basic argument you provided in favour of Blind Following is that all four of the
Imams have been proved and accepted free of fault and that their rulings are
tantamount to the Qur’ānic rulings itself. I am afraid I cannot agree with you
on the point. No matter how learned any of these four Imams was he could not be
declared absolutely fault free because of human limitations. This status is
exclusive for the Messengers of God whose opinions regarding religious matters
are guarded and corrected by the Almighty Himself. Had any or all four of these
scholars had the status of being absolutely fault free they would not have
differed on any one of the matters. All of them differed with one another and
their students differed with them.
consider some person to be an authority in some discipline but another man comes
up with better reasoning. A man cannot get to the ultimate level of knowledge in
a particular field. Therefore you need to reconsider the statement that they
were the only personalities capable of doing Ijtih#ad and that no other can get
the status of being Mujtahid. How do you close the doors for others?
no other person after the time of these four imams is thought to be capable
enough to derive the correct ruling from the original source.
How does common human thought get the status of Divine ruling. This thinking is
the result of biased adherence to a particular school. God did not make guidance
the subject of any one particular person. This thinking is contrary to the
religious teachings of Islam. If we study the Holy Qur’ān we come to know that
it teaches us not even to follow the Divine message blindly. It urges us every
now and then upon using our intellect. It states that it was the great virtue of
the companions of the Prophet (sws) that they would not fall over the verses of
the Divine Book without understanding them and pondering over them.
The safe way would not be blind following and considering the wrong views of a
cherished Imām to be true and declare the correct views of others to be wrong.
Rather than the safe way for lay men is to use intellect and weigh the reasoning
the scholars give in support of their conclusions and follow the one that is
most sound. Divine law cannot be in contradiction to the human intellect, basic
moral values and the human nature. These are the abilities bestowed upon every
human being. Therefore we need to consider the opinion held by the scholars and
judge them on the basis of the above mentioned criteria. Thus, after having the
various views analyzed we could come to a conclusion and follow the one that we
consider to be most appropriate and in keeping with the spirit of the teachings
and directives of the Sharī‘ah. Even after due care on our part, if the view we
hold is erroneous we will not be held accountable as all we are required to do
is to follow what we believe to be right. We should not in any case declare our
own Imam free of error and should be ready to accept any counter view if found
more sound then what we hold.