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In the Name of God بسم الله

How did the Usulis Defeat the Akhbari Position of Not Applying the Intellect to the Texts...?

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Posted (edited)

Salaam, 

As the title says, how did the Usuli scholars end up defeating the Akhbari position of not using the intellect when extracting Islamic Law from our texts...? What were the main arguments arguements employed by Al Wahid al Behbahani and the other Usulis (if there were others) to shift Shi'i scholarship back to the Usuli position? 

What convinces me against the Akhbaris is that the world is continuously changing and hence the literal contents of our texts may eventually have a very insignificant level of correspondence and relevance to the modern phenomena of the evolving world...

Then, what would one do if they adhered to the Akhbari position? Keep following the hadith of everything is permissible until proven haram? Eventually no religion would be left as the modern phenomena would not be represented by the texts. 

On the contrary, if we follow the Usuli position and value reason and understanding of the principles reflected in the texts, the texts would still be relevant to us for all of eternity as they should be. 

However, Akhabaris will still argue against me somehow by bringing ahadith of how the Quran and Ahadith are complete and have everything you need and you shouldn't use the "defective" intellect to determine the laws and etc. Furthermore, I acknowledge that my argument could be weak somewhere too, perhaps subtly manifest of a slippery slope fallacy...

Fun fact: I was inspired to write this thread after having a long discussion with two members who used to frequent this site and who're now hardcore Akhbaris. 

@Mahdavist @AmirioTheMuzzy @Sumerian @Ali_Hussain @Haydar Husayn @Ashvazdanghe 

@UndercoverBrother @Ibn Al-Ja'abi 

Edited by AStruggler
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1 hour ago, AStruggler said:

Salaam, 

As the title says, how did the Usuli scholars end up defeating the Akhbari position of not using the intellect when extracting Islamic Law from our texts...? What were the main arguments arguements employed by Al Wahid al Behbahani and the other Usulis (if there were others) to shift Shi'i scholarship back to the Usuli position? 

Why do you assume that the battle was won through intellectual arguments? And I'm not sure it is quite correct to accuse the Akhbaris of not using the intellect, unless you mean that in a very specific way. That seems more of a caricature of their approach.

1 hour ago, AStruggler said:

What convinces me against the Akhbaris is that the world is continuously changing and hence the literal contents of our texts may eventually have a very insignificant level of correspondence and relevance to the modern phenomena of the evolving world...

May eventually have, perhaps. But how much has actually changed since the time of the Imams? What percentage of a marj`a's risala actually deals with 'modern' issues? It seems quite small to me. And this would have been even more the case back when the Akhbaris and Usulis were having their major disputes, so that obviously can't have been the major factor.

1 hour ago, AStruggler said:

Then, what would one do if they adhered to the Akhbari position? Keep following the hadith of everything is permissible until proven haram? Eventually no religion would be left as the modern phenomena would not be represented by the texts. 

You mean like allowing a married woman to get pregnant by another man's sperm on the basis that it can't be proven to be haram?

I wonder who is more likely to make that ruling, an Usuli or an Akhbari?

1 hour ago, AStruggler said:

On the contrary, if we follow the Usuli position and value reason and understanding of the principles reflected in the texts, the texts would still be relevant to us for all of eternity as they should be. 

However, Akhabaris will still argue against me somehow by bringing ahadith of how the Quran and Ahadith are complete and have everything you need and you shouldn't use the "defective" intellect to determine the laws and etc. Furthermore, I acknowledge that my argument could be weak somewhere too, perhaps subtly manifest of a slippery slope fallacy...

If you employ a logical and cautious approach of staying away from doubtful things, then it's not that hard for the texts to stay relevant to our beliefs and practices. For example, the issue of fasting in Norway during the Summer is often brought up as a 'modern' problem, and all kinds of weird solutions have been invented including fasting according to the times of the nearest 'normal' country (which seems completely subjective to me). Can anyone have full confidence and certainty in such a ruling? On the other hands, without straying from the texts, you could take the approach that either you should migrate during the summer months (or just not live in Norway at all), since living without darkness is unnatural, or if that's not possible take the view that fasting is impossible, and make them up at a later time when it is (like you would if you were ill). If we can't practice our religion properly due to political constraints, then we would certainly consider moving, so I don't see why it should be any different when it's natural constraints that make it impossible to properly practice the religion.

1 hour ago, AStruggler said:

Fun fact: I was inspired to write this thread after having a long discussion with two members who used to frequent this site and who're now hardcore Akhbaris. 

Can you ask them why they left?

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3 hours ago, Haydar Husayn said:

You mean like allowing a married woman to get pregnant by another man's sperm on the basis that it can't be proven to be haram?

I wonder who is more likely to make that ruling, an Usuli or an Akhbari?

I'm not answering the main topic yet since I think others can probably address it better, but I want to briefly comment on this.

If it's meant to discredit the usuli position, then it's a self defeating example because the only way one would declare such a thing haram would be through ijtihad. 

No Shi'a or Sunni scholar can address this purely through Qur'an and hadith simply because the direct textual references aren't there.

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Posted (edited)

Establishing a New Approach in Jurisprudence

Quote

By his great knowledge, al-Shaykh al-Mufid stood against the dominant stagnation and established a new approach in jurisprudence based on regular principles and later his students, al-Sayyid al-Murtada and al-Shaykh al-Tusi continued his way. This approach in ijtihad, was a middle way between the approach of al-Shaykh al-Saduq in hadith and the analogical approach of Ibn al-Junayd in jurisprudence. 

In his ijtihad approach, al-Shaykh al-Mufid regarded intellect very important and considered it one of the ways to reach an understanding of the concepts in the Book and the Tradition and even believed that if a hadith has contradiction with the rules of intellect, it cannot be accepted. With the same solidity he stood against hadith approach, al-Shaykh al-Mufid also stood against those who took analogy as the factor for drawing out rulings and criticized his teacher, Ibn al-Junayd openly but respectfully

Therefore, al-Shaykh al-Mufid rejected jurisprudence based on the appearance of hadith and also the approach based on personal opinion and analogy and established a third approach in jurisprudence. In this method of ijtihad, al-Shaykh al-Mufid made a conclusion out of conflicting reports and avoided using of solitary reports void of evidences of authenticity and through compilation of the principles of jurisprudence, in practice, he founded a new jurisprudence.[13]

http://en.wikishia.net/view/Al-Shaykh_al-Mufid

al-Waheed al-Behbahani

Quote


Muhammad Baqir ibn Muhammad Akmal al-Wahid Bihbahani, also Vahid Behbahani (1706–1791), was a Twelver Shia Islamic scholar. He is widely regarded as the founder or restorer of the Usuli school of Twelver Shi'a Islam.

https://www.al-islam.org/al-wahid-al-behbahani-man-intellect-abbas-al-abiri

https://www.ghbook.ir/index.php?option=com_dbook&task=viewbook&book_id=11786&Itemid=436&lang=en

Quote

Al-Wahid al-Bihbahani attended the classes of al-Shaykh Yusuf al-Bahrani (d. 1186/1772) in Karbala, where most of Akhbari supporters were settling. Al-Bahrani was a grand figure in fiqh and the last representative of Akhbarism. Al-Bihbahani requested al-Bahrani to take over his classes for some time. He asked al-Bahrani to encourage his students to attend his classes.

Al-Bahrani is considered as a moderate Akhbari scholar. He considered himself as a person who chose a moderate way[13] and criticized categorizing Shi'a scholars in Akhbari and Usuli. He also criticized insulting notable Shi'a scholars.

Al-Bihbahani explained Usuli school of thought and gave reviews on Akhbari principles in three days. As a result two third of students quit Akhbarism and accepted Usuli school of thought.[14]

Muhammad Baqir al-Bihbahani stayed in Karbala over thirty years and eventually succeeded in driving out Akhbari school of thought. In addition he established Usuli school of thought which he believed in.[15]

http://en.wikishia.net/view/Muhammad_Baqir_Bihbahani

Edited by Ashvazdanghe
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On 8/4/2020 at 9:05 PM, Haydar Husayn said:

Why do you assume that the battle was won through intellectual arguments?

Was it not? 

On 8/4/2020 at 9:05 PM, Haydar Husayn said:

And I'm not sure it is quite correct to accuse the Akhbaris of not using the intellect, unless you mean that in a very specific way.

I meant it for when specifically driving the laws of the religion. 

On 8/4/2020 at 9:05 PM, Haydar Husayn said:

May eventually have, perhaps. But how much has actually changed since the time of the Imams? What percentage of a marj`a's risala actually deals with 'modern' issues? It seems quite small to me. And this would have been even more the case back when the Akhbaris and Usulis were having their major disputes, so that obviously can't have been the major factor

Hmm that's true. 

On 8/4/2020 at 9:05 PM, Haydar Husayn said:

You mean like allowing a married woman to get pregnant by another man's sperm on the basis that it can't be proven to be haram?

Yupp, this is one example.

On 8/4/2020 at 9:05 PM, Haydar Husayn said:

I wonder who is more likely to make that ruling, an Usuli or an Akhbari?

I'd say the latter. 

On 8/4/2020 at 9:05 PM, Haydar Husayn said:

Can anyone have full confidence and certainty in such a ruling?

I think on the day of judgement we can stand before Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) knowing that we did our due diligence. 

On 8/4/2020 at 9:05 PM, Haydar Husayn said:

On the other hands, without straying from the texts, you could take the approach that either you should migrate during the summer months (or just not live in Norway at all), since living without darkness is unnatural, or if that's not possible take the view that fasting is impossible, and make them up at a later time when it is (like you would if you were ill). If we can't practice our religion properly due to political constraints, then we would certainly consider moving, so I don't see why it should be any different when it's natural constraints that make it impossible to properly practice the religion.

Interesting argument.

On 8/4/2020 at 9:05 PM, Haydar Husayn said:

Can you ask them why they left?

Sure.

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