Usually, it is believed that the Muslim scholar must try his best to find out solution for a matter in the light of Holy Quran and Sunnah especially when such matter is not resolved expressly in the Holy Quran and Sunnah and through Ijma. This is the doctrine of Ijtehad and the same is recognized by the four Sunni School of thought. The different forms of Ijtehad are Istehsan, Mesaleh Mersela, Istajab and Istedlal. Ijtehad is considered as living source of Islamic law.
(i) Literally Meaning
Literally Ijtihad means “the expanding of the maximum effort in performacne of an act or job”.
(ii) Linguistic Meaning
It has been derived from an Arabic word “Jehid” which means to struggle or to strive hard.
(i) General Definition
“Ijtihad is the general process of Juristic endeavor to ascertain the terms of Shariah law”.
“Ijtihad means to strive hard to know the rules of Shariah”.
Concept of Ijtihad
According to FARUKI, the concept of Ijtihad defines as, “systematic reasoning and disciplined striving”.
In the Light of Quan
v “And those who strive in our (Cause), We will certainly guide them to our Paths for verily Allah is with those who do right”. (29:69)
v Nor should the believers all go forth together, if a contingent from every expedition remained behind they could devote themselves to studies in religion and admonish the people when they return to them, that thus they (may Learn) to guard themselves (against evil)” (9:122)
(a) Explicit and Clear Rule
There is no Ijtihad where the rule in text is explicit. In other words, when the rule in the text is so clear that more than are meaning cannot be derived from it, the jurists is prohibited from under taking Ijtihad on that.
While arguing from The Holy Quran it is imperative to interpret the meaning of a verse in accordance with the requirement of the languages.
Following are the limitations on the exercising of Ijtihad
v It cannot be exercised on the verses of The Holy Quran
v It cannot be exercised on Mutawatir Sunnah
v It cannot be exercised on Moral truths
v It cannot be exercised of five pillars of Islam
v It cannot be exercised on all definitive rules of Islam
Kind of Ijtihad
Following are the three Kinds
This kind elaborates the meaning and make it evident.
This kind is usually called Qiyas. It is literally means measuring or judging the things on the basis of equality and analogy.
In this kind a specific problem arises which has no identical precedent on the authority of some general maxims or principles of law.
The Qualities or Qualifications of a Mujtahid
He should have faith in the Shariah and the conviction of its truthfulness, a sincere intention to tail it, nonattendance of any yearning to act autonomously of it and the will to derive inspiration and acquire all targets, principles and values from it and not from any other source.
He should have a proper knowledge of the Arabic language, its grammar and literature. He should have such knowledge and insight of the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah as would enable him not only to be conversant with the details of Islamic injunctions and their application in actual practice but he should also fully, appreciate the basic principles of the Shariah and its objectives.
He should have ability to scrutinize and judge the soundness of Hadith.
He should be acquainted with the contributions of earlier jurists and thinkers (mujtahidin) of Islam. This is necessary not merely for the training in the technique of Ijtihad but also for the sake of ensuring continuity in the evolution of law.
He should be acquainted with the problems and conditions of his time, the new problems of life to which an answer is sought and the new conditions in which the principles and injuctions of the Shariah are to be applied.
He should possess commendable character and conduct according to the Islamic ethical standard.
Technique of Ijtihad
Just as Ijtihad and any legislation based thereon depends for its popular acceptance on the ability of those in charge of it, also its prosperity would to an expansive, depend upon the employment of a correct method and proper technique. A Mujtahid, whether he is engaged in the interpretation of injunctions or is busy in analogical reasoning or in drawing ingerences, has, in any event, to base his reasoning on the Quran and the Sunnah.
Every while indulging in “independent legislation” in the sphere of permissible (Mubahat) he must clearly establish that the Quran and the Sunnah have not laid down any rule or order, nor even have furnished a basis for any analogy for that particular issue.
Furthermore, the methods adopted for putting construction on the Quran and the Sunnah should be reasonable and well recognized. While arguing from the Quran it is imperative to interpret the meaning of a verse in accordance with the requirements of the language, i.e, Arabic lexicography, grammar and established usage which should fit into the context of the verse and may not be in conflict with the observations made elsewhere in the Quran on the same topic.
In addition to that, if it is not positively supported by word or deed of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), at least the Sunnah should not be contrary to such meaning.
It is also essential that the traditions which are relied upon about a particular matter are authentic, and the other relevant traditions are not ignored and no single citation (Khabar-e-Wahid) is allowed to hold its own against a Sunnah, that has been well established on the strength of authentic sources.
Any Ijtihad based on wishful interpretation and in disregard to these precautions even, if raised to the status of law by did not of political power, will neither be accepted by the collective conscience of the Muslim community nor can it form an integral part of an Islamic system of law.
Examples of Ijtihad During the Times of the Caliphs
The first Caliph Abu Bakr (R.A) exercised Ijtihad when he decided to wage a war against those tribes which refused to pay Zakah.
The Second Caliph Umar (R.A) also resorted to Ijtihad when he made different reforms in the structure of Islamic State. He also relied on Ijtihad on religious matters, the Quran prescribes the punishment of cutting the hand of a thief on stealing, but at the time of famine, when the incidents of stealing were on the rise, he excluded the definition of thief all those people who were driven to steal to fulfill their basic need and did not cut their hands.
He prohibited selling of any slave girl who was the mother of child. Similarly, he stopped giving Zakah that was given to the new converts to incline their hearts towards Islam, as he held that Islam was now strong and did not need this incentive for the new converts.
Hence for final analysis, we can say that, Ijtihad is permissible only where on expressed injuctions of Quran and Sunnah are available. Ijithad can only be exercised by Mujthaids who are very highly Qualified independent jurists. Ijtihad is to strive hard to know the rules of Shariah. Taqleed is exercised by Fiqh and taqleed means to follow the opinion of another person without questioning the authority of such opinion.