Abu Ja'far al-Tusi
|Era||Islamic golden age|
|Main interest(s)||Kalam, Tafsir, Hadith, Ilm ar-Rijal, Usul and Fiqh|
|Notable idea(s)||Hawza of Najaf|
|Notable work(s)||Tahdhib al-Ahkam, Al-Istibsar, Al-Tibyan|
Shaykh Tusi (Persian: شیخ طوسی), full name Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Tusi (Arabic: ابو جعفر محمد بن الحسن الطوسي, romanized: Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Ṭūsī), known as Shaykh al-Ta'ifah (Arabic: شيخ الطائفة, romanized: Shaykh al-Ṭāʾifah) was a prominent Persian scholar of the Twelver school of Shia Islam. He was known as the "sheikh of the sect (shaikh al-ta'ifah)", author of two of the four main Shi'i books of hadith, Tahdhib al-Ahkam and al-Istibsar, and is believed to have founded the hawza. He is also the founder of Shia jurisprudence.
Shaykh Tusi was born 995 AD in Tus, Iran, and by 1018 AD he was living under the rule of the Buyid dynasty. Tusi's birth is considered a miracle, as he was born after the twelfth Imam of Shia, al-Mahdi's, supplications. He started his education in Tus, where he mastered many of the Islamic sciences of that period. He later studied in Baghdad, which was taken by Tughril-bek in 1055 AD. There he entered into the circles of Shaykh Al-Mufid as a paramount teacher. He started writing some of his earlier works in his twenties. By the time he was forty-two, he had learned from Shaykh Murtaza, attended the scholarly circle of Sunni scholars, and studied shafi fiqh[definition needed]. At this time many Muslim scholars in Baghdad were killed and Tusi's house burned down, along with his books and the works he had written in Baghdad. After the fall of Baghdad, he moved to al-Najaf, where he died on 2 December 1067.
Tusi had an important role in the formation and revival of Shia jurisprudence and law, as his life coincided with the burning of books and libraries. It is even said that he revived hadith and Islamic jurisprudence. He defended the application of jurisprudence in respect to religious laws. One of his main accomplishments was that he was successful in propagation and making his methodology of argumentation and inference coherent: he had given to Shaykh Mufid a definite formulation of ijtihad. His dominance was unrivaled for a long time and nearly all Islamic jurisprudence was affected by Tusi's opinions. Some of Tusi's works show that he was influenced by precedent jurists like Sallar Deylami. Tusi's influence persisted until Ibn Idris Hilli, who criticized some of Tusi's views.
In conflict between the Akhbari and Usuli schools, Tusi defended the Usuli and claimed that the rival Akhbari were literalists. He believed in principles of jurisprudence as the fundamental knowledge in acquiring judgment in Islam, and wrote in the introduction to one of his works:
"thus you may say, it is essential to attach the greatest importance to this branch of knowledge (namely Usul) because the whole of shariah is based on it and the knowledge of the any aspect thereof is not complete without mastering the principles."— Al Iddah', Shaykh Tusi
He compared the positions of the different legal schools of Islam and showed that there is little difference between them. Tusi, like his masters, refuted the legal analogy (Qiyyas Fiqhi) in his manual of Usul Fiqh.
Importance of reason
His emphasis was on the rational dimension of religion, underlining that principles like the commandment to good and prohibition of evil are indispensable according to reason. Shaykh Tusi also used rational arguments to validate consensus (ijma) as derived from the principle of lutf. According to lutf, God must provide believers with the conditions for religious obedience.
Tusi was a leading intellectual who produced biographies (ilm-rijal), traditions, and compendia of knowledge (Fihrist). He also started developments that allowed Shia clerics to assume some of the roles previously permitted to only imams, such as collecting and distributing religious taxes, and organizing Friday prayers.
Tusi wrote over fifty works in different Islamic branches of knowledge such as philosophy, hadith, theology, biography, historiography, exegesis, and tradition. Of the four authoritative sources of the Shiites, two are by Tusi: the basic reference books Tahdhib al-Ahkam and Al-Istibsar. Both of them pertain to hadiths of Islamic jurisprudence. Other books include:
- Al-Tibyan Fi Tafsir al-Quran
- Al-Istibsar in 4 volumes
- Tahdhib Al-osul in two volumes
- Oddat Al-osul
- Al-Iqtisad Al Hadi Ila Tariq Al Rashad
- Kitab al-Ghayba
- Ekhtiyar Ma'refat Al- Rijal
- Shia Islam
- Ja'fari jurisprudence
- The Four Books
- Holiest sites in Islam
- Sayyid Murtadhā
- Shaykh al-Mufīd
- Shaykh al-Sadūq
- Muhammad al-Kulaynī
- Allāmah Majlisī
- Shaykh al-Hur al-Āmilī
- Shaykh Nasīr ad-Dīn Tūsi
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