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Following Scholars ... But not blindly

Following the scholars is encouraged in narrations of the Imam's (as) but one should not follow the fallible scholars blindly. The following narrations tell us why...

~ Don't Follow any one other than Imam (as) in ALL what they say ~

محمد بن يحيى ، عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى ، عن الحسن بن أيوب ، عن أبي عقيلة الصيرفي ، عن كرام ، عن أبي حمزة الثمالي ، قال : قال أبو عبدالله ( عليه السلام ) : إياك والرياسة ، وإياك أن تطأ أعقاب الرجال ، قلت : جعلت فداك ، أما الرياسة فقد عرفتها ، وأما أن أطأ أعقاب الرجال فما ثلثا ما في يدي إلا مما وطئت أعقاب الرجال ، فقال لي : ليس حيث تذهب ، إياك أن تنصب رجلا دون الحجة ، فتصدقه في كل ما قال

Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Isa from al-Hassan ibn Ayyub from abu Aqilah al-Sayrafi who has said that Karram narrated to us from abu Hamza al-Thumali who has said the following:

"Once abu ‘Abd Allah (as) said to me, "Beware of leadership and beware of marching behind men (following them)." I (the narrator) asked, "May Allah keep my soul in service for your cause, I understand what leadership is. However, as far as walking behind men is concerned, I must acknowledge that two thirds of what I know are but from my walking behind and following men." The Imam said to me, ‘That is not the way you think. Beware of supporting a man who does not have any (Divine) Authority but you acknowledge whatever he has said."

[Source: Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, Chapter. 113, Hadees. 5]

~ Those who want others to follow them ~

علي بن إبراهيم، عن محمد بن عيسى، عن يونس، عن العلاء، عن محمد بن مسلم قال: سمعت أبا عبد الله (عليه السلام) يقول: أترى لا أعرف خياركم من شراركم؟ بلى والله وإن شراركم من أحب أن يوطأ عقبه، إنه لا بد من كذاب أو عاجز الراي

Aba Abdillah Imam Sadiq (as) said,
"Do you think that I cannot distinguish between the good and the evil among you? Yes, by Allah, the evil ones among you are those who love people walking behind him. Such a person is inevitably a liar or a helpless one [due to his ignorance] in his opinion."

[Source: al-Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 299]
All narrators are trustworthy and hadith is Saheeh/Authentic.

~ Scholars who hide the virtues of Imam Ali (as) are the source of Punishment (azaab) ~

البرسى في كتابه ، عن ابن عباس ، قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله : لا يعذب الله هذا الخلق الا بذنوب العلماء الذين يكتمون الحق من فضل على وعترته ، الا وانه لم يمش فوق الارض بعد النبيين والمرسلين ، افضل من شيعة على ومحبيه الذين يظهرون امره ، وينشرون فضله ، اولئك تغشاهم الرحمة ، وتستغفر لهم الملائكة ، والويل كل الويل لمن يكتم فضائله ، وينكر امره ، فما اصبرهم على النار

Narrated from Ibn Abbas, who said:

Prophet Muhammad (saww) said, "Allah (swt) does not punish this creation but due to the sins of the scholars who hide the truth of the virtues of Ali (as) and his Progeny. Verily after the Messengers and Prophets none has walked upon the earth better than the Shia's of Ali (as) and the Lovers of Ali (as) who demonstrate (show)  his commands (amr) [by acting upon it?] and spread his virtues, these are those covered with mercy, and the angels seek forgiveness for them. And Woe, complete Woe be for the one who hides Ali's (as) virtues, and denies his commands (amr). So how bold are they to encounter the fire."

[Source: Haliyat al-Abraar - By Sayed Hashim Bahrani, Vol.2, Pg. 127 quoting Mashaariq al-Anwar al-Yaqeen, Pg. 151]

~ Hadees of Taqleed (following scholars) ... But with caution and not blindly ~ 

Imam Al-Askari (as) said regarding the following verse of the Quran

"And among them are unlettered ones who do not know the Scripture except in wishful thinking, but they are only assuming. So woe to those who write the "scripture" with their own hands, then say, "This is from Allah ," in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn."[2:78-79]

The Holy Imam Hassan Al-Askari (a.s) said: 'Then Allah the Almighty Said "O Muhammad (saww) and among these Jews are "illiterates" who do not know how to read or write just like an 'Ummi', which is actually associated with 'Umm', that is as if one has just been born and he does not know how to read or write "who know not the Book" the one which has come down from the sky and what it falsifies and cannot differentiate between the two "but only lies" meaning, unless someone reads it for him and says to him that this is the Book of Allah (swt) and His (swt) Word, he does not know whether that which is being read to him is opposite to what is in the Book or not "and they do but conjecture" meaning, what these chiefs are saying to him in falsification of Muhammad (saww) in his (saww) Prophet-hood, and the Imamate of Alee (a.s) the Imam of his Progeny (a.s), and they are emulating them (doing Taqleed of) although it is forbidden to them to be in their Taqleed.

The Holy Imam Hassan Al-Askari (a.s) said: ' A person said to Al-Sadiq (a.s): 'These general people from among the Jews did not know the Book until such time as it is read out to them from their Priests and they do not have any way other than this, what is the reason for their condemnation of being in Taqleed and accepting (fatwa) of their Priests? Are these generality of Jews not as our people who also do Taqleed of their Priests? For if it is not permissible for them to accept what they get from their Priests, then it is not permissible for us to accept what we get from our scholars.

The Holy Imam Hassan Al-Askari (a.s) said: 'In between our people and our priests, and their people and their priests, there is a difference as well as a similarity. For what is similar between the two, Allah (swt) has also condemned the Muslims for emulating their priests just like their people having been condemned, whether there is a difference between them or not. He said: 'Explain this to me O son of the Messenger of Allah (swt). Imam (a.s) said: 'The generality of the Jews used to be aware that their Priests normally used to lie to them, and eat that which is unlawful and take bribes and amend the Orders of obligations by someone's intercession or as a favour to someone. They knew them that they used to be extremely prejudicial against their enemies, and the one that they were prejudicial against, they would disgrace him and deprive him of his rights, and the one they used to be prejudicial for, they would give him wealth that he did not deserve from the wealth of others who they were prejudicial against, and were unjust and oppressive to him. They knew them that they used to be unlawful in their deeds, and they also knew in their hearts that their deeds are mischievous, and there is no Permission for it to be true with Allah (swt), and they did not accept the intermediacy of the Prophet between people and Allah (swt), and that is why they were condemned by Allah (swt) when they did Taqleed even being aware of the (corruption) their scholars as well as that they were not permitted to take news (decrees/fatwa) from them, nor were they allowed to verify their speech about one whom they had not seen, and it was obligatory for them to see for themselves in the affair of the Messenger of Allah (saww) whether the evidence was clear or deficient, whether it was apparent or not clear to them. And it is the same for the people when they are aware that their Jurists are indulging in open mischief, and are extremely prejudicial and scramble for this world and its prohibition, and destroy those whom they are prejudicial against although he was deserving to be corrected by good advice; and the one they are prejudicial to, they treat him with goodness and favours although he is deserving to be disgraced and punished.

(The below portion is very important from Shia's perspective)

Whoever from the people were to do Taqleed of these kind of Jurists are like those Jews who have been condemned by Allah (swt) for doing Taqleed of their mischievous Jurists. But whoever from the Jurists who control his self, protects his religion, opposes his desires, is obedient to the order of his Master then it is for the people to do his Taqleed. And this is not but for some of the Fuqaha of the Shiites and not all of them. And those of them, who indulge in ugly deeds and immorality like the mischievous Jurists of the Muslims, do not accept anything from him, nor give him any reverence. There are many of them who have mixed their words with ours, the People of the Household (a.s).

When our (a.s) words reach them, they alter them by their ignorance, and they place them wrongly due to their deficient understanding whilst the others deliberately forge lies against us in order to accumulate from this world, and this will be their provision to the Fire of Hell. And among them is a group of Nasibis who have no power over our authority. They learn some of our knowledge correctly, and then take it to our Shiites. They fault us when they are with those who hate us, then they make additions to it and additions to the additions by attributing lies to us from which we distance ourselves. The Muslims accept this from them and these lies are accepted by our Shiites as being from our knowledge. And so, they go astray and lead others astray. And they damage our weak minded Shiites more than the damage that was done by the army of Yazid to Al-Hussain ibn Alee (a.s) and to his companions, for they took their souls and their wealth, and this destruction, with Allah (swt), is greater in condition by the loss of their rights from their enemies. These evils scholars of the Nasibis, who portray themselves as Our friends and the enemies of Our enemies, create doubts and confusion in our Shiites with infirm faith and lead them astray and prevent them from walking on the right path.

But, about whom Allah (swt) knows what is in their hearts, from these common people, that he does not want anything, except to safeguard his religion and revere his Guardians, He (swt) does not leave him in the hands of these infidels in disguise. But, He (swt) sends to him a believer who shows him the right way, and then Allah (swt) inclines him to accept his advice, and then Collects for him for this good of this world and the hereafter, and Collects for the one who led him astray, Curses in this world and Punishment in the hereafter. Then the Holy Imam Hassan Al-Askari (a.s) said: 'The Messenger of Allah (saww) said: 'The mischievous scholar is the one who leads people away from us and cuts off from Our ways, calls ou adversaries with our names, refers to our adversaries with our titles, sends salutations upon them when they are deserving of curses, and curses us (a.s) when we (a.s) have been Honoured by Allah (swt) by the Salutations of Allah (swt) and the salutations of His (a.s) Angels of Proximity on us and we are unconcerned with their salutations to us.

[Source: Tafsir Al-Imam Al-Askari. Pg. 273 - 275]

~ Fuqaha of the time are the most evit ~

ابى رحمه الله قال حدثنى على بن ابراهيم عن ابيه عن النوفلى عن السكونى عن ابى عبدالله عليه السلام قال قال، قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: سيأتي زمان على امتي لا يبقى من القرآن إلا رسمه، ولا من الاسلام إلا اسمه، يسمون به وهم أبعد الناس منه، مساجدهم عامرة، وهي خراب من الهدى، فقهاء ذلك الزمان شر فقهاء تحت ظل السماء، منهم خرجت الفتنة وإليهم تعود

My Father narrated from Ali bin Ibraheem, from his father, from al-Nawfali, from al-Sakuni, from Abi Abdillah (as) who said, 

Prophet Muhammad (saww) said, “Will come upon my community a time (era) in which the Quran will not remain but as a formality, and there will be nothing from Islam but its name, people will be called by its name (i.e. people will be called Muslims) but will be far away from it. Their mosques will be constructions but empty from guidance. The Fuqaha (scholars) of that period will be the most evil Fuqaha under the skies, the disorders (Fitnah) will come out from them and will return to them.”

[Source: Sawaab al-Aamal wa Iqab al-Amal by Sheikh Sadoq, Pg. 253, Hadees. 4]