SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) - Today’s jurisprudence and Ijtihad more similar to Ijtihad of the beginning of Islam than any other period; I could see attempts toward authenticity of Ijtihad and understanding of its depth; of course, invisible hands attempt to change blessing result of the current movement but we hope, we could overcome this mischievous.
In another part of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani’s interview with SHAFAQNA, he discussed historical upwards and downwards of Islamic Jurisprudence and he referred to wisdom and thought as basis of Ijtihad; also he emphasized:” We have never had absolute obstruction in Islamic jurisprudence.”
The complete text of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani’s interview with SHAFAQNA is as following:
In continuation of the detailed and written discussion of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani with SHAFAQNA about background of Ijtihad and its contemporary position he expressed:” Today’s jurisprudence and Ijtihad more similar to Ijtihad of the beginning of Islam than any other period; I could see attempts toward authenticity of Ijtihad and understanding of its depth; of course, invisible hands attempt to change blessing result of the current movement but we hope, we could overcome this mischievous.”
Ijtihad also existed during the holy prophet period.
I surprise that still long discussions have done to approve whether Ijtihad exist during the holy prophet period or not. God complains Muslims why don’t you study jurisprudence?! Thus, what was jurisprudence? Unless, some people study and research to understand the religion content then explain for the society and follow the prophets’ way of guidance people.
Annunciation and warning were part of the prophets’ mission
Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani emphasized that annunciation and warning were part of the prophets’ mission and he declared:” Quran says jurisprudents should warning people. It means they should undertake prophets’ responsibilities in the society after them. We know that the holy prophet could not be present in all the Islamic world at the same time physically, thus there were people who listened to his words and Quran’s versus and understand versus meaning then transfer those interpretations to people. It is so obvious that above mentioned issue was a kind of Ijtihad. Of course, during the holy prophet time, issues were so simple, Quran versus had been revealed to the holy prophet by Gabriel and Islamic issues had been delivered to people by one or two intermediates. But, without any doubt Ijtihad existed; despite of revelations, the holy prophet himself interpreted received issues and sometimes consulted with other people.”
And he concluded:” also the beginning of Islam period is legislative period, we could consider it as Ijtihad period, of course. Thus, Ijtihad could not exist without legislation and legislation alone would not completely satisfied intellectual and practical needs of people. However, challenges, discussions and arguments were begun after the holy prophet departure.”
The problem after the holy prophet departure was the issue of compiling limitation
In continue, Hashemi Rafsanjani mentioned to the institution of religious authority of the holy prophet household (Ahlulbayt-A.S.) and he noted:” The problem after the holy prophet departure was the issue of compiling limitation which caused serious barriers during the next periods. Thanks God, this problem solved later. During the Rashidun caliphates, few companions and their students became the main reference for the society. People referred to persons including Highness Ali, Aisha, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Masoud, Ibn Sabet and other great companions of the holy prophet and follow the religion according to their Fatwa.
He declared:” according to the reliable Shia narratives, also at that time Highness Ali interpretation of Islam was more authentic. I mentioned to the few points about above mentioned issue. Aisha says:” certainly Ali Ibn Abi taleb (A.S.) was the most learned among Ulama.” And somewhere else Ibn Abas says:” if a trustworthy person quoted from Highness Ali, we accepted it without arguing.” Thus, it means, Highness Ali words were proofs. Or Umar bin Al- Khattab the second Rashidun Caliphs says: “Ali is all the best in judgment.” I brought all above mentioned quotations from Sunni narratives, of course we can find more complete narratives in Shia documents. Thus, there were great Ulam whom people referred to. In the first century, the holy prophet companions (sahabi) had this duty. As long as, there were two methods for religion orders’ interpretation form the second century, religious differences were begun since that time.
The period of Shia Imam is same as legislation period; I mean it is not legislation period; it is the period of explanation.
Hashemi Rafsanjani said that at the second century Ijtihad developed among Sunni and he continued:” hundreds ideologies about Islam formed during the second century which criticized each other and these discussions continued 200 years it means the second and third century but a new situation come up in the fourth century. Now I prefer to discuss about this new situation in mutual viewpoint of Shia and Sunni; however, what I discussed about formerly was Sunni point of view and Shia look at the issue different. Shiites relied on Imams as the main reference; of course some Sunni Ulama respected Shia Imams as the great references, Imams including Mohammed Baqir (A.S.) and Jafar Sadiq (A.S.), but Shia believed in the institution of religious authority more sever. And same as the holy prophet’s period, Imams’ students and companions delivered their viewpoints to people. Thus, the period of Shia Imams was same as Islamic legislation (Tashri) period. I mean, it was not legislation period; it was explanation and interpretation period. Therefore, the religious authorities who lived all around the Islamic world directly or indirectly received Islamic orders from Imams and spread them among people.
During Ijtihad development, had been focused mostly on the content of Hadith
Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani in continue discussed about development of Ijtihad and says:” in this period mostly focused on content of Hadith which was Ijtihad absolutely. Because we have explicit narratives that Imams ordered their students to sit at the certain mosque and issuing Fatwa. Imam Baqir (A.S.) told Aban Ibn Taghlib:” Sit in the Masjid of the Prophet and in the religious issues give verdict to the people. I love to have my Shia like Aban ibn Taghlib." Or he says:” we say general principles then you divide them to subsidiarity and deliver these subsidiarity to people.” Certainly, Ijtihad existed in Shia world of that period but with less contradiction than Sunnis. Sunnis have been written many books about deductive, rational aspect of Ijtihad during that period. But Shia followed Imams orders at that period and interpreted scientific issues from narrations. When we look at four hundred books which have been written by Imam Sadiq’s (A.S.) students, we can understand above mentioned process better.
Obstruction always is relative and the religion never has had absolute obstruction.
Hashemi Rafsanjani declared:” at the end of the third century and beginning of absent period in Shia belief and occurrence of new condition for Sunnis, the situation is almost reversed. At Sunnis side, because of extremes in Ijtihad, the governments reacted. Because, governments could not tolerate freedom of Ijtihad that was mostly about political issues. Thus, Caliphs stood against them and prevented development of them. They just announce four famous branch of Islam legal and ban the others that we called this long period, as obstruction period- of course obstruction always is relative and never has had absolute obstruction.
Mohaddessin (who gathered narratives of highness prophets and imams) were the great characters who had the great job
He added:” on the other hand, Shia entered to the new situation which almost closed to the current situation of Ijtihad. Of course, Shia had two schools during the absence period. One of them was Hadith school of Mohadessin and the other one was jurisprudent school. Mohaddessin were the great people who had had activities in Qom, Rey, Baghdad and many other places and today’s original narrative books are their products. They truly had done the great works. On the other hand, Jurisprudents began to overcome Shia shortages about jurisprudence and Islamic law in compare to Sunni and they walk in a way which has been followed by us, now. Although, Islamic Methodology base on holy Imams’ period but jurisprudents compile them and create Ijtihad principles which mostly lean on wisdom.
Ijtihad base on respect to wisdom and thought
Hashemi Rafsanjani emphasized that Ijtihad base on respect to wisdom and thought and he noted:” this massive capital has been given by God and it was prophets’ mission; also in the first sermon of Nahjul Balagha has been written: “و یثیروا لهم دفائن العقول” (to raise for them the treasures of Reason).
He added:” we can see in narrative that Imams and jurisprudents discussed about wisdom and mission together, it means that the prophet is the inner wisdom and the wisdom is the outward prophet, thus both are equal. This is not today’s interpretations, such an interpretation has been written in our narrative especially in the commandments of Imam Kazem (A.S.) to Hosham.
Compile and development of jurisprudence argument
Hashemi Rafsanjani said:” during the absence period, Shia Ulama were pioneer of compiling jurisprudence and introduction of Sheikh Tusi book Al- Mabsut is the historical document which says (this book was written for Shia to interpret issues according to Imams’ Hadith). If you read Al- Mabsut, you will see there is not much difference between that book and current books have been written by Ulama. Thus, Shia focused on Hadith and jurisprudence since the fourth century.
Sunnis limited to the four religions for centuries
He added:” Sunnis limited to the four religions for centuries. After caliphs and Bani Abas and during Othmani period the main focus of Sunnis was on Hanafi Jurisprudence. And about the Ejtehad, a comprehensive journal had been written by great Ulama of Sunni and when we read those journals, we can see how openly they react about issues. They are same as current jurisprudents who believe in open and free- thinking Ijtihad. Thus, those four religions expanded during Othmani period and after that. It means they passed obstruction period and entered innovation era. We should attribute innovation era to Sirs Abdeh and Seyyed Jamaloddin Asadabadi who worked together in Egypt. After this period Sunni’s jurisprudence developed and changed and intellectuals come to arena. Today, Sunnis have had considerable innovations in different fields.
Also, Shia passed through this way. When jurisprudence developed during Sheikh Al-Tusi period, he became so popular same as Imam Khomeini in our time. I mean, if Imam had written about some issues, usually the society follow those words in life and don’t like words contrary to Imams ideas.
To continue, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani discussed innovation and development of new issues and professional and symmetrical Ijtihad which would publish in the next episode.