The History of the Ahl Al-Bayt (a) Jurisprudential
The Three Stages of the Ahlul-Bayt (a) jurisprudence Sect
An important point about the history of the Ahlul-Bayt (a) jurisprudential sect is that it is divided into different stages. Each stage will be described.
THE FIRST STAGE
This is the stage of the narration of traditions from the Imāms (a). This stage starts from the beginning of Islam and ends at the lesser occultation in the 260th year after the great migration.
Jurisprudence, in this stage, was narrating traditions. Companions would hear a tradition from one of the infallibles (a) and spread it to their communities without organizing them into different subjects.
This first text that was written, other than what the commander of the faithful (a) wrote, was written by Abī Rāfi‛, a companion of the prophet (s) and Imām ‛Alī (a). He wrote a book called Kitāb al-Sunun wa al-Ahkām wa al-Qad)āyā.
His son, ‛Alī bin Abī Rāfi‛, the commander of the faithful's (a) scribe, wrote a book using the different sections of jurisprudence, for example wūd)ū and prayer.
Jurisprudential texts increased during the imamate of Imām Bāqir and S)ādiq (a) due to the weakness of the Umayyad dynasty during its last days and power being shifted to the Abbasid dynasty.
Jurisprudential texts continued to grow, so much so that during the time of H)urr al-‛Āmulī there were 6600 texts. 400 of these texts became famous and were called the 400 principles. The four great books of the Shia written by the three great scholars were compiled from these books.
The city of Medina was the center of Islamic studies for the Ahlul-Bayt (a) during this period until Imām S)ādiq (a) moved to Kufa and the second center of Islamic studies was formed.
Al-Ha)ssan bin ‛Alī al-Washā' said: "I saw 900 scholars who all said that they heard so and so from Ja‛far bin Muh)ammad (a) in this mosque (Masjid al-Kūfa)."
The Imām had great companions in Kūfa, such as Abān bin Taghlib who related 30,000 traditions and Muh)ammad bin Muslim who related 40,000.
When we say that jurisprudence in this stage was just compiling and spreading traditions rather than organizing them into different sections, we do not mean that this includes the big scholars of the time. Each one of them was an ocean in themselves, like Muh)ammad bin Muslim, Zarārah ibn A‛yan and Abī Bas)īr. Imām S)ādiq (a) said: "Burīd bin Mu‛āwīyyah al-‛Ajalī, Abī Bas)īr Layth al-Bakhtarī al-Murādī, Muh)ammad bin Muslim and Zarārah will be given the glad tidings of Heaven. They believe in Allah about the obligatory actions and forbidden ones. The line of prophethood would be cut if it were not for them."
The Imām considered them mujtaheds who had the power of deriving verdicts from the Qurān and prophetic traditions. Sometimes he (a) would order them practice it, for example he (a) said: "It is on us to tell you the principles and it is on you to branch them out." He (a) also told people to refer to some of his companions in religious rulings, like Yūnis bin ‛Abd al-Rah)mān. Someone asked the Imām: "It is not possible for me to come to you and ask everything that I need about religious sciences. Is Yūnis bin ‛Abd al-Rah)mān trustworthy; can I take whatever I need from him?"
The Imām answered: "Yes."
He (a) also ordered some of his companions to give religious verdicts, such as Abān bin Taghlib. The Imām (a) told him: "Sit in Medina's mosque and give religious verdicts to the people. Verily I love to see my Shia like you."
THE SECOND STAGE
This stage started at the minor occultation, the 260th year after the great migration, and lasted until the age of Shaykh T)ūsī who was born in the 385th year after the great migration and died in the 460th year.
In this stage the Ahlul-Bayt (a) jurisprudential sect transformed from only relating traditions without organizing them into different sections into writing jurisprudential books without adding anything to the traditions or changing their terminology. This is clear in the book Sharāya‛ which was written by ‛Alī bin Bābūway for his son Muh)ammad. It is said that when someone needed a tradition they would find it in this book.
Other similar books are al-Maqna‛ and al-Hadāyah by Shaykh S)adūq, Muh)ammad bin ‛Alī bin Bābūway and al-Nahāyah by Shaykh T)ūsī.
We are not saying that there were not scholars that only spread traditions, but we are saying that they were organized into different subjects containing all of the subjects seen today. This is clearly seen in the books al-Kāfī by Shaykh Kulaynī and Man Lā Yad)uruhu al-Faqīh by Shaykh S)adūq.
This is what generally took place in this stage. This does not mean that there weren't any scholars who added to the traditions by using intellectual deductions, for example what is related to al-‛Ummānī and al-Iskāfī.
If one wants to explain more he can say that this stage had three major schools:
1. The school of Qum and Ray: This school used traditions but did not use intellectual deductions. Some of the scholars of this school are the two S)adūqs. This was a strong school and was relied upon by many scholars.
2. The school of al-‛Ummānī and al-Iskāfī: This school preferred using intellectual deduction to such an extent that they accepted syllogism and voting. Al-‛Ummānī is al-H)assan bin ‛Alī bin Abī ‛Aqīl. It is said that he is the first person to apply his ijtihād to actions, while mentioning the different sections of jurisprudence and mentioning the reasons behind the verdicts. He wrote the famous book: al-Mustamsik bi-h)abl Āl al-Rasūl. Unfortunately this book is not in existence today. Al-Iskāfī is Muh)amamd bin Ah)mad bin al-Junayd who lived after Abī ‛Aqīl. He wrote jurisprudential books, for example Tahdhīb al-Shī‛ah li-ah)kām al-Sharī‛ah and al-Ah)madī fī al-Fiqh al-Muh)ammadī. These two books, also, do not exist today.
3. The school of Baghdād: This is also called the school of Shaykh Mufīd. This school tried to find a common ground between traditions and intellectual deductions. The reason behind this might be Shaykh Mufīd, who was a student of Ibn al-Junayd and Ja‛far bin Muh)ammad bin Qūlūway who was from Qum and a member of the Qum school of thought. Shaykh Mufīd wrote many books, for example al-Maqna‛ah which was explained by Shaykh T)ūsī in his book Tahdhīb al-Ah)kām.
THE THIRD STAGE
This stage started at the age of Shaykh T)ūsī and is still prevalent today. In this stage the jurisprudential books changed from imitating the traditions in form and language to writing with different terminology and mentioning different situations that did not occur at the time of revelation. All of this occurred with accepting intellectual deduction perfected by traditions and accepting intellectual principles. The book al-Mabsūt) by Shaykh T)ūsī helps us to come to the conclusion that we have about this stage.
Other steps that have been made in this stage:
1. The sections of jurisprudence have become more specialized.
2. More subjects have been made due to time.
3. Intellectual deductions have been made stronger and their proofs have become clearer.
4. The relationship between jurisprudential rulings and jurisprudential principles has become clearer.
5. Putting more effort into the chains of narration.
6. Canceling some of the ancient texts which do not have matters that today's world need and writing books with today's world's needs.
 Muh)ammad bin Ya‛qūb al-Kulaynī al-Kāfī, Muh)ammad bin ‛Alī bin al-H)ussayn al-S)adūq Man Lā yah)d)uruhu al-Faqīh, Muh)ammad bin al-H)assan al-T)ūsī al-Tahdhīb and al-Istabs)ār.
 Al-Najāshī, Rijāl al-Najāshī, under al-Washā
 Shaykh T)ūsī, Rijāl al-Kashī, under Abī Bas)īr Layth al-Murādī
 Al-H)urr al-‛Āmulī, Wasāil al-Shī‛ah, the 6th chapter of the qualities of a judge, tradition 51
 Al-H)urr al-‛Āmulī, Wasāil al-Shī‛ah, the 11th chapter of the qualities of a judge, tradition 33
 Al-Najāshī, Rijāl al-Najāshī, under Abān