The Holy Quran is the epitome of eloquence. In spite of being easy to understand, most of the subjects dealt with in the Holy Quran are such that understanding the rules that can be deduced from them is not easy. The reason is that it has indications, explicit rulings, verses which abrogate and are abrogated, commands which are general and which are specific, commands which are to be taken literally and commands which are veiled in metaphors and similes. Commands are bound by their aims. Specifying their aims, awareness about their different aspects and there are various aspects and issues related to it, which require intelligence of the highest form.
The Holy Quran and the Hadith describe the necessity and importance of Fiqh. Allah Ta'ala says in the Holy Quran:
……party from within every group (or tribe) not go forth in order that they may acquire deeper knowledge (i.e. thorough understanding and insight) of Din (Religion). Surah Taubah (9:122)
He blesses with wisdom whom He wills. And he who is granted wisdom (i.e. Fiqh) receives tremendous good. And only those who are endowed with wisdom and insight receive direction and guidance. Surah Baqarah-(2:269)
There is a Hadith in Sahih Bukhari. Whosoever, Allah Ta'ala wants to bless, He grants him understanding of religion and it is naught except that I distribute and Allah Ta'ala grants. (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith No. 6896)
Shaykh Ul Islam Imam Muhammad Anwarullah Farooqui (May Allah shower His mercy on him) mentions a Hadith in Haqiqatul Fiqh, on the authority of Jame’ Us Sagheer, that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said:
Every thing has its mainstay, and the mainstay of this religion is Fiqh (Jurisprudence) one Faqih (Jurisprudent) is harder on Satan than a 1000 worshippers (A’abid).
Following the rules, which have been formulated by the jurisprudents and the legislators (Mujtahidin) is to follow the Holy Quran and the Hadith itself. When anyone assumes these rules, he/she is said to be following these personalities (Taqlid). This Taqlid is to follow the Holy Quran and the Hadith and signifies that these personalities have extracted rules from the Holy Quran and the Hadith, even though we may not know the basis of such extraction. To know the basis of such extraction is not even necessary. Consequently, the stalwarts of every age have accepted any one of the 4 Imams as the greatest jurisprudents and have followed the rules extracted by them. There are many verses in the Holy Quran and in the Hadith, which speak of Taqlid. The insinuations of the dissenters betray their own lack of understanding. Otherwise nobody assumes that the legislators have deduced the ruled out of their own personal preferences. They in fact have extracted and formulated rules from the Holy Quran and the Hadith. If before objecting, the ‘non-followers’ (Ghair Muqallidin- those who refuse to follow any of the Imams) consider this, then I think no objection will remain, but what to say of false assumptions.
O Believers! Avoid most conjectures. Indeed some conjectures are sins (liable to punishment in the Hereafter). Surah Hujuraat (49:12)
There are 2 kinds of Taqleed-
1. Taqleed Mutlaq i.e. Open-ended following.
2. Taqleed Shakhsi i.e. Particular following
Taqleed Mutlaq is to follow any of the Imams, as the need arises. Taqleed Shakhsi is to follow one particular Imam in all the affairs of life.