The Info List - Akhbari

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The Akhbaris (Arabic: اخباري‎) are Twelver
Muslims who reject the use of reasoning in deriving verdicts, and believe Quran and hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad
and Twelve Shia
Imams) as the only source of law.[1] The term Akhbari
(from khabara, news or report) is usually used in contrast to Usuli
(from Uṣūl al-fiqh, principles of Islamic jurisprudence). Unlike Usulis, Akhbaris do not follow or do Taqleed of a Mujtahid the marja‘s (models for imitation) who practice modern form of ijtihad (independent legal reasoning) consequently they do not accept Usul al-fiqh. Akhbaris perform Taqleed of Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi the Twelfth Imam of Shias who is in the Occultation. They say Taqleed is permissible when it is performed of an infallible Hujja, whereas they consider Taqleed to be forbidden when it is performed of a Non Infallible.[2] Contrary to Usulis, Akhbaris believe in the perpetuity of Sharia
whereas the former believes in the development of jurisprudence with time 'Uṣūl al-fiqh',[3] due to this reason Akhbaris seek religious rulings or Islamic jurisprudence Fiqh
e Jafaria from a dead or living Muhaddith, who has narrated or narrates the rulings hadith of The Fourteen Infallibles
The Fourteen Infallibles
without interpreting it. Further Akhbaris say that The Fourteen Infallibles
The Fourteen Infallibles
or Shia
Imāms never permitted Ijtehad and the Door of Ijtehad was opened by Umar ibn al-Khattab after the death of Prophet Muhammad.[4][5] Akhbari
nowadays form a minority within Shia
Islam, with Usulis making up the majority. Akhbarism "crystalized" as a distinct movement with the writings of Muhammad
Amin al-Astarabadi (d. 1627 AD) and achieved its greatest influence in the late Safavid
and early post- Safavid
era. However, shortly thereafter Muhammad
Baqir Behbahani (d. 1792), along with other Usuli
mujtahids, crushed the Akhbari
movement.[6] Today it is found primarily in the Basra
area of southern Iraq
(where they form the majority in many districts) although no longer in the city. They are also found in the island nation of Bahrain, Hyderabad, India
Hyderabad, India
and different cities of Pakistan[7] Karachi, Sehwan, Hyderabad, Lahore, Faisalabad(Lylpur), Chakwaal, Gojar Khan [8] with reportedly "only a handful of Shi'i ulema" remaining Akhbari
"to the present day."[9]


1 Background 2 History

2.1 First transgression 2.2 Second transgression 2.3 Third transgression 2.4 Fourth transgression 2.5 Bihbahani 2.6 Fifth transgression 2.7 Iranian Revolution

3 Rejection of the Mujtahids 4 Debate

4.1 Pro-Akhbari 4.2 Anti-Akhbari

5 Prominent Akhbari
scholars 6 References

Background[edit] Akhbaris consider themselves to be bounded by the Hadith
of the two weighty things, where the Prophet Muhammad
instructed his followers to follow the Quran
and Ahl al-Bayt. Therefore, even for new events occurring during the Major Occultation, Akhbaris continue to follow traditions of Ahlul Bayt, as per the saying of Imam Muhammad
al-Mahdi where he said "As for the new events, which will occur (during my occultation) turn to the narrators of our traditions, because they are my proof to you, while I am the proof of Allah to them"[10] Akhbari reject fatāwa based on ijtihad, they also reject the permissibility of writing exegesis of the Qur'an without quoting the narrations of the infallible Ahlu l-Bayt. Akhbari
quote the Hadith
ath-Thaqalayn and several authentic traditions of the Twelve Imāms to prohibit the practice of exegesis. Akhbaris do not believe in generalization of Hadith, they say Hadith
is either right or wrong;[11] further they believe that Hadiths compiled in The Four Books
The Four Books
of Shias are reliable. It is reported that Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi
Muhammad al-Mahdi
acknowledged Kitab al-Kafi (which is among The Four Books
The Four Books
of Shias) and said "al-Kafi is sufficient for our Shia
(followers)".[12] Where Usulis doubt the credibility of this saying as author of Kitab al-Kafi
Kitab al-Kafi
never quoted the same.[12] In short, the gist of Akhbārī ideology is that nothing but the aḥadīth of the Infallible can serve as authoritative evidence in Islam. Akhbārīs also differ from Usūlīs in their rejection of the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists, arguing that preachers of religion have no role in politics, clerics should advise political leaders but not govern themselves. Akhbaris believe in separation of religion and state in absence of Twelfth Imam, they say that only an infallible ruling Imam has a right to combine religion and state; and which will be accomplished only after the arrival of awaited Shia Imam. Usūlism evolved on the basis of Usul al-fiqh
Usul al-fiqh
(the hypothetical concepts and perceptions of some scholars) centuries after the major occultation. Among the earliest Shī‘a ulamā' such as Muhammad
ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni and Ibn Babawaiyya, the most important activity was transmission of a ḥadīth.[13] At this time, the Shī‘a distinguished themselves from the Sunni
in the category of law, which employed such methods as qiyas "analogical reasoning" and exegesis". However, the Shī‘a developed law directly from the traditions of the Imāms.[13] Initially during the Buyid
period, the Twelver
ulamā' considered that since the Imām had gone into Occultation and his Nā'ib al-Khass was no longer present, all the functions invested in the Imām had lapsed. The principal functions of the Imām had been:

Leading the Holy War (jihad) Division of the booty (qismat al-fay) Leading the Friday Prayer (salat al-juma) Putting judicial decisions into effect (tanfidh al-ahkam) Imposing legal penalties (iqamat al-hudud) Receiving the religious taxes of zakāt and khums.[14]

However, it soon became apparent that the situation caused by the lapse of functions of the Hidden Imām was extremely impractical and left the Twelver
Shī‘a community at a great disadvantage, with no leadership, no organization and no financial structure.[14] History[edit] Akhbaris contend that, over the course of the history of Twelver Shi'ism since the Occultation, Usuli
ulama have progressively usurped more and more of the functions of the Hidden Imam. They distinguish five stages in this usurpation. First transgression[edit] As early as the 5th century A.H. / 11th century CE, more than 150 years after the Occultation of the 12th Imām, Shaykhu t-Ta'ifa reinterpreted the doctrine to allow delegation of the Imām's judicial authority to those who had studied fiqh. Although he implies in his writings that this function should only be undertaken by the ulama if there is no one else to do it. Shaykhu t-Taifa considered the ulamā' the best agents of the donor to distribute religious taxes since they knew to whom it should be distributed. Nevertheless, individuals were free to do this themselves if they wished. He allowed fuqahā' to organize Friday prayers in absence of the Imām or his special representative. The prominent Shī‘a scholars who rejected this thesis were:

`Alam al-Huda Ibn Idris Allamah al-Hilli[14]

It is to be noted that `Alam al-Huda was from among the Shaykhu t-Taifa's group. Second transgression[edit] By the 13th century, Muhaqqiq al-Hilli was able to advance these concepts very considerably. He extended the judicial role of the ulama to iqamat al-hudud the imposition of penalties by ulama themselves. In his writings it is possible to see the evolution in his thinking whereby the fuqahā' develop from the deputies of the donor for the distribution of religious taxes in his early writings to being the deputies of the Hidden Imām for collection and distribution of the taxes in his later works.[15] In effect, transgressing the limits set by Shaykhu t-Taifa (two centuries earlier) in his first transgression. Third transgression[edit] Muhaqqiq al-Karkhi (About 300 years after the second transgression) was the first to suggest, arguing from the hadith of ‘Umar ibn Hanzala, that the ulama were the Nā'ib al-'Amm (general representative) of the Hidden Imām. But he restricted his application of this argument to the assumption of the duty of leading Friday prayers.[15] Fourth transgression[edit] It was Shahīd ath-Thānī who took the concept of Nā'ib al-'Amm to its logical conclusion in the religious sphere and applied it to all of the religious functions and prerogatives of the Hidden Imām. Thus the judicial authority of the ulamā' now became a direct reflection of the authority of the Imām himself. It was now obligatory to pay the religious taxes directly to the ulamā' as the trustees of the Imām for distribution and the donor who distributed these himself was considered to obtain no reward. This is in direct contradiction to limits set by prior transgressions. Furthermore, Shahīd ath-Thānī extended the range of those eligible to receive money from zakāt to include religious students and the ulamā' themselves, who thus became the recipients of the money as trustees of students. Even in the field of defensive jihād, Shahīd ath-Thānī identified a role for the ulamā'. Only in the field of offensive jihād did he allow that the role of Hidden Imām had lapsed pending his return.[15] Although the aforementioned scholars were not mujtahids in their full capacity, they introduced innovative concepts into Shī‘a theology which later formed the basis of the exegetical school. Their innovations were sharply criticized by prominent Shī‘a scholars of their time and thus, remained mostly theoretical. The traditional Shī‘a doctrine was, by its nature, fatal to leadership of any regime except that of Imām al-Mahdi since they believed that an Islamic state can be established only under the leadership of an infallible Imām. Thus, the Shī‘a had little role to play in supporting the decisions of the state, in contrast with the Sunni
tendency of offering their full support to the Ottoman Empire. This caused a great deal of paranoia to the states where the Shī‘a were in majority. By the end of Safavid
era the situation had become intense due to the rise of imperialism on a global scale. It was necessary to develop an alternate ideology for the survival of Iranian state. This is when a group of ulamā' were encouraged to squeeze out the possibility of extending the state's control over the shia majority; by whatever means necessary. The revival of Akhbārism, or "neo-Akhbārism" as it became known, was under the dean of Karbala
scholarship, Yusuf Al Bahrani
Yusuf Al Bahrani
(1695–1772), who led an intellectual assault on Usuli
thought in the mid-18th century. An Akhbārī critique of Usulism had emerged in Bahrain
at the beginning of the 18th century, partly spurred by the weaknesses of the Usuli
sponsoring Safavid
empire.[16] By succeeding to the role of dean of Karbala
as one of the pre-eminent scholars of the age, al-Bahrani's extended this Bahrain-based debate to the rest of the Shī‘a world.

“ Al-Bahrani's neo-Akhbarism accepted only two sources for Imami jurisprudence, the Qur'an and the oral reports from the Imams. He did not, however, go so far as to say that no verse in the Qur'an could be understood without the interpretation of the Imams, a position held by the Safavid-era Akhbari
Astarabadi which Shaykh Yusuf denounced as extremist. He rejected the Usuli
principles of consensus (ijma`) and independent reasoning (`aql, ijtihad). Indeed, he questioned rationalist approaches to religion in general, quoting with approval a condemnation of reading philosophy and theosophy. But Shaykh Yusuf accepted the validity of Friday prayers in the Occultation and did not completely reject Usuli
positions on other issues. His Bahrani neo-Akhbarism sought to be an intermediate path between extremist Usulism and extremist Akhbarism.[17] ”

Bihbahani[edit] Under al-Bahrani, Usuli
scholarship was considered impure but Bahrani was not politically influential, although his student, the famous Sheikh Al-Hurr al-Aamili
Al-Hurr al-Aamili
in his book Amal al-amil writes "He was a mountain and ocean of knowledge, No one from among the previous scholars preceded his knowledge or reached his status". Edit: This seems completely incorrect. The Al-Bahrani referred to in this quote is referring to Sayyid Hashim Al-Bahrani. However this article is relating it to another scholar; the previously mentioned Yusuf Bahraini, who died nearly a century after Sheikh Al-Hurr Aamili It was Muhammad
Baqir ibn Muhammad
Akmal al-Wahid Bihbahani who challenged and defeated the Akhbaris and eventually became the most politically influential cleric in Karbala
in 1772. Bihbahani's theology was not welcomed by the Akhbaris. Although this controversy had begun as a minor disagreement on a few points, it eventually grew into a bitter, vituperative dispute culminating in Bihbahani's declaration that the Akhbārīs were infidels(Kuffar).[9] However, the dispute remained purely intellectual. At first there was a large population of Akhbārī activists at the shrine cities of Iraq
but it was Bihbahani who, at the end of the 18th century, reversed this and completely routed the Akhbārīs at Karbala and Najaf. South Iraq, Bahrain
and a few cities in Iran
such as Kirman remained Akhbārī strongholds for a few more decades but eventually the Usuli
triumph was complete and only a handful of Shī‘a ulamā' remained Akhbārī to the present day.[9] After the theological coup brought about by al-Wahid Bihbahani by military methods, the Usuli
school became instrumental to the Iranian regime. Fifth transgression[edit] During the first Russo-Persian War (1804-1813), Fath Ali Shah's son and heir, Abbas Mirza, who was conducting the campaign, turned to the new ulama and obtained from Shaykh Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita' and other eminent clerics in Najaf
and Isfahan
a declaration of jihad against the Russians, thus implicitly recognizing their authority to issue such a declaration – one of the functions of the Hidden Imām. Kashif al-Ghita used the opportunity to extract from the state acknowledgment of the ulama's right to collect the religious taxes of Khums."[18] This followed the pattern of other transgressions by overthrowing the limits of its prior (fourth) transgression. Iranian Revolution[edit] Following the Iranian Revolution, the Usūlī school has gained popularity among previously Akhbārī communities.[8] Usuli
clerical power reached its natural conclusion with control and domination of the state as promulgated through Vilayat al-Faqih under the authority of the Supreme Leader. Rejection of the Mujtahids[edit] Akhbārīs reject and even curse mujtahids. They practice this based on the last letter Imām Mahdi wrote to ‘Alī ibn Muhammad, fourth trusted follower of the Lesser Occultation. In the letter, Imām Zaman said:

If someone claims himself as deputy of Imam during occultation he is a liar, ousted from Allah’s religion, calumniating Allah; he himself has gone astray and is leading others into error too. He will always be in loss. Be Curse unto him of mine, of Allah, of Allah’s Rasool (SW) and of his Progeny (AS) for every moment, and in all circumstances.[19]

Akhbārīs claim that only the Imāms may be described as āyat Allahs (Ayatollahs, "signs of God") based on the Hadith-e-Tariq,[20] and that no one else has the right to ascribe this divine title to themselves. For example, the Hadith-i Tariq says:

O Tariq, Imam (as) is the Kalama-t-Allāh [Word of God], Waj'ha-t-Allah [Face of God], Hijaba-t-Allah [Veil of God], Nūru-Allah [Light of God], Āya-t-Allah [Sign of God]

Historically it was only in the early 19th century that ordinary mujtahids began to describe themselves as 'Ayatollahs.' Debate[edit]

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It can be noticed that the Usuli
ulama have usurped one by one all the functions of the Hidden Imam, virtually ascribing themselves with his Imamate. Since the 1953 Iranian coup, the Usuli
ulama have made countless transgressions from Wilayat al-Faqih to unity among Muslims (or what might be called Islamic ecumenism at the cost of Shia
beliefs). The convergence of these trends can be seen heading towards the caliphate of mujtahideen, although with a different naming scheme. The Usuli
allegation that Akhbārism is a movement that started four centuries ago and was intellectually defeated is false. It is established that generalization that causes a fallible man's decision to gain the status of divine law is against the gist of Shia Islam. The Usuli
appeal to "reason" ('Aql) is similar to the Sunni qiyas, though all early Shī‘a authorities are unanimous in rejecting qiyas (analogy).

Anti-Akhbari[edit] Akhbārīs claim to follow Hadith
directly, without the need for generalisation, or of finding the reason for the decision. This, according to Usulis, is a logical impossibility. Hadith
takes the form of case law, that is to say the narration of decisions taken in a concrete situation. To "follow" such a decision one must know which features of the situation are or are not relevant to the decision, as exactly the same set of facts will never occur twice. Therefore, some degree of generalisation is unavoidable, even on the most literal view: the choice is simply between mechanical generalisation and intelligent generalisation. Regarding Islamic laws, there are various issues faced by Muslims in their daily lives. e.g. doubts in namāz and their corrections, conditions which invalidate a fast and the relevant compensations, rulings vis à vis correctness or incorrectness of various social and business practices e.g. Investing in Mutual Funds, Use of alcohol based perfumes and medicines, etc. Yet, Akhbaris say that the Imams mentioned general-rules that we may use to know the ruling of modern issues. Prominent Akhbari

Al-Hurr al-Aamili Yusuf al-Bahrani Abdullah al Samahiji Salih Al-Karzakani Mohsen Fayz Kashani [21]

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Mirza Mohammad Akhbari[22][23] Shaykh Muhammad
Amin Zayn al-Din[24] Maulana Syed Riyazuddin Hyder Jaffery Akhbari Maulana Syed Waheeduddin Hyder Jaffery Akhbari Maulana Syed Taqiuddin Hyder Jaffery Akhbari


^ http://www.akhbari.com ^ http://www.akhbari.org/English/aau.htm.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ https://www.al-islam.org/message-thaqalayn/vol-12-no-4-winter-2012/stages-development-shia-jurisprudence-sayyid-mahmud.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ "Our Misfortune Regarding Ijtihad Against the Texts Then I was Guided Books on Islam
and Muslims". Al-Islam.org. 2012-10-15. Retrieved 2013-12-31.  ^ http://www.alim.org/library/biography/khalifa/content/KUM/20/16.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ Momen, Moojan (1985), An introduction to Shi’i Islam : the history and doctrines of Twelver
Shi’ism (Athna Ashri "اثناء عشری"), Oxford: G. Ronald, p. 222, ISBN 0-85398-201-5  ^ http://www.hubeali.com ^ a b Nasr, Vali (2006), The Shia
revival : how conflicts within Islam
will shape the future, New York: Norton, p. 69, ISBN 978-0-393-06211-3  ^ a b c Momen, Moojan (1985), An introduction to Shi’i Islam : the history and doctrines of Twelver
Shi’ism, Oxford: G. Ronald, p. 127, ISBN 0-85398-201-5  ^ Bahar al-Anwar Vol.53, P.181 ^ Kohlberg, E. "AḴBĀRĪYA". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 24 April 2016.  ^ a b "Belief of Shi'a in the Completeness of Qur'an A Shi'ite Encyclopedia Books on Islam
and Muslims". Al-Islam.org. Retrieved 2013-12-31.  ^ a b Momen, Moojan (1985), An introduction to Shi’i Islam : the history and doctrines of Twelver
Shi’ism, Oxford: G. Ronald, p. 185, ISBN 0-85398-201-5  ^ a b c Momen, Moojan (1985), An introduction to Shi’i Islam : the history and doctrines of Twelver
Shi’ism, Oxford: G. Ronald, p. 189, ISBN 0-85398-201-5  ^ a b c Pg. 190, An introduction to Shi'i Islam, Moojan Momen. ^ Cole, Juan Ricardo (2002), Sacred space and holy war : the politics, culture and history of Shi’ite Islam, IB Tauris, pp. 58–78, ISBN 1-86064-736-7  ^ Cole, Juan Ricardo (2002), Sacred space and holy war : the politics, culture and history of Shi’ite Islam, IB Tauris, pp. 53–54, ISBN 1-86064-736-7  ^ Momen, Moojan (1985), An introduction to Shi’i Islam : the history and doctrines of Twelver
Shi’ism, Oxford: G. Ronald, p. 191, ISBN 0-85398-201-5  ^ Bihar al-Anwar, Allamah Majlisi ^ https://hubeali.com/khutbat/Hadith-e-Tariq.pdf ^ Gleave, Robert. "The Qadi and the Mufti in Akhbari
Shi'i Jurisprudence." Law Applied: Contextualizing the Islamic Shari'a. N.p.: I. B. Tauris &, Limited, 2008. 242-43. Print. ^ Akhbari#cite note-momen222-4 ^ Algar, H. "MĪRZĀ MOḤAMMAD AḴBĀRĪ". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 24 April 2016.  ^ "thehawzaproject.net" (PDF). thehawzaproject.net. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 

Rival Empires of Trade and Imami Shiism in Eastern Arabia, 1300-1800, Juan Cole, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 19, No. 2, (May 1987), pp. 177–203 Andrew J. Newman, The Nature of the Akhbārī/Uṣūlī Dispute in Late Ṣafawid Iran. Part 1: 'Abdallāh al-Samāhijī's "Munyat al-Mumārisīn Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 55, No. 1 (1992), pp. 22–51 Killing of Prophet Muhammad's daughter

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Apostasy Criticism of Islam Cultural Muslim Islamism

Criticism Post-Islamism Qutbism Salafi movement



Islamic terrorism Islamic view of miracles Domestic violence Nursing Persecution of Muslims Quran
and miracles Symbolism