The Ja'fariyya School of Islamic Jurisprudence
The laws by which Allah wanted human society to be governed, were sent down by Him through revelations in the Book, al-Qur'an. The meditun of its conveyance was through His Messenger, the Prophet of Islam. The Prophet lived a simple life amongst a simple people and demonstrated to them how to deal with other people and how to live a life of piety and harmony with fellow men and nature.
Before his death, the Prophet of Islam had told the Muslims that he was leaving among them two most valued things to which they must remain attached, if they wished not to go astray. One of them is the holy Quran, and the other is his Ahle Bait. Clearly those who profess that the Quran suffices them, have failed to recognize the advice of the Prophet.
When Islam had spread to far off places as also the Muslims across other regions and cultures, the need for expanded meanings of al-Quran and the interpretation of Sunnah became imperative. Often false quotes ascribed to the Prophet were comed to offer explanations when no examples were found in the classic Sunnah. The political caliphate had diverted the Muslims away from the Ahig Bait, and were themselves incapable of providing the necessary solutions to complicated questions on the faith and the practice of Islam. The period of decay of the Umayyad dynasty, and the coming of the Abbasids was particularly a difficult time in this regard. This was also the time when several jurists became active among the Sunni Musl'uns to fill the gap. Some of them wrote books of reference on Islamic Law.
Two major schools emerged simultaneously, one in
Iraq under Abu Hanifa, popularly known as Ahle Raai and the other in Hijaz under Malik bin Anas, known as the , or the Ahle Hadith. However, the proponents and the supporters of these two schools used Raai (individual and personal logic) and Qiyas (speculative derivation) whenever relevant Hadith was either unavailable or was weak, based on island or twatur (authenticity Classical School
or continuity of reporting all the way to the Prophet). This methodology called for the use of speculative logic and personal opinion to arrive at a fatwa (verdict on questions of Islamic Law) on a particular question. This meant that people could interpret the laws of Allah according to their logic or opinion. However, the laws of Allah are beyond the scope of the human interpolation. Man must use his intelligence to fmd ways and means to obey the ordinances of Allah and not to fmd the ways and means of going around them!
Imam Ja'far as-Saadiq offered such an enormous variety of answers to all Idnds of complicated questions in Islamic Law based on Ahadith and the Sunnah of the Prophet that he categorically rejected the methodology of Raai and Qiyas in Fiqh.
It is important that Fiqh Ja’fariyya should not be confused to authorship of Imam Ja'far as-Saadiq. It is essentially based on the Ahadith and Sunnah of the Prophet and the jurisprudence that had been passed down to the believers through oral tradition by the Imams of Ahle Bait. The eponym Fiqh Ja’fariyya (or the alternative name 'Fiqh Itrat) is applied simply to identify it from other methods of jurisprudence evolved by other fuqaha (jurists of Islamic Law).
Thousands of students attended and leamt Fiqh from the Imam. Much of his teaching was committed to writing and was gathered by his students. Four of the major compilations of the Imam's teachings have been extracted from the older literature:
1. Kafi: by Muhanunad Ya'qub Kulni.
2. Man la Yahdhr al-Faqih: by Muhammad Ali Baabwaih.
3. Tahzib, and Istibsar: by Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Tusi.
4. Kitab al-Irshad: by Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Nieman al-Baghdadi.
RISALA E TAWHEED MUFADHAL
The Epistle on the Unity of Allah
The cornerstone of Islam is Tawheed, the belief of the Oneness of Allah. Once a companion of the Imam, called Mufadhal, requested him to expounded on the subject of Tawheed as he was faced with a contest with a group of atheists. The Imam delivered the answer to his question in four sittings. As he spoke, Mufadhal went on writing it down, resulting in the Risala. This is popularly known as the Risalah-e Tawheed Mufadhal.
It is inscribed as a separate chapter in the mammoth works of Allama Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi.