Islamic Law     Scanned from the Book   Understanding Is/amic Sciences by Murtada Mutahhari


Published by Islamic College of Advanced Studies (ICAS) UK

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The study of jurisprudence is one of the most extensive studies in Islam. Its history is older than that of all the other Islamic studies. It has been studied on a very wide scale throughout the whole of its existence. $0 many jurisprudents have appeared in Islam that their numbers cannot be counted.  

17Je Word Jurisprudence (fiqh) in the Qur'an and the Traditions  

The words fiqh and tafaqquh, both meaning 'profound understanding', have been often used in the Q!lr'an and in the Traditions. In the Holy Qur'an we read: 'Why should not a company from every group of them go forth to gain profound understanding [tafaqquh] in religion and to warn their people when they return to them, so that they may beware?'. (9:122)

In the Traditions, the Holy Prophet has told us: 'Whoever from my nation learns forty Traditions; God will raise him as afaqih [jurisprudent], an 'alim [a man of'ilm or knowledge].'

We do not know for sure if the ulama' and fu.zala, the learned and distinguished of the Prophet's companions, were calledfuqaha (jurisprudents), but it is certain that this name was applied from the time of those who had not themselves witnessed the Prophet but had witnessed those who had (tabi'in).

Seven of the tabi'in were called 'the seven jurisprudents'. The year 94 AH, which was the year of the death of Imam' Ali ibn Husein (d) and the year in which Sa'id ibn Masib and 'Urwat ibn Zubayr of the 'seven jurisprudents' and Sa'id ibnJabir and others of the jurisprudents of Medina also passed away, was called the 'year of the jurisprudents'. Thereafter the wordfuqaha gradually came to be applied to those with knowledge of Islam, especially of the laws of Islam.

The holy Imams have repeatedly made use of these words. They have commanded some of their companions to profound understanding (taffaqquh) or have designated them masters of jurisprudence orfuqaha (the plural offaqih, a jurisprudent). The prominent pupils of the Imams during that same period were known as Shi'itefuqaha.  

17Je Word Jurisprudence (Fi,/h) in the Terminology of the 'Ulama'  

In the terminology of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, fiqh is the extensive, profound knowledge of Islamic instructions and realities and has no special relevance to any particular division. In the terminology of the ulama', however, it gradually came to be applied especially to profound understanding of the Islamic laws. The ulama' of Islam have divided the Islamic teachings into three parts:

First, the realities and beliefs, the aims of which are awareness, faith and certitude, and which are related to the heart and the mind, embracing issues such as those related to the unseen past and the unseen future, to prophethood, revelation, angels and the imamate.

Second, morality and self-perfection, the goals of which are the spiritual qualities of being, including issues such as cautiousness of God (taqwa), justice ('adalat), generosity, courage, fortitude and patience (,I;abr), the state of being satisfied and content with God (, firmness on the true path (istiqamat) and soon.

17Jird, the laws and issues of actions, which are related to the special external actions that human beings must perform and how the actions they perform are to be and are not to be.

The jurisprudents of Islam have termed this last division fiqh (jurisprudence), perhaps on the basis that since the early days of Islam the laws were subject to the most attention and queries. Therefore, those whose speciality was in this subject came to be known as thefuqaha (jurisprudents).  

Two Types of Law Here we must mention some of the special terms used by jurisprudents. Among these are the names of the two divisions the jurisprudents have made of the Divine Laws: the laws of (human) duty (bukm taklifi) and the laws of (human) situations (bukm wa~(l). The laws of duty include those duties that relate to obligation, prohibition, desirability, undesirability and simple permissibility. These are termed 'the five laws' (abkam khamsah).

The jurisprudents say that in the view of Islam no single action is devoid of one of these five laws. It may be obligatory (wajib), meaning that it must be done and must not be left undone, such as the five daily ritual prayers, or it is forbidden (param), meaning that it is prohibited and must be avoided, such as lies, injustice, drinking alcohol and the like; or it may be desirable (mustapab), meaning that it is good to do but leaving it undone is not a crime or sin, including such things as praying in a mosque; or it is undesirable (makrup), meaning that it is bad to do but if done no sin is committed, for example talking about worldly affairs in a mosque, which is a place of worship; or it is permissible (mubap), meaning that the doing of it and the not doing of it are exactly equal, and this includes most actions.

The laws regarding situation are not like the laws regarding duty. The laws regarding duty consist of 'do's' and 'don't's', commands and prohibitions, or the giving of permissions, while the laws of situation apply to situations such as marriage and ownership and the rights involved therein.  

Types of Obligation  

The obligations, that is, the actions that are obligatory are divided into many different classifications. First, they are divided into ta 'abbudi and tawassuli.

T a 'abbudi means those things whose correct and valid performance depends on the intention (niyyat) of nearness of God. That is, if the obligatory action is performed solely with the intention of approaching the Divine without any worldly, material motive, it is correct and valid and, if not, it is invalid. Prayer and fasting are both wajib ta 'abbudi.

Wajib tawassuli, however, is an action that, even if performed without the intention of nearness to God, still meets an obligation and fulfils a duty, for example, obedience to one's parents. Another example is the performance of responsibilities towards society, such as the performance of work that a person has undertaken to do for a certain payment. Absolute loyalty to all one's promises falls within the same definition.

Obligations may alternatively be divided into 'aint and kifa'i. An 'aint obligation is one that is obligatory on every individual, such as prayer and fasting, whereas a kifa'i obligation is one that is obligatory on the general Muslim population and that, when performed by one or a group of them, is no longer obligatory on any of them. This type of obligation includes the needs of the community, such as the need for doctors, soldiers, judges, farmers, traders and so on. In the same class are the burials of deceased Muslims, which the general Muslim population is commanded to perform: once some people have done this, the duty is no longer obligatory on any others.

Another way the obligations are divided is into ta 'ytni and takhytri. A ta 'ytni obligation is the requirement that a specified act must be performed, such as the daily prayers, fasting, /Ja}}, khums, zakat, adhering to what is recognized as good (amr bit ma ,uf), struggle U'ihad}, etc.

A takhyfri obligation, on the other hand, is a duty to perform one thing of two or several things. For example, if a person has intentionally not fasted one day during the holy month of Rama~an, it is a takhyfri obligation for him to free a slave or to feed sixty poor people or to fast for two consecutive months.

Yet another way the obligations are divided is into nafii and muqaddami. A nafii obligation means that the duty itself is the concern of the SharI' ah, and it is demanded for its own sake, while a muqaddami obligation is obligatory for the sake of something else.

For example, to save a respected person's life is obligatory but this obligation is not a preparation for some other obligation. However, the actions needed in preparation for saving him, such as acquiring a rope or a boat to rescue a non-swimmer who has fallen in a river, are also obligatory, not for their own sake but as a preparation for a different obligation, that of saving the person's life.

A further example is the /Ja}}. The actions of the /Ja}} are themselves obligatory, but the acquiring of a passport and ticket to travel there are obligatory in preparation. Prayer is a nafii obligation, while to take wu.zu or ghusl or tayammum as a substitute for them in order to enter the state of cleanliness necessary for prayer are not obligatory until the time of prayer has begun, and then not for themselves, but as an obligatory preparation for the obligatory prayer. Thus the /Ja}} and the ritual prayers are both nafii obligations, while acquiring a passport or washing are muqaddami obligations.


Brief History of Jurisprudence and Jurisprudents  

As was mentioned in the previous sections, one of the preparations for learning about any field of knowledge is to pay attention to the views and ideas of the leading personalities in that field, and to the important books on the subject.

Jurisprudence has a continuous history of eleven hundred years, during which books have been written and compiled that are still studied today and centres for the study of jurisprudence and related disciplines have existed. Masters have trained students and those students in their turn have trained other students, and this practice has continued down the ages until today, with never a break in the relationship between master and pupil.

Other fields, of course, such as philosophy, logic, arithmetic and medicine have been studied for far longer, and books exist on these subjects that are older than the books on jurisprudence. Perhaps in no other subject, however, has the relationship between master and pupil been so splendidly preserved. Even where such constant relationships existed in other subjects, still they are particular to Islamic studies. Only in the Islamic world does the system of teaching and studying have a continuous, uninterrupted history going back over a thousand years.


17Je Shi'ite Jurisprudents  

We shall begin our review of the history of the ShI'ite jurisprudents from the period of the Imams' 'minor occultation' (260-320 AH), and this for two reasons:

Fi1:5t, the period prior to the 'minor occultation' was the period of the presence of the holy Imams, at which time, although there were jurisprudents and muJtahids who were able to make their own decisions, who were indeed encouraged by the Imams to do so, yet they were outshone by the brilliance of the Imams. Moreover, people tried as far as possible to refer questions to the Imams, as original sources, and to defer to their judgement. Even the jurisprudents, because of distances and other difficulties, used to place their own problems before the Imams whenever they could. But thereafter, when access to the Imams was not available, people had recourse instead to jurisprudents.

Second, in formal, classified jurisprudence, none of the books from the period of the 'minor occultation' or earlier have reached us, or, if any have, I have no information about them.

All the same, among the ShI'ites there were great jurisprudents during the days of the holy Imams, whose value becomes apparent when one compares them with the jurisprudents of their period from other sects. The Sunni ibn Nadin writes in his book Fihrist about Husein ibn Sa'id Ahwazi and his brother, both notable ShI'ite jurisprudents, 'They were the best of those of their time in knowledge of jurisprudence, effects (i.e. writings and compilations) and talents'. In referring to 'All ibn Ibrahim QummI he has the phrase 'among the ulama' and jurisprudents', and of Mul:1ammad ibn I:Ja~an ibn Al:1mad ibn Walid, he notes that 'he has among books the bookJam'efil-fiqh'.

Apparently these books were compilations of traditions on the varying aspects of jurisprudence that the compilers considered to be reliable, and in accordance with which they acted, together with the comments of the compilers.

The scholar I:JilII, in the introduction to his book Mu 'tabarwrote, 'Bearing in mind that our jurisprudents (God be pleased with them) are many and their compilations numerous and to narrate the names of them all is not possible, I will content myself with those who are the most famous in merit, research and good selection, and with the books of those paragons whose ijtihad is mentioned in other undoubtable books as reliable.

 Those I will mention incltJde, from the 'earlier' period (i.e. the period of access to the Imams), Hass'an ibn Mahboub, Ai.Imad ibn 'All Nasr Bazanti, Husayn ibn Sa'id, Fa41 ibn Shathan, Yunis ibn 'Abd ur-Rahman and, from the later period, Mui.Iammad ibn Babawayh Qumml (Shaykh ~aduq) and Mui.Iammad ibn Ya'qub Kulayni and from the authors of verdicts (fatwas) 'All ibn Blbawayh al-Q!lmml, ibn ]amld Iskafi, ibn 'All' Agil, Shaykh Mufld, Syed Morteza, 'Alam ul Huda and Shaykh rUSI ...  

Notice that, although the first group are quoted as having their own views and good selection and ijtihad, they are not mentioned as being masters of verdicts. This is because their books, which were summaries of their ijtihad, took the form of collections of traditions and not the form of verdicts.

One of the earliest ShI'ite jurisprudents, from the period of the Imams' occultation, was' All ibn Babawayh Q!JmmI, who died in 329 AH and was buried in Qum. He was the father of Shaykh Mui:tammad ibn 'All ibn Babawayh, known as Shaykh Saduq, who is buried near Tehran. The son was learned in traditions, the father in jurisprudence and he compiled a book of his verdicts. Normally this father and son are called Saduqayn.

'Ayashi Samarqandi lived at the same time as 'All ibn Babawayh or a little before. The author of a famous commentary of the Qur'an, he did indeed specialize in commentary, but he is still numbered among the jurisprudents and wrote many books on the subject. Ibn Nadlm writes that the books of this man were readily available in Khorasan, but I have not yet seen his views represented anywhere, and his books on jurisprudence no longer exist.

'Ayashi was originally a Sunni Muslim but later became a ShI'ite. He inherited vast wealth from his father and spent it on collecting and copying books and on teaching and training his students.

Ibn ]amld-lskafI was one of the teachers of Shaykh Mufld. It seems he passed away in 381 AH, having purportedly produced fifty books and writings. His views on jurisprudence have always been respected and still are to this day.

Shaykh Mufld, whose full name was Mui:tammad ibn Mui:tammad ibn No'man, was both a mutakallim (theologian) and a jurisprudent. Ibn Nadlm, in the section of his book Pihrist in which he discusses ShI'ite mutakallimin, calls him 'ibn Mu'alim' and praises him. Born in 336 AH, he passed away in 413. His famous book on jurisprudence, Muqna'ah, is still used today.

 The son-in law of Shaykh Mufid, Abu Y'ala Ja'fari, tells us that Shaykh Mufid slept little at night and spent the rest of his time in worship, study and teaching or reciting the Q!lr'an.

Seyyid Morteza, known as 'Alam ul Huda, was born in 355 AH and died in 436 AH Allamah I:Iilli called him the teacher of the Shi'ites of the Imams. He was a master of ethics, theology and jurisprudence. His views on jurisprudence are still studied today. He and his brother, Seyyid Ra9i, the compiler of the Nab} ul-balagha, both studied under Shaykh Mufid.

Shaykh Abu J 'afar Tusi, one of the shining stars of the Islamic world, wrote many books on jurisprudence, traditions, commentaries, theology and the transmitters. Originally from Khorasan (in eastern Iran), he was born in 385 AH and after twenty-two years emigrated to Baghdad, which in those days was the great centre of Islamic studies and culture. He stayed in Iraq the rest of his life and after the demise of his teacher, Seyyid Morteza, the directorship of learning and the position of highest reference for verdicts (fatwas) was transferred to him.

Shaykh Tusi remained for twelve more years in Baghdad but then, following a series of disturbances in which his house and library were ravaged, he left for Najaf where he formed the famous scholastic centre that still exists today. There, in 460 AH, he passed away.

One of the books on jurisprudence compiled by Shaykh Tusi was called An- Nihaya and was used as a textbook for religious students. Another, Mabsiit, brought jurisprudence to a new stage and was the most famous Shi'ite book of jurisprudence of its time. In Kbilaj, he wrote about the views of both Sunni and Shi'ite jurisprudents. He wrote other books about jurisprudence and, until about a century ago, whenever the name Shaykh was mentioned it was understood to mean Shaykh Tusi. Shaykhayn meant Shaykh Tusi and Shaykh Mufid. According to some books, the daughters of Shaykh Tusi were also

Distinguished faqib.'

Ibn Idris I:Iilli, one of the distinguished Shi'ite ulama', was an Arab, although Shaykh Tusi is believed to have been his maternal grandfather. He is known for the freedom of his thought; he broke away from the awe and reverence in which his grandfather, Shaykh Tusi, was held and his criticisms of the jurisprudents bordered on impertinence. He died in 598 AH at the age of fifty-five.

Shaykh Abul-~sim J'afar ibn I:Ia~an ibn Yahya ibn Sa'id I:Iilli, known as Mu\1aqqiq I:Iilli, wrote many books about jurisprudence, among them Sharay'e, Ma'are} and al-Mukhtasaran-nafi. He was the student ofibn Idris I:Iilli and the teacher of Allamah I:Iilli to whom we shall refer shortly. In jurisprudence he has no superior. Whenever the word Mu/Jaqqiq is used in this context it refers to him. Great philosophers and mathematicians used to consult him and attend his lessons on jurisprudence. The books of Mul.1aqqiq, especially the book Sharai', have been and still are textbooks for students and have been the subject of commentaries by many other jurisprudents.

Ibn l:Ia~an ibn Yusef ibn ' All ibn Mu~ahhar l:IillI, famous as 'Allamah l:IillI, was one of the prodigies of the age. He wrote books about jurisprudence, principles, theology, logic, philosophy, transmitters and many other things. Around a hundred of his books have been recognized, some of which, such as Tadhkirat uifuqaha, are alone enough to indicate his genius. Allamah wrote many books on jurisprudence, which have mostly, like the books ofMul.1aqqiq, been commented on by the jurisprudents who succeeded him. His famous books on jurisprudence include Irshad, Tab~irai ai-Mula 'aiimin,Q!twa lid, Tabrir, Tadhkirat uifuqaha, Mukhtaiif ash-shia' and Mutaha. He studied under various teachers: jurisprudence under his paternal uncle, Mul.1aqqiq l:IillI, philosophy under Khawajeh Na~ir ud-DIn Iusl and Sunni jurisprudence under the ulama' of the Sunnis. He was born in the year 648 AH and passed away in 726 AH.

Mul.1ammad ibn Makki, known as Shahld Awwal ('the First Martyr'), one of the great ShI'ite jurisprudents, ranks with Mul.1aqqiq l:Iilli and' Allamah l:Iilli. He was from Jabal' Amel, an area in present-day southern Lebanon, which is one of the oldest centres of ShI'ites and is still today a ShI'ite area. Shahld Awwal was born in 734 AH and in 786 AH, according to thefatwa of a jurisprudent from the Maliki sect, which was endorsed by a jurisprudent of the Shari sect, he was martyred. He was a pupil of the students of' Allamah l:IillI, among them Allamah's son, Fakhr ul-Mul.1aqqiqin. The most famous books of Shahid Awwal on jurisprudence include Ai-ium lab, which he composed during the brief period he remained in prison awaiting his martyrdom. Amazingly, this noble book was subject to a commentary two centuries later by another great jurisprudent who suffered the same fate as the author, receiving the cognomen Shahid al-Thani ('The Second Martyr'). The famous book Sharh ui- ium lab, which has been the foremost textbook of students of jurisprudence ever since is the commentary of Shahld Thani. Other books of Shahid Awwal include Dorar, Dhikra, Bayan,Alfiyeh and Q!tula lid. All of the books of the First Martyr are among the priceless writings of jurisprudence.

Shahld Awwal came from a very distinguished family, and the generations that succeeded him preserved this honour. He had three sons who were all ulama' and jurisprudents, and his wife and daughter were likewise jurispruden ts.

Shaykh 'Ali ibn Abul ul-Ala Karaki, known as Mul.1aqqiq Karaki or Mul.1aqqiq Thani, was one of the Jabal' Amel jurisprudents and one of the greatest of the ShI'ite jurisprudents. He perfected his studies in Syria and Iraq and then went to Iran and for the first time the position of Shaykh ul-Islam went to Iran when it was entrusted to him. The order that the ruling king of Iran (Shah Tahmaseb) wrote in Mu~aqqiq Karaki's name, in which the king gave him complete control, declaring himself to be only his agent, is famous. A well-known book that is often spoken of in jurisprudence is Mu~aqqiq Karaki's Jam 'i ut-Maqdsid, which is a commentary on the Q!lwa 'id of' Allamah !:Iilli.

When Muhaqqeq Thani arrived in Iran and established a religious university in ~zvin and then in I~fahani, and also began training outstanding pupils in jurisprudence, Iran became, for the first time since the time of the Saduqayn, a centre of Shi'ite jurisprudence. He died between the years 937 AH and 941 AH. He had been the pupil of the pupil of Ibn Fahd !:Iilli, who had been the pupil of the pupils of Shahid Awwal, such as Fazel Miqdad.

Shaykh Zayn ud-Din, known as Shahid Thani, the 'Second Martyr', was another of the great Shi'ite jurisprudents. A master of several sciences, he was from Jabal' Amal and a descendant of a man called Saleh who was a student of 'Allamah !:IiI Ii. Apparently Shahid Thani's family was from Tus, and sometimes he would sign his name' At- rUSt Ash-Shami'. He was born in 911 AH and martyred in 966 AH. He travelled widely, to Egypt, Syria, Hejaz,Jerusalem, Iraq and Istanbul, and studied with local teachers wherever he went. His Sunni teachers alone numbered twelve. Besides jurisprudence and principles he was accomplished in philosophy, gnosis, medicine and astronomy. He was very pious and pure and his students wrote that he used to bring wood home at nights for fuel for his household and, in the mornings, sit and teach. He compiled and wrote many books, the most famous of those on jurisprudence being Sharh tum'a, his commentary on the Lum'a ofShahid Awwal. He was a pupil of Mu~aqqiq Karaki (before Mu~aqqiq migrated to Iran), but Iran was one place that he himself never visited. The author of M'dtim, which is about the Shi'ite ulama', was Shahid Thani's son.

Mu~ammad ibn Baqer ibn Mu~ammad Akmal Bahbahani, known as Wahid Bahbahani lived in the period after the fall of the Safavi dynasty of Iran. At that time Isfahan was no longer the centre of religion, and some of the ulama' and jurisprudents, among them Seyyid ~adr ud-Din Razawi Q!lmmi, the teacher ofWahid Bahbahani, left Iran as the result of the Afghan turmoil and went to the atabdt, the holy centres of Iraq.

Wahid Bahbahani made Karbala the new centre and there he tutored numbers of outstanding pupils, many of them famous in their own right. Moreover, it was he who led the intellectual fight against the ideas of the akhbdriyyin, which in those days were extremely popular. As a result of his defeat of the akhbdriyyin and his raising of so many distinguished mujtahids, he was referred to as Usta!i ul-kul ('the general teacher'). His virtue and piety were perfect and his students held him in profound respect.

Shaykh Morteza An~ari, a descendant of Jaber ibn Abdullah An~ari, was one of the great companions of the Holy Prophet himself. On a visit with his father to the atabat of Iraq at the age of twenty, the ulama', appreciating his genius, asked his father to let him stay. He remained four years in Iraq and studied there under the leading teachers. Then, owing to a series of unpleasant events, he returned to his home. After two years he went once more to Iraq, stayed for two years, and again returned to Iran, this time deciding to benefit from the ulama' in Iran. He set off to visit Mashhad and on the way visited J:Iajj Mulla Al.1mad Naraqi, the author of the famous Jami' Sa'adat in Kashan. This visit became a three-year stay as he became a pupil of Mull a Al.1mad in Kashan. He then went to Mashhad and stayed there for five months. He also journeyed to Isfahan and to Burujerd in Iran, the aim of all these trips being to learn from men of knowledge. Around 1202/3 AH he went for the last time to the atabat and began giving lessons. After the decease of Shaykh Mul.1ammad J:Ia~an, he became recognized as the sole authority for referral for verdicts.

Shaykh An~ari is called the Khatim ulfuqaha wa al-mujtahidin ('the seal of the jurisprudents and the mujtahids'). In the preciseness and depth of his views, he had very few equals. Two of his books, Risa'il and Mukassib, are today's textbooks for (higher) religious students, and many commentaries have been written on his books by later ulama'. After Mul.1aqqiq J:Iilli,' Allamah J:Iilli and Shahid Awwal, Shaykh An~ari is the first person whose books have been so regularly subject to commentaries. He passed away in 1281 AH in Najaf, where he is buried.

J:Iajj Mirza Mul.1ammad J:Ia~an Shirazi, known as Mirza Shitazi, undertook his preliminary studies in Isfahan and then went to Najaf to take part in the lessons of Shaykh An~ari. He became one of the Shaykh's most prominent and outstanding students. After Shaykh An~ari's demise, he became the leading authority of the Shi'ite world, and he remained thus until his demise about 23 years later. It was because of this great man's prohibition of tobacco that colonialism's famous monopoly agreement in Iran was broken.

J:Iajj Mirza J:Iusayn Naini, one of the great jurisprudents and master of principles of the fourteenth-century hejrat, was a pupil of Mirza Shirazi and became a highly respected teacher. His fame rests mostly on his work on principles, into which he introduced new views. Many of today's jurisprudents were his pupils. He died in 1355 AH in Najaf. One of the books he wrote was in Persian and was called Tanaziyeh al-ameh or Hukumat dar Islam, which he wrote in defence of constitutional government and its roots in Islam.


Summary and Review  

In total we have introduced sixteen of the recognized jurisprudents from the time of the minor occultation until the end of the thirteenth century heJrat. We have mentioned only the jurisprudents from the world of jurisprudence and principles who are very famous and who have been and still are continually mentioned in lessons and books. Many other such names could have been mentioned but, from those we have reviewed, certain points became clear:

First, ever since the third century AH, jurisprudence has had a continuous existence, with no break in operation among the schools and no severance of the teacher-student relationship. If we start with my own teacher, the late great Ayatollah Burujerdi, we can trace the line of his teachers back over a thousand years to the period of the Imams. Such a constant chain is unusual among other cultures and civilizations.

Of course, as was stated above, the present survey begins in the third century because in the earlier period people had access to the holy Imams, wand the ShI'ite jurisprudents were overshadowed and moreover had no independence. The beginnings of ijtihad and jurisprudence among the ShI'ites and the writing of books about jurisprudence actually occurred among the companions. The first treatise on jurisprudence was written by 'All ibn 'All Rafi, who was the brother of 'Abdullah ibn AbI Rafi, the scribe and accountant of Amir al- Mu'minln, 'All ('a) during the period of the Imam's caliphate.

Second, contrary to the perception of some, the ShI'ite sciences, among them jurisprudence, have not been developed and systematized solely by the ulama' and jurisprudents of Iran. The ulama' of Iran and the ulama' of other lands have both shared in this great work, and, until the commencement of the tenth century and the emergence of the Safavi dynasty, non-Iranians were predominant. It is only since the middle of the Safavi period that Iranians have gained predominance.

17Jird, the centre of jurisprudence and of jurisprudents has likewise not always been Iran. At first Baghdad was the centre of ShI'ite jurisprudence and then, thanks to Shaykh TusI, the centre was transferred to Najaf. It was not long before Jabal' Amal in today's southern Lebanon became the centre, followed by I:Iillah, a small town in Iraq, and then for a while I:Ialab, one of the districts of Syria. During the time of the Safavids it was transferred to Isfahan, while at the same time Najaf was revived by Muqaddas ArdabIII and other greats and still functions today. Of the towns of Iran, it is only Qum that in the first centuries of Islam, thanks to men like' All ibn Babawayh, was a minor centre of jurisprudence and related studies, while Baghdad was the main centre. During the time of the ~jar dynasty, ~m was revived owing to the efforts of

 Abul ~sim Q!lmmi and it was revived a second time in 1340 AH (i.e. 61 years before this translation) by the late Shaykh Abdul Karim Ha'iri Yazdi; today it is one of the two great centres of Shi'ite jurisprudence.'

Fourth, the jurisprudents of Jabal' Amel played an important role in the development of Safavi Iran. The Safavi dynasty, as we know, were inclined to Sufism. Their path was originally based on the methods and customs peculiar to Sufism. If they had not been corrected by the profound and unchallengeable understanding of the jurisprudents of Jabal' Amil, and if an important centre of Islamic studies not been established by those jurisprudents, things would have led in Iran to the same situation that now pertains in Turkey and Syria. Their action had many effects. For one thing, the population and government of Iran remained immune from that deviation and, second, Shi'ite Sufism likewise followed a more reasonable path. Thus, we owe a great debt to the jurisprudents of Jabal' Amel-Mui.1aqqiq Karaki and others for their founding of the religious university in Isfahan.

Fifth, as has been pointed out by others, Shi'ism in Jabal' Amel existed for a long time before it did in Iran, which is one of the reasons for rejecting the common claim that Shi'ism was formed in Iran. Some believe that the Shi'ite penetration into Lebanon was due to the great companion of the Prophet, the muJahid Abuzar Ghaffari. During his stay in ancient Syria, which included all or part of modern Lebanon, at the same time as offering stiff opposition to the misappropriation of public wealth by Mu'awiyyah and the rest of Bani Umayyid, Abuzar also used to propagate the holy platform of Shi'ism.

 1De Sections and Chapters of the Issues of Jurisprudence  

To develop some familiarity with jurisprudence, one must recognize its different sections. We said earlier that the range of jurisprudence is extremely wide, for it contains all the subjects related to all the actions about which Islam contains instructions.

The foremost classification of today is the same classification first introduced by Mul.1aqqiq l:IillI in his Sharai' and which ShahId Awwal has briefly commented on and explained in his Q!lwa'id. Amazingly, the most proficient writers of commentaries on the book Sharai', among them ShahId ThanI in his Masalik, have not made the slightest comment or explanation about the classification of Mul.1aqqiq, and the First ShahId in Lum 'a has not even followed Mul.1aqqiq's system

 In Mul,1aqqiq's classification all the issues of jurisprudence are divided into four parts: worship, two-party contracts, one-party contracts and (other) commands.

This division is based on the fact that the actions that must be performed in accordance to the Sharj'ah are either such that a condition of their validity is the intention of nearness to God, meaning that they must be done solely for God, or if there is any other motivation for their performance the obligation is not fulfilled and they must be done again, or they are not subject to this condition.

If they are of the first type, such as prayer, fasting, khums, zakat, /Jall and so on, they are termed 'worship' ('ibadat).

If, however, they are of the second type and the intention of nearness to God is not a condition of their validity, but they are performed with a different intention and are still correct and valid, then they are of two types: either their actualization does not depend upon the execution of a special contract or it does.

Acts that do not depend upon the execution of a special contract, such as inheritance, punishments, retribution and so on, are grouped together in jurisprudence under the heading 'commands' (a/Jkam). If they do depend upon the execution of a contract, then again they are of two types: either the contract must be recited by two parties or there is no need for two parties and the contract is unilateral.

If they are of the first type, such as selling, hire and marriage, they are called a 'contract' ('aqd), in which one party states the contract and the other agrees. If, however, one person can carry it out alone with no need of another party, such as changing one's mind regarding one's due, divorce and so on, it is called 'unilateral instigation'.

In this classification all the sections of jurisprudence have been divided into fifty-two chapters: ten chapters of worship, nineteen of contracts, eleven of unilateral instigations and twelve chapters of commands.

A further point must be mentioned. In the first and second centuries of Islam, the books of jurisprudence that were written were related to one or a few of the subjects of jurisprudence, not to all the subjects. For example, it is recorded that such-and-such a person wrote a book about prayer and such-and- such a person a book about marriage. For this reason, in later eras, when books about all the issues of jurisprudence were written, the different chapters of jurisprudence were all under the heading 'the Book'. The custom is that instead of writing 'the Chapter of the Ritual Prayer', or 'the Chapter of the ljaJj", we write 'the Book of Ritual Prayer' or 'the Book of ljaj;".


Understanding Islam  

Now, in the order first used by Mul.1aqqiq tIillI, we s different sections and chapters of the issues of jurisprudence  


There are n books of worship.  

1be Book of Cleanliness (kittib ut-tahtirat) Cleanliness is of two kinds: being clean of external, non-inherent material, filth and pollution; and being spiritually clean of inherent pollution. The first type of cleanliness means the body, clothes and other things being clean from the ten types of filth that include urine, faeces, blood, sperm, corpses and carcasses and so on and which are termed najasat. The second type of cleanliness means entering the state of purity by performing a partial ablution, or total ablution or earth ablution, which is a condition of certain forms of worship such as prayer and circumambulation of the Ka'ba, and which is annulled by a series of natural things such as sleep, urination, sexual intercourse and simple sperm discharge. After such interruptions or annulment the state of cleanliness must be re-entered.  

17Je Book of Prayer (kitab u,5-, In this book the obligatory prayers are all discussed in detail, i.e. the five daily ritual prayers, the prayers of 'id ul fitr and 'id al-a!iba, the prayer for the deceased, the prayer of special signs such as earthquakes and eclipses, etc. and the prayer of the circumambulation of the Ka'ba; the nafilah prayers, i.e. the desirable prayers such as the daily desirable prayers; the conditions, preparations, essentials, preventions, delayers and annullers of prayer; and the qualities of prayer, such as the prayer of a person at home and the prayer of a person deemed to be travelling, individual prayer and congregational prayer, the prayer offered at the right time (ida) and the prayer missed and made up for after its time (qaza).  

11Je Book ofZakat Zakat is a way of handing over wealth that is similar to a tax and that is due from nine things: gold, silver, wheat, barley, dates, grapes, animals of the cow family, animals of the sheep family and animals of the camel family. In jurisprudence the conditions under which zakat is due from these nine things, the amount of zakat due and the ways it is to be spent are all discussed and determined from the authentic sources and in the recognized ways. Zakat is mostly mentioned along with prayer in the ~r'an, which requires that it be given and explains how it is to be spent; the rest is known from the Sunnah.  

1be Book of Khums Khums, like zakat, is a way of giving up one's wealth in a way that resembles tax. Khums means a fifth. In the view of the ulama' of our Sunni brothers it is only a fifth of the spoils of war that is to be transferred to the Bait ul-mal, or public treasury of Islam, and it is to be spent for the public benefit. In the ShI'ite view, however, the spoils of war are just one of the sources of payment of khums. In addition, profits from mining, buried and underwater treasure, wealth that is mixed with illegitimate wealth when the amount and/or the owner cannot be discerned, land that a dhimmi kafir3 buys from a Muslim, and whatever exceeds one's expenses from one's annual earnings must all be divided into five and one of those fifths be given as khums. Khums in the ShI'ite path of religion is the great budget that can secure an important part of the budget of the state.  

17Je Book of Pasting (kitab U,5-,5awm) When one fasts, one must abstain not only from eating and drinking but also from sexual intercourse, from immersing one's head in water, from breathing in dust (even as far as the throat) and from certain other things. For one month each lunar year, the blessed month of RamarJan, it is obligatory for every mature, sane person who is not ruled an exception (such as a traveller or a woman who is menstruating) to fast each day from daybreak until sundown. Other than in the month of RamarJan fasting is generally desirable. On the days of the two festivals, fasting is forbidden, and on certain other days, such as the day of' Ashura, it is undesirable (makrti/J).  

17Je Book of Going into Seclusion (i'tikaj) This literally means 'to reside in a specified place'. In the terminology of jurisprudence, however, it means a type of worship whereby a person resides in a mosque for three days or more, not setting foot out of the mosque and fasting each day. This has laws and conditions that are determined in jurisprudence. In its essence i'tikafis desirable, not obligatory, but ifit is begun and kept up for two days, the third day becomes obligatory. l'tikaf is to be performed in the Masjid ul-Haram in Mecca or the Masjid un-Nabi in Medina, or in the masjid <:>f Kufa in Iraq, the masjid of Basreh in Iraq or at least in the major masjid of a city. l'tikaf in minor masjids is not permissible. The Holy Prophet used to perform i'tiktif during the final days of the month of Ramadan.

 17JeBook of!faii

!faii is that famous act of worship performed in Mecca and the outskirts of Mecca that is normally linked to 'umrah. The performance of the pail consists of binding ipram4 upon oneself in Mecca, a stay in 'Arafat, a stay for a night in Mash'ar, the symbolic ceremony of throwing stones at the furthest (of three) boulders, the sacrifice, the shaving of the head for men and the cutting of a few curls for women, circumambulation (walking seven times around the Holy Ka 'ba), the prayer of the circumambulation, the walking of seven times between the two hills of Sa fa and Marwah, the final circumambulation, the prayer of the final circumambulation, throwing stones at (all three of) the boulders and a stay overnight at Mina.  

1be Book of 'Umrah 'Umrah is a kind of lesser pilgrimage. Normally it is obligatory for those about to perform the /Ja}} to perform the /Ja}} 'Umrah first. The actions of'umrah are as follows: binding i/Jram on oneself at one of the special places (mt'qat), circumambulation, the prayer of circumambulation, walking seven times between Safa and Marwa and, finally, the cutting of a few hairs or a fingernail or toenail.

 1],e Book of jihad

This book deals with the issues concerning Islamic warfare. Islam is a religion of society and community and of the responsibilities of society, and for this reason it includes a law of jihad. There are two types of jihad: ibtida'i (to be initiated by Muslims) and difa'i (defensive). In the view of Shi'ite jurisprudence, ibtida'i jihad can take place only under the direction of the Holy Prophet or one of the twelve immaculate and perfect Imams, otherwise it is forbidden. This type of jihad is obligatory only on men, whereas the jihad of defence is obligatory on both men and women whenever the conditions demand it.

Similarly,jihad can be either internal or external. If some of the people for whom obedience to the Imam is obligatory rise up against him, just as the Khawarij at Nahrawan and other places, Talha and Zubayr at the battle of Jamal and Mu'awiyyah and his companies at Siffin all rose up against Amir ul- Muminin, 'Ali, internal jihad is also obligatory against them.

In jurisprudence, the laws of jihad and of dhimmeh, the conditions for allowing non-Muslims to live in the Islamic state as citizens of the state and for peace between Islamic and non-Islamic states, are all discussed in detail.

 17Je Book Commending What is Recognized as Good and Prohibiting What is Rejected as Bad (al-amr bi m 'ariif wa nahy'an al-munkar)

Because Islam is a religion of society and of the responsibilities of society and sees its orderly environment as the essential condition for enacting its heavenly programs and bestowing prosperity and fulfilment, it has created a shared general responsibility. We are all duty bound to be guardians of virtue and goodness and to combat evil and wrong. The guarding of virtue and goodness is called amr bit ma'riif and the combating of evil and wrong is known as nahy'an al-munkar. The conditions attached to these duties and their stipulations and regulations are all stated in jurisprudence.

We now turn from the books of worship to the contracts.  

Contracts ('uqiid)  

The second section, according to our classification, consists of the contracts and includes nineteen books.  

17Je Book of Buying and Selling (kitab ul-bay'i) This book deals with buying and selling, the conditions that buyer and seller must meet, the conditions of the commodities exchanged, the conditions of the contract and the type of transaction. Cash transactions fall into two groups: nisiyah transactions, in which a commodity is handed over immediately and payment is delayed for a time; and salaftransactions, in which payment is made immediately but the commodity is not put at the buyer's disposal until after a period. Transactions in which both the payment and the product are to be exchanged after a delay are null and void. Similarly, in the chapter of selling, advantageous transfers, disadvantageous transfers and advantageless transfers are also discussed. What is meant by an advantageous transfer (marabi/Jah) is that a person makes a transaction and then, having made a profit, transfers it to someone else. A disadvantageous transfer (muwadah) is the opposite, meaning a transaction which, after the person has suffered some loss and damage, is transferred to someone else. An advantage less transfer (tuwliyah) is that a transaction is transferred to someone else after the person has neither made profit nor suffered a loss.


17Je Book of Rahn Rahn means mortgage and the laws connected with mortgaging are discussed in this book 

17Je Book of the Bankrupt (muflis) Muflis means 'the bankrupt', i.e. a person whose assets do not meet his liabilities. In order to investigate the liabilities of such a person, the I:Iakim Sharj'ah i.e. a muJtahid, can prohibit him from the right to his possessions until a thorough investigation has been carried out and as far as possible the liabilities have been paid.

17Je Book of Prohibition (pajr) Hajr means prohibition, specifically the prohibition of making use of property. In many cases, the use of property by the original owner is prohibited. As we have seen, the bankrupt is one instance. Another is an immature child (i.e. a girl under nine or a boy under fifteen). Other instances include insane individuals and persons who, though in other respects sane and reasonable, spend their money foolishly, for example buying unnecessary clothes when they are desperately in need of food.  

17Je Book of Liability (tJiman) What is referred to here is the acceptance by one person of liability for another's debts. A difference exists between Shl'ite jurisprudents and the jurisprudents of our Sunni brothers about the reality of liability. In the view of Shl'ite jurisprudents tJiman is the transference of the obligation of a debt from the debtor to a party who accepts liability, and it is valid only with the consent of the creditor; once the liability has been transferred, the creditor no longer has the right to seek it from the person who has made himself liable. Of course, if the liability was urged on the liable person by the debtor, then, once he has cleared the debt, the liable person can recover the amount from the original debtor. In Sunni jurisprudence, however, tJiman is the annexing of the obligation of the debt on to someone else, who also becomes obliged to repay the debt. Thus, after the contract of liability, the creditor has the right to seek the debt both from the original debtor and from the person who has made himself liable.

Sometimes two other chapters, pawalih (another kind of liability) and kafalah (a kind of bail system) are also included in this book.  

17Je Book of Peace (~ul/J) The ,rul/J (peace) that is studied in this book is different from the ~ul/J that is studied in the Book of jihad. !jul/J in the Book of jihad means 'political agreements', whereas the Book of Peace deals with property affairs and common rights. For example, if a debt is owed but the amount of the debt is not precisely known, the two parties make a ~ul/J agreement and settle on a specified sum. $ul[J agreements are generally made to settle arguments and disagreements.


T7Je Book of Partnerships (sharikat) Sharikat means that a property or a right belongs to more than one person. For example, if brothers inherit their father's property, then, until such time as they divide it, they are partners in that property. Or two people may become partners in the purchase of an automobile or a house or a piece of land. Or a group of people may join together to take possession of a piece of land that belongs to no one and may reclaim it or restore what was desert or marshland. Furthermore, a partnership is sometimes accidentally forced on someone, for example, when the wheat of two farmers accidentally becomes mixed and it is impossible to separate the wheat of one from the wheat of the other.

There are two types of partnership existing in Islam, contractual and non- contractual. The examples above are non-contractual partnerships. A contractual partnership is made when two or more people, by an agreement, compact or contract, form what in English is called a company, such as a trading company, a farming company or an industrial company. Contractual partnerships or companies are subject to many laws, which are still studied in jurisprudence. In the Book of Partnerships the laws of profit-sharing are also discussed.  

17Je Book of the Partne~hip of Capital and Labour (mutJarabah) A mutJarabah is a kind of contractual partnership, but not a partnership of two or more investors. Rather it is a partnership of capital and labour, meaning that one or more partners provide the capital for a trading business and one or more partners provide the labour involved in the actual trading. The partners must first be in agreement as to the division of profits, and then the contract of mutJarabah is to be formally executed or at least put into practice.  

17Je Book of Agricultural Partne1:l"hips (mazilra 'at and musaqat) Mazara 'at and musaqat are two more types of partnership. They are like mu(iarabah, which we have just mentioned, in that they are both types of partnerships between capital and labour. The difference is that mu(iarabah is relevant to trading whereas mazara 'at is for farming. The owner of land and water makes an agreement with someone else who does the actual farming and they agree as to the specified proportion of the profits each party shall receive. Likewise, musaqat is for the affairs of orchards. The owner of fruit trees concludes an agreement with someone else who becomes responsible for all the work involved in looking after those trees, such as watering them and all the other things effective in fruit production, and both investor and worker take their specified share of the profits as per their agreement.

In partnerships between capital and labour, whether mutJarabah agreements or mazara 'at or musaqat, any kind of harm or loss to the capital is borne by the owner of the capital, the investor. Likewise, there is no certainty of making a profit on the capital, which means that it is equally possible that a profit will or will not accrue. The profit that is returned to the owner of the capital is limited to the amount of profit made by the partnerships and to his specified proportion of the profit. This being so, the financier, just like the worker, may make no profit, he may even lose his capital or become bankrupt.

In today's world, however, even in most parts of the Muslim world, bankers achieve their aims by practising usury and as a result they receive a specified profit in all circumstances, whatever the types of concern they finance. Should one of the concerns that they have financed return a loss instead of a profit, the manager of that concern is absolutely obliged to return the banker's profit, even if he has to sell his house. Likewise, in the financial system that operates in most parts of the world today, the financier never goes bankrupt; the financier entrusts his capital to the manager, who has to repay it many times over, and whatever happens the banker demands that profit, even if the capital has dwindled or even been dispersed altogether.

In Islam, profiting from capital on the basis of usury, i.e. lending money and demanding repayment of the loan, with interest or profit, whatever the circumstances, is strictly and severely prohibited.  

The Book of Trusts (wadf'ah)

Wadf'ah, or trust, means entrusting property to someone and making that person one's agent in keeping and safeguarding it. This in turn creates duties for the trustee but if the property suffers or is lost and the trustee has performed and observed those duties, he is not liable.


1be Book of Lending ('ariyah) 'Ariyah is the circumstance in which a person receives the property of a second person in order to benefit from it. 'Ariyah and wadf'ah are two types of trusts, but in wadf'ah the owner entrusts his property into the safekeeping of another and the trustee has no right, without the owner's permission, to make use of it in any way. Under the provisions of 'ariyah, however, the owner from the very beginning gives it to the other person for him to use and then return.  

The Book of Hire (ijarah) In Islam there are two types of hire. Either a person gives the benefit of his property to another in return for an amount of money, which is called 'the money of hire' (mal-ijarah), such as the normal practices of hiring out one's house or car; or a person may rent out his sel-vices and become ajir; which means that in return for carrying out specific work, such as repairing a pair of shoes, cutting a person's hair or building a house, he will receive a wage or payment. Hire is similar to buying and selling in as far as both involve an exchange. The difference is that in buying and selling the exchange is of a thing or money, while in hire the exchange is of the benefit of a thing or money. Hire also has an aspect in common with 'ariyah in that both the hirer and the 'ariyah trustee make use of a benefit, the difference being that the hirer, having paid the price of the hire, is the owner of the benefit, while the 'ariyah trustee is not the owner of the benefit but merely has the right to make use of it.  

Tbe Book of Representatives (wakalah) Sometimes one may need to have a representative for works that demand a contract. Marriage and divorce are good examples, for the contracts of marriage and divorce must be verbally recited in correct and valid Arabic. The person who is represented is called the muwakkil and the representative is called the wakil, while the act of representation itself is called takwil.  

The Book of Endowments and Charity (waqf and sadaqat) An endowment is what a person sets aside from his property for a special use. According to one definition, waqf entails safeguarding the original article of waqfbut making it untransferable, while at the same time freeing its benefits. There is a difference of opinion about whether an intention of qorbat, of nearness to God, is a condition of waqf or not. The fact that it is included in this section indicates that Mu~aqqiq l:Iilli did not consider the intention of qorbat to be an essential condition. In any case, there are two types of waqf, general waqf and special waqf. Both these and the commands of charity are discussed in detail.


17Je Book of Temporary Endowments (sukna and /Jabs) Sukna and /Jabs are similar to waqf, with the difference that in waqfthe original property or wealth is guarded forever and there is no longer any possibility of its being someone's property, whereas /Jabs means that a person designates the benefits of his property for a specified period to be spent in a charitable way, and after that period it again becomes his personal property. Sukna, however, means that a person designates a dwelling for_the use of a poor, deserving person for a period and at the end of that period it becomes exactly the same as the owner's other property.  

]be Book of Giving (hibat) One of the effects of ownership is that one has the right to give one's property to others. Giving is of two types, 'in exchange' and 'not in exchange'. Giving 'in exchange' means that one receives something in return for one's gift. Something given in exchange is not retrievable, i.e. it cannot be taken back. When something is given 'not in exchange', however, if it is given between the ma/Jram members of a family or if the gift itself is lost or broken, it cannot be taken back. In other circumstances it can be taken back and the giver can nullify the transaction.  

17Je Book of Wagers (sabq and rimayah)

Sabq and rimayah are two forms of betting agreement between the competitors of horse races, camel races or shooting competitions. Sabq and rimayah are forms of gambling, yet, because the purpose of the races and competitions is practice of the martial arts necessary for jihad, Islam reckons them permissible as a means of encouraging the participants. Of course, this permission does not extend to anyone other than the participants.  

17Je Book of Wills (wasiyat) This book is related to the provisions of a will with regard to the deceased's wealth or any children of whom he was guardian. Each person has the right to appoint a person as his executor (wast) to be the guardian of his under-age children after his death; to supervise their education and other affairs. In the same way, each person also has the right to have up to one third of his wealth spent as he stipulates in his will.  

1be Book of Marriage (nika{J) This book first discusses the conditions of marriage, such as the mu{Jaram, the prohibitions that prevent certain people from entering into a marriage, such as father and daughter, mother and son, brother and sister and so on. There are two types of marriage, permanent and temporary. The book deals with matters such as disobedience by the wife towards the husband, ill-treatment of the wife by the husband and the obligation of the man of the house to provide for his wife and children, along with a few other issues.

 Unilateral Instigations (iyqii 'at)  

This part, according to the present classification, consists of iyqa 'at, which, as has been explained, are the actions that require a contract, but not a two-sided contract; a unilateral contract is enough. There are fifteen of these.

 17Je Book of Divorce (!alaq) Divorce here means the cancelling of the marriage compact by the husband. Divorce is either ba'in or raj'i. Ba'in is the kind of divorce in which the man has no right to return to the woman. A raj'i divorce is one in which the man can return. What this means is that, until such time as the woman's special period of restraint ('iddah) has come to an end, the man can return to the woman and thus nullify the divorce. A divorce is a ba'in divorce either because the wife has no 'iddah, such as a divorced woman with whom the husband has not had sexual intercourse or a woman who has reached the age of menopause, or because, even though the woman must keep 'iddah, the nature of the divorce disqualifies the man's right to return. An example would be the third consecutive divorce of that couple, in which case, until she marries someone else who has sexual intercourse with her and then himself dies or divorces her and she keeps another 'iddah, the first husband cannot remarry her.

It is a condition of divorce, first, that, at the time of the divorce, the woman must not be menstruating. Second, there must be two just witnesses present when the contract of divorce is recited. Divorce is divinely detested. The Prophet of God tells us, 'The most-detested permissible [thing] before God is divorce'.  

17Je Book oj Divorce Wholly or Partly Instigated by the Wife (khul'a and mabarat) Khul'a and mabarat are two types of ba'in divorce. A khul'a divorce is a divorce that occurs because the wife is dissatisfied with the marriage and gives the husband something or releases him from all or part of the mehr so as to persuade him to divorce her. In this case, by the act of divorcing his wife, the man disqualified himself from returning to her, unless she wants to take back what she has given or ceded to him, in which case the man has the right to return to her.

Mabarat is also a type of ba'in divorce, but differs from khul'a in that both parties are dissatisfied with the marriage, although the wife must still give the husband a sum to persuade him to divorce her. The other difference is that the given sum in khul'a divorce has no specified limit, whereas in mabarat the sum must not be more than the amount of the mehr.  

17Je Book of Illegal Divorce (';(.ihar)

In the 'ignorance' of pre-Islamic Arabia, zahar was a kind of divorce in which the husband might say to his wife, 'anti 'alayya ka.zahar ummz", i.e. 'You are like the rear of my mother to me'. This was quite enough for the wife to be recognized as divorced. Islam changed this. In the view of Islam, ~ihar is not divorce. A man is forbidden to make this statement to his wife, on pain of a fine (kafarah). Until he pays the fine it is forbidden for him to have sexual intercourse with the wife. The fine of ~ihar is the freeing of a slave or, if that is not possible, fasting each day for two consecutive months or again, if this is not possible, the feeding of sixty poor people.  

Tbe Book of Vows of Abstention (iyltiJ iylti' is a general word meaning oath, but in jurisprudence it has a special meaning, which is that in order to annoy his wife, a man recites a statement swearing that he will not have sexual intercourse with her ever again or for a fixed period (four months or more). If the wife protests to the l:Iakim Shari'ah, he will oblige the man to do one of two things: break the vow or divorce his wife. If the man breaks his vow, he must, of course, pay the fine. To break a vow is always forbidden but in these circumstances the husband may be obliged to do so.

 TOe Book ofCu1:5ing (Ian)

Lan is again related to the marital affairs of man and wife. It means their cursing of each other, and it applies to a situation in which the husband accuses his wife of immorality, namely, adultery or lesbianism.

If someone accuses a woman of the said immorality and cann0t produce four just witnesses, the person must undergo punishment for falsely accusing her. If a man accuses his own wife and cannot produce four witnesses, then rather than punish him, something else can be done, namely, Ian. Lan takes the place of any other punishment, but his wife becomes forbidden to him forever.

Lan takes place in front of the J:Iakim SharI'ah, when the two parties curse each other. The procedure is as follows. First the man stands up in front of the J:Iakim and says four times, 'God is my witness, I am truthful in my claim'. The fifth time he says, 'God curse me if I am lying in my claim'. The woman then stands up in the presence of the J:Iakim and says four times, 'I call God as a witness that in his claim he is a liar'. The fifth time she says, 'The anger of God be upon me if he is truthful in his claim'.

 17Je Book of Freeing (iltJJ This refers to the freeing of slaves. In Islam a series of legislative measures has been introduced about slaves. Other than making slaves of prisoners of war, Islam considers no other form of slavery legitimate. Furthermore, the aim of taking slaves in Islam is not to profit from them, rather it is for them to stay for a period in the homes of genuine Muslims and come to understand Islamic teachings. This alone would draw them to an appreciation and acceptance of Islam and its sublime teachings. In reality, this form of slavery is the passage between the slavery of disbelief (kufr) and the freedom of Islam. So the aim is not that slaves remain slaves forever, but for them fully to discover the Islamic teachings and their liberating effect and earn the real, spiritual freedom in the freedom of society. Therefore, the aim of Islam is freedom following slavery.

Islam has provided many systems of iltJ. Because the goal of Islam is freeing and not enslaving, the jurisprudents have entitled the book dealing with slavery the Book of Freeing and not the Book of Enslaving.

77Je Book of Acquiring Freedom through Wil4 by Purchase and through Relationship (tadbit:, mukatahah and istilad)

Tadbir, mukatahah and istilad are three of the ways in which slaves are freed. Tadbir means that the owner stipulates in his will that after his death his slave shall be free. Mukatahah means that a slave reaches an agreement with his owner under which he will pay a sum (or agree to pay a sum in the future) to gain his freedom. In the Qur'an it has been stipulated that if such an application is made by a slave in whom good is discerned, or, to be exact, one in whom faith is discerned (or who is deemed to be capable of managing to exist independently and not to become helpless), not only is the application to be accepted but the slave is also to receive capital from the owner's wealth.

[stilad concerns a slave woman who is made pregnant by her owner. Such a woman definitely becomes part of the inheritance when the owner dies, a part of which is inherited by her child, and since no one can be the slave of one's parents or grandparents or of one's children or grandchildren, she automatically becomes free.

Similarly, there are many other ways for slaves to become free. A slave who has been afflicted by blindness may be freed. Making amends for a sin by paying a fine (kafarah) make take the form of freeing a slave. Or a slave may be freed by someone simply to please God. Such cases are generally discussed in the Book of Freeing.  

Tne Book of Confessing (iqrar) Iqrar is related to the Islamic laws of arbitration. One of the means by which a case is proven against a person is the person's own confession. If, for example, a person claims that he is owed something by a second person, he must produce evidence or testimony and if he does not his claim is rejected. If, however, the second person himself confesses to the debt, this confession renders evidence and testimony unnecessary. Confession is accepted only from sane adults.  

The Book of Reward (ja'alah) Reward in its essence is similar to the hiring of people. In hire, however, a specific person is hired to do a specific job in return for a specific sum, whereas in reward no specific person is hired. Instead, the hirer simply announces that whoever does a certain job for him (such as finding his missing child, for example) will be paid a certain sum as a reward.  

1be Book of Vows (ayman) If a person swears to do a certain thing, it becomes obligatory for him to do it. One condition is that the vow is in the Name of God. A vow made in the name of the Prophet or of an Imam or the Q!ir' an is not binding on him according to the Divine Law. Another condition is that what he vows to do is ruled permissible in the Sharl'ah, so a vow to do something that is ruled forbidden (/Jaram) or repulsive (makru/J) is meaningless and not binding at all. Examples of legitimate vows would be swearing to study an educational book from beginning to end or swearing to brush one's teeth at least once a day. The breaking of such a vow necessitates a fine (kafarah).  

17Je Book of Taking an Oath (nadhr) Nadhr is a type of undertaking to do something that involves an oath but no special contract. For example, to make an oath to recite all the daily nafilah prayers, i.e. the desirable but voluntary prayers that accompany the obligatory prayers of the day, all that is required is a declaration to that effect. As we have just seen, the object of an ayman vow must be not forbidden (param) or repulsive (makrtip) but it may be simply permissible. A condition of nadhr, however, is that the object of the vow be useful in some way. So any nadhr to do something that is not beneficial is void. As in the ayman vows, the breaking of a nadhrwarrants a fine.

The inner meaning of ayman and nadhr and of the necessity of acting in accordance with them lie in the fact that both are types of compact with God, and, in the same way as one must respect one's compacts with the creatures of God ('0 you who believe, be loyal to your compacts.' 15:1), so too one must respect one's compacts with God Himself. An ayman or a nadhr is normally made when one has little confidence in one's willpower. The ayman or nadhr makes a thing obligatory for the doer until he is able to form the desired habit.6  


The ninth section of the four sections of jurisprudence consists of the issues grouped under the heading of 'laws' (a{Jkiim). This word has no special definition. The fact is that those issues of jurisprudence that do not fall into one of the other three groupings have been grouped together to form this one. This section contains twelve books.  

The Book of Hunting and Slaughtering (~ayd and dhibp)

First, it is necessary to state that the meat- of permitted meat animals becomes permitted either when the animal is slaughtered in a special way (dhibp or napr) or, if the animal is a wild animal the meat of which is permitted, when it is properly hunted by specially trained dogs or my means of an iron missile (such as a sharp arrowhead or a sharp bullet).

It is not permissible to eat the meat of tame, permitted animals if they have been hunted, and they must be slaughtered in exact accordance with the Sharj'ah. The way of slaughtering most tame animals, such as hens, sheep and cows, is called dhibp and the way of slaughtering camels is called napr. There is a slight difference between the actual acts of napr and dhibp, but the conditions, such as that the slaughterer be a Muslim and that the animal be killed in the Name of God are the same.

Hunting is related to permitted-meat animals that are wild, like deer and mountain goats. If the animal is hunted using a dog, the dog must be so trained that it will do whatever it is commanded, and thus reflect its master's will, and the meat of permitted-meat animals that are hunted and killed by dogs that are not trained in this way must not be eaten. Similarly, hunting with animals other than dogs, such as hawks, is also not permissible.

In hunting without the use of animals, it is a condition that the weapon be iron, or at least metal, and it must be so sharp that it kills the animal by its sharpness. So hunting with stones and blunt metal missiles is not permissible. In both forms of hunting, just as in both forms of slaughtering, the conditions that the man responsible for the animal's death, i.e. the hunter, be a Muslim and that he begin in the Name of God must be met for the meat of that animal to be permissible. There are other detailed conditions, which cannot be discussed here.

 17Je Book of Eating and Drinking Islam has a series of instructions concerning the gifts of nature. The laws of slaughtering and hunting are among them, as are the laws of eating and drinking. In the view of Islam, all good things, i.e. things that are beneficial and useful, are permitted, while all foul things, i.e. things that are not beneficial and are abominable for man, are forbidden. Islam has not contented itself with explaining these generalities but has specified a whole group of things that are foul and must be shunned, and a group of other things that are good and may be used without hindrance.

Eating refers either to the eating of meat or to the eating of other things. Meat may come from the creatures of the sea, the land or the air. Of the creatures of the sea only fish are permissible, and then again only fish that have scales.? The creatures of the land are of two types, tame and wild. The tame animals are cows, sheep, camels, hens, horses, donkeys and mules. Their meat may be eaten, although the eating of meat of horses, donkeys and mules is undesirable (makrii/J). The meat of dogs, cats and pigs is forbidden. Of the wild animals, the meat of carnivorous animals and insects is forbidden. However, it is permissible to eat the meat of deer, wild cows and goats and other wild animals whose tame counterparts may be eaten. The meat of hares and rabbits, though they are not carnivorous, in accordance with the famous verdict of the ulama', is forbidden.

Of birds, the meat of the different types of pigeon, partridge, ducks, domestic hens and so on is permissible but the meat of hunting birds is forbidden. In cases where the Sharj'ah has not made clear the status of the meat of certain birds, there are two signs of its being forbidden. One is that when the bird flies it does not flap its wings all the time but mostly glides. The other is that it has no crop or no gizzard or no sign of a bump on the back of its leg.

Other than animals, it is forbidden to eat or drink anything that is intrinsically filthy (najiisat), such as urine, faeces, blood, sperm, alcohol, etc., or any intrinsically clean thing that has been dirtied by intrinsic filth (mutanajas). Similarly, one may not eat or drink anything that is significantly harmful to the body, such as poison, for example. If medicine discovers that a certain thing, tobacco for example, is definitely harmful to the body and shortens one's life expectation or produces cancer, then its use will be forbidden. If it is not consequential, however, like, for instance, breathing the air of most cities, it is not forbidden.

It is also forbidden for a pregnant woman to consume something that leads to the abortion of her child or for a person to consume something that leads to disorder of the senses or for a man to consume something that leads to his sterilization or for a woman to consume something that leads to her permanent sterility.

To eat earth is absolutely forbidden, whether it is harmful or not. The drinking of intoxicating liquors is also absolutely forbidden. Furthermore, to consume something that belongs to another without the consent of the owner is strictly forbidden, but this is an incidental prohibition, not an intrinsic one.

Some parts of permitted-meat animals are forbidden, including the spleen, the testicles and generative parts. Likewise, the milk of forbidden-meat animals is also forbidden.

 17Je Book oj Misappropriation (gha,rb) Misappropriation (gha,rb) means the taking or using of the property of another by force, i.e. without the other's permission. In the first place, this is forbidden. In the second place, it renders the misappropriator (gha,rib) liable, so that if the property is damaged or destroyed while in the control of the misappropriator he is liable for it whether the loss or damage was his fault or not. Any use of misappropriated property, whatever it may be, is forbidden. Wu~u taken with misappropriated water and prayer in misappropriated clothes or in a misappropriated place is void.

Just as misappropriation results in liability, so destruction causes liability. If, for example, a person smashes someone else's window, he is liable for it. Causing such destruction to happen also produces liability. This means that if the person does no direct damage, such as smashing a window, but does something that causes damage, he is liable. If, for exam pIe, a man drops a banana skin on a public footpath and a pedestrian slips on it and as a consequence suffers injury, that man is responsible for the injury.

 Tne Book of Right of Preference (shofih) Shafih means the right of precedence of one partner to buy the share of the other. If two people are legitimate partners according to the Sharj'ah and one of them wants to sell his share, the other partner has the right of precedence over others who wish to purchase it on the same terms and at the same price.  

17Je Book of Reviving Dead Land (ipya ai-mamat) This book concerns waste land, i.e. land that is dead or barren owing to the absence of buildings, farming or other use. The Holy Prophet told us, 'Whoever revives dead land owns it'. This issue has many facets, which are discussed at length in jurisprudence.  

17Je Book of Finds

This book discusses the laws of finding things whose owners are not known. The find is either an animal or something other than an animal. If it is an animal that will not be harmed if left alone, the finder has no right to take it into his control. If the animal may be harmed if left alone, however, like a sheep in the middle of the desert, the finder can take it into his control, but he must search for its owner. If the owner is found, the animal must be returned to him, and if the owner is not found, with the permission of the l:Iakim Sharj'ah, the animal must be given to the poor.

If the find is not an animal and its value is less than that of 2.32 grams8 of minted silver, the finder can keep it for himself, but if it is more he must search for the owner for one year (unless, like fruit, it cannot be kept for a year). If the owner is not found and if the find was not made in the sacred area of Mecca, the finder has the option of doing anyone of three things. He can use it himself with the intention that, if the owner is discovered, he will repay the find itself or its value to the owner; or he may it to charity with the same intention; or he can keep it in the hope that the owner will be found.

If the find has no distinctive characteristics the search for the owner is not necessary and the finder has the same three options from the time of the find.  

17Je Book of Inheritance

We know that in Islam there are laws of inheritance. Inheritance in Islam is not a matter of choice. In Islam, a person has no right to specify a certain sum for a certain heir or, for example, to leave all his wealth to a certain heir. After a person's death, his wealth (apart from 'his' third, which he dispose of as he likes in his will) is divided and shared among the heirs in accordance with the relevant laws.

The heirs in the view of Islam form different ranks. If members of the first rank exist the inheritance does not reach the second, and the third rank inherits only if there is no one from the first and second ranks to inherit.

The first rank consists of the deceased's parents and sons and daughters and, if the sons and daughters have died, the grandchildren.

The second rank includes the deceased's four grandparents and his brothers and sisters and, if the brothers and sisters have themselves passed away, their children.

The third rank is the deceased's uncles and aunts and their children. Hitherto we have spoken about inheritance of kin. There is also the inheritance of husband and wife, who inherit their share from each other before the other three ranks receive their inheritance. The details of the shares each receives are too complex to go into here.  

17Je Book of Arbitration (qa{ia)

The issues of arbitration, i.e. the settling in court of differences and disputes, are so many that they cannot even be summarized here. Islam has its own special system of arbitration and devotes extraordinary attention to the justice of the arbitrator (qa{it). The knowledgeable personality of the arbitrator is emphasized to the extent that he must be a mujtahid and an expert on Islamic rights. His moral and ethical competence is precisely defined. He must be free from all types of sin, even those that do not directly affect his work. In no way does he have any right to accept payment from either of the two parties, even after arbitration. His expenses are to be liberally reimbursed from the public treasury. The position of the judge is to be so respected that the parties of the case to be arbitrated, whoever they may be (even a caliph, as the history of Amir ul-Muminin, (Ali, so clearly shows), must both present themselves before the judge with perfect respect for his position and in no way expect or demand partiality. Confession, testimonial and, in some cases, oaths play an important role in the Islamic arbitration system.  

17Je Book of Testimony

This book is connected to the Book of Arbitration in the same way as the Book of Confession. If a person claims something, the other party either admits it or denies it. If he admits it, this is sufficient for the claim of the claimant to be proven and for the arbitrator to reach his verdict. If he denies it, the claimant is bound to produce testimony, and if he produces the testimony and it meets the conditions stipulated in the Shari'ah, his claim is proven. The defendant is not bound to produce testimony.

In certain circumstances, the defendant must swear an oath, and ifhe swears an oath his prosecution is to go no further. In jurisprudence, it is said, 'Testimony upon the claimant, and an oath upon whoever denies it'. The issues of arbitration are so many that voluminous books have been written solely on this subject.  

The Book of Punishments (pudud and ta 'zirat) This book is about Islamic punishments. Some of the systems of punishment have been precisely defined and determined in Islam, and these are to be performed in the same way regardless of the conditions or any other factors. These types of punishments are called pudud. There are a few punishments, however, that the Shari'ah considers to depend on the view of the l:Iakim,9 who, by taking into consideration the causes and conditions of the crime and any motivating factors or factors that make the crime more serious, enforces a fitting punishment. These punishments are called ta 'zirat.  

The crimes for which pudiid have been stipulated are adultery, homosexuality (including lesbianism), falsely accusing a person of committing one of these crimes, drinking alcohol, stealing and armed civil disturbance, which are all considered crimes against God. Although these have all been greatly misunderstood both inside and outside the Islamic world, they are detailed and here is not the place to discuss them further. It must be mentioned, however, that if a certain punishment has not been introduced in the Shari'ah among the pudiid, the Islamic government must introduce punishments as it considers in the best interests of all concerned. These punishments are among the fa 'zirdf.

 17Je Book of Retaliation (qi~tis) Qisas is also a type of punishment, but for offences wherein one person criminally ends the life or harms the body of another person. In reality, qi~tis is the right Islam gives to the victim or to his heirs if the offence leads to the victim's death.

Such offences are either murder or loss or impediment of a part of the body, and are either intentional ('amd), quasi-intentional (shabih 'amd) or purely a mistake (khata mehd).

An intentional offence is one that was committed with the intention to commit it, such as a person who intends to kill another person and does so, whether with a specific weapon of attack, such as a sword or a gun, or by some other means, such as with a stone.

An offence that is 'quasi-intentional' is one in which the intention is to commit the act but not to inflict the harm that the act causes. An example would be a situation in which a person, with the intention of hurting another, hits him with a club, which results in the victim's death. Another example would be a case in which someone hits a child, by way of teaching the child a lesson, and the child dies. Also in this same category would be the case of a doctor who treats his patient for a certain disease and the treatment causes the patient to die.

A mistake, however, implies no intention to kill or harm at all, such as when a person who kills someone when the rifle he is cleaning accidentally discharges or the driver who makes an error and runs someone over in the street.

In the cases of intentional killing or quasi-intentional killing the heirs of the deceased have the right of qi~tis, meaning that under the supervision of the Islamic government and at the discretion of the nearest of kin, the killer can either be executed or forced to pay recompense. In the case of a mistake killer should not be executed but is obliged only to pay the heirs the diyah, tht financial recompense.


17Je Book o/Financial Recompense (diyah) Diyah is like qi,5tls in that it is a right of the offended person or the heirs of the offended person against the offender, with the difference that qi,5tls is a payment in kind while diyah is a financial penalty. The laws of diyah, like the laws of qi,5as, are very detailed.

In the books of qi,5as and diyah, jurisprudents have gone into the question of the liability of doctors and of teachers.

Ira doctor is not competent and makes a mistake in his treatment of the patient, which leads to the patient's death, he is liable. And if he is competent and he treats the patient without the permission of the patient or the patient's next of kin, and the treatment leads to the patient's death, he is again liable. However, if the doctor is competent and he treats the patient with the permission of the patient or the patient's next of kin, he must make it clear that he will do his utmost to cure the patient but that, should his efforts happen to lead to the patient's death, he will not be responsible. If the patient in such a case dies or is harmed by the treatment, the doctor is not liable and not subject to qi,5tls. If, however, the doctor fails to set out this condition before beginning the treatment, some jurisprudents say that he is liable.

Likewise, if a teacher strikes a child unnecessarily and the blow leads to the death or injury of the child, the teacher is liable. If, however, the teacher is punishing the child, believing it to be in the child's best interests, and if this should happen to lead to the death or injury of the child, the teacher will be liable, unless he has received prior permission to administer punishment from the child's guardians.

 Translator's Epilogue

From this brief introduction to the issues of jurisprudence, it can be seen how jurisprudence, like the Sharl'ah itself, enters into all the aspects, indeed, is the very essence of Islamic life.

There has never been general agreement as to how the different issues of jurisprudence (in other words, the laws of Islam) should be classified, as it is very difficult to order and classify the different aspects of life itself. After the success of the Islamic revolution in Iran, however, a new development has taken place in this regard, which, although such classifications are of little significance and although it is yet to be seen how this new classification can be adapted to the existing classifications, promises to revolutionize the face of jurisprudence.

The new classification is wonderful in its simplicity. It divides all the Islamic laws and legislations into four groups, under the headings of 'Worship and Self-Perfection', including the issues of cleanliness, ritual prayer, fasting and the {Jajj; 'Economic Affairs', which includes khums, zakat, endowment, partnership, etc.; 'Family Affairs', including marriage, divorce, wills and inheritance; and 'Political Affairs', which includes arbitration, Islamic punishments, the jihad of defence and so on.

As has been said, Islamic teachings are basically divided into three: knowledge of the unseen reality, knowledge of the perfection of one's inner self and knowledge of the perfection of one's external actions. Perhaps the reason why, of the three, it is the least important external actions that have been given such importance within the schools is that they are less intrinsic than belief and virtue and are, therefore, more demanding of the intellectual capacities, as well as being dependent upon the other two. A person who has some knowledge of God, prophethood, imamate and the hereafter may become engaged solely in the struggle to purify himself, paying attention to his external actions only insofar as to ensure that they accord with his moral values. A person who has a mastery of the external laws of actions, however, must necessarily possess sure knowledge of the realities and sublime moral excellence. To learn and act according to the Shari'ah without certainty or at least profound and sincere belief, without moral excellence and without a well-trained intellect is almost impossible. If one has scant knowledge of the realities or has knowledge of the realities but little virtue, one will never see the point of adhering to the intricacies of living according to the Shari' ah.

Therefore, although the teaching of jurisprudence is the centre of all the religious institutions, the two more urgent studies also have their place. If students of jurisprudence did not themselves develop their knowledge of the realities and of self-perfection, there simply would not be any students of jurisprudence; the laws of the Shari'ah would be forgotten and many of the words and commands of God, the Prophet and Imams would no longer be acted upon because they would no longer be understood.



1. jaqfhat is the feminine plural ofjaqfh and thus means 'female jurisprudents'.

2. The other being Najaf, despite the way it has been weakened and reduced by the

Ba'th regime of Iraq.

3. A dhimmi kafir is a kafir (non-Muslim) who lives in peace in the Islamic state in accordance with its laws and subject to the benefits it accords him. No other kafir is allowed to live in an Islamic state.

4. lpram is a state to which a person commits himself in which many things become forbidden to the person. During the pa}} and 'umrah it accompanies the wearing of two plain, white, unsewn pieces of cloth.

}". Mehr is like a dowry in reverse, i.e. it is the agreed sum to be paid by the man to the woman as a condition of their marriage.

6. The author has not mentioned that nadhr is often made as a promise to do some good deed or deeds in return for a requested favour. In this case, the nadhr becomes obligatory only when God has granted that favour.

7. Shrimps, however, are ruled as sea-locusts, and may be eaten, provided, like fish, they are taken from the water live.

8. i.e. half a mithqal, an Eastern measurement.

9. The l:Iakim SharI'ah is, as we have seen, either a mu}tahid, who meets the conditions of being just, or his representative, acting on his behalf. The Western equivalent is the role of a magistrate.