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1. It is necessary for a Muslim to believe in the fundamentals of faith with his own insight and understanding, and he cannot follow anyone in this respect i.e. he cannot accept the word of another who knows, simply because he has said it. However, one who has faith in the true tenets of Islam, and manifests it by his deeds, is a Muslim and Mo'min, even if he is not very profound, and the laws related to a Muslim will hold good for him. In matters of religious laws, apart from the ones clearly defined, or ones which are indisputable, a person must:

*either be a Mujtahid (jurist) himself, capable of inferring and deducing from the religious sources and evidence;

*or if he is not a Mujtahid himself, he should follow one, i.e. he should act accordi ng to the verdicts (Fatwa) of the Mujtahid;

*or if he is neither a Mujtahid nor a follower (Muqallid), he should act on such precaution which should assure him that he has fulfilled his religious obligation. For example, if some Mujtahids consider an act to be haraam, while others say that it is not, he should not perform that act. Similarly, if some Mujtahid consider an act to be obligatory (Wajib) while others consider it to be recommended (Mustahab), he should perform it. Therefore, it is obligatory upon those persons who are neither Mujta hids, nor able to act on precautionary measures (Ihtiyat), to follow a Mujtahid.

Mujtahid is a jurist competent enough to deduce precise inferences regarding the commandments from the holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the holy Prophet by the process of Ijtihad. Ijtihad literally means striving and exerting. Technically as a term of jurisprudence it signifies the application by a jurist of all his faculties to the consideration of the authorities of law with a view to finding out what in all probability is the law. In other words Ijtihad means making deductions in matters of law, in the cases to which no express text is applicable. (See, Baqir Sadr, A Short History of 'llmul Usul, ISP, 1984).

2. Taqlid in religious laws means acting according to the verdict of a Mujtahid. It is necessary for the Mujtahid who is followed, to be male, Shi'ah Ithna Ash'ari, adult, sane, of legitimate birth, living and just ('Adil). A person is said to be just whe n he performs all those acts which are obligatory upon him, and refrains from all those things which are forbidden to him. And the sign of being just is that one is apparently of a good character, so that if enquiries are made about him from the people of his locality, or from his neighbours, or from those persons with whom he lives, they would confirm his good conduct.

And if one knows that the verdicts of the Mujtahids differ with regard to the problems which we face in every day life, it is necessary t hat the Mujtahid who is followed be A'lam (the most learned), who is more capable of understanding the divine laws than any of the contemporary Mujtahids.

3. There are three ways of identifying a Mujtahid, and the A'alam:

*when a person is certain that a particular person is a Mujtahid, or the most learned one. For this, he should be a learned person himself, and should possess the capacity to identify a Mujtahid or an A'alam;

*when two persons, who are learned and just and possess the capacity to identify a Mujtahid or the A'alam, confirm that a person is a Mujtahid or an A'lam, provided that two other learned and just persons do not contradict them. In fact, being a Mujt ahid or an A'lam can also be established by a statement of only one trusted and reliable person;

*when a number of learned persons who possess the capacity to identify a Mujtahid or an A'lam, certify that a particular person is a Mujtahid or an A'lam, provided that one is satisfied by their statement.

4. If one generally knows that the verdicts of Mujtahids do vary in day to day matters, and also that some of the Mujtahids are more capable than the others, but is unable to identify the most learned one, then he should act on precaution based on t heir verdicts. And if he is unable to act on precaution, then he should follow a Mujtahid he supposes to be the most learned. And if decides that they are all of equal stature, then he has a choice.

5. There are four ways of obtaining the verdicts of a Mujtahid:

1When a man hears from the Mujtahid himself.

2When the verdict of the Mujtahid is quoted by two just persons.

3When a man hears the verdict from a person whose statement satisfies him.

4By reading the Mujtahid's book of Masae'l, provided that, one is satisfied about the correctness of the book.

6. As long as a person is certain that the verdict of the Mujtahid has not changed, he can act according to what is written in the Mujtahid's book. And if he suspects that the verdict might have been changed, investigation in that matter is not necessary .

7. If an A'lam Mujtahid gives a fatwa on some matter, his follower cannot act in that matter on the fatwa of another Mujtahid. But if he does not give a fatwa, and expresses a precaution (Ihtiyat) that a man should act in such and such a manner, for exam ple if he says that as a precautionary measure, in the first and second Rak'at of the namaz he should read a complete Surah after the Surah of "Hamd", the follower may either act on this precaution, which is called obligatory precaution (Ihtiyat Wajib), or he may act on the fatwa of another Mujtahid who it is permissible to follow.

Hence, if he (the second Mujtahid) rules that only "Surah Hamd" is enough, he (the person offering prayers) may drop the second Surah. The position will be the same if the A'a lam Mujtahid expresses terms like Ta'mmul or Ishkal.

8. If the A'lam Mujtahid observes precaution after or before having given a fatwa, for example, if he says that if Najis vessel is washed once with Kurr water (about 388 litres), it becomes Pak, although as precautionary measure, it should be washed thre e times, his followers can abandon acting according to this precaution. This precaution is called recommended precaution (Ihtiyat Mustahab).

9. If a Mujtahid, who is followed by a person dies, his category will be the same as when he was alive. Based on this, if he is more learned than a living Mujtahid, the follower who has a general notion about the variation in the day to day Masae'l, must continue to remain in his taqlid. And if the living Mujtahid is more learned, then the follower must turn to him for taqlid. The term 'taqlid' used here implies only an intention to follow a particular Mujtahid, and does not include having acted acco rding to his fatwa.

10. If a person acts according to the fatwa of a Mujtahid in certain matter, and after the death of that Mujtahid, he follows a living Mujtahid in that matter according to his obligation, he cannot act again according to the fatwa of the dead Mujtahid.

11. It is obligatory for a follower to learn the Masae'l which are of daily importance.

12. If a person faces a problem whose rule is not known to him, it is necessary for him to exercise precaution, or to follow a Mujtahid according to the conditions mentioned above. But if he cannot obtain the ruling of an A'lam Mujtahid on that matt er, he is allowed to follow a non-A'lam Mujtahid, even if he has a general notion about the difference between the verdicts.

13. If a person relates the fatwa of a Mujtahid to someone, and then that fatwa is changed, it is not necessary for him to inform that person about the change. But if he realises after having related the fatwa that he had made an error, and the error would lead someone to contradicting the laws of Shariah, then as an obligatory precaution, he should do his best to rectify the error.

14. If a person performs his acts for some time without taqlid of a Mujtahid, and later follows a Mujtahid, his former actions will be valid if that Mujtahid declares them to be valid, otherwise they will be treated as void


The Principle of Ijtihad in Islam


The article hereunder translated into English, first appeared in the collection "Bahthi dar bara­yi Marja`iyat wa Ruhaniyat" [1], which was reviewed by Lambton [2]. This volume contained essays by figures who were then prominent in the anjumanha­yi islami, an organization of groups with a religiously educated leadership concerned to initiate public debate of, and interest in, Islamic solutions to contemporary political, economic and social problems. The occasion for the publication of this volume was the death of the marja` al­taqlid of his time, Ayatullah Burujirdi, in 1961, and the discussions contained therein dealt with various aspects of taqlid and the religious institutions. Summaries and discussion of the articles will be found in Lambton.

Most of the authors subsequently became leading names in the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Mahdi Bazargan, who had had both a religious and a secular education and had been influential among the younger generation as a professor at the University of Tehran and later as a politician, became the first Prime Minister of the new Islamic Republic's provisional government. Ayatullah Taliqani was an active revolutionary figure who had spent much time in SAVAK prisons. He was particularly well known in Tehran where he commanded much respect. He died in the early morning of 10 September 1979 [3]. Sayyid Muhammad Bihishti became the first head of the Islamic Republican Party, as well as Chief Justice of the post­revolutionary High Court; he held both posts until his assassination in the bombing of the Party headquarters on 29 June 1981. Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i was much weakened by illness by the time of the revolution, but was held in universal esteem for his piety and learning. He died on 15 November 1981. All these figures, except `Allama Tabataba'i were also important members of the Revolutionary Council, which had been set up by Ayatullah Khumayni during his stay in Paris. The author of the present article, Murtada Mutahhari, had been appointed head of this Council by Ayatullah Khumayni, and it was he who had first convened it. After the victory of the revolution, the Council continued to play an extremely important role in the course of events, even after the setting up of the provisional government, indeed right up to the formation of the new Majlis.

Murtada Mutahhari was born in a village some forty kilometres from Mashhad in 1338/1919­20. After a primary education mostly at the hands of his father, he entered, still a child, the hawza­yi `ilmiya, the traditional educational establishment, of Mashhad, but he soon left for Qum, the centre for religious education in Iran. Even during the time of his elementary studies there he was greatly affected by the lessons in akhlaq (Islamic ethics) given by Ayatullah Khumayni, which Mutahhari himself described as being in reality lessons in ma`arif wa sayr­u­suluk (the theoretical and practical approaches to mysticism) [4], and he later studied metaphysics (falsafa) with him as well as jurisprudence (usul al­fiqh). He was especially attracted by falsafa, theoretical mysticism (`irfan) and theology (kalam), the "intellectual sciences", and he also studied these subjects with `Allama Tabataba'i. His teachers in law (fiqh) were all the important figures of the time, but especially Ayatullah Burujirdi, who became the marja` al­taqlid, and also head of the hawza­yi `ilmiya of Qum, in 1945. Murtada Mutahhari studied both fiqh and usul al­fiqh in the classes of Ayatullah Burujirdi for ten years. He was also deeply affected at about this time by lessons on "Nahj al-Balagha" [5] given by Mirza `Ali Aqa Shirazi Isfahani, whom he had met in Isfahan. He later said that, although he had been reading this work since his childhood, he now felt that he had discovered a "new world".[6] Subsequently, Mutahhari became a well known teacher in Qum, first in Arabic language and literature, and later in logic (mantiq), usul al­fiqh, and falsafa.

In 1952, Murtada Mutahhari moved to Tehran, where, two years later, he began teaching in the Theology Faculty of the University. Not only did he make a strong impression on students, but his move to Tehran also meant that he could become involved with such organizations as the anjuman ha­yi islami. These Islamic Associations were groups of students, engineers, doctors, merchants, etc., set up during the fifties and sixties; they formed the nucleus of the movement that was to become, eventually, the revolution. He was also a founder member of the Husayniya­yi Irshad, which played a central role in the religious life of the capital during the four years of its existence until its closure by the authorities in 1973 [7]. At the same time he maintained his contact with traditional religious activities, teaching first in the Madrasa­yi Marvi in Tehran, and later back in Qum, and also preaching in mosques in Tehran and elsewhere in the country. Through his lectures and writings - articles and books - he became a famous and much­respected figure throughout Iran, but it was mainly among the students and teachers of the schools and universities that he was most influential, setting an example and inspiring them as a committed and socially aware Muslim with a traditional education who could make an intellectually appropriate and exciting response to modern secularizing tendencies. His wide­ranging knowledge and scholarship are reflected in the scope of his writings, which cover the fields of law, philosophy, theology, history and literature.[8] He was also one of the few high­ranking `ulama' to be in continuous contact with Ayatullah Khumayni during the fifteen or so years in which the movement which led to the revolution was developing. He was actively engaged in all the stages of this movement.

His life came to an abrupt and untimely end when he was shot in the street by an assassin after a meeting of the Revolutionary Council on the evening of 1 May 1979. Animated mourning accompanied his funeral cortege from Tehran to Qum, where he was buried near the shrine of the sister of the eighth Shi`i Imam.

The discussion of taqlid had been important in the wake of Ayatullah Burujirdi's death for the reasons given by Lambton. A solution to the problems posed in those articles was never achieved, and events subsequently altered the whole structure of the discussion, but the issues raised did open important new areas for thought. As a result of the revolution, the question of wilayat al­faqih came to the fore, and taqlid became the subject of even greater public concern. As long as taqlid had been restricted in the common understanding as applying only to matters which belonged to the rubrics of the collections of fatwas issued by the marja`s, the only real debate took place within the legal classroom; but during the seventies, and hand in hand with the reawakening of political sensibilities, the boundaries of fiqh were seen by the public to expand and encompass new territory. The definition of these new frontiers was a source of some confusion, and hence of heightened interest, and, in the great post­revolutionary surge of printing, the Burujirdi volume was re­issued.

Taqlid had long been a socially important element in Iranian society, and in Shi`i society in general, for it united people, at least as inhabitants of the same universe of duties and obligations, under their marja`s, but the events leading up to the revolution demonstrated the power that the marja`s could command through, among other means, their issuing of proclamations (`ilamiyas); this was reminiscent of the mobilization of the Iranian people during the tobacco protest of 1891­2, and during the Constitutional Revolution of 1906-11.

The following article is presented as a description of taqlid and ijtihad by a leading contemporary Shi`i mujtahid who strove to make Islam comprehensible to the modern Iranian and to find answers to the problems of his time within the Islamic framework. The text has been left in its entirety; there were no footnotes in the original.


It is not for the believers to go forth all together; but why should not a party of every section of them go forth, to become learned in religion, and to warn their people when they return to them, that they may beware. (9:122) [9]

What is ijtihad?

The question of ijtihad is a very topical one these days.[10] Many people ask, either aloud or to themselves, what form ijtihad takes in Islam, and from where Islam got the concept. Why should one practice taqlid? What are the conditions for ijtihad? What are the duties of a mujtahid?

Broadly speaking, ijtihad has the meaning of being an authority in the matters of Islam; but there are two ways of being an authority and deriving opinions in the matters of Islam in the eyes of us Shi`i Muslims: one which is in accordance with the shari`a, and one which is forbidden by it. Similarly, taqlid is of two kinds: one which is in accordance with the shari`a, and one which is forbidden.

The kind of ijtihad which is forbidden by the shari'a.

Now, the kind of ijtihad which, in our opinion, is forbidden is that which means "legislating" or "enacting the law", by which we mean that the mujtahid passes a judgement which is not in the Book (the Qur'an) or the Sunna, according to his own thought and his own opinion - this is technically called ijtihad al­ra'y. According to Shi`i Islam, this kind of ijtihad is forbidden, but in Sunni Islam it is permitted. In the latter the sources of legislation, and the valid proofs for determining the shar`ia, are given as the Book, the Sunna and ijtihad. The Sunnis place ijtihad, which is the ijtihad al­ra'y explained above, on the same level as the Book and the Sunna.

This difference takes its origin in the fact that Sunni Muslims say that the commands which are given in the shari`a from the Book and the Sunna are limited and finite, whereas circumstances and events which occur are not, so another source in addition to the Book and the Sunna must be appointed for the legislation of Divine commands - and that source is the very same as we have defined as ijtihad al­ra'y. Concerning this matter, they have also narrated hadiths from the Prophet, and one of them is that when the Prophet sent Mu`adh b. Jabal to the Yemen, he asked him how he would issue commands there. He replied: "In conformity with the Book." "And if it is not to be found in the book?" "I will make use of the Sunna of the Prophet." "And if it is not to be found in the Sunna of the Prophet?" "Ajtahidu ra' yi, " he replied, which means: I will employ my own thought, ability and tact. They also narrate other hadiths in connection with this matter.

There is a difference of view among Sunni Muslims as to what ijtihad al-ra'y is, and as to how it is to be conceived. In his famous book, the "Risala" [11] which was the first book to be written on the principles of Islamic jurisprudence (usul al­fiqh), (...) al­Shafi`i insists that the only valid ijtihad according to hadith is qiyas [reasoning by analogy]. Qiyas, briefly, is the taking into account of similar cases, and ruling in a case from one's own opinion by comparing it with these other similar cases.

But some other Sunni fuqaha [experts in fiqh, sing.: faqih] did not recognize ijtihad al­ra'y as being exclusively qiyas; they also counted istihsan ["finding the good" by one's own deliberations] as valid. Istihsan means to see, quite independently, without taking similar cases into account, what is nearest to the truth and to justice, and to give one's opinion according as one's inclination and intellect approve. Similarly with istislah [determining what is in the interests of human welfare by one's own deliberationsl, which means the seeming of one thing as more expedient than another, and ta`awwul in which, although a ruling may have been reached in one of the nusus [the textual bases for a precept of the shari`a sing.: nass], in a verse from the Qur'an or in a hadith from the Prophet, one still has the right, for some reason, to dispense with the contents of the nass and to give priority to one's own independent opinion (ijtihad al­ra'y). Each of these requires explanation and a detailed account, and the Shi`i­Sunni debate is relevant to such an account. Many books have been written both for and against this idea, viz., that ijtihad is on a par with textual evidence, and the best of them is the treatise written recently by the late `Allama, the Sayyid Sharaf al­Din, called "al­Nass wa l­Ijtihad".[12]

Now, according to Shi`i Muslims, such a kind of ijtihad is not permitted by the shari`a. In the view of Shi`i Muslims and their Imams, the first basic principle of this matter, i.e., that the rulings of the Book and the Sunna are not adequate and that it is therefore necessary to practice ijtihad al­ra'y, is not correct. There are many hadiths relevant to this discussion, and, in general, [they tell us that] there exist rulings for every eventuality in the Book and the Sunna. In "al­Kafi" [13], after the chapter on bid`a [innovation] and maqa'is [measurements], there is a chapter with the title: "Chapter on referring to the Book and the Sunna - and there is no halal [permitted thing] or haram [forbidden thing] or anything which the people need which does not come in the Book or the Sunna." The Imams of the ahl al­bayt have been known since the earliest days as opponents of qiyas and ra'y.

Of course, the acceptance or non­acceptance of qiyas and ijtihad al­ra' y can be studied from two angles. Firstly, from the aspect from which I have looked at it; that is to say, we count qiyas and ijtihad al­ra'y as one of the sources of Islamic legislation, and place it alongside the Book and the Sunna, and say that there are cases which have not been ruled upon by revelation and which mujtahids must explain using their own opinion. Or alternatively, [we can study it] from the aspect that ( . . . ) qiyas and ijtihad al-ra'y [arel a means for deriving the real rulings, just as we use the other ways and means such as khabar al­wahid.[14] In other words, it is possible to perceive qiyas as either a substantive (mawdu`iya) [element in law], or a methodological (tariqiya) [principle].

In Shi`i fiqh, qiyas and ra'y are invalid in both of the above senses. In the first sense, the reason is that we have no ruling which is not given in the Book and the Sunna; and in the second case, the reason is that qiyas and ra'y are kinds of surmise and conjecture which lead to many errors. The fundamental opposition of Shi`i and Sunni legists in the matter of qiyas is in the first sense, although the second aspect has become more famous among the scholars of usul (the principles and methodology of fiqh).

The right of ijtihad did not last for long among the Sunnis. Perhaps the cause of this was the difficulty which occurred in practice: for if such a right were to continue [for any great length of time], especially if ta`awwul and the precedence of something over the texts were to be permitted, and everyone were permitted to change or interpret according to his own opinion, nothing would remain of the way of Islam (din al­islam). Perhaps it is for this reason that the right of independent ijtihad was gradually withdrawn, and the view of the Sunni `ulama became that they instructed people to practice taqlid of only the four mujtahids, the four famous Imams - Abu Hanifa [d.150/767], al­Shafi`i; [d.204/820], Malik b. Anas [d.179/795] and Ahmad b. Hanbal [d.241/855] - and forbade people to follow anyone apart from these four persons. This measure was first taken in Egypt in the seventh hijri century, and then taken up in the rest of the lands of Islam.

Ijtihad permitted by the shari'a.

The word ijtihad was used until the fifth hijri century with this particular meaning, i.e., with the meaning of qiyas and ijtihad al­ra'y, a kind of ijtihad which is prohibited in the eyes of the Shi`a. Up to that time, the Shi`i `ulama included a chapter on ijtihad in their books only because they wanted to refute it, to emphasize that it was null and void, and to proscribe it, as did the Shaykh al­Tusi in some of his works. But the meaning of this word gradually extended beyond this specific meaning, and the Sunni `ulama themselves began not to use 'ijtihad' in the specific sense of ijtihad al­ra'y, [as a source] which was on the same level as the Book and the Sunna. [such a shift in the meaning of the word can be seen with] Ibn Hajib [15] in his "Mukhtasar al­usul", on which `Adud al­Din al­Iji wrote a commentary known as al­`Adudi, and which has been till recently, and maybe still is, the authoritatively approved book on [sunni] usul, and before him with al­Ghazali [16] in his famous work "al­Mustasfa". It then became used rather in the unqualified sense of effort or exertion to arrive at the rulings of the shari`a, and was defined as "the maximum employment of effort and exertion in deducing the rulings of the shari`a from the valid proofs (adilla, sing. dalil, see below ). However, it is another matter to decide what the valid proofs of the shari`a are: whether qiyas, istihsan, and so forth, are among them or not.

From this time onwards, the Shi`i `ulama also adopted this word because they accepted this [general] meaning. This kind of ijtihad was a kind approved by the shari`a. Although the word had originally been one to be avoided among the Shi`a, after its meaning and the concept it denoted had undergone this change, their `ulama, discarded their prejudice and subsequently had no reservations about using it. It seems that in many instances the Shi`i `ulama, were careful to consider unity of method and conformity among Muslims as a whole. For example, the Sunnis came to recognize ijma` (consensus of opinion among the `ulama) as a proof leading to certainty, and, in practice, they also held it to be fundamental and substantive (mawdu`i) just like qiyas, whereas the Shi`a did not accept it. However, to protect the unity of method, they gave the name ijma` to a principle which they did accept [17]. The Sunnis said that the valid proofs were four in number: the Book, the Sunna, ijma and ijtihad (qiyas); the Shi`a said the valid proofs were four: the Book, the Sunna, ijma` and `aql (reason). They merely substituted `aql for qiyas.

At any rate, 'ijtihad' gradually found a wider meaning, i.e., the employment of careful consideration and reasoning in reaching an understanding of the valid proofs of the shari`a. This, of course needs a series of sciences as a suitable preliminary basis on which to develop the ability to consider and reason correctly and systematically. The `ulama of Islam gradually realized that the deduction and derivation of the precepts from the combined valid proofs of the shari`a necessitated [the learning] of a series of preparatory sciences and studies such as the sciences of literature, logic, the Qur'anic sciences and tafsir (Qur'anic exegesis), the science of hadith and the narrators of hadith (rijal al­hadith), the science of the methodology of usul al­fiqh, and even a knowledge of the fiqh of the other sects of Islam. A mujtahid was someone who was a master of all these sciences.

I think it extremely likely, though I cannot state this categorically, that the first person among the Shi`a to use the words ijtihad and mujtahid [positively] was the `Allama al­Hilli.[18] In his work " Tahdhib al­usul'', he puts the chapter on ijtihad after the chapter on qiyas, and there he uses the word in the same sense in which it is used today.

[We can therefore say that] the ijtihad which is forbidden and rejected in the eyes of the Shi`a is ra' y and qiyas, which were originally called ijtihad, whether this is counted as a source of the shari`a and as an independent basis for legislation, or taken as a means for deriving and deducing true precepts; whereas the ijtihad which they deem correct according to the shari`a is that which means effort and exertion based on expert technical knowledge.

In answer to the question: what is the meaning, the use and the place of ijtihad in Islam, it can thus be said that it is ijtihad in the meaning that it is used today, i.e., competence and expert technical knowledge. It is obvious that someone who wants to refer to the Qur'an and hadith must know how to explain the meaning of the Qur'an, he must know the meaning of the verses, which verses abrogate which verses, which ones have clear meanings and which ones ambiguous meanings [19] - and he must be able to distinguish which hadith is valid and authoritative and which not. In addition, he must understand, on the basis of correct rational principles, incompatibilities between hadiths to the extent that it is possible for him to resolve them, and he must be able to distinguish the cases in which the `ulama of the Shi`a sect have consensus (ijma`). In the verses of the Qur'an themselves, and similarly in the hadith, a series of general principles [for verification and interpretation] are laid down, and the use and exercise of these principles need training and practice, just as in the case of all other basic principles in every science. Like the skilled technician who knows which material to choose from all the materials available to him, the mujtahid must have proficiency and ability. In hadith, especially, there is a great deal of fabrication, the true and the false are mixed together; the expert must have the power to distinguish between them. In short, he must have enough preliminary knowledge so that he can exercise competence, authority and technical expertise.

The appearance of the Akhbaris in Shi'i Islam

Here we must mention an important and perilous current which first appeared around four centuries ago in the Shi`i world over the question of ijtihad - Akhbarism. If a group of the `ulama had not been forthright and challenged it, and had not taken a stand against this current and destroyed it, there is no knowing in what position we should be today.

The actual school of the Akhbaris is no more than four centuries old. Its founder was a man by the name of Mulla Muhammad Amin al­Astarabadi [d. 1033/1624], who was, personally, a gifted man who found many followers among the `ulama'. The Akhbaris themselves claimed that the original Shi`is, up to the time of the Shaykh al­Saduq [20], were all followers of the Akhbari doctrine, but the truth is that Akhbarism as a school with basic postulates did not exist more than four centuries ago. These postulates were: the denial of the possibility of arriving at certainty through exercising reason (`aql); the denial of the validity and the proof (dalil) of the Qur'an on the pretext that the understanding of the Qur'an lay exclusively in the hands of the Prophet's ahl al­bayt, and that our duty is to consult the hadith of the ahl al­bayt [for its interpretation and understanding]; the assertion that ijma` was the innovation of the Sunnis; the assertion that, of the four valid proofs (adilla), i.e., the Book, the Sunna, ijma` and `aql, only the Sunna is able to lead to certainty, the assertion that all the hadith that appear in the "four books"" are true and valid, and of categorical provenance [from the Imams] (qat`i al­sudur).

In his book, ''`Uddat al­Usul", the Shaykh al­Tusi mentions a group of former Shi`i scholars under the name of the "Muqallida", and adversely criticises them; but they had no school of their own, and the reason that the Shaykh called them "Muqallida" was that even in the fundamentals of dogmatics (usul al­din) they constructed their proofs with hadith.

At any rate, the school of the Akhbaris took its stand against the school of ijtihad and taqlid. They denied the legal competence, jurisdiction and technical expertise that the mujtahids believed in; they considered taqlid of anyone else than the ma`sumin [22] to be illegal. According to them, only the hadith are authoritative, and since there is no right of ijtihad or deriving of opinions, people must necessarily have recourse directly to the texts of the traditions and act upon them, no scholar calling himself a mujtahid or a marja` al­taqlid [23] can act as an intermediary.

Mulla Amin al­Astarabadi, the founder of this school, and personally a very gifted man, learned and well­travelled, wrote a book called "al-Fawa'id al­Madaniya" in which he went to war with the mujtahids with astonishing stubbornness. He particularly tried to refute the principle of the authority of `aql. He claimed that it was only a proof in matters which had their origin in the senses, or which were related to sensory objects (such as in mathematics), and that in matters other than these it was inadmissible as a proof.[24]

It so happens that this idea was practically contemporary with the appearance of empirical philosophy in Europe. The latter denied the validity of pure reason, and al­Astarabadi denied its validity in religion. Now where did he get this idea? Was it his own original idea, or did he get it from elsewhere? We cannot say.

I remember that in the summer of 1322 [sh./1943] I went to Burujird, and at that time the late Ayatullah Burujirdi was still living there, not yet having come to Qum. One day, the talk was of this idea of the Akhbaris, and he criticised it, saying that the appearance of this idea among them was the effect of the wave of empiricism that had arisen in Europe. I heard this from him at that time. Afterwards, when he came to Qum, and his lessons in usul al­fiqh reached this topic, i.e., the validity of certainty as a proof (hujjat al qat`), I was waiting to hear this opinion again from him, but unfortunately he did not say anything about it. Now, I cannot say if this had only been a conjecture which he had voiced, or whether he had evidence, but I, myself, have not till now found any evidence for it, and I feel it is extremely unlikely that empirical thinking had then reached the East from the West. However, against this is the fact that Ayatullah Burujirdi never spoke without evidence. I now regret that I never asked him for an explanation at the time.

The struggle with Akhbarism

In brief, Akhbarism was a movement in opposition to `aql. An amazing ossification and inflexibility ruled in their doctrine. Fortunately, some discerning individuals like Wahid Bihbihani [25], famous as "Aqa", whose descendants are even now known as "Al­i Aqa (Family of Aqa)", and his pupils, and afterwards the late Shaykh Murtada al­Ansari [26], took a stand and fought against this doctrine.

Wahid Bihbihani lived in Karbala.[27] At that time, the author of the "Hada'iq"[28] an erudite Akhbari, was also in Karbala, and both of them had a following of students. Wahid was a follower of the doctrine of ijtihad, and the author of the "Hada'iq" of the Akhbari doctrine, and occasionally there were bitter disputes. In the end, Wahid Bihbihani defeated the author of the "Hada'iq", and it is said that the outstanding pupils of Aqa Wahid, such as Kashif al­Ghita', Bahr al­`Ulum and the Sayyid Mahdi Shahrastani [29], had first of all been pupils of the author of the "Hada'iq" and had afterwards left him and joined the lessons of Wahid Bihbihani.

Of course, the author of the ''Hada'iq'' was a moderate Akhbari; he claimed that his doctrine was identical with that of Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi [30], half way between Akhbari and Usuli. Moreover, he was a pious and godfearing man of faith, and although Wahid Bihbihani fought against him vociferously and forbade congregational prayers behind him, he, quite the contrary, said that congregational prayers behind Aqa Wahid were valid. It is said that at the time of his death he left in his will that Wahid Bihbihani should recite his funerary prayer.

The struggle of the Shaykh al­Ansari was such that he managed to build a solid foundation for the science of usul al­fiqh; and it is said that he maintained that if Amin al­Astarabadi had been alive he would have accepted his usul.

Naturally, the Akhbari school was defeated as a result of this opposition, and now it has no following except here and there. However, not all the ideas of Akhbarism, which penetrated people's minds so quickly and securely after the appearance of Mulla Amin, and which held sway for more or less two hundred years, have disappeared. Even now we see many who do not recognize the permissibility of an exegesis of the Qur'an unless a hadith is quoted. The inflexibility of Akhbarism still reigns in many of the matters of akhlaq (ethics) and in social problems, even in some parts of fiqh. But now is not the time for me to expand on this.

One thing which is a cause of the popularity of the Akhbari way of thinking is their self­righteousness, which is pleasing to ordinary people, because their ideas are formulated in such a way that they seem to be claiming: "we are not saying anything we have invented ourselves, we are people of obedience and submission; we say nothing except what the Imam al­Baqir (or the Imam al­Sadiq, etc.) said; we do not speak ourselves, we only say what the ma`sumin said."

In the chapter on ihtiyat and bara'a (precaution and exemption from obligation) in his "Fara' id al­Usul" the Shaykh al­Ansari quotes from Ni`mat Allah al­Jaza'iri [31], who maintained the doctrine of the Akhbaris:

Can any rational person conceive the possibility that on the day of Resurrection they will bring forth one of the slaves of Allah (i.e., the Akhbaris) and ask him how he acted, and that when he says that he acted according to what the ma`sumin ordered and that everywhere there was no word from the ma`sumin he desisted as a precaution, they will take such a person to Hell, while they will lead a thoughtless person who was inattentive to the words of the ma`sumin (i.e., an Usuli who follows the doctrine of ijtihad), who rejects every hadith on the slightest pretext, to heaven? It is not possible!

The answer which the mujtahids give is that this kind of obedience and submission is not submission to the words of the ma`sumin, but submission to ignorance. If it is really certain that the ma`sumin said something, then we must submit; but these people wanted to submit ignorantly to everything they heard.

I will give as an example something which I have recently come across, so that the difference between the rigid Akhbari way of thinking and the ijtihadi way of thinking can be seen.

A sample of the two ways of thinking

It has been commanded in many hadiths that the end of the turban should always hang down and pass round the neck, not only at the time of prayer, but at all times. One of these hadiths is as follows:

The difference between a Muslim and an unbeliever is the passing of the end of the turban round his neck (al­talahhi).

A number of Akhbaris have seized upon this hadith and those like it, and said that the end of the turban must always hang down. But Mulla Muhsin Fayd [32], although he did not think very highly of ijtihad, did in fact act in accordance with ijtihad in his chapter on apparel and adornment (al­ziy wa l­tajammul) in his "Kitab al­Wafi': and say that in former times the unbelievers had a slogan to the effect that the end of the turban should be tucked in on top, and they called this act iqti`at. If someone did this, it implied that he was one of them, and this hadith ordered that this slogan should be challenged and not followed. However this slogan has for a long time ceased to be current, and thus the subject of the hadith is no longer a matter of concern; on the contrary, since everyone tucks the end of his turban in on top, it is forbidden for someone to drape it round his neck, for it would be dressing in a way which drew attention to oneself, and this is unlawful.

Here the ossified doctrine of Akhbarism ruled that the text of the hadith ordered that the end of the turban must hang down, and it is an interference with it for us to add our words to it and give our own opinion and practice ijtihad. But the thinking of ijtihad is that we have two commands: one is the command to keep clear of the slogan of the unbelievers, which is the spirit of the subject of this hadith; and the other is the command to avoid ostentatious dress. In the days when this slogan had currency, and Muslims were trying to avoid appearing to comply with it, it became an obligation on everybody to keep the ends of their turbans hanging down; but now that this state of affairs no longer pertains and the slogan has fallen into oblivion, and now that ordinarily no­one lets the end of his turban hang down, if someone were to do this, it would be an instance of ostentatious clothing, and this is illicit. This is just one example which I wanted to give you: there are many like it.

It is narrated from Wahid Bihbihani that he said:

Once, the new moon of Shawwal [the month following Ramadan] had been established because it had been sighted by many people (tawatur). So many people came and said that they had seen the new moon that certainty had been obtained in the matter for me [33], so I gave the order that that day was the `Id al­Fitr [the feast marking the end of Ramadan]. One of the Akhbaris protested to me that I had not seen it myself, and that it had not been witnessed by people who had been proven to be `adil [to always act in accordance with the shari`a], and that I should therefore not have given the ruling. I said that it was mutawatir, and that this was a source of certainty for me. He then asked me in what hadith it had been narrated that tawatur was a valid proof leading to certainty.

It is also well known that some of the Akhbaris gave the command that the testimony of belief should always be written on the shroud of the corpse in this way:

Isma`il yashhadu an la ilaha illa llah (Isma`il testifies that there is no god but Allah).

Now the reason [they say] that the testimony is to be written in the name of Isma`il is that it is narrated in a hadith that the Imam al­Sadiq wrote in this way on the shroud of his son Isma`il. The Akhbaris had never stopped to think that it was written thus on his shroud because his name was Isma`il; and that now, for example, that Hasan has died, they should say: "We should write his own name on the shroud, not that of Isma`il.'' Instead they argued: "This would be ijtihad, resorting to one's own opinion and relying on `aql. We are the people of obedience and submission to the words of the Imams al­Baqir and al­Sadiq, and we, for our part, will not interfere."

The kind of taqlid that is forbidden by the shari`a.

Let us now turn to taqlid. It is [as was said before] of two kinds: licit and illicit [in terms of the shari`a]. There is a kind of taqlid which is the blind following of one's surroundings and of habit, which is, of course, forbidden, and it is this which is condemned in the Qur'an when those who say:

Behold, we found our forefathers agreed on what to believe - and verily, it is but in their footsteps that we follow. (42:23)

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 (al­`alim), 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 [34], 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.

The Imam said:

In one respect there is a difference between the ordinary Jew and the Jewish scholars, and the ordinary Muslim and the Muslim scholars, and in another respect there is a similarity. In so far as there is a similarity, God has commanded the ordinary Muslim also not to practice that kind of taqlid of scholars, but in so far as there is a difference, He has not.

The person who had asked the Imam then said: O son of the Messenger of Allah, please explain what you mean.

Then Imam said:

The ordinary Jews could see from their scholars and the way that they behaved that they were quite clearly lying: they did not refrain from accepting bribes, they changed the laws and the rulings of the courts in exchange for favours. They knew that they displayed partiality to certain individuals. They indulged their personal likes and dislikes, they would give one man's right to someone else. .. On account of natural, common sense, which God has created in everyone, we all know that we must not accept the speech of people who behave in such a way as this; we must not accept the word of God and the prophets from the tongues of such people as this.

What the Imam meant here was that no­one can say that the ordinary Jewish people did not know that they should not act in accordance with what had been said by those of their scholars who acted contrary to the divine commands of their religion. This is not something that someone might not know. Knowledge of this kind is put by God into every person's nature, and everyone's reason acknowledges it. In the terminology of logic, it is a 'inborn' proposition; its proof is contained within itself. According to the dictate of every intellect, one must not pay any attention to the utterance of someone whose philosophy of life is purity and the rejection of the human passions but who pursues what his desires tell him to. Then the Imam continued:

It is the same thing for our people: they too, if they understand or see with their own eyes that there is behaviour contrary to the shari`a on the part of their scholars, strong prejudices, a scramble after the ephemera of this world, preference for their own supporters however irreligious they may be, and judgement against their opponents even when they deserve verdicts in their favour, if they perceive such behaviour among them and then follow them, they are just the same as the Jewish people and should be reprimanded and censured.

So it is clear that unquestioning allegiance and shutting one's eyes to the truth is not the kind of taqlid which is encouraged or permitted by the shari`a. Licit taqlid means having one's eyes open and being observant and alert; otherwise it is accepting responsibility for, and being an accomplice to, an illicit act.

Regarding the popular belief that the `ulama cannot be tainted by immorality

Some people imagine that the effect of sin on individuals is not of only one kind: that sin has an effect on ordinary people which annuls their piety and right behaviour, but that it has no effect on the `ulama' who have some kind of immunity. It is like the difference between a little water and a lot which, if it is more than one kurr [35], cannot be tainted by any unclean thing. Now, in fact, Islam does not consider anyone to be untaintable, not even the Prophet. For why then should God have said:

[O Prophet] say: 'I also, if I commit a sin, fear punishment on the Great Day.'?

Why should He have said:

If any kind of attributing godhood to other than Allah (shirk) enters your actions, your work will be spoilt?

All this is to show that there is no kind of partiality or discrimination, there is no immunity from sin for anyone.

The story of Moses and God's righteous servants, which is in the Qur'an, is a wonderful story. One moral which can be drawn from it is that the follower should surrender to the one he is following up to the point where basic principles and the law are not contravened. If it is seen that the leader does something against these principles, one must not remain silent. It is true that the fact that in the story the things which the servant of God does are not, in his view, against these basic principles, since he sees a wider horizon and can see into the heart of the matter; they were, rather, his very duty and responsibility. But the question here is why Moses was not patient, and why he gave vent to his criticisms, despite the fact that he had promised [the servant of God] and himself that he would not make any objection? Why, then, did he protest and criticise? The defect in Moses' actions was not his protesting and criticising, but the fact that he was not aware of the undivulged aspect of the matter, the inward and secret side of the events. Of course, if he had been aware of the hidden reasons for what happened, he would not have objected, and he would have wanted to discover the secret of the affair; but as long as his actions were, from his own point of view, against basic principles and the divine Law, his faith would not allow him to remain silent. There are those who have said that if the actions of that servant of God were to be repeated on the Day of the Resurrection, Moses would still object to them and criticise them, unless, by that time, he were to become aware of the hidden reasons behind them. Moses said to the servant of God:

"Shall I follow you so that you may teach me, of what you have been taught, right judgement."

"Assuredly you will not be able to bear with me patiently."

Then he explained the reason very clearly:

"And how should you bear patiently what you have never encompassed in your knowledge?"

Moses said:

"Yet you will find me, if Allah will, patient, and I shall not rebel against you in anything."

Moses did not say that he would be patient whether he discovered the secret of the matter or not. He merely said that he hoped he would have that patience. Of course, this patience did exist within Moses as long as he understood the reason for things.

Then the servant of God wanted to have something more definite from him; that, even if he did not discover the reason for what had happened, he would remain silent and not protest until the time came for him to explain.

"Then, if you follow me, do not question me on anything until I myself introduce the mention of it to you." (117:66­70)

Here, the verse does not say if Moses accepted; it only says that after this they both set out together and continued till the end of the story which we all know.

At any rate, I wanted to show that the ignorant person's taqlid of the learned should not be blind allegiance. The unlawful kind of taqlid between one who is ignorant and one who has knowledge is that kind in which unquestioning obedience exists, which takes some such form as: "an ignorant person cannot quarrel with a learned person; we don't understand, perhaps the duties imposed by the shari`a necessitate its being like this."

I have mentioned this story as evidence and corroboration for what was in the hadith of the Imam al­Sadiq.

Taqlid permitted by the shari`a

After what I have narrated concerning the kind of taqlid forbidden by the shari`a, the Imam went on to explain the kind of taqlid permitted by the shari`a the kind which is to be praised, in these words:

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, then he should be followed by the people in taqlid.

Of course, it is clear that the struggle of a spiritual `alim with his weaker desires is very different from the struggle of an ordinary person, because the desires of each individual are associated with specific activities. The desires of a youth are one thing, the desires of an old man another; everyone, in whatever position, degree, stage or age he may be, has a particular kind of desire. The standard for subservience to inferior desires for a spiritual `alim is not what we see: for example, whether he drinks alcohol or not, whether he has stopped praying and fasting or not, whether he gambles or not.[37] The standard for the subservience to inferior desires for such a person is whether he desires position, to have his hand kissed, to become famous and popular and have people walk behind him, to use the wealth of the Muslims to lord over others, to allow his friends and relatives, especially his sons, to benefit from the wealth of the Muslims. Then the Imam said:

Only some of the Shi`i fuqaha have these great qualities and traits of character, not all of them.

This hadith, on account of its final phrases, is one of the pieces of evidence in the question of ijtihad and taqlid.

So it is clear that both ijtihad and taqlid can be divided into two kinds: that which is permitted by the shari`a and that which is not.

Why is taqlid of a dead person not permitted

We have a principle in fiqh, which is one of the indisputable points of our fiqh, that taqlid of a dead person in the first instance is not permitted. If taqlid of a dead person is permitted, it is only when taqlid is carried on from someone who was followed [by the same person] while he was alive and is now dead.[38] Moreover, the carrying on of the taqlid of a dead person must also be with the permission of a living mujtahid. I am not concerned here with the reasons in fiqh for this principle, so I will only say that it is a very basic idea, but only on the condition that the aim of the principle is clearly understood.

The first purpose of this principle is that it should be a means for the survival of the traditional centres of learning of the Islamic sciences, so that there should be continuity, and that the Islamic sciences should be perserved - not only preserved, but that they should advance day by day and be perfected, and that those matters which had not previously been solved should be solved.

It is not the case that all our problems have been solved in the past by our `ulama', and that now we have no more problems and no more work. We have thousands of riddles and difficulties in kalam (theology), Qur'anic exegesis, fiqh and the other Islamic sciences, many of which have been solved by the great `ulama' of the past, but many of which remain, and it is the duty of those who follow on to solve them and to gradually write better and more complete texts in each subject, to continue each subject and develop it, just as in the past, too, exegesis, theology and law were gradually developed. The caravan must not be brought to a halt in mid­journey. So people's taqlid of living mujtahids, and their heeding them, is a means to the continuance and development of the Islamic sciences.

Another reason is that every day Muslims are faced with new problems in their lives, and they do not know what there duty is in these matters. It is necessary to have living fuqaha', aware of the contemporary situation, to respond to this great need. It is narrated in one hadith concerning ijtihad and taqlid:

As for al­hawadith al­waqi`a, refer concerning them to the narrators of our hadith.

These hawadith al­waqi`a are exactly these new problems which arise as time passes. Study and research into the books of fiqh from different epochs and centuries shows that gradually, according to the needs of the people, new problems arise in fiqh, and that the fuqaha' set out to answer them. It is for this reason that the dimensions of fiqh have increased.

If a researcher were to make a tally, he could discover, for example, in what century, in what place and for what reason, such­and­such a problem arose in fiqh. If it were not necessary for a living mujtahid to give answers to these problems, what difference would there be between taqlid of a living person and taqlid of a dead person? It would be better to follow in taqlid some of the dead mujtahids like the Shaykh al­Ansari, who, on the admission of the now­living mujtahids themselves, was the most knowledgeable and learned.

Basically, the 'secret' of ijtihad lies in applying general principles to new problems and changed circumstances. The real mujtahid is one who has mastered this 'secret', who has observed how things change, and subsequently how the rulings on them have changed. For there is no skill in only thinking about things which are in the past and have already been thought about; or, at the most, changing an `ala l­aqwa into an `ala l­ahwat.[39] or vice versa; there is no need to make a song and dance about any of this.

Of course, ijtihad has many preconditions and prerequisites; a mujtahid must have acquired the various [preliminary] sciences. It is necessary that he should have applied himself to the study of Arabic language and literature, to logic, to the study of usul (jurisprudence), even to the history of Islam and the fiqh of the other sects, so that he might become a true and thorough faqih. No one can ordinarily lay claim to ijtihad just by reading a few books on Arabic grammar, or rhetoric and logic, then three or four of the set books for the intermediate stage, such as the "Fara'id", the "Makasib" or the "Kifaya"[40], and then spending a few hours in the dars­i kharij.[41] He does not then become qualified to sit with the "Wasa'il" and "Jawahir"[42], in front of him and issue legal opinions. He must be completely knowledgeable in exegesis and hadith, that is to say in the several thousands of hadith which appeared in the two and a half centuries from the time of the Prophet to the time of the Imam al­Hasan al­`Askari, and of the circumstances in which they appeared; he must also know Islamic history and the fiqh of other Islamic sects, and the narrators of traditions and their biographies and reliability.

Ayatullah Burujirdi was a true faqih. It is not my habit to mention people by name, and while he was alive I never mentioned him in my lectures. But now that he has died and there can be no ulterior motive, I can say that this man was truly a distinguished and outstanding faqih. He was conversant with, and proficient in, all these sciences, in exegesis, hadith, knowledge of the narrators of hadith, in the sciences of the evaluation of hadith (`ilm al-daraya), and in the fiqh of the other sects of Islam.

How the faqih's outlook on the world affects the legal opinions he issues

The work of a faqih and mujtahid is the deduction and derivation of the precepts [of the shari`a]; but his knowledge and understanding of all things, in other words, his world­view, has a great influence on the decisions he makes. The faqih must have all the information on matters upon which he is going to issue a fatwa. If we imagine a faqih who is always sitting in the corner of his house or his madrasa, and compare him with a faqih who is conversant with the currents of life, both of them refer back to the valid proofs of the shari`a, but each one of them will derive his legal rulings in a particular way, using a particular method.

Let me give an example. Suppose that someone who grew up in Tehran, or in a big town like Tehran, where running water is in plentiful supply and there are reservoirs and tanks and gutters, becomes a faqih and wishes to issue a fatwa concerning the precepts about what is pure and what is impure. When he refers to the hadiths on purity and impurity, such a person will, owing to his own previous experience, make a deduction in a way which will be extremely circumspect and will necessitate the avoidance of many things. But the same person, once he has been to the House of God [the Ka`aba] and seen the conditions of purity and impurity and the lack of water in that place, will find himself changing his outlook regarding the subject of purity and impurity. After such a journey, if he consults the hadiths on this matter, he will see them in a different light.

If someone compares the fatwas of the fuqaha' with each other, and then pays attention to the individual circumstances and each of these scholars' ways of thinking about living problems, he will see how the mental environment of a faqih and the information he has concerning the outside world influence his legal rulings in such a way that the legal rulings of an Arab faqih have an Arabic flavour, those of an Iranian have an Iranian flavour, and those of a country­dweller have a rustic flavour as opposed to the urban feel of those of a city­dweller.

This religion is the final religion; it is not exclusive to a particular time or place; it is relevant to all times and places. It is a religion which came to establish order and progress in the life of man, so how could a faqih who is uninformed of the natural arrangement and


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(salam) & YA ALI (as) MADAD


Respected brothers and sisters read the following article on Taqleed and Ijthehaad. :

Taqleed and Ijtihaad


While finding and judging the differing FATWAS of MUJTAHIDDEEN in any one matter one is forced to think about the very validity of IJTIHAD in Islam. Some thinking minds keep pondering over and express their differences. Such differences do not register with most of the ULEMA and face not only rejection but also opposition without valid arguments from Quran, Hadeeth or sayings of INFALLIBLES. If Islam is an eternal religion which, of course, is the belief of all muslims alike MUJTAHID or not then there should be no requirement of superimposed FATWAS, superimposition will be repugnant to Islam. It should only be a valid interpretation of basic sources of Islamic Quran, Hadees, Sunnah and sayings of Infallibles without violating the limits or without any deviation.

There is a whole range of differing FATWAS on common subject for example. Take a look at FATWAS about Friday prayers:-

· It is wajib.

· It is wajib – takhyeery ie of alternative nature.

· It is Mustahab

· Should be offered with the intention of Matloob –e-Rijayyat ie Ullah(suit) will like it.

· Haram in the absence of Imam to offer Jumaa prayer is Haraam. This FATWA has been accorded by the following Mujjahiddeen of high repute.

1. Noom –Ulla Shastri. Shaheed-e-Salis.

2. Moulana Hamza Bin Salad.

3. Moulana Jalil Qazveeni.

4. Moulana Sheik Ali Naqi.

5. Moulana Mohammed Ben Idrees of Sharaa-e- Isla(A book of high repute).

6. Moulana Hasan Ben Abdulla Tastari.

7. Moulana Abdulla Ben Alhaj Mohammed Tovee – known as Sarab.

8. Moulana Ismaiel Mazandraani.

9. Moulana Sheik Sulaima Ben Ali Bin Abi Tayyiba Shakhhori.

Other FATWAS been accorded by Mujtahiddeen of present and past. To keep the subject brief many details are left out however, imagine a secretion in which if the above questioned is posed to five Masoomeen at one time, if present at some place / time and the gave all above replies without the pressure of Taqayya, then who will believe in their Imamate – perhaps no one. While we condemn the Imams of other school of thoughts due to differences amongst them, priding in our Imams for constancy and non-existence of differences then how can we give a clean bill of health to our Mujtahiddeen with so many differences. This discrepancy can well be equated to Sunni or other school of thoughts but certainly not is in following of our Imams. Hence it will be only insane to be critical of other schools of thoughts in present form.

Let us examine the problem in a little more detail.


- briefly Ijtihaad is an effort by Mujtahid, using wisdom to accord a fatwa in the absence of clear injunction from Quran. Hadith or saying of Imams. This brief definition is same as for Sunni school of thoughts. They term it Qayas with no difference in ingredients. Only the names are different. A sugar quoted pill. This Ijtihaad was inaugurated in Shia school of thoughts. In fourth century Hijra, mainly by Usooliyeeni, where as Akhbariyeen call it totally Haram because Islam is complete without any room for improvement, changes or latitude Fatwas by Infallables. Otherwise claim of Islam to be a complete religion upto the day of eternity will be mull and vaid. Sheikh Mohammed bin Yaqub Kulayni(R.A.) collector of traditions of ussol-e-kaafi belonged to this school of thought. Sheikh Saddooq was critical of him and later Sheikh Mufid(R.A.) acted as a moderator.

Syed Murtaza Alm-al-huda even declared that Islam also uses his own Ijtihad and Imam Hussain a.s had faught the battle of Karbala under his own ijtihaad. This was to give firm roots to newly planted tree of Ijtihaad. If accepted hundreds of valid Ahadeeth forecasting the event of Karbala will have to be rejected.

The Ulema belonging to both Akhbariyeen and Usooliyeen reject it but Usooliyeen stick with Ijtihaad for themselves – Halal for Mujtahiddeen but Haram for Imam. Certainly not understandable by any thinking mind. Such proclamation cannot be easily digested. The word Mujtahid, in my limited knowledge did not even exist in its present definition and application, in the times of Imams. Word Faqih is found in the Khutbat of Ameer-al-momineen(as) and will be dealt with in later stages of this subject.


Taqleed’s simplest definition is that those who do not know must follow the one who knows, a very legitimate requirement. But for the last one thousand years of its origin in present form it so far remains to be decided whether it is compulsory (wajib) or a matter of choice and judgement. Some arguments will follow.

One argument is that Taqleed should be off an Alim (Scholar) – one who is the best of ulema or Mujtahedeen (please refer to various books citing the definition of a Marja). But the tragedy is who will decide as to who is the best amongst all of the Mujtahideen. An ignorant person cannot as it will be beyond one’s capacity, the same applies for some lower grade Ulema to identify a higher grade Alim. An Alim of higher abilities can however, judge the Alim of lower knowledge. This is in keeping with the basic principles of Islamic philosophy. Plurality of Marja’s is a best living proof of this fact. Had it been possible to identify the best Alim there would have been only one Marjah. Is it not a thought provoking situation ? This could be the reason to bring in the new idea of Wilayat-e-Faqih. A very new idea, non-existent in the past. Hence new yes, but not valid, for had it been valid it would have been original. In any case it has also a matter of dispute as full-fledged Marjah’s exist to differ on it for more than twenty years. One of them is an assistant Agha. What a wonderful concuction. No one seems to be knowing which way to go and we remain to be non-pleased too.

Fatwa in any case gives the benefit of ‘Zan’, not certain but preferable. Perhaps true, perhaps untrue. But the Quran is very clear about ‘Zan’; “Zan does not give any benefits against fact”. “They follow their own Zan and are misled in all the doubtful situation”. In other words injunctions of Quran disapprove of exercise or following of Zan. We are however, asked to follow the Zan of (uncertainty of) a Marjah, who will bear the burden of our wrong doing due to his responsibility of Fatwa or otherwise all our deeds will be wasted or be haraam or will not be acceptable by almighty Allah (SWT), hence Taqleed is obligatory (Wajib). But this thought is also repugnant to Islamic ideology as everyone will be responsible for his own deeds and the followers and followed will blame each other. There are so many verses dealing with this subject.

To be a Ayat is a self-appointment not by Imam, hence questionable. Self-appointed vicegerents of Imams fail to produce evidence of their appointment by the Imam (as) . Even Prophets(SAW) and Imams(as) are not by self-appointment. Only Allah (SWT) appoints and they declare or claim to be one, a system rigidly followed by and laid down by Quran. If self-appointment is a legitimate process then why are we so opposed to the first three self appointed caliphs and the latter dynastic rules of Umayyads and Abbasids. We should declare them righteous ones and join hands with other schools of thoughts to restore peace amongst muslims.

Fatwa, if goes wrong gives a single benefit (Savaab) and if right gives double benefit (Savaab) a line, which is followed by others and among us too. If due to following a wrong fatwa we go to hell, it is a matter of single benefit to a Marjah and if to heavens, a double benefit, it will boil down to this deduction.

What was the fault of the first three, Moawiya and other? They also indulged into luxury single and double fold Sawaab. Usurping the power must give them at least one place in heavens. Fighting with Imam Ali(as) should qualify them for similar bounties. Hurting Bibi Sayyeda(as) , burning her house, inflicting injuries on her, driving her to martyrdom, taking away the property of Fadak are all the results of Ijthehaad – let us not deny it to the others also. By doing so we might become entitled to one Sawaab and a place in heavens – what a shame. For the similar reasons Akhbareen do not permit Ijthehaad, as it is tempering with Islam, changes the shape of established principles by addition and subtraction of self concluded opinions and changes the very originality of it. If we collect various Fatwas, examine them, it will be a great discovery of a great confusion we are in.

Without being critical about anyone, this approach is exactly as sited in the Quran about the Jews; “ They accepted their priests as their Rab’s”. When the Prophet(SAW) was asked by the converted Jews stating that they never did so, the Prophet (SAW) replied ; “It is not the way you understood. They changed (Priests) haraam into halaal and halaal into haraam and you followed them without realising”. So we must also realise and any contradiction with Quran and hadith of Masoomeen(as) must be rejected without being blindfolded. A demand must be made for the very sources of all fatwa’s given. This will give us a firm belief and enhance our own comprehension or wisdom – something liked by Allah (SWT). Blind faith is allowed only in Allah (SWT), the Prophet(SAW) and Masoomeen(as) . No one else is entitled to it and no one can prove it otherwise. Perhaps this is why a number of Ulema of the highest stature (from amongst Usool’s and Akhbari’s) do not accept the validity of Ijtehaad. This division of Ulema on the validity of Ijthehaad makes the case of Ijthehaad doubtful at best. But islam is beyond doubts, Ijthehaad is not. If Ijthehaad is doubtful then alternatively the Mujtahid and his fatwas ate both doubtful or if there is no Ijthehaad, there there is no Mujtahid and if there is no Mujtahid, there is no fatwa.

In one matter of difference, I personally discussed with an Alim, who had spent twelve years in Qum. I asked him, whether it is possible for a Mujtahid to make a Wajib act into a Mustahab ? he replied “No”, then I asked him various questions about such cases quoting Ayats from the Quran, Hadith and Sayings of Imams (as) Without him quoting a single verse (from the Quran), hadith or saying of the Imam(as) , I was constantly refuted by one sentence; “We will have to see the action and Fatwa of Mujtahid”. Such is the transfixation with a Mujtahid and over shadowing the infallibles with no respect and to whatever is descended down to us from Masoomeen(as) .

If we see the present days struggle of Mujtahids to achieve and project their image of personalities, we are left with no choice but to call it a struggle for grandeur, which will be briefly dealt with later.

Quoted sources of Ijthehaad

The sources quoted for the validity of Ijthehaad are ;

1. Quran

2. Sayings of Masoomeen(as)

Let us examine them one by one.


Surah-e-Tawbah, verse 122, which reads;

“And it does not beseem the believers that they should go forth all together, why should not then a company from every party from amongst them go forth that they may apply themselves to obtain understanding in religion, and that they may warn their people when they come back to them, that they may be cautious”.

The main points in this verse are :-

· Everyone from a tribe or group of people cannot go to take religious education in order to continue day-to-day routines of life, hence a few persons from each group must receive the religious education.

· On returning they should impart or transfer their knowledge and warn others.

· All are duty bound to teach all those remaining behind.

· It is not compulsory to have only one Marjah from amongst them. There is no mention of referring to only one who knows the best.

· There is mention of following one only and barring the others. All of them may be consulted without rigidity or compulsion of following any particular scholar.

· There is no mention of collection of Khums only by them.

· There is no mention of ‘Fatwa’ from them. They are only to transfer the knowledge (Traditions of Masoomeen(as) they received. There is no permission for issuing their own Fatwa’s and certainly not of conflicting Fatwa’s. Islamic religion is fortified by keeping personal opinions (Fatwa’s) out.

A further analogy is extracted from Tafseer-e-Namoona. This Tafseer is compiled from fourteen Tafseers (Commentaries), of which six are from Shias and eight from Sunni’s and written by ‘Ayatollahs’ and scholars of high standing. The tafseers consulted are by ‘Shia’s’, thus being ;

1. Majma-ul-bayaan by Shiekh Tarasi

2. Tibyaan bu Shiekh Tusi

3. Al-Mizaan by Allama TabaTabai

4. Saafi by Mulla Mohsin Faiz Kashani

5. Noor-u-Saqalain by Abdul Ali bin Juma Hawaizi

6. Al-Burhaan by Syed Hashim Bahrani

By Sunni’s;

1. Rooh-ul-Maoani by Shahab-uddin Mahmood Aloosi

2. Al-Manaar by Muhammed Rashid Raza (from teachings or speeches by Sheikh Muhammed Abduhoo)

3. Zalaal-al-Quraan by Syed Qutab

4. Qartabi by Muhammed bin Ahmed Ansari Qartabi

5. Asbaab-ul-Nazool by Abul-Hasan Ali bin Matvia Wahidi Naishapuri.

6. Maraghi by Ahmed Mustapha Maraashi

7. Mafateh-ul-Ghaib by Fakhraddin Razi

8. Rooh-ul-Janaan by Abul Fatoon Razi.

The Tafseer of this verse is from page 155 to 159, Vol 8. Readers are requested to consult these pages. After giving the purpose of revelation an effort has been made to reason out the validity of Ijthehaad and Taqleed in articles three and four translated below ;-

3 – Broader Sense of Tafqa Fid-deen

There is no doubt about it that Tafqa Fid-deen means gaining of all the knowledge of Islamic understandings and laws whether concerning usool or furuh because in the meanings of Tafqa, all these matters are contained collectively. The above verse therefore makes it obligatory on a certain group from among muslims to learn all Islamic laws and after learning must spread in various areas to propagate and teach Islamic laws and teachings. There own people (Tribes..) in particular must be imparted with the knowledge of Islamic laws.

The above verse is therefore an apparent evidence of obligation of receiving and transferring the Islamic principles and laws. In other words getting education and teaching both are obligatory. Today the world takes pride in compulsory education but the Quran has stressed on teachers for this purpose, fourteen hundred years ago.

Argument on Validity of Ijthehaad and Taqleed

Some of the Ulema of Islam have argued about the validity of Taqleed from the above quoted verse. Because getting Islamic education and enlightening others in the rules of Furu and compulsorily following of listeners is Taqleed. However, as we have previously mentioned, this verse does not only discuss faur-e-deen but its meanings also embrace Usool-e-deen too. But however furu-e-deen are also included in its meanings.

Only one main objection in its meaning, which is at that time their was nothing like Ijthehaad and Taqleed. Those who learned the laws of Islam and propagated them, their very positions were not like the present day ulema, who narrated traditions nor were they like the Mujtahids of these days i.e. they used to learn from the Prophet (SAW) and relate it without using their own personal opinions in it.

If we consider that there are broader meanings of Ijthehaad and Taqleed then can we find answers to the above objection?

The explanation to this is that doubtlessly the Faqih at that time did not have the breadth of present days faqih. The muslims easily used to find out or refer to the Prophet (SAW) about their problems. Despite all this all the reverend personalities of Islam were not like the narrators of Masael of our age. Many of them used to go to other places for their responsibilities as governors and judges. Naturally, they used to come across certain problems that they did not listen from the Prophet (SAW) but they used to take the benefit of general application and common thoughts from Quranic verses. They uses to achieve results by applying broader laws on to the minor details and co-ordinate them. In academic terminology – referring Usool to Furuh and Furu to Usool and understand the principles (Ahkaam) on these matters. This was in a way a type of simple and easy Ijthehaad.

It is proven that such matters existed in the time of the Prophet (SAW) and this way, the foundation of Ijthihaad was present in the companions of the Prophet (SAW) although all the companions were not included in this application. Since the verse under discussion carries the broader sense and application therefore, embraces both the mesnings of accepting the persons narrating the ‘Masael’ and the sayings of ‘Mujtahaideen’. Similarly by the reason of broader sense of application of this verse. The validity of Taqleed may be established. End of Translation.


It can be clearly seen that an unsuccessful effort is made to prove Taqleed. The verse itself advises learning and then transferring the knowledge with honestly without applying personal thinking. The circumstances of any particular case may vary for the judges to consider a case, establish its credibility and then give the decision according to Islamic laws and not Fatwa’s. As far as the breadth of the faqih, these days compared to those days it must be remembered that Islam was completed at that time with its sufficiency till the day of eternity and A’ima(as) have sufficiently explained it for its faithfuls applications. Inference of Taqleed from this verse is a clear diversion from the true meanings of the verse. It does not allow anyone to use fatwa’s or command a rigid ‘Taqleed’ anywhere in the text. It guides us to learn, teach and learn from those who only narrate the traditions of Masoomeens (as) and not restricting to one ‘Mujtahid’.

The word ‘ Mujtahid’, ‘Ijthehaad’ and ‘Fatwa’ are just not there in the verse to be considered. In the verse, there is no mention to learn Furu only as the advice is to learn both Usool and Furu and propagate them both. The bases of Eemaan are the Usool, but we see that Taqleed is only in Furu and where more emphasis should be made on Usool as referred to the Quran. The demanded taqleed of a Mujtahid cuts off the Usool. The whole Tafseer above is a clear diversity from the true spirit of the verse. Even though some admissions have been made to that effect, a futile diversion is made to establish the validity of the rigid ‘Taqleed’. Allah (SWT), Prophet (SAW) and the Imams(as) could have easily used the words ‘follow the mujtahids’. Their absentation from using such sentences is deterrence from Ijthehaad.

The ‘Ijthehaad’ has never been used by Allah (SWT), the Prophet(SAW) or the Imams(as) . It was carved and embedded into Shia faith in the fourth century (AH) having no roots in the original Islam, rendering it abhorrent to Islam.

However it must be remembered that ‘Ulema’ must be respected and consulted on religious matters as when required or when in doubt. This has been abundantly been made clear in traditions. On the other hand ‘Ulema’s’ are to act as a link between the Prophet (SAW) or Imam(as) transferring the knowledge without imposing their own authority or opinions. The case of rigid following has never throughout the history, from the time of its conception attracted an approval beyond doubt. Its disapproval by Imams can easily be proved through traditions to be cited in due course.

Second verse

The second verse quoted in support of Ijthehaad is from Surah-e-Nahal 43:16 and Surah al-Ambia 7:21. Translation is as under.

“And we did not send before you any but men whom we sent revelation – so ask the Ahlai-Zikr if you do not know”.

For explanation of these verses, Tafseer-e-Namoona, Vol 11, Pg 200-205 and Vol 13, pg 272 may be seen. Translation from page 202, Vol 11 and an important point is made below.

Important Point - Who are the Ahlai Zikr ?

Many traditions from the sources of Ahlai-bait(as) indicate that the Ahlai-Zikr are Aima-e-Ahlal-Bait(as) . In one of the traditions from Imam Raza(as) , when asked who are the Ahlai-Zikr, he said, “We are the Ahlai-Zikr and we should be asked”.

Some traditions state that Zikr is Quran and Aalai-Rasool are the Ahlai-Zikr. Other traditions mention the Prophet(pbuh) as Zikr and Ahlal-Bait(as) are Ahlai-Zikr. There are many more traditions on this subject.

In the Tafaseer of Ahlai-Sunnah, there are many traditions on this subject, out of which one is quoted from Ibn-e-Abbas and is referred to in twelve well known Tafaseer of Ahlai-e-Sunnat. Ibn-e-Abbas says;

“Muhammed(pbuh) , Ali(as) , Fatima(as) , Hassan(as) and Hussain(as) are Ahlai-Zikr, possessors of wisdom and possessors of narration”. (then there is a list of twelve tafaseer)

In the Tafaseer-e-Quran, it is not our first confrontation with traditions of specific application. Such specific applications does not limit or prohibit the broader application of the sense of this verse.

Under the footnote after the twelve Tafaseer, it states;

In the Tafseer of the same verse, one tradition is quoted in Saalbi’s book from Jabar Jaafi, “When this verse was revealed, Imam Ali(as) said we are the Ahlai-Zikr.

Similarly here also, as we have previously stated, Zikr means awareness of all kinds, reminders and knowledge in the sense of Ahlai-Zikr, the knowledge and awareness of all levels are included. But since the Quran is clearer sample of knowledge, reminder and awareness therefore the word Zikr is applied on it. Similarly the Prophet(pbuh) is the best qualified for the word to be applied and similarly his Ahlai-Bait(as) who are the custodians of his knowledge are the Ahlai-Zikr in the best sense.

If this whole problem is accepted then the verse is not opposed to the general sense and also that it is revealed about the Ulema’s of ahlai-kitaab. This is the reason that our ulema-e-usool and fuquha, in their discussions about Ijthehaad and Taqleed have derived the inferences and have said that in religious laws, the person not knowing must follow the knowledgeable persons and Mujtahideens and must be in their Taqleed.

Here with reference to a tradition the question arises. The tradition is from ayoon-ul-akhbar from Imam Ali Raza(as) . According to tradition, those who assumed from this verse that it means the Ulema of Jews and Christians must be asked, were objected by Imam Ali(as) and said “SUBHANALLAH how is it possible that we should turn towards the Ulema of Jews and Christians, if we do so they will certainly invite us to their religion” and then said “We are Ahlai-Zikr”.

The answers to this question is clear and the Imam(as) said this to those whose inference from this verse was to turn toward the Ulema-e-Ahlai-al-kitaab in all the coming times i.e. the time of Imam Raza(as) it was not the responsibility as the Ulema-e-Jews and Christians to find the facts. In such times Ulema-e-Islam are the Marajai and Ai’ma(as) are the heads and leaders. (Further three paragraphs may be consulted from Vol 11, pg 204 and 205).

From Volume 13, pg 272, Verse 7:21 – Who are the Ahlai-Zikr ?

There is no doubt that in the sense of literal meanings of Ahlai-Zikr all who know are included. The said verse states the law of total wisdom for an illeterate to turn towards a literate. Although, according to the application the scholars of Ahlai-kitaab were meant but this is not a prohibition to formulate a law.

For this reason, Ulema and Fuqahaa of Islam have inferred the validity of taqleed of Mujtahedeen. If we see all those traditions descended down to us from Aalai Bait(as) in which it is said that the Ahlai-Zikr is Imam Ali(as) or all the Ahlai-Bait(as) , then it does not mean in the sense of containment in them but they were the best models of complete law.

In this case please refer to the explanations under Sura-e-Nahal, Verse 43.

End of Translation.


Imagine the trickery and deviation of human minds. Always the words ‘broader sense’ and ‘literal meanings’ are used to deviate from the facts. Even the words Rasool, Nabi, Imam and Ruh-ullah can be used in a broader sense to achieve only the destruction of Islam. Surely, it is an astute effort to share the Islamic authority with the Imams(as) .

Twelve tafaseers have been quoted to assert that the Ahlai-Zikr are only the Ahlai-Bait(as) . One of the Tafseer is of Muhammed Musa Shirazi, who himself has quoted twelve Tafaseers of Ahlai-Sunnat, as quoted by Allama Hilli in Haqaiqul-Haq, to prove that the Ahlai-Zikr are the Ahlai-bait(as) . Even Sunnites have not claimed to be Ahlai-Zikr. Our Ulema have very conveniently claimed and established themselves to be so.

If we accept these passages, then it will simply uproot the protective fortifications around Islam permitting all sorts of temperings and applications undesired by Islam. Can we ever assume that for over three hundred years, it did not occur to any Imam (as) that there is a broader application of the term Ahlai-Zikr. Even such an assumption will disqualify our Eemaan. Our assumptions have received no certification from the Imams(as) . They have always said, “We are the Ahlai-Zikr” we not they, only We. Even for once they did not say ‘You’ also. They have always used the first person and never second or third. There is a rejection for the third person, which can safely be applied on a second person without tampering with the essence of a tradition.

To preserve the true shape of Islam, no divine authority has permitted or even hinted at such liberties or luxuries of self-indulgences.

Some Traditions

1. All the Momineen are invited to read Usul-e-kafi, Vol 1, Chapter 19, 20 and 21. There is a complete prohibition of personal opinion i.e. Fatwa’s. Chapter 19 has three traditions, all of which generally prohibits following Ulema’s own opinions.

2. Chapter 20, tradition No; 9 is as under;

“Muhammed bin hakeem states, I asked Imam Musa Kazim(as) may I lay my life for you, we received knowledge from you and became face of others for receiving knowledge. We attend the gatherings and the people ask us and with the kindness of Allah (SWT), that he has graced us with you, we reply them. But sometimes the question are asked and we have not received the answers from your holyfathers or you and we after throughtly considering all the angles (considering all the factors), reply them. ‘O’ ibn-e-hakeem, alas ! alas ! there is ‘Hilaakat’ (destruction) in that, whosoever did that is doomed to destruction. And then further, “ Alas ! curse be upon on Abu hanifa, he used to say that Imam Ali (as) said this and I say that i.e. what I said is better than Imam Ali (as) said. Muhammed bin Hishaam told Hishaam bin al-hikam upon Allah (SWT) I wanted permission to exercise my own judgement in the matters of deen.

3. Tradition no; 11, the traditionalist states I said to Imam Jaafar As-Sadiq(as) sometimes some matters are presented to us for which we do not find the answers in Quran or traditions and we ourselves reply after pondering over the problems. Imam(as) replied “Beware ! do not do so, if your thought or assumption is correct there is a reward but if you are wrong then you lied on Allah (SWT).

4. Traditions in all these chapters strictly prohibit any personal opinions or Ijthehaad.

5. Some Tafseer bear witness that words ‘Istambaat’ and ‘Rasikhoon-fil-ilm, by traditions are applicable only on Masoomeen(as) . There is not even a single tradition supporting the human’s trickery of a broader application of the words.


From a very brief account given above, the following deductions can be easily made:

a. The quoted verses do not support Ijthehaad

b. Human trickery makes an effort to apply the specific words like Ahlai-Zikr, Tafka, Rasaikhoon-fil-ilm, Istambaat and so forth in a broader sense to achieve their own ends. Only a person out of mind can assume that Allah (SWT), Prophet(pbuh) and Imam(as) did not know about the broader application of these terminologies and therefore never said a word about it in 329 years (Ghaibat-e-Kubra begins). Surely such an assumption will be an insanity of kind disqualifying our Eemaan.

c. All the traditions are strictly opposed to ijthehaad and are conveniently opposed by supporters of ijthehaad by assuming that broader application is not prohibited.

d. Traditions clearly prohibit Ijthehaad. Some are quoted above.

e. Traditions further condemn both Zann and Qayas. Ijthehaad is defined as the knowledge of Zann.

f. The Quran clearly and in many verses condemns ‘Zann’.

g. Usool-e-Kafi, took birth only to oppose Ijthahaad. The fact clearly stated in the foreward by Shiekh Kulayni(ra) who’s stature in knowledge and lifestyle remains unchallenged till this day. Not translating and including his foreward in the translated Usool-e-Kafi is a dishonestly to protect Ijthehaad and its supporters. Usool-e-Kafi is the most respected book of traditions.

h. Wasail-e-Shia by Shiekh Hurr Amili(ra) has a full chapter 10, Vol 27 with traditions refuting Ijthehaad.

i. Ameer-al-Momineen (as) has never said anything about the Taqleed of anyones personal Ijthahaad. This is usually quoted from him(as) . He(as) is the first who has condemned the characters, personal Ijthehaad, Fatwa’s of Qazi’s and then given a choice of following of those not having above defects or drawbacks (Nahjul Balagha Sermon 18). It clearly means the transferring and receiving knowledge as and how taught by Masoomeens(as) .

j. It is said that with wrong Ijthehaad, one sawaab will be credited to a Mujtahid, which is not at all different from the assumption of Muawiya’s (La) supporters.

k. The burden of wrong Ijthehaad will fall on the shoulders of the Mujtahids and their followers will be exempt from its consequences, is an assumption totally refuted by the Quran. Leaders will have to bear the burden of their own doings and that of followers and the followers will bear their own. Both will have to bear the consequences. Such are the clear injunctions of the Holy Quran.

l. The restrictions imposed by Allah (SWT), Prophet(pbuh) , and Masoomeens(as) is to fortify and preserve the integrity of Islam.

m. Following a fallible leads to fallibility and hence Taqleed is only of an Infallible.

n. Devine posts i.e. Prophets, Imams, Wazeers, Khalifahs and so forth, have always been by Divine appointment under divine authority. Even the four Wakeels (not naib’s) were appointed by Imam-e-Zamana (as) . But what happens in the current day, the mujatahid appoints himself as a Agha, which in complete violation of the above principle.

o. Similarly ‘Ijma of Ulema’ has been brought in support of many self assumed principles, refuting some traditions (Shahadat-e-Salasa in Tashhud –Prayer) opposition to Ijma has been and in main stay of our religion now made valid.

p. Plurality of Marajay has already been cited in the article, which rejects the idea of ‘Ahlam’ as there can be only one ‘Ahlam’ not many.


May Allah (SWT) grant us clarity of mind to follow His (SWT) given deen as brought and explained by His (SWT) Rasool (pbuh) and the infallibles (as) in its purest and integrate form. A deen free of human touches of distortions as done by the past Ummah’s. May Allah (SWT) forgive me in case of any errors. Momineen are also requested to pray forgiveness for me from Allah (SWT) through Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) and Aalai-Muhammed (as) .

Allahummasallay muhammadivaa aalai muhammed (as)


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