Ja'fari jurisprudence

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

Jaʿfarī school of thought, Ja`farite School, Jaʿfarī jurisprudence or Jaʿfarī Fiqh[note A] is the school of jurisprudence of most Shi'a Muslims, derived from the name of Jaʿfar as-Ṣādiq, the 6th Shi'a Imam. This school of jurisprudence is followed by Twelvers, Alevis and Ismailis in general, as well as a small minority of Zaidis.

It differs from the four or sometimes Five 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 mutʿa.[1] However, despite these differences, there have been numerous fatwas regarding the acceptance of Jaʿfarī 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 Sadiq al-Mahdi defined the recognized schools of Muslim jurisprudence as eight, Ja'fari was one of them.[2]



Main article: Usuli

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 Shi'a.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini emphasized that Ja'fari jurisprudence is configured based on the recognition that epistemology is influenced by subjectivity. Accordingly, Ja'fari jurisprudence asserts Conventional Fiqh (objective) and Dynamic Fiqh (subjective). Through Dynamic Fiqh, discussed in the famous text by Javaher-al-Kalem (Arabic: جواهر الكلم‎), one must consider the concept of time, era, and age (Arabic: زمان) as well as the concept of place, location and venue (Arabic: مکان‎) since these dimensions of thought and reality affect the process of interpreting, understanding and extracting meaning from the commandments.[4]


Main article: Akhbari

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 Bahrain.[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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