The Past, Present and Future of Shīʿī Ijtihād

Al-Mahdi Institute hosted its 6th annual fiqhī workshop on “The Past, Present and Future of Shīʿī Ijtihād” on the 5th-6th July, 2018.

This fiqhī workshop at the Al-Mahdi Institute sought to facilitate scholarship by directly addressing questions that analyse the developmental aspects of ‘Shīʿī Ijtihād’. Ijtihād, particularly in the Shīʿī milieu, has been continuously evolving in its function and application since its practice was formalised. The evolution of Shīʿī Ijtihād has been – and is being – informed by stances towards notions of Shīʿī religious authority. The workshop encouraged, and invited, paper proposals that analysed the following:

  • The relationship between uṣūl al-fiqh and ijtihād; how historical and reformulist epistemic and ontological shifts within the Shīʿī legal discourse have impacted its hermeneutical standpoints and how this in turn has affected and continues to affect the practice ijtihād.
  • Critical engagement with the development of orthodox Shīʿī notions of religious authority structures and their current status.
  • An examination of developments in Ijtihād for Shīʿa Muslims in a western context.

The workshop, therefore hosted presenters from both traditional seminary and academic backgrounds, presenting from a range of disciplines and theological, historical and anthropological approaches – thereby enriching a multidisciplinary understanding of contemporary outlooks dealing with The Past, Present and Future of Shīʿī Ijtihād.

The participants who presented their findings at the workshop were:

Presenter Title of Paper View Abstract
Professor Devin J Stewart
Emory University
Strategies of Sanctifying Ijtihād in Later Twelver Shi’ite Legal Theory Click here
Dr Christopher Pooya Razavian
University of Birmingham
Motahari, Social justice and fiqh Click here
Dr Zackery Heern
Idaho State University
Ijtihād and anti-Ijtihād in Shi‘i History Click here
Professor Robert Gleave
University of Exeter
The controversy around Ijtihād in matters of belief Click here
Shaykh Kumail Rajani
University of Exeter
Shiʿi Ijtihād: Juristic Exertion to Religious Establishment Click here
Professor Mohammad Rasekh

Shaheed Beheshti University

How Progressive Can Ijtihād Be? A Word on Qā`idat Al-Mulāzima Click here
Shaykh Jaffer Ladak
Islamic Seminary of Kerbala
Augmented and Artificial Intelligence in Usul al-Fiqh: The scope for perfect computational reasoning in Ijtehad Click here
Dr Mohammad Ghassemi
Augmented and Artificial Intelligence in Usul al-Fiqh: The scope for perfect computational reasoning in Ijtehad Click here
Sayed Hossein Qazwini
Islamic Seminary of Karbala
The Need for Ilm Al Rijal in Ijtihad Click here
Prof. Ay. Mohaghegh Damad
Shahid Beheshti University
Shiite Continuous Ijtehad in Dealing with the Issues of the Present Age Click here
Mohammad R. Kalantari
Royal Holloway University of London
Shiʿi Clerical Authority and the Dilemma of Trias Politica in Modern Era Click here
Mr Cameron Zargar
Near Eastern Languages & Culture
The authority of the muqallid: a bottom-up approach to taqlīd in Imami law Click here
Dr. Elvire Corboz
Aarhus University
The definition of scholarly capital in Iraq’s contemporary marja’iyya field Click here
Dr. Ali Fanaei
Al-Mahdi Institute
From “the ethics of slavery” to “the ethics of worship”: Some recent developments in Shi’a jurisprudence Click here
Dr Morgan Clarke
Oxford University
A more Reasonable and Equitable approach to Shi’i Ijtihad Click here
Prof. Seyed Mohammad Ghari S Fatemi
Al-Mahdi Institute
Ayat al-Nafr: A Quranic justification for collective Ijtihād ? Click here
Dr Ali Reza Bhojani
Al-Mahdi Institute/University of Nottingham
Ayat al-Nafr: A Quranic justification for collective Ijtihād ? Click here
Shaykh Arif Abdulhussain
Al-Mahdi Institute
Ijtihad and Taqlid within an existential framework Click here
Professor Abdulaziz Sachedina
George Mason University
Beyond ijtihad: in search of moral foundations of interpretive jurisprudence Click here