Islamic Jurisprudence is a complete law by which one can live Islamic life and solve the problems of his life. Our pious predecessors رَحِمَهُمُ اللہُ تَعَالٰی devoted their lives to gaining and propagating the knowledge of Islamic Jurisprudence. They have made things easy for Ummah to act upon Shari’ah by providing them with the solutions to the problems they are facing. Islamic jurists have classified the Islamic scholars who have done invaluable services to Islamic Jurisprudence into different classes.
There are seven ranks of blessed Islamic jurists:
1. Mujtahid-e-Mutlaq [مُجْتَھِدِ مُطْلَق]
The Mujtahid who can make rules and deduce main rules and their details from Dalaail-e-Arba’ah (i.e. Quran, Hadees, Ijma’ [consensus], Qiyaas [analogical reasoning] is called Mujtahid-e-Mutlaq. Further, these personalities should not be dependent on any other Imam in this regard. For example, Imam-e-A’zam Abu Hanifah, Imam Shaafi’i, Imam Maalik, Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal رَحِمَهُمُ اللہُ تَعَالٰی.
2. Mujtahid-fil-Mazhab [مُجْتَھِد فِی الْمَذْھَب]
That follower Mujtahid who possesses the ability to deduce the rules in the light of the rules made by his Imam. Though he can oppose the details from his Imam, yet he follows his own Imam in Usool (rule). For example, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad رَحِمَهُمَا اللہُ تَعَالٰی. (Rad-dul-Muhtar, vol. 1, pp. 181; Jad-dul-Mumtar, vol. 1, pp. 301)
Remember! Mujtahid-fil-Mazhab will deduce the rules in that case when he does not find even a single opinion of his Imam. If he finds even a single opinion of his Imam, he will not oppose him. The rules which contain two or more than two opinions, and Mujtahid-e-Mutlaq holds any one of them, so Mujtahid-fil-Mazhab can hold any other opinion out of those opinions. The same quality elevates Mujtahid-fil-Mazhab to other classes. (Jad-dul-Mumtar, vol. 1, pp. 301)
3. Mujtahid-fil-Masa`il [مُجْتَھِد فِی الْمَسَائِل]
These are the follower Mujtahids who do not oppose their Imam regarding the Usool [rule] and details, but possess the ability to solve the rulings whose verdicts have not been taken from the Imam keeping rules and regulations in mind. For example, Imam Karkhi, Imam Sarakhsee رَحِمَهُمَا اللہُ تَعَالٰی.
4. Ashaab-e-Takhreej [اَصْحَابِ تَخْرِیْج]
The follower Islamic jurists who cannot make Ijtihad, but possess the ability to remove conciseness and doubts from rulings due to keeping a close eye in Usool [rules] and sources. Moreover, they should possess the ability to do Qiyaas in the light of the examples of the detailed rulings. For example, Sayyiduna Imam Raazi رَحْمَةُ اللہِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه.
5. Ashaab-e-Terjeeh [اَصْحَابِ تَرْجِیْح]
The follower Islamic jurists who possess the ability to give preference to any one of the jurisprudential Riwayaat [narrations] are called Ashaab-e-Terjeeh. For example, Imam Qudoori رَحْمَةُ اللہِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه.
6. Ashaab-e-Tamyeez [اَصْحَابِ تَمْیِیْز]
The follower Islamic jurists who can differentiate between Aqwa [more authentic], Qawee [authentic] and Da’eef [weak] narrations. For example, the author of Kanz-ud-Daqaaiq Imam Abul Barakaat ‘Abdullah Bin Ahmad Nasafi رَحْمَةُ اللہِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه.
7. Muqallid-e-Mahz [مُقَلِّدِ مَحْض]
The followers who do not possess any of the mentioned abilities are called Muqallid-e-Mahz. Common Muslims are included in them. (Rad-dul-Muhtar, vol. 1, pp. 181-184)
The inclusion of Muqallid-e-Mahz on the classes of Islamic jurists also indicates that the one who does not have the ability mentioned in the six classes should follow these Islamic jurists. For gaining the knowledge of Islamic Jurisprudence our blessed Islamic jurists رَحِمَهُمُ اللہُ تَعَالٰی worked hard for years and made efforts day and night. They endured the trials and tribulations in this way. As a result of it today we praise these blessed personalities to the skies. We should also study the blessed life of these pious predecessors. We should develop the ability to attain the benefit of their treasure of knowledge and should gain Islamic knowledge. After gaining Islamic knowledge we should move forward to resolve Muslims’ religious, economic, social, financial and commercial issues. May Allah Almighty enable us to do this good deed!
اٰمِيۡن بِجَاهِ النَّبِيِّ الۡاَمِيۡن صَلَّى اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيۡهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم