Ja'fari jurisprudence

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This is a sub-article to Islamic jurisprudence and Twelvers.

Ja'fari school of thought, Ja'farite School, Ja'fari jurisprudence or Ja'fari Fiqh[note A] is the school of jurisprudence of most Shia Muslims, derived from the name of Ja'far al-Sadiq, the 6th Shia Imam. This school of jurisprudence is followed by Twelvers and Ismailis in general, as well as a small minority of Zaidis.

It differs from the four schools or madhhabs of Sunni jurisprudence in its reliance on ijtihad, as well as on matters of inheritance, religious taxes, commerce, personal status and the allowing of temporary marriage or mut‘ah.[1] However, despite these differences, there have been numerous Fatwas regarding the acceptance of Ja'fari fiqh as an acceptable Muslim madhhab by Sunni religious bodies. These include the Amman Message and a fatwa by Al-Azhar. In the modern era, former Prime Minister of Sudan Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi defined the recognized schools of Muslim jurisprudence as eight, Ja'fari was one of them.[2]



This school of thought utilizes ijtihad by adopting reasoned argumentation in finding the laws of Islam. Usulis emphasize the role of Mujtahid who was capable of independently interpreting the sacred sources as an intermediary of the Hidden Imamas and thus serve as a guide to the community. This meant that legal interpretations were kept flexible to take account of changing conditions and the dynamics of the times.[3] This school of thought is predominant among most of Shia.

According to idea developed by ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, two kinds of Ja'fari jurisprudence can be recognized. One as Conventional Fiqh and another as Dynamic Fiqh. In Dynamic Fiqh, which is backed by the famous text book Javaher-al-Kalem (Arabic: جواهر الكلم‎), one should consider the concept of time, era, and age (Arabic: زمان‎) as well as the concept of place, location and venue (Arabic: مکان‎). He stated that these two concepts have key role in the understanding and extraction of commandments.[4]


This school of thought takes a restrictive approach to ijtihad. This school has almost died out now since very few followers are currently left. Although, some neo-Akhbaris have emerged in the Indian subcontinent but they do not belong to the old Akhbari movement of Nahrain.[3]


Non-controversial fields[edit]

Controversial fields[edit]

These are the fields of the Ja'fari jurisprudence that are controversial among Muslims.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  • ^A In Arabic script: جعفري, strict transcriptions: Jaʻfarī or Ǧaʿfarī, /d͡ʒaʕfariː/; from the name: جعفر, Jaʻfar/Ǧaʿfar, /d͡ʒaʕfar/.
  1. ^ Nasr, Vali (2006), The Shia Revival, Norton, p. 69 
  2. ^ Hassan Ahmed Ibrahim, "An Overview of al-Sadiq al-Madhi's Islamic Discourse." Taken from The Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Islamic Thought, pg. 172. Ed. Ibrahim Abu-Rabi'. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2008. ISBN 9781405178488
  3. ^ a b The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics, 2003:487.
  4. ^ صحيفه نور


  • McLean, Iain; Alistair McMillan (eds.) (2003). The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics (2nd ed.). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280276-3. OCLC 464816415. 

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