Inculpable ignorant or al-jāhil al-qāṣir (Arabic: الجاهِل القاصِر) is a Muslim who is incapable of knowing or having access to jurisprudential obligations and rulings. Shiite jurists maintain that an inculpable ignorant will not be punished by God in the afterlife. Also, his worships count as valid if they match the fatwas of his marja' (jurisprudential authority) or match the fact of the matter. Some theologians believe that the ruling of an inculpable ignorant extends to some followers of other religions who are incapable of knowing the true religion, and so they will not be punished in the afterlife.
In usul al-fiqh, it is said that there are two types of ignorant people: culpable and inculpable. An inculpable ignorant person is one who is not capable of knowing jurisprudential obligations and rulings, whether they have tried to find the jurisprudential ruling and failed to know it, or could not even try to find the ruling, such as a person who lives in a remote place and has no access to scholars or religious centers.
In some sources, an inculpable ignorant person is also referred to as an "intellectually impoverished" person.
Inculpable Ignorant in Jurisprudential Rulings
Many Shiite scholars believe that the worships of a Muslim who is inculpable ignorant count as valid if they match the views of his marja' or match the fact of the matter, and are done with the intention of proximity to God. Jurists believe that an inculpable ignorant will not be punished, because this would be contrary to intellect and justice.
Inculpable Ignorant in Beliefs
Some Shiite theologians hold that the followers of other religions (who are incapable of knowing the true religion) count as being inculpable ignorant and will not be punished by God in the afterlife, and so they will not go to the hell. They count this group of people as being intellectually impoverished. According to Imam Khomeini, God will not punish inculpable ignorant people, because this would be unjust. A few people believe that the followers of other religions who are inculpable ignorant will not only be exempt from afterlife punishments; they will also deserve divine rewards if they practice their own religious obligations in a correct and pure way.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from جاهل قاصر in Farsi WikiShia.