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The Role of Taqlid in Human Life

Human beings constantly require accurate and authentic information in order to make correct choices; choices that may lead them towards a successful attainment of their respective goals.

Such knowledge is an essential element required for the proper management of their individual and communal lives, be it in this world or in the Hereafter. Therefore, we find man continuously striving to increase his understanding through meticulous research. However, since human intellectual and physical capabilities are inherently limited, it is fundamentally impossible for individuals to encompass all the knowledge that exists within the vast universe of arts and sciences. As such, they are forced to follow the opinions held by experts within all these different spheres of learning. Consequently, the practice of Taqlid or “obeying expert opinion” becomes an inescapable necessity within human society. In fact, it forms an essential pre-requisite for personal and social development, playing a major role in the effective organization of human ideological and behavioral systems. Through imitating the eminent scholars and academic authorities within each field of study, truth and law become the supreme criteria of action within a given human, and especially Islamic, community. This, in turn, prevents the appearance of chaos within society, inhibiting individuals from interfering in, and expressing views on, subjects that lie outside the scope of their expertise. The Holy Quran focuses its attention upon this very factor when it says:

“… ask the People of the Reminder if you do not know”

 Once we come to grasp the pivotal importance of Taqlid or “obeying expert opinion” in furnishing information crucial to many of man’s affairs, we immediately begin to comprehend the depth of man’s intrinsic need for adequate and trustworthy role-models. Indeed, it is because of this most natural and critical of needs that God Almighty blessed humanity with the Seal of the Prophets (s) and his twelve immaculate Successors (as). He sent forth these divinely guided role-models in order to lead all of mankind to the highest pinnacles of material and spiritual prosperity. They are the light that illuminates the path of wayfarers who search for true progress and ultimate success.

Today, when we have no access to these immaculate Guides and continue to languish within a period of occultation,’ their task within Islamic society is carried on by the Ulama (religious scholars) and the Maraji’ (supreme authorities in Islamic law). Such learned and pious experts are indeed the most rightful inheritors of the Holy Prophet (s) and his sacred progeny. They selflessly dedicate their entire lives to the thorough study, painstaking preservation and zealous propagation of Almighty God’s final religion. It is their unrelenting struggle that protects the intellectual and spiritual borders of faith from the onslaught of numerous enemies seeking to destroy its very foundations. Keeping this in mind, it is the solemn duty of the Islamic Ummah to follow these scholars to fill, to some extent, the vacuum created by the absence of immaculate Leaders.

Despite the fact that Taqlid, or “obeying expert opinion”, represents a perfectly valid technique for discovering reality, and even though following the verdicts of academic authorities has always been recognized, by the collective intellect of humanity, as an entirely logical practice, some, in the current era, have cast doubts over the rationality of this process and have, in fact, deemed it to be categorically undesirable. Such individuals have spread their wayward message, especially amongst the youth, by utilizing paralogistic fallacies and fabricating deceptive visions of freedom. Through their extremely suspect methods and arguments, they have successfully created a large body of queries and confusions within the minds of common people.

There is no doubt that this campaign, marked by its malicious character and use of logical fallacies, is being carried out with a clear plan which intends to attack the religious foundations of society. It is, in reality, a systematic effort designed to diminish the respect enjoyed by religious sanctities within the Muslim social order. The orchestrators of this movement aim to deplete the role of religion amongst the masses, thereby relegating it to the sidelines of social life. Clearly the shameless objectives pursued by such persons and groups are completely in line with the goals dreamt up by international hegemonic powers, who are also the most fanatical enemies of Islam. Their true purpose, through all such activities, is to weaken and eventually eliminate the Islamic system that stands steadfast in its opposition to their imperialist policies.

Hence, their actions are not just limited to raising doubts against Taqlid, their strategy openly assaults all facets of religious life and preaches a complete end to what they label as “religion’s hindrance of human liberty”.

It is within this particular context, and in answer to the duty placed by God Almighty upon religious scholars, that the esteemed Islamic philosopher, Ayatollah Misbah Yazdi, began a series of lectures aimed at elucidating the necessity and parameters of Taqlid, or “obeying expert opinion”, within human life. These sessions took place during the last ten days of Ramadan, in the year 1381 solar hijrah, at the office of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution within the holy city of Qum. The current book is a compilation of these lectures, collected and transcribed by hujjat Al-Islam Karim Subhani. We acknowledge his valuable efforts in this respect, and pray that the current volume be blessed with Almighty God’s divine grace, so that it may become a cause of pleasure and divine grace, so that it may become a cause of pleasure and joy for the Imam of our Age (as). Similarly, we hope that this work be a source of guidance and satisfaction for all seekers of truth and wisdom everywhere.

Table of Contents



The Significance of the Night of Ordainment (Laylat al-Qadr)

The Ranks of the Holy Prophet (s) and the Immaculate

Imams (as)

  1. Tafsir (Ouranic Interpretation): Teacher of Sacred Commandments anti ma
  2. Wilayah and Governance

Wilayat al-Faqih (Rulership of the Jurisprudent)

  1. Judicial Authority and Supreme Arbitrator

Different Kinds of Wahi (Revelation)

  1. Tazkiyah (Spiritual Purification) and Tarbiyat (Training)



The Nature of Tazkiyah (Spiritual Purification) and Tarbiyat (Training)

The Ideal Role-Model for Human Training

The Holy Qur’an and Following Rightly-Guided


Taqlid (or Emulation) Viewed Fitrah

The Ouran Invites People to Follow the Rightly-Guided and Stay Away from the Deviant

Desired Taqlid and Unacceptable Taqlid

Correct Taqlid and the Role of Pre requisite Conditions

The Neccesity of ljtihad and Taqlid with Religion



Need for Taglid: Refuting the Theory that Taglid is Instinctive in Nature Correct Taqlid: A Method for Reaching Reality

Kinds of Blind Emulation and Incorrect Taqlid

  1. Taqlid or imitation of the objectionable traditions of past generations
  2. Taqlid for the sake of attaining fame and good-will
  3. Taqlid for the sake of group interests

The Factor that Motivates a Blind Following of Western Culture

The Alliance between Hypocritical Factions and Foreign Powers

Desensitizing Muslims vis-k-vis their Sacred Values



How to Follow the Immaculate Imams (as) During the Era of Occultation The Alleged Impossibility of Following the Immaculate  Imams (s) Today

The Various Realms of Taqlid or Emulation

  1. a) The Realm of Beliefs
  2. b) The Realm of Essential Values
  3. c) The Realm of Methodology
  4. d) The Realm of Tools and Apparatus



Anti-Religious Propaganda is a Result of Incompetent Political Policies

The Gradual Process of Discrediting Religion

Questioning the Admissibility of Following Religious Leaders

The Idea that Religion and the Actions of the Apostles Had an Expiry Date

The Necessity of Combating Open Instances of Heresy and Apostasy


The Intellect’s Role within Taqlid and Choosing a Correct Role-Model

The Intellect’s Limited Research

The Necessity of Learning the Articles of Belief from Their Relevant Sources

The Intellect’s Submission to Revelation

The Criterion for Following the Holy Prophet (s) and the Ahl al-Bayt (as)


Bibliographic Information

Title: The Role of Taqlid in Human Life

Author(s): Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi

Translator: Ali Reza Rizvi

Publisher: alRafed Electronic Publishing (Rafed Book) Australia

 Language: English

Length: 273 pages

ISBN: 978-9645298638

Pub. Date: 2020

About Ali Teymoori

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