Imam Sadiq (AS) preserved the Judicial and legal Independence of Shia Islam Part (2)

انتخاب مجدد دکتر محمود حکمت نیا به عنوان رییس کمیسیون مدیریت اقتصاد بازرگانی و امور حقوقی شورای عالی عتفA*ÙgRLǺO

Dr. Mahmood Hekmatnia, the faculty member of the Research Center for Islamic Culture and Thought said, “With regard to the intellectual and rational discussions held especially in the final years of Umayyads, and then at the beginning of the rule of Abbasids’ Caliphate, Abu Hanifa’s school managed to extend its influence among the people. Abu Hanifa founded his rationalistic school based on the requirements of the rational arguments and established the school of the verdict. He was a well-known and prominent figure, and upon the establishment of the Abbasid Caliphate, they found him apposite for the highest judicial position and thus proposed him to be installed as the chief of justice to head the judicial system. It shows that Abu Hanfia owned a high social position and was widely known.”


He added, “Abu Hanfia’s system is the system of the verdict. Regarding what mentioned, i.e. if we consider the establishment of two judicial systems of Umayyads and Abbasids as the first item, i.e. non-centralised and centralised systems, in the second position, there will be some essential laws that are almost the verdict-based, and according to Abu Hanifa’s school, such laws are superior and prevalent: Imam Sadiq (AS) dealt with these issues both. Although this system had an advantage, it had some shortcomings. The advantage of Abu Hanifa’s system was its putting aside the narrative-orientation of Umayyads, and changed the reliance on appearance. Though it was an advantage, Abu Hanifa’s jurisprudential system is not discipline-oriented in terms of being based on verdicts, and the main concern here is that the verdict system is possible to provide some interpretations of the Heavenly revealed text through the pass of time, the interpretations that are highly likely to change or ruin the legal system of Islam. What mentioned are the advantage and disadvantage of this system”.


He also announced, “The judicial system of the Umayyads was void of such threats. As each city or country had its own judicial system, and there was not such judicial solidarity and unity, i.e. if a verdict was to be executed, it was not regarded as a national law. Such differences enabled Shiites and followers of Imam Sadiq and Baqir (AS) to be present in the jurisdiction of their own judicial systems. However, when the centralised judicial system is to be established, it is good that such a system homogenises the regulations and creates a unity of judicial procedures, yet if the unity of judicial procedure has some inappropriate contents, it will be very dangerous; therefore, Imam Sadiq (AS) showed reactions to both cases. Regarding the first case, he struggles with the verdict-based system of Abu Hanifa, and he implicitly and explicitly impugned Abu Hanifa’s methodology. Even in some cases, he explicitly expressed his disapproval of this system.”


Mahmood Hekmatnia then stated, “For instance, the judgement over a simple lease case by a judge was reported to Imam Sadiq (AS), however as the judge had based his judgement on verdict and comparison, it enraged Imam Sadiq (AS) and said, “If Heaven deprives his servants of his blessings because of this verdict, it is no wrong”. Imam Sadiq’s stance is not confined only to the said case. However, he impugns this method of understanding/interpretation, as if this method prevailed, the jurisprudential and legal systems of Islam would dissolve. Therefore, he strongly stood against this method. Thus, Imam shows a response to the verdict-based method of understanding, as in the era of Abbasid Caliphate a doubt was raised that such understandings/interpretations might prevail within the judicial system, and a theoretical interpretation could possibly turn into an official interpretation.”


He pointed out, “As a result, at the beginning of the Abbasid dynasty, Imam Sadiq (AS) confronted the problem that such theoretical and studying-related interpretations might make the basis of the official system, or as it is expressed nowadays, the jurisprudential views might turn into the law of the state. If it turned to the law of the state, i.e. whether three components of Hanafi view incorporated into the official judicial system and judicial unity system, all the opposing jurisprudences would be obliterated. As, when people refer to the judicial system, they attend to the verdict of the judge and see either the government approves of the issued verdict or not. The support of the government for the judicial verdict encourages people to accept the jurisprudence whose verdicts are eventually guaranteed by the government to come into effect. If it happened at that time, definitely, Shia would face multiple problems. As the Shiites also had some problems and needed a judicial system to resolve their problems; and they had to refer to a centralised judicial system, the system that preferred a specific verdict, and as a result, this system of government, in fact, would rule the social life of the Shiites, and it would lead to the omission of the social ground of the Shiite jurisprudence.”

If jurisprudents, historians and scholars recognize Imam Sadiq as the founder of the Shiite sect and Jafari Jurisprudence it is also due to the fact that Imam Sadiq preserved the independence of Shia (Shiite judicial system) through the application of a different methodology.

Dr. Mahmood Hekmatnia then said, “Imam Sadiq (AS) also struggled with this view and announced to the Shiites that they are supposed to refer to Imam’s jurisprudents and the one appointed by me. The verdicts issued by the installed judges needed the governmental support, however, Imam Sadiq (AS) hadn’t such support. He was Imam, and as he officially had no governmental power, he determined a spiritual sanction for the laws. He said, “if you stand against the judicial verdict of my representatives and appointees, you will oppose me, and the one who does so will stand against Heaven.”


He added, “In this manner, Imam established a judicial system having spiritual and religious sanctions within the Islamic society, and he founded a secondary judicial system, that is based on the Shiite literature and jurisprudence and has a spiritual sanction, against the political thought that the government is a centralised judicial system, and in my opinion, it preserved the judicial and legal independence of the Shiite jurisprudence in the critical time when it was possible to face multiple problems. In my eye, it is the biggest step taken by Imam Sadiq (AS) in his own era on the judicial and legal independence of the Shia. If this independence was not preserved, the Shiite jurisprudence would be excluded in the long run.”


Mahmood Hekmatnia also said, “If jurisprudents, historians and scholars recognise Imam Sadiq as the founder of the Shiite sect and Jafari Jurisprudence it is also due to the fact that Imam Sadiq preserved the independence of Shia (Shiite judicial system) through the application of a different methodology (i.e. rationalism), defining the contents of the judicial system (extracted from Quran and custom) and implementation of the laws (through a secondary judicial systems, having sanctions, established within a centralised judicial system).”


He continued, “A current argument is that we should be able to accurately set and define the boundaries of our thought. It means that Imam Sadiq (AS) stood against the verdict-oriented judicial system, and as a result, today, our judicial and intellectual system is against other intellectual systems involving different legal topics, humanities and etc. They have had some good advances and can be applied. However, they should be used vigilantly. It means that such intellectual boundaries, methodological systems and problem-solvings should be updated according to the present condition and status.”


Mahmood Hekmatnia then maintained, With regard to the advances of technology, science, experimental sciences and humanities, in my opinion, our chief mission today is determining the intellectual boundaries, providing a problem-solving methodology and the promotion of the Islamic society in the present world in a manner that helps it survive within the strong contemporary civilizations. In other words, today we are confronting two controversial areas. There is a civilizational discord, i.e, cultural difference. Our Islamic civilization is the civilization that has been declining for a long time, however, its Western counterpart has burgeoned. This civilizational discord is substantial. Supposing that this era is the time of turn from the declining civilization to the new and burgeoning Islamic culture, what should be done if Imam Sadiq or his students lived in this time?”


Finally he said, “In the intellectual field, the current intellectual systems are developed and organised. Different from the time of Imam Sadiq (AS), raw views and thoughts are not offered by people such as Abu Hanifa. Today, if ration, the methodological and accurate ration are talked of, the ones with origins, foundations and problem-solving methods are meant. In the present time, if we decide to participate in an argument, we should properly know the parties to that dispute. It means we should know how the opposing system solves problems, and if the same problem is given to the intellectual system of Islam, how it will solve the problem. We are weak in both of the said areas. We don’t know the rival systems and their characteristics, and if we attempt to solve our problems using our intellectual system, we will see that there are many doubts and multiple deficiencies; and this malady can’t be remedied by one person. It means, if an infallible [Imam] lived today, he would train some students and followers who could resolve the problems of the Islamic culture specifically and collectively using our own intellectual foundations.”