Evidence of Taqleed from the Holy Quran
Allah Ta'ala orders in Surah Nisa:
O Believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) and those (men of Truth) who hold command among you. Surah Nisa (4:59)
Here ‘men of truth’ means the Imams and the Fuqaha (Legislators), as has been said by Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas, Jabir bin Abdullah, Hasan Basri, ‘Ata bin Abi Rabah, ‘Ata bin Saib, Abul A’aliyya (May Allah be well pleased with them). This verse allows establishes the compulsory nature of Taqleed.
Hadhrat Abu Najeeh (May Allah shower His mercy on him)) narrates on the authority of the great Taba‘ee Imam Mujahid that ‘men of truth’ means the men of discernment (Tafqa), intellect and understanding i.e. Fuqaha.
The teacher of Imam Bukhari’s teachers, Imam Abdur Razzaq (May Allah shower His mercy on him) writes in his collection of Tafseer:
‘Men of truth’ means the jurisprudents (Fuqaha) and the scholars.
Imam Abu Jafar Tabari writes in Jame Ul Bayan Fi Tafseer Il Quran on the authority of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas, Jabir bin Abdullah, Hasan Basri, Ata bin Saib, Abul A’aliyya (May Allah be well pleased with them) that ‘men of truth’ means the Fuqaha and the scholars.
The author of Tafseer Kabeer, Imam Fakhruddin Razi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) writes on the authority of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas, Hadhrat Hasan Basri, Imam Mujahed and Imam Zahhak (May Allah be well pleased with them) that ‘men of truth’ means the scholars who teach the rules of Shariah and instruct the people in matters of religion.
He also says that there is no disagreement over this, that a group of the Companions (Companions) and the Taba‘een (Successors/students of the Companions) that ‘men of truth’ means scholars.
Imam Ibn Katheer, whose opinion is considered by the ‘non-followers’ (Gair Muqallideen) as the final word, writes in Tafseer Katheer:
Hadhrat Ali bin Abu Talha narrates on the authority of Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Abbas (May Allah be well pleased with them) that the 'men of truth' meant here are the jurisprudents (Fuqaha) and this is also the opinion of Imam Mujahid, Imam ‘Ata, Hadhrat Hasan Basri, Hadhrat Abu Ya’ala (May Allah shower His mercy on them) that 'men of truth' mean the scholars and the Fuqaha. (Tafseer Ibn Kathir, Vol. 2, Pg. No. 345, Surah Nisa)
So if you yourselves do not know (anything), then ask the People of Remembrance. Surah Nahl (16:43)
Had they referred it to the Messenger (blessing and peace be upon him) or those of them who are in command (instead of making it public), then those among them who can draw conclusion from some matter would have found it (i.e. the truth of the news). Surah Nisa (4:83)
In Ahkaam Ul Quran, Imam Abu Bakr Jassas (May Allah shower His mercy on him) has deduced the command of Taqleed from this verse. (Surah Nisa: 83)
Imam Razi writes in Tafseer Kabeer:
Translation: It is Wajib on laypeople to follow the scholars in the issues that they face. (Tafseer Kabeer, Surah Nisa-83)
……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)
…..follow someone who adopts the path of turning to Me in repentance and submitting to My injunctions. Surah Luqman (31:15)
…..and those who follow them in the grade of spiritual excellence — Allah is well pleased with them (all) and they (all) are well pleased with Him. Surah Tawbah (9:100)