Opinions on Ijtihad

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Ijtihad (Arabic: اجتهادijtihād, "diligence") is an Islamic legal term that means "independent reasoning" or "the utmost effort an individual can put forth in an activity." As one of the four sources of Sunni law, it is recognized as the decision-making process in Islamic law (sharia) through personal effort (jihad) which is completely independent of any school (madhhab) of jurisprudence (fiqh). As opposed to taqlid, it requires a "thorough knowledge of theology, revealed texts and legal theory (usually al-fiqh); an exceptional capacity for legal reasoning; thorough knowledge of Arabic." By using both the Qu'ran and Hadith as resources, the scholar is required to carefully rely on analogical reasoning to find a solution to a legal problem, which is considered to be a religious duty for those qualified to conduct it. Thus, a mujtahid is recognized as an Islamic scholar who is competent in interpreting sharia by ijtihad. Today, there are many different opinions surrounding the role of ijtihad in modern society.


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