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What are the sources of Shī‘ī jurisprudence [fiqh

What are the sources of Shī‘ī jurisprudence [fiqh

 

           

                                               

Reply: Following the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (), the Shī‘ah infer religious laws from four fundamental sources:

  1. The Book of Allah (Qur’an);
  2. The Sunnah of the Prophet ();
  3. Consensus [ijmā‘]; and
  4. Reason [‘aql].

Now, we will take a glance at the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet () which are the most fundamental fountainheads of Shī‘ī jurisprudence [fiqh]:

The Book of Allah (Qur’an)

The followers of the Shī‘ī school regard the Qur’an as the firmest source of its jurisprudence and the criterion of understanding divine laws. They consider the heavenly book of Islam as the loftiest reference of divine laws, and think that any opinion must be assessed according to the Qur’an, and in case of its conformity with the Qur’an, it is accepted, and if not, it is rejected.

Imām a-ādiq (‘a), the sixth Imām followed by the Shī‘ah, thus says in this regard:

زخرفٌ." فهو الله كتاب لايوافق حديث كلّ

“Any statement, which is not in conformity with the Book of Allah, is worthless.”[1]

Also, Imām a-ādiq (‘a) thus narrates from the Holy Prophet ():

قلته فأنا الله كتاب يوافق عنّي جاءكم ما النّاس أيّها

“.أقلّه فلم الله كتاب يخالف جاءكم وما

“O people! When you hear a statement which is attributed to me and is in harmony with the Book of Allah, take it for granted that I have said it; otherwise, I have not said it.”[2]

These two hadīths show clearly that leaders of the Shī‘ah regard the holy scripture of Muslims as the firmest source of religious laws.

The Sunnah

The Sunnah, that is the sayings, actions of the Messenger of Allah () and whatever he approved, is the second fountainhead of Shī‘ī jurisprudence, and the Imāms from the Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet () are independently regarded as the transmitters of the Sunnah of the Prophet () and repository of his knowledge. Of course, the Shī‘ah also accept the Prophetic adīths which are transmitted by reliable people other than the Imāms (‘a).

At this point, it is appropriate to consider two things:

The reason for clinging to the Sunnah of the Prophet ()

The leaders of the Shī‘ah have enjoined their followers to cling to the Sunnah of the Prophet () alongside the Qur’an, commending both the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (). Imām a-ādiq (‘a) says:

الله كتاب من شاهدًا له فوجدتم حديث عليكم ورد "إذا

به." أولىٰ به جاءكم فالّذي إلاّ و (ص) الله رسول قول من أو

If you are introduced to a narration which conforms with the Book of Allah or the words of the Messenger of Allah (), accept it; otherwise, that narration is more worthy for its transmitter.[3]

Similarly, Imām al-Bāqir (‘a) considers holding fast to the Sunnah of the Prophet () as a basic characteristic of an extremely well qualified jurist, and says:

الدّنيا، في الزّاهد الفقيه حقّ الفقيه إنّ

“. (ص) النّبيّ بسنّة المتمسّك الآخرة، في الرّاغب

“A true jurist is he who renounces what is in this world, desires for what is in the hereafter and clings to the Sunnah of the Prophet ().”[4]

Great leaders of the Shī‘ah have such a good mastery over the Sunnah that they reject whatever opposes the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (), and consider it as kufr [denial of faith]. Imām a-ādiq (‘a), who stresses this idea, says:

“.كفر فقد (ص) محمّد سنّة و الله كتاب خالف من

“Anyone who opposes the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of Muammad () is an infidel.”[5]

This shows clearly that the Shī‘ah observe the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet () more than any other Muslim groups, and testify to the groundlessness of the statement of those who accuse the Shī‘ah of being alien to the Sunnah of the Prophet ().

The reason for clinging to the adīths of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)

In order to clarify the Shī‘ah’s view regarding the adīths of the Prophet’s progeny (‘a), two topics are worth considering:

  1. The essence of the adīths of the infallible Imāms (‘a), and
  2. The proofs of the credibility and necessity of holding fast to the Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet ().

Having provided solid proofs, we shall examine the two topics briefly:



[1] Uūl al-Kāfī, vol. 1, “Kitāb Fal al-‘Ilm,” “Bāb al-Akhdh bi’s-Sunnah wa Shawāhid al-Kitāb,” hadīth 3.

[2] Ibid., hadīth 5.

[3] Ibid., adīth 2.

[4] Ibid., adīth 8.

[5] Ibid., adīth 6.

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