The Fourth Aspect: Blind Following and its Dangers
Imaam Muhammad bin ‘Abdil-Wahhaab said:
 Their religion was built upon certain principles, the greatest of which was taqleed (blind following). So this was the biggest principle for all of the disbelievers – the first and last of them – as Allaah says:
“And similarly, We sent not a warner before you (Muhammad) to any town (people), except that the luxurious ones among them said: ‘Verily, we found our forefathers following a certain way and religion, and we will indeed follow in their footsteps.'” [Surah Az-Zukhruf: 23]
And He says: “And when it is said to them: ‘Follow that which Allaah has sent down’, they say: ‘Nay, we shall follow that which we found our forefathers (following).’ Would they do so even if the Devil invites them to the torment of the Fire?” [Surah Luqmaan: 21]
So He revealed to them His saying: “Say: ‘I exhort you to one thing only – that you stand up for Allaah’s sake in pairs and singly – and then reflect (upon the life of the Prophet). There is no madness in your companion (Muhammad).'” [Surah As-Saba`: 46]
And His saying: “(Say to the disbelievers): ‘Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord, and follow not any partners besides Him.’ Little do you remember!” [Surah Al-A`raaf: 3]
– the explanation –
From the characteristics of people of the Days of Ignorance is that they would not base their religion on what the Messengers came with. Rather, they would only base their religion on principles that they innovated from their own selves. And they would not accept any change or abandonment of these principles, of which one was: Taqleed (Blind Following). Taqleed means to imitate another person to the point that one resembles him, even though the one being imitated is not fit to be followed. Allaah says:
“And likewise, We did not send before you a warner to any town except that the extravagant ones amongst them said: ‘Verily, we found our forefathers upon a certain way and we will follow in their footsteps.'” [Surah Az-Zukhruf: 23]
What is meant by the “extravagant” are those who live in luxury and possess lots of wealth, since for the most part they are evil people who do not accept the truth. This is contrary to the weak and the poor, for indeed, for the most part, they are humble and more likely to accept the truth. So the people of extravagance are those who possess status and wealth. “Except that the extravagant ones amongst them said” – i.e. those amongst them who had affluence and position in the society –“Verily, we found our forefathers upon a certain way” – meaning: upon a religion and practice.“And we will follow in their footsteps” means: “We have no need for you Messengers.” They thought that this sufficed them over having to follow the Messengers. This is an example of Blind-Following, and it is from the characteristics of the Days of Ignorance.
As for performing taqleed in matters of good, this is called Ittibaa¡¦ (Following) and Iqtidaa (Taking example). Allaah said on behalf of Prophet Yoosuf:
“And I follow the Religion of my forefathers – Ibraaheem, Ishaaq and Ya’qoob. It is not befitting for us to ascribe anything in worship with Allaah.” [Surah Yoosuf: 38]
And Allaah says:
“And the first and the foremost from among the Muhaajireen and the Ansaar and those who followed them in goodness, Allaah is pleased with them and they with Him. And He ha sprepared for themgardens under which rivers flow to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.” [Surah At-Tawbah: 100]
This is why Allaah said about the people of the Days of Ignorance:
“And when it is said to them: ‘Follow what Allaah has revealed’, they respond: ¡¥Rather, we will follow what we found our forefathers upon!’ Would they do that even though their forefathers did not understand anything and were not guided?” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 170]
So one who doesn’t understand and is not guided cannot be taken as a role-model. Rather, the true role-model is only he who comprehends and is guided. Therefore, blind-following is from the characteristics of the people of the Days of Ignorance, and it is also known as fanatical attachment, since the only true role-model is the Messenger of Allaah and those who follow him.
Then the author, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “And He says:
‘And when it is said to them: ‘Follow that which Allaah has sent down’, they say: ‘Nay, we shall follow that which we found our forefathers (following).’ Would they do so even if the Devil invites them to the torment of the Fire?’ [Surah Luqmaan: 21]”
When it is said to the polytheists and the disbelievers: ‘Follow that which Allaah has sent down’ – i.e. the Qur’aan, they say: ‘Nay, we shall follow that which we found our forefathers (following).’ “Would they do so even if the Devil invites them” – i.e. calls these forefathers “to the torment of the Fire?” Would you follow them into the torment of the Fire? This means: Would you follow your forefathers even if they were followers of the Devil and he led them to the Hellfire? Everyone with common sense and intellect must investigate into his affair and look to whom he is following. The author, may Allaah have mercy on him, continued: “So He revealed to them His saying:
‘Say: ‘I exhort you to one thing only – that you stand up for Allaah’s sake in pairs and singly – and then reflect (upon the life of the Prophet). There is no madness in your companion (i.e. Muhammad).’ [Surah As-Saba`: 46] And His saying:
‘(Say to the disbelievers): ‘Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord, and follow not any partners besides Him.’ Little do you remember!’ [Surah Al-A`raaf: 3]”
Meaning: When the Messenger of Allaah countered them with this ayah, they said: We will stick to what our forefathers practiced, and we will not obey this man, referring to Muhammad. But Allaah is telling them: “Look and reflect on what this man is saying to you. Think about it and do not let fanaticism overtake you.” “That you stand up for Allaah’s sake in pairs and singly.” – meaning: in groups and individually. You must look at what Muhammad is calling you to. If it is the truth, you are then obligated to follow it and it is not permissible for you to remain upon what your fathers and grandfathers were upon.
“That you stand up for Allaah’s sake” and not for the sake of desires or fanaticism. Rather, your standing up should be for the sake of Allaah, desiring the truth. “In pairs and singly” meaning two by two. Reflect, come together and set up a gathering. This is since when there is cooperation between two people that sit together or a group of people, it is more likely that the truth will be achieved. Or this can be done individually, such as when someone isolates himself to reflect and contemplate on what the Messenger of Allaah came with. And he will find it to be the truth and thus it will be incumbent for him to follow it.
“Then reflect. There is no madness in your companion.” This refers to Muhammad of whom they claimed was mad (i.e. insane). But he had no madness in him. Rather, he was the most intellectual of mankind and the most understanding amongst creation. And he was the most sincere and knowledgeable amongst creation. So how can you say that he was mad? Think about it. Look at his intellect. Look at his actions. Is it the actions of someone who is crazy?
“There is no madness in your companion. He is only a warner to you in the face of a severe torment.” [Surah Saba: 46]
If you don’t believe in him and follow him, a severe torment will befall you. So he came to you in order to sincerely advise you. He wants good for you and he wants salvation for you. He desires rectification and success for you in this worldly life and the Hereafter. So how can you describe him with this characteristic, saying that he is mad without looking at, reflecting on and contemplating on what he came with? Likewise, it is obligatory upon everyone with intellect to investigate the statements of people, discerning and scrutinizing them, and distinguishing between the erroneous and the correct. So he should then accept the truth and reject the error. And blind-following should not cause him to remain upon falsehood.