Questions & Answers
Knowledge and ignorance; obligation of gaining knowledge (Ijtihad)
In the book Return to Islam has been written that Ijtihad is obligatory to every Muslim. The question is since every human owns a special talent, for example some have talent in medicine and some in engineering and other scientific fields, and therefore it is not possible for all people to gain success in one field, what should those who have not the ability to become Mujtahid do? Should they not refer to an expert in religion?
|Answer to question:||1||Date:||22/02/2015|
Ijtihad in the meaning of obtaining knowledge of the laws of the religion, is not a job or a scientific field like engineering or medicine, so that anyone who likes it, obtains it and anyone who does not like it, leaves it, rather is a religious duty like prayer and fast which is obligatory to every Muslim; because human being has not been created for eating and sleeping, rather he has been created to serve God; as it has been said in the book of God: «وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ» (Dhariyat/ 56 ); “I have not created mankind and jinn except to worship Me” and serving God means to obey Him, although it entails hardship, and one of His commands is to obtain knowledge and to not confine to conjecture; as He has said: «وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ» (Asra/ 36); “Do not follow what you do not know” and has said: «وَمَا لَهُمْ بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنَّ الظَّنَّ لَا يُغْنِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ شَيْئًا» (Najm/ 28 ); “Yet of this they have no knowledge, they follow mere conjecture, and conjecture does not help against truth”! Therefore, it is obligatory to every Muslim to obtain knowledge of the laws of the religion and do not be confined to to conjecture about them and this is possible by him referring directly to the book of God and the Sunnah of His Prophet; because his indirect referring in the meaning of his imitation from Mujtahids, does not cause him to obtain knowledge of the laws of the religion and only causes him to obtain conjecture; Given that the Conformity of religious verdicts of the scholar to the laws of the religion is not certain and therefore, there is no choice for him but his direct referring to the book of God and the Sunnah of His Prophet, even though he dislikes it; Because there are many things that someone dislikes, but they are necessary for him; like a medicine that a patient does not like it, but there is no way but to take it; as God has said: «وَعَسَى أَنْ تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ» (Baqarah/ 216 ); “But you may hate a thing although it is good for you” and has said: «فَعَسَىٰ أَنْ تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَيَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا» (Nisa/ 19); “perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good”! Of course it should be noted that on the contrary to the common illusion, direct referring to the book of God and His Prophet’s Sunnah, although in the meaning of solitary (Wahid) narrations, is not a very hard work, but is a possible and feasible work; specially With due regards to the fact that on one hand most of the customary studies under the title of preparations for Ijtihad, like many topics of Logic and principles of Fiqh, is extra and unnecessary and on the other hand, many scholarly centers and research facilities have been created by now that have made direct referring to resources of Islam much easier.
But what really ends the quarrel is that on the contrary to your inference, the final conclusion of his excellency Allamah Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani is not the obligation of the idiomatic Ijtihad upon every Muslim, rather it is the obligation of any work which is necessary for certain cognition of the laws of the religion. His honor, in the subject “imitating scholars” of the honorable book “Return to Islam” (page 62) after emphasizing on imitation being conjectural and lack of sufficiency of conjecture in Islam, has said:
“Hence we know that imitation from scholars is not adequate at all and Ijtihad is obligatory for all Muslims, indeed, should the purpose of Ijtihad be certain cognition about beliefs and laws of Islam. Because otherwise if we mean conjectural cognition about beliefs and laws of Islam by Ijtihad, even though relying on Wahid narrations and illusions such as “consensus”, it will not be much different from the imitation and accordingly it is not adequate either. Because the reason that imitation is not adequate is due to its reliance upon uncertainties in beliefs and laws of religion and this reason is common between imitation and the Ijtihad relying on uncertainties and with above description, the type of Ijtihad relying on uncertainties is not adequate, although it is better than imitation; rather whatever is necessary for certain cognition about beliefs and laws of religion, that is obligatory for all Muslims”.
It is hereby understood that in the opinion of his honor, “Ijtihad” in the meaning of “certain cognition about beliefs and laws of Islam” is obligatory to every Muslim, not in the meaning of “conjectural cognition about beliefs and laws of Islam, even though by relying on Wahid narrations and illusions such as consensus”, and it is clear that “certain cognition about beliefs and laws of Islam” only is obtained by direct referring to the Resources whose connection to Islam is certain and they are the book of God, the Mutawatir narrations from His Prophet and His alive caliph on earth that direct referring to them is easier than direct referring to Wahid and contradictory narrations in scattered books; because the book of God is accessible to everyone and the Mutawatir narrations from His prophet are a few and famous and His alive caliph on earth is a human like other humans to whom theoretically one can go and ask the laws of the religion, although this work is currently not possible because of the failure of people in protecting him and it requires provision of security for him by them. To conclude, referring to the book of God, the Mutawatir narrations of His Prophet and His caliph on earth is obligatory to Muslims and imitating scholars (Mujtahids) is not sufficient for them.
↑ . [Translator note: scholarly research in religion]
↑ . [Translator note: a religious Scholar who does research in religion]
Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani
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