Meaning of Ittiba: Legal Basis, Purpose, Type, and Position in Islamic Sharia

Ittiba Adalah – For Muslims, learning jurisprudence is obligatory even though many are aware of it. Ushul fiqh is one of the branches of science that discusses arguments based on the original law of fiqh. Of course, these arguments will be sourced from the holy book Al-Quran, Hadith of the Prophet, Ijma’, and Qiyas.

In this Ushul Fiqh, one of the things included in its scope is Ittiba which should be studied as best as possible by Muslims. While the other two are taqlid and talfiq. Remembering that knowledge will make us servants of Allah SWT who follow His teachings correctly. So really, what is ittiba’? What are the types of ittiba’? What is its position in Islamic law? Well, for Reader to understand that, let’s read the following comments!

Meaning of Ittiba’

The word ‘ittiba ‘ has been absorbed into Indonesian, you know  Yes, based on KBBI (Big Indonesian Dictionary), ittiba’ has been absorbed into itibak which acts as a verb and means to follow (example). If translated linguistically, the word ittiba ‘ can also be interpreted as iqtifa ‘ or following a trail, qudwah or setting an example, and uswah or being an example. On that basis, the term ittiba’ means ‘ accepting the words or speech of others by knowing the source or reason of the words, both from the arguments of the Quran and the hadith of the Prophet .’

In short, ittiba’ is the effort of Muslims to follow or obey everything that has been ordered, prohibited, and allowed by the Prophet SAW . In other words, ittiba’ is the same as implementing the teachings of Islam according to what the Prophet Muhammad SAW also did.

Definition of Ittiba’ According to the Scholars

This definition of ittiba’ has been expressed by many religious experts. Well, here is a description of those definitions.

Ibn Kathir

According to Ibnu Katsir, ittiba’ is following the Shari’a and religion (Al-Sunnah) in every word and deed, as well as in various situations that he experiences.

Muhammad Al-Amin Al-syinqithi

In relation to this ittiba, he once said that ” Imam Ahmad said: Al-Ittiba’ means a person follows the teachings that come from the Messenger of Allah and his companions or that comes from the tabi’in, but ittiba’ in the latter is not an absolute obligation, only optional. 

While Ibn Al-‘Abd Al-Barr said: Al-Ittiba’ means following the Qath’i argument or argument, that is, following the opinion of the authoritative party which is obligatory for us to follow. In this regard, the Prophet is the most authoritative party who has the legality to follow his orders. 

Abd Ar-Rahman Ibn Nashir Al-Sa’di

Ittiba’ is following the Sharia revealed by God to His Messenger because he is the messenger (Messenger) of God’s revelation through which mankind is able to reach the path of guidance, and the Sharia or revelation is a source of guidance and mercy in all aspects of knowledge, actions, personal character, and in the call of his da’wah, both in belief, speech and deed, then following him is to implement his commands and die his prohibitions.

That’s Jabir Al-Alwani

Ittiba’ is implementing the commands of Allah and His Messenger as well as investigating his actions and circumstances to then actualize them by following his footsteps (iqtidha’).


Ittiba’ or Al-Ittiba’ is implementing the commands and prohibitions that he taught as befits the Al-Qur’an, because it is still categorized as God’s revelation and by actualizing the holy Al-Sunnah.

Well, from some opinions of religious experts regarding the definition of ittiba’ it can be concluded that ittiba’ is the effort of Muslims to follow and apply the teachings that have been taught by the Prophet Muhammad SAW, both in word and deed to achieve the goal of the revelation of Allah SWT.

Basic Law of Ittiba’

The existence of ittiba’ is not just the opinion of scholars without any religious reason, but there is a legal basis that comes from the holy book Al-Quran. Well, the following are some of the legal bases for the implementation of ittiba’ for Muslims which is indeed a command from Allah SWT.

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QS Al-A’raf verse 3

Follow what has been sent down to you from your Lord, and do not follow what has been written down.


“Follow what is revealed to you from your Lord and do not follow leaders other than Him. Very few of you take lessons (from him)”

QS Ali’ Imran verse 31

Say: If you love Allah, then follow me. Allah loves you and forgives you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.


Say : “If you (really) love Allah, follow me, Allah will love you and forgive your sins”. God is Forgiving and Merciful.”

QS An-Nahl verse 43

And We did not send before you but men to whom We revealed, so ask the people of hate, if you know.


” And We did not send before you, except men to whom We revealed; then ask someone who has knowledge if you do not know”

QS An-Nisa verse 27

And Allah wants to repent to you


“And God wants to accept your repentance, while those who follow their lust want you to turn as far away (from the truth).”

QS At-Taubah verse 42

لَوْ كَانَ عَرَضًا قَرِيبًا وَسَفَرًا قَاصِدًا لَّٱتَّبَعُوكَ وَلَٰكِنۢ بَعُدَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلشُّقَّةُ ۚ وَسَيَحْلِفُونَ بِٱللَّهِ لَوِ ٱسْتَطَعْنَا لَخَرَجْنَا مَعَكُمْ يُهْلِكُونَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَٱللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ إِنَّهُمْ لَكَٰذِبُونَ


” If what you call to them is an easy gain and a journey that is not that far, they will certainly follow you, but the destination is very far away for them. They will swear by (the name of) Allah: “If we were willing, we would certainly go with you”. They destroy themselves and God knows that they are indeed liars.”

In some verses of the Quran, it is clearly commanded for us Muslims to follow the commands of Allah SWT. The obligation to follow Him is something that is obligatory and there is no argument that changes it. Actually, there are still many verses of the Qur’an that discuss the obligation of ittiba’, let’s say it is in Surah Yunus which is expressed six times, especially in verse 15, then there is also Surah Hud which is expressed five times, especially in verse 97, and still much more.

Ittiba’s purpose

The existence of ittiba’, which is one of the obligatory things to be carried out for Muslims, of course has a reason. With the existence of this ittiba’, it is hoped that every Muslim, even those who are still laymen, can practice the teachings of Islam with full confidence without being shrouded in any doubt. Not only that, an act of worship or charity if done with full confidence will cause sincerity and humility in the Muslim. After all, sincerity and sincerity are indeed a valid condition for the performance of worship or charity.

In short, ittiba’ has the following objectives:

  1. Get guidance.
  2. Get luck from Allah SWT.
  3. Firm on the truth.
  4. Get protection and help from Allah SWT.
  5. Join the ranks of the prophets.
  6. Found a family that followed the path ittiba’.
  7. Avoid sadness and fear.
  8. Obtain the door of repentance and forgiveness from Allah SWT.

Types of Ittiba’

1. Ittiba’ To Allah SWT and His Messenger

As His servants, we must of course obey Allah SWT. How to do it? That is, by following His commands and avoiding all His prohibitions. In this regard, it has also been said by Allah SWT in surah Al-Imran verse 174, which reads:

فَٱنقَلَبُواِ بِنِّْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَفَضْلٍ did not touch them and they followed the pleasure of Allahَّ


“So they returned with blessings and (great) blessings from God, they did not befall a disaster and they followed God’s pleasure. and God has a great gift”

Actually, the verse talks about the Badar Sughra Event (Little Badr) which happened a year after the Battle of Uhud. At that time, Abu Sufyan who was a leader from the Quraish challenged the Prophet and his companions that he was ready to meet again with the Muslims the following year in Badr. But at that time there was a famine season, Abu Sufyan was afraid and did not continue his journey to Badr. Then, he told his friends to go to Medina and scare the Muslims by spreading false news.

Although at that time Abu Sufyan did not go to Badr, Prophet Muhammad and his companions still went to Badr and still the war did not take place. Coincidentally, in Badar, it was the middle of the market season, so the Muslims did trade and earned a large profit which was then brought back to Medina. Well, based on the verse, it is explained that the returning Muslims actually brought favors and blessings from Allah SWT through the results of their trade because there was no war.

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2. Ittiba’ To Other than Allah SWT and His Messenger

Since we are still living in the world, of course ittiba’ will be related to things other than Allah SWT and His Messenger. Ittiba’ follows something that is not based on the Quran and Sunnah.

a) Ittiba’ To Eve Lust

It should be known , Reader, that there are diseases that can damage a person’s deeds, one of which is ittiba’ to lust. Therefore, for those who have been “affected” by this disease, immediately clean and purify yourself. Lust can actually shape human behavior. Therefore, Allah SWT always associates important problems in life with lust.

Lust can invite people to do evil. But for those who are able to withstand it, then they will be safe from all the tricks of the devil. As Allah SWT has said in Surah Al-Qashash, which reads:

“So if they do not answer (your challenge), then know that they are only following their lust and who is more astray than the one who follows his lust without receiving the slightest guidance from God. Verily, God does not guide the unjust.”

b) Ittiba’ To Satan

Reader must already know that devils or devils are creatures of God who live in the supernatural world and are even difficult to reach by human eyes. Satan is included in the group of jinns who are very outrageous, who have deviated from the rules of Allah SWT as their creator. Satan will also continue to try to incite people to keep walking on his wayward path.

Therefore, Allah SWT always encourages His people not to follow Satan’s incitement. As has been explained in surah An-Nur verse 21 which reads:

O you who believe! do not follow the steps of the devil. Whoever follows the steps of the devil, then verily he (the devil) orders to do abominable and evil deeds. If it were not for the grace of God and His mercy to you, none of you would be clean (from those vile and evil deeds) forever, but God cleans whom He wills. and Allah is All-Hearing and All-Knowing.

c) Ittiba’ To Estimate

In the holy book Al-Quran, Allah SWT firmly condemns those who are involved in the problem of belief and creed. That act is often done by infidels since ancient times, especially by worshiping idols according to their prejudices. As explained in surah An-Najm verse 23 which reads:

“…those are nothing but names that you and your ancestors invented; Allah has not sent down any evidence for (worshiping) him. They were just following guesses, and what his desires wanted. Indeed, guidance has come to them from their Lord”.

d) Ittiba’ To Infidels

In reality, infidels are those who do not believe in Allah SWT and continue to deny or do not believe in the apostleship of Prophet Muhammad SAW. Allah SWT of course strongly forbids His people to follow unbelievers. As has been explained in surah Al-Ankabut verse 12, which reads:

“And the disbelievers say to the believers: “Follow Our path, and later We will bear your sins”, although they are not (able to) bear their sins in the slightest. Indeed, they are truly liars.”

e) Ittiba’ To Ancestors

The existence of traditions or ancestors which are still attached to their children and grandchildren can of course lead to good and bad things. If the traditions of the ancestors lead to wrong things, of course we cannot follow them. As has been explained in surah Al-Baqarah verse 170 which reads:

“And when it was said to them: “Follow what God has revealed,” they replied: “(No!). We are only following what We have found our forefathers (doing)”. In fact, their ancestors did not know anything, and were not guided?”

The Position of Ittiba’ in Islamic Sharia

The existence of ittiba’, especially to Rasulullah SAW, has a high position in the Islamic religion, and can even be a person’s door in the acceptance of deeds in the presence of Allah SWT. Therefore, ittiba’ has a position in Islamic law, which is as follows:

  • As a condition of acceptance of charity.
  • As one of the principles in Islam, as in surah Al-Kahfi verse 110.
  • As a reason to enter heaven.
  • As proof of love for Prophet Muhammad SAW, as in surah Al-Imran verse 31.
  • As a way to get true love for the Prophet.
  • As a way of implementing the command to obey the Messenger and avoid related threats. As in Surah An-Nisa verse 59.
  • As the nature of believers, as in surah An-Nur verses 51-52.
  • As a sign of piety, as in surah Al-Hajj verse 32.

Well, that’s the commentary on what ittiba’ is and its types, the most important is ittiba’ to Allah SWT and Prophet Muhammad SAW. Has Reader implemented ittiba’ in accordance with the teachings of Islamic Sharia?