Are there any Mujtahids in this day and age?

Allamah Shihab Ar-Ramli (Rahmatullahi Alayh) (957 A.H.) states: “The person who has a true understanding of what ijtihaad actually means would feel ashamed before Allah from attributing it to anyone of this day and age. In fact, Ibnus-Salah (643 A.H.) and his followers stated that it had become extinct three hundred years ago. Ibnus-Salah himself passed away three hundred years ago, hence, it had become extinct about six hundred years ago.”

Allamah Munawi (Rahmatullahi Alayh) (1031 A.H.) says: The Alim of the Syrian region, Imam Ibn Abid-Dam (642 A.H.) writes after mentioning all the conditions of ijtihad: “It is hardly possible to find these conditions in any scholar of our age. Instead, there is no Mujtahid-e-mutlaq on the surface of the earth today.”

During the tenth century of Islam, Imam Suyuti (Rahmatullahi Alayh), (911 A.H.) claimed to have reached the level of ijtihad. Allamah Shihab Ibn Hajar Haitami (Rahmatullahi Alayh) (974 A.H.) says: “When Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti claimed ijtihaad, all his contemporaries confronted him. They presented a questionnaire to him about some issues. Therein, they stated two possible answers to each question, and said: “If you have even reached the lowest degree of ijtihad, which is ijtihad in fatwa, then you should stipulate the preferred view, substantiated with proof, in conformance with the maxims laid down by the Mujtahideen.

However, he returned their questionnaire without any answer, excusing himself that he was too busy, and was therefore unable to look into those questions.” [1]

Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullahi Alayh) writes in this regard: “The rejecters of taqleed object by saying: “Did the Hanafis (or muqallids) receive wahy (revelation) that ijtihad has come to an end?” However, they do not understand that it is a divine principle that the means of fulfilling every need comes into existence at the time when that necessity occurs. Rainy seasons generally occur during the months of need for rain, which vary according to the different regions. Winds also blow at times of need. Where temperatures become intensely low, animals have thicker wool; and there are countless such examples. Likewise, when there was a need for the recording of Hadith, Allah created people with phenomenal memories. Such memories are nowhere to be found today. The rejecters of the four mazaahib also, who sing slogans of following Hadith, are not able to bring forth one individual who has memorized even Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim with their chains of narrations, as was done by the illustrious authors of these blessed books.

“In the same way, when the need arose to document the shari’ah, Allah granted many people grand talents and capabilities in fiqh and ijtihad. Now that Deen has been recorded, and its laws and fundamentals outlined, this need no longer exists. Yes, to the extent of need, some ability of ijtihad is still to be found, whereby rulings for contemporary issues are deduced, through the medium of the principles laid down by the Mujtahidin. [2]

[1]مقدمة فيض القدير ص16

[2]Who are the blind followers Pg. 50 (An excerpt from Ashraful Jawaab)


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