Denis Hermann’s Kirmānī Shaykhism and the Ijtihād: A Study of Abū al-Qāsim Khān Ibrāhīmī’s Ijtihād wa Taqlīd is a valuable and welcome addition to the existing scholarship on Shaykhī studies.
Shaykhīsm in general, and the Shaykhī School of Kirman in particular, have long been topics of interest for a number of western scholars, among them, perhaps most notably, the late Henry Corbin (d. 1978). In addition, one can identify a growing interest in Shaykhī studies, and mainly in the thought of the first Shaykhī leader, Shaykh Aḥmad Aḥsāʾī (d. 1823), among western universities, which itself testiﬁes to the fact that Shaykhīsm maintains relevance within the realm of modern scholarship. Despite this, however, a signiﬁcant part of the Shaykhī literature, including key texts of the second Shaykhī leader, Sayyid Kāẓim Rashtī (d. 1843), and other prominent ﬁgures such as Mullā Mīrzā Ḥassan Gawhar (d. 1850), remains uninvestigated.
Denis Hermann’s Kirmānī Shaykhism and the Ijtihād: A Study of Abū al-Qāsim Khān Ibrāhīmī’s Ijtihād wa Taqlīd is a valuable and welcome addition to the existing scholarship on Shaykhī studies. It is divided into four chapters, in addition to an introduction and a conclusion. It closely examines the text of Ijtihad wa Taqlīd by Abū alQāsim Khān Ibrāhīmī (d. 1968), the fourth in the line of Shaykhī masters of Kirmānī Shaykhīsm. The opponents of Shaykhīsm, mainly the Uṣūlī ʿulemā, refer to ijtihād (the authorized offer of independent judgment on sharīʿa-related questions), and taqlīd (emulation or imitation of previous ijtihādī rulings in such questions) to validate the heterodoxy of the Shaykhī School. Hermann locates Abū al-Qāsim Khān’s theory of ijtihād in the framework of the theoretical disputes of Uṣūlīsm vs. the Akhbārī movement (starting in the mid-seventeenth century, the movement rejected the use of reasoning in deriving verdicts, and believed in the Qurʾān and ḥadīth as the only primary sources of divine law).
Title: Book Review: Kirmānī Shaykhism and the Ijtihād: A Study of Abū al-Qāsim Khān Ibrāhīmī’s Ijtihād wa Taqlīd
Author: Leila Chamankhah
Published in: Iranian Studies, 2017
Length: 5 pages