23 October, 2018 | 12 Safar, 1440 H

"Silence saves you from regret"

- Imam Ali (as)

Learning
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Core Curriculum

Section 1 - God, Religion and Islam: An Introduction
  • Topic 1.1 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

  • Topic 1.2 - God, Allah and Religion

  • Topic 1.3 - Introduction to Islam

  • Topic 1.4 - What is “Religion” and What’s the Point of it Anyways?

  • Topic 1.5 - A Brief Introduction to the Prophet Muhammad (s), the Prophet of Islam

Section 2 - Foundations of Islam - Theology
  • Topic 2.1 - Entering Islam: The Shahada

  • Topic 2.2 - The Usūl al-Dīn: The Fundamental Beliefs of Islam

  • Topic 2.3 - Tawhīd: The Unity and Oneness of God in Islam

  • Topic 2.4 - Adala: Divine Justice in Islam

  • Topic 2.5 - Nubuwwa: The Purpose of Prophethood in Islam

  • Topic 2.6 - Imāmah or divinely guided leadership in Islam after the Prophet Muhammad.

  • Topic 2.7 - Maʿād: The Day of Judgment in Islam

  • Topic 2.8 - The Sharīʿa: Purpose and Practice

  • Topic 2.9 - The Islamic Concept of the Nafs: Battling the Human Ego

  • Topic 2.10 - Satan, Jinns and Angels: Their Influence in the World

  • Topic 2.11 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

Section 3 - Foundations of Islam - Obligatory Acts
  • Topic 3.1 - Accepting Islam: Putting Faith into Action

  • Topic 3.2 - Jihād in Islamic Law and Spirituality

  • Topic 3.3 - Salāt: Obligatory Ritual Prayers in Islam

  • Topic 3.4 - Ritual Purity in Islamic Law: Understanding Tahāra and Najāsa

  • Topic 3.5 - The Five Categories of Islamic Law

  • Topic 3.6 - Tawalla and Tabarra, its Basics and Purpose

  • Topic 3.7 - The Purpose of Zakat and Khums in Islamic Law

  • Topic 3.8 - The Hajj Pilgrimage

  • Topic 3.9 - The Furūʿ al-Dīn: The Fundamental Practices of Islam

  • Topic 3.10 - Fasting in Islam, its Purpose, Dos and Don’ts

  • Topic 3.11 - Other Obligatory and Forbidden Acts in Islam

  • Topic 3.12 - Niyya: Religious Intention as the Foundation of Islamic Practice

  • Topic 3.13 - Commanding the Good and Forbidding Evil in Islam

Section 4 - Prophethood in Islam
  • Topic 4.1 - A Brief Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (s): The Prophet’s Childhood (PART I of III)

  • Topic 4.2 - Bio: The Prophet Muhammad as a Prophet of God (PART II of III)

  • Topic 4.3 - A Brief Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (s): The Prophet’s Character (PART III of III)

  • Topic 4.4 - The Prophet Muhammad (s) as Messenger and Teacher

  • Topic 4.5 - The Prophet and his Relationships

  • Topic 4.6 - The Prophet’s Sunnah and Hadith

  • Topic 4.7 - Ghadīr and Arafah: The Two Last Sermons of the Prophet

  • Topic 4.8 - Jesus and Mary in Islam

Section 5 - The Qur'an and Hadith
  • Topic 5.1 - Islam and Other Religions

  • Topic 5.2 - What is the Qur’an? A Short Introduction to Islam’s Holy Book

  • Topic 5.3 - The Structure of the Holy Qur’an

  • Topic 5.4 - The Quran and Islamic law

  • Topic 5.5 - The Qur’an, Allah and Humankind

  • Topic 5.6 - Hadith and Sunnah, difference and variations

  • Topic 5.7 - The Reliability of Hadiths

  • Topic 5.8 - A Reflection on Verses of the Holy Qur’an

  • Topic 5.9 - Hadith al-Thaqalayn

  • Topic 5.10 - Imam Ali (as) and Nahj al-Balagha.

  • Topic 5.11 - Taqlid and Tawḍih Al Masail Genre of Literature

Section 6 - Measuring Good and Bad in Islam
  • Topic 6.1 - The Effects of Our Actions in this World

  • Topic 6.2 - The Gray Areas of Islamic Law and Morality

  • Topic 6.3 - Heaven and Hell in Islam

  • Topic 6.4 - Life and Death in Islam

  • Topic 6.5 - Guidance According to Islam

  • Topic 6.6 - Fate and the Consequences of our Choices in Islam

  • Topic 6.7 - The Effect of Culture and Environment in Shaping our Religious Choices

  • Topic 6.8 - Major Sins in Islam

  • Topic 6.9 - Why Allah Allows People to Sin

  • Topic 6.10 - Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins in Islam

  • Topic 6.11 - The Three Kinds of Rights in Islam

  • Topic 6.12 - Sinning Against Others and their Delayed Punishment

  • Topic 6.13 - Kufr in Islam

  • Topic 6.14 - Trivializing the Harām

  • Topic 6.15 - Benefits of Islamic Law in this World

  • Topic 6.16 - Good and Bad Deeds: The Spiritual Consequences of our Choices

Section 7 - The Legacy of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as)
  • Topic 7.1 - Islam and Knowledge: the Importance of Islamic Education

  • Topic 7.2 - The Ahl al-Kisa

  • Topic 7.3 - Imamah in the Qur’an

  • Topic 7.4 - Fatima al-Zahrah (as)

  • Topic 7.5 - A Brief Look at the Lives of the Imams (Imam al-Hasan until Imam Muhammad al-Baqir)

  • Topic 7.6 - A Brief Look at the Lives of the Imams (Imam Jafar al-Sadiq until Imam Hasan al-Askari)

  • Topic 7.7 - A Brief Look at the Life and Importance of Imam al-Mahdi (aj)

  • Topic 7.8 - Salawat and Atonement in Islam

  • Topic 7.9 - The Companions (Sahaba) of the Prophet According to the Qur’an

  • Topic 7.10 - Clerical Hierarchies in Muslim Communities

  • Topic 7.11 - Mosques in Islam

  • Topic 7.12 - The Philosophy of Karbala and Majalis

  • Topic 7.13 - A Brief Biography of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (as)

  • Topic 7.14 - The Battle of Karbala: A Brief History

Section 8 - Islamic Relationships, Sects and Conflicts
  • Topic 8.1 - Misconceptions about Shi’ism

  • Topic 8.2 - Major Sects of Islam

  • Topic 8.3 - Islam and Religious Conflicts

  • Topic 8.4 - Islam and Rights

  • Topic 8.5 - Sunnism and Shi’ism, beginnings and historical developments.

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Special Topics

Section 9 - Independent Topics
  • Topic 9.1 - Muslim Converts – Welcome to Islam!

  • Topic 9.2 - Basic Dos and Don’ts of Being a Muslim

  • Topic 9.3 - Halal Food and Zabiha

  • Topic 9.4 - Family, Parents and Marriage in Islam

  • Topic 9.5 - Marriage in Islam

  • Topic 9.6 - Islam and Sex

  • Topic 9.7 - Modesty in Islam

  • Topic 9.8 - Women’s Menstruation in Islam

  • Topic 9.9 - Music, Alcohol, Drugs and Pork in Islam

  • Topic 9.10 - Islam and Science

  • Topic 9.11 - A Reading List of Islamic Knowledge

  • Topic 9.13 - Ritual Prayers and Supplications in Islam

  • Topic 9.14 - Death & Burial Rituals in Islam

  • Topic 9.15 - The Battle of Armageddon: An Islamic View

  • Topic 9.16 - The Muslim Calendar

  • Topic 9.17 - Muslims and non-Muslims in the Shariah

  • Topic 9.18 - A Timeline of Major Events in Islamic History

  • Topic 9.19 - Introducing the Qur’an: Why it is the way it is

  • Topic 9.20 - The School of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq

  • Topic 9.21 - Major Fields in Islamic Studies

  • Topic 9.22 - The Caliphate in Sunni and Shia Islam

  • Topic 9.24 - Islam, Racism and Anti-Semitism

Section 10 - Islam, Religion, and Modern Controversies
  • Topic 10.1 - Modern Fallacies about God: where Theists and Atheists Agree

  • Topic 10.2 - Tawhīd: The Muslim God according to the Prophet Muhammad and the Ahl al-Bayt (as)

  • Topic 10.3 - God’s Existence: The Argument From Being (Wujūd)

  • Topic 10.4 - God’s Existence: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

  • Topic 10.5 - God’s Existence: The Argument From Design

  • Topic 10.6 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

  • Topic 10.7 - Why did God Create Us? The Purpose of our Creation

  • Topic 10.8 - Why Humans Need Religion according to Islam

  • Topic 10.9 - Jahl and Spiritual Ignorance in Islam

  • Topic 10.11 - Do Non-Muslims Go to Hell?

Taqlid and Tawḍih Al Masail Genre of Literature

Abstract

This lesson is about the importance of taqlīd and whom one can do taqlīd of. It also delves into the nature of the Tawzīh al-Masā’il genre of legal literature.

INTRODUCTION

 Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters.

 Welcome back to the Muslim Converts Channel!

 In this lesson, we will be looking at two issues in Islamic law. The first is a concept called taqlīd which is a process of following a Muslim jurist as a source or reference for Islamic law. The second issue is the tawḍīh al-masā’il  which are treatises on Islamic law that contain answers on Islamic practice.

 BODY OF TEXT

 The Messenger of Allah once said:

 One who proceeds on a path in the pursuit of knowledge, God makes him proceed therewith on a path to the Garden (Paradise). And, verily, the angels spread their wings for the seekers of knowledge out of delight. Verily, every creature of the heaven and the earth asks forgiveness for the seeker of knowledge, even the fish in the sea. The merit of the ‘alim (the learned) over the ‘abid (the devout) is like the merit of the moon over the stars on a full-moon night. The learned are the heirs of the prophets, for the prophets did not leave behind a legacy of wealth but that of knowledge. So whoever partakes of it derives a plenteous benefit.

 And We did not send before you any but men to whom We sent revelation-- so ask the followers of the Reminder if you do not know (Chapter 16, verse 43 of the Holy Qur’an)

 Few people have the time or ability to become scholars of Islamic law. Knowing the law and how it is derived is not an easy thing to do. It takes years of study, practice and time.  

 In our day to day lives, we constantly refer to sources of authority. When we are sick, or have medical questions, we go to medical doctors. When we want build a house, we go to architects and engineers.  

 No one can know everything, except for Allah. Muslim jurists or scholars of Islamic law, are just like doctors. They are a group of people who have studied the law for years in order to uncover truths about divine law.

 The process of following a scholar of law is called taqlīd, which literally means to “imitate” where we imitate his laws. For taqlīd to be valid, the scholar in question must hold a number of characteristics. These characteristics include, among other things, being just, not having committed major sins and being knowledgeable about Islamic law.

 Since we're not experts, it is obligatory to do taqlīd. We must do personal research or ask knowledgeable members of the community on who the most knowledgeable marjaʿ is. A marjaʿ is a jurist whom one does taqlīd of.  

 There are, of course, other alternatives to taqlīd. The most obvious one is for you to be a scholar of law yourself. Another alternative is something called ihtiyāt or precaution where one studies the rulings of all the top Marjaʿs and after we've done this we take the most conservative opinion.

 When a marjaʿ gives a definitive verdict on a legal matter, this verdict is called a fatwa. Fatwas can be obtained in various ways. A popular way to get a fatwa nowadays is online. A person can find his or her marja’s website and look through the question and answer section of the site.  

 Sometimes the subject or answer we’re looking for cannot be found, so the website will have another option of emailing the Marja’s office directly. In the vast majority of cases, the Marja himself does not answer the questions, it is usually the Marja's students who are familiar with his legal positions. When students don’t know the answer, they will usually ask the Marja himself.

 There is no set deadline for the questions to be answered. It all depends on the resources that a Marja has and the number of staff working under him. It also depends on the type of question that is being asked and whether or not the question must be redirected to the Marja’ himself.

 A Marja’s fatwas and legal views can usually be found in a genre of legal literature called Tawḍīḥ al-Masā’il, which can also be pronounced as Tawẓīh al-Masā’il - meaning  “explication of legal questions/problems.”  

 The word Tawḍīh al-Masā’il is usually used when the contents of the work are in Persian. Arabic versions of Tawḍīh al-Masā’il are usually called Minhāj al-Sālihīn which means “the path of the righteous.”

 These works are usually short in nature and rarely go over two volumes. They’re meant to be compact for believers so that they can carry them around. The contents of these works cover most of the major areas of the law.  

 The chapters begin with Taqlīd, and then go into ritual practices related to ritual purity (tahāra), prayer, fasting and then move on to non ritual laws like marriage, business transactions, and so on and so forth.  

 This genre of legal literature therefore gives us the foundations of correct Islamic practice. Reading these books are pursuits of genuine knowledge that can teach us how to obey God and avoid sin.

 The Prophet Muhammad (s) once said the following about the importance of gaining knowledge:

 "If anyone travels on a road in search of knowledge, God will cause him to travel on one of the roads of Paradise. The angels will lower their wings in their great pleasure with one who seeks knowledge. The inhabitants of the heavens and the Earth and (even) the fish in the deep waters will ask forgiveness for the learned man. The superiority of the learned over the devout is like that of the moon, on the night when it is full, over the rest of the stars. The learned are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets leave (no monetary inheritance), they leave only knowledge, and he who takes it takes an abundant portion.

 Until Next Time, Thank you for watching. As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh

Marja

scholar whom one uses as a source of reference for Islamic law

Taqlid

process of following the rulings of a scholar whom one thinks is the most knowledgeable scholar

Tawzīh al-Masā’il

It is a book that contains all the major answers to legal issues in almost all the major areas of Islamic practice and ritual by a Marja.

Minhāj al-Ṣaliḥīn

Arabic version of Tawzīh al-Masā’il

Q1

What is a Marja

A marja is a scholar whom one refers to as a source of reference for Islamic law

 

Q2

What is Taqlīd

Taqlīd is the process of following the rulings of whom one thinks is the most knowledgeable scholar

Q3

What is Tawzīh al-Masā’il?

It is a book that contains all the major answers to legal issues in almost all the major areas of Islamic practice and ritual by a Marja.

Q4

What is Minhāj al-Ṣaliḥīn?

The Arabic version of Tawzīh al-Masā’il, which are usually in Persian. 

Q5

Are the Tawzīh al-Masā’il available in English?

Yes, for most major Marjas in today’s world, there exists English translations of their works.  

Prophet Muhammad
Messenger of Allah
Ahl-al-Bayt
Muslim
God
Allah
Hereafter
Religion
Sin
Sins
Salvation
Soul
moral character
muslim ummah
Muslim community
holy Qur’an
tawḍīh al-masā’il
tawzīh al-masā’il
Islamic law
marja
taqlīd

Islamic Laws by Sayyed as-Seestani (Tawzīh al-Masā’il)