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In the Name of God بسم الله
shuaybi

Does a Marja provide answer to all fiqh questions?

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12 hours ago, shuaybi said:

Has any Marja ever replied to a question on islamic fiqh presented to him with the answer "I don't know"?

If so could you please provide me with the question and the name of the Marja.

That's systematically impossible; why?

Because there are certain principles,  called al usul al'amaliyya (practical principles) that are applied in "I don't know" situations and produce practical solutions.

So, a Mujtahid always uses one of those pre established principles to evade "I don't know" situation. 

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This is really surprising to me - as I never imagined anyone besides the Masumeen (as) can answer all questions on fiqh.

How do we reconcile the following hadith from Wasail us Shia:

Abu Abdullah (asws) said: "Surely, the one who answers every question that is posed to him, is insane". [Wasail us Shia H 33500]
And he (asws) said: "One who avoids saying 'I do not know' will face destructive difficulties".[Wasail us Shia H 33485]

Does the above hadith not apply to the Marja/mujtahids?
 

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6 minutes ago, shuaybi said:

This is really surprising to me - as I never imagined anyone besides the Masumeen (as) can answer all questions on fiqh.

How do we reconcile the following hadith from Wasail us Shia:

Abu Abdullah (asws) said: "Surely, the one who answers every question that is posed to him, is insane". [Wasail us Shia H 33500]
And he (asws) said: "One who avoids saying 'I do not know' will face destructive difficulties".[Wasail us Shia H 33485]

Does the above hadith not apply to the Marja/mujtahids?
 

You could argue that when they rule based on obligatory precaution, they aren't 100% sure of their answer. 

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On ‎10‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 10:46 PM, shuaybi said:

Has any Marja ever replied to a question on islamic fiqh presented to him with the answer "I don't know"?

I have seen  وَٱللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ  (God knows best) written at the end of answers to my questions.

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On 5/10/2017 at 1:46 PM, shuaybi said:

Has any Marja ever replied to a question on islamic fiqh presented to him with the answer "I don't know"?

If so could you please provide me with the question and the name of the Marja.

I am not sure if any marja has ever said I don't know in a fiqh question... but I know that there Are some Hadiths that say "everything is halal unless proven to be haram" so I can't really imagine a marja saying I don't know, rather he will probably use this principle.

On 5/12/2017 at 8:07 AM, shuaybi said:

This is really surprising to me - as I never imagined anyone besides the Masumeen (as) can answer all questions on fiqh.

How do we reconcile the following hadith from Wasail us Shia:

Abu Abdullah (asws) said: "Surely, the one who answers every question that is posed to him, is insane". [Wasail us Shia H 33500]
And he (asws) said: "One who avoids saying 'I do not know' will face destructive difficulties".[Wasail us Shia H 33485]

Does the above hadith not apply to the Marja/mujtahids?
 

Surely the Hadiths apply to other questions not only to the fiqh ones...

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This situation does NOT AGREE with the following two hadith:

Abu Abdullah (asws) said: "Surely, the one who answers every question that is posed to him, is insane". [Wasail us Shia H 33500]
And he (asws) said: "One who avoids saying 'I do not know' will face destructive difficulties".[Wasail us Shia H 33485]

Based on the above hadith, the person MUST say 'I do not know'. Providing an answer and saying 'God knows best' is NOT the same as saying 'I do not know'.

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53 minutes ago, shuaybi said:

This situation does NOT AGREE with the following two hadith:

Abu Abdullah (asws) said: "Surely, the one who answers every question that is posed to him, is insane". [Wasail us Shia H 33500]
And he (asws) said: "One who avoids saying 'I do not know' will face destructive difficulties".[Wasail us Shia H 33485]

Based on the above hadith, the person MUST say 'I do not know'. Providing an answer and saying 'God knows best' is NOT the same as saying 'I do not know'.

Did you read my first post? About practical principles. 

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According to the consensus of all scholars, every single action or thing in the universe has one of the five Ahkam (rulings) either Wajib, or Mustahab, or Mubah, or Makruh, or Haram.

And then, either we have access to the real ruling or not.

If we have access to the real ruling, through certain means that are discussed in the science of "principles of jurisprudence", good for us, we should follow as our knowledge leads.

BUT, if we don't know the real Hukm in a situation, then there comes the role of "Practical Principles" that are the results of both reason and divine legislation.

Religion of Islam is both eternal and universal (If you don't believe in that, you are not a Muslim) it means there's no "I don't know" when it comes to your practical obligations (most questions that go to a Marja Ofiice are about practical obligations) you either know the real Hukm, you must follow it, and If you don't know, you must apply the practical principle. A mujthid gives you the result of the application of that principle.

Allah swt and His representatives haven't left us without solutions for questions, it's all about the formulas and ways to come up with the right solution in each situation, and that is called Ijtihad.

Imam al-Rida (as) has been quoted:

We are obliged to give you the general principles, and you are obliged to make further branches.

Wasa'il al-Shia 27:62 

A Mujtahid -from the beginning it had been like this- would obey the order of his Imam to make further branches and apply it to the cases that are presented to him.

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On 5/13/2017 at 1:46 PM, mesbah said:

According to the consensus of all scholars, every single action or thing in the universe has one of the five Ahkam (rulings) either Wajib, or Mustahab, or Mubah, or Makruh, or Haram.

And then, either we have access to the real ruling or not.

If we have access to the real ruling, through certain means that are discussed in the science of "principles of jurisprudence", good for us, we should follow as our knowledge leads.

BUT, if we don't know the real Hukm in a situation, then there comes the role of "Practical Principles" that are the results of both reason and divine legislation.

Religion of Islam is both eternal and universal (If you don't believe in that, you are not a Muslim) it means there's no "I don't know" when it comes to your practical obligations (most questions that go to a Marja Ofiice are about practical obligations) you either know the real Hukm, you must follow it, and If you don't know, you must apply the practical principle. A mujthid gives you the result of the application of that principle.

Allah swt and His representatives haven't left us without solutions for questions, it's all about the formulas and ways to come up with the right solution in each situation, and that is called Ijtihad.

Imam al-Rida (as) has been quoted:

We are obliged to give you the general principles, and you are obliged to make further branches.

Wasa'il al-Shia 27:62 

A Mujtahid -from the beginning it had been like this- would obey the order of his Imam to make further branches and apply it to the cases that are presented to him.

Thank you Br. Mesbah.

Have the practical principles been defined by the Imams? Can you please provide me a few examples of hadith where the Imams (as) have explained the details of these "general practical principles" that are applied to derive law for newly occurring situations (for questions that were never raised before the 21st century)?

 

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23 hours ago, shuaybi said:

Thank you Br. Mesbah.

Have the practical principles been defined by the Imams? Can you please provide me a few examples of hadith where the Imams (as) have explained the details of these "general practical principles" that are applied to derive law for newly occurring situations (for questions that were never raised before the 21st century)?

 

Well, it’s a long discussion, usually taking up to 10 years in Hawza advance level (Kharij) but I’ll try to give a summary.

Yes, The Practical Principles are driven from the sources of Shari’a, that is: Qur’an, Hadith, Consensus, and Reason.

There are different forms of ignorance:

1- Complete ignorance and unawareness (a person living in Amazon, not having heard of Islam or religion at all, let alone a practical law)

2-Doubt; a person has doubt regarding something (like whether smoking is forbidden or not) and he is aware of his doubt

3-The person in number 2 has not done any search and query about the answer of his question.

4-The person in number 2 has exhaustively searched about his question, yet couldn’t find any direct answer for it. (Usually this is the case where the role of Practical Principles come forth.)

 

There are three main kinds of doubts:

1- Doubt in the general ruling; e.g. What is the Hukm of smoking, Halal? Haram?

2- Doubt in a particular case; I know wine is Haram, but I’m not sure whether this glass in front of me is wine or water?

3- cases of probability, I know one of the three cups on the table is wine, but not know which one specifically.

 

There are four main Practical Principle:

1- Ihtiyat, Precaution

Reasons:

 From Qur’an: some general verses like: 22:78, 64:16, 2:195, 4:59

Hadith: a group of different Hadith denoting that one should stop when encountering a dubious situation, like:

الوقوف عند الشبهه خیر من الاقتحام فی الهلکه

To stop at doubts is better than rushing to perish

Kafi 1:50

 

2- Bara’a, permissibility

Some Qur’an verses and different Hadith denoting that Allah will not burden people with what they don’t know.

 

3-Takhyir, you can take either side

Some of the Ahadith giving advice for the cases of contradicting Ahadith

 

4- Istishab, continuation of your previous certainty

Some Ahadith implying that one must not let go of his pervious certainty because of a later doubt.

 

There are other practical principles in specific areas, like in terms of Tahara, Market of Muslimin and etc.

It’s at least ten years full of study, day and night; I can’t just put it in a post.

 

I just wanted to say as much as you are concerned about getting your religion from its sources; those who have dedicated their lives to study religion are more concerned to take their knowledge from religious sources. It’s just long and complicated.

 

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On 5/15/2017 at 3:05 PM, mesbah said:

Well, it’s a long discussion, usually taking up to 10 years in Hawza advance level (Kharij) but I’ll try to give a summary.

Yes, The Practical Principles are driven from the sources of Shari’a, that is: Qur’an, Hadith, Consensus, and Reason.

There are different forms of ignorance:

1- Complete ignorance and unawareness (a person living in Amazon, not having heard of Islam or religion at all, let alone a practical law)

2-Doubt; a person has doubt regarding something (like whether smoking is forbidden or not) and he is aware of his doubt

3-The person in number 2 has not done any search and query about the answer of his question.

4-The person in number 2 has exhaustively searched about his question, yet couldn’t find any direct answer for it. (Usually this is the case where the role of Practical Principles come forth.)

 

There are three main kinds of doubts:

1- Doubt in the general ruling; e.g. What is the Hukm of smoking, Halal? Haram?

2- Doubt in a particular case; I know wine is Haram, but I’m not sure whether this glass in front of me is wine or water?

3- cases of probability, I know one of the three cups on the table is wine, but not know which one specifically.

 

There are four main Practical Principle:

1- Ihtiyat, Precaution

Reasons:

 From Qur’an: some general verses like: 22:78, 64:16, 2:195, 4:59

Hadith: a group of different Hadith denoting that one should stop when encountering a dubious situation, like:

الوقوف عند الشبهه خیر من الاقتحام فی الهلکه

To stop at doubts is better than rushing to perish

Kafi 1:50

 

2- Bara’a, permissibility

Some Qur’an verses and different Hadith denoting that Allah will not burden people with what they don’t know.

 

3-Takhyir, you can take either side

Some of the Ahadith giving advice for the cases of contradicting Ahadith

 

4- Istishab, continuation of your previous certainty

Some Ahadith implying that one must not let go of his pervious certainty because of a later doubt.

 

There are other practical principles in specific areas, like in terms of Tahara, Market of Muslimin and etc.

It’s at least ten years full of study, day and night; I can’t just put it in a post.

 

I just wanted to say as much as you are concerned about getting your religion from its sources; those who have dedicated their lives to study religion are more concerned to take their knowledge from religious sources. It’s just long and complicated.

 

Thank you for the detailed response Br. Mesbah.

> Well, it’s a long discussion, usually taking up to 10 years in Hawza 
> advance level (Kharij) but I’ll try to give a summary.

I don't see the point of mentioning 10 years of study. Is length of time spent studying any guarantee that one will arrive at the truth? Scholars from other religions (e.g. christianity, buddhism) dedicate all their lives studying but still end up convinced of falsehood (trinity, universalism, confucianism, etc.).

> Yes, The Practical Principles are driven from the sources of 
> Shari’a, that is: Qur’an, Hadith, Consensus, and Reason.

Are there any hadith which enumerate these sources of Shar'ia precisely? If the 'Practical Principles' are fundamental and crucial for guidance of the community surely the Imams (as) would have mentioned them together in a single hadith, if not expounded on the detailed techniques and processes that are used to apply them.

> There are four main Practical Principle:
> 1- Ihtiyat, Precaution
>
> Reasons:
>
> Hadith: a group of different Hadith denoting that one should stop when 
> encountering a dubious situation, like:
>
> 2- Bara’a, permissibility

> Some Qur’an verses and different Hadith denoting that Allah will not 
> burden people with what they don’t know.

> 3-Takhyir, you can take either side
> Some of the Ahadith giving advice for the cases of contradicting Ahadith
>
> 4- Istishab, continuation of your previous certainty
>
> Some Ahadith implying that one must not let go of his pervious certainty 
> because of a later doubt.

Most of these hadith are straight forward to understand. Aren't they clear in their import and meaning? For example, for newly occuring issues where there is doubt (e.g. artificial insemination, cloning, etc), the hadith ask us to refrain/abstain:

Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) said, 'In the case of doubt, it is better to refrain from performing an act than to become destroyed by performing it'.
[Source: Usool e Kafi Kitab e Aql chapter 22 hadith 10]

Abu Abdullah (asws) said: 'Had the servants abstained during ignorance, they would not have struggled nor would they have disbelieved (denied). To abstain during confusion is better that indulging in destruction' [Reference: Wasail us Shia H 33474, H 33476]

Why did the Imams (as) ask us to abstain? Why did the Imams (as) not tell us that for cases of doubt you should develop a science (usul-e-fiqh) that will lead you to enact 'practical principles' which you should use to deduce the correct rulings.

Why does a Marja not tell the public directly - that the question/issue you ask is not discussed in hadith therefore again based on hadith you should abstain/refrain - and then quote this hadith? 

The following is another hadith from our twelth Imam (ajtf):

As far as newly occurring circumstances are concerned, you should refer to the narrators of our hadith, for they are my proof over you and I (asws) am Allah (azwj)’s Proof. [Letter of Imam-e-Zamana (ajtf) to his representative, quoted by al-Tabarsi, in his book Al-Ihtijaj al-Tabarsi, Vol. 2, pg. 469]

Again, why did the Imam (as) not clearly mention here that for newly occuring circumstances you should develop a science to resolve them, and here are the principles?

> I just wanted to say as much as you are concerned about getting your 
> religion from its sources; those who have dedicated their lives to study 
> religion are more concerned to take their knowledge from religious 
> sources. 

Brother, how do you make the assumption that they are *more* concerned than me? How do you know the intentions of all of them are pure? Has Satan (la) left them alone?
 

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1. Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) said, 'In the case of doubt, it is better to refrain from performing an act than to become destroyed by performing it'.
[Source: Usool e Kafi Kitab e Aql chapter 22 hadith 10]

2. Abu Abdullah (asws) said: "Surely, the one who answers every question that is posed to him, is insane". [Wasail us Shia H 33500]

Based on the above two hadith, why does a Marja answer EVERY question. Why don't they tell the public directly - that the question/issue you ask is not discussed in hadith therefore again based on hadith you should abstain/refrain - and then quote the above hadith? 

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