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Shiah Contribution to the Science of Jurisprudence [ilm al-fiqh]

Author:
Ghulam-Husayn Muharrami

The totality of mans actions, which is his relationship with God and fellow men, is in need of rules that embrace the science of jurisprudence. The laws of Islam have a divine origin emanating from the will of God. Of course, the will of God is never dependent upon contract and consent. It is rather based on intrinsic and true felicity and adversity. The Noble Messenger

#7779;) is the messenger of God and his decree is the decree of God:
﴿ ٱ ﴾

Nor doth he speak of (his own) desire. It is naught save an inspiration that is inspired.
And it is based on the verse, Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those vested with authority among you that obedience to those vested with authority [ūlil-amr]the true successors of the Prophet

#7779;)has been placed along with obedience to God and the Messenger

#7779;). The statements of the infallible Imāms (a) are nothing but an inspiration from God, and like the statements of the Prophet

#7779;), obedience to them is obligatory.

The State of Jurisprudence during the Period of the Companions [ṣaḥābah] and the Followers [ṭābiūn]
But after the demise of the Holy Prophet (S)when the true path of Islam was changed and people were kept away from the rightful successors of the Prophet

#7779;), they refer to the companions [ṣaḥābah] of the Holy Prophet (S)concerning religious issues and problems. Of course, a number of the ṣaḥābah were forerunners in this matter. As Ibn Sad says, during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthmān, Alī, Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn Awf, Muadh ibn Jabal, Ubayy ibn Kab, and Zayd ibn Thābit issued religious edicts [fatāwā]. The pure Imāms (a) and a number of the Shīah among the ṣaḥābah such as Abd Allāh ibn al-Abbās and Abū Saīd al-Khudrī were also recognized generally by the Ahl as-Sunnah as jurists and well-informed of the laws of Islam, and were referred by them.
Of course, during that period, the Shīah used to refer to the infallible Imāms (a) and leaders of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) in matters of jurisprudence and Islamic teachings in general. So, jurisprudence and ijtihād , as they are applied today, were not existent then. But after the end of the period of the ṣaḥābah, on account of the emergence of new issues in jurisprudence, a number of the Followers [tābiūn] (the generation succeeding the ṣaḥābah) had engaged in matters of jurisprudence [fiqh] and the term faqīh [jurist or jurisprudent] was applied to them. Among them were the seven jurists of Medina.

The State of Jurisprudence among the Shīah
The state of jurisprudence among the Shīah was different owing to the presence of the infallible Imāms (a) and ijtihād, then discussed among the Ahl as-Sunnah, was not developed among the Shīah. It can be said in general that the Shīah jurisprudence during the periods of the presence of the infallible Imāms (a) up to the end of the minor occultation [ghaybah aṣ-ṣughrā] has been at the period of settlement and preparation for ijtihād. With the presence of the infallible Imāms (a), keeping open the door of knowledge and accessibility of the textual sources, the need for ijtihād, which largely depends on intellectual bases, had not been much felt then.
Shīah jurisprudence on the basis of ijtihād was first founded by Ibn Abī Aqīl Ummānī (died in the first part of the fourth century AH), a contemporary of al-Kulaynī. After him, Muḥammad ibn Junayd Askāfī (died mid-fourth century AH) continued his way and fortified the edifices of ijtihād and juristic deduction [istinbāṭ]. They are known as the Qadīmayn [the two seniors]. Shaykh al-Mufīd (died 413 AH) and Sayyid Murtaḍā Alam al-Hudā (died 436 AH) also followed the path of ijtihād until it was the turn of Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī (460 AH). The Shīah jurisprudence attained a glorious stage through this great man. Apart from writing reliable books on ḥadīth, At-Tahdhīb and Al-Istibṣār, he also strived to collect books on jurisprudence and ijtihād, authoring such books on jurisprudence as An-Nihāyah, Mabsūṭ and Khilāf.
Of course, it does not mean that ijtihād and jurisprudence had never been discussed during the presence of the pure Imāms (a). As a matter of fact, some people had no direct access to the pure Imāms (a) due to location and peculiar conditions. So, in this regard, the pure Imāms (a) presented to the people the criteria by which to identify the jurists to whom they could refer in case of necessity, dealing in a sense with the preliminary ijtihād as well as answering the inquiries of people. For example, it is stated in the Maqbūlah of Umar ibn Ḥanzalah that he asked Imām aṣ-Sādiq (a) about two persons from among the Shīah who were in conflict over religious issues such as liability and debt [dayn] and inheritance [mīrāth]. The Imām said, They have to look for a person who could narrate our ḥadīths, give opinion about what we declared lawful [ḥalāl] and unlawful [ḥarām], and know our decrees [aḥkām] for I declare such a person as the judge and arbiter for you.
Sometimes also the pure Imāms (a) would appoint certain persons to whom the Shīah refer in matters of jurisprudence and religious laws. For instance, according to Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī, Alī ibn Musayyab said to Imām ar-Riḍā (a): There is a long way and I cannot come to you whenever I want. From whom should I ask about your religious decrees? The Imām replied: [You may ask] from Zakariyyā ibn Ādam as he is trustworthy in [matters of] religion and the world. Similarly, Imām al-Bāqir (a) commanded Ābān ibn Taghlib to sit in the mosque and issue religious edicts [fatāwā] for the people.

The Beginning of Ijtihād
During the period of the pure Imāms (a), they used to teach their students the principles of jurisprudence [uṣūl al-fiqh] and the rules of deducing them. For this reason, books attributed to the infallible Imāms (a) have been written by Shīah scholars; for example, the book Uṣūl Āl ar-Rasūl written by Hāshim Khwānsārī; Uṣūl Aṣliyyah authored by Sayyid Abd Allāh ibn Muḥammad-Riḍā Ḥusayn; and the book Fuṣūl al-Muhimmah on the principles of the Imams (a) penned by Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan Ḥurr al-Āmilī.
In the books on rijāl, some of the great companions of the pure Imāms (a) have been described as jurists [fuqahā]. For example, Najāshī thus says about Faḍl ibn Shādhān: He was one of our reliable companions among the jurists [fuqahā] and scholastic theologians [mutakallimūn].

The Jurists [fuqahā] among the Companions of the Imāms (a)
Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī has introduced eighteen persons from among the companions of Imām al-Bāqir, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq, Imām al-Kāẓim, and Imām ar-Riḍā (a) as the Imāms jurist-companions, describing them as jurists among the companions of Abū Jafar (a), jurists among the companions of Abū Abd Allāh (a), ), and jurists among the companions of Abū Ibrāhīm and Abūl-Ḥasan ar-Riḍā (a).
In continuation, Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsi has added that the Shīah have consensus of opinion regarding the authenticity of their narrations and acknowledge their expertise in jurisprudence among the companions of the pure Imāms (a). He then introduced them in three categories. First category: The jurists among the companions of Imām al-Bāqir (a) such as Zurārah known as Kharbūd, Barīd, Abū Baṣīr Asadī, Faḍīl ibn Yasār, and Muḥammad ibn Muslim aṭ-Ṭāifī, among whom Zurārah was the most learned. The six were also considered among the companions of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (a).
Second category: The jurists among the companions of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (a) such as Jamīl ibn Darrāj, Abd Allāh ibn Maskān, Abd Allāh ibn Bakīr, Ḥammād ibn Īsā, and Ḥammād ibn Uthmān.
Third category: The jurists among the companions of Imām al-Kāẓim and Imām ar-Riḍā (a) such as Yūnus ibn Abd ar-Raḥmān, Ṣafwān ibn Yaḥyā, Biyā as-Sābirī Muḥammad ibn Abī Umayr, Abd Allāh ibn al-Mughayrah, Ḥasan ibn Maḥbūb, and Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Abī Naṣr. In the section about the reports [akhbār] of the Shīah jurists and their written books, Ibn Nadīm has also mentioned a number of the jurists among the companions of the pure Imāms (a), saying: They are sheikhs who have narrated fiqh from the Imāms. He has then mentioned them, viz. Ṣāliḥ ibn Abūl-Aswad, Alī ibn Ghurrāb, Abū Yaḥyā Layth Murādī, Zurayq ibn Zubayr, Abū Salmah al-Baṣrī, Ismāīl ibn Ziyād, Abū Aḥmad Umar ibn ar-Raḍī, Dāwūd ibn Farqad, Alī ibn Riāb, Alī ibn Ibrāhīm Muallī, Hishām ibn Sālim, Muḥammad ibn Ḥasan al-Aṭṭār, Abd al-Mumin ibn Qāsim al-Anṣārī, Sayf ibn Umayrah Nakhaī, Ibrāhīm ibn Umar Ṣanānī, Abd Allāh ibn Maymūn, Qadāḥ, Rabī ibn Madrak, Umar ibn Abī Ziyād Abzārī, Zaykār ibn Yaḥyā Wāsiṭī, Abū Khālid ibn Amrū ibn Khālid Wāsiṭī, Ḥarīz ibn Abd Allāh Azadī Sijistānī, Abd Allāh Ḥalabī, Zakariyyā Mumin, Thabit Ḍararī, Mathnā ibn Asad Khayyāṭ, Umar ibn Adhīnah, Ammār ibn Muāwiyah Dahnī Abdī Kūfī, Muāwiyah ibn Ammār Dahanī, and Ḥasan ibn Mahbūb Sarād, for each of whom one book has been mentioned.

Summary
The totality of actions of man is in need of rules which embrace the science of jurisprudence.
After the Holy Holy Prophet (S)when the people were kept away from the rightful successors, they referred to the companions [ṣaḥābah] of the Prophet

#7779;).
By the end of the period of the ṣaḥābah, a number of jurists [fuqahā] emerged from among the Ahl as-Sunnah.
But the condition of jurisprudence [fiqh] among the Shīah was different because the Infallibles (a) were present and the need for ijtihād was not so much felt. Jurisprudence during these periods was at the stage of preparation for ijitihād. In fact, jurisprudence base on ijtihād was first discussed at the time of Ibn Abī Aqīl Ummānī during the fourth century AH.
Of course, during the periods of the Imāms (a) a sort of ijtihād was also discussed. At times, the pure Imāms (a) would teach the way and method of ijtihād to their companions. For this reason, books on the principles of jurisprudence [uṣūl al-fiqh] attributed to those personages were written.
Shaykh aṭ-Ṭūsī has introduced eighteen persons from among the companions of Imām al-Bāqir, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq, Imām al-Kāẓim, and Imām ar-Riḍā (a) as jurists among the companions of the Imāms (a).

Questions
1. What was the condition of jurisprudence during the period of the ṣaḥābah, and who did the Shīah refer to in matters of jurisprudence?
2. What was the condition of jurisprudence among the Shīah during the presence of the Infallible Imāms (a)?
3. How has the initiation of jurisprudence taken place among the Shīah?
4. How many were the jurists [fuqahā] among the companions of the pure Imāms (a)?

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