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Muharram 11 Tuesday Hijrah 1444
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Title – The Message   Preface   Arabian Peninsula the Cradle of Islamic Culture   Arabia before Islam   Conditions of Roman and Iranian Empires   Ancestors of the Prophet   Birth of the Prophet   Childhood of the Prophet   Rejoining the Family   Period of Youth   From Shepherd to Merchant   From Marriage up to Prophethood   The First Manifestation of Reality   The First Revelation   Who were the First Persons to Embrace Islam?   Cessation of revelation   General Invitation   Judgement of Quraysh about the Holy Qur’an   The First Migration   Rusty Weapons   The Fiction of Gharaniq   Economic Blockade   Death of Abu Talib   Me’raj – The Heavenly Ascension   Journey to Ta’if   The Agreement of Aqabah   The Event of Migration   The Events of the First Year of Migration   Some Events of the First and Second years of Migration   The Events of the Second Year of Migration   Change of Qiblah   The Battle of Badr   Dangerous Designs of the Jews   The Events of the Third Year of Migration   The Events of the Third and Fourth years of Migration   The Jews Quit the Zone of Islam   The Events of the Fourth Year of Migration   The Events of the Fifth Year Of Migration   The Battle of Ahzab   The Last Stage of Mischief   The Events of the Fifth and Sixth years of Migration   The events of the Sixth Year of Migration   A Religious and Political Journey   The Events of the Seventh Year of Migration   Fort of Khayber the Centre of Danger   The Story of Fadak   The Lapsed ‘Umrah   The Events of the Eighth Year of Migration   The Battle of Zatus Salasil   The Conquest of Makkah   The Battle of Hunayn   The Battle of Ta’if   The Famous Panegyric of Ka’b Bin Zuhayr   The Events of the Ninth Year of Migration   The Battle of Tabuk   The Deputation of Thaqif goes to Madina   The Prophet Mourning for his Son   Eradication of Idol-Worship in Arabia   Representatives of Najran in Madina   The Events of the Tenth Year of Migration   The Farewell Hajj   Islam is completed by the Appointment of Successor   The Events of the Eleventh Year of Migration   A Will which was not written   The Last Hours of the Prophet  

 

An important recommendation

 

Here I have a recommendation which could be most useful for the advancement and development of our fiqh. It was previously put forward by the late Shaykh `Abd al­Karim al­Yazdi[43], and I am here only reiterating his proposal.

He asked what it was that required people to follow only one person in taqlid in all matters. Would it not be better if specialised divisions were established in fiqh? That is to say, there would be groups who, after having completed the general study of fiqh and become experts in it, would specialise in one particular section, and then people would follow them in that particular section. For example, some would take as their specialisation `ibadat (the rites of Islam), and others mu`amilat (transactions), some siyasat (politics), and other ahkam (criminal law); this is exactly what has been done in medicine where specialised branches have been created, and doctors divided into groups for each speciality, some being heart specialists, some eye specialists, some ear, nose and throat specialists, and others specialists in other branches. If this were done, each person could study his own branch more thoroughly. I believe that there is a discussion of this matter in the book “al­Kalam Yajurru l­Kalam” by the Sayyid Ahmad al-Zanjani.[44] 

This recommendation is a very good one, and I will add only that the need to divide fiqh up and to create specialised branches arose a hundred years ago, and in present circumstances the fuqaha of today will impede the forward development of fiqh and stunt its growth unless they heed this recommendation.

The division of the sciences into specialised branches

The division of the sciences is the result of their development, but also its cause. For a science gradually progresses until it reaches the point where it is no longer possible for a single person to investigate all the problems it raises. It must then necessarily be divided up into branches of specialisation. Thus the division of a science and the creation of branches within it is the result and the effect of the development of that science, while, at the same time, more progress is made when these branches are created, and thought can be concentrated on the special problems in each branch.

In all the world’s sciences – medicine, mathematics, law, literature and philosophy – branches of specialisation have been created, and for that very reason progress has been accelerated in each of these branches.

The progress made in fiqh during the last thousand years 

There was a time when fiqh was a very limited science. When we refer back to the texts before the time of the Shaykh al­Tusi, we see how restricted it was. By writing his “al­Mabsut”, al­Tusi took fiqh into new realms and enlarged its scope, and in the course of time, as a result of the efforts of the `ulama’ and fuqaha, and because of the creation of new problems and the initiation of new investigations to answer them, fiqh progressed even further, to the point where, about a hundred years ago, when the author of the “Jawahir” wrote his complete compendium of fiqh, he was only just able to finish it. It is said that he started his task when he was about twenty years old, and that, thanks to his extraordinary genius, continual work and a long life, he was able to write the last pages right at the very end of his life. The “Jawahir” was printed in six very bulky [lithographed] volumes, while the whole of al­Tusi’s “al­Mabsut”, which was in his time the example of a comprehensive work on fiqh, is probably less than half of one of these six volumes. After the author of the “Jawahir” died, the foundations of a new fiqh were laid by the Shaykh Murtada al­Ansari, and the epitome of this new fiqh was that great man’s “al­Makasib” and “al­Tahara”.[45] Since his time, no­one could even conceive of teaching a complete cycle of fiqh with such thorough explanation and research.

At the present time, after this advance in the development of our fiqh, which occurred in the same way as similar advances in other sciences all over the world, and which has been the result of the efforts of the `ulama’ and fuqaha’ of the past, the scholars of today will find themselves faced with the choice of either curbing any further progress in fiqh or putting this sensible and progressive recommendation into practice and creating branches of specialization, as a result of which people will come to discriminate in their taqlid, in the same way as they discriminate in referring to a doctor. 

NOTES

43. The Shaykh `Abd al­Karim b. Muhammad Ja`far al­Mirjirdi al­Yazdi al­Hairi (1276/1859­60 ­ 1355/1937), whose move from Arak to Qum in 1920 began the modern history of that city as a centre of Shi`i learning.

44. The Sayyid Ahmad al­Husayni al­Zanjani (1308/1890 ­ 1393/1973), a Qummi scholar. His “al­Kalam Yajurru l­Kalam” (3 vols, Tehran, 1363/1944) is a compendium of historical, literary, biographical and hadith information.

45. By the Shaykh al­Ansari.

 

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