To Be A Mujtahid

To be a mujtahid it is necessary to know the high branches of Arabic thoroughly, to know the Qur'an by heart, to know what each ayat [1] means, the meanings that it indicates, the meanings lying hidden in it, the meanings that must be given according to the subject, to know when ayats descended, why they descended, about what they descended, if they are general or particular, if they are nasikh or mansukh, if they are conditioned or unconditional, how they have been derived from Qiraat-i Sab'a and Qiraat-i Shazza, to know by heart the hundreds of thousands of hadiths [2] that are in Qutub-i sitta and other hadith books, to know when and why each hadith was said and how comprehensive its meaning is, which hadith is before or after the other, the events that have to do with it and upon which events and happenings it was said, by whom they were communicated or narrated and the state of the morality of the persons who communicate it, to know the methods and rules of the knowledge of fiqh, to comprehend the twelve branches of knowledge and the indications and symbols of the Qur'an and hadiths and their clear and hidden meanings while having these meanings fixed in the heart, and to have strong iman and a bright, pure heart and a conscience possessing superior qualities and tranquility.

All these superior qualities could exist only in the Ashab-i kiram [3] and, later, in some of the great awliya [4] who lived within two hundred years of the period after them. Later, opinions and preferences became wide spread and bid'ats [5] started to appear. Day by day such auspicious people decreased in number and by 400 A. H. there was no one left satisfying all these conditions, that is, who was a mutlaq (absolute) mujtahid [6].

[1] ayat: A verse of al-Qur'an al-karim; al-ayat al-karima.
[2] hadith (sharif): i) a saying of the Prophet ('alaihi 's-salam).; al-Hadith ash-sharif: all the hadiths as a whole; ii) 'ilm al-hadith; iii) Books of the hadith ash-sharif. iv) Al-hadith al-qudsi, as-sahih, al-hasan: kinds of hadiths (for which, see Endless Bliss, II).
[3] As'hab-i kiram: (as-Sahabat al-kiram); the Companions of Rasulullah.
[4] awliya: (pl. of Wali) a person loved by Allahu ta'ala.
[5] bid'at: (pl. bida') heresy; false, disliked belief or practice that did not exist in the four sources of Islam but which has been introduced later as an Islamic belief or 'ibada in expectation of thawab (blessings) ; heresy.