What does ijtihâd mean? Who is called a mujtahid?


Sayyid ’Abdulhakîm Arwâsî ‘rahmatullâhi ’alaih’[1] says in his book Sahâba: “ijtihâd means to work with all one’s might, to strive and to take pains. In other words, it is to strive to derive the rules to solve problems that have not been explained clearly and openly in the Qur’ân or in the hadîths, by likening them to matters that have been explained clearly and in detail. This could be done only by our Prophet ‘sall Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’, by all his Ashâb and, of all the other Muslims, by those who have been promoted to the grade of ijtihâd; these exalted people are called mujtahids. Allâhu ta’âlâ commands us to perform ijtihâd at many places of the Qur’ân.

Then, it is farz (or fard) for mutlaq mujtahids to perform ijtihâd. They are great people who can understand the rules of the Ahkâm-i-islâmiyya and religious matters lying in the depths of the âyats and hadîths that do not have clearly understandable meanings, by using their understanding of the text and the meaning that can be inferred from the text. Being a mujtahid requires knowing the high branches of Arabic thoroughly, knowing the Qur’ân by heart, knowing what each âyat means, the meanings that it indicates, the meanings lying hidden in it, the meanings that must be given according to the subject, knowing when âyats descended, why they descended, about what they descended, if they are general or particular, if they are nâsikh or mansûkh,[2] if they are conditioned[3] or unconditional, how they have been derived from Qirâat-i Sab’a and Qirâat-i Shâzza[4], knowing by heart the hundreds of thousands of hadîths that are in Qutub-i sitta[5] and other hadîth books, knowing when and why each hadîth was said and how comprehensive its meaning is, which hadîth is before or after the other, the events that have to do with it and upon what events and happenings it was said, by whom they were communicated or narrated and the state of the morality of the persons who communicate it, knowing the methods and rules of the science of Fiqh, comprehending the twelve branches of knowledge and the indications and symbols of the Qur’ân and hadîths and their clear and hidden meanings and having these meanings fixed in the heart, and having strong îmân and a bright, pure heart and a conscience possessing superior qualities and serenity. The book entitled Radd-i-Wahhâbî, (which was written in Persian by Muftî Mahmûd Sâhib, an Indian scholar,) contains detailed information about ‘ijtihâd’ and ‘tafsîr’. The book entitled Radd-i-Wahhâbî was printed in Delhî in 1264 h. and in Istanbul in 1415.

[1] He was a great and profound religious savant. His name was mentioned in the preface of our book. His letter to a university student radiates knowledge. It was translated into English and published as a brochure. The current book includes that letter. He passed away in 1362 A.H. (1943). The English version of the book entitled Sahâba is available from Hakîkat Kitâbevi in Istanbul, Turkey.

[2] Some âyats were changed by some other âyats that descended later. The former are called mansûkh, which means ‘changed.’ The latter are called nâsikh, which means ‘the one that has changed the other.’ The âyat about wine is an example.

[3] Some âyats depend on some conditions, e.g. the âyat that reads: “O Believers, perform namâz,” is conditioned, because to perform namâz one has to be sane and pubert, and has to have a ritual ablution, etc. But the âyat that reads: “O people, have îmân,” is unconditional because everybody has to have îmân.

[4] Some âyats in the Qur’ân are read in seven different ways. Sab’a means sevens. Each reading has a different meaning. Qirâat-i Shâzza means the word which a few of the Prophet’s companions used to recite in an unusual manner.

[5] The six hadîth books which all Islamic savants have confirmed to be correct. Please see the sixth chapter of the second fascicle of Endless Bliss.

“All these superior qualities could exist only in the Ashâb-i kirâm and, later, in some of the great Awliyâ who lived within the earliest two hundred years of the period after them. Later, opinions and predispositions branched out and bid’ats started to appear and spread. In process of time such auspicious people decreased in number and by 400 A.H. there was no one left to satisfy all these conditions, that is, who was a mutlaq (absolute) mujtahid.” By the end of the fourth century after the Hijrat, (Hegira, i.e. our Prophet’s migration from Mekka-i-mukarrama to Medina-i-munawwara,) there was no longer any need for a mujtahid in that capacity. For, Allâhu ta’âlâ and His Messenger Muhammad ‘’alaihis-salâm’ had already disclosed all the rules to comprehend the entirety of the changes and innovations in life styles and scientific means to be effected till doomsday. And mujtahids, in their turn, studied them, understood them well, and explained them. How these rules are to be applied to newly arising situations and events is written in books of Tafsîr and Fiqh by the scholars succeeding those great mujtahids. These scholars, who are called mujaddids, (exist today, and they) will exist till doomsday.

It must be determined, therefore, that people who advocate that amendments and changes must be added to âyat-i-kerîmas and hadîth-i-sherîfs, (i.e. to the nass,) and who strive to distract Muslims with fallacies such as, “There have been improvement in scientific means, so that we have been confronting with new events. Men of religion should come together, write new tafsîrs, and cooperate in the accomplishment of new ijtihâds,” are enemies of Islam; they are zindiqs. The most baleful enemies of Islam are of British origin.

The United Kingdom, based on a bedrock made up of cruelty, oppression, trickery, and treachery, invaded forty countries in Canada, in Australia, in Asia, and in Africa by way of cultural imperialism and brutal force, and subdued them into being British colonies. What they did first as a requirement of the abhorrent British policy was to exterminate the languages, the religions, and customs and cultures of those countries. The next step was to tap and exploit their subterranean and aboveground resources. All attempts of resistance were supressed in a bloody manner. All madrasas and schools teaching the Islamic religion were closed.

All scholars and men of religion who could show the right way to the people, including students, were put to death. It is written in the daily Turkish newspaper entitled Türkiye and dated 18.03.2000 that during the Çanakkale war, two hundred and seventy-four thousand (274,000) Muslims were martyred by the British. Books teaching the Islamic religion were destroyed so that the new generations should be raised as irreligious people.

As the British annexed India during the Ottoman–Russian war in 1877, they had already guaranteed the support of Midhat Pâsha. For, Midhat Pâsha, on account of his being a registered member of the notorious Scottish (Masonic) Lodge, had been used as a British agent by the British government, had dragged the Ottoman State into the war, and had had Sultân ’Abd-ul-’Azîz (1245 [1830 A.D.] – 1293 [1876]) the thirty-second Ottoman Pâdishâh and also the ninety-seventh Islamic Khalîfa, martyred.

Owing to the slanderous casuistry that “A man of religion will not need scientific knowledge,” which had been concocted by the spies being employed in the name of western experts in cooperation with the westerly orientated Ottoman statesmen, scintific programs were expunged from the madrasa curriculums. Thereafter, the men of religion who had thereby been deprived of scientific knowledge were blamed as ignoramuses who were “unaware of science”, which in turn was exploited as a stratagem for the estrangement of younger generations from Islam.


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