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SHI`ITE JURISPRUDENCE

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Medievalpractices and beliefs of Isma`ili Shi`is

Itis worth noting that, Medieval was a historic episode that took placebetween the 5thto the 15thcentury. The era kicked off with the fall down of the Western RomanEmpire and it was followed by Renaissance, and later on, the Age ofDiscovery1.Additionally, medieval period can be described as the Early and theHigh as well as the Late Middle Ages2.However, due to persistent invasion which started in the LateAntiquity and continued till the Early Middle Ages, caused thevarious groups, such as Germanic peoples and barbarian invaders, toform new Kingdoms, which was later named as Western Roman Empire. During the 7thcentury, a part of the Eastern Roman Empire that comprised of MiddleEast and North Africa was ruled by the Caliphate, which was anIslamic empire that was spearheaded by Muhammad’s successors.

Onother hand, Shi’a is one of the largest branches of Islam afterSunni. Shia follows the teaching of Muhammad whose bloodlines goesthrough his cousin Ali3.Therefore, Shi’sm originated from Muhammad’s descendants byconsideration of ruling of Sunni caliphs and not faith, Dhia Islamhas several branches with different trajectory4.The Isma`iliShi`is has lots of branches that have distinct beliefs and practices.This paper will review some of the groups and examine their beliefsas well as practices during the medieval era.It is clear that there is a huge correlation between the medievalperiod and Shi’s communality. The beliefs and practices of Isma`iliShi`is during medieval period were highly strong guided by Islamicreligious.

Backgroundof Shi’is

Shi’aIslam is the second largest branch of Islam and is composed of around15% of all Muslims. Shi’a Muslims only recognizes the first caliphas Ali and his descendants5.Shias Muslims don’t agree on how many imams have existed since somesays they are twelve while others fourteen6.They don’t agree also on the last imam. In this case, imamatessuggest I was the twelfth imam, Muhammad al Mahdi while the zayditessuggest it was the fifth imam, zayd, while the isma’lites suggestthe seventh imam, Ismail7.

Nonetheless,shias conquers with each other that the last imam who will come tobring to the end the world went to hiding8.Shi’a believes in three principles of religion namely beliefs individe unity, prophecy, resurrection, divine justice and imams assuccessor of a prophet9.They don’t have beliefs on predestination and accepted the teachingof Mu’tazilites who was Sunnis. The mu’talizites had lamentedthat god is never responsible from any evil and the human beings needto live freely and be independent form the authority of God. Divinejustice beliefs entailed one taking responsibility for his or heractions in which god judges10.

Thereare three practices and beliefs belonging to Shias namely mutah,religious dissimulation, temporary marriage and taqiyya11h.Mutah is defined as the marriage with a contact which is fixed andcan be terminated based but can be renewed. It was dissolved by thesecond caliph12.However, the shias said that this should not have been banned sinceit was never against the Islamic law because it was practiced in thefirst times. Mutah disregarded the permanent marriages since it didto need divorce proceedings to be terminated due to the agreement ofthe contact parties on its lifespan13.By incorporating the mutah the couples were deemed to have put sexualaction or practiced it in relation to the sharia hence it wasconsidered adultery while the offspring’s regarded as lawfulsuccessors of man14.

Taqiyyahwas another practice done by shi’a Islam. A person resorted totaqiyyah if he hid from the religion he worship or denied a givenpractices from a certain religion in order to avoid danger from hisopponents15. It was also practiced to so that it doesn’t bring danger on therespect of the female s of a household or make a man become poor dueto his beliefs. It was reinforced as a result of a lot ofpersecutions meted to shi’a imams especially the Umayyad andAbbasid caliphs16.The practices of shi’a were different from those of Sunnis based ondivorces and inheritance since it was more favorable to women. Thiswas realized during the holding of respect to Fatima who was the wifeof Ali and prophets daughter17.

Twelvers/ithnaashari Islam

Thisis the largest group of Shiite Muslims since they are the Iranians infact the 8% are shi’is. They constitute 90% of the Iran population.They got the name because they believed that the third son is theright ruler in Islam18.It is believed that the last one is alive and has been hiding in acave in many years and holds that Muhammad who just went to hiding in874 is alive and will be back soon to continue with his rule19.

Thetwelvers did not practice the hadiths which were transmitted byimam’s enemies. In addition, to rules of prayers, they believedthat the doctrines of taqiya, prophecy or the importance of hidingtheir true beliefs from the non shias20.They also retained the legitimacy of temporary marriage among freemen and women for pleasure. An important part of their doctrines isthe lawful political leader of Islam. All imams after martyr ofHossein’s didn’t make political leadership but acknowledged theresponsibilities of caliphs including their followers21.

Seveners/ismailiIslam

Theseare shi’a Muslims who believed that Ismail who was the older son ofImam Jaffar was the right ruler of Muslims22.They are termed seveners since imam Jaffar came seventh among allimams. The beliefs of Ismail shi’a took after twelve shi’a Islamin regard to observations of sharia, and constituted also thepolitical and science system coordination with religious beliefs thatbrought out the divine origin of the imamate and the obligations ofFatimids to it23.

The first century of Fatimid leadershiprepresented a highest point for medieval Egypt. The leadership wasreorganized and extended24.It worked with great efficiency: taxes on farming were abolished, andstrict virtues and regulation in the tax assessment and collectionwas enforced. The revenues became high and were then increased by theattributes of subject provinces. This time was also a period of highcommercial expansions and industrial productions25.Fatimids valued agriculture and industry and made t export tradenoticing the significance of trade for the prosperity of Egypt andextension of Fatimid superiority, the Fatimid’s initiated greatlinkages of commercial relationship, with Europe and India.

Khoja Satpanth Ismailism

The followers of the Agha Khan maintain Allah madethe Caliphate hereditary office and not an office “by election”or “nomination”. They note that Allah promised Hazrat Ibrahimthat his progeny would rule the nations, and the Prophet Muhammad wasdescended from Prophet Ibrahim’s elder son Ismail’s line26.The Quran outlined the inheritance laws in detail and the legacypasses to the children, related by blood, and not outsiders. HazratAli a.s. was Prophet Muhammad’s cousin, Abdul Muttalib was theshared Grandfather to both Prophet Muhammad and Hazrat Ali, andmoreover, Prophet Muhammad gave his daughter Fatima a.s., to hisfavorite and chosen, Hazrat Ali in marriage. Their children, HazratHassan and Hazrat Hussein carried the pure blood of Prophet Muhammadin their veins27.

Khoja [Nizaris] Satpanth Ismailism

It is clear that, followers to Agha Khan indicatesthat it is Allah who made Caliphate hereditary office, thus negatingthe notion of an office whose leaders are there through“nomination” or “by election”28. It is noted that, Allah gave a promise to Hazrat Ibrahim whichstated that progemy would be the ruler to nations, and ProphetMuhammad was descendant from Ismail’s, a son of Prophet Ibrahim.The Quran outlines inheritance laws as well as the legacies passed tothe children and related to blood, thus not outsiders29.

Zaydi Islam

As stated by Zaydi political theory, Husayn andHasan are the intial three Imams, and imamate remains open to thosewhomever descendants make themselves known through armed rebellions.According to Shi’a, IAli Zayn al-Abidin is termed as the fourthImam, at the same time majority of Shi’as regard MuhammedAl-Baqiras the next Imam30.

Kharijite Islam

The Kharijites were members to the sect in Islamwhich earliest left the followers to Ali, a cousin as well asson-in-law to Muhammad31.

TheImamate

Asper theShi’as,the word Imam has mostly been used for Alis as well as his elevendescendants only. Atthe time of their lifetimes, the followers had hope that they canassume leadership one day to the Islamic community, and this wasbelieved top having wrongfully usurped32. Dueto the fact that Sunni caliphs were aware of this kind of hope, there was the persecution of Imams during the time of Abbasid andUmayyad dynasties, thus Imams attempted to be unobtrusive as much aspossible as well as live far from successive capitals of Islamicempires33.

Afterthe death the death of Ali, his two sons died in a battle field wherethey were buried in Karbala. Subsequently, martyrdombecame one of crucial tenets to Shiism. An attempt was made by Shi’ato challenge leaders from Umayyad, and this resulted to the death ofAli child as well as third Shi’a Imam refered to as Husayn duringKarbala battle in 680, thus making the city of Karbala to be theShi’a shrine city34.The death of Husayn is annually commemorated in the ceremony ofAshura and viewed as the symbol of oppression and persecution asexperienced by Shi’a community35.This celebration can as well be manifested in Shi’a politicaldissent. During the Ashura rituals, male participants beat theirchests as well as chants, and this action is termed as lahtom36.Others make use of swords in lacerating their heads, thus symbolizingthe way in which Husayn was beheaded, while chains are also used inbeating their backs, in order to evoke the suffering experienced byHusayn37. Shi’a can place piece of clay or stone, regarded as turba, on theground to make their foreheads touch the stones the time when theyprostrate in prayers, and this serves as an identity to Shi’acommunity38.

Asimplied in the principle imamah, imams are significantly imbued withredemptive qualities. This is due to the martyrdoms and sufferings39.Although the imams cannot be regarded as divine, they are infallibleand sinless in regard to maters touching on morals and faith, andthis is same to the notion held towards the infallibility of papal inRoman Catholic Church40.

TheShiia Mahdi (The Hidden Imam)

The Awaited Mahdi is crucial to the beliefs systemheld by Imami’ah Shi’as, and this makeup one of the main principles towards their religion41.The notion of “Return” cannot be termed as a main doctrine byitself, and probably, the belief entered into Islam via influences ofthe Judaic Christian42. Prophet Elias, is clearly the prototype of removed as well asinvisible Imams, and is to reappear like Mahdis, thus bringingsalvation to this world. This belief is the ultimate fulfillment ofhope possessed by Mahdi is that of prime dogmatic importance inIslam, and it forms the backbone of Shi’ite system43.It is worth noting that, this is identical to return (raja’) ofImams hidden into visible world. Even at the time of his absence, theImam is termed as genuinely the leader of the time, thus not withoutpower of manifesting his will to the believers44. He serves as the object of paeans on parts of faithful, and they arenot just a part of praise as potentate among his believers but alsoapply to him as epithets who is superhuman as well as commensurate tobeliefs as the hidden Imam. As per them, he surpasses the highestintellect of spheres in regard to spiritual greatness, thus servingas the source of knowledge.

Conclusion

From the aforementioned, it is clear that there isa huge correlation between the medieval period and Shi’scommunality. Shi’a Islam is the second largest branch of Islam andis composed of around 15% of all Muslims, and only recognizes thefirst caliph as Ali and his descendants. There are three practicesand beliefs belonging to Shias namely mutah, religious dissimulation,temporary marriage and taqiyyah. Mutah is defined as the marriagewith a contact which is fixed and can be terminated based but can berenewed. It was dissolved by the second caliph. Taqiyyah was anotherpractice done by shi’a Islam. A person resorted to taqiyyah if hehid from the religion he worship or denied a given practices from acertain religion in order to avoid danger from his opponents.Twelvers/ithna ashari Islam is the largest groups of Shiite Muslimssince they are the Iranians in fact the 8% are shi’is. Theyconstitute 90% of the Iran population. They got the name because theybelieved that the third son is the right ruler in Islam. The twelversdid not practice the hadiths which were transmitted by imam’senemies. Seveners/ismaili islam are shi’a Muslims who believedthat ismail who was the older son of Imam Jaffar was the right rulerof Muslims. They are termed seveners since imam Jaffar came seventhamong all imams. Khoja Satpanth Ismailism, the followers of the AghaKhan maintain Allah made the Caliphate hereditary office and not anoffice “by election” or “nomination”. As per the Shi’as,the word Imam has mostly been used for Alis as well as his elevendescendants only. At the time of their lifetimes, the followers hadhope that they can assume leadership one day to the Islamiccommunity, and this was believed top having wrongfully usurped.

Works Cited

Adamec, Ludwig W.. TheA to Z of Islam.Revised and updated ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2002.

Barghouti, Tamim. TheUmma and the Dawla: the nation state and the Arab Middle East.London: Pluto Press, 2008.

Boozari, Amirhassan. Shi`ijurisprudence and constitution: revolution in Iran.New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Cole, Juan Ricardo. Sacredspace and holy war: the politics, culture and history of Shi`iteIslam.London: I.B. Tauris, 2002.

Eisenstadt, Michael, andMehdi Khalaji. Nuclearfatwa religion and politics in Iran`s proliferation.Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2011.

Marty, Martin E., and R.Scott Appleby. Fundamentalismsand the state: remaking polities, economies, and militance.Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.

MutÌ£ahhariÌ„,Murtaz̤aÌ. UnderstandingIslamic sciences: philosophy, theology, mysticism, morality,jurisprudence.London: Saqi, 2002.

Rizvi, Sayyid Muhammad. Theritual ablutions for women (Tahãratu `n-nisã`): acomprehensive book on the sharĩ`ah laws pertaining to the ritualablutions for women according to the Shĩ`ite (Ja`farĩ) schoolof jurisprudence (fiqh).2nd ed. Vancouver: Vancouver Islamic Educational Foundation, 1986.

Sachedina, AbdulazizAbdulhussein. Thejust ruler (al-sultān al-adil) in Shīite Islam thecomprehensive authority of the jurist in Imamite jurisprudence.New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Sachedina, AbdulazizAbdulhussein. TheJust Ruler in Shi`ite Islam the Comprehensive Authority of the Juristin Imamite Jurisprudence..New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

1 Adamec, Ludwig W.. The A to Z of Islam. Revised and updated ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2002.

2 Boozari, Amirhassan. Shi`i jurisprudence and constitution: revolution in Iran. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

3 Sachedina, Abdulaziz Abdulhussein. The just ruler (al-sultān al-adil) in Shīite Islam the comprehensive authority of the jurist in Imamite jurisprudence. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

4 Barghouti, Tamim. The Umma and the Dawla: the nation state and the Arab Middle East. London: Pluto Press, 2008.

5 Barghouti, Tamim. The Umma and the Dawla: the nation state and the Arab Middle East. London: Pluto Press, 2008.

6 Boozari, Amirhassan. Shi`i jurisprudence and constitution: revolution in Iran. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

7 Adamec, Ludwig W.. The A to Z of Islam. Revised and updated ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2002.

8 Cole, Juan Ricardo. Sacred space and holy war: the politics, culture and history of Shi`ite Islam. London: I.B. Tauris, 2002.

9 Eisenstadt, Michael, and Mehdi Khalaji. Nuclear fatwa religion and politics in Iran`s proliferation. Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2011.

10 Cole, Juan Ricardo. Sacred space and holy war: the politics, culture and history of Shi`ite Islam. London: I.B. Tauris, 2002.

11 Sachedina, Abdulaziz Abdulhussein. The just ruler (al-sultān al-adil) in Shīite Islam the comprehensive authority of the jurist in Imamite jurisprudence. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

12 Boozari, Amirhassan. Shi`i jurisprudence and constitution: revolution in Iran. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

13 Eisenstadt, Michael, and Mehdi Khalaji. Nuclear fatwa religion and politics in Iran`s proliferation. Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2011.

14 Eisenstadt, Michael, and Mehdi Khalaji. Nuclear fatwa religion and politics in Iran`s proliferation. Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2011.

15 Eisenstadt, Michael, and Mehdi Khalaji. Nuclear fatwa religion and politics in Iran`s proliferation. Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2011.

16 Adamec, Ludwig W.. The A to Z of Islam. Revised and updated ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2002.

17 Cole, Juan Ricardo. Sacred space and holy war: the politics, culture and history of Shi`ite Islam. London: I.B. Tauris, 2002.

18 Eisenstadt, Michael, and Mehdi Khalaji. Nuclear fatwa religion and politics in Iran`s proliferation. Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2011.

19 Boozari, Amirhassan. Shi`i jurisprudence and constitution: revolution in Iran. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

20 Barghouti, Tamim. The Umma and the Dawla: the nation state and the Arab Middle East. London: Pluto Press, 2008.

21 Eisenstadt, Michael, and Mehdi Khalaji. Nuclear fatwa religion and politics in Iran`s proliferation. Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2011.

22 Eisenstadt, Michael, and Mehdi Khalaji. Nuclear fatwa religion and politics in Iran`s proliferation. Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2011.

23 Adamec, Ludwig W.. The A to Z of Islam. Revised and updated ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2002.

24 Boozari, Amirhassan. Shi`i jurisprudence and constitution: revolution in Iran. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

25 Cole, Juan Ricardo. Sacred space and holy war: the politics, culture and history of Shi`ite Islam. London: I.B. Tauris, 2002.

26 Barghouti, Tamim. The Umma and the Dawla: the nation state and the Arab Middle East. London: Pluto Press, 2008.

27 Adamec, Ludwig W.. The A to Z of Islam. Revised and updated ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2002.

28 Eisenstadt, Michael, and Mehdi Khalaji. Nuclear fatwa religion and politics in Iran`s proliferation. Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2011.

29 Boozari, Amirhassan. Shi`i jurisprudence and constitution: revolution in Iran. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

30 Marty, Martin E., and R. Scott Appleby. Fundamentalisms and the state: remaking polities, economies, and militance. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.

31 MutÌ£ahhariÌ„, Murtaz̤aÌ. Understanding Islamic sciences: philosophy, theology, mysticism, morality, jurisprudence. London: Saqi, 2002.

32 Boozari, Amirhassan. Shi`i jurisprudence and constitution: revolution in Iran. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

33 Barghouti, Tamim. The Umma and the Dawla: the nation state and the Arab Middle East. London: Pluto Press, 2008.

34 Marty, Martin E., and R. Scott Appleby. Fundamentalisms and the state: remaking polities, economies, and militance. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.

35 Eisenstadt, Michael, and Mehdi Khalaji. Nuclear fatwa religion and politics in Iran`s proliferation. Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2011.

36 Barghouti, Tamim. The Umma and the Dawla: the nation state and the Arab Middle East. London: Pluto Press, 2008.

37 Adamec, Ludwig W.. The A to Z of Islam. Revised and updated ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2002.

38 Boozari, Amirhassan. Shi`i jurisprudence and constitution: revolution in Iran. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

39 MutÌ£ahhariÌ„, Murtaz̤aÌ. Understanding Islamic sciences: philosophy, theology, mysticism, morality, jurisprudence. London: Saqi, 2002.

40 Marty, Martin E., and R. Scott Appleby. Fundamentalisms and the state: remaking polities, economies, and militance. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.

41 Rizvi, Sayyid Muhammad. The ritual ablutions for women (Tahãratu `n-nisã`): a comprehensive book on the sharĩ`ah laws pertaining to the ritual ablutions for women according to the Shĩ`ite (Ja`farĩ) school of jurisprudence (fiqh). 2nd ed. Vancouver: Vancouver Islamic Educational Foundation, 1986.

42 Eisenstadt, Michael, and Mehdi Khalaji. Nuclear fatwa religion and politics in Iran`s proliferation. Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2011.

43 Sachedina, Abdulaziz Abdulhussein. The Just Ruler in Shi`ite Islam the Comprehensive Authority of the Jurist in Imamite Jurisprudence.. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

44 Cole, Juan Ricardo. Sacred space and holy war: the politics, culture and history of Shi`ite Islam. London: I.B. Tauris, 2002.