Taqlid or taklid is an Arabic term in Islamic legal terminology connoting "imitation", that is; following the decisions of a religious authority without necessarily examining the scriptural basis or reasoning of that decision, such as accepting and following the verdict of scholars of jurisprudence
Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law. Scholars of jurisprudence, or legal theorists , hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal reasoning, legal systems and of legal institutions...

Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

) without demanding an explanation of the processes by which they arrive at it, hence adherence to one of the classical schools (madhhab
is a Muslim school of law or fiqh . In the first 150 years of Islam, there were many such "schools". In fact, several of the Sahābah, or contemporary "companions" of Muhammad, are credited with founding their own...

) of jurisprudence.

In Islamic theology
Islamic theology
Islamic theology is a branch of Islamic studies regarding the beliefs associated with the Islamic faith. Any religious belief system, or creed, can be considered an example of aqidah. However, this term has taken a significant technical usage in Islamic history and theology, denoting those...

 taqlid of someone regarded as a higher religious authority (such as a qualified scholar or ālim
-In Islam:* Ulema, also transliterated "ulama", a community of legal scholars of Islam and its laws . See:**Nahdlatul Ulama **Darul-uloom Nadwatul Ulama **Jamiatul Ulama Transvaal**Jamiat ul-Ulama -Other:...

) is acceptable in the details of the laws of the religion (shariah), such as matters of worship and personal affairs, but not in the fundamentals of "metaphysical" belief, such as about the existence of God (Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

). Taqlid may be contrasted with independent interpretation of legal sources by intellectual effort (ijtihad
Ijtihad is the making of a decision in Islamic law by personal effort , independently of any school of jurisprudence . as opposed to taqlid, copying or obeying without question....

). This is a common concept among the Shi'a while the Sunni generally regard it impermissible for a person who has not mastered fiqh to derive their own rulings on matters of law.


Taqlīd is an Arabic verbal noun based on the verb qallada, literally "to place a collar (qilādah) around the neck". The term is believed to have originated from the idea of allowing oneself to be led "by the collar". One who performs taqlid is called a muqallid. Sheikh Shaamee Hanafi said it is "to take the statement of someone without knowing the evidence."

There are several verses (ayat) in the Quran that forbid taqlid in matters of religion (5:104-5, 17:36, 21:52-54 43:22-24) though this is interpreted as referring only to fundamentals (usul ad-din) and not to subsidiary elements (furu `ad-din) such as details of law and ritual practices that can only be learned through extensive study.

Following the Greater Occultation
The Occultation
The Occultation in Shia Islam refers to a belief that the messianic figure, or Mahdi, who in Shi'i thought is an infallible male descendant of the founder of Islam, Muhammad, was born but disappeared, and will one day return and fill the world with justice. Some Shi'is, such as the Zaidi and...

 (al-ghaybatu 'l-kubra) in 329/941AD, the Shia are obliged to observe taqlid in their religious affairs by following the teachings of a thinker (mujtahid) or jurist (faqih
A Faqīh is an expert in fiqh, or, Islamic jurisprudence.A faqih is an expert in Islamic Law, and, as such, the word Faqih can literally be generally translated as Jurist.- The definition of Fiqh and its relation to the Faqih:...

). As of the 19th century the Shia ulama
-In Islam:* Ulema, also transliterated "ulama", a community of legal scholars of Islam and its laws . See:**Nahdlatul Ulama **Darul-uloom Nadwatul Ulama **Jamiatul Ulama Transvaal**Jamiat ul-Ulama -Other:...

 taught believers to turn to "a source of taqlid" (marja' at-taqlid) "for advice and guidance and as a model to be imitated."

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