Ijtihad in Usul al-Fiqh: Reforming Islamic Thought through Structural Ijtihad

Mohsen Kadivar


Ijtihad, or independent reasoning, has been the first cause of the dynamism of Islam from within for several centuries, and it has worked well. According to this method, Muslim scholars—mostly jurists (fuqaha)—referred to the Qur’an and the tradition of the prophet Muhammad in order to find the practical duties (shari’a) of believers. The ordinances of shari’a that were introduced by the jurists were sufficient for the believers. They enjoyed practicing these ordinances (ahkam), and the order of Muslims’ lives continued without difficulty. 

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