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Jafari: Shii Legal Thought and Jurisprudence

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Jafari: Shii Legal Thought and Jurisprudence

    Named after the sixth imam (in this case, descendant of Muhammad through the appropriate line), Jafar al-Sadiq (d. 748 ). Recognizes four sources of Islamic law: the Quran, the Sunnah (including traditions reported by the Prophet and the imams), consensus (which must include the Prophet's or an infallible imam's opinion to establish its validity), and human reason. Human reason is capable of inferring categorical judgments drawn from both pure and practical reason. Whatever is judged necessary by reason is also judged necessary by revelation. This correlation between reason and revelation has allowed Shii jurists to derive religious rulings on many issues not covered in normative sources such as the Quran and Sunnah. Since 1959 the Jafari school of jurisprudence has been afforded the status of “fifth school” along with the four Sunni schools by Azhar University in Cairo. The other two legal schools that share the Jafari origin are the Zaydi and the Mustali Fatimid Ismaili jurisprudences. These two are closer to Sunnism in their derivation of religious practice.

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