastating outcome that he will cause for himself through such actions.

Similarly if someone is afflicted by an acute sickness e.g. cancer, cardiac failure etc. and is advised by expert physicians that if he does not undergo immediate surgery; there is a ninety to ninety five percent chance that the sickness will prove fatal. Under these life threatening circumstances, if one has to refer to a medical journal, and thereafter musters up the courage to personally operate upon himself, what will our response be regarding such a person’s determination.

In the same breath we see this principle upheld in all walks of life. People refer to others who they recognize to be experts in their respective fields for guidance and assistance. In reality this is Taqleed; “Relying upon the expertise of others”.

In retrospect when one views the different departments of Islamic learning, one will undoubtedly realize that without placing one’s confidence and reliance upon people who are learned in the respective fields of Deen, one will not progress Islamicly.

From the elementary Maktab [1] level, the child is required to place his confidence upon his Muallim or Muallima, thereby gaining the ability to recite the Qur’an. At the second level the child is admitted into a Hifz class where the child commits the Qur’an to memory with perfecting its recitation. At this stage we also notice that in order for the child to progress, he is required to follow his Ustaaz and place his reliance upon the knowledge that is imparted to him. The child thereafter progresses further where he gains admission into a Darul Uloom or university. Various courses are offered to him under the tutorship of qualified teachers. Here also he subjects his understanding to conform to the understanding of his tutors who he recognizes.  At the end of the stipulated period he receives a qualification signifying his competence and proficiency in the various fields of Deen.

We understand that at every stage in the life of man irrespective of worldly progress or Deeni progress, he is duty bound by Shari’ah to institute the principle of Taqleed.

Allah Ta’ala says:

Ayah_16_43Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know. (Surah An-Nahl 16:43)

The crux of the matter is that currently the experts of Deen are recognized as experts since their knowledge relatively exceeds the knowledge of the common man. Hence, they are referred to for Islamic guidance. As far as other related fields of Deen are concerned, people do not refer to them though they might be learned in those branches of Deen. Furthermore, if the current day experts are compared to the experts of the past, they (the experts of today) will be rated below the common man of those times. This brings us to the conclusion that if we wish to follow a guide whose expertise extensively encompasses every department of Deen viz. the Qur’an, Hadith, ijmaa’, history, verdicts of Sahaba, etc. then we will not find anyone of contemporary times who will be able to guide us to Allah other than the legacy of the Aimmah-e-Arba’ which Allah Ta’ala has preserved (from amongst all the other Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen) throughout the centuries of Islam.


[1]The elementary level where children are taught the Arabic alphabets, and then taught to recite the Qur’an.

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