The Muqni'ah constitutes almost a complete course in fiqh. There existed no other earlier work in fiqh with this characteristic. Al-Saduq's Muqni',besides being comprised of texts of traditions, like the book of 'Ali ibn Babawayh, is not as comprehensive as the Muqni'ah in respects of the legal topics covered. Moreover, its discussions are short and brief. Although in his book al-Mufid does not set forth the argument underlying his fatwas-and that is why it is not easy to understand the demonstrative grounds supporting his legal opinions-but, on the basis of some reliable evidence, we can say that his fatwas in this book are based on a firm demonstrative basis. And though he did not commit these arguments to writing-which would have been beneficial for the future generation had he done so-they were such as to serve as a model for his pupils and the next generation of legists who developed them on similar lines. That reliable evidence is furnished by the Kitab al-tahdhib of al-Shaykh al-Tusi. As we know, the Tahdhib is a commentary on the Muqni'ah and mentions the juristic arguments underlying it. While mentioning his motives for writing the book in its introduction, al-Shaykh al-Tusi-may God's mercy be upon him-says that the same friend who had requested him to compile the work had also asked him to write a commentary on al-Mufid's Muqni'ah,which, he said, was comprehensive, adequate, and free from superfluous and unnecessary material. Thereafter, al-Tusi describes his own method of demonstration which is briefly as follows: First, recourse would be made to the literal or express meanings of Qur'anic verses or their various kinds of connotative meanings; following that recourse would be made to the established Sunnah, in the sense of a tradition that is mutawatir or one accompanied with supporting evidence or general consensus of the Muslim community or consensus of the Imamiyyah; following that `prevalent' (mashhur) traditions relating to every issue would be cited; then an examination of the conflicting text (dalil) (if existent) would be undertaken and an effort made to affect a synthesis between the two conflicting dalilsand when that is not possible the conflicting text would be rejected for the `weakness' of its isnad or due to the absence of its popularity amongst Shi'i scholars; in cases where both the texts are equal in respect of isnadand such other aspect (such as the immediate context [jaht] of its pronouncement or the lack of its popularity among legists, etc.) and none of the two can be preferred to the other, the tradition which is in agreement with the general principles and rules of the Shari'ah would be adopted and the other which is contrary to them would be abandoned; in cases where there exists no relevant tradition in a given matter, one would act in accordance with the relevant (Shari'i) principle and at all times textual synthesis would be preferred to preference on the basis of sanadand, so far as possible, the textual synthesis would be affected in accordance with a precedent recorded in tradition (shahid al-jam` al-mansus).
is the method mentioned by al-Shaykh al-Tusi at the beginning of theTahdhib with reference to his aim of unravelling the demonstrative basis of the Muqni'ah. The experts in the field know very well that it sums up the methods of juristic reasoning used throughout all the eras of Shi'i fiqh until today, and it reflects the general pattern of legal deduction prevalent from the times of al-Tusi-may God's mercy be upon him-up to the present. Now, the question is whether al-Shaykh al-Mufid, as the author of theMuqni'ah, was himself aware of this comprehensive method of deduction that could lead a jurist to all the fatwas of that book, or if he formulated those fatwas without the knowledge of this method of inference. In other words, is al-Shaykh al-Tusi himself the originator of this method or if he had learnt it from al-Mufid, his teacher? It appears that the answer to this question becomes clear if we examine the different aspects of the matter. It is known that al-Shaykh al-Tusi began the compilation of the Tahdhibduring the life of al-Mufid, that is, before 413/1022, and its introduction was written at that time. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi came to Iraq in 408/1017 when he was a youth of 23 years and began his higher studies and research under the guidance of al-Shaykh al-Mufid. He benefited from that great genius for a period of five years and the rest of his education continued under al-Sayyid al-Murtada for a period of 23 years. Accordingly, there remains no doubt that al-Tusi imbibed that method of legal deduction from al-Shaykh al-Mufid, and since he knew his teacher's method of deduction, he could furnish the demonstrative grounds of his teacher's work in accordance with the latter's principle of juristic reasoning.
a conclusion is further affirmed, or rather becomes quite definite, when we examine al-Shaykh al-Mufid's principles of juristic inference as discussed in his book on usul al-fiqh, which shall be discussed later on. When we consider that book and al-Mufid's reliance on the Qur'an, onmutawatir Sunnah accompanied with supporting evidence, and on themashhur and mursal traditions acted upon by Shi'i jurists, as well as his other views relating to jurisprudence, it becomes quite certain that the deductive methodology described by al-Shaykh al-Tusi in the introduction to the Tahdhib is the same as the one adopted and followed by his teacher and taught by the master to his pupils.
we may conclude that although the Kitab al-muqni'ah does not contain demonstrative details, its fatwas are based on the same lines of deduction as became prevalent in Shi'i centres of law and jurisprudence throughout the thousand years after al-Mufid.
, this method of deduction constitutes a comprehensive and inclusive approach that is unprecedented in the two earlier trends of Shi'i juristic thought-i.e. the trend represented by Ibn Babawayh and the other by Ibn Abi `Aqil and Ibn al-Junayd-and our honoured Shaykh was its founder and originator.
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