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Imamiyah (Shiite): An Introduction to Islamic Jurisprudential Sects

4- Shi’ite Schools of Law

4-1- The School of Narrator Jurists

Narrator jurists mean the scholars that are regarded as a jurist for narrating traditions, persons like Zurārah, Muhammad b. Muslim, etc. There is a tradition narrated from Imam Riḍa (A.S.), he says: “we are supposed to proclaim the main issues, but you should deduce the assimilate cases.” This tradition shows that there were some rules and principles for eliciting precepts, at that time, too. This situation continued until the end of lesser occultation, at the beginning of 4 A.H.

 

Jurisprudential Material and Methodology

Their material was traditions taken from infallible Imams. Their way was hearing traditions from an infallible and conveying them to people. Therefore, their sources were The Qur‘an (the verses interpreted by Imams) and Sunnah. Nevertheless, a number of these jurists, because of being far from Imam, applied some rules and principles for attaining religious precepts. So that, their way was using Qur‘anic verses and explicit traditions, plus some stipulated rules and principles.

 

Famous Narrator Jurists:

Abān b. Taghlab, Ahmad b. Muhammad Bazanṭī, Abān b. Othman Bijillī, Barīd ‘ijillī, Th‘labah b. Maymūn, Jamīl b. Darrāj, Ḥasan b. Maḥbūb Sarrād, Zakarīyā b. ’Adam Ash‘arī, Zurārah b. A‘yun, Fuḍayl b. Yasār, Abū  Baṣīr Asadī, Muhammad b. Muslim, Yūnis b. ‘Abd al-Raḥmān, Muhammad b. Abī ‘umayr.

 

Jurisprudential Texts

At the time of infallible Imams, especially from the time of Imam Bāqir and Imam Ṣādiq (A.S.) until the mid-third A.H., Shi’a jurisprudence was in the form of presenting Imams’ traditions along with the chain of transmitters. Ijtihād (interpretive reasoning), at that time, means distinguishing the sound traditions from infirm ones, and arranging them in order of jurisprudential sections. Some of jurisprudential books, written in this way, are as follows:

–         Al-Ṣalāt: written by “Ḥurayz b. Abdu Allah Sajistānī”, a jurist of end 2 A.H. Najjāshī (the writer of a prominent biographical book in Islamic field) says: it is a great book, which was a jurisprudential source for Shi’a at that time, and the great Shi’a jurists, like Ḥamād b. ‘īsā Jahmī (119-209 A.H.) memorized it.

–         Yawm wa Laylah: written by a famous Shi’a scholar: Yūnis b. ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Mūsā āli-Yaqṭīn (d. 208 A.H.). Imam Riḍā presented him as a knowledgeable person, and qualified to give a legal opinion. Abū Hāshim Dā’ūd b. Qāsim Ja‘farī says: I asked Imam Ḥasan ‘askarī (A.S.) about the book Yawm wa Laylah, he said: for every word of this book, God has graced it’s writer a light. Yūnis b. ‘Abd al-Raḥmān wrote more than 30 books.

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