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Imamiyah (Shiite): An Introduction to Islamic Jurisprudential Sects

The author evaluates and compares the views of Sunni four legal schools, and hardly mentions the views of other sects. However, while quoting Shi’a opinions, he has made great and obvious mistakes, such as: Shi’as recite أشهد أنَّ علياً وليُّ الله (I bear witness to that Ali is Friend of God) in tashahhud (a part of ritual prayer). (V. 1, P.44)

18- The main purpose of this compilation, as is mentioned in the preface, is narrating religious precepts without jarḥ wa ta‘dīl (criticism of the transmitters in a chain of a tradition authority) and tarjīḥ (preference). Reasons of every opinion are mentioned as causing to understand. The book is compiled alphabetically in topical order. jurisprudence methodological subjects are presented through other matters, without separation, which is justified by the strong relationship between jurisprudence and its methodology. First volume contains preliminary subjects like: definition and terms of jurisprudence, authorities and sources of jurisprudence, ijtihād from the viewpoint of different sects, apportionment of jurisprudence, features of Islamic jurisprudence, and a short history of compiling jurisprudence.

The book comprises jurisprudential views of eight Islamic sects, and presents their views in follow mentioned order: Ḥanafī, Mālikī, Shāfi‘ī, Ḥanbalī, Ẓāhirī, Zaydī, Imāmī, and Ibāḍīyah.

The most important features of this compilation are as follows:

1-    Adducing the views of every sect from its own sources.

2-    Every issue is followed in all jurisprudential subjects. For example, under the word of ifsād (افساد =causing corruption) bellow mentioned titles are presented: what cause to decay water, what invalidates ablution, what invalidates tayammum (ritual purification with sand and soil), what corrupts the idhn (authorization) of a lease. Under the word of iqāmah (اقامه=performing) these titles are presented: performing the prayer, enforcement of penalties, ……

3-    While presenting issues, the arrangement of jurisprudential branches, from ṭahārah  to dīyāt, is considered.

4-    At the end of every volume, a short introduction of proper nouns that are mentioned in the book, is presented alphabetically.

The compilation is unfinished. Even the latter A is uncompleted and topics are presented until the word iqāmah. Totally, 198 jurisprudential and uṣūlī words have been examined in 20 volumes.

19- For detailed list of the texts, see: Ma’khaẕshināsī-i Qawā‘id-i Fiqhī, Markaz-i Muṭāli‘āt wa tḥqīqāt-i Islāmī, Qum, Būstān-i Kitāb, 1379.

20- It seems that the author has adopted the general pattern of writing method from compositions’ of other sects, and then laid down it at the base of Shi’a jurisprudence. Researches show that the honorable martyr has benefited, mostly, from the books of ‘Izz al-Dīn b. ‘Abd al-Salām Shāfi‘ī (d. 660 A.H.), and his disciple, Ahmad b. ‘Alā’ Ṣanhājī known as Qarrāfī (d. 683 A.H.), and also the books of Ibn ‘Alā’ Shāfi‘ī (d. 761 A.H.).

About Alireza Mosaddeq

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