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Demonstrative Jurisprudence

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Al-Fiqh al-Istidlālī (Arabic:الفقه الاستدلالی, lit. Demonstrative Jurisprudence) is a style of writing books about or expressing religious laws. In this style besides mentioning the ruling, the proofs of it is presented. Following this style, faqih narrates and criticizes different viewpoints and explains his own opinion (fatwa) by mentioning its proofs. One of the main topics of kharij lessons (the highest level of Islamic Seminary studies) in Hawza is demonstrative jurisprudence. Many works have been written in this style. The earliest book on Shi'a demonstrative jurisprudence is al-Mabsut written by al-Shaykh al-Tusi, while the most famous book in this regard is Jawahir al-kalam. Most of the works on demonstrative jurisprudence are in Arabic.

Definition

Al-Fiqh al-istidlali (demonstrative jurisprudence) is a style of writing books about or expressing religious laws. In this style besides mentioning the ruling, the proofs of it are presented. Following this style, faqih narrates and criticizes different viewpoints about a certain issue and explains his own opinion (fatwa) by mentioning its proofs. Although the term of al-fiqh al-istidlali is new and used in contrast with al-fiqh al-fatwa'i (which is presenting the final conclusions rather than inferential discussions), writing books in this style is very old. According to some scholars of Shi'a jurisprudence history, the first work on al-fiqh al-istidlali is al-Mabsut written by al-Shaykh al-Tusi (d. 460/1067).

Works

Considering that al-fiqh al-istidlali is one of the main topics of kharij lessons (the highest level of Islamic seminary studies) in Hawza (Islamic Seminary), numerous works have been published on this topic. Some of these works are written by an author, and some are the transcripts of lectures of a teacher, usually prepared by his preeminent students. The number of the latter kind, especially after al-Shaykh al-Ansari, is very high and is innumerable.

Most of the works on demonstrative jurisprudence are in Arabic. However, there are few books in Farsi. It seems that the book Lawami'-i Sahibqarani, written by al-Majlisi (d. 1070/1659-1660), is the oldest Farsi book on al-fiqh al-istidlali.

Considering the scope of topics, the works on al-fiqh al-istidlali are divided into two groups: works that contain several chapters (topics) in fiqh, and works that deal with only a certain topic or even some rulings about a topic in fiqh.

Collection Books

Some books on al-fiqh al-istidlali include several chapters (topics) of fiqh. Sometimes, the author has tried not to miss any chapter in his book. Writing comprehensive works on al-fiqh al-istidlali began with al-Shaykh al-Tusi (d. 460/1067) and his book al-Mabsut. The most famous book on Shi'a demonstrative jurisprudence is Jawahir al-kalam, which is published in 43 volumes. Among the countless works on al-fiqh al-istidlali, the following are some of the famous and highly respected works in this field:

Monographs

Many works on al-fiqh al-istidlali deal with a certain topic in fiqh. The most famous book that deals with only one topic in Fiqh is al-Makasib, written by al-Shaykh Murtada al-Ansari. This book is one of the main textbooks in the Shi'a Seminary.

Monographs on al-fiqh al-istidlali are mostly in Arabic, too. However, there are few works in Farsi. Wilayat-i faqih, which is a transcript of Imam Khomeini's lectures in Najaf, is one of the well-known monographs on al-fiqh al-istidlali in Farsi.

References