Legal Ruling in the Absence of the Mujtahid: Juwaynîs Imaginary World in al-Ghiyâthî
Because the ijtihad is a dynamic tool for finding sharia-based solutions to emerging problems, the debates over whether it is permissible for a given era to be devoid of a mujtahid and over whether the gate of ijtihad is closed have always remained vibrant throughout the history of the fiqh. This article will examine Juwaynîs al-Ghiyâthî, a work on al-Ahkâm al-Sultâniyya (the Rules of Government), in order to discuss his perspective on the changing characteristics of the jurists (fuqahâ), who had derived the sharia rulings from the essential Islamic sources and transmitted them to the general public since the time of the Companions, and his take on the imaginary situation of the absence of the fuqaha in society. Within this framework, the article will first discuss Juwaynîs views on the continuity between different generations of the fuqaha, how the earlier jurists views were understood and received by the later generations, and how the new rulings would be applied to the new questions that emerge with the passage of time. The article will then examine Juwaynîs proposals on the method to be applied in case when the muftis with a license for the ijtihad and the ulema who are able to transmit the particular views of madhabs disappear, and therefore religious rulings might be completely unknown to the general public.
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