Islam and the Issue of Jurisprudency (Ijtihad)
are condemned. We have said that taqlid is of two kinds: licit and illicit. What we meant by illicit taqlid is not confined solely to the kind of taqlid which is the blind imitation of one's surroundings, of habit, of one's parents or ancestors, but we wanted also to say that taqlid between those who do not have [the necessary] knowledge (al-jahil) and those who do (alalim), the consultation of the faqih by the ordinary person, is of two kinds: licit and illicit.
We occasionally hear these days from some people who are looking for a marja altaqlid, that they are looking to find someone to whom they can give unqualified allegiance. We want to say that the taqlid which Islam has commanded is not "unqualified allegiance"; it is the opening, and keeping open, of one's eyes, of awareness. If taqlid takes on an aspect of devotion, thousands of evil affects will come about.
Now there is a wellknown and detailed hadith on this subject which I shall quote for you:
Whichever of the fuqaha can protect his self  , who can preserve his religion, who fights his desires and is obedient to the commands of his Master, should be followed by the people in taqlid.
This is one of the textual proofs for taqlid and ijtihad. The Shaykh alAnsari said about this hadith that the signs of truth are evident in it.
It is an appendage to the following verse from the Qur'an:
And there are among them unlettered people who have no real knowledge of the divine Book, only wishful beliefs, and they depend on nothing but conjecture.(2:78)
This verse comes in condemnation of the ignorant and illiterate Jews who followed, and practiced taqlid of, their religious scholars and leaders, and it comes after some verses which mention the unattractive behaviour of the Jewish religious scholars. It points out that a group of them were such ignorant and illiterate people that they knew nothing of the divine Book except a string of imaginary beliefs [about it] and such things as they wished to believe, and that they had gone after surmise and illusion.
The hadith of the sixth Imam concerning the kind of taqlid which is illicit
The following hadith is connected to the previous verse. Someone said to the Imam alSadiq that the ordinary, illiterate Jews had no other alternative but to take in everything they heard from their religious scholars and to follow them. If there is any blame, it should be directed towards the Jewish scholars themselves. Why should the Qur'an censure helpless ordinary people who knew nothing and were only following their scholars? What difference is there between the common Jew and the common Muslim? If taqlid by ordinary people and their following of the learned is forbidden, we Muslims, who follow our scholars, this person reasoned, must also be the objects of reprehension and censure. If the former should not have accepted what their scholars said, then the latter should not accept what their scholars say.