Topic 14: Ijtihad and Fatwa
* root word jahada
* Literally: striving or self-exertion in any activity which entails a measure of hardship.
* Ijtihad is defined as the total expenditure of effort made by a jurist in order to infer, with a degree of probability (zann), the rules of Shari’ah from their detailed evidence in the sources.
The subject of Ijtihad
* Practical rules of shari’ah which usually regulate the conduct of those to whom they apply (i.e. mukallaf).
* Ijtihad may not be exercised in regard to such issues as the existence of a Creator, the sending of prophets, because there is only one correct view in regard to these matters, and anyone who differs from it is wrong.
* Similarly, one may not exercise ijtihad on matters such as the obligatory status of the pillars of the faith, or the prohibition of murder, theft, and adultery.
Application of Ijtihad
* Detailed evidence found in the Quran and Sunnah are divided into four types
i) Evidence which is decisive (qat’i) both in respect of authenticity (musthuq/ sihhah) and meaning.
ii) Evidence which is speculative authenticity (zann), but definite (qat’i) in meaning.
iii) Evidence which is authentic (qat’i) but speculative (zann) in meaning.
iv) Evidence which is speculative in respect both of authenticity and meaning.
* Ijtihad does not apply to the first of the foregoing categories, such as clear nusus concerning the prescribed penalties (hudud).
* Ijtihad also does not apply to the second categories which relates to the hadith material, which may have definite meaning but authenticity is speculative from the majority of ulamas.
* But if the authenticity is less then accepted level of speculative (i.e. dhaif) but contains definite meaning, the evidence is open to rejection because of the doubtful of authenticity.
Type of ijtihad
* Personal Ijtihad (Ijtihad fardi)
* Collective ijtihad (Ijtihad jama’i)