Fara'id al-usul (book)

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Fara'id al-usul (book)
فرائد الاصول چاپ کنگره.jpg
AuthorAl-Shaykh Murtada al-Ansari
Original titleفرائد الاصول
LanguageArabic
SubjectUsul al-Fiqh


Farāʾid al-ʿuṣūl, or Rasāʾil(Arabic: فرائد الاصول) is a book on the principles of jurisprudence, by Shaykh Murtada al-Ansari (d. 1281/1864), a famous Shi'a scholar in jurisprudence and principals of jurisprudence. Rasa'il is a very important book on the principles of Shia jurisprudence, which advanced this knowledge and later Shia principals of jurisprudence scholars were greatly influenced by it.

This book has been acknowledged, taught and commented on by Shia scholars since the author’s time. In it, Shaykh al-Ansari proposed a new structure for the science of usul and presented innovative views that were accepted by Shia scholars for their correctness and importance. Systematization of the discussions of qat' ["certitude"] and zann ["conjecture"], systematization of principles of practice, considering the validity of argument from certitude (hujjiyyat al-qat') as inherent, the effect of general knowledge on precaution, maslahat al-sulukiyya ["practical benefit" (of amarat)], and validity of argument from conjectures are some of the innovations in this book.

Fara'id al-'usul is one of the textbooks for the higher levels of seminaries. Many commentaries and glosses have been written on it, which have been listed about two hundred books. Some of these commentaries are: Durar al-fawa'id, written by Akhund Khurasani, Bahr al-fawa'id, written by Muhammad Hasan Ashtiyani and Awthaq al-wasa'il, written by Mirza Musa Tabrizi.

The Author

Murtada b. Muhammad Amin al-Ansari (b. 1214/1800, d. 1281/1864), known as Shaykh al-Ansari, is one of the Shia scholars of the 13th/19th century.[1] After Muhammad Hasan al-Najafi, he became the Shiite authority.[2] Shaykh al-Ansari was nicknamed "the Seal of Jurists and Mujtahids", and Shiite scholars after him are considered his followers.[3]

Fara'id al-'usul or Rasa'il and al-Makasib are among the famous books of Shaykh al-Ansari. They are two of the textbooks of seminary students, and many commentaries have been written on them.[4]

Importance of the book

Rasa'il has been described as the most important work of Shaykh al-Ansari in principles of jurisprudence and an "innovative" and influential work.[5] According to Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin, most of the contents of this book are original, and many famous Shiite scholars have written glosses on it.[6] In al-Dhari'a, Aqa Buzurg Tehrani has written that Rasa'il have been taught and discussed since the time of publication and during the author’s period.[7]

This book created a fundamental change in the science of 'usul due to its innovations both in the structure and in terms of the content. Even now, it is one of the most important educational texts at the higher levels of seminaries.[8] Muhammad Jawad Mughniya (b. 1322/1904 - d. 1400/1979), a Lebanese Shiite scholar, wrote that all the usul scholars after Shaykh al-Ansari have benefited from his views on usul in Rasa'il.[9]

Content and structure of the book

Fara'id al-'usul contains a collection of five treatises on the principles of jurisprudence, which are: qat' ["certitude"], zann ["conjecture"], bara'a ["clearance (of liability)"], istishab ["presuming continuity with the certain"], and ta'adul ["equilibrium"].[10] These topics are arranged in the form of three parts or, in the author’s interpretation, three "maqsads" ["ends"], i.e. qat' ["certitude"], zann ["conjecture"] and shakk ["doubt"]; as well as an ending:

  • The first maqsad: Qat': the validity of argument from certitude or certainty,[11] tajarri ["defying" (the rules)][12] and general knowledge are some of the issues of this section.[13]
  • The second maqsad: Zann ["conjecture"]: two major topics of this section are: the possibility of following conjectures[14] and the occurrence of following conjectures.[15] In the section regarding the realization of conjecture, there are discussions including the validity of argument from the appearance of the words of the glorious Qur'an[16], and hadiths[17], validity of argument from the report of linguists[18], reported consensus[19], famousness of a fatwa[20] and khabar al-wahid[21].
  • The third maqsad: discussions about Shakk ["doubt"]: in this section, there are discussions including principles of practice, i.e. bara'a ["clearance (of liability)"], ishtighal ["liability"] or ihtiyat ["precaution"], takhyir ["option"][22], istishab[23] [presuming continuity with the certain].
  • Ending: Ta'adul wa tarajih ["equilibrium and Preferences"]: In this section, the issue is the person’s duty when two arguments conflict with each other and what are the criteria for preferring one of them over the other.[24]

Innovations

In Fara'id al-usul, Shaykh al-Ansari restructured the knowledge of the principles of jurisprudence and presented an orderly and logical arrangement for it, and proposed ideas that had no precedent before him.[25] In A'yan al-Shia, Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin considered most of the contents of this book to be innovative.[26]

In the books of principles of jursprudence written before Shaykh al-Ansari, the sources [of argumentation for deduction] of rulings, such as the Qur'an, Sunna, consensus and rational arguments such as istishab and bara'a were mentioned after the discussion of words without any rules or criteria in precedence or posteriority of mentioning.[27] with the argument that "when the mujtahid pays attention to the rulings, he either has doubts about them, conjecture or certitude", Shaykh al-Ansari included all the discussions of usul after linguistic discussion of words under the three general discussions of certitude, conjecture, and doubt,[28] and usul scholars after him followed this method.[29]

The two rules of hukumat and wurud ["regulation" and "governance"] are among the ideas of Shaykh Ansari’s innovations in usul. These two rules have a significant application in solving conflicting arguments and deduction of rulings.[30] It has been said that the validity of these two rules and their important role in deduction of jurisprudential rulings made the jurists after Shaykh al-Ansari accept and apply them.[31]

Organization of the principles of practice, inherent nature of the validity of argument from certitude (hujjiyyat al-qat'), the effect of having general knowledge in acting according to precaution, maslahat al-sulukiyya ["practical benefit" (of amarat)] and the validity of argument from conjecture in principles of religion are among other innovations of Shaykh al-Ansari in Rasa'il.[32]

Marginal notes and glosses

According to Aqa Buzurg Tehrani, the book of Rasa'il was recognized at the time of Shaykh al-Ansari and many commentaries and marginal notes have been written for it.[33] In al-Dhari'a, Aqa Buzurg has mentioned sixty five commentaries and marginal notes for Fara'id al-usul.[34] It has been said that other commentaries and marginal notes have been mentioned in other places of al-Dhari'a.[35] In another research, about two hundred commentaries and marginal notes on Rasa'il have been mentioned.[36]

Some of the commentaries on Rasa'il have explained the whole book, and some of them explain some of its parts.[37]

The following are considered the most famous commentaries and marginal notes of Rasa'il:

  • Durar al-fawa'id, written by Akhund Khurasani
  • Bahr al-fawa'id fi sharh al-fara'id, written by Muhammad Hasan Ashtiyani
  • Awthaq al-wasa'il fi sharh al-rasa'il, written by Mirza Musa Tabrizi.
  • Al-Fawa'id al-radawiyya 'ala l-fara'id al-murtadawiyya, written by Aqa Rida Hamadani.
  • Jawahir al-'uqul, written by Sayyid Abu l-Qasim Ishkiwari.
  • Hashiya, Mulla Ahmad Tafrishi, a student of Shaykh al-Ansari.
  • Tawdih al-fara'id, written by Muhammad Jawad Musawi Isfahani.[38]

Poetic accounts of Fara'id

Fara'id al-usul has been written in poetic form several times. In al-Dhari'a, two examples have been reported with the titles of Nazm-u Fara'id al-usul, one of which was written by Ali Qazwini Khu'ini (d. 1318/1900-1) and the other by Ali Haydar Sharugi (1314/1896-7, 1327/1909-10).[39] In the article "Pazhuheshi dar athar va ta'lifat-e Shaykh Murtaza Ansari", in addition to the two mentioned books, al-Durrat al-muntazimah is also mentioned, which was written by Musa Sharara Amili (1267/1850-1, 1304/1886-7).[40]

Manuscripts and publication status

There are many manuscripts of Fara'id al-usul in different libraries. Among them are several copies numbered 2983, 2990, 7348, and 7394 in Astan Quds Razavi library.[41] Also, this book has been published by different publishers, including Majma' al-Fikr al-Islami in four volumes and the Islamic Publications Office affiliated to Teachers Association of Qom Seminary in two volumes.

Criticism of the inclusion of Rasa’il in the textbooks of Qom Seminary

In the plan to revise the curriculum of the seminary of Qom, inclusion of Shaykh al-Ansari’s Rasail and al-Makasib in the curriculum of the seminary has been criticized. One of the points mentioned in this regard has been that these two books were not essentially written by the author as textbooks. Therefore, they need some omissions and additions to become suitable for education.[42] It has also been said that due to the high level of the content, they are not suitable for the educational levels of students. Another criticism in this regard is that they do not have a proper structure in presentation of the topics.[43]

Notes

  1. Amīn, Aʿyān al-Shīʿa, vol. 10, p. 117.
  2. Amīn, Aʿyān al-Shīʿa, vol. 10, p. 118.
  3. Muṭahharī, Majmūʿa-yi āthār, vol. 14, p. 437.
  4. Muṭahharī, Majmūʿa-yi āthār, vol. 14, p. 437.
  5. Qāfī, al-Rasāʾil, p. 743-744.
  6. Amīn, Aʿyān al-Shīʿa, vol. 10, p. 118.
  7. Āqā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, al-Dharīʿa, vol. 6, p. 152.
  8. Qāfī, al-Rasāʾil, p. 743-744.
  9. Mughnīya, ʿIlm ʾṣūl al-fiqh fi thawbih al-jadīd, p. 449.
  10. Āqā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, al-Dharīʿa, vol. 16, p. 132.
  11. Anṣārī, Farāʾid al-uṣūl, vol. 1, p. 29.
  12. Anṣārī, Farāʾid al-uṣūl, vol. 1, p. 37.
  13. Anṣārī, Farāʾid al-uṣūl, vol. 1, p. 69.
  14. Anṣārī, Farāʾid al-uṣūl, vol. 1, p. 105.
  15. Anṣārī, Farāʾid al-uṣūl, vol. 1, p. 125.
  16. Anṣārī, Farāʾid al-uṣūl, vol. 1, p. 139.
  17. Anṣārī, Farāʾid al-uṣūl, vol. 1, p. 160.
  18. Anṣārī, Farāʾid al-uṣūl, vol. 1, p. 173.
  19. Anṣārī, Farāʾid al-uṣūl, vol. 1, p. 179.
  20. Anṣārī, Farāʾid al-uṣūl, vol. 1, p. 231.
  21. Anṣārī, Farāʾid al-uṣūl, vol. 1, p. 237.
  22. Anṣārī, Farāʾid al-uṣūl, vol. 1, p. 17.
  23. Anṣārī, Farāʾid al-uṣūl, vol. 1, p. 9.
  24. Anṣārī, Farāʾid al-uṣūl, vol. 1, p. 9.
  25. Mukhliṣī, Nuāwarīha-yi shaykh Murtaḍā Anṣārī dar dānish-i 'uṣūl, p. 77.
  26. Amīn, Aʿyān al-Shīʿa, vol.10, p. 118.
  27. Mukhliṣī, Nuāwarīha-yi shaykh Murtaḍā Anṣārī dar dānish-i 'uṣūl, p. 91.
  28. Mukhliṣī, Nuāwarīha-yi shaykh Murtaḍā Anṣārī dar dānish-i 'uṣūl, p. 92.
  29. Mukhliṣī, Nuāwarīha-yi shaykh Murtaḍā Anṣārī dar dānish-i 'uṣūl, p. 92.
  30. Mukhliṣī, Nuāwarīha-yi shaykh Murtaḍā Anṣārī dar dānish-i 'uṣūl, p. 77.
  31. Mukhliṣī, Nuāwarīha-yi shaykh Murtaḍā Anṣārī dar dānish-i 'uṣūl, p. 88.
  32. Mihrīzī, Siyrī dar Farāʾid al-uṣūl, p. 10.
  33. Āqā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, al-Dharīʿa, vol. 6, p. 152.
  34. Āqā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, al-Dharīʿa, vol. 6, p. 152-162.
  35. Qāfī, al-Rasāʾil, p. 746.
  36. Anṣārī, Pazhūhishī dar āthār wa taʾlīfāt-i shaykh Murtaḍā Anṣārī, p. 108-115.
  37. Qāfī, al-Rasāʾil, p. 746.
  38. Qāfī, al-Rasāʾil, p. 746.
  39. Āqā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, al-Dharīʿa, vol. 24, p. 219.
  40. Anṣārī, Pazhūhishī dar āthār wa taʾlīfāt-i shaykh Murtaḍā Anṣārī, p. 108.
  41. Anṣārī, Pazhūhishī dar āthār wa taʾlīfāt-i shaykh Murtaḍā Anṣārī, p. 107.
  42. Mihrīzī, Siyrī dar Farāʾid al-uṣūl, p. 271-272.
  43. Mihrīzī, Siyrī dar Farāʾid al-uṣūl, p. 271-272.

References

  • Amīn, al-Sayyid Muḥsin al-. Aʿyān al-Shīʿa. Edited by Ḥasan Amīn. Beirut: Dār al-Taʿāruf li-l-Maṭbūʿāt, 1403 AH.
  • Anṣārī, Murtaḍā. Farāʾid al-uṣūl. Qom: Majmaʿ al-Fikr al-Islāmī, 1419 AH.
  • Āqā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, Muḥammad Muḥsin. Al-Dharīʿa ilā taṣānīf al-shīʿa. Edited by ʿAlī Naqī Munzawī and Aḥmad Munzawī. Beirut: 1403 AH.
  • Mihrīzī, Mahdī. Siyrī dar Farāʾid al-uṣūl. Āyina-yi pazhūhish. No. 27. 1373 sh.
  • Muṭahharī, Murtaḍā. Majmūʿa-yi āthār. Qom: Intishārāt-i Ṣadrā, 1389 Sh.