Obligatory caution or al-Ihtiyat al-Wajib (Arabic: الاحتیاط الواجب) is to observe caution in an issue, in which a mujtahid has no fatwa (definite ruling). Jurists use the phrase "obligatory caution" in cases, when they do not reach a jurisprudential verdict based on religious reasons and consider caution necessary in those cases. In obligatory caution, it is obligatory for people (mukallaf) to either act based on caution or follow another marja' (religious authority) who is higher than other religious authorities after his own religious authority.
In jurisprudence, required caution is called "obligatory caution". Sometimes, jurists do not reach the jurisprudential verdict for some issues based on religious reasons, but consider observing caution in them necessary; therefore, in such cases, they use the phrase "obligatory caution". In obligatory cautions, a religious authority does not issue fatwa about prohibition or obligation of an action, but considers it obligatory to act in a manner that if it is prohibited in reality, no prohibited action would be committed, and if it is obligatory in reality, no obligation would be abandoned.
In cases, when observing caution is not obligatory, but it is better to observe caution in them, they use "recommended caution".
Obligatory Caution's Difference with Precautionary Fatwa
In obligatory caution, jurist does not know the religious rule and has no verdict; but, in precautionary fatwa, jurist has reached the religious ruling. In fact, in precautionary fatwa as the word "fatwa" suggests, the religious ruling exists but the obligation is the observance of caution.
Terminology of Obligatory Caution
Sometimes, in jurisprudential books and manuals of practical laws, jurists use other phrases instead of "obligatory caution", such as: obligatory precaution, as a matter of caution, or etc.
Mukallaf's Responsibility in Obligatory Caution
In obligatory caution, it is obligatory for people (mukallaf) to either act based on caution or follow another religious authority (marja') who is higher than other religious authorities after his own religious authority. A person can refer to the ruling of another religious authority because his own religious authority does not have a fatwa in that issue.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from احتیاط واجب in Farsi WikiShia.