Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyyah on Taqlid
In Ilam Al Mawqaqqiin (The Instruction of those who sign formal legal opinions) Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyyah says,
"To Those who reject Taqlid, it should be said that they have rejected Taqlid because they fear that the person who imitates (Muqallid) will fall into grave error should the person who imitating be wrong in his legal opinion. Moreover, they have obligated this person to seek out for himself and exert his own effort in determining the rulings himself and exert his own effort in determining the rulings himself in seeking the truth, yet it is without any doubt that the probability of his being correct when following a valid scholar is much greater than should he use his own reasoning skills by himself.
A useful analogy is that a person who wishes to purchase some commercial good and has no expertise in the object of his purchase. Should he ask a trustworthy expert who is sincere in his advice as to which type is the best to buy and then follow his advice, it is quite obvious that it is much more likely that by doing so he will choose the correct one and achieve his desired object as opposed to relying upon his own unqualified opinion. This is a fact agreed upon by all people of intellect everywhere!
All of the Imams have clearly declared the permissibility of taqlid.
Hafs Ibn Ghiyath said, "I heard Sufyan say, "If you see a man doing some action that scholars have differed about, and you deem it to be impermissible, don?t prohibit him from doing it!""
Muhammad Ibn Al Hadan said, "It is acceptable for a scholar to imitate (taqlid) someone more learned than himself, but it is not permissible for him to imitate someone who is at his own level."
Imam Shafi has clearly declared the validity of taqlid when he said, "The expiation of killing a hyena in ihram is one camel, and I say that in accordance with Umar (Taqlidan li Umar)."
Also, in the matter concerning selling an animal with the condition that it is free of blemishes, he (Imam Shafi) said, "I permit it in accordance with Uthman (taqlidan li Uthman)."
Furthermore, in the case of inheritance where a grandfather and brother exist, he (Imam Shafi) said, "The Grandfather has a share with them. I say that because that is what Zayd said, and we accepted most of the inheritance rulings from Zayd."
He (Imam Shafi) also said in one of his books, " I say this in accordance with Ata (Taqlidan li Ata)." (Ata was a Tabi?in not a Sahabi)
Consider Abu Hanifah, who says about a matter concerning wells,"We have nothing to do here but follow (taqlid) those who preceded us from the Successors of the Companions."
Malik, who never abandons the actions of the people of Madinah, has clearly states many times, "This is what the actions are in our city." And again, "This is what we fund the people of knowledge in our city doing." In many places, he makes the remark, "I did not see anyone among those who should be imitated (uqtudiya bihi) doing it." If we gathered all such remarks from his words, it would be quite extensive.
Imam Shafi stated, "The opinions of the Companions are better than our own opinions."
And we (Ibn Qayyim) says, ?We believe that the opinions of Al Shafi and the other Imams with him are better for us than our own opinions!?
In addition, Allah has made it the inherent nature of His servants that students imitate their teachers and scholars. Moreover, the benefits of humanity would not be achieved if this were not a fact. Indeed this is true of every knowledge and skill, and Allah has diversified the strength of intellects just as He has diversified the strength of bodies. Thus, it cannot be reasonable that He, in his Wisdom and Mercy, has obligated His entire creation to know the truth with a proof (dalil) and to be able to refute the one who disagrees with him in all the matters of the din, both the subtle and the obvious. Had that been the case, then everyone would have to be at the same level as our scholars. On the contrary, Allah has made one man a scholar, another a student, and this one a follower of the scholar, who considers him an Imam, just as one who follows his Imam in prayer.
In what verse has Allah prohibited ignorant people from following and imitating learned people, moving when they move and stopping when they stop? Given that Allah knew that there would always be concerns afflicting people, did HE oblige each person to be able to discern for himself what His rulings was for each matter based on the legal rulings of the Scared Law with all of its conditions and requisites? Indeed, is it even within the realm of possibility for everyone, let alone an obligation?! Consider the Companions themselves, they conquered many lands, and many people embraced Islam and would seek legal rulings from them. The Companions would simple give their legal opinions and nowhere do the Companions say to them, "Go seek knowledge of the truth of this fatwa with a sound proof (Dalil)." Never do we find this, not once! Indeed, is not taqlid a necessary part of existence and responsibility; and there for of the Sacred Law and the Divine Decree?
(Ilam Al Muqaqqiin, (Al Qahira: Maktabat al Kuliat al Aharia 2-205)