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Ijtihad and Istinbaat.


Salamun alaikum,

I have a question that in tafseer e ayyashi (volume 2 page 287 ) from abdullah bin jundub that imam Raza as said ……………..And they are the ones who derive from the Qur’an and know what is permissible and what is forbidden, and they are the proof of God over His creation(ahlul bayt or imams as), so the right of derivation of rules of fiqh are only for Masoomeen (sa). So if the derivation of rules by marj’as are not right or lawful. Please answer my question as soon as possible.



Wa Alaykumussalam

Thank you for your query.

Indeed the Ahlul Bayt (as) are the best ones to derive from Qur’an as they are the speaking Qur’an and explain the silent Qur’an for the Muslim Ummah.

But we have ahadith and proofs in history which clearly shows that we must follow the Marja/Mujtahid.

I will point some of them and give some of the links to study more about it.

  1. The late Saduq has narrated in the book Ikmal al-Din from Ishaq ibn Ya’qub that Imam Mahdi (a) responded in his own handwriting to his questions. He reportedly said:

أمّا الحوادث الواقعة فارجعوا فیها إلى رواة حدیثنا، فإنّهم حجّتى علیکم و أنا حجّة الله علیهم

which means: In the events which occur, refer to the narrators of our traditions, for they are my proof upon you and I am God’s proof over them.

Who is the Imam referring to? If Imam is referring that you should refer to Imams in the events, then how can we get in touch with the Imams? So it is clear that he is referring to the narrators who have the capable in jurisprudence and can extract what from Qur’an and Sunnah.

  1. The late Saduq has narrated from Imam Ali (a) who narrated from the Prophet (s) that:

اللهم ارحم خلفایى”, which means ‘Oh God, send your mercy upon my successors’. It was then asked from the Prophet (s): Who are your successors? He replied: “الّذین یأتون من بعدى یروون حدیثى و سنّتى”, which means: Those who will come after me and narrate my traditions and Sunnah.

In the case of any tradition, two issues come into play. The first is a discussion on the chain of narration of that tradition, in order to ascertain its reliability and authenticity. The second is on the meaning of the content, in order to see how it applies to a given situation.

The aforementioned tradition has been mentioned in various reliable books of tradition with various chains of narration [and thus we are certain in regards to its authenticity].

The meaning of the line ‘those individuals who will come after the Prophet (s) and narrate his traditions and Sunnah’ refers to the jurisprudents and not the ‘narrators of tradition’ (meaning the Muhadiths); this is because the person who simply narrates a tradition cannot differentiate whether his narration is really a tradition and Sunnah of the Prophet (saww) or not. Such an individual is only able to narrate words which he has heard or actions which he has seen, without knowing the intricate details and context of the words or their authenticity. Only an individual who has reached the rank of a jurisprudence is capable of discerning such things.

Now, in light of these two points, the meaning of the tradition can be gauged to be as follows: ‘The Jurisprudents are the successors of the Holy Prophet (s)’ and since the Prophet (s) possessed many different roles and a specific role has not been mentioned in the tradition, then the jurisprudents are successors to the Prophet (s) in all the roles which he possessed.

To read in detail please visit:

  1. We find in history that Imams used to send their students to preach because the students knew the Islamic rulings which they had learnt from Imam. Today in this era, if you cannot contact the Imam and get the Fatwa, then how can you follow Islam and understand the different fatwas if we say Mujtahid do not have the authority to extract fatwa?
  2. Marhum Tankaabuni narrates, “A person from the suburbs of Baghdad approached Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) to seek the solution of a vexing problem. He asked, “A pregnant woman has expired but her child is alive in the womb, what do you say? Should the foetus be removed through surgery or be buried along with the woman?’”

Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) replied, “Bury the mother along with the fetus.” On getting the reply, the man left for his village. On the way, a horse rider crossed his path. He asked the man to halt and said, ‘Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) has said that the fetus should be removed from the womb through surgery and then the woman be buried alone.’”

The person accepted it and acted on it.

After some time, the man came to Baghdad and narrated the incident to Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.). Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) said, ‘I did not send anybody with this edict. It seems that the person was Imam-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.) (who gave the edict)’. Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) says, “After this (wrong edict) I am not capable of giving edicts and undertaking the responsibility of Marjaeyyat. After that day I closed the doors of my house and told the people to no longer seek solutions of their problems from me. It was not long before I received a letter from Imam (a.t.f.s.) in which he (a.t.f.s.) wrote:

“You give edicts, we will save you from mistakes and errors. We will not desert you to commit mistakes.’”

In this manner, Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) by the order of Imam (a.t.f.s.) shouldered the responsibility of Marjaeyyat and recommenced solving the problems of the people.

So the Mujtahids can extract according to their understanding with the 4 main sources of extracting Fatwa[Quran, Sunnah, Ijma(consensus) and Intellect(Aql)]. Since the Mujtahideen are ordinary human beings, they can make mistakes, and there is a possibility that they may make mistakes in some of their theories and fatwas but there is a narration from Prophet Muhammad (saww) that a mujtahid who achieves the true ruling in his ijtihad has two rewards, but a mujtahid who does not reach the true ruling despite doing his best has only one reward. In this regard, the duty of the Muqallid(follower), after determining the most knowledgeable Mujtahid, is to follow the fatwa of the Mujtahid. If he(follower) acts on that fatwa (whether it is in accordance with reality or not), he will see his reward for this, and if he does not do his duty out of laziness, he will also see his punishment. And in case the Muqallid(follower) gets caught in the effects of a wrong fatwa due to performing his duty, God Almighty will definitely compensate these effects in another way and he will not get punishment as he is not responsible. For what the muqallid(follower) is accountable and responsible, is to act upon the fatwas of the Mujtahid

To read books on Ijtihad:

An introduction to the Islamic Shariah:

The principle of Ijtihad in Islam:

May Allah(swt) grant you success


Syed Haider