The dimensions of a achieving the formal aspect of religious thought, according to shi ism

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The relation of interpretation of Quarn with the outward understanding
In the second part of the dimensions of out ward method of achieving the religious thought ,according to shi’ism the relation ship between interpretation of the Quran and its outward understanding the problematic state of Hadith after the death of the prophet the method of teaching and leaning of subsidiaries of religion and shi’ism and transmited sciences.

The principles of Interpretation of the Qurn
At the beginning of Islam it was commonly believed by some Sunnis that if there was sufficient reason one could ignore the ouldward meaning of Quranic verses and ascribe to them a contrary meaning. Usually the meaning which opposed the outward, literal meaning was called ta’wil, and what is called ta’wil of the Quran in Sunni Islam is usually understood in this sense.

In the religious works of Sunni scholars, as well as in the controversies that have been recorded as taking place between different schools, one often observes that if a particular point of doctrine (that has been established a through the consensus of the ulama of a school or through some other means) is opposed to the outward meaning of a verse of the Quran, that verse is interpreted by ta’wil to have a meaning contrary to its apparent meaning. Sometimes two contending sides support two opposing views and present Quranic verses in proof of their contentions. Each side interprets the verses presented by the other sider through ta’wil. this method has also penetrated more or less into shi’ism and can be seen in some shi’ite theological works.

Yet, sufficient deliberation upon Quranic verses and the hadith of the household of the prophet demonstrates clearly the holy Quran with its attractive language and eloquent lucid expression never uses enigmatic or puzzling methods of exposition and always expounds any subject in a language suitable for that subject. What has been rightly called ta’wil, or hermeneutic interpretation, of the holy Quran is not concerned simply with the denotation of words. Rather, it is concerned with certain truths and realities that transcend the comprehension of the common run of men, yet it is from these truths and realities that the principles of doctrine and the practical injunctions of the Quran issue fourth.

The whole of the Quran possesses the sense the of ta’wil of esoteric meaning, which cannot be comprehended directly through human through alone. Lone the prophets and the pure among the saints of God who are free from the dross of human imperfection can contemplate these meaning while living on the present plane of existence. On the Day of Resurrection the ta’wil of the Quran will be revealed to everyone.

The relation of allusion and symbolism with the inward understanding
This assertion can be explained by pointing to the fact that what forces man to use speech, create words and make use of expressions is nothing other than these social and material needs. In his social life man is forced to try to make his fellow –men understand his thoughts and intentions and the feeling which exist within his soul. To accomplish this end he makes use of sounds and hearing. occasionally also he use to a degree his eyes and gestures, that is why between the mute and the blind there can never be any mutual comprehension, for whatever the blind man says the deaf cannot hear, and whatever the mute makes understood through gestures the blind man cannot see. The creation of words and the naming of objects have been accomplished with a material end in view. Expressions have been created for those objects, states, and conditions which are material and available to the senses or near to the sensible world. As can be seen in those cases where the person addressed Iacks one of the physical senses, if we wish to speak of matters which can be comprehended through the missing sense we employ a kind of allegory and similitude. for example, for we wish to describe tight or color to one who is born blind, or the pleasures of sex to a child that has not reached the age of adolescence, we seek to achieve our purpose through comparison and allegory and through providing examples.

Therefore, if we accept the hypothesis that in the scale of universal Existence there are immense levels of reality which are independent of the world of matter (and this is in reality the case), and that in each generation there are among mankind but a handful who have the capability of comprehending and having a vision of these realities, than questions pertaining to these higher world cannot be understood through common verbal expressions and modes of thought. They cannot be referred to except by allusion and through symbolism. Since religious are of this kind, the expression of the Quran in such matters much of necessity be symbolic.

God says in his book, Lo! We have appointed it a Lecture in Arabic that haply ye may understand. And Loin the source of Decrees, which we possess, it is indeed sublime, decisive. (Common comprehension cannot understand it or penetrate into it) (Quran, XLIII, 3-4)He also says, that (this) is indeed anole Quran, in a book kept hidden, which none touched save the purified (Quran, LVI,77-79) concerning the prophet and his household he says, Allah’s wish is but to remove uncleanness far from you, Ofolk of the household, and cleanse you with a thorough cleansing (Quran, XXX,III,33).

As proved by these verses, the holy Quran emanates from sources beyond the comprehension of common man. No one can have a full comprehension of the Quran save those servants of God whom He has chosen to purify .And the house hold of the prophet are among those pure beings.

In an other place God says, Nay, but they denied that (the Quran), the knowledge whereof they could not compass, and whereof the interpretation (in events) [ta’wil] hath not yet come into them ( Quran, X, 40) ( meaning the day of Resurrection when the truth of things will become known) And again he says, On, the day ( the Day of Resurrection ) when the fulfillment[ ta’wil] thereof ( of the whole Quran) cometh, those who were before forgetful thereof will say: The messengers of our Lord did bring the Truth! (Quran, VII, 53).

The problematic state of hadith after the death of prophet (p.b.u.h)
The principle that the hadith possesses validity, as attested by the Quran, is not at all disputed among shi’ites or in fact among all Muslim. But because of the failure of some of the early rulers of Islam in preserving and guarding the hadith, and the excesses of a group among the companions and followers of the prophet in propagating hadith literature, the coupes of hadith came to face a certain number of difficulties.

On the one hand the caliphs of the time prevented the writing down and recording of the hadith and ordered any pages containing texts of hadith to be burned sometime also any increase in activity in the transmission and study of hadith was forbidden (Bihar al-and war, VOI, p, 117 ). In this way acertain number of hadiths were forgotten or lost and a few were even transmitted with a different or distorted meaning. On the other hand another tendency also prevailed among another group of the companions of the holy prophet who had had the honor of seeing his presence and actually hearing his words, this group, which was respected by the caliphs and Muslim community, began an intense effort to propagate the hadit. This was carried to such an extent that sometimes hadith overruled the Quran and the injunction of a Quranic verse was even considered abrogated by some people through a hadith the question of the a abrogation or of cerain verses of the Quran is one the difficult problems of the science of the principles of jurisprudence and at least some of the ulama in sunnism seem to have accepted abrogation, the incident of fadak seems also invole the question of different kinds of interpretation given to Qranic verses through the use of hadith. Often the transmitters of hadith would travel many miles and bear all the difficulties of traveling in order to hear a single saying.

A group of outsiders who had worn the dress of Islam and also some of the enemies within ranks of Islam began to change and distort some of the hadith and thus diminished the reliability and validity of the hadith that was then heard and known (the proof of this question lies in the large number of works written by traditional religious scholars on fabricated hadith, Also in books dealing with the biography of learned men, some transmitters of hadith have been described as unreliable and other as weak). For this very reason Islamic scholars began to think of a solution. They created the sciences concerned with the biography of learned men and chains of transmission of hadith in order to be able to discriminate between true and false hadith.

The Quran, as a criterion of validity of hadith for shi’ism
Shi’ism, in addition to seeking to authenticate the chain transmission of hadith, considers the correlation of the text of the hadith with the Quarn as a necessary condition for its validity. In shi’ite sources there are many hadith of the prophet and the Imams with authentic chains of transmission which themselves assert that a hadith contrary to the Quran has no value. Only that hadith can be considered valid which is in agreement with the Quran.

Basing itself in these hadiths, shi’ism does not act upon those hadiths which are text of the Quran. As for the hadith whose agreement or disagreement cannot be established, according to instructions received from Imam they are passed by in silence without being accepted or rejected Needless to say there are within shi’ ism those who, like a group among the Sunni, act on any hadith whatsoever which they happen to find in different traditional sources.

The methad of shi’ism, in following the hadith
A hadith heard directiy from the mouth of the prophet or one of the Imams is accepted as is the Quran. As for hadith received through intermediaries, the majority of shi’its act upon them if their chain of transmission is established at every step or if there exists definite proof concerning their truth, and, if they are concerned with principles of doctrine which require knowledge and certainty, according to the text of the Quran. other than these two kinds of hadith, no other hadith has any validity concerning principles of doctrine, the invalid hadith being called tradition with a single transmitter (khabar wahid) However in establishing the injunctions of the shari’ah, because of reasons that have been given, shi’ites, act also on a tradition which is generally accepted as reliable therefore it can be said that for shi’ism ascertain and definitely established hadith is a absolutely biuding and must be followed, while a hadith which is not absolutely established but which is generally considered as reliable is utilized only in the elaboration of the injunctions of the shari’ah.

The methad of shi’ism in learning and teaching of the subsidiaries of religions
To acquire knowledge is a religious duty in Islam the prophet has said; to seek knowledge is in cumbent upon every Muslim. A ccording to fully established hadith which elucidate the meaning of this saying, knowledge here mean the three principles of Islam, unity or taw hid, prophecy or unbowed, and eschatology or ma’ad, In addition to these principles, Muslims are expected to acquire knowledge of the subsidiary branches and the details of the injunctions and laws of Islam according to their individual circumstances and needs.

It is clear that acquiring knowledge of the principles of religion, even if it be summary fashion, is possible to a certain extent for every one. But acquiring detailed knowledge of the injunctions and laws of religion through use of the basic documents of the book and the Sunnah and technical reasoning based upon them (or what is called demonstrative jurisprudence, figh- I istidlali) is not possible for every one, for there aer no inunctions in Islam requiring one to do what lies beyond his abilities (Bitar al- an war, VOI, I, p, 55).

Therefore, the study of Islamic injunctions and laws through reasoning has been limited through the principle of sufficient necessity (wajjib-i kifa’i) to those individuals who have the necessary capability and are worthy of such study. The duty of the rest of the people, according to the general peinciple of the necessity for the ignorant to depend on the one who knows, is to seek guidance from capable and worthy men of learning, who are called mujtahids and faqihs this act of following mujtahids is called imition or taqlid. Of course this imilation differs from imitation in the principles of religious knowledge which is forbidden according to the very text of the Quran, (o man); follow not that whereof thou hast no knowledge, (Quran, XVII, 36).

It must be known that shi’ism does permit imitation of a dead mujtahid, that is to say, aperson who does not known the answer to a problem through ijtihad and through religious duty must imitate a living mujtahid and cannot depend on view of a mugtahid who is not living, unless he had received that guidance while the mujtahid was alive. This practice is one of the factors which have kept Islamic shi’ite jurisprudence alive and fresh throughout the ages there are individuals who continuously follow the path of independent judgment, ijtihad, and delve into the problems of jurisprudence from one generation to another.

In sunnism, as a result of consensus of opinion(imam) that occurred in the 4 the/ 10 the century, it was decided that submission to one of the four schools (of Abu Haifa, IBM Malik, al- shafi’i and Ahmad ibn Hanbal)was necessary. Free ijtihad or imitation of a school other than these four (or one two smaller school that died out later) was not considered permissible. As a result, their jurisprudence has remained in the same condition as it was about 1100 years ago. In recent times certain individuals in the sunni world have turned away from this consensus and have begun to exercise free ijtihad.

Shi’ism and the transmited sciences
The Islamic sciences, which owe their existence to the lama of Islam who organized and formulated them, are divided into the two categories of intellectual (alqi) and transmitted (angle) the intellectual sciences, include such sciences as philosophy and mathematics. The transmitted sciences are those which depend upon transmission from some source, such as the sciences of Language, hadith, or history without doubt the major cause for the appearance of the transmuted sciences in Islam is the holy Quran with the exception of a few disciplines such as history, genealogy, and prosody, the other transmitted sciences have all come into being under the influence of the holy book, Guided by religious discussions and research, Muslims began to cultivate these sciences, of which the most important are Arabic literature (grammar, rhetoric, and the science of metaphors )and the sciences pertaining to the external from of religion (reciltation of the Quran, Quranic commentary (tafsir), hadith, biography of learned men, the chain of transmission of hadith, and the principles of jurisprudence).

Shi’ites played an essential role in the foundation and establishment of these sciences. In fact, the founders and creators of many of these sciences were shi’ites Arabic grammar was put into a systematic form by Abu’I- Aswad al- Du’ali, one of the companions of the holy prophet, and by Ali .Ali dictated an outline for the organization of the science of Arabic grammar (Wafayat al. a’yan of Ibn khallikan, Tehran, 1284p, 78. A’yan al- shi’ah of Mushin Amili Damascus, 1935 on ward, VOI, XI, p, 231). One of the founders of the science of eloquence (rhetoric and the science of metaphors) was sahib ibn Abbad a shi’ite, who was a vizier of the Buyids (Wafayat al- a ‘yam, p 190, A, yan al- shi’ ah). The first Arabic dictionary is the kitab al- any composed by the famous scholar, khlil ibn Ahmad al- Basri, the shi’ ite who founded the science of prosody, He was also the teacher of the great master of grammar sibuwayh.

The Quranic recitation of Asim goes back toAli through one intermediary and Abdallah ibn Abbas, who in haith was the foremost among the companions, was a student of Ali. The contributions of the house hold of the prophet and their associates in haith and jurisprudence are well known. The founders of the four Sunni schools of law are known to have associated with the fifth and sixth shi’ite Imams .In the principles of jurisprudence the remarkable advances accomplished by the shi’ite scholar wahid Binbanhani and followed by shaykh Murtada and sari have never been matched in Sunni jurisprudence according to existing evidence.


shiah- pages: 145 to 157


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